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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-04

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 4, 2003





  • [05] THE KEY TO 17N?



  • [01] THE ECONOMY AND OTHER MATTERS The political confrontation of the past few days concerning both shady dealings between members of the political and financial world of Greece and the ELPE-PETROLA merger, will be taken to the Plenary Session of the Parliament in a pre-agenda meeting req uested by ND. The government rejected ND's proposal for an auditing committee for the stock market. According to information from the offices of both PASOK and ND, the two party leaders will speak on the issue of shady dealings only if they are provoked.
  • [02] EXAMINATION COMMITTEE DECIDES Minister of Education Petros Efthymiou called an emergency meeting of Examination Committee on the issue that arose concerning the grading of the Math exams, on which science and technology concentration seniors were tested, in the framework of the natio nal exams. The Greek Mathematics Association made mention of a bad choice of sub-question, noting that it was not compatible with the definitions and theorems of the school textbook.
  • [03] INTENSE ATMOSPHERE IN PARLIAMENT DISCUSSION ON THE ECONOMY The pre-agenda discussion on the economy, in relation to shady dealings and corruption, to take place in Parliament today after the request of New Democracy, will be held in an atmosphere of intense political confrontation between the government and the Opposition.

    The heavy atmosphere is due to the dispute over the merger of ELPE (Greek Petroleum) with PETROLA, and was further charged with the "shots fired" between the Minister of the Press and Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas, and ND's Parliamentary Sp okesperson Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Press Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, regarding ND's proposal for the formation of an Auditing Committee of the Parliament in relation to the Malesios case and the stock market.

    Mr. Protopapas characterized Mr. Pavlopoulos' statements on the Auditing Committee as "indescribable and unprecedented tightrope walking", while he responded by calling Mr. Protopapas a "politically indescribable government spokesperson" whose statements

    cannot be taken seriously.

    Mr. Pavlopoulos knows plenty about not being taken seriously, commented the Government Spokesperson, while ND Press Spokesperson Th. Roussopoulos accused the government of wanting to cover up the truth about the stock market. He observed that 1.5 million

    investors will not stop asking why they lost their savings.

  • [04] ELPE-PTEROL MERGER BEGINNING The first part of the merger agreement between ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum) and PETROLA will be materialized today, with 16.65% of the first company's stocks being transferred to the Latsis company group for 326 million euro.

    The transfer will take place through the National Bank of the Stock Market, on the condition that all technical details are in order. In any case, today has been set as the date for the "transformation", i.e. the beginning of the merger procedure, markin g, at the same time, the legal expiration of Petrola.

    It should be noted that yesterday the two companies' boards of directors gave the green light for the agreement, in the midst of intense reactions from the employees and workers at Hellenic Petroleum. Specifically, the workers took over the company's off ices on Amalias st. forcing the Board to meet in the Athens Tower.

    Meanwhile, in yesterday's meeting of the boards, a decision was made to set a financial and legal auditor and an independent valuator, who will look into the issue of exchanging old stocks with the new stocks to be issued with an increase of capital by t he unified company.

    In fact, in statements to the Financial Times, the Directing Consultant of ELPE, Athanassios Karachalios, stressed that the merger will allow ELPE to develop into a major player in the SE European market, with four refineries and an output of 17 million tons annually, and a combined turnover of approximately 4 billion euro.

  • [05] THE KEY TO 17N? According to crime lab evaluation of the keys found in the apartment of Alexandros Giotopoulos and Marie Peinot, three of those keys opened the door to the building on Damareos st. and two opened the locks to the apartment that was used as a cache for 17

    November. The evaluation was read in today's proceedings of the trial of the 17N terrorist organization suspect-members, however the defense asked that the evaluation not be taken into account, as the keys were examined without DA authorization.

    Suspected leader of the organization Alexandros Giotopoulos denied that the keys were in his possession, and his attorney, Mr. Giannis Rachiotis, did not accept the specialist view, as it was given 8 months after the fact. He also wondered how it was pos sible for the three keys to have been returned to Mrs. Peinot on April 4, as they were part of the case brief.

    Meanwhile there was tension in the courtroom when the President of the Court Michalis Margaritis read a document concerning a forgery of a French drivers' license found in Giotopoulos' possession. The license belongs to French citizen Hons Cristian, who has been working in Athens since 1971 as a French teacher. Giotopoulos stated that he does not know the person in question.

    The bench DA also asked if Mr. Giotopoulos had a different identity card prior to 1996, since the forged papers with the name Michalis Economou were issued on that date. Alexandros Giotopoulos claimed that he has had his ID card since 1976 and not 1996.

  • [06] YIANNITSIS REVIEWED THE RESULTS OF THE GREEK EU PRESIDENCY Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis in a press conference on Tuesday reviewed the results of the 22 weeks of the Greek European Union Presidency.

    The alternate foreign minister referred to four major entities in which developments were registered during the Greek EU Presidency.

    In the sector of enlargement with the signing of the Accession Treaty in Athens on April 16, the 10 new acceding countries have already started expressing their positions, he said.

    On political developments, Mr. Yiannitsis stated that the Iraq issue prevailed during the Greek EU Presidency, noting that although at first there were differences of views, Europe proceeded in joint statements in February and March. At the end of the wa r in Iraq, Yiannitsis observed, "we are seeing the efforts for bridging the differences of the member countries but also the development of a broader consideration for joint foreign and defence policy."

    The Middle East was another major issue during the Greek EU Presidency. "The Road Map is a development for which the Union made a great effort in order for it to become a reality and now it is exerting pressure for its implimentation", Mr. Yiannitsis sai d.

    He also referred to other political fields where the EU's presence is stronger, such as the Euro-Mediterranean Conference, relations with Russia, the western Balkans and third countries.

    On institutional reforms, the minister remarked that the Convention for the Future of Europe will soon conclude its sessions and submit its proposals at the EU summit in Thessaloniki.

    In the sector of "ad hoc" individual issues, Mr. Yiannitsis referred to a series of reforms and decisions, such as the funding of the enlargement, the status of EU employees, the issue of security in maritime transport, the Stability Pact and the Common Agricultural Policy.

  • [07] BIG GAINS IN THE ASE Big gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +3.35% at 1.839,69 points, while the volume of transactions skyrocketed to 228,3 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 290 recorded gains and 43 had losses, while the value of 45 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [08] DIAMANTOPOULOU: AGREEMENT ON THE ASYLUM ISSUE IS DIFFICULT BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE The likelihood for the EU to reach an agreement on the issue of immigrants in the Thessaloniki Summit Meeting based on the preliminary work already done by the Greek EU Presidency, was not ruled out by Greek European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, res ponsible for employment issues. She made the statement to, adding that the EU member states have conflicting views on the issue.

    The European Commission will present a package on immigration in the Thessaloniki Summit which will include the common policy on asylum, the protection of borders and the electronic control system, the repatriation of immigrants, their social integration

    and programs for the financial support of their countries.

    The Greek European Commissioner also referred to the inability of the EU Labor Ministers' Council that met in Luxembourg yesterday to reach an agreement on a directive regulating temporary employment.

    She also stated that labor market inspection is necessary, adding that very often the laws are being violated even though there is a specific institutional framework at a European level.

    Commenting on the turn made by certain businesses to countries with a lower labor cost, like the EU candidate states or the former Soviet Union states, she pointed out that the phenomenon cannot be reversed. She added that Greece cannot compete with thos e countries but it can turn to other sectors of the economy, like high technology and services.

  • [09] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE INITIATIVES UNDERTAKEN BY THE CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER The Greek government backs the initiatives undertaken by Cypriot Foreign Minister Mr. Iakovou on the recent developments at Strovilia concerning the violations made by the Turks aiming to alter the region's status. The statement was made by Greek governm ent spokesman Christos Protopapas in response to a question by a reporter.

    Called to comment on the statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul that there are no violations of the airspace because Greece should restrict itself within 6 miles, Mr. Protopapas reiterated that Turkey follows its typical tactic. Namely,

    it creates secondary issues to keep away the publicity lights and pressure resulting from the primary issue which is the solution of the Cyprus problem.

  • [10] EU TRANSPORTATION-TELECOMMUNICATIONS-ENERGY MINISTERS' COUNCIL The EU Transportation, Telecommunications and Energy Ministers' Council will convene in Luxembourg tomorrow, chaired by Greek Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications Christos Verelis.

    In the meeting will be discussed issues concerning the GALILEO system, air transportation, road and tunnel safety.

    The Greek EU Presidency will brief the European partners on the progress made on the specific issues and will seek to complete negotiations among the member states on most of those issues to reach decisions as soon as possible.

  • [11] PAPANTONIOU WILL BE IN SKOPJE TOMORROW Greek Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou will be in Skopje, FYROM tomorrow within the framework of the inspection of the CONCORDIA Force, the first military mission undertaken by the European Rapid Reaction Force.

    Mr. Papantoniou will meet with FYROM Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, President Boris Trajkovsk, government Vice-President Musa Jaferi and Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski.

    He will be accompanied by EU High Representative for CFSP Javier Solana, and the permanent representatives of the EU member states to be briefed on the EUFOR operations and the EU political actions in FYROM.

    For the record, the operational readiness of the European Military Force in 2003 was a major target for the Greek EU Presidency.

  • [12] YIANNITSIS ON TURKEY'S EU ACCESSION COURSE The operation of a democracy in Turkey without the obstacles of the past and the "interpretation" of the will of the Turkish people into an administrative and judicial practice, are the two basic issues for the promotion of a candidate status for Turkey,

    stated Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis addressing the European Parliament Plenary Session today.

    He underlined that the basic priorities for a partnership relation are the Cyprus issue and the Greek-Turkish relations.

    Mr. Yiannitsis also called for Turkey's attention on a number of pending issues such as, the numerous reports on torture practices throughout Turkey, the reports of arbitrary arrests and the practice of incomunicado detention in the South East. The contr adictory court decisions as regards the determination to punish perpetrators of torture, several court cases indicating that there is not yet a uniform interpretation and application of the provisions related to freedom of expression. The still restrictiv e regime applicable to religious institutions and communities and the full enjoyment of cultural rights by all Turks irrespective of their ethnic origin which is still not ensured.

  • [13] THE AGENDA OF THE THESSALONIKI EU SUMMIT MEETING Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis referred to the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency in the Thessaloniki Summit Meeting addressing the European Parliament Plenary Session in Strasbourg.

    Mr. Yiannitsis referred to five major chapters on which the Thessaloniki Summit is expected to focus:

    Advancement of the necessary institutional changes that have been the main object of the Convention on the Future of Europe since March 2002.

    Foreign policy and defence, with special emphasis on transatlantic relations, the shaping of a strategic concept for EU security and the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

    Immigration, asylum and external borders, an area of particular concern to the Greek Presidency and of constantly growing significance for the European Union.

    Issues concerning employment and the Lisbon Strategy, in general, that must be discussed at European Council level.

    EU policy with regard to Western Balkans, a fifth chapter to be discussed on the Council's second day, i.e. on Saturday, June 21.

    Regarding the issue of institutional reforms, Mr. Yiannitsis said that the President of the Convention will present in Thessaloniki the conclusions of its 15-month proceedings. "The role of the Council, naturally, does not consist in making decisions as to the substance of the Convention's mission, but in determining how to proceed with the next phase and giving the Intergovernmental Conference the mandate to begin its work, so that we could achieve results acceptable by all", said Mr. Yiannitsis.

    On transatlantic relations, Mr. Yiannitsis stressed that the picture of the EU relations with the US should improve and reflect reality. A great effort is being made to secure that the next EU-US Summit meeting, to be held a few days after the European C ouncil, will become an important step for the further development of this strategic relation.

    In Thessaloniki, the European Council is expected to endorse the Presidency's report on the progress achieved over the past six months in the development of ESDP and also the annual progress report on the Implementation of the EU Programme for the Preven tion of Violent Conflicts, which is the cornerstone of the security mechanism of the Union.

    The issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction is an important topic of the agenda and will probably remain there for some time to come. Their proliferation is a huge challenge for the international system. The critical question is how to increase and intens ify efforts to prevent further WMD proliferation which endangers not only our security, but also international peace and stability. The immediate goal of the EU Presidency is the drafting of a Comprehensive Strategy and Plan of Action, to be adopted in Th essaloniki, said Mr. Yiannitsis.

    On the immigration issue, the EU Presidency intends to seek a political agreement to include immigration as a necessary parameter in the assessment of the cooperation of third countries with the EU. Mr. Yiannitsis expressed the hope that a political agre ement will be reached on a directive concerning the long-time immigrants and the definition of the term "refugee".

    Regarding external borders, the EU Presidency intends to issue a statement on burden sharing.

    On the chapter of the Lisbon Strategy, the main issue will be the approval of directions regarding the general orientations of the economic policies and the revised European strategy on employment.

    The European Council in Thessaloniki is expected to signal a turning point in the EU relations with western Balkans with the adoption of a text of conclusions expressing the political will to support the European prospect of the countries in the region a s a follow up to the Feira, Nice and Copenhagen decisions.

    The Thessaloniki European Council decisions will be reflected in the Declaration of Thessaloniki signed by all interested parties in the EU-Western Balkans Meeting on June 21, held after the European Council with the participation of the EU acceding and candidate states.

  • [14] THE JUSTICE MINISTER WILL BE IN LUXEMBOURG Greek Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos will be in Luxembourg tomorrow to preside over the EU Justice Ministers Council to be held on June 6.

    In the Council will be discussed, among others, issues concerning the EU-US negotiations on extradition and justice courts' cooperation and the framework-decision on the implementation of the "ne bis in idem" principle. Also, the Council's Regulations Dr aft on jurisdiction, the execution of court decisions on disputes between former spouses concerning parental care and the Schengen negotiations with Switzerland.

    Also, Mr. Petsalnikos will propose the adoption of common rules for the protection of personal data.


  • [15] MODERN, ATTRACTIVE, HOSPITABLE The candidacies of Thessaloniki, Trieste and Zaragoza for the hosting of the 2008 EXPO were presented in Paris yesterday, at the General Assembly of the International Exhibition Bureau (BIE). "Greece wants to hold an EXPO that will be modern, attractive and warm for all the countries of the world, contributing to the causes of a balanced development of the planet, a creative coexistence of all cultures, and international cooperation", pointed out Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis.
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