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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-10

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 10, 2003








  • [01] ATHENS NOT FOLLOWING THE TENSION Athens has stated that it is determined not to give into the efforts being made to increase tensions in the Aegean, after issuing a diplomatic notam towards Ankara, and briefing NATO, the EU and the international civil aviation organization, on the haras sment of an Olympic Airways flight by two Turkish fighters, within Greek airspace above Psara. Athens has ascertained a difference in the opinions of Turkish political leadership and the military, to which he attributes the intention of trying to impede T urkey's European course. "Calmly we reply, that first of all, Greece is a country of peace and cooperation for the entire Balkan region, and has proven itself such", underlined Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
  • [02] COOPERATION FOR PROSPERITY Relations between the government and the Association of Greek Industrialists (SEV) have improved, after the leadership of SEV was received by the Prime Minister, although the President of the Association denied that there "were any real clouds to dispers e", in their relationship with the government. The government, SEV and the workers are an integral to a broad social and economic dialogue. "We have a common goal: more growth, employment and prosperity", said Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis.
  • [03] BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS FOR GREECE AND EU In a dinner held in Thessaloniki by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, DIPEK and the MPA, the President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Sergei Stanisev, will speak tonight, on Greek-Bulgarian cooperation. Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrys ochoidis will also speak in the same event. Mr. Stanisev was received by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou yesterday and Secretary General of PASOK's Central Committee, Costas Laliotis.
  • [04] STRIKE FOR FACILITATION OF PARTICIPATION The Public Workers' Union has declared a 24-hour strike for June 20, in order to facilitate the transportation of any whom might want to participate in the Thessaloniki protests against the Summit Meeting. "All employees must be present, must participate

    in all the events in Thessaloniki", stated Union leader Spyros Papaspyros.

  • [05] NOTAMS ON ANKARA'S VIOLATIONS "Athens will not make moves to impress, but rather move based on fundamental EU decisions, seeing as it has developed mechanisms to defend national interests", noted the Foreign Ministry, regarding the latest events in the sky above the Aegean.

    The Greek government will issue notams to Ankara and to the ICAO, regarding the harassment of an "Olympic Airways" flight by Turkish fighters. In fact, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Panos Beglitis said that the ICAO has expressed concern on the continuat ion of Turkish fighter violations.

    The Greek government attributed the tension of the passed few weeks, with the "numerically and qualitatively upgraded" violations of Greek Airspace, to an internal conflict between the T. Erdogan government and the military establishment.

    Yesterday's harassment of the Olympic Airways passenger jet was characterized as unprecedented by diplomatic officials. The plane was carrying out an Athens-Istanbul trip, and while flying at 29,000 feet over Psara at 9am, it was approached by 2 Turkish F-16s. The fighters came so close that the collision alert system was activated, which resulted in the aircraft gaining altitude very suddenly to leave the path of the Turkish aircrafts. The Boeing landed safely in Istanbul.

    The event caused the reaction of the Greek Foreign Ministry and its Spokesperson expressed his discomfort from Athens, while making a clear difference between the Turkish government and the Turkish establishment. In his statement, the Foreign Ministry Sp okesperson expressed his "concern and discomfort" on the action of the Turkish establishment, which, he pointed out, "is fully contradictory to the will of Turkey's political leadership to act according to the Copenhagen criteria, based on EU decisions".

    Regarding the response of the Turkish government, Mr. Beglitis stated that explanations are given to international organizations, not airlines, and that the Greek side has upgraded this issue, both on a bilateral and an international level, and is dealin g with it calmly.

    Shortly afterwards, the Minister of the Press Christos Protopapas attacked the Turkish establishment, supporting that "we are still holding our ground on the main problems, which is the Cyprus issue and resolving problems through international law. This policy of ours has proved to be especially successful and we will follow thorough on it". The Greek Government Spokesperson asked the Turkish government a direct question: "Let the Turkish leadership make its decision, does it or does it not want a Europe an course, does it or does it not want to be identified with the army?"

    Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou stressed, among other things, that "we have briefed NATO at the highest level. And I would like to call Turkey's attention to avoid incidents and accidents, with or without quotation marks, which could cau se serious problems between the two countries. Greece is not going to play Turkey's game of tension. We will remain exceptionally calm, completely steady in out positions. And my order and the that of the military leadership to the Air Force, is for our p ilots to remain cool and contribute in every way to the prevention of any such accident and not to participate in activities that could lead to such accidents. The orders are clear."

    How quickly a solution is to be found in the Aegean, depends on the acceleration of European-Turkish relations, supported Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

    In an interview to a Turkish newspaper published yesterday, Mr. Erdogan responded to a question regarding the Measures for Building Trust in the Aegean, by saying that: "It may sound like slang, but someone is poring salt on a wound". When asked if it wa s the eagles of either side, he stated that it may be them, it may be someone else, but someone is poring salt on the wound. The faster the procedure regarding the EU is completed, the faster will the problem in the Aegean be solved."

    Regarding the recognition of Cyprus by Turkey, Mr. Erdogan stated that "the EU has its own mechanisms for decision making. No matter what we do, the EU has already recognized them. What will happen if we don't? We must be realists".

  • [06] NEW OWNER FOR TVX Forty per cent of the new joint scheme being discussed concerning the ownership of the TVX HELLAS metal mines in Chalkidiki, may be given to LARKO, although there have been no official announcements so far.

    An equal percentage is expected to be held by local government in Chalkidiki, jointly with the association of LARKO's specialized personnel, as well as with construction companies and possibly banks.

    Finally the Canadian KINROSS, which had bought out TVX, may participate with the remaining 20%. It should be noted that nothing is certain for now, as negotiations are still underway and there have been no results.

    More than 100 of the 500 workers at the mines belonging to the Kinross Gold Corporation, are still keeping themselves locked inside the metal mines of "Madem Lako" in Stratoni, going on the 9th day of their hunger strike.

    As worker spokespersons told the MPA, the hunger strikers are exhausted and receive water and medication at times, while no doctors were required to intervene over the passed two days.

  • [07] TOURING CENTRAL EUROPE The last of Prime Minister Simitis' tours of EU member-states in the framework of preparations for the EU Thessaloniki Summit to be held in Thessaloniki next week, began in Hague. After Hague and Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende, Mr. Simitis will travel t o Brussels, Luxembourg, and Berlin, while the tour's cycle in Central Europe will be completed with a visit to Vienna.
  • [08] DA INTERVENTION CAUSES TENSION AT TRIAL There was tension in the courtroom where the trial of the "17 November" terrorist group is in its 62nd day, after the intervention of the DA. Court President Michalis Margaritis, ordered a 5 minute recess in order for things to cool down.

    From the beginning of the proceedings, the defense attorneys for Vassilis Jorjatos, Savvas Xeros, Dimitris Koufontinas and Aggeliki Sotiropoulou, strongly questioned the exhibits presented in court as evidence.

    The bench DA, Christos Lambrou, commenting on the positions of the defense attorneys, characterized them as irrelevant and unfounded, while he accused them of "eating away at the time". Also, as far as Alexandros Giotopoulos is concerned - who had shortl y before intervened on the exhibits - Mr. Lambrou characterized him as a hypocrite: "He pretends he has nothing to do with any of this, while he is neck deep in all of these criminal actions".

    Alexandros Giotopoulos had intensely questioned his fingerprints being found in the hideout on Patmos st. and made mention of court prejudice.

    Meanwhile, Giorgos Agiostratitis, defense attorney for Savvas Xeros, asked to know how the DNA sample that connected his client to the attack on the German Ambassador's residence was taken.

    Mr. Agiostratitis claimed that Savvas Xeros never gave his consent to having a blood sample taken.

  • [09] SIMITIS HONEST, SHADY DEALS STILL LURKING Public opinion is suspicious and reserved in dealing with the announcements and declarations made by PASOK and ND on fighting corruption. According to research carried out by "Kapa Research" for the "To Vima" newspaper, the majority of those asked noted that things have gotten worse this passed year.

    The problem of corruption and shady dealings is one of the major issues according to public opinion. A 54.7% of those asked, believes that the issue of shady dealings is due to the individuals holding positions in the state mechanism, while 38.5% believe s the structure of Greece's power system is to blame.

    Of those asked, 40.3% believes that Prime Minister Costas Simitis is an honest politician on a personal basis, but that he can do nothing against corruption, while 29% believe that the Prime Minister is honest and that he can fight these shady dealings. On ND, 52.2% believe that it if it wins the next elections it will not deal with corruption more effectively.

    According to the poll, 80% of those asked believe that major businessmen are more powerful than political leaders, which only 18.1% considers more powerful.

    As far as measures public opinion believes can be taken to limit the phenomenon of corruption, 33.4% believes that it would help if there were stricter sentences for law breakers, while 33.1% believe that it would be useful to increase control mechanisms .

  • [10] PAPANDREOU: THE EU NEEDS 30 MILLION IMMIGRANTS The EU's financially active population will have dropped from 331 million at the present, to 243 million in 2043, and as far as global production is concerned, it will only cover 12% in 2020, in contrast to 22% that it covers today.

    The above was stressed by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou in his speech at the Symposium and Meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe, in Lagonissi, in immigration and political asylum issues. In fact, he called upon resear ch that was carried out for the EU , pointing out that by 2020, the EU will need 30 million immigrants.

    The Foreign Minister also stressed that EU member-states must be honest towards their citizens and inform them that zero immigration policies are not a solution for the European Union.

    "I consider the increase in the number of immigrants unavoidable", he added, "but it is completely necessary to properly administrate immigration, so that the European market's future needs are met and the citizens' feeling of security is not upset".

  • [11] SECURITY MEASURES AT THESSALONIKI'S MACEDONIA AIRPORT No charter flight will arrive at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport in the eight-hour period between 10am and 6pm on June 19 within the framework of the scheduled security measures for the smooth reception of the Thessaloniki EU Summit participants.

    However, there will be no change for the scheduled 15 regular flights. Police control at the airport will be strict and according to information, only those with an airplane ticket for one of the scheduled flights will be allowed at the airport grounds.

  • [12] SIMITIS' MESSAGE TO TURKEY A clear message to Turkey that in case it wants to have a European prospect it should implement the international regulations, was sent by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis from The Hague. Mr. Simitis is in The Hague with in the framework of his tour of European capital cities.

    On the occasion of the unprecedented incident of the harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane by Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean, Mr. Simitis pointed out that the implementation of international regulations is mandatory for all and if Turkey

    does not implement them it cannot demand a European prospect.

    He pointed out that military exercises are currently underway in the Aegean and underlined that Turkey does not implement the regulations concerning the sea and air borders, adding that when this happens the situation created is very dangerous and should

    be avoided.

    Mr. Simitis met with his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkenende and discussed the agenda of the EU Summit meeting as well as international developments. A special reference was made to the draft Constitution prepared by Constitutional Convention Presiden t Valerie Giscard d' Estaing as Holland disagrees with certain proposed points. They also discussed issues concerning the adoption of a common policy on immigration and the preparation for the new EU military, defense dogma.

  • [13] STANISHEV: THE BIGGEST ENEMY OF THE BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT IS THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF The Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, will not call for early elections because the voters are not ready for this, said its President Sergei Stanishev. However, he said that the country is likely to be led to early elections because of the problems faced b y the Saxe-Coburg Gotha government.

    The biggest enemy of the Bulgarian government is the government itself, stressed Mr. Stanishev in a press conference he gave in Thessaloniki today and accused the Bulgarian government of making mistakes in Bulgaria's preparation for EU accession. He said

    that it has no clear political plan and no political communication with the people. It does not explain to them the changes that will take place in Bulgaria with its accession into the EU and does not discuss the future of Europe.

    All political parties have as a top priority Bulgaria's accession into the EU, stressed Mr. Stanishev and added that he estimates that his country's preparations will be completed in 2004 and the EU accession will take place in 2007. His party helps in t he preparations and suggests adjustments to the country's legislation in accordance with what is in effect in the EU.

    He acknowledged Greece's contribution to Bulgaria's European course and referred to the good level of bilateral relations.

    In view of the municipal elections in Bulgaria in the fall, he said that his party will give a battle in the big cities. In Varna, the mayor was elected as an independent with the backing of the BSP, while in Sofia and Plovdiv the party's candidates will

    enter the second round of voting.

    On the parliamentary elections, he pointed out that his party is in communication with other parties, inside and outside the parliament, and if there is a need for an alliance government it will be formed based on the parties' agendas and not just for th e sake of cooperation.

    Responding to the question, what his party's stance will be in case there is a proposal for the opening of US bases in Bulgaria, he said that the issue will be discussed if such a proposal is made. He said that they will examine the economic and environm ental dimension of the proposal, as well as issues of independence and will consider the experience of other countries that have or used to have US bases. He also observed that in crucial circumstances, Bulgaria had cooperated with the US to secure peace and stability in the region.

    On the EU-US relations, he said that after the crisis they went through as a result of the war over Iraq, the two sides must find common ground.

    Responding to the question if he feels a "political grandson" of former Communist President Zivkov he said that he does not feel that way because these are two different eras. He said, however, that he could say that he is Zivkov's "political grandson" o nly because he follows a dynamic policy in the area of the Greek-Bulgarian relations.

    He pointed out that Greece is Bulgaria's second biggest trade partner and stressed that the bilateral trade relations are balanced, a fact that proves there is interest by both sides.

    The BSP President and Greek Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis will be the main speakers in a formal dinner that will be given this evening by Hellenic-US Chamber of Commerce, DIPEK and Macedonian Press Agency at Macedonia Palace Hotel in Thess aloniki.

    Referring to the event, MPA President Mr. Paraskevas Paraskevopoulos said that it is a long overdue initiative within the framework of the developments in the wider region and Bulgaria's European course.

  • [14] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index had small losses of 0.27% at 1.863,47 points, while the volume of transactions was at 154.4 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 140 recorded gains and 171 had losses, while the value of 67 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [15] THE FINANCE MINISTER IS SATISFIED WITH DEVELOPMENTS ON TVX Greek Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis expressed satisfaction over the developments so far in the effort to find a solution to the issue of the "TVX Hellas" company, and expressed the view that the problem of the mines in Chalkidiki will be settled


    In an interview with the NET state-run television station, Mr. Christodoulakis stated that the economy will be the government's strong point in the following months and its growth rate will be high in the following years.

    On inflation, he said that the prices of certain goods are high and assured that the government is determined to give a battle in this field, adding that consumers should display greater awareness.

  • [16] PROTOPAPAS ON THE NATIONALITY OF ETHNIC GREEKS IN SOUTH ALBANIA Negotiations are underway between the Greek and the Albanian government aimed at settling the problem concerning the issuing of a dual nationality to the ethnic Greek population in south Albania. Already, Greek Interior Minister Kostas Skandalidis is in contact with his Albanian counterpart. The above statements were made by Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas in response to a news report on the Athens newspaper "Kathimerini".

    Mr. Protopapas characterized it as a very serious and sensitive national issue. He said that for those Greeks dual nationality is the right thing, while this settlement will serve national interests.

  • [17] ANOMERITIS: THE AEGEAN SHOULD BECOME A SEA OF PEACE A message to the Turks, who want their country to become a member of the EU, the people living in the Aegean islands and the sailors, was sent through exclusive statements to the Turkish newspaper "Sabah" by Greek Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Anomeri tis calling them to contribute to the effort aimed at turning the Aegean into a sea of peace.

    Mr. Anomeritis said among others that the Greek side is determined to back Turkish or Greek companies that want to launch a bilateral cooperation in the sector of coastal shipping.

    He said that the necessary work has been done already for coastal shipping lines linking the northeastern Greek city of Alexandroupolis with the northeastern Aegean island of Tenedos in Turkey, while there are requests for coastal shipping lines linking the northeastern Aegean island of Limnos in Greece with Tenedos.


  • [18] REPPAS INTERVENTION AT INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION MEETING The role that the EU can play in dealing with global challenges, especially in the sector of social dialogue and understanding among social partners, was expounded on by Minister of Labor Dimitris Reppas, in his speech at the 91st meeting of the Internat ional Labor Organization on "Poverty and equal opportunities in employment", being held in Geneva.

    Mr. Reppas stressed that it was a priority of the Greek Presidency of the EU to promote and modernize the European social model. He also pointed out Europre's tools in achieving employment and social protection policies. According to the Minister, these tools are legislation setting the minimum requirements for employment and social prosperity, coordination of national social policies, promotion of social dialogue for the respect of human rights and companies taking initiatives so as to apply original po licies aiming at improving competitiveness and quality of labor.

    Speaking on the role of the International Labor Bureau, he underlined the need to strengthen it in the direction of balancing the consequences of the globalization of economy, preserving the values of the labor model, the adjustment of employment to the new reality and prevention of taking advantage of humans.

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