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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-04-09

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1159), April 9, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece 'a stone's throw' from EMU, Papantoniou says
  • [02] No new taxes
  • [03] V. Papandreou
  • [04] Commission representative
  • [05] Laliotis
  • [06] Karamanlis
  • [07] Greek peacekeeping troops in Tirana, Vlore
  • [08] Stationing
  • [09] Albanian opposition leaders
  • [10] Greece, Slovakia sign air transport agreement
  • [11] European official to visit Athens
  • [12] Apostolakis in US to look at WEU-NATO co-operation
  • [13] Meeting on southeastern European stability held in Skopje
  • [14] Greek-Turkish issues dominate G. Papandreou, van Mierlo meeting
  • [15] Foreign ministry dismisses Turkish protests of pseudo-mufti's conviction
  • [16] Several G. Papandreou proposals accepted at EU-Group of Rio conference
  • [17] Karamanlis outlines several proposals for reorganization of higher education
  • [18] Simitis, Skandalidis meeting
  • [19] Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline discussed at EU-sponsored conference
  • [20] Tzoumakas proposals to EU
  • [21] Labor ministry leadership confers with PM
  • [22] Niles broaches US copyright issue with Yiannopoulos
  • [23] Business-related data bank
  • [24] Greece 'dying', demographic study shows
  • [25] Gov't readies bill on opinion polls
  • [26] Meeting of women from eastern Aegean
  • [27] President to meet with opposition leader

  • [01] Greece 'a stone's throw' from EMU, Papantoniou says

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told a conference yesterday that Greece was just "a stone's throw away" from meeting the criteria of the European Union's Maastricht Treaty, calling for decisive action in both the public and private sectors to bridge the remaining gap.

    The annual "Roundtable with the Greek Government" held by the Economist Intelligence Unit opened on Monday night with a speech by Germany's former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

    Mr. Papantoniou, saying Greece was the only EU member-state to have made such great strides towards convergence in such a short time, called for a faster rate of privatization and share offers, the deregulation of the markets, the attraction of private capital for public works and support in making Greek enterprises more competitive.

    He predicted that the public deficit would fall to 4.2 per cent of GNP by the end of the year and that inflation would drop to 4.5 per cent. Over the next five to ten years, added Mr. Papantoniou, it was expected that the inflow of foreign capital would continue at an increased rate, irrespective of the level of interest rates due to the trust displayed by foreign investors.

    He dismissed concern over the large current accounts deficit, saying that over the next two to three years it was expected to be at the level of 4.5 to five billion US dollars, but would be easily funded.

    [02] No new taxes

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    In statements later, Mr. Papantoniou assured that the government would not introduce new fiscal measures, despite the shortfall in state revenue in March, and expressed optimism that by the end of the year there would be no problem. Mr. Papantoniou said that revenue inflows would pick up in May because of the taxes to be levied, with retroactive force, under the provisions of the new tax law.

    Acknowledging the shortfall in revenue, Mr. Papantoniou underlined that it pertained to non-tax income of a temporary nature, since the 60 billion drachma reduction in March in Bank of Greece and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) dividends would be made up over the next few months.

    [03] V. Papandreou

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou told the conference that Athens would adhere to the implementation of the convergence program as well as its development program, while privatizations would go ahead as scheduled, with significant structural changes allowing for an improved operation of the market and general business environment.

    Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis spoke of the need for an expansion of the tax base in Greece over the next few years, along with a gradual reduction in taxpayers' burden. He also stressed that the Greek government would make a greater effort to manage the public debt.

    On his part, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas called for more social justice and solidarity on the part of the European Union towards Greece.

    He claimed that the Maastricht Treaty led to an inhumane and extreme form of neo-conservatism. Greece should not have as its priority the convergency of a few unrealistic macro-economic indicators but should aim at a more populist economic policy and a social policy more characteristic of a welfare state.

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) president Andreas Kanellopoulos complained of insufficient privatization, infrastructure problems, overvaluation of the drachma, which he said undermined the competitiveness of Greek products, and too much state intervention. He called for a reduction in public spending, emphasizing that despite progress that had been made in the Greek economy, the problems remained.

    [04] Commission representative

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Despite efforts, the Greek economy has still a great distance to cover in many fronts, Giovanni Ravajio, the head of the European Commission's economic affairs department said yesterday.

    Addressing the "Economist" conference, Mr. Ravajio said Greece had made satisfactory progress in bringing down inflation and the public deficit, warning that the situation should be stabilized. This way Greece will meet the Stability Pact provisions, he said.

    Mr. Ravajio said Greece will meet convergence criteria and participate in the European Monetary Union faster than expected.

    Urging the Greek government to make convergence the central focus of its economic policy "very soon after 1999," he went on to say that Greece's monetary policy remains "fragile to the possibility of an investors' crisis of confidence," and that real interest rates remain excessively high.

    Concluding, he said Greece's accession to the European Monetary Union is be "a historic opportunity."

    [05] Laliotis

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Environment and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis said more than 7,000 projects, programs and actions of national, regional and prefectural importance were underway, stressing their positive implications for the country's development course.

    Mr. Laliotis cited the Egnatia Highway across the breadth of northern Greece, the Patra-Athens-Thessaloniki-Bulgarian road axis, the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, the Aheloos River diversion, port and airport projects throughout the country.

    He stressed the importance of his ministry's co-operation with European Union services, and the attraction of private capital for joint funding.

    Concluding, Development Under-secretary Anna Diamantopoulou yesterday called on western entrepreneurs to make use of the government's "extremely favorable incentives" and move their headquarters to Greece.

    Elaborating on the government's industrial policy, Ms Diamantopoulou called on foreign investors to establish joint cross-border ventures which, if based in Greece and keep production plants in the neighboring countries, would make use of both Community benefits and lower labor costs.

    [06] Karamanlis

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Concluding later in the evening, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis presented his proposals for the Greek economy's convergence with the rest of the European Union. He also charged that the PASOK government's policy doesn't facilitate convergence with the other EU member-states.

    Mr. Karamanlis said the cost of Greece not entering the European Monetary Union is "hard to contemplate," adding that a courageous policy of privatizations should follow.

    [07] Greek peacekeeping troops in Tirana, Vlore

    Rome, 09/04/1997 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakos)

    Units of the proposed Greek contingent in Albania will be deployed in Tirana and Vlore at an initial phase with Gjirokaster, Kakavia and Krystalopigi at a second stage, military officials of the countries participating in the multinational force decided yesterday in Rome, after finalizing plans for the deployment of the respective national units.

    In Athens earlier, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said Italy proposed that the main Greek battalion participating in the multinational peace force in Albania be stationed in Tirana, with another company in Vlore.

    The minister said the battalion will consist of both regular soldiers and volunteers with a five-year tour of duty. There will be no need to include conscripts in the Greek contingent, as 1,000 volunteers have already applied, he said. The multinational force is expected to be ready to depart at the beginning of next week.

    On his part, government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis said later that Athens had agreed to the Italian proposal concerning the stationing of a Greek battalion in Tirana and a company in Vlore.

    Mr. Athanasakis said the government considered the issue concerning the stationing of the Greek contingent "closed" at the present stage. He added that only the issue of access routes and road axes remained open and that this matter would be dealt with soon.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos clarified that the purpose of the multinational force to be sent to Albania was for procedures to be set in motion in June or July for the holding of general elections in the neighboring country, the disarming of civilians and to sec ure the safe distribution of humanitarian aid.

    He was speaking after a meeting with Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos for talks on developments in Albania, the Cyprus problem, Greek-Turkish relations and Greece's role at the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said it was only natural for "different desires" to be expressed by the countries participating in the force regarding the geographical positioning of the troops, adding that it was not impossible for some "combination" of these desires to be attained.

    [08] Stationing

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    The detailed plan with deployment of the various national contingents in the first phase is as follows:

    - Tirana: Italy (assuming command), France (assuming the sub-command), Turkey (a battalion assuming control of the airport), Greece, Austria, Denmark. - Skoder: Spain, -Fieri: Turkey, -D0rres: France, -Vlore: Italy and Greece (one battalion under Italian command), -Gjirokaster: Romania

    Deployment will commence next week, but the exact date has remained confidential.

    There is also provision for a Greek presence in Elbasan, but a date has not been set. A 10-member Greek military delegation is expected in Rome today to discuss the last details.

    [09] Albanian opposition leaders

    Strasbourg, 09/04/1997 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    The Greek troops in the multinational force should be deployed in the southern part and towards the center of the country, Albanian opposition leaders told a press conference in Strasbourg yesterday.

    Praising Greece's position, Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano, Social Democratic Party leader Skender Gjinushi and the president of the Democratic Alliance, Nevitan Ceka, said "Greece's presence is not a concern for anybody," and that "the Greek government's positions are known and beyond misunderstanding."

    Replying to questions, the Albanian leaders said the security force could not be regarded as "a blow to Albania's independence."

    They clarified that the troops of the security force will not be faced with armed insurgents, "the overwhelming majority of which still keep arms as an act of defense against the Berisha regime, and in claiming real elections."

    The Albanian leaders said the troops in the security force will mostly have police duties with the aim to assist the legal government of the country to proceed to democratic elections.

    "Only the democratic institutions can guarantee democracy, not people," they said, hinting that Europe has relied for too long "on Berisha's democratic mask."

    The Albanian leaders were visiting Strasbourg at the invitation of the European Parliament's Socialist Group.

    [10] Greece, Slovakia sign air transport agreement

    Bratislava, 09/04/1997 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos held prolonged talks here yesterday with his Slovakian counterpart Pavel Hamzik as well as with the country's President, Mihal Kovac, and Prime Minister, Vladimir Meciar.

    According to reports, the talks ascertained a very good level of Greek-Slovak relations.

    The two foreign ministers signed an agreement on air transport in the framework of bilateral co-operation, while the visit of National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to Bratislava on Sept. 25-26 was also announced.

    The two sides also ascertained possibilities for further improving economic co-operation between the two countries, such as in the tourism sector, which is "supplementary" since Slovakia is indicated for winter tourism and Greece for sea tourism. The volume of trade exchanges, limited to only US$ 44 million last year, can be increased considerably through the exploitation of existing potential.

    Mr. Pangalos assured his interlocutors of Greece's support for Slovakia's efforts for accession to NATO, the European Union and the OECD. In relation to NATO, he said Greece rejects the creation of new dividing lines in Europe resulting from the selective accession of new members to NATO and shares the desire of countries to participate in European security. He also maintained that Russia's sensitivities should be taken into consideration during NATO's enlargement process.

    Pointing to various reservations by Brussels on the democratic nature of certain candidate countries for NATO accession, Mr. Pangalos said no one can invoke a lack of democratic nature at a time when Turkey is a NATO member, where in no way is there respect for the principles of democracy, human rights or freedom of expression.

    In connection with Slovakia's accession to the OECD, Mr. Pangalos said that in this case criteria must be purely economic and various political preconditions must not be necessary.

    Commenting on the issue of an Islamic upsurge in Turkey raised by his Slovak interlocutors, Mr. Pangalos said it constitutes the reaction of the Turkish people to the so-called democracy their politicians are offering to them.

    Mr. Pangalos left Bratislava for the Caucasus region yesterday afternoon to pay official visits to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. He will also sign a series of bilateral agreements in these countries.

    [11] European official to visit Athens

    Brussels, 09/04/1997 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    The president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Tom Jenkins, will pay an official visit to Greece on April 15 and have talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    The dispatch said Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Simitis will have the opportunity to exchange views on the participation of socio-professional agencies in the decision-taking process at a European level.

    They are also expected to discuss the positions and institutional role of the European Economic and Social Committee within the framework of negotiations at the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    During his stay in Athens, Mr. Jenkins will also meet with Professor Ioannis Koukiadis, president of the Greek Economic and Social Committee.

    [12] Apostolakis in US to look at WEU-NATO co-operation

    New York, 09/04/1997 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Defense Under-secretary Dimitris Apostolakis, currently heading a Western European Union delegation to the US within the framework of the WEU's Transatlantic Forum, said the visit was designed to find ways the European Union's defense wing could work together with NATO towards peace, stability and security in Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals.

    "Greece assumes the WEU presidency on January 1, 1998. The purpose of our visit here is to have contacts with various US officials and to answer any questions... the American public might have about the WEU's intentions, chiefly with regard to NATO," the under-secretary said in an interview in New York on Monday.

    He stressed there were no differences of opinion between the two defense organizations.

    "We are particularly interested in the ways these two organizations can co-operate... we simply want to ensure that the way in which expansion towards the east will occur, the way new countries are included in the Atlantic Alliance, will result in as few 'tremors' and concerns as possible on the part of Russia, which of course is interested in what happens around it," explained Mr. Apostolakis.

    He added that progress had been made and the details were expected to be worked out easily.

    [13] Meeting on southeastern European stability held in Skopje

    Skopje, 09/04/1997 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    A meeting on "Stability and Good Neighborliness in Southeastern Europe" was held in Skopje yesterday in the framework of the Royaumont Initiative.

    About 30 delegations from European countries, the United States, the European Union and the OSCE, among others, participated.

    The meeting focused on a general review of good neighborliness, the contribution of the media to stability and inter-regional dialogue, contacts and co-operation in sectors such as education, the society of citizens, an exchange of information on economic co-operation initiatives and stability measures in the security sector.

    Greece participated with a five-member representation headed by the chief of its liaison office in Skopje, Ambassador Alexandros Mallias.

    [14] Greek-Turkish issues dominate G. Papandreou, van Mierlo meeting

    Noordwijk, The Netherlands 09/04/1997 (ANA - S. Sideris)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou held a meeting yesterday with the acting president of the EU Council of Ministers and Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo.

    Presenting Greece's positions during the meeting, Mr. Papandreou said Athens would be positive regarding a European orientation for Turkey and the institutionalization of a special EU-Turkish relationship, as long as there were positive developments on the Cyprus problem and on the condition that Turkey accepts July 15 EU resolution for the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations.

    Sources said the Dutch presidency is determined to continue its initiatives for normalization of Greek-Turkish relations. Within this framework, Mr. van Mierlo is sending three envoys to Ankara and Athens, today and tomorrow, respectively. In Athens, Mr. van Mierlo's envoys will meet with Mr. Papandreou.

    The envoys' mission to the two capitals is to present a new set of ideas for the formulation of a committee or committees to help normalize relations between Turkey and Greece.

    [15] Foreign ministry dismisses Turkish protests of pseudo-mufti's conviction

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry yesterday dismissed as "groundless" protests by Ankara over the recent sentencing of a Thrace man to 20 months imprisonment for usurping religious authority.

    Mehmet Aga was sentenced by a Lamia court earlier this month for unlawfully using the title of "mufti" when signing messages to Greece's Moslem minority in Thrace.

    The Turkish foreign ministry on Monday claimed that Aga's conviction illustrated that Greece was "using the legal machine to wear down the rights of the 'Turkish' minority of western Thrace."

    However, foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas underlined that the procedure for electing a mufti in Greece was the same as that applying all over the world, as well as in Turkey, "where muftis are appointed, not elected."

    Refuting Turkey's invocation of the Treaty of Lausanne in criticizing Greece, Mr. Bikas said the treaty in question did not refer to the election of muftis and countered by reminding Ankara of its failure to fulfill its obligations towards the Greeks of Istanbul, of Imvros and of Tenedos, "obligations which indeed emanate from the Treaty of Lausanne."

    Mr. Bikas said that the dramatic reduction of the Greek population in Turkey after the 1923 treaty in any case spoke for itself.

    "According to the law in force since 1991, muftis are chosen by a committee made up exclusively of Moslems. Their selection is then submitted for approval to the minister of education and religious affairs. This procedure is the same as that in effect all over the world, including Turkey, where muftis are appointed, not elected. In addition, in Greece muftis also have judicial duties which emanate from sacred Islamic texts," Mr. Bikas said.

    The spokesman emphasized that in the event of usurpation of religious authority, such as that of the mufti, it was clear that offenders would suffer the consequences of the law in order to protect the standing of the legitimate mufti.

    [16] Several G. Papandreou proposals accepted at EU-Group of Rio conference

    Noordwijk, 09/04/1997 (ANA - S. Sideris)

    The work of the European Union's ministerial conference and the Group of Rio Countries was completed yesterday with the signing of a joint proclamation.

    Issues concerning the development of Latin American countries and co-operation with EU countries were also examined.

    Addressing the session, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the EU's contribution must be supported and widened for the purpose of mutual interest.

    Mr. Papandreou said top priority must be given to the protection of the environment, especially tropical forests, adding that it is necessary for the EU's economic aid to Latin American countries to also be directed toward the sectors of education, improving nutrition, securing better health services and combating crime.

    He made special reference to the problem of drugs and to a conference Greece will organize in Athens from June 20-22, in co-operation with the Dutch presidency, on the issue of illegal drugs. The Greek minister invited Latin American countries to attend the Athens conference. The proposal was accepted.

    He also proposed an improvement in co-operation between the EU and Latin American countries on developing informatics and telecommunications technology. These proposals were likewise accepted.

    [17] Karamanlis outlines several proposals for reorganization of higher education

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday addressed a meeting of the ND-affiliated DAP-NDFK student group at the Athens University's law school, in light of today's student elections.

    He called on students to participate in the elections, saying: "abstention means yes to the bad state of affairs, misery and retrogression."

    Speaking of the need for innovations in the institutional framework of higher education, Mr. Karamanlis proposed establishment of private non-profit institutions, administrative and economic independence for universities, direct financing for students, the granting of loans to students, a textbook guideline, alternative methods of examination, incentives for learning computer skills and university-affiliated job placement offices.

    [18] Simitis, Skandalidis meeting

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis held a meeting yesterday focusing on current developments on a variety of issues.

    Asked to elaborate on the government's positions concerning social dialogue, Mr. Skandalidis told reporters afterwards that these will be formulated on Thursday during a mixed group of government and PASOK party officials.

    [19] Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline discussed at EU-sponsored conference

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    A two-day conference on security and protection of the environment from overland oil pipelines and sea terminals ended in Alexandroupolis yesterday.

    The conference, organized by the European Commission in the framework of the "Thermie" program, was attended by more than 100 representatives of Greek and foreign companies active in the construction and management of oil and gas distribution networks.

    A preliminary study on the environmental implications of the proposed Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline was presented at the conference, as well as its significance for local communities and co-operation in the political, social, economic and energy sectors in the Balkans.

    Meanwhile, an ANA dispatch from Sofia yesterday reported that Bulgarian Public Works Minister Nikola Karantimov said the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project will be revised.

    "Before we proceed to official negotiations with Greece and Russia, we must clarify the political and economic aspects of the project," Mr. Kantamirov was quoted as saying, and adding that a new technical and economic study was required for Bulgarian interests.

    Another report stated that Russia and Bulgaria yesterday arrived at an agreement regarding the development of a network for the transportation and supply of Russian natural gas to Bulgaria.

    The agreement will be signed by Bulgarian Prime Ministers Stefan Sofianksi and his Russian counterpart Victor Chernomyrdin during the former's upcoming visit to Moscow.

    [20] Tzoumakas proposals to EU

    Strasbourg, 09/04/1997 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler yesterday suggested that experts study a series of proposals submitted by Greek Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas concerning various farm products of interest to Greece.

    Mr. Tzoumakas proposed, among others, the payment of subsidies directly to the producer regarding cotton, industrially processed tomatoes and peaches, the distribution of fines when quotas are exceeded proportionately and each country's national price, and the carrying out of two estimates (instead of one) regarding the volume of production for the minimization of the margin of error when fines are imposed.

    [21] Labor ministry leadership confers with PM

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou and undersecretaries Christos Protopapas and Nikos Farmakis met yesterday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to discuss preparations for today's meeting at the labor ministry which will effectively begin social dialogue between the government, unions and employers.

    There were no statements after the meeting but sources said the meeting decided on more "flexible" timetable for the dialogue, with a more gradual dealing of the labor relations and social insurance issues being attempted, which, it is hoped, will offset reactions from unions and to ensure a greater consensus.

    [22] Niles broaches US copyright issue with Yiannopoulos

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    US Ambassador to Greece Thomas Niles yesterday visited Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos to raise the issue of intellectual property rights and the loss being incurred by US beneficiaries from the illegal use of films and music.

    According to a justice ministry announcement, Mr. Yiannopoulos told Mr. Niles that a bill to be voted on in Parliament in the next few days contained a provision foreseeing the establishment of special divisions at the first instance courts of Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus to hear intellectual property cases. Similar divisions will also be set up at appeals courts, the announcement said.

    [23] Business-related data bank

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    The Athens Chamber of Small Manufacturers (BEA) has set up a data bank complete with options for business co-operation with prospective partners abroad. The bank provides information on foreign importers, those interested in participating in trade fairs an d missions abroad. For more information call 36.35.313-9.

    [24] Greece 'dying', demographic study shows

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Greece is heading with mathematical precision towards the "abyss" of demographic disaster due to the country's extremely low birth rate and gradual aging of the population, according to a study carried out over four years by Greek-American professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of California, Mihalis Giokas.

    The findings of the study will be presented at the 3rd Science conference of Medical Students of Greece and the 3rd Paneuropean Conference of Medical Students which will be held from April 11-13 at Ayia Pelagia, Iraklion.

    According to the study, Greece has a birth rate of just 1.4 per cent - one of the lowest in Europe - which, together with the 300,000 abortions annually, and the 4,000 deaths and 38,000 injuries in road accidents each year "will most certainly lead to biological decline and to fundamental and undesirable changes in Greek society".

    In the introductory part of his findings, Mr. Giokas underlines that "only a small percentage of the people and leadership have realized the enormous danger facing the country".

    The majority of Greeks are unconcerned, Mr. Giokas says, even though the figures clearly show that Greece is slowly dying.

    According to Mr. Giokas's calculations, if the birth rate remains at the same low level (1.3-1.4 per cent), Greece's population in the year 2015 will be reduced by 500,000 as compared to today.

    By way of comparison, Turkey, despite all its problems, will have an estimated population of 91.8 million.

    [25] Gov't readies bill on opinion polls

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    The government intends to draw up a bill defining the framework governing opinion polls, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said yesterday.

    Mr. Papadopoulos called on all parties to contribute towards formulating the bill's clauses to enable it to constitute a shield against "expro-priation" of politics being attempted by many sides.

    He made his announcement during a discussion on a draft proposal made by the main opposition New Democracy party on "regulating the carrying out and publication of opinion polls."

    ND speaker Manolis Kefaloyiannis proposed creating a "national opinion poll committee" to be responsible for controlling all opinion polls. He said that in this way the effort to manipulate information and victimize citizens will be repelled.

    Mr. Papadopoulos proposed instead of creating this committee to have an inter-party committee to control the way with which political opinion polls are conducted.

    [26] Meeting of women from eastern Aegean

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    Female residents from the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Hios, Samos, Ikaria and the Asia Minor coast will have a three day meeting in Samos starting on Saturday.

    The meeting will take place at the initiative of the Hios Women Association, the Samos Progressive Women Movement and the Lesvos Progressive Women Movement.

    The meeting will focus on common problems and social policies in education and employment issues.

    [27] President to meet with opposition leader

    Athens, 09/04/1997 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will meet today with Coalition of the Left and Progress Nikos Constantopoulos who will brief the president on the party's positions on foreign and national policy.

    End of English language section.


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