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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-19

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 19, 2003








  • [01] HISTORIC SUMMIT In a few hours and under extreme security measures, the historic EU Summit will begin in "Porto Carras". Special attention will be paid to the new European Constitution and fighting illegal immigration, according to the statements made by Prime Minister Costas Simitis upon arriving in Thessaloniki. While Chalkidiki is welcoming European state leaders, protesters against globalization have been gathering by the thousands in Thessaloniki.
  • [02] EPP IN CASSANDRA "The Convention has produced a positive result, approaching the Christian Democrat vision, values, History and concepts", pointed out President of the EPP Wilfried Martens, at an event organized last night at the "Sani Beach" hotel in Chalkidiki by New D emocracy and the EPP. ND President Costas Karamanlis appeared to be more reserved as far as Mr. D'Estaing's proposals are concerned, while he pointed out that "the proposals of the Convention so far have not fully met the will of the majority of Europeans ".
  • [03] WORRYING VIBRATIONS Two seismic vibrations, measured at 4.7 and 4.6 on the Richter scale, were recorded in the early morning hours on the island of Evia, unsettling the residents once again. There have been 400 requests for inspections on houses and other buildings in the r egion.
  • [04] EPP RESERVATIONS AND APPROVAL OF EU CONSTITUTION "The Convention has produced a positive result, which approaches the Christian Democrat vision, values, History and concepts", said the President of the EPP Wilfried Martens, while addressing the event organized by the European People's Party and New Dem ocracy last night at the Sani Beach hotel in Chalkidiki.

    Mr. Martens stressed that solidarity, equality and subsidiariness are concepts that were first introduced by Christian Democrats, while he noted that the convening of the Convention was a proposal of the EPP, and he was in favor of mentioning religion in

    the Union's Constitution, calling on the President of Poland Kwasniewski, who is an atheist but still in favor of its inclusion.

    The President of the EPP called member-state leaders to keep the balances between institutions and the members, and characterized the Constitution as a "great investment in the future."

    It was the return of our spirit that made the Convention unexpectedly interesting, said Mr. Martens, who ended in saying that "Europe has found its lost spirit, that which made the Union a powerful community, that which made the EU a global political pla yer".

    Mr. Martens' optimism, however, was not shared by the President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis.

    During the same event, the Head of the Greek Opposition stated, "we want a Europe for all", "we want a Union in which all citizens will enjoy the same sense of security, the same sense of participation", said Mr. Karamanlis, who, however, expressed serio us doubts as far as the proposals of the Convention to be presented by Giscard D'Estaing at the EU Summit on Friday are concerned. He also noted that "the proposals of the Convention to date do not fully meet the will of the majority of Europeans."

  • [05] LARGE WAVE OF PROTESTERS IN THESSALONIKI TODAY The major portion of the protesters from abroad and from other Greek cities is expected to arrive in Thessaloniki today, while approximately 4,000 visitors are staying in shelters constructed in various municipalities for their accommodation.

    8,000 members of the movement "Action: Thessaloniki 2003" will arrive at the Agios Pavlos shelter this afternoon and the works for the preparation of the space have been completed.

    In the Municipality of Polychni, there are 1,500 protesters of the Greek and European Social Forum at the municipal sports center, while another 3,500 are expected today, and more are expected tomorrow.

    Behind the Lazarist Convent (Moni Lazariston) in Stavroupoli, 3,000 members of the "Alliance: Stop the War" and "Initiative: Genoa 2001" are expected today, while 400 members of "Thessaloniki - Resist Now" are already in the Epanomi camping in Chalkdiki and another 300 are expected today. The Municipality of Echedoros will host approximately 200 protesters from Crete on Saturday in the Sindos and Chalohori gyms.

  • [06] SIMITIS WAITING FOR DECISIONS Developments in the interior of the governing party have been caused by the resignations submitted to the Prime Minster by Stefanos Manikas from the position of Minister of State and Michalis Neonakis from his position as a member of PASOK's Executive Of fice. Mr. Simitis is expected to take important initiatives immediately after the end of the Presidency, in order to revert the unfavorable political atmosphere for the party.
  • [07] MALTESE DELEGATION THE FIRST TO ARRIVE The delegation of Malta, headed by the country's Prime Minister Edward Adami, was the first to arrive, shortly before 11am, at the "Macedonia" international airport, thus opening the cycle of arrivals of foreign delegations to participate in the EU Summi t beginning in a few hours in Chalkidiki.

    It should be noted that Malta is one of the 10 countries that signed the Athens Accession Treaty on April 16.

  • [08] KARAMANLIS: THE PRESIDENCY'S SUCCESS WAS A NATIONAL AFFAIR President of ND Costas Karamanlis asked for the subscription of EU member-state leaders who are members of the EPP, in order for the Greek Presidency to have a successful conclusion, during the enlarged Summit of leaders of the EPP, which began today in Chalkidiki.

    The successful conclusion of the Presidency is a national affair, said Mr. Karamanlis, in statements he made with the President of the EPP Wilfried Martens shortly before the meeting, participants in which include 11 active Prime Ministers from 10 EU cou ntries and Norway, the Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark and leaders of center-right parties in the opposition.

    In his statement Mr. Karamanlis said that "there was a lot and excellent work" done on the proposals of the Convention as far as the European Constitution is concerned, but he also expressed his reservations on certain points making mention of issues tha t are still pending.

    Specifically, he repeated his preference in the rotating presidency of the EU, the need to retain one Commissioner from each country and the possibility of strengthened cooperation in the defense sector, towards any threat, terrorist or military.

    As far as the Balkans are concerned, he stressed his standing support to the accessional prospects of the region's countries.

    On his side Mr. Martens expressed his full agreement with the Europe's prospects for all and stressed the need for procedures to move faster so as to deal with the needs and expectations of all the citizens of Europe.

  • [09] SIMITIS ON THE GREEK PRESIDENCY'S GOALS The Press Center and the other facilities of the Porto Carras hotel complex, which will host the works of the EU Thessaloniki Summit, was visited by Prime Minister Costas Simitis today, who was accompanied by the Minister of Press Christos Protopapas, al ternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis, deputy Minister of the Press Tilemachos Chytiris and other associates.

    In his statements, Mr. Simitis said that with this Summit the Greek Presidency aims at "promoting both sides of the country. First the political, its diplomatic capabilities, the success we have had so far during the Presidency, and its second side, its multifaceted beauty, its hospitality, the fact that it is open to all Europeans who want to visit. In fact, we have made a great effort and I believe that our success will be good."

    On the possibility of incidents, he refused to accept the expression "incidents". "In Thessaloniki", he stressed, "there will be various events, events that have been prepared and on which the government has cooperated, because there are various sides to

    social and political life that must be promoted. I want the events in Thessaloniki to point out a series of problems existing in the world originating from globalization, which state leaders are aware of, are watching, but which the countries must observ e. Now if some people want these peaceful events to turn into a field of confrontation, then they are harming our land and their cause. We want an exchange of ideas which is always peaceful and the reason we are here is because we refuse violence".

  • [10] PRIME MINISTERS OF BELGIUM-HOLLAND-DENMARK IN PORTO CARRAS The Prime Ministers of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, and Denmark, Andres Fog Rasmusen, have arrived at the Porto Carras hotel in Chalkidiki, after arriving at the "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki shortly after 12 noo n.

    They immediately boarded Chinnok helicopters and were taken to the hotel where the works of the EU Summit will begin at 7pm.

    Commissioners Michel Barnier, Loyolla De Palazio and Antonio Vitorino also arrived in Thessaloniki lear jet.

  • [11] SIMITIS' STATEMENTS AT THE PRESS CENTER At the European summit, the Greek EU Presidency wishes to highlight the work accomplished during its six-month term as well as "the beauty of our country", the President of the European Council, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, said during a visit to the P ress Centre at the Porto Carras Hotel where the EU Summit takes place.

    Replying to a question on the threat of disturbances, Mr.Simitis noted that the Greek government had planned parallel events and discussion fora.

    "We wish to hear the views of the movements", said Mr. Simitis, wondering "why some people would want to cause disturbances and bring discredit to their country".

    Replying to another question on Turkey's candidacy for EU membership, Mr. Simitis said that the European Union had formulated a road map for Turkey to which the neighbouring country must respond, maintaining good relations with its neighbours and contrib uting to the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan plan.

  • [12] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -1.99% at 1.911,70 points, while the volume of transactions was at 202.5 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 65 had gains and 267 had losses, while the value of 43 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [13] PAPANDREOU'S STATEMENTS DURING HIS VISIT TO THE PRESS CENTER Europe is changing and Greece, both as the current EU President and as an EU member state, wishes to contribute to efforts for the creation of a democratic and strong Europe, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou told journalists during a visit to th e Press Centre shortly before the opening of the European Council in Chalkidiki.

    Replying to a question on the compromise draft of the European Constitution, Mr. Papandreou said "we cannot but take into consideration the work of the Convention during the Intergovernmental Conference." He described the work of the Convention as "labor ious, difficult and very notable", while underlining the "great importance" of the role of the Convention, which involved a process of cooperation between Community and national institutions, as well as civil society.

    On the issue of migration, Mr. Papandreou noted that the Greek EU Presidency was endeavouring to shift the discussion from the issue of protecting the external borders of the EU to the instituting of a new approach regarding which, once a year, the imple mentation of the joint policy on migration will be evaluated in a Commission report.

    Regarding the proposal on the distribution of the relevant expenditures, Mr. Papandreou acknowledged that certain countries had reservations, while referring with an emphasis to the meeting of the summit of European Diasporas, which is being held in para llel with the Thessaloniki European Council. On the British proposal concerning a procedure for handling asylum requests, Mr. Papandreou observed that "the issue remains open", given that it was a "controversial proposal" which "has provoked reactions".

    Lastly, expressing support for "the Presidency's Balkan proposal", the "Thessaloniki agenda", Mr. Papandreou stressed that its adoption and implementation would consolidate security in the region, while in response to questions he underlined that Turkey "must speed up its adoption of the package of reforms and the implementation of the relevant provisions".

  • [14] THE EPP CALLS FOR A CONSTITUTION BY THE END OF 2003 European People's Party, EPP, President Wilfried Martens stated that his party backs the completion of the process for the adoption of a European Constitution by the end of 2003. The statement was made after the end of the enlarged EPP Summit meeting tha t was completed at Sani Beach in Chalkidiki with the participation of nine European Prime Ministers who will also attend the EU Summit meeting opening at Porto Carras later today.

    Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader and EPP Vice-President Kostas Karamanlis stated that there are still many pending issues among them, the EU Presidency and the broadening of the assistance clause in the case of external mili tary attack.

    The enlarged EPP Summit welcomed the job done by the Constitutional Convention characterizing it as a very positive process.

  • [15] EPP: GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS, A PRECONDITION FOR EU ACCESSION The contribution to regional stability and the European good neighborly relations is a basic precondition for each acceding country, according to the resolution for the European prospect of western Balkans issued after the completion of the enlarged EPP Summit meeting at Sani Beach in Chalkidiki, northern Greece.

    The resolution mentions that the EPP backs the effort for the EU accession of Bulgaria and Romania by 2007 and expresses the party's satisfaction for the strengthening of the ties with these countries.

    The EPP backs the pre-accession strategy adopted by the European Commission and the European Parliament for the western Balkan countries and expresses the belief that the new mechanism will help cooperation in sectors like, drug-trafficking and human tra fficking, the return of refugees to their homes, migration, commerce, small-medium sized businesses, energy and transportation. Also, the EPP calls on the region's countries to follow the example of the ten new EU member states.

  • [16] HITIRIS ON TURKEY'S EUROPEAN PROSPECT The European leaders will suggest to Turkey that it is necessary to strictly implement the Copenhagen Criteria to be able to receive a date for the opening of its EU accession negotiations by the end of 2004, said Undersecretary of Press Tilemachos Hitir is. The statement was made to MPA in the margins of the EU Summit meeting at Porto Carras, Chalkidiki.

    Referring to the EU Summit proceedings, Mr. Hitiris expressed the belief that it will be a successful EU Summit.

    On the European Constitution, Mr. Hitiris pointed out that the draft European Constitution that will be presented tomorrow by Constitutional Convention President Giscard d'Estaing will be forwarded to the Inter-governmental Conference which will examine it and decide on Europe's Constitution by the end of 2004.

  • [17] ABOUT 3,000 JOURNALISTS AND TECHNICIANS AT PORTO CARRAS Greek Information General Secretary Dimitris Gerou expressed satisfaction for the impeccable operation of the Press Center serving the journalists who cover the EU Summit meeting at Porto Carras.

    Mr. Gerou stated to MPA that a total of about 3,000 journalists and TV and radio technicians are at the Press Center and added that for the moment, all goes very well. He said that in terms of technical infrastructure everything is impeccable, stressing that all systems have been tested and operate without problems.

  • [18] THE EU SUMMIT MEETING OPENED TODAY The proceedings of the EU Summit meeting at Porto Carras, Chalkidiki opened with a one hour delay this evening at 8pm instead of 7pm as scheduled due to the problems created by the summer storm that prevented certain leaders from arriving by helicopter f orcing them to go to the seaside resort by car.

    The issue under discussion will be the problem of illegal immigration. After the proceedings, Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis will give a press conference.


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