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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-17

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 17, 2003








  • [01] TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES IN THESASLONIKI IN VIEW OF THE EU SUMMIT Tight security measures are in effect in Thessaloniki in view of the EU Summit. Extra police measures have been adopted to protect state buildings, consulates, multinational companies and every building in Thessaloniki characterized as a likely target by

    police. The last police forces from different parts of the country are expected to arrive in Thessaloniki tomorrow to take part in the gigantic police operation.

    Thousands of police officers patrol the city center and the strongest security measures have been taken in downtown areas where the US and UK consulate buildings are located as well as, the British Council, the state-run television building and ground-fl oor bank branches and multinational companies.

    Increased security measures are in effect along the way from Macedonia Airport to the hotel complexes in Chalkidiki where the EU Summit will take place.

    The measures taken are aimed at holding the EU Summit in an environment of absolute security while, at the same time, safeguarding the right of the people to protest causing the less possible problems to everyday life for the people living in the region.

    Local residents are advised to limit their everyday activities and movement only to the essential ones to avoid any inconvenience especially, on June 19-21.

  • [02] THE GREEK EU PRESIDENCY ON ROMA The Hellenic Presidency of the EU, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, is organizing an International Colloquy in Athens on "The Integration of the Roma into the Labour Market".

    This Colloquy will take place at the "Divani Apollon Palace Hotel", Kavouri on June 17-18 2003, with the participation of representatives of International Organizations and Institutions, such as OSCE, the EU Commission, Council of Europe, UNHCR, IOM, ILO , EUMC and European Roma NGOs.

    From Greece, as hosting country, there will be Representatives from local Authorities, Greek Roma Associations, National Independent Authorities (the Ombudsman Office and the National Commission for Human Rights), as well as government representatives fr om the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Interior, Labor, Education and Culture.

    The objective of this Colloquy is the acceleration of the processes (at European and national levels) for the solution of the problems of the Roma in various fields of their social life, including the issue of employment. The Hellenic Presidency, by orga nizing this Colloquy, would like to contribute to the efforts of the international community towards the integration of the Roma into the mainstream of societies.

  • [03] SIT-INS IN EXPECTATION OF THE DEMONSTRATORS Thessaloniki lives in the atmosphere of the EU Summit meeting that will take place in Porto Carras Hotel in Chalkidiki, while the events of the so-called anti-summit will be held mostly in the city of Thessaloniki.

    For the moment, only a few anti-globalization protesters have arrived. The majority of them are expected to arrive tomorrow from the capital city of Athens and abroad.

    However, the first minor incident occurred today in the center of Thessaloniki when "Greek Social Forum" activists destroyed a television camera installed by the police to watch traffic passing right outside the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair Carg o Gate opposite to the Thessaloniki Aristotle University Formal Functions Hall.

    Meanwhile, members of the organization "Blackblockattack" have launched a sit-in demonstration at the School of Philosophy Building in Aristotle University. Members of the "Antiauthoritarian Movement Salonika 2003" have camped next to that building and t his fact created concerns over the likelihood of violent incidents.

    On their part, the municipalities in the metropolitan area of Thessaloniki continue the preparations in the regions that will host the members of the different organizations and movements taking part in the events and demonstrations within the framework of the anti-summit.

    A meeting for the coordination and success of the mobilizations in Chalkidiki and Thessaloniki takes place in Athens this afternoon organized by the "Struggle Initiative Thessaloniki 2003". Representatives from the "Greek Social Forum", "Action-Salonika 2003", "Thessaloniki-Resistance 2003", "Stop the War Coalition" and the "Antiauthoritarian Movement Salonika 2003" have been invited to attend the meeting.

  • [04] IMPRESSIVE GAINS IN THE ASE Impressive gains have been recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +2.32% at 1.954,96 points, while the volume of transactions skyrocketed to 210.5 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 292 recorded gains and 46 had losses, while the value of 37 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [05] SIMITIS-KHATAMI TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION Iranian President Khatami had a telephone communication with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis to assure him that his country has no nuclear weapons neither intends to have any in the future.

    According to Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas, Mr. Khatami said to Mr. Simitis that Iran is interested only in the production of electricity for development purposes.

    The Greek Prime Minister, under his authority as the European Council President, stressed the need for Iran to maintain transparency in its policy, cooperate with the UN and sign the additional protocol for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

  • [06] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE EU SUMMIT Prime Minister Kostas Simitis will meet with the Foreign Ministry leadership tomorrow before departing for Chalkidiki, northern Greece, where the EU Summit will take place.

    On Thursday, Mr. Simitis as the European Council President will have meetings with Mr. Prodi and Mr. Solana and later in the afternoon the EU Summit will get underway. The first issue under discussion will be illegal immigration.

    On Friday morning, there will be a debate on the European Constitution text and later at lunch, Mr. Solana will present his report on European security. Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos will give a formal dinner later in the evening. The relations b etween the EU and Western Balkans will be discussed on Saturday.

    Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas referred to the EU Summit meeting and pointed out that the discussion on the "future of Europe" has a special interest. He added that the Greek EU Presidency seeks a decision on when the inter-governmental c onference will open and close in order to be finished before the Euro-elections.

    Mr. Protopapas said that the Greek EU Presidency wants an agreement to be reached on the sums and means to be used against illegal immigration, while regarding European security, he said that the relevant debate has just gotten underway.

    In the EU Summit on Saturday, the main issue will be the upgrading of the EU-Western Balkans relations, the adoption of measures against organized crime and the promotion of the region's development.

    Mr. Protopapas also said that in the EU Summit, issues like the latest developments in the Middle East and Cyprus will also be under discussion. On the demonstrations, he said that as in the case of every other EU Summit meeting the host country guarante es the safety of the invited leaders and reiterated that the government is open to listen to the demands of the demonstrators, their positions and views.

    He called on the demonstrators to adopt a responsible stance and respect the economic and social life of the city as well its tourism.

    Asked to comment on the travel warning issued by the United States, according to which the US tourists vacationing in Chalkidiki are advised to be careful, he said that no warnings are necessary, stressing that Greece is a free country with responsible c itizens.

  • [07] THE EURO-ARMY WAS THE MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT OF THE GREEK EU PRESIDENCY Greek Defense Minister and EU Defense Ministers' Council President Yiannos Papantoniou characterized the "birth" of the European Military Force as the major achievement of the Greek EU Presidency. He made the statement addressing the conference of the Pr esidents of the Defense Committees of the EU Parliaments, the European Parliament and the State Parliaments of the EU candidates, taking place in the Senate Hall of the Greek Parliament.

    Making an assessment of the Greek EU Presidency achievements in the area of defense, he pointed out that the Euro-army, which now has the capability to launch operations covering the whole spectrum of the missions assigned to it (humanitarian and peaceke eping), is the result of a very systematic effort by the Greek EU Presidency.

    He added that as a follow-up to the success of the CONCORDIA operation, the EU is called to undertake a humanitarian mission, the restoration of security and stabilization in Congo. Operation ARTEMIS that got underway yesterday is of great importance for

    the EU, being its first autonomous operation, and gives a boost to the efforts for cooperation between the EU and the UN, said the Greek Defense Minister.

  • [08] EU-EGYPT MINISTERIAL MEETING A Ministerial meeting between the EU and Egypt took place on June 16-17 in the margins of the General Affairs and External Relations Council with the participation of the President of the Council Mr. Papandreou, the Foreign Minister of Egypt Mr. Maher, t he SG/HR Mr. Solana, Commissioner Patten and Foreign Affairs Ministers from the EU and Acceding States.

    The meeting which took place in a friendly and constructive atmosphere confirmed the importance of EU's relations with Egypt. The two sides examined the entire range of those relations and exchanged views on their further development in the light of pers pectives for the implementation of their Association Agreement and in view of the new neighbourhood policies to be developed in the context of Wider Europe. The meeting also gave the occasion for the conduct of a fruitful political dialogue which covered both global and regional issues.


  • [09] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL IN LUXEMBOURG European Union Security and Defence High Commissioner Javier Solana praised the European Union Greek Presidency at a press conference in Luxembourg on Monday for achieving a great deal and handling a host of issues.

    Mr. Solana was speaking on the occasion of the last General Affairs Council before the EU Summit due to take place in Thessaloniki later this week.

    "It is difficult for one to find a presidency in past years in which so much was achieved and so many issues were handled in six months, from the war in Iraq to the enlargement of the EU and from the European constitution and defence to the situation in the Middle East and Iraq", he said.

    Mr. Solana, as well as the EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten, praised the Greek presidency's rich and constructive work, making special reference to Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    "Our Greek friends handled difficult issues in a particularly delicate way and provided a splendid example of how one can be a gentleman and politician at the same time", he added.

    Council President Papandreou, referring to the outcome of Monday's session, spoke of "hard work with excellent achievements which strengthen the EU and promote its international role in new challenges".

    In the framework of the European security and defence policy, the Greek minister referred to the EU's role in Africa, and Congo in particular, where the Council decided to deploy European army forces their second peacekeeping mission (after FYROM), paral lel to diplomatic, economic and political moves.

    The 15 foreign ministers also examined, Mr. Papandreou said, the question of weapons of mass destruction, namely control over their transportation and importation, to enable transparency and effective preventive policy.

    They also expressed concern over recent developments in Iran and warned Tehran against the use of force and called on it to comply with international rules.

    In addition, they discussed the European defence strategy, based on a relevant proposal put forward by Mr. Solana, which is expected to be reviewed at the Thessaloniki summit.

    Mr. Papandreou said the upcoming EU Summit will initiate a "new era for European defence, promoting the European values of democracy, human rights and sustainable development".

    On the sidelines of the session, the Greek foreign minister also met with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Saat, and confirmed Europe's interest in promoting the Road Map peace initiative in Middle East.

  • [10] EU AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES MINISTERS COUNCIL MEETING The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers Council resumed in Luxembourg on Tuesday to work on a compromise text on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform presented by the Greek EU Presidency and supported by the European Commission.

    Presiding over the Council, Greek Agriculture Minister George Drys summarized the key points in last week's discussions and told participating ministers that hard work had been done since then by both the Commission and the Greek Presidency to improve th e compromise text on CAP reform.

    "We are very close to concluding this new, improved compromise proposal to meet the wishes of member-states and safeguard the prospects and the vision of European farming", Mr. Drys underlined.

    He noted, however, that a major problem in preparing the proposal was that even though all member-states agreed on the governing principles of the compromise solution, there were deferring views as to the means to achieve the compromise.

    "Because of that, we would need to be creative and explore alternatives and flexible approaches. Seeking alternatives is by itself a tough job and would be impossible to carry out without your creative participation", Mr. Drys said.

    He added that together with EU Agriculture and Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler, he would probably need to hold private meetings with farming ministers from EU member-states in the coming hours.

  • [11] MAGRIOTIS' CONTACTS IN ARMENIA AND GEORGIA Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian expressed satisfaction for the initiatives undertaken by the Greek EU Presidency concerning his country. He made the statement responding to a MPA question after the meeting he had in Yerevan today with Greek Und ersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis, who is on a visit to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan within the framework of the Greek EU Presidency.

    Mr. Oskanian expressed the wish for his country to be able to become an EU member sometime in the future.

    Mr. Magriotis stressed that one of the Greek EU Presidency priorities was the strengthening of relations with the three countries of south Caucasus.

    He also met with the presiding board of the Federation of Greek Associations in Armenia and discussed the programs promoted by Greece for the Greeks living in the area, certain of which are in progress in the sectors of health, education and culture.

    In Georgia, Mr. Magriotis met with Foreign Minister Iraklis Menagarisvili in Tblisi today and referred to the significant steps made by the Greek EU Presidency in the EU relations with the countries of south Caucasus.

    Mr. Menagarisvili stated responding to a question made by MPA that he is grateful for the efforts made by Greece concerning his country and its European future. He also thanked Greece for the 200,000 euros offered for the restoration of the damages cause d by the earthquake that hit his country.

    Mr. Magriotis will meet this evening with members of the Greek community and tomorrow he will visit Bacu, the capital of Azerbaijan, last stop of his three-day tour of the region.

  • [12] SIMITIS-BERLUSCONI MEETING President of the European Council, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis underlined the significance of the fact that for the first time in the EU, Greece and Italy had submitted at the beginning of the year a joint programme of the two presidencies for the enti re year. He was speaking in Rome, last stop on his tour of EU capitals in preparation for the Thessaloniki European Council.

    In statements after a meeting with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, Mr. Simitis stressed that the Greek Presidency agrees with its successor the Italian, that the Intergovernmental Conference should begin in October and end before May 1 at the

    latest and the new Treaty be signed in the period from May 1 to June 15, i.e. before the next European elections.

    Mr. Simitis also underlined his "absolute agreement" with Mr. Berlusconi that a joint policy should be implemented to combat illegal immigration, backed by EU funds.

    Replying to questions, Mr. Simitis described the draft Constitution as "a good compromise under the present conditions", while observing that "the Constitution, which we shall agree to, is a solution that will have an effect for a certain period of time.

    Europe will take further steps later".

    Mr. Berlusconi, replying to a question on his recent visit to Israel, clarified that he had accepted an invitation from Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon and that he had taken the opportunity to invite Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to Rome.

    Lastly, replying to a question on the fact that his visit to Rome coincided with Berlusconi's summoning to appear before a Milan court, Mr. Simitis referred to the "self-evident rule" according to which, "there is a lawful government in each country, wit h which the EU and the Presidency have relations."

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