|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-02-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIMITIS SPEECH AT HELLENIC-AMERICAN CHAMBERAthens, 28 February 2002 (12:36 UTC+2)
The achievements of the Greek economy were mentioned by Prime Minister Simitis in his speech at the Hellenic-American Chamber.
The Prime Minister pointed out that constructive criticism on financial policies is welcome, but he added that what, however, deters progress, is turning political opposition in views, into a systematic ethical disdain of everything. Leading the Greek people's daily life according to tactics of making easy impressions, insinuations and moral deterioration.
We cannot stand still in the sight of such phenomena. We must have an open front against fear, opportunism and irresponsibility. We must be stern in the face of the ideology of the 'easy way out', fatalism and constantly predicting disasters. A strong economy, prosperity for all people, social cohesion, persistence in transparency and laws, a stable institutional framework, will armor our policies, and, in broader terms, our Democracy. Para-authority hubs cannot weaken our effort. The modernization of Greece cannot be reversed, restrained or cancelled, he stressed.
He also expressed his satisfaction at the great degree of acceptance Greek society showed to the euro since its early circulation, and added that the government has achieved its goal of a smooth withdrawal of the drachma.
The circulation of the euro, marks the beginning of a new course for Greece. We have left misery behind, once and for all. We have started off for the conquering of new social and financial goals. The introduction of the euro consolidates National confidence. Greece has passed from the outer periphery, to the core of the powerful states, not with a feeling of inferiority or lacking something, but as an equal, with dignity, he noted.
In addition he underlined that with our participation in the EMU, the monetary stability necessary to decrease inflation, benefit long-term planning, investments, and creating new employment opportunities, has been consolidated. Monetary stability protects the wages of the lowly-paid and the pensioner. It ensures low interest rates for those who want to buy a house or those who want to start their own business, he added.
The Prime Minister connected the inflation rate of Greece, with its high rate of development, while at the same time pointing out that the rise of inflation last January to 4.4%, is coincidental, as its decrease in the coming months will show.
Within the EMU, our fiscal policy also gains greater credibility, he stressed, an added that Greece managed to decrease its fiscal deficit by 14% of the GDP, almost three times the fiscal adaptation of the rest of the EU.
Furthermore, he mentioned that the government managed to lower deficits, after following a socially fair tax policy, but he noted that the fiscal adaptation is not complete, and that public debt, as a percentage of the GDP, must continue its steadily declining course.
In another part of his speech, he mentioned that Greece is a happy exception in world recession, but that it is also affected by negative events abroad, as is evident in the course of the stock market.
He also stressed that negative developments in the field of air transportation, after the September 11 events, affected the privatization of Olympic Airways negatively.
Mr. Simitis repeated that Greece's goal for coming the years is the achievement of real and social cohesion, and predicted that development rates in Greece in the near future will exceed corresponding rates for the rest of Europe, bridging Greece's gap from the other partners.
The Prime Minister noted that the government's policy on the social securities issue is clear. We want to achieve a reform which is broadly accepted. We do not fear the political cost. We will support what is right. With responsibility on the Ministry of Labor, a broad social discussion will take place. All opinions will be noted in this discussion, no matter who or where they come from. The solution we form through this discussion, will be a viable solution, in the best interest of society, he underlined.
He also stressed that the government will move to a radical tax reform within the year, something that has not happened since the 1950s. The basic goals of the reform, are: drastic simplification of procedures, enlargement of the tax base and fairer allotment of tax burdens, and the strengthening of competitiveness between Greek businesses, he said.
We have done much to this day. We do not support we have done everything. Nor that everything turned out as planned. But we proceed without hesitation, alert, with no exaggerations, with a clear vision, a clear mind, a strategic plan, constructing and creating a new Greece, a powerful Greece. A Greece that will not fear the future, but which gazes into it confidently and optimistically, he ended.
 G.PAPANDREOU- T.WESTON MEETINGAthens, 28 February 2002 (12:49 UTC+2)
The State Department's Special Coordinator on the Cyprus issue, Thomas Weston, confirmed the steady position of the US on resolving the issue, during his meeting with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
The US official characterized yesterday's announcement of the UN Security Council, giving an emergency solution character to the issue, as hopeful.
Mr. Weston, who, following his stay in Athens, will go to Ankara, did not wish to comment on the Denktash opinion of two different states in Cyprus, he did confirm however the standing position of the US on a federation solution.
I would not like to comment on the positions of either of the two sides on the issue, I would only like to refer to the position of the UN. We are a member, and remain a member of the Security Council, we have voted in favor of the resolutions, we have not changed our opinion, we continue to believe that the solution of the Cyprus issue is in a two-zone communal form of government, and we are in search of federations, he underlined.
The Greek Foreign Minister and the US Official expressed a hope for progress to be achieved in the talks between Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash, starting on Friday March 1.
It is a historical opportunity for our region, not just for Cyprus, but for the broader region, to move to a completely different base of relations, European relations, European practices, European frames of mind, if you will, which will upgrade the relationships of both Greece and Turkey in the broader region, from the Balkans and the Black Sea to the Middle East, but such a change in our relations is of course based on the resolving of the Cyprus problem, pointed out Mr. Papandreou.
 MEETING OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ATHENS, TEL AVIV AND CYPRUS STOCK MARKETSAthens, 28 February 2002 (19:31 UTC+2)
Representatives of the Athens, Tel Aviv and Cyprus stock markets met in the Athens Stock Exchange today with representatives of the FTSE Global Index Provider company.
The meeting is a follow-up to a previous one held in the Cyprus Stock Exchange in August 2001 aimed at promoting the cooperation of the participants through the creation of a common stock exchange index that will include 100 stocks, called FTSE Med 100 Index.
The Casablanca Stock Exchange has also expressed interest in the initiative but it was not represented in today's meeting.
 MR. PROTOPAPAS ON THE CHARGES AGAINST BUSINESSMAN SOCRATIS KOKKALISAthens, 28 February 2002 (18:55 UTC+2)
The Greek government takes all necessary measures for the country's progress and the smooth course of its stock market. The Greek Justice must be left alone to do its job, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas responding to questions by reporters on the new charges against businessman Socratis Kokkalis.
Mr. Kokkalis is facing criminal charges for committing fraud against investors, while he is also accused of three misdemeanors for not using for the purposes he had announced the money from the increases in the share capital of the companies that belonged to his Group.
For the record, Mr. Kokkalis is also accused of six criminal acts namely, espionage against Greece, money laundering, fraud and embezzlement against his companies' stockholders as well as, passive and active bribery.
 SIGNIFICANT LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 28 February 2002 (17:38 UTC+2)
Significant losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -1.98% at 2.332,89 points, while the volume of transactions was at 141.5 million Euro or 48.2 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, only 43 recorded gains and the overwhelming majority, namely 300, had losses, while the value of 17 stocks remained unchanged.
 SIMITIS: THE POLICY OF IRRESPONSIBILITY IS THE RIVAL OF A STRONG SOCIETYAthens, 28 February 2002 (17:35 UTC+2)
The rival of a strong society is the policy of irresponsibility, hypocrisy and self-interest, stressed Prime Minister Kostas Simitis speaking this morning in a conference on Equal Opportunities for All Sexes held in Athens.
His speech included many indirect references to the climate created in the past few days as a result of the political diversion statements. The Prime Minister stated that clear answers are necessary by politics, institutions and the society of citizens, adding that all progressive citizens should work together for a strong society.
Referring to issues on Equal Opportunities for All Sexes, Mr. Simitis promised that the new social security system will include favorable regulations for the working women.
 LESS TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS IN GREECEAthens, 28 February 2002 (17:31 UTC+2)
Less traffic accidents were recorded in Greece in 2001 compared to the year 2000, according to figures provided by the National Statistics Agency.
Specifically, traffic accidents across the country dropped by 14% in 2001, while the deaths caused by traffic accidents dropped by 9% and injuries by 16%.
 INFLATION WILL DROP IN FEBRUARYAthens, 28 February 2002 (17:29 UTC+2)
Inflation in Greece is expected to deescalate in February, according to Ministry of Development officials.
Based on their assessments, inflation could drop to 3.7% and be lower by 0.7%, due to the fresh fruit and vegetable price cuts.
 OLYMPIC VILLAGE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS ON STRIKEAthens, 28 February 2002 (13:04 UTC+2)
The construction workers at the site of the Olympic Village, are holding a 24-hour strike. A protest rally was organized for 11am, today, at Kannigos Square, Athens.
 PAPANDREOU IS ON A VISIT TO SWITZERLANDBern, 28 February 2002 (18:25 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou met in Bern today with his Swiss counterpart Joseph Deiss and discussed Greece's EU Presidency in the first half of 2003, as well as bilateral issues.
Earlier, Mr. Papandreou was received by Swiss Confederation President Kaspar Villiger.
Before the joint press conference given to reporters by the two Foreign Ministers, Mr. Deiss had signed Greece's Olympic Truce proposal. Mr. Papandreou stated characteristically that if peace, which is the Olympic Games ideal, can last for 14 days, it can last forever.
Mr. Deiss expressed satisfaction for Mr. Papandreou's visit to Bern which is an opportunity to reconfirm the excellent bilateral relations. He also said that the visit of the Greek Foreign Minister to Switzerland is very important in view of the Greek EU Presidency.
Mr. Deiss expressed the hope that Greece will contribute to the favorable conclusion of the negotiations between his country and the EU, while he also referred to the joint efforts for peace and humanitarian aid to Kosovo within the framework of the Focus initiative.
Mr. Papandreou praised the excellent bilateral relations and referred to the presence of Greece, Switzerland and Russia in Kosovo within the framework of the peacekeeping efforts.
He also underlined Switzerland's contribution to the economic reconstruction of the Balkans and Europe and praised its efforts for peace in Cyprus.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH GOES TO THE USNew York, 28 February 2002 (14:35 UTC+2)
On March 5 the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Bartholomew, will meet with US President George Bush and Foreign Minister Colin Powell at the White House, in the framework of his visit to the US on March 4, for the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Archbishopric of America, and the 6th Anniversary of the founding of the Theology School of the Holy Cross.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will visit Ground Zero in New York, where he will hold a memorial service for the victims of September 11, in the site of the destroyed Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nikolaos.