|Thursday, 21 March 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-10-18
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Simitis cites need for EU-wide asylum, immigration policiesTAMPERE, Finland (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) P Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday summarised the conclusions of a special EU summit here by saying that the meeting had given a "new direction" to EU policies.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Simitis said the summit had made it clear that the Union could and must deal with issues which are of interest to the daily lives of European citizens.
The aim of the summit, he said, was to secure "an area of freedom, security and justice in the EU".
Among the issues discussed, he added, was a charter for the fundamental rights of the European citizen, which would have constitutional value and constitute a supplement to existing EU conventions.
The premier said EU leaders had also discussed issues related to the granting of asylum by member-states, emigration to the EU and the combatting of organised crime.
"In Greece, on a daily basis we face a situation in which hundreds of people are arriving either from the Middle East or Europe, and we believe that the EU must tackle this issue," Mr. Simitis said, adding that a draft law was being prepared in Greece on the country's immigration policy.
The Greek prime minister said a uniform Community policy on granting political asylum vis-a-vis third countries was also needed. This, he continued, is of particular importance for Greece, given that the country accounts for 35 per cent of th e Community's borders.
Mr. Simitis said Greece had expressed its support in Tampere for the undertaking of an initiative by the EU for the signing of bilateral agreements between the Community and non-EU members concerning the repatriation of illegal immigrants. On effor ts to combat money laundering, Mr. Simitis indicated that Greek legislation might have to be adapted to render it more effective.
-- Final declaration --
The final declaration called for legislation to create a uniform asylum status and gave the European Commission, the EU's executive, one year to make proposals on the legislation.
It demanded a clear definition of responsibilities for the examination of asylum applications, common standards for a fair and efficient asylum procedure, uniform minimum conditions of reception for asylum seekers and the approximation of rules on the r ecognition and content of refugee status.
EU leaders called for greater effort to reach agreement on temporary protection for displaced persons and said the European Commission should adopt legislation on this before June 2000.
But they failed to agree on creation of a fund to help member states cope with asylum seekers and refugees, especially in emergencies. They managed to agree only to consider creating a special reserve fund for such purposes. -- ND barrage against PM over Tampere summit--
The main opposition New Democracy party on Saturday vehemently condemned the prime minister over his handling of Ankara's request to acquire EU candidate status, during the special EU Tampere summit over the weekend.
ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said in a statement that Prime Minister Costas Simitis handled the issue "in an irresponsible, immature and, finally, dangerous manner".
The candidacy proposal was submitted by Commission President Romano Prodi, who said the Commission wished to open Turkey's European prospects, and that the country should satisfy accession criteria during the pre-accession phase. Athens News Agency
 New unmanned aircraft prototype developed by Univ. of CreteA prototype of a "smart airplane" which can fly without a pilot and transmit information from a height of 25,000 feet and within a radius of 200 kilometres has been constructed by the University of Crete, in cooperation with the 3 Sigma firm.
Dubbed the "Nearchos", the aircraft is currently on show at the "EMEX '99" commercial trade exhibition in Hania.
It has a length of five metres and a wing span of 6.5 metres and can reach speeds of up to 215 kms per hour.
Under normal conditions, the Nearchos can fly for eight hours on its own power. It was developed in the framework of a new "smart system" for unmanned aircraft and cost 80 million drachmas to construct. The plane is linked with ground control th rough a satellite transmission. It is also programmed for safe landing with parachutes if low on fuel.
Athens News Agency
 Lipponen: 'Specific steps, actions' necessary for Turkey's EU prospectsTAMPERE (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) - Current European Council president and Finnish PM Paavo Lipponen stressed here that Turkey should proceed with "specific steps and actions" for any positive step at the upcoming Helsinki summit regarding Ankara's EU acce ssion prospects.
Mr. Lipponen was speaking to reporters on Saturday over the issue of EU- Turkey relations.
"We would like to take a positive decision at the Helsinki summit on Turkey's candidacy. However, for this to happen Turkey should go ahead with specific steps and actions," he told a press conference after the Tampere summit.
Mr. Lipponen said the climate is hopeful at present concerning the EU's relations with Turkey. Similar statements were made by European Commission President Romano Prodi and French President Jacques Chirac, who said that Turkey can receive the nominatio n of a candidate country. However, Ankara should make certain moves in the direction of its democratisation.
Athens News Agency
 Cyprus on results of Tampere summitNICOSIA (CNA/ANA) - The Cyprus government considers that the result of Friday night's special summit of EU leaders in Finland gives Greece more chances to successfully secure the policies which would pave the way to a Cyprus settlement.
Speaking to CNA, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said it is "evident from the statements of various European leaders after the Tampere meeting that the Cyprus problem is at the centre of the concerns of the European Union in regard with Turkey' s possible candidature".
"This gives the Greek side better chances to adopt those policies which will open the road for a Cyprus settlement, without any intention to punish anyone."
Diplomats said the Helsinki summit is likely to meet Turkey's long-standing request to be recognised as an EU candidate, although it will not let Ankara start membership talks before fulfilling the criteria set out by previous EU summits.
A formal decision on which countries will be invited for accession talks will be made by EU leaders at their Helsinki summit on Dec. 10-11.
Athens News Agency
 Greek, Turkish journalists exchange views, agree to more contacts at Istanbul meetingISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) P Greek and Turkish journalists meeting here over the weekend said they would make more such joint meetings a regular occurrence. The meeting, organised by the Turkish Press Council, ended yesterday, and included the participation of 12 Greek and 17 Turkish print and broadcast reporters as well as several top media executives.
One of the decisions taken called for the establishment of a work group to coordinate further contacts and to lay the ground for a major conference on press issues.
The work group, comprising three Greek and three Turkish journalists, will meet in Athens on Nov. 26.
The Press Council is a non-governmental organisation which operates on a voluntary membership basis. It has as its aim the promotion of codes of conduct and the protection of the journalistic profession.
Oktai Eksy, the president of the Press Council, thanked the Greek journalists for their contribution and said the ties being developed could prove particularly useful and constructive in times of crisis or difficulty.
"We are certain that the tension between Greece and Turkey serves only those who draw profit from this situation," he said.
"What we were not able to manage over such a long time, we made a reality in a few seconds after the earthquakes," he said, referring to growing ties between Greek and Turkish groups in the wake of the human tragedies of the Aug. 17 and Sept. 7 quakes.
Greek Radio general director Yiannis Tzanetakos said that during the two- day meeting that "it was ascertained that an important part of the Turkish press world shares the same values and same anxieties as does a corresponding part of Greece's journalist s".
Taking part in the meeting on the Greek side were the general director of the Athens News Agency (ANA) Andreas Christodoulides; the general director of state-run New Greek Television (NET) Nikiforos Antonopoulos; the general director of Greek Radio Yian nis Tzanetakos; Flash radio station director Panos Koliopanos; A-Sky TV newscaster Nikos Evangelatos, ANT1 television reporter Nikos Megrelis, "To Vima" daily reporter Nikos Marakis, "Exousia" reporter Nikos Georgiadis and "Naftemporiki" reporter Korina Lampsa.
Athens News Agency
 Protest outside Souda BaySome 300 protesters gathered yesterday outside a naval facility used by US forces at Souda Bay, Crete, demanding an end to a US military presence at the site.
Demonstrators of the "anti-bases movement" also handed a resolution to the base commander.
A strong police presence was deployed at the site, although authorities said the rally was peaceful and without incident. Athens News Agency
 Twin Japanese victory at Grigoris Lambrakis marathonJapan's Masato Yonehara and Tamaki Okouno were the winners of the 17th annual Grigoris Lambrakis Peace Marathon yesterday, a race held along the classical route linking the ancient battle ground of Marathon in eastern Attica with the Panathenian Stadium i n Athens.
In the men's category, Mr. Yonehara finished the race at 2:18:35, while Greek runner Nikos Pollias, last year's winner, came in second. Vassilis Zabelis was third. Ms Okouno finished at 2:46:46.
The marathon honours Greek peace activist and left-wing Piraeus MP of the early 1960s Grigoris Lambrakis. Athens News Agency
 Papantoniou predicts lower interest rates by year's endNational Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou predicted lower interest rates before the end of the year, during a published newspaper interview yesterday.
Mr. Papantoniou said interest rates would fall by the end of the year but denied recent press reports of plans for a further reduction in the price of new cars.
He also predicted that the Athens Stock Exchange would continue to perform well over the next two years, while he claimed that the main opposition New Democracy party would work against Greece's Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) if ND came to power.
He gave the interview to the "Sunday Ethnos" paper. Athens News Agency
 Farm sector economy in light of 'Agenda 2000' discussedAgriculture Minister George Anomeritis and former minister Alekos Papadopoulos, among others, yesterday discussed prospects and orientations for the farm sector economy with agricultural officals from western Greece and in light of the "Agenda 2000".
The meeting was held at a hotel near Patra.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Papadopoulos said the agricultural economy was a major issue, adding that a constructive dialogue with farmers, which PASOK has scheduled and is implementing, is necessary to define future strategy.
Mr. Anomeritis said the government is now giving a say to farmers, opening dialogue in rural areas and local administration organisations. He also said regional agricultural policy councils will be announced over the next 20 days.
Mr. Anomeritis also noted that Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive the presidium of the PASEGES farmers' union tomorrow.
Athens News Agency
 Skandalidis optimistic over PASOK's prospectsPASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said over the weekend that positive results of the ruling party's policy are "becoming obvious even to the most doubtful."
Speaking in Volos yesterday, he added that voters have no reason to vote for a "conservative restoration", as he called it.
"We have achieved a development surplus which guarantees prosperity and security. On the contrary, the only thing the conservative side has to present is denial, outbidding and a sterile contest," he said.
According to Mr. Skandalidis, the share for weaker classes should increase in the above framework and return PASOK to the forefront of its initial ideas on the reallocation and redistribution of wealth and the social state with a protection index for al l citizens. The path cannot be the same as that of the '80s with the continuous payment of subsidies but should have the social state's accession to the country's overall development policy.
Speaking in Larissa on Saturday, Mr. Skandalidis said "a crusade is necessary to rally the agricultural world again" and expressed certainty that the farmers will support PASOK's course in the elections, whenever they are held. Athens News Agency
 Karamanlis heightens attack on transparency issue, gov't reactionMain opposition New Democr acy leader Costas Karamanlis confirmed ND's confrontation course with the government on the issue of transparency in managing public funds, according to evaluations by all sides.
In an interview published in the weekly newspaper "Ependytis" on Saturday, Mr. Karamanlis makes it clearly understood that this will be the main front of confrontation with the PASOK government.
On its part, the government reacted strongly with a statement by acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis, who accused the ND leader of bringing back scandal-mongering in political confrontation.
In his interview, Mr. Karamanlis expressed his intention to extend "the criticism and control of the government in all sectors of managing public funds."
He did not mention any specific sector but insists on promoting the "Olympic videolotto" controversy to spearhead confrontation with the government at the current stage.
Asked how far he is prepared to go, Mr. Karamanlis said "the struggle has only just sarted. We will have the knife reach the bone."
However, he added that "our aim is not the resurgence of the scandal- mongering of the past, which poisoned our political life so much."
On his part, Mr. Athanasakis said "Mr. Karamanlis proves that ND's so- called 'new start' merely means a new start to scandal-mongering. In this way he confirms the political deadlocks of a 'threadbare party' which is unable to confront politically, whic h is unable to have a say on programming and which is unable to meet the needs of the country and of the times." Athens News Agency
 Synaspismos to hold pre-electoral congress, not regular congressThe Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) will hold a "pre-electoral rally" congress in early December and not a regular congress, following a proposal by party leader Nikos Constantopoulos.
After two days of talks, and while a deadlock was visible, Mr. Constantopoulos convened a joint meeting of the party's political secretariat and Parliamentary group at noon yesterday where he proposed at the meeting that a congress pave the way for the elections.
After this development, the central political committee convened again and unanimously ratified the joint proposal by the political secretariat and Parliamentary group for a pre-electoral congress.
The Synaspismos' central committee kicked off on Saturday with a brief address by Mr. Constantopoulos.
Mr. Constantopoulos said that the party's target is to increase the percentage it polled in the 1996 elections, adding that "everything which will make things difficult for the Synaspismos on this course bears great responsibilities." Athens News Agency
 Iakovos to be honou red by SAEFormer Archbishop of North and South America Iakovos will be the guest of honour at the Dec. 5 convention of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), set for Thessaloniki.
Iakovos will be honoured by SAE for his years of long service to the expatriate Greek communities in the western hemisphere. Athens News Agency
 Kazantzakis the focus of literary evening in TiranaTIRANA (ANA - Ilir Patso) P A literary evening on well-known Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis was organised here on Saturday at the initiative of the Greek embassy, the Centre for Greek Civilisation and the Friends of Kazantzakis Foundation.
Greek ambassador to Tirana Alexandros Mallias noted that literature and culture, in general, would bring the two peoples closer, adding that cultural cooperation between Greece and Albania would continue. Athens News Agency/END