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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-12

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 12, 2003








  • [01] LATEST POLL CONFIRMS OLDER ONES A lead of 8.3% was given to New Democracy over PASOK in MRB's latest poll, "Trends". In the same company's poll in December the difference was at 6.2%. Karamanlis is also ahead of Simitis as most suitable for Prime Minister. The poll was carried out in a

    past political time, stated the government, the difference has been consolidated, answered ND.

  • [02] TWO VICTORIES FOR THE FINALS Aggelos Charisteas' goal three minutes before the end of the match with Ukraine, in combination with the tie between N. Ireland and Spain, have brought the Greek national football team to first position of its group in the preliminary round of the EURO 2 004. If Greece wins the next two games with N. Ireland and Armenia, it will go straight to the final phase for the first time since 1980. The national team has a team spirit, stated coach Otto Rehagel.
  • [03] KARAMANLIS TWINS "ARRIVED" A little boy and a little girl were brought into the world last night by Natasa Karamanlis, wife of ND Head Costas Karamanlis, during the early morning hours in an Athens hospital. Thank God, all went well, all three of them are fine, stated Mr. Karamanl is upon leaving the hospital.
  • [04] LEGISLATIVE REGULATION ON POLITICAL REFUGEES FROM FYROM An ad hoc legislative regulation that will give political refugees residing in FYROM the opportunity to visit Greece for short periods of time, is being promoted by the Greek Foreign Ministry.

    Foreign Ministry Press Spokesperson Panos Beglitis referred to the humanitarian dimension of the problem, in an interview to "Sky" radio, and pointed out that the regulation that will give political refugees from FYROM the ability to visit relatives in M acedonia or other regions with a simple visa, will have been materialized within the next two weeks at the latest.

    The refugees, who were in favor of breaking up Macedonia, had not been included in the 1982 law, and had been recorded in special lists and were not allowed to visit Greece.

    The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson stressed that the refugee issue was wrongly connected to the FYROM name issue, and expressed the belief that Greece has nothing to fear from the presence of these people.

    Mr. Beglitis stressed that issues such as the settlement of the refugees in Greece and their property will be looked into later.

  • [05] 6000 PATROL CARS AND MOTORCYCLES AROUND PORTO CARRAS The part of the road from "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki to Neos Marmaras, Chalkidiki, has been turned into a worksite, as technical services' employees are completing the last maintenance works on the road, while hundreds of police officers are mov ing along the road, over a distance of 125 km, in patrol cars and motorcycles, in order to fine tune the last details of the enormous operation in view of the Summit Meeting.

    The crews will have completed all blacktopping, lining and ditch cleaning works by the end of the week, while the works for three pedestrian crossings are also being competed on part of the road from which the European leaders will pass.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers in patrol cars, motorcycles and undercover vehicles are stationed at various intervals along the way, while kiosks are being set up at intersections along the way, to act as checkpoints.

    According to Greek Police planning, during the works of the Summit Meeting at the "Porto Carras" hotel complex, more than 6000 patrol cars and motorcycles will be used, as well as hundreds of fire department vehicles, fire engines, ambulances and underco ver vehicles.

  • [06] 400,000 FOREIGNERS ARRESTED IN 4 YEARS IN GREECE More than 400,000 illegal immigrants have been arrested in the last four years in Greece, according to a publication of today's "Aggelioforos" newspaper, while dozens of foreigners die while trying to enter Greece illegally.

    Greece follows Portugal in the highest percentage of immigrants in Western Europe, while it holds first position in illegal immigrants.

    According to the authorities, the point of greatest concentration of illegal immigrants is Istanbul. From there they move to the land boarders of Greece along the Evros river or to the Turkish coastlines and cross over to the Greek islands.

    A report of the Ministry of Public Order mentioned that the main immigration pressure on Greece is coming from citizens of many countries, such as Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, the former Soviet Union, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan and Afr ican countries.

    Iraqi war. Opinion. Americans succeeded in creating problems with the main entirety that could go against them, the EU. Have you ever heard that the Iraqi war was a way to cause problems for the EU.

    No I have not heard that.

    You must have noticed the gap between the main European countries.

    A gap within Europe yes. Between Europe and America.

    Do you think it is a gap that could be bridged?

    Yes of course. It is not the first time that there has been a fallout in US-EU relations. It's happened before. The Nixon administration treated the European Community very hostily in the early 70s when it broke with the bread and woods system, the Ameri cans and the Europeans had very serious differences over the relation with the PLO in the 1970s, the French left the military command structure in 1966, that was pretty big. We've had serious differences before. Is Iraq more serious than previous conflict s? Perhaps. But what is the alternative? We have to bridge our differences because there are so many other areas in the world where we do have common positions, where we have to cooperate, because we have complimentary interests.

    What is the difference with the Bush administration and the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration seemed to wish that they go all together, the Americans the Europeans, they seemed to want to have them with them before everythin.

    Don't romanticize the Clinton administration, because that administration as well took actions the Europeans didn't like, while it signed Kyoto, while it signed the International Criminal Court, it knew there was no supporting Congress for it, so it make s Clinton look good in Europe, but in reality many of the problems you associate with the Bush administration are problems that predate the Bush administration. With the one exception of personality and rhetoric and tenor of this administration which is v ery very poor. What I find very interesting is that our current President's father and his administration in the late 80s early 90s was the originator of the trans-Atlantic declaration, and that put the European Union and the US on a course of Foreign Pol icy cooperation and partnership. This now, his son's administration seems to have moved away from that, which seems to be a very very curious thing.

    Why is it curious, should a son always follow his father's advice?

    Well the Clinton administration throughout the 90s followed through with the first Bush administration's overtures to the EU to cooperate on Foreign policy issues, and that was climaxed in 1995 with the new trans-Atlantic agenda that committed us to even

    more intensify foreign policy cooperation and coordination. So we have over 10 years of that and now there is less emphasis on partnership with the EU.

    There have been some comments they belong to personalities from more than one European countries. The new American administration is a little bit authoritative towards the EU.

    Toward everyone it appears. The style is different to the Clinton administration, there is no question about it, I think the antidote is for the Europeans to work harder to stick together on the issues they feel strongly about. Because a stronger more un ited Europe can challenge the US. The US always pays attention to Europe when Europe is acting together. Fore example, Iran. We had failed since 1979 to get Europeans to adopt our policy towards Iran. Therefore, the 15, soon to be 25, have had an impact o n US foreign policy towards Iran.

    But when you speak about a Europe that could confront the US or at least could show a different way, which Europe do you mean exactly, because there has been a differentiation between old Europe and new Europe.

    Oh, that's rhetoric, it means very little. I think we're paying too much attention to rhetoric, when we should be focusing on, on the ground, day-to-day, mutually beneficial relations and interactions.

    Doesn't this rhetoric approach show the motives and the beliefs and the convictions that the people that use the rhetoric have?

    President Bush, despite his negative rhetoric and tenor towards some of Europe, certainly towards the EU, his inability or wish not to embrace European integration, as every President has done since Eisenhower, is contradicted. By his administration's po sition to encourage the creation of the Middle East quartet and recognizing the vital role of the EU in the future Middle East peace process as a member of the quartet. He has also appealed to the importance of the EU's role in working with the US in the struggle against terrorism. So I think he recognizes, he pays attention to the EU when he sees that the EU is in the interest of the US.

    So what is the rhetoric for if it can not produce practical results?

    This is the way the President talks, this is the talk he talks in Texas, and it's a talk that got him elected. And it appeals to average middle class Americans who don't want to hear the hype, who don't want to hear a lot of long winded political discour se, it got him elected, he may not get reelected, we don't know yet, we have another year or so before we move to the campaign, but in the mean time, maybe Europeans should focus less on the rhetoric and more on the substance of the importance of European -American relations, and what we can do on our side, and what you can do on your side, to improve the atmosphere. Maybe his rhetoric is in response to some of his perceptions of European disunity.

    President Bush is not by himself. There are a lot of people around him that use the same rhetoric. It seems that there is a new breed of leaders, perhaps some older ones, who have it in their minds that they should impose.

    Yes there is a struggle in American foreign policy now over the future direction of American foreign policy and its really framed by two scholars, Robert Kegan who has written extensively on America being on Mars and Europe being on Venus, and this is th e way things are going and this is unfortunate, Europe is too weak to take on international leadership, America is forced as the last superpower to deal with global insecurity, and on the other side Joe Nigh, who is arguing that it is lonely at the top, w e need our friends, and we're (losing??) Our self power, we win wars and lose peace, so the battle is on for this administration's future foreign policy. However, who's to say that change won't change? Richard Nixon had a very hostile relationship with th e EC in 1971-72 and then turned around in 1973 with the (year of Europe??) to embrace partnership with the EC. And out of that process has grown the political consultations between the US and the EU since then. So if this administration is convinced that the EU matters to its vital interest, that I think we can see a more balanced relationship, and one Europeans can do among others, is further develop the European Security and Defense Policy get the military operation in FYROM correct, have success with y our police operation in Bosnia, and now with the French EU operation in Central Africa, these are the first steps for developing the EU as an international security actor this will in time put the EU more on the radar screen in Washington.

    Do you think that these moves you said, FYROM, Bosnia, etc. could not be viewed in Washington through a very reserved way?

    There was much more opposition in my view in the Clinton administration in an autonomous European Security Defense Policy linked to NATO. This administration seems to be more comfortable, despite some discomfort in the Defense Deparment, on the whole thi s administration more open to and accepting towards the EU Security Policy, because it is convinced that it won't destroy NATO. Not everything coming out of the Bush administration towards Europe is gloom and doom, lets have a little more nuance, balance judicious understanding of American foreign policy, good cop bad cop, unilateral versus the wonderful multilateral Europe. Its not all that facile, its much more complicated than that.

    We heard the Greek Prime Minister speak as the rotating President of the EU yesterday saying that President Bush's trip to Akaba and the Middle East could be the first step, and then the EU may follow with the next initiative.

    I hope so

    Do you think that means that what Mr. Bush does in the Middle East has been agreed with the EU.

    Yes, because of the quartet. The quartet in the roadmap are mutually inclusive. And the Americans respect Javier Solana, the former NATO Secretary General, the former Spanish Foreign Minister, he is a friend of the US, he understands us. Europe is gettin g better at Foreign Policy because of Javier Solana, and so he has been included this past year. Since the Bush administration, Solana has been included in all the major discussions in how to revive the peace process. So I think the prospects for EU-US co operation within the quartet vis-a-vis the peace process is much greater now than it has ever been. Because the Bush administration recognizes that Europe will need to (recruit) the Palestinians and (...) the Israelis in terms of bankrolling a contiguous Palestinian authority, and for America to buy out the settles and get them back to whatever boarders Israel will have.

    So it's a lucky time for Europe that Javier Solana is the representative for the Common Security and Defense Policy, while G. Papandreou is the head of the council of ministers.

    Its not all that confusing, although now the Constitutional Convention might recommend a European Foreign Minister, but then again can you imagine having a European Foreign Minister these past few months with Iraq, we would have had a heart attack, but y ou know what Europe needs more is the political will to try to have more understanding within Europe of one another's positions, rather than wash the all dirty laundry. The more you wash the dirty laundry in public, the more America will seek to divide an d rule. Why won't America seek to divide and rule if the Europeans don't have an agreement among themselves, then America will pursue allies within Europe who agree with America, its commonsensicle. But when the 15 can stick together, watch out America, w e'll need to work with Europe as a whole.

    Could it be the other way round, that America pursues allies in Europe so that the 15 do not have a united stand.

    I am sure there are some in Washington who do not want Europe to succeed in its common Foreign Security Policy, but I argue that the more the EU can argue and speak effectively in international affairs, the better it is for the US, even if we have had di sagreements over Iraq or over other issues or countries, because the vast majority of things we do together in the world is quite complimentary. Russia's integration into the international political economy, combating AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, dealing w ith issues of proliferation, anti-crime, anti-terrorism. You know this is a growth area EU-US relations, and the Bush administration and the President himself has mentioned the importance of the EU in the struggle against terrorism over and over. We can't

    do it alone and since some of the terrorists that attacked us on September 11 were operating within the EU, it is obviously in the interest of the US to see the EU succeed in doing its own anti and counter terrorism, within the EU. The more the EU can fi ght against terrorism, the better it is for the US. With the enlargement of the EU, so much the better. More European territory will be with in the Union in the struggle against terrorism.

    Are you sure they have the means, these new countries to fight against terrorism?

    Think of what you've already done in Europe, you have the common arrest warrant, you have the common definition of what terrorism is, you have the list of terrorist organization, you have frozen assets, you are working on an agreement on extradition with

    the where you can extradite a terrorist suspect to the US and we promise that if that person is found guilty he will be subjected to capital punishment. It is a major area for cooperation and its bound to grow. The US now has FBI agents at Europol, Europ ol has agents at the EU delegation to the US, this is an area that is growing, and EU and US publics should learn more about it. We're in this together. So not only with counter terrorism, but also with non-proliferation, I think we're finally convincing our European friends that you need to be as concerned as we are about the list of missile proliferation and proliferation of WMD, especially in areas such as Afghanistan, where you have a very dangerous fatal marriage between a collapsed state or a rogue state and terrorism and potential weapons of mass destruction.

    But the source of terrorism in some Arab countries is in the Middle East, do you think that terrorism could be fought effectively without some changes in the Middle East?

    Cleary, the closer Israel and Palestine get to a peace settlement the more terrorism will increase. That's sad. But I mean if there is a final settlement there will probably be less terrorism, but I don't think it will ever stop. And terrorism is not jus t related to the Palestinian Israeli dispute but for other reasons depending on the country and the issues, terrorism is not just (...) in poverty and underdevelopment in the Muslim world, because many of the Muslim leaders come from the intelligentsia, t hey come from the upper middle class, like bin Laden. It's the followers you want to try to educate. So if there is a final settlement in the Holy Land it could open up a whole new era of change throughout the Middle East. The EU is poised much better tha n the US to take advantage of the economic, and social and cultural benefits to Europe of a Middle East at peace. Already you are talking with Syria now to negotiate an EU-Syria trade agreement, which would put you in a very advantageous position in the M iddle East should there be a final settlement. So the EU stands to gain tremendously. But we cannot have a final settlement without Europe and this administration recognizes that. Its not because the administration embraces European integration, its becau se it recognizes that we need Europe to influence the Palestinians, and also European financial capability to finance the settlement.

    You don't think that some political changes in Arab countries are necessary for a more effective blow to terrorism.

    Not too many Muslim countries are constitutional democratic systems and that is something that can be cultivated over time, through economic integration and economic opportunities in that region of the world. The Muslim world is less blessed than N. Amer ica and Europe in terms of the national resources, other than oil. Agriculture, industry and technology so if we can expand the area prosperity of the EU in a more eastward and more southern direction, so much the better. And with the enlargement of the E U, the EU gets ever closer to the Middle East and Eurasia. And that is fascinating because America thinks that the security threats to the world are coming not from Europe, but from Asia. And as the EU is moving eastward toward Asia that's another reason why Europe and America need to cooperate with one another.

    And what will happen in Iraq.

    I don't think America has imperialist ambitions in Iraq. We want to get out because of the Vientam syndrome. We need to multilateralize it and we need to hurry and give Iraq back to the Iraqis, but we have got to get it right. It's necessary for the US t o work closely with our allies and multilateral institutions to hasten reconstruction, to get a hold of the security situation, we should have had better support for the police and security in Baghdad, I think we've learned a lesson the hard way. But we w ant to get out of there as soon as we can, so I do not agree with those who say that we invaded Iraq for our own commercial advantage. I think we felt very strongly that Saddam Hussein was extremely dangerous for the security of the whole region. And even

    though we have not seen chemical or biological weapons yet, it doesn't mean that they didn't exist, if they did exist he might have gotten rid of them, if they were exaggerated, still the US would have to go to war against Iraq because of the fear that w hen he did get these weapons or these capabilities to use them as he has before, he would use them again. And that is a risk the US does not want to live with anymore since 9/11.

    But he did not use them even against the Americans. If he had them, wouldn't he use them against those who threatened him personally.

    We took a risk, we could have been attacked with these weapons and thank god they were not used, I know their present location is very controversial and lets hope the intelligence wasn't cooked, but if it was, there was still enough concern that this was

    a man who over time and in time would get these capabilities and would use them, and this is a risk we cannot live with in the world anymore, since September 11. It has changed America much more than it has changed Europe, and Americans would like Europe ans to be more understanding of the dilemma we face, as you want us to be respectful of your concerns.

    But this preventive intervention creates some concern, it was against somebody who could be dangerous but the concern is who would stop if the next is not as dangerous?

    I don't think this is the harbinger of more preventive intervention to come any time soon, not N. Korea, not Iran, Syria is already under tremendous pressure from the US to resist some of its activities, and that seems to be happening to some degree. I d on't see America becoming trigger happy and I think we have our hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan and other security concerns around the world. I think Iraq is more the exception to the rule. Kossovo was a preventive action, it was based more on humanita rian grounds more than anything else, but don't think Iraq is going to be the model of future US foreign policy, I think it was exceptional. If it is the beginning of more preemptive military actions, then I think we are going to have serious problems, we 'll lose more support, if you see the new charitable trust public opinion data that has come out this week, all of our friends' support for America in public opinion has plummeted these last few months. One of the things I've learned from all my travel in

    Europe is how critical many of our friends are. And when our friends are criticizing that's even more reason to listen, we need to be better listeners. We can't walk away from Europe, we are too mutually dependent, economically, culturally, historically and there is no other country or group of countries in the world that can substitute a further European Union in terms of American interest. What group of countries has the resources, the scale, the potential, the will, the complementary values and intere sts to solve global problems too big for us to solve alone. There is no substitute for Europe, we need more Europe.

    Do you think that the two victories in Afghanistan and Iraq lifted the President's image enough for him to win the next election?

    Well he has the benefit of incumbency on his side, the democrats don't seem to be on a fast track to leadership in America they seem to be waffling for some kind of vision and yet there are some attractive candidates on the democratic side. It all depend s on the economic situation just before the next election. He has an enormous amount of popularity, and yet public opinion poll data, particularly last summer, last August the German Marshal fund partnered with the Chicago Council of Foreign Relations to do a public opinion poll on Americans, and the vast majority of Americans want multilateral cooperation, want close relations with our European allies, so there is this reality of American public opinion, pitted against the uniqueness of some of the Presi dent's policies. So I hope Europeans don't think that America is a monolith, its no more a monolith than Europe and there are different voices in America. What Europe can do to calibrate the Bush administration is to help multilateralize it, and that mean s to continue to speak and act with one voice, because that forces the US government to pay more attention to the EU. This situation with Iraq, the EU's division over Iraq is nothing new, the EU never had a common policy on Iraq. But it has common policie s in a lot of other countries and a lot of other issues.

    Especially in areas where there is no interest, East Timor for example where only Portugal is interested.

    No. Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, the Mediterranean Basin, sub-Saharan Africa, there are plenty of areas where we are working together where we do have common interests. When the EU speaks and acts together with one voice, its not bad for t he US, it makes the US pay attention to the views of others. A lot of it is up to the EU right now to avoid its own internal divisions that have not helped it in its relations with the US.

    Would you like to tell the Europeans not to be nostalgic of Clinton?

    No, don't be nostalgic of Clinton. We need more Europe, and by that I mean the next generation of European integration. You already have your monetary union, congratulations. The next phase is Foreign Policy and Security, not a common European army, but European capabilities to defend European values through peace keeping, conflict prevention, humanitarian, search and rescue, etc. Using NATO assets, because the EU does not have the assets it needs. The EU should over time develop more military capabiliti es so that it is less dependent.

    With or without Turkey?

    Well your Prime Minister said that if turkey continues doing the things its doing it could join the EU. If there is peace on Cyprus, a reunification, it would definitely remove a major obstacle to Turkish accession to the EU, so that is a European decisi on, not an American decision, but you know how we feel. We would love Turkey in the European Union. We understand the importance of Turkey to the security of Europe.

    Does it still have the same importance after Iraq?

    Yes. We were disappointed we could not use Turkish territory, but it's a democratic system, it's a parliament and we had to respect the decisions of the parliament.

    It's not as strategic as it used to be before the war.

    No, but it is still very strategic, considering Syria, the Caucasus,

  • [07] FIRST MEETING OF MINES' SUCCESSOR GROUP ON TUESDAY The first stockholders' meeting of the new joint venture, made up of Greek and foreign businessmen, to succeed TVX in the ownership of the Chalkidiki metal mines, will be held on Tuesday.

    During this meeting, the Greek and foreign investors will discuss details of the agreement such as the exact participation amounts and the management of the mines.

    Although deputy Minister of Finance Christs Pachtas announced the agreement earlier today, he did not give exact information on the names of the companies involved.

    Information so far mentions that the companies involved in the venture include the Greek Larko and Themeliodomi and the Canadian Alpha Group and one Romanian company. The joint venture will be completed by Public Sector bodies and local government.

    As far as the miners who were on strike are concerned, there is no guarantee that all positions will be kept, since the final solution will possibly include a decrease in the number of employees at the mines. However, social protection measures are being

    discussed for the ones who are to lose their jobs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

  • [08] PROTOPAPAS ON THE US STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas characterized as "totally unfair" the US State Department report, in which Greece is accused of extended human trafficking, expressing the strong protest of the Greek government.

    Responding to relevant questions, Mr. Protopapas stated that these are unacceptable speculations that do not recognize the serious efforts made by the Greek government in order to deal with the issue.

    Specifically, he referred to the special legislative framework that was passed in Parliament after being sponsored by the Justice Ministry, the special measures adopted by the Ministry of Public Order and the cooperation with non governmental organizatio ns to have the contribution of organized society in the efforts to combat the problem.

  • [09] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.67% at 1.928,19 points, while the volume of transactions was considerable at 202.3 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 270 recorded gains and 58 had losses, while the value of 50 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] PROTOPAPAS: THE IMF REPORT CONFIRMS GREECE'S GROWTH The International Monetary Fund, IMF, report confirms the strong economic growth in Greece, predicts a GDP increase of 3.6%, and underlines that the strong growth led for the first time in the past four years to an increase in the employment rate, stress ed Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas responding to a relevant question.

    He added that there are certain IMF proposals that are outside the political framework based on which the government deals with social issues (labor relations and social security)

    Regarding social security, he said that the issue has been closed after a detailed dialogue with social organizations, while on the job market issue, certain regulations have been adopted which have created a positive balance in the job market and there is no reason for any hasty moves.

    Mr. Protopapas said that the economic policy of the government will not change, stressing that the Greek people voted the government in power for its economic policy. He said that the necessary structural changes will be made with boldness and determinat ion, the social policies will be strengthened and the employment rate will be increased.

  • [11] MAGRIOTIS IS VISITING EGYPT Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis will be in Egypt tomorrow for contacts concerning the program "Initiative on Alexandria" which is a joint initiative undertaken by the Greek community in Alexandria and the Patriarchate of Alexand ria.

    The goals of the program is the strengthening of the ties between Hellenism and its historic center, the city of Alexandria, through business activities and culture. Also, the revival of the Greek community in Alexandria and in Egypt in general, the pres ervation of the Greek Quarter in Alexandria, the promotion of Greece's initiatives and the strengthening of economic relations between Greece and Egypt.

    Mr. Magriotis will meet in Alexandria with the city governor, the director of the library of Alexandria and the President of the Greek community.

    He will also visit Cairo to attend the celebration of the Pentecost in the presence of the Patriarch of Alexandria and All of Africa. He will also meet with Greeks living in Egypt and visit important centers of the Greek community in Cairo.

  • [12] VERELIS: THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE USING MASS TRANSPORTATION MUST INCREASE The need for more people using mass transportation was underlined by Greek Transportation and Communication Minister Christos Verelis speaking in the Athens Urban Transport Organization, OASA, International Conference on mass transportation: a choice not

    a necessity.

    Mr. Verelis stated that the use of private cars in Europe increased in the past three decades following almost a geometric progress.

    Based on figures provided by the White Bible on Transportation, private cars in the EU increased from 62 million in 1970 to 175 million in 2000.

    He said that a total of 2.5 million people use mass transportation in Athens on a daily basis and the goal of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is that number to increase to 3.5 million commuters.


  • [13] REPPAS: THE MODEL OF WORLD DEVELOPMENT IS UNFAIR Greek Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas stated that the economic growth model promoted worldwide is not always in agreement with the principles of sustainable development. The above were stressed by Mr. Reppas in the speech he delivered under his authority as the President of the EU Social Affairs and Labor Ministers' Council within the framework of the 91st Summit of the International Labor Organization taking place in Geneva on June 3-19.

    He pointed out that the summit is held in a crucial period for the world as issues such as, social and environmental responsibility by all social partners, cooperation against poverty and the broadening of social dialogue, occupy a central place in the w orld political agenda.

    Mr. Reppas stated that international cooperation for economic development is the "key" for the preservation of peace and stability in the world, while the growth model promoted worldwide is not always in agreement with the principles of sustainable devel opment. This is expressed through the widening of the gap between the rich and the poor and the downgrading of natural resources.

    He stressed that the EU can play a significant role in the effort to deal with this world challenge as the EU backs policies for a stable and sustainable development.

  • [14] BAKOYIANNI-PUTIN MEETING Athens Mayor Mrs. Dora Bakoyianni met in Moscow today with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Mrs. Bakoyianni is in Russia heading a municipal delegation on the occasion of the festivities celebrating Independence Day in Russia.

    Mrs. Bakoyianni invited Mr. Putin to Greece to watch the 2004 Olympic Games.

  • [15] THE ISSUE OF THE TURKISH VIOLATIONS WAS RAISED BY MR. PAPANTONIOU Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou raised the issue of the Turkish violations over the Aegean to his Turkish counterpart Mr. Gonul and to NATO secretary-general Lord Robertson.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that last night, when he met with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the formal dinner given before the NATO Council meeting in Brussels, raised the issue of the airspace violations over the Aegean. He referred to the incr eased frequency of the violations and the risks involved for the entire region.

    Mr. Papantoniou also stressed that he asked the Turkish Defense Minister to take Greece's remarks seriously, underlining that they are aimed at securing peace in the sensitive region of southeastern Mediterranean. The Turkish Defense Minister took note o f the protest and stated that he will take it under consideration.

  • [16] PAPANTONIOU SATISFIED WITH THE NEW NATO ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE The upgrading of the NATO headquarters in Larisa, central Greece, was decided in the NATO Defense Ministers' meeting in Brussels. According to the decision reached, the Combined Air Operations Center, CAOC, doubles its area of responsibility extending fr om Italy to Turkey, while its commander will be Greek.

    A second operations center, that of naval deterrence, will also be based in Greece. This center will be responsible for operations against terrorism across the Mediterranean and is likely to be based in Souda, Crete.

    Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou expressed satisfaction for the fact that the CAOC remains in Larisa with a Greek commander and twice as many personnel in spite of the fact that the NATO headquarters were limited to 16 from 26 based on the new NATO structure.

  • [17] SIMITIS REITERATED THAT HE IS NOT INTERESTED IN BECOMING EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis stated one more time today that he is not interested in becoming European Commission President, responding to questions by reporters in Luxembourg after the meeting he had with his counte rpart, Jean-Claude Juncker.

    On his part, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg stressed that Mr. Simitis would make an excellent European Commission President adding, however, that a "weaker" candidate than him and Mr. Simitis will have to be found for the post now that both of them are

    not interested.

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