Reding said later the 2004 Olympic Games should and can have a great success for Greece and for this reason the European authorities are helping in this direction to show that Europe is capable of handling such cases.
She focused in particular on the "big scourge" of athletics, doping, saying that "we should make people embrace the idea of 'fair play' in athletics." She added that the 2004 Olympic Games would constitute the point at which the EU will show zero tolerance on doping issues.
On her part, Daskalaki referred to the benefits Greece has obtained from the EU, in the form of Community Support Frameworks, adding that Greece should further tighten its bonds with Europe in various sectors.
Daskalaki agreed with Reding on the issue of information being provided, primarily for young people, on Olympic ideals through education and expressed her great satisfaction for her support.
Meanwhile, the two-day informative meeting between the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee and Athens hoteliers reached a successful conclusion. The Sydney Organizing Committee held the meeting in the framework of the official briefing and account of the 2000 Olympic Games.
The Sydney Hospitality and Residence Director, Lani Sullivan, was present, while more than 100 representatives of hotel businesses also attended the meeting.
Reding also met on Tuesday with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and discussed issues regarding preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
She stressed that European Union member-states should coordinate their efforts to effectively combat doping in sports especially in light of the Athens 2004 Games.
"I have declared along with the sports ministers (of the Union) that in the Athens Games we will not tolerate any doping. We have begun our work at the international anti-doping agency, following pressure applied by Europeans," Reding said.
"At the same time we are active in developing our own anti-doping program in Europe, with the participation of all countries and relevant athletic organizations," she added.
On his part, Venizelos lauded Reding's work, making special mention of her bucketful efforts to name 2004 as European Culture Year.
Athens 2004 Olympiad Organizing Committee President indicates no cause of concern with Olympic Village: Athens 2004 Olympiad Organizing Committee President Yianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki and visiting International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sports Director Gilbert Fely indicated on Tuesday that all is well and there is no cause for concern regarding the Olympic Village.
Fely replied to "doubts" expressed by Sydney Olympic Village Mayor Graham Richardson and expressed optimism that the Olympic Village projects will be completed in time and there will be no problem.
"The Greeks are not doing well. They are facing terrible problems, which, of course, should not surprise us. The IOC should take its measures and I am not speaking of economic support but that it should play an active role in the tournament. I would advise the Greeks to obtain a head like the one we had (meaning Michael Night)," Richardson had said.
However, David Richmond, the head of the Sydney 2000 Organizing Committee (SOGOC), said Richardson is evidently inadequately informed on the course of projects in Athens.
Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas, Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi and about 30 businessmen accompany the premier on his visit to the Hungary, a candidate member-state to the European Union.
On Tuesday night the Greek premier was due to meet with Greek-Hungarian community leaders and Hungary's Socialist Party President Lazlo Kovac.
On Wednesday he will begin his meetings with Hungarian government officials.
Greece will resolve pension problems of Greeks in eastern Europe wishing to repatriate, Simitis says: Greece will resolve the insurance and pension problems of Greeks that left the country following the civil war of the 1940s, are residing in Eastern European countries and wish to repatriate, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis promised on Tuesday during his meeting with Greek community leaders in Hungary.
Simitis visited with Greeks residing at the village "Nikos Beloyiannis" in Hungary and stressed to them that they may return to Greece whenever they wish "as Greece awaits them".
He added that the prefectures of Greece were collecting data on Greeks living in eastern Europe, so that the government could undertake a legislative initiative.
On Wednesday Simitis will meet with Hungarian government officials.
According to the spokesman, Greece's position is clear and it believes that the partnership agreement must reflect the spirit and the letter of the Helsinki decisions. "We seek nothing more and will settle for nothing less," he said.
Reppas described the Helsinki agreement as a "landmark decision," saying that it encapsulated all the rules that must govern relations between the members of the European Union. He criticized the stance of certain Turkish politicians, who do not fully accept the Helsinki decisions, as "inconceivable".
Asked if Greece would use its veto if the partnership agreement did not make the references it wanted, Reppas said that the document would be rejected if it was not fully compatible with the Helsinki decisions. He stressed that these should be reproduced entirely and that the text of the partnership agreement could neither contradict this nor alter their meaning.
He did not, however, rule out the possibility that the signing of the partnership agreement text would be postponed until the upcoming Swedish presidency.
"The government expects that the issue that came about with the so-called royal estate will be with us a great deal in the near future," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.
On Monday, Greece announced that it will not negotiate "with those that turn against it," a reference to Constantine.
From London on Monday, the former Greek king -- who fled the country in December 1967 after a botched attempt to overthrow a military dictatorship instituted a few months earlier -- stated that he is not considering the option of removing the title "ex-king of Greece" he uses to this day and of adding a surname.
"It's too early to deal with this issue at present," was his statement.
Conversely, he emphasized that he recognizes Greece's form of government - a presidential republic.
"The people have decided; the form of government has been solved and I respect the Constitution of Greece," he added.
The 60-year-old Constantine added that an international firm has assessed the value of the contested properties at 180 billion drachmas ($450 million), while he said he isn't aware of any taxes owed to the Greek state.
The ECHR last Thursday ruled by 15-2 that Athens violated Article 1 of the first protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the right of property. The court said it would examine the issue of compensation for the members of the ex-royal family at a later date, whereas the government has warned that Constantine is liable for taxes on the seized property if the ECHR grants compensation.
Constantine has demanded US1.4 billion dollars compensation for the contested properties, namely, the Tatoi country estate outside northern Athens, the Mon Repos summer palace on the Ionian island of Corfu and the Polidendri forest estate in the foothills of Mount Olympus.
The Greek government had seized these on the grounds that Constantines ancestors obtained them under dubious circumstances and had never really been private property, but public property set aside for the use of the royal family.
The ex-monarch, his sister Irene and his aunt Ekaterini, had taken their case before a European human rights tribunal in Strasbourg in 1994, claiming that the Greek state had violated their rights to family life, dignified treatment, access to the courts and their property.
The 1967-74 Greek military junta first seized the properties, while the monarchy was abolished in a referendum after the fall of the military regime. In 1979, the expropriation of the land was overturned and then seized again in 1994 by the then newly elected PASOK government.
The French EU Presidency's "approach" to the issue, based primarily on legislative settlements through the issuing of directives, met with strong reaction from many countries and relevant Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou.
As a result, a compromise solution was being sought to enable the "Social Agenda" to be ultimately ratified at the Nice summit in early December.
Referring to the amendment of French proposals, Giannitsis spoke of a "more moderate approach of open coordination" which will respond to the spirit of Lisbon, which was the starting point for the "Social Agenda."
Recommendations for Greece concerning structural problems in the Greek labor market noted long-term unemployment and unemployment among young people and women remain high and exceed EU averages.
However, Giannitsis said Greece's effort was acknowledged on employment and the country's particularities due to immigrants and the mass influx of women into the labor market, which increase unemployment rates.
Speaking in an interview with a TV channel, Karamanlis said ND would achieve its goal of creating a majority government "no matter what the obstacles."
Karamanlis commented on the Athens Stock Exchange, saying the prime minister used to say that it would have a steady upward trend after the elections and as a result 33 trillion drachmas were lost through the greater reallocation of income at the expense of the many and the weaker classes.
He accused the government of making unilateral concessions on national issues and criticized the decision reached at the European Union's Helsinki summit, speaking of mistakes in strategy.
Karamanlis said nobody disagrees with Turkey's European vocation on condition that it accepts international treaties, adding that this is not indicated by Turkey's position, which shows a provocative attitude.
On the question of ex-King Constantine's property, Karamanlis said the country's form of government is steadfast and it is not in danger and that an ND government has given the solution to the issue 25 years ago.
Karamanlis said a solution should be given to the problem based on international legality and not at the expense of the Hellenic state. He said a compromise should be reached, adding that historic responsibilities are one thing and the legal problem, which has arisen, is another.
He further said that Constantine should be treated as a private citizen on the basis of legal preconditions a private citizen should have.
"The course of Turkey to the European Union demands the support of that country toward the resolution of the Cyprus problem, so Cyprus may enter the Union as a whole, where the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots may have a common country with democracy, in conditions where the European ideals and values can be achieved," Tsohatzopoulos said upon his arrival.
Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis also proposed the signing of an agreement for bilateral law enforcement cooperation, akin to pacts Greece has with another 35 countries in the world. According to reports, the proposal was well received by the new Kostunica government.
Chrysohoidis was received by, among others, Yugoslav Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic and transitional Serbian government deputy president Stefan Nikcevic.
The latest trip by a key Greek minister to Belgrade in the wake of Slobodan Milosevic's election defeat and a new federal government led by Vojislav Kostunica falls in line with Athens' recently enunciated policy of bolstering Yugoslavia's post-Milosevic reconstruction.
The Greek minister echoed Athens' newly invigorated support for Belgrade -- a traditional Balkan ally -- in his statements, adding that any law enforcement cooperation pact will include initiatives envisioning specialized training for Yugoslav personnel and efforts to more fully democratize its ranks, as well as tighter patrolling of external borders.
Additionally, Chrysohoidis said Athens would propose that a portion of the Stability Pact, namely, programs funded by Greece's public order ministry, be implemented in Yugoslavia.
On his part, Zivkovic underlined the significance that a return to international organizations and fora entails for the Yugoslav government, while specifically citing Greece's contribution to efforts at reinstating Yugoslavia to Interpol.
Finally, Chrysohoidis told reporters that he was briefed by his Yugoslav counterpart on a series of recent attacks in southern Serbia by ethnic Albanians gangs operating from the NATO- and UN-administered province of Kosovo.
Ioannis Aniktomatis, who has become governor of the Northern Territory, was born in Greece in 1955 and immigrated to Australia at the age of nine.
Since 1991, he has been Greece's honorary consul in Darwin.
Papantoniou told reporters that the meeting had been a "general briefing" on the economic affairs, adding that the Third Community Support Framework (CSF-3) for Greece signed Monday in Brussels had also been discussed.
The Third CSF, signed by Papantoniou on behalf of the Greek government and EU regional policy commissioner Michel Barnier on behalf of the EU, envisions a funding package of 44.29 billion euros for 2000-2006 that will aid growth in Greek regions lagging the rest of the 15-nation bloc.
Of the total financing package, around 22.71 billion euros will come from the EU's budget with the balance provided almost equally by the Greek state (11.20 billion euros) and private sector (10.38 billion euros).
Papantoniou said after his meeting with the premier that it was the "obligation of all of us to succeed in the task of absorbing the Community funds" earmarked for Greece.
Turning to Monday's meetings of the EU economy and finance (ECOFIN) ministers and of the Eurogroup in Brussels, Papantoniou said that despite the fact that petrol prices were particularly high and the euro rate was low, this would not particularly influence the course of development.
The current French EU presidency introduced the name "Eurogroup" for the informal meetings of the 11 euro-zone finance ministers, who gather ahead of the monthly council of all EU economy and finance ministers (ECOFIN).
Papantoniou said that the growth rate for the EU was anticipated at 3.1 percent, adding that Greece was classed among the member states that were effectively confronting the "economic crisis".
Turning to the Athens bourse, Papantoniou said that the low prices of many shares provided numerous investment opportunities, and expressed his belief that the ASE would enjoy a positive course.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to discuss economic prospects and developments in the stock market, Papantoniou said he was confident that the Athens bourse would recover from its current low levels.
"The recovery will be based on the perception that share prices are currently at very attractive levels," he said and urged for investors to adopt this view.
"The sooner this view is adopted, the better the stock market will perform," Papantoniou noted.
The inflation rate would remain at relatively high levels as long as oil prices remained high and the US dollar was strong against the euro, national economy minister said.
He reassured, however, that a high inflation rate could not negatively affect the country's economy. "Greece is among EU states that resisted more effectively to an international oil crisis," Papantoniou stressed.
Referring to an approval of a Third Community Framework by the EU, Papantoniou said it was "an historic day for Greece.
Traders said sentiment was hit by rumors that National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou had resigned, which burdened the already negative climate on the market.
A new cut in interest rates by the Bank of Greece and comments made by Mr. Papantoniou that current share prices offered investment opportunities, were largely ignored by investors who continued liquidating positions in smaller capitalization stocks.
The general index ended at 3,213.42 points, losing 2.98 percent, but off the day's lows of 3,205.40 points. The index is now 42 percent lower from the beginning of the year.
Turnover was a low 59.85 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 2.81 percent off at 1,839.54 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 4.25 percent to 381.68 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 6,744.88 -2.28% Leasing: 555.73 -2.07% Insurance: 1,490.30 -2.88% Investment: 1,116.27 -3.86% Construction: 1,156.83 -6.43% Industrials: 1,964.62 -3.49% Miscellaneous: 2,940.13 -3.95% Holding: 3,970.44 -2.44%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 6.94 percent lower at 322.62 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 338 to 17 with another two issues unchanged.
Piraeus Leasing, Hellenic Telecoms, National Bank, Aspis Bank and Intracom were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 12,360 Alpha Bank: 12,050 Commercial Bank: 15,955 Eurobank: 8,700 Piraeus Bank: 4,925 Lambrakis Press: 4,935 Heracles Cement: 5,100 Titan Cement (c): 13,500 Hellenic Telecoms: 5,510 Panafon: 2,800 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,555 Attica Enterprises: 2,855 Intracom: 7,790 Minoan Lines: 1,900 Hellenic Bottling: 5,230
Equity futures end down, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Tuesday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 2.81 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 4.25 percent lower.
Turnover was 16.4 billion drachmas.
A total of 3,462 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 13.0 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 2,142 contracts changed hands on turnover of 3.3 billion drachmas.
Bond prices jump in heavy trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished higher in heavy trade with mass buying seen in long-term securities.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.819 percent, the same for three sessions.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 68 basis points from 69 basis points a day earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 206 billion drachmas from 18 billion drachmas in the session before.
Buy orders accounted for around 90 percent of trade.
Greek long-term yields fall substantially: Greek long-term yields fell substantially during Tuesday's regular auction of state securities by the Public Debt Management Organization.
The average weighed yield of a 10year bond, worth 250 billion drachmas and paying an annual coupon of 6.0 percent, fell to 5.77 percent, from 5.98 percent in the previous auction of same bonds on October 3, 2000.
Bids submitted totalled 1.14 trillion drachmas, almost five times more than the asked sum.
The central bank's monetary policy council, in its regular meeting, decided to cut its 14-day intervention rates from 7.0 to 6.5 percent and the overnight rate from 6.0 to 5.5 percent.
The bank also announced a cut in its Lombard rate from 7.75 to 7.25 percent.
More specifically, the real prices of plant products increased 0.7 percent and those of animal products by 3.4 percent in Greece in 2000 compared to 1999.
Real farm prices among the EU's 15 member-states remained substantively unchanged, increasing by 0.1 percent in 2000 compared to 1999.
Real farm prices of plant products decreased 4.1 percent in the EU in 2000, while the real farm prices of animal products increased 4.3 percent.
The regulations, approved by the Parliament's relevant committee, provides for Greek ships to enter Cypriot ports and immediately after to enter Turkish ports. This agreement is unprecedented.
However, Merchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis made note that Turkey is not maintaining agreements on the curbing of the influx of illegal immigrants to Greece.
The development ministry will provide 145.8 billion drachmas and the private sector 161 billion drachmas to fund the investment proposals.
Among schemes eligible for backing are the creation of high-tech companies that aim to apply commercially the findings of research.
Investment proposals may be submitted from January 2001.
The ministry expects around 500 new firms to be set up leading to the creation of about 3,000 jobs.
The funding is also destined for existing small, very small and medium sized enterprises that are seeking to improve their production methods.
ND's spokeswoman for the sector, Marietta Yiannakou, said after the meetings that the government had left too little time for its dialogue on the bill with the Federation of Greek Industry and General Confederation of Workers of Greece.
The bill would also fail to boost employment, Yiannakou said.
The announcement says that the find was of singular importance, since the 2.30-metre, 750-kg statue is in excellent condition and was made at the dawn of monumental Greek sculpture.
Found during the excavation of a tomb in Sellada, in digs being supervised by archaeologist Haralambos Sigalas, the statue is almost intact except for one arm and the tip of the nose. It appears to have fallen almost immediately after being placed on its pedestal and may not have undergone the final polishing process.
The project has been activated as of April 4 and has been planned to treat up to 200,000 cubic meters of sewage a day. The sewage is cleansed of pollutants by up to 95 percent and piped into the depths of the Thermaikos Gulf with a conduit about eight km long on land and another 2.5 km in the sea.
Addressing a special ceremony, Laliotis referred to the project's beneficial results for both the Thermaikos Gulf and the citizens of Thessaloniki, who have been inconvenienced for years by the bad smell coming from the sea.
Laliotis further said the cleansing of the Thermaikos Gulf would also contribute to the development of coastal regions, which had lost the character of a resort since the early '80s due to the increased pollution of the sea.
Athens University Professor Thanos Veremis was chosen to be the first chairman at the Medford, Massachusetts-based University. The post will be a rotating one allowing for several scholars to teach and perform research on related subjects.
The professorship is the first component of a future center for Hellenic Studies and Southeastern European Studies at Tufts.
"This a brilliant example of cooperation on the scholarly level between our two countries. By endowing this chair, the Karamanlis Foundation and its many Greek and American contributors have demonstrated their commitment to the serious study of regional politics," US Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns said after attending the reception given by President Stephanopoulos on November 23.
The president recalled that it has already been decided that the Cyprus solution is to take into full consideration UN resolutions.
The president was invited to comment on public statements by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash that he would not attend the January proximity talks in Geneva unless his breakaway regime in the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 is recognized.
Denktash has also said the yearlong UN sponsored meetings have been a waste of time and nothing has come out of the talks so far.
"No comment," President Clerides said of Denktash's remarks.
Asked if he believed Denktash will at the end of the day turn up in Geneva, the President replied: "It is no concern of mine if Mr. Denktash goes to the talks or not, he is the one who is dealing with the matter."
Invited to say what the government is doing on this, he replied, "our side is doing exactly what it has to do, without any fanfare."
"It is high time everybody understands that foreign policy is not carried out for local consumption but for a successful outcome," he added, noting that foreign policy "has to be well organized and carried out quietly."
Replying to other questions, relating to the terms under which the UN called this latest round of proximity talks last December, the president said "the decisions already taken state that the solution of the Cyprus problem has to take into full consideration the UN resolutions."
"It appears that Mr. Denktash does not wish to take into full consideration the resolutions," he said.
UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has conducted five rounds of proximity talks since last December during which he has handed over to the parties numerous non papers on the core issues under discussion (constitution, territory, security, property-refugees).
A new round of talks is set of late January in Geneva.
The UN envoy is already in Europe where he is seeing French foreign ministry officials in Paris, which holds the six-monthly rotating European Union presidency, before moving on to Athens and Ankara for talks.
On Monday morning President Clerides will receive him and later on he will meet Denktash.
He plans to give a press conference on Tuesday, having concluded most of his meetings on the island.
De Soto is also due to have a meeting with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
His visit comes at a poignant time after declarations by Denktash that he would not attend the next round of proximity talks, scheduled for late January in Geneva, unless his illegal regime in Turkish occupied Cyprus is recognized.
Moreover, in the next several days, the UN is expected to issue a report by the Secretary General on Cyprus, the EU will review the text of its partnership agreement with Turkey and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is to examine ways for the execution by Turkey of a Court judgment in a case of human rights violations of a Greek Cypriot.
De Soto has already conducted five rounds of proximity talks, since last December when the UN launched its latest initiative on Cyprus with a view of reaching a comprehensive settlement on the island, divided since Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of its territory in 1974.
In a joint statement adopted on Tuesday at the close of the two-day meeting, hosted by the Cyprus House of Representatives in the southern coastal town of Limassol, the participants expressed the strong belief that those countries that have successfully completed their accession negotiations and are ready for accession should join the EU by January 1st 2003.
The joint statement issued at the end of the meeting says the view was expressed that the Intergovernmental Conference must be successfully completed at the Nice Summit, next month, "in order to keep the enlargement process on track and at the same time allow the Union to guarantee the smooth functioning and further development of the process of European integration."
The Presidents agreed to hold their next meeting in Bratislava, in the spring of 2001.
Parliamentary delegations from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia participated in the meeting. The Turkish parliament did not send a delegation, prompting criticism from both the Cyprus House and other participants.