|Friday, 21 February 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-20
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 20, 2003
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
Mr. Simitis mentioned that the Convention worked systematically for 16 months, based on the terms set at Laaken, in order to prepare the reforms for the strengthening of the democratic nature and effectiveness in the organization and institutions of the EU.
"We had asked for procedures to be simplified, to open the EU to the society of the citizens, to play a reliable role in the international system", he said.
This afternoon, the President of the EU Costas Simitis, Mr. Destaing and the President of the European Commission, Romani Prodi, will hold a press conference and will present the conclusions of the discussion on the European Constitution.
Last night, the European leaders were unable to come to an agreement on the issue of forming a common policy on illegal immigration and asylum and the issues will be discussed again today.
Also expected at Porto Carras today is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will meet with his Greek counterpart in the framework of the meeting the EU Presidency will have with three candidate countries, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. In the conclusions of the Summit there will also be mention of Turkey's European prospects and the progress of the reforms in our neighboring country.
The Turkish Prime Minister has expressed his wish to visit Thessaloniki today, to see the house in which Kemal Ataturk was born, which now houses the Turkish Consulate.
Last night, the European leaders discussed the situation in Iraq and the Middle East and today they are expected to discuss EU-US relations.
Tonight, the President of the Greek Republic Costis Stefanopoulos will hold a dinner in honor of the EU member-state leaders and Foreign Ministers. Tomorrow morning the EU-Western Balkan Summit will be held, and the European leaders will then take a shor t cruise around Mt. Athos.
There is also great interest today in the protests to take place in Neos Marmaras, just 2km from Porto Carras. The movements against globalization have began moving protesters on tourist busses from Thessaloniki to Neos Marmaras, and the authorities are increasing the hotel's security measures. The leaders of certain movements have expressed their wish to pass into the forbidden zone and go as near to Porto Carras as possible.
Mr. Neonakis were not punishable offenses".
"Any initiatives taken by the Prime Minister will be expressed in the first ten days of July", said Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas, while adding: "in any case, there is an issue leading to a reshuffling".
On his side, Mr. Chrytiris stressed that "the political initiatives to be taken up by the Prime Minister, which include a reshuffling, will be announced in the first ten days of July".
In response to journalist questions, Mr. Chytiris pointed out that the Prime Minister was informed of the amounts of the transactions that were mentioned in the findings of the Capital Market Committee's report yesterday morning, and after he had returne d to Athens from Rome, where he had had discussions with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thessaloniki Summit issues.
Members of the Antiauthoritarian Movement: Salonika 2003 are moving towards the Maramaras bridge, leading to the Porto Carras hotel. The activists are wearing helmets, hoods and are carrying flags, while according to information they are determined to br eak through the strong police line, stationed from one side of the main street to the other, with the support of dozens of police vans and special forces squads. It is possible that the protesters will use chemicals and Molotov bombs if there are confront ations with the police. The police have worn their protective gear and asked that the area be evacuated as the protesters are approaching the police line.
Another part of the protesters will move along the seafront road, leading to the hotel complex, where they will also meet strong police forces. It should be noted that according to police information there are about 5000-6000 protesters in the march, whi le the movements made mention of 7500 protesters.
Other movements and organizations participating in the marches include the "Action: Thessaloniki 2003" "Initiative Struggle -Thessaloniki 2003", the "Antiauthoritarian Movement: Salonika 2003", "Initiative: Genoa 2001", "Alliance: Stop the War", "Thessal oniki: Resistance 2003", the "Greek Social Forum" and other local groups, movements, organizations and workers' unions.
Today is an important day for the European unification, stated the President of the European Council Costas Simitis, announcing the decision of the Summit, while he noted that it is the first time the EU has a draft of the Constitution. He observed that the Society of the Citizens also played a role in the formation of this draft. Regarding the protesters, the Greek Prime Minister noted that "the society of the citizens does not consist only of those who agree; it also includes those who disagree. It con cerns those who think and we want to hear all of them".
Mr. Simitis thanked Mr. D'Estaing and the members of the Convention who worked on the draft for the European Constitution and said that it is a compromise, a good starting point.
About 100 protesters wearing hoods and helmets were at the top of the 6-thousand people strong protest march and approached the police forces at breathing distance. They attacked the police with rocks and other objects causing them to use teargas. The pr otesters used man-made explosive cocktails.
The incidents did not last and according to information, calm was restored quickly and the anti-summit protest continues peacefully.
The protesters are expected to return to Thessaloniki this afternoon to attend the International Unionist Meeting at Thessaloniki's Workers' Unions Center. In the meeting will participate 16 European workers' unions.
Mr. Erdogan had expressed the wish to visit the house this afternoon but the Greek government had responded negatively citing security reasons.
Mr. Erdogan is expected in Thessaloniki this afternoon before he departs for Porto Carras where the EU Summit meeting is taking place.
During his visit to the Press Center at Porto Carras where the EU Summit takes place, Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed that the draft Constitution is not final and it will be discussed and approved by the EU member states.
Referring to the protests against globalization, Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that the protests are free in a democratic country like Greece. However, he stressed that the protesters should display self-restraint and understand that freedom has certain obli gations that are imposed by the free protesters themselves.
This evening, Mr. Stephanopoulos will give a formal dinner in honor of the EU heads of states and governments.
The Turkish delegation boarded a helicopter and departed immediately for Porto Carras in Chalkidiki where the EU Summit meeting takes place.
Meanwhile, based on MPA information, Mr. Erdogan will visit the house where Kemal Ataturk was born in Thessaloniki tomorrow afternoon. The Turkish Consulate in Thessaloniki is housed in that building.
Long consultations were held between the Greek Foreign Ministry and police authorities in Thessaloniki, who stated that they cannot guarantee the safety of the Turkish Prime Minister because of the large number of protesters present in the city on the oc casion of the EU Summit. However, in spite of the problems, the Turkish Prime Minister persisted in his demand.
Of the stocks trading today, 77 recorded gains and 244 had losses, while the value of 54 stocks remained unchanged.
In statements he made to MPA he said that what is most important is the great degree of consensus achieved on most points. He said that the Inter-governmental Conference will be able to prepare the final text.
Mr. Rop stated that his country raised objections regarding certain points of the draft Constitution and believes that certain improvements are necessary, while it backs the respect of the principle of equality among member states big or small, old or ne w.
He said that Slovenia wants improvements regarding the special majority in the decision-making process, adding that a formula should be found to dissociate the weight of an EU member state vote from the country's population size.
Also, another important point for Slovenia, which is a small country, is the number of the European Parliament members it can elect. Different views were expressed regarding the relations between the European Council and the President of the European Com mission.
The Romanian Olympic gold medallist in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and in Moscow in 1980 participates in the Summit of European Diasporas taking place in Thessaloniki today and tomorrow at the initiative of the Greek Foreign Ministry within the framewo rk of the Greek EU Presidency and the EU Summit meeting.
She said that it is the first time she is invited to participate in such an event and characterized as very good and positive the Greek initiative offering the opportunity to distinguished Europeans from around the world to communicate with each other an d present their experiences that can contribute to the materialization of the goals set in the summit.
Mrs. Comaneci said that she will definitely be in Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games. She stressed that this major international sports event returns to its place of origin, a fact that is an honor for the Balkan region as a whole and pointed out that the re are many common points between the people of Romania and Greece.
According to information, movements and local authorities who organized the demonstration found themselves in "rival camps" before the march to the bridge because they were unable to agree with each other on which of the participating movements would be at the top of the demonstration.
Finally, when the demonstration arrived at the bridge it was headed by the local authorities. From that point, about 100 demonstrators moved to the front of the march and attacked police throwing at them rocks and different objects provoking the reaction
of the police forces who used teargas to turn the demonstrators away.
The European Parliament will have an increased participation in the EU legislative process, said Mr. Giscard d'Estaing, adding that the text presented today is the fruit of collective work that lasted 16 months.
On the composition of the European Parliament, the President of the Constitutional Convention stressed that for the next elections in 2004 it will be in harmony with the Nice Treaty, while slight amendments can be made to deal with the consequences from the future EU accession of Bulgaria and Romania.
The draft Constitution suggests regarding the composition of the European Parliament that each member state will have a minimum of four seats. On the European Council, it is provided that its President will be able to be elected only for two 2.5year term s.
On the special majority issue, the draft Constitution provides that it is defined as the majority of the member states that represent at least two-thirds of the EU population. Also, the draft provides for a decreased number of European Commissioners.
Mr. Simitis was asked by a journalist about press reports according to which, he is the favorite for the post. Responding to the question during the press conference at Porto Carras, Chalkidiki after the end of the EU Summit, he said that he is not aware
of the press reports and clarified that he is not interested in leaving his country.
The representatives of the protesters met with Mr. Papandreou at the EU Summit Press Center at Porto Carras and delivered to him a resolution with their demands. A special reference was made to the issues of peace and democracy, while they also stressed that the draft European Constitution should be put up to a vote in the 2004 European Parliament elections.
Mr. Papandreou pointed out that he personally believes the European Constitution should be approved by the Greek people through a referendum as soon as it reaches its final form.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Mr. Iliescu stated that Romania is waiting for a confirmation of all agreed upon in Copenhagen and mainly of its target to complete the EU accession negotiations in 2004 and become an EU member in 2007.
Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase stated that the EU Summit in Thessaloniki is important because it is expected that the progress made by Romania in the negotiations with the EU will be recognized.