|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-06-20
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CONSTITUTION DRAFT APPROVEDThessaloniki, 20 June 2003 (15:27 UTC+2)
The draft of the European Constitution presented by the President of the Convention on the Future of Europe Valerie Giscard D'Estaing, was approved by the EU Summit as the basic document for the Inter-Governmental Convention.
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 concerns 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.
 RESHUFFLING EXPECTED IN EARLY JULYThessaloniki, 20 June 2003 (12:24 UTC+2)
The issue created within PASOK with the resignations of Mr. Manikas and Mr. Neonakis was the topic of the meeting between journalists and the political leadership of the Ministry of the Press at the Porto Carras hotel in Chalkidiki. According to the statements of Minister of the Press Christos Protopapas and deputy Minister of the Press Tilemachos Chytiris, a governmental reshuffling should be expected in the first ten days of July.
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 returned to Athens from Rome, where he had had discussions with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Thessaloniki Summit issues.
 SIMITIS: NOT INTERESTED IN LEAVING MY COUNTRYPorto Carras, 20 June 2003 (20:33 UTC+2)
I am not interested in leaving my country. Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis made this statement to put an end to scenarios according to which, he is allegedly interested in the post of the European Commission President.
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 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IS THE BIG WINNER IN THE NEW CONSTITUTIONPorto Carras, 20 June 2003 (19:55 UTC+2)
The European Parliament will be the big winner in the new European Constitution, according to Constitutional Convention President Valerie Giscard d'Estaing, who made the statements at Porto Carras, Chalkidiki today where the EU Summit takes place.
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 terms.
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.
 ARRESTS OF PROTESTERS IN NEOS MARMARASNeos Marmaras, 20 June 2003 (19:03 UTC+2)
According to information, not confirmed by the police, three protesters were arrested and 6 were slightly injured and taken to a hospital suffering from respiratory problems after the incidents recorded at Marmaras bridge, just a kilometer away from Porto Carras where the EU Summit is being held.
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.
 NADIA COMANECI IN THE SUMMIT OF EUROPEAN DIASPORASThessaloniki, 20 June 2003 (18:16 UTC+2)
I love Greece. Every time I visit it feels like coming home, said Nadia Comaneci to MPA.
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 framework 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 and 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 there are many common points between the people of Romania and Greece.
 THE SLOVENIAN PRIME MINISTER ON EUROPE'S DRAFT CONSTITUTIONNeos Marmaras, 20 June 2003 (17:52 UTC+2)
The belief that a significant step was made in the EU Summit in Thessaloniki toward the adoption of a European Constitution was expressed by Slovenian Prime Minister Anton Rop commenting on the approval of the draft Constitution by the European Council.
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 new.
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 Commission.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 20 June 2003 (17:31 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.31% at 1.905,83 points, while the volume of transactions was at 138.8 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 77 recorded gains and 244 had losses, while the value of 54 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE TURKISH PRIME MINISTER ARRIVED IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 20 June 2003 (17:23 UTC+2)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport today accompanied by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
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 occasion of the EU Summit. However, in spite of the problems, the Turkish Prime Minister persisted in his demand.
 PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS ON THE DRAFT CONSTITUTIONPorto Carras, 20 June 2003 (16:36 UTC+2)
Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos characterized the draft Constitution approved today in the EU Summit meeting in Chalkidiki as the initial basis for an agreed draft to be discussed in the Inter-governmental Conference.
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 obligations 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.