|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-06-07
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PROTOPAPAS: POLLS DON'T SCARE USAthens, 7 June 2003 (20:04 UTC+2)
Polls don't scare us, stated Government Spokesperson Christos Propotpapas, commenting on the poll data published in the press today, showing ND ahead with a significant lead over PASOK.
All that has been published and which will be published this coming week, were carried out in a passed political time, when the situation was different, pointed out Mr. Protopapas, adding that today we have regained the initiative of actions, we are working the citizens' problems, society's problems, in order to provide solutions and we are optimistic that as long as we are as capable as ever of winning the 2004 elections.
 REACTIONS TO KARAMANLIS SPEECHAthens, 7 June 2003 (20:04 UTC+2)
Mr. Karamanlis is now also substituting the National Statistics Agency by making his own statistics, stated government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas, commenting on the speech of New Democracy President Costas Karamanlis in Nikea this afternoon.
The Head of the Opposition cannot appear in a popular area, one with a lot of problems, as a journalist on the morning news, simply ascertaining the morning agenda, he added, calling Mr. Karamanlis to finally tell us what he proposes be done, and what solutions he aspires to provide.
The Simitis government, unable to even deal with and resolve the problems it has created, is also trying to erase them from the agenda. Deep in its nirvana of virtual reality, it wants to enforce silence, stated New Democracy Press Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, in response to Mr. Protopapas' statements.
New Democracy will not do (the government) that favor. Whether it wants to or not, the Simitis government will have to answer for the years it has wasted, the funds it has thrown away and the promises it has not kept. Once again we would like to propose that the Government Spokesperson remain calm. And we would like to point out that at it was at the center of ND's policy to resolve everyday problems the Greek citizens are facing. The problems are our only adversaries. We serve and answer to the citizens alone, added Mr. Roussopoulos.
 KARAMANLIS VISITS NIKEAAthens, 7 June 2003 (20:03 UTC+2)
President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis visited Nikea this afternoon, in the framework of his visits in Athens.
The Head of the Opposition was briefed at the Mayor's office on the problems the area is facing, and stressed everyday problems and environmental issues. He also characterized the word trust as a key notion in dealing with these problems, a word which he said overcomes parties, proposals, party thoughts, even votes and election results.
I have not come here to make promises and I will disappoint those who expected this visit to be accompanied by a series of promises, as that would be a landmine in the foundation of the honest understanding I want us to construct together, he stressed, while repeating that ND is forming a map to deal with the daily problems people face, a Contract-Map with every citizen, which will set the foundations, honestly and directly, for an understanding around society and its problems.
Mr. Karamanlis stressed the quality of life in the Basin and presented research stating that Athens is 79th in quality of life worldwide, out of 215 capitals, while he characterized it as tragic for cities such as Beirut, Lagos, Manila and Tirana to be in a better position that the Greek capital as far as protecting the environment is concerned.
Furthermore, he referred to education, which he characterized as a governmental priority for ND, and pointed out the need for a broader understanding, so that there can be a policy in this sector, the backbone of which will have a duration of 10 to 20 years.
Regarding unemployment, he stressed that in contrast to government claims of it being in the single digits, the existence of invisible unemployment is a very unpleasant reality.
Specifically, according to ND's research data, unemployment throughout the country is at more than 14%, near 10% for men, and twice that for women, while 1 out of 3 unemployed individuals is 18-24 years old, and 1 out of 3 young degree holders is also unemployed.
In ending he spoke about small and medium businesses which he said are being persecuted, and made mention of selective raids made by the Financial Crime Squad.
 INTERNATIONAL MEETING OF COMMUNIST PARTIES IN ATHENSAthens, 7 June 2003 (19:08 UTC+2)
Sixty four parties from all over the world have signed up for the International Meeting of Communist and Labor Parties being hosted by the KKE in Athens, on June 19-20.
The issue of the meeting is: Movements against capitalist globalization, and communists, while discussions will also be held on new initiatives for the strengthening of the communist movements discernable role.
The meeting will also deal with issues of solidarity with struggling peoples, especially towards Cuba, also drawing on the 74th anniversary of the great South American revolutionary, Che Guevara.
The delegates at the International Meeting will also be given the opportunity to participate in the major international protest on June 21 in Thessaloniki, being organized by Action: Thessaloniki 2003.
 GOVERNMENT FACES WAVE OF NEGATIVE POLLSAthens, 7 June 2003 (19:08 UTC+2)
A worsening in all individual points of the government's work has been recorded in the latest polls to be published within the next few days. In two of them in fact according to information the lead of Prime Minister Costas Simitis over the President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis will be questioned, on the matter of who is more suitable to be Prime Minister.
This was mentioned in a Ta Nea newspaper publication, which added that the polls recorded a significant gap between PASOK and ND, which in some cases is more than 8% (in favor of the Opposition).
The dance of the negative polls for the government, may even open tonight, with an Alco poll for Alpha television. This records ND's lead at 8.5%.
Then is the poll of Kappa-Research, which will be published in the Vima newspaper, and then possibly on Wednesday an MRB poll for ND. It should be noted that in a similar poll carried out by RASS for the Kathimerini newspaper, ND was recorded as having a 9.5% lead.
 INFORMAL SUMMIT OF THE EU PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION MINISTERSRhodes, 6 June 2003 (20:59 UTC+2)
The political unification of Europe depends on the administrative convergence of the EU member states, stressed Greek Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Kostas Skandalidis, presenting the conclusions of the informal summit of the EU Public Administration Ministers taking place in the Aegean island of Rhodes.
He underlined the commitment of all parties involved to issues of EU public administration, both at a national and a European level, for an easier to understand, simpler and more transparent public administration and a lasting social dialogue for the improvement of the services offered to the citizens.
In the informal summit participated 10 ministers and 12 undersecretaries from the 25 EU member states and the three under accession countries. They also discussed legislation issues, human resources, e-governance and the support of remote and island regions.
Present in the summit was Turkey represented by Public Administration Minister Mr. Aksu, who referred to the steps made by Turkey in the specific sector. Greek Interior Minister Mr. Skandalidis underlined, responding to a relevant question by MPA, that Turkey has a positive attitude clarifying that no discussion was made on bilateral issues.
 SIMITIS-CHIRAC ON EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION, EURO AND MIDDLE EASTParis, 7 June 2003 (15:40 UTC+2)
The belief that it will not be easy to achieve the European Constitution at the Thessaloniki Summit was expressed Greek Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Costas Simitis, and French President Jacques Chirac, in response to journalist questions after their meeting in the French Presidential Mansion. They also mentioned the euro and the situation in the Middle East.
Mr. Simitis stated that an agreement could be reached with the President of the Convention, Valerie Giscard D'Estaing, but that it will require hard work for the Thessaloniki Summit to be successful as far as the European Constitution is concerned.
The Greek Prime Minister stated that compromises must be found within the Convention itself, there must be an agreement among the majority of the member-states, so that everyone agrees on the result of the Convention, the draft of the Constitution.
He added that Mr. Chirac was correct in saying that this is not an easy task, because a discussion that is not in the framework of the Constitution would take months or even years. We do not want that, we have to get this over with.
I completely agree with (Mr. Simiti's) opinion. We have the decisiveness to come to a conclusion, but it is obviously going to be difficult, added Mr. Chirac.
Regarding the constant increase in the value of the euro over the past few months, in contrast to the drop of the dollar, Mr. Simitis stated that when the drachma was first replaced by the euro, many said that a weak currency had been replaced with another weak currency. Today they say that the euro is too strong and that is not in our own interest.
I do think, however, that at times currencies drop or increase in value. And I believe that the decision of the European Central Bank to lower interest rates was correct. Of course we should keep an eye on the consequences on exports, but I believe that the situation is under control.
The French President added that the issue was discussed at the G-8 Summit in Evian, in the presence of Mr. Simitis. We had all agreed on a clear reality, which is the following: The stability of exchange rates is essential to development.
To a question on whether Europe can boost the efforts for peace in the Middle East, Mr. Chirac stated: We hope that the horizon is opening. At Evian we all gave our support and confirmed our hope in US President George Bush, in his meetings in Egypt and Jordan.
We noted the results of those meetings with hope, a hope, however, that is still waiting to be confirmed.
It is obvious that Europe, due to its historic knowledge, its tradition, its culture and mainly its will for peace, a balanced peace, is obliged to play its part alongside the US in the framework of the Quartet (UN, EU, US, Russia). Europe will play that part.
Mr. Simitis added that at the Brussels Summit in March, there was a discussion on the issue and the member-states issued a direction to Mr. Solana and the Presidency, to put pressure on the Quartet members, in order for the Israelis and the Palestinians to accept the roadmap.
That step has been made and it is important. Of course, it is not enough. It is the beginning and we must make a great effort for there to be a continuation.
 EU-US AGREEMENT ON EXTRADITION AND MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCELuxembourg, 6 June 2003 (21:27 UTC+2)
The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council unanimously approved the text of the EU-US agreement on extradition and mutual legal assistance in a meeting in Luxembourg today. The agreement will be formally signed in Washington on June 25 in the EU-US Summit meeting.
The members of the council congratulated Greek Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos for the progress, completion and outcome of the negotiations made by the Greek EU Presidency.
The agreement promotes judicial cooperation with the United States in combating crime, while fully respecting human rights and the principles the European judicial civilization is based upon.