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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 01-02-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Simitis tells European Socialists that the new economy must have deep faith in real democracy
  • [02] EU foreign ministers express increasing concern over developments in southern Serbia
  • [03] Greek FM refers to situation in Balkans and name of FYROM in interview with Yugoslav news agency
  • [04] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos receives Austrian FM
  • [05] Vatican denies Pope will visit Greece on May 9-10
  • [06] ND leader certain his party will form the next government
  • [07] Greek delegation to have business contacts in Belgrade
  • [08] Patras traditional carnival parade composed of 35,000 disguised people
  • [09] Holiday road traffic death toll climbs to 32
  • [10] Crisis in Turkey affects Turkish occupied north

  • [01] PM Simitis tells European Socialists that the new economy must have deep faith in real democracy

    Athens, 27/02/2001 (ANA)

    A two-day conference organized in Athens by the ruling PASOK and the European Socialist Party on "The economy of knowledge, education and employment in Europe" ended at noon on Saturday with an address by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Earlier in the day, the conference was addressed by former Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema on the theme "The economy of knowledge and Southern Europe".

    In his speech, Prime Minister Simitis said that the message of the Socialists to the globalization of the new economy is that it should focus on dedication, progress, the protection of the weaker economic classes "and have deep faith in real democracy".

    "Our message, Simitis said, "is summarized on five central points:

    "Firstly, the new economy, the economy of knowledge has already started to be formed. Secondly, the society of knowledge, which will accompany it, is still far away. Thirdly, we cannot stand as simple observers without participating in the transformation of the society of knowledge.

    "As Socialists, we have the duty to transform it in accordance with our own humanistic and democratic values. This is what separates us mainly from the conservatives and the neoliberals. Fourthly, in this transformation, education produces knowledge, while employment utilizes it. However, both are done with a radically different manner from the old one. Fifthly, the solution for the society we want will come about by seeking a new education and a new relationship between education and employment."

    Simitis underlined that through the use of technologies which are spreading rapidly, as well as the expansion of informatics, the standard of living improves, opportunities for employment increases as well as the opportunities for the greater participation of citizens and a favorable environment is created for a society of prosperity and development.

    "To the new environment, he stressed, "the basic source of wealth and the competitive advantage of every country are people and the knowledge they possess," he said.

    However, Simitis said there are also negative sides and in particular the danger of the expansion of social inequalities. For this reason, the European, socialist left must respond with a course, the elements of which will be to strengthen productivity.

    "We must transform the economic, social and political relations of our society" so that the three sides of the triangle competitive-ness-employment-social protection support each other and establish a course of progress." Simitis said.

    The aim of full employment, Simitis added, constitutes the most drastic expression of socialist policy. The success in this front is they key for a strong social state.

    Former Italian prime minister says globalization should not be the totem of the left: In his speech, former Italian Prime Minister Massimo DAlema underlined that globalization should not be the totem of the left but an opportunity, which must be utilized.

    "The matter is that we should answer to the question whether democracy and social cohesion are compatible with globalization," he said.

    "In my opinion, our answer to this should be affirmative. The European left is a ruling force today and can confront the challenges. For this to happen the whole of Europe must confront the matter and cover the distance between the novelty of the North and the retrogression of the South of Europe," he said.

    D'Alema expressed his opposition to the continuation of the policy of supporting the South of Europe with community funds. This region, he said, should be dealt with as a strategic investment within the framework of the unification and enlargement of the European Union.

    "The European Union in Lisbon set the basis so that the greater competitiveness of the economy and the development of its technologies moves in this direction and I hope that these directions will be made specific at the European Council in Stockholm on March 23-24," D'Alema said.

    In order for the European Union to confront with effectiveness the matter of globalization, it should give greater emphasis to the liberalization of communications, the network of the transfer of technologies and of telecommunications, he added.

    D'Alema warned that if the conservative bloc, which expresses retrogression and nationalism, prevails, the possibility of Europe to adapt to the new environment of globalization will be seriously undermined.

    PM Simitis discusses course of European Socialist Party and the EU's problems: Prime Minister Costas Simitis had successive meetings in Athens on Saturday with former Italian prime minister Massimo D'Alema and former French prime minister Michel Rocard and discussed with them the course of the European Socialist Party and the problems of the European Union.

    Afterwards, Simitis hosted a luncheon at a central restaurant in the picturesque district of Plaka in honor of the two former prime ministers and the President of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament, Enrique Baron Crespo.

    Also present at the luncheon were ESP Vice-President and Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi.

    Rocard made reference to the Middle East, saying that the European Union at the Nice summit did not take the adequate decisions to confront the problem.

    Later, the foreign officials accepted an invitation by Papazoi to drink coffee at her home, which is near the same district.

    The foreign officials were in Athens to attend a two-day conference on "The economy of knowledge, education and Employment in Europe".

    [02] EU foreign ministers express increasing concern over developments in southern Serbia

    BRUSSELS, 27/02/2001 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati / Reuters)

    European Union foreign ministers expressed concern over tension and violence in southern Serbia here on Monday and condemned the actions of armed groups of Albanian origin threatening to destabilize the region and obstruct the free flow of transport, while deciding to increase the number of European observers (EUMM) on the borders with Kosovo.

    "The Council expressed its concern at the level of tension and violence in Southeast Serbia and condemned actions by ethnic Albanian armed groups," it said in a concluding statement.

    The message sent by the Council was that all parties involved should isolate extremists and work constructively for a peaceful solution to the conflict, with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia.

    "(It) reiterated its strong attachment to the principle of the inviolability of all borders in the region. It called on all involved to isolate extremists, to promote reconciliation and multi-ethnic cooperation," the statement said.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou briefed his counterparts on the recent inter-Balkan Conference in Skopje (in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), saying the signing of the good neighborliness charter is the first cooperation agreement on handling practical problems in the region, such as energy and crime, and terming the fact an "optimistic message" for easing tension.

    Papandreou further stressed, in his address at the Council, the need for a decrease in surveillance by KFOR and its gradual replacement by Serb forces, while strengthening European observers in the zone located on Serbia's borders with Kosovo for greater security. The issue will be discussed at length during NATO's ministerial meeting on Tuesday.

    The Council also decided to provide economic backing for the Palestinian Authority with the disbursement of 60 million euro in coming months and by organizing an international meeting of donors to obtain more funds.

    Moreover, the foreign ministers expressed concern over the development of the peace process in the Middle East and decided to "exert pressure" on Israel to cooperate in finding a solution.

    Developments in southern Serbia and the Middle East will also be discussed during Papandreou's bilateral meeting with his US counterpart Colin Powell in Brussels on Tuesday. The two ministers will also discuss the Cyprus issue and Turkey's European course. Powell will meet later with Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    Papandreou and Cem will be meeting in the Belgian capital on the sidelines of NATO's ministerial conference.

    [03] Greek FM refers to situation in Balkans and name of FYROM in interview with Yugoslav news agency

    BELGRADE, 27/02/2001 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou outlined the outcome of last week's Balkan summit in Skopje (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Greece's role in stabilizing the situation in the region, talks on FYROM's name and checks being made at Greek banks to detect accounts belonging to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his associates in an interview on Monday with the Brussels-based Yugoslav news agency SENSE.

    "We should be more optimistic concerning the situation in the region because all parties agreed at the summit of countries of southeastern Europe in Skopje, that problems should be resolved in a peaceful way, in accordance with the rules of international law and the basic principle of relations of good neighborliness," he said.

    Papandreou said the message sent by the summit was "no to extremism and violence, yes to democratic solutions, yes to human rights and the rights of minorities, no to the change in borders and yes to the peaceful solution to problems."

    He said Balkan countries should take Scandinavian countries as a model for their cooperation, meaning that apart from proclamations there should be cooperation in various sectors with talks, as an example, between the relevant energy and public order ministers, to crack down on organized crime, and environment ministers, while talks should also be held on the region's European perspective.

    Papandreou said Greece is cooperating with all neighboring countries and announced that an institute will operate in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, soon to brief civil servants from Balkan countries on the European Union's institutional bodies and on the existing legal framework in Europe to assist them in applying necessary reforms.

    He further said relations between Greece and FYROM have changed a great deal, adding that maintaining close relations with it is in Greece's strategic interests.

    He went on to say that the only problem existing in relations between the two countries is the issue of FYROM's name and that talks are taking place on the issue from equal positions.

    "We do not wish to impose unilateral solutions and we are taking into consideration sensitivity existing on this issue in both countries. I am under the impression that we are approaching a solution, but I would not wish to refer to the versions of the name being discussed because talks are continuing," he said and expressed the hope that a mutually acceptable solution will be found.

    Papandreou said that following a probe taking place a few months ago at all Greek banks by the Central Bank of Greece, all accounts detected in accordance with the indications of the EU and the International Court at The Hague and belonging to associates of Milosevic have been frozen.

    "I am not aware of the exact amounts in these accounts," Papandreou said, adding that Greece is ready for any further cooperation with the Hague International Court.

    [04] Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos receives Austrian FM

    ISTANBUL, 27/02/2001 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos received Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero Waldner at the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Monday.

    "It is a great honor for me to be received by the Ecumenical Patriarch," said the Austrian foreign minister, who stressed the importance her country attributes to the fate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Istanbul.

    Waldner showed particular concern over the problems faced by the Patriarchate and the Greek minority.

    According to reports, during their discussion the issue was raised for the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, for which the Turkish authorities have not yet issued the necessary permit for it to reopen.

    [05] Vatican denies Pope will visit Greece on May 9-10

    ROME, 27/02/2001 (ANA)

    The Vatican in an announcement late Sunday night denied a report in an Italian newspaper according to which Pope John Paul II will possibly visit Greece on May 9-10.

    In its Sunday edition, the newspaper "Il Messagero" reported that Pope John Paul II may visit Greece on May 9-10 within the framework of a tour of Syria and Malta, in the capacity however as a simple pilgrim.

    The Italian newspaper said the Greek Orthodox Church has accepted a pending visit by the Pope to Greece, only in the capacity of a pilgrim and as head of the Vatican state.

    The newspaper added that the Pope had expressed some time ago his desire to pay a pilgrimage to Greece in the places where Apostle Paul taught.

    In January, during his visit to the Vatican, Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos had extended an official invitation to the Pope to visit Greece.

    [06] ND leader certain his party will form the next government

    Athens, 27/02/2001 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy Party leader Costas Karamanlis on Saturday expressed certainty ND will be the next government, during a visit to the islands of Kasos and Karpathos, in the Dodecannese complex, in the framework of his pre-congress party meetings.

    The meeting on Karpathos focused on problems faced in insular Greece. Karamanlis said certain people will attempt to place obstacles in ND's path to power, but dissociated the party to be established by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    Karamanlis said certain people "will attempt to place obstacles. We can see this every day, not so much by a new party wishing to assess its ideas and ambitions, but by those who are established in a state of immunity and non transparency and who tremble at the idea that we want to apply rules for the game."

    He said when he refers to issues concerning corruption and vested interests, he does not only speak of "five or six neo-feudal lords but of corruption and vested interests reaching the last village in Greece."

    Karamanlis insisted that ND is determined to clash relentlessly with such phenomena since it does not wish to form a government with employee submissiveness but a government accountable to the citizens. He said no force could stop ND, adding that "nobody can stop the river which is coming, the new one and those believing in the correctness of their options."

    [07] Greek delegation to have business contacts in Belgrade

    Athens, 27/02/2001 (ANA)

    A Greek business delegation, headed by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Paschalidis, will visit Belgrade on Tuesday for the first business mission jointly organized by agencies in Thessaloniki after the latest developments in Yugoslavia and its accession to the Balkan Reconstruction Plan.

    The Greek delegation's two-day stay in Belgrade includes, apart from business meetings, a conference to be addressed by Serbian ministers and Paschalidis, who will focus on the issue of "Steps of reconstruction."

    Paschalidis' contacts with politicians in the country include a meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

    [08] Patras traditional carnival parade composed of 35,000 disguised people

    Athens, 27/02/2001 (ANA)

    The traditional carnival parade in Patras, western Greece, heightened in the city on Sunday with the participation of 35,000 disguised people and 18 municipal floats. The carnival king of laughter, depicting Zeus, was flanked by 15 floats dedicated to the European Union's member-states.

    The parade, having a length exceeding four kilometers and lasting over five hours, was also attended by carnival delegations from European cities whose network includes Patras.

    The celebrations culminated in the burning of the carnival effigy, according to the custom lasting 160 years, at the city's port with the spectacular accompaniment of fireworks.

    About 300,000 visitors in the citys streets, squares and other spaces watched the carnival events.

    [09] Holiday road traffic death toll climbs to 32

    Athens, 27/02/2001 (ANA)

    Due to the heavy road traffic over the holiday period leading to the beginning this Monday of celebrations marking the beginning of Lent (Clean Monday), 32 people were killed and 228 injured in 171 road accidents from Friday to Monday morning.

    Due to the prevailing good weather, more than 150,000 cars had left Athens for the countryside and the islands.

    Movement was heavy at the ports, airports and the bus stations.

    [10] Crisis in Turkey affects Turkish occupied north

    NICOSIA, 27/02/2001 (CNA/ANA)

    The political crisis in Turkey, which led to an economic crisis, with the Turkish lira plunging about 36 percent in two days, has affected the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974, where the Turkish lira is also used.

    Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was forced to admit on Friday that a "fire" has broken out, but called on people not to abandon their "home".

    "We are facing economic difficulties," he said, but expressed certainty they will be overcome.

    Over the past few days newspapers in the Turkish occupied areas have been warning of the difficult hours ahead as more price increases are expected, that will affect the economy that was already in a bad state.

    In a front-page report on Saturday under the title "Increases - Increases - Increases", Turkish Cypriot newspaper "Kibris" said the price of a number of goods has already gone up.

    "Halkin Sesi" newspaper reported that the prices of all goods were expected to increase further on Monday.

    Other newspapers have been using titles such as "chaos", "earthquake" and "we have gone bankrupt" to describe the situation.

    Beginning of last week one US dollar traded at about 670 thousand Turkish liras in the Turkish occupied areas, whereas on Saturday it traded at around one million.

    The regime in the northern areas of the island occupied by Turkish troops depends on Ankara both economically and politically.

    The crisis in Turkey was sparked off Monday last week by a bitter row between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit over corruption.

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