|Monday, 14 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 16, 2002
 Simitis holds telephone conversation with U.S. President Bush, talks with BaykalWARSAW (ANA - V. Mourtis)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis had a telephone conversation with U.S. President George W. Bush from the Polish capital on Friday and said later the U.S. president was interested primarily in learning whether or not a date will be set at the European Union's Copenhagen summit for the beginning of negotiations with Turkey.
Simitis, who was speaking after meeting Turkish opposition leader Deniz Baykal, also said President Bush praised Greece's position which, as he said, has stated in principle that it did not desire the EU's door to close to Turkey at the Copenhagen summit and a date to be provided for the beginning of negotiations.
The Greek prime minister informed President Bush that setting a date for the beginning of negotiations also depends on Turkey's stance, as well as on moves it will make on issues concerning its cooperation with the EU.
Simitis mentioned two examples affecting cooperation between the EU and Turkey. The first concerns the Cyprus issue and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's blueprint.
On this issue, Simitis said Turkey must confirm the position for cooperation which passes through the recognition of the UN secretary general's effort and the acceptance of the Annan blueprint in principle as a starting point for negotiations.
Simitis spoke in a similar manner to Baykal during their 10-minute meeting on the sidelines of the European Socialist Party's Council meeting.
He told Baykal that the setting of a date for the beginning of EU-Turkish negotiations is not a technical issue but will be a political move on the part of the EU.
For such a date to be set, Turkey should show that it is aware of the implementation of the Copenhagen criteria and that it will contribute to a solution to various problems, including the Cyprus issue.
Baykal, according to what Simitis said, noted that he believes that if a date for negotiations is set all these issues will be solved.
Regarding the Annan blueprint, Baykal told Simitis that he has not studied the issue and cannot state his position.
However, in a statement after his meeting with Simitis, Baykal said his Republican Popular Party and himself support the peace process and expressed hope that channels of communication will be found between the two sides.
Both Simitis and Baykal agreed that more steps will have to be taken to improve relations between the two countries, while the Greek prime minister told his interlocutor that a great deal depends on the Turkish side.
The second example Simitis mentioned to President Bush during their telephone conversation on setting a date for EU-Turkish negotiations concerns the European army.
Simitis reminded President Bush of the decision taken by the special Brussels summit on the European army which will be brought to NATO's attention at the alliance's summit in Prague next week. He pointed out to President Bush that the issue can be closed if it meets with acceptance from Turkey.
According to the Greek prime minister, President Bush promised him that he will address these issues and will examine how he can help in promoting them.
Simitis said his exchange of views with President Bush was positive since, as he said, he had the opportunity of pointing out to him that a solution cannot be achieved without moves on the part of Turkey.
He also told President Bush that the stage has been reached at which there must be clear proof of a change in Turkey on the way these issues are being handled and that a climate of trust should be created between the two countries to avoid friction.
Cyprus president arrives in Athens for talks on UN plan: Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides arrived in Athens on Friday evening to meet on Saturday with Greece's political leadership, and to discuss the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
''I believe that all those who speak in favor of, or against the plan do damage and not good. It should have been discussed first, a common strategy should have been decided and we should have had promoted that common strategy,'' Clerides said to journalists upon his arrival.
He also said that ''there are not traps'' concerning the island republic's accession to the European Union, while responding to a question he said that he did not know whether Turkish Cypriot community leader Rauf Denktash asked for and received an extension to respond whether he accepts the plan.
He noted, however, that it would not be out of the ordinary for such a development considering Denktash's health.
Meanwhile in Warsaw, Cyprus' KISOS Party President Yiannakis Omirou and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis discussed the latest developments concerning the Cyprus problem, focusing on the Annan plan.
Omirou also met with German EU Commissioner Guenter Verheugen and Turkish Republican Party leader Deniz Baykal.
 Denktash postpones departure for Cyprus due to condition of his health
NEW YORK 16/11/2002 (ANA)Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash late on Friday night postponed his departure from New York to the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus due to the condition of his health.
Denktash had undergone open-heart surgery in a New York hospital.
Denktash was due to make statements to Turkish journalists prior to his departure but the briefing was called off.
The Turkish Cypriot leader was initially due to arrive in Cyprus on Saturday.
 Spokesman comments on reactions by three former ministers to Annan plan
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday that the reaction of three ruling PASOK former ministers to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem ''are respected.''
The spokesman was referring to views voiced by former ministers Theodoros Pangalos, Yiannis Kapsis and Gerassimos Arsenis during a debate in Parliament's foreign and defense committee on Thursday.
''The views of the three former ministers are respected,'' Protopapas said.
He noted that ''the dialogue was held within a parliamentary committee, the government however reminds that it is committed by the decision of the Cabinet.'' He referred to the relevant statements by the prime minister that the Annan plan is ''a starting point for constructive negotiations'' which constitutes a great opportunity for a solution to the Cyprus issue, ''maybe the last one.''
The spokesman said the Annan proposal was being dealt with responsibility because even if it fails in its final result, ''we should have convinced the international community on the sincerity of our intentions which aim at the finding of a just, operational and viable solution to the Cyprus issue.''
In reference to the issue of the extension of the seven-day deadline which Annan gave to the two sides to give an in principle reply, the spokesman said that following the communications he had with Nicosia, he ascertained that there were reports which confirm the extension but that ''nothing is yet certain.''
 ND leader schedules meetings with international leaders in support of Cyprus
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis will hold a series of meetings inside and outside Greece to support the EU accession course of Cyprus, as well as the viable and functional resolution of the Cyprus issue.
Karamanlis will meet on Saturday with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides in Athens, on Sunday he will depart for Paris, where he will hold meetings in the framework of the French ruling UMP party founding congress and on Monday he will meet with Turkish Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who recently won the general elections in Turkey.
In the coming weeks, Karamanlis will also meet with British representative on the Cyprus issue Lord David Hannay and with European Commission President Romano Prodi.
Meanwhile on Friday, Karamanlis received in his office U.S. envoy for the Cyprus issue Thomas Weston, who was accompanied by Ambassador Thomas Miller.
Karamanlis reiterated the standing position of ND for the necessity of arriving at a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, based on the decisions and resolutions of the United Nations and in line with the European Union's acquis communautaire.
 Overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriots support island republic's EU accession
BRUSSELS 16/11/2002 (ANA -B. Demiris)The overwhelming majority of the Turkish Cypriots support the accession of the island republic to the European Union, according to an opinion poll conducted in the northern Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.
The poll conducted for the European Commission showed that 88.4 per cent of the Turkish Cypriots stated that the accession to the Union is ''a good thing'', while 3.5 per cent stated that it is a ''bad thing'' and 7.9 per cent ''neither bad nor good''.
 Greece: Opportunity for Cyprus settlement must be seized
United Nations 16/11/2002 (ANA/M.Georgiadou/CNA)Greece supports efforts deployed by the UN chief for a Cyprus solution and believes that with good faith ''the gaps dividing the parties can be bridged and the opportunity in achieving a settlement must be seized without time limitations.''
This was stressed by Greek Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Periklis Stamoulis, addressing the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly for the human rights violations in Cyprus stemming from Turkey's invasion in 1974 and the continuous occupation of more than one third of the island's territory.
Referring to the document for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem presented by Kofi Annan to the parties involved, Stamoulis noted that a Cyprus solution should ''be viable and functional and since the Republic of Cyprus' accession to the
European Union is eminent the settlement should be also in conformity with the principles values and acquis of the EU.''
Speaking on human rights questions, Stamoulis said that numerous decisions of international judicial and other bodies on Cyprus have been ignored by Turkey.
Stamoulis noted that Turkey still violates the rights of some 500 Greek Cypriots, who remain enclaved in the northern occupied territory, the right of Greek Cypriot refugees to their property, by preventing them from returning to their houses and the rights of the relatives of missing persons by refusing to inform them of their fate.
 PM Simitis addresses European socialists on the future of democratic socialism
WARSAW 16/11/2002 (ANA)Democratic socialism has a future, but needs to be reformed, as indicated by the recent victories of socialist parties in Sweden and Germany, Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis said Friday, speaking in Warsaw at the first meeting of the Council of the European Socialist Party.
Simitis, one of the two main speakers at Friday's session, spoke on ''the future of democratic socialism'', attended by senior officials of the socialist parties of Europe.
Simitis said that the political endeavor of enlightenment had yet to be completed, and ''only a modern democratic socialism...that will not abandon the vision of changing the world...can complete it''.
He said that the fundamental principles and ideals of the Socialists remained unaltered, and listed them as autonomy, solidarity, social justice and democracy, and equality not only inside the countries but also among the states of the entire world.
Referring to the stance of the social-democratic world in the age of globalization, Simitis adopted the phrase ''think globally, act locally'', stressing that this could be done by all at national level.
He said that the discussion on social-democracy was inalienably linked with the discussion already taking place on the future of Europe.
European social-democracy, he said, was the force that ensure a hopeful future, as it was a force of cohesion for European integration, and added that the European Socialist Party had a unique opportunity to contribute to making the EU bigger, better and stronger.
On the on-going discussion on the future of Europe, Simitis pinpointed the targets of European Socialdemocracy as: offering the Union a Constitution as the foundation for building the decentralized (federal) European democracy of the Europe of the citizens, the creation of a "European space of equal opportunities for all the citizens" regardless of ethnicity, etc, and rendering the EU institutions more democratic and efficient.
Simitis said that there needed to be a "European government coming from the citizens and addressed to the citizens", with governance of the EU founded on the Community model of unification and the principle of equality of all the member states, regardless of their size.
He said that the imminent EU enlargement provided a unique opportunity to make the Union strong and for it to develop into a legitimate centre of authority internationally. He also endorsed the strengthening of common foreign and defense policy and security policy, and evolving the Union progressively into a system of collective solidarity.
On the EU’s role in the age of globalization, Simitis said it was the duty of the socialist to turn globalization into a just process of sustainable development, adding that what was sought was not full-out antithesis to globalization but neither acceptance of the neoliberal version.
Simitis said that the justified sensitivities and demands of the anti-globalization movements should be taken seriously in mind, but there should also be a serious effort to convince the members of these movements to change their goals.
At the same time, he said, it must be ensured that the undesirable and hazardous repercussions of globalization will be averted for the present and future generations.
Simitis further said that a new comprehensive system of global governance was necessary, one that reflected the social democratic values and reality of the global village.
To solve the problems of globalization, the democratic revision of the existing institutions and the creation of new ones were necessary. This, he added, would help "humanize" globalization, establish a new realistic society of the citizens, and ensure the proper governance of the developing countries to halt the vicious cycle of poverty and underdevelopment.
He said the mission of the socialists was to become the harbingers of a new world with vision and meaning, of a realistic utopia and world of lasting peace.
 Simitis meets Swedish PM on the sidelines of the PES Council
WARSAW 16/11/2002 (ANA - V. Mourtis)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday said that the Greek EU presidency would seek to clarify but not change aspects of the Stability Pact, particularly the 3 per cent limit on deficits, in talks with his Swedish counterpart Goran Persson on the sidelines of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Council.
Persson said that the setting a limit had been the right decision but that it required alterations.
In their talks, Simitis and Persson also discussed EU enlargement and the implementation of the Lisbon Summit decisions.
Fielding questions after the PES Council regarding his references linking the September 11 terror attacks with globalization, the Greek premier noted that the phenomenon of terrorism was not independent of economic and social factors.
In his speech, he had also stressed that world security would be impossible without a program for global equality.
Further clarifying this statement, Simitis noted that terrorist actions had to be seen in the context of the inequalities that existed in the world and the fact that some groups of people felt poor and marginalized, which drove them to behave differently.
He called for policies that would prevent this situation and predicted that terrorist hits like those of September 11 would only increase if the inequalities remained.
Summarizing the conclusions of the Warsaw council, meanwhile, Simitis said that European socialism was at a crossroads but the problem was not its principles but their implementation in a world that was constantly changing. He called for international solutions to problems such as that of employment, and called for mechanisms that would control the impact and results of globalization.
Simitis also reported that the meeting had mainly responded positively regarding Turkey's accession to the EU, an issue raised by Turkey's Republican Popular Party leader Deniz Baykal.
 Energy commissioner Loyola de Palacio holds talks with FM Papandreou
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Visiting European Commissioner Vice-president Loyola de Palacio on Friday met with foreign minister George Papandreou for talks covering Greece's preparations for its EU presidency in the first half of 2003, energy and transport issues, the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, and the upcoming EU summit in Copenhagen next month.
De Palacio, who holds the energy and transports portfolio, arrived in Athens on Thursday for the 1st Ministerial Meeting of the Southeastern Europe Regional Electricity Market, a conference supported by the European Commission, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on energy issues.
Replying after the meeting to press questions on how acute it would be for the EU if only the free part of Cyprus joined, de Palacio said that the important thing was that Cyprus was joining the EU, adding that the Union desired all of Cyprus in the EU.
Saying she did not wish to predetermine the decisions anticipated at the Copenhagen summit -- slated for December 12 -- on which candidate members would be invited to join the EU, de Palacio added nevertheless that Cyprus would join the Union in 2004, precisely as had been already stated by the Councils in Brussels.
Replying to the same question, Papandreou said that Cyprus was entering "a very positive road for its EU accession course". He said that "we are looking forward to" the December 12 summit, and expressed hope that a united Cyprus would join the EU, adding that "we are making efforts for that".
Noting that de Palacio would be going to Cyprus after her Athens visit, Papandreou said that they had discussed the Annan plan, "and I believe that we all have hope that a solution will be found, and indeed soon".
De Palacio further said that she and Papandreou had also discussed the issues to be dealt with by the Greek EU presidency and its expectations, adding that "now that Europe is enlarging, we must not forget the Mediterranean and Cyprus".
"There are strong foundations that give hope on the issue of Cyprus," she said.
The commissioner further said that a Balkan natural gas and electricity pact was due to be signed, concerning cooperation with the Balkan states.
De Palacio is advancing the establishment of energy networks, especially cooperation among Turkey, Greece and Italy in the energy sector, an issue also discussed in her meeting with Papandreou, as well as other matters to be pressed forward during the Greek presidency.
 Alternate FM meets Polish Deputy FM for EU affairs
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis met Polish Deputy Foreign Minister for European Union Affairs Danuta Hubner, on the sidelines of a visit by Prime Minister Costas Simitis to Warsaw for the Party of European Socialists Council, it was announced on Friday.
They discussed EU enlargement in view of the EU summit in Copenhagen, the revision and funding of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, EU institutional reforms and cooperation between Greece and Poland in view of the Greek EU presidency and Poland's EU accession.
 Greece to back economic development in Kaliningrad
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Greece will facilitate economic development in the Kaliningrad region during its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2003, Greek Ambassador to Russia Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos told a news conference, Itar-Tass said.
In a report from Kaliningrad, Itar-Tass said that the ambassador, who visited the city this week to open a Greek consulate, cited as a priority of the Greek presidency the widening of cooperation with countries outside European enlargement.
He said that Russia would play a special role with Kaliningrad acting as a kind of test. The EU would decide on further steps in that direction on the basis of the outcome.
Greece believed that Russia should renew its role in connection with EU enlargement in order to ensure international stability and establish a balance of power in the region, the ambassador said.
 Cyprus plan dominates Parliament session honoring Polytechnic uprising
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Preparations for Sunday’s commemoration of the 1973 students’ uprising at the Athens Polytechnic, the most significant act of defiance during the seven-year military dictatorship that ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, continued on Friday in light of the recently tabled UN peace plan for a solution to the long-standing Cyprus problem.
In speaking during a special Parliament session to commemorate the students’ uprising, both Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) President Nikos Constantopoulos and other parties’ representatives all touched on the need for any Cyprus solution to be tied to international law and UN resolutions.
“Greeks’ goal is for Cyprus’ accession into the European Union, in parallel but not necessarily at the same time with a solution for Cyprus’ political problem,” Kaklamanis said.
Minister of state Stefanos Manikas, representing the government, said the Cyprus issue is a particularly crucial point.
“We have to defend, on the one hand, the certainty of an EU accession, and on the other, the historical responsibility to defend the prospects of a viable solution within the framework of international law, UN resolutions and Europe’s acquis communautaire,” he added.
Ruling PASOK speaker Floros Konstantinou said that the so-called “Cyprus file” has rightly been opened for those responsible for this “national tragedy”, while he also noted that it’s now time to hold those foreign officials who led to Cyprus’ occupation accountable, mentioning, in fact, the name of former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
Main opposition New Democracy speaker Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that the Polytechnic uprising marked the beginning of the end of the dictatorship, something that meant the return of democracy to Greece but to invasion and occupation for Cyprus.
He also cited what he called the international community’s “cynicism” in failing to apply international law, something he said should not be forgotten.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) rapporteur Antonis Skyllakos began his address by citing what he referred to as the US side’s role in the dictatorship and the 1974 coup on Cyprus, underlining that the intervention on the island republic is a “crude blackmail.” He also said the current peace plan for Cyprus is unacceptable and dangerous.
Synaspismos leader Constantopoulos said the international community owes the island republic a just and viable solution to its 28-year division as well as unhindered EU accession.
“We don’t want things to remain as is, because that means a perpetuation of the invasion and occupation of division; nor for Cyprus to remain out of international organizations, because this means a worsening of current conditions,” he said.
The Parliament session ended with the observance of a moment of silence for the victims of the Polytechnic uprising.
Out-of-Parliament Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) party leader Dimitris Tsovolas also commented Friday on the occasion of the Polytechnic commemoration, with statements referring to the Annan peace plan as well.
“Today, Hellenism is threatened with a further shrinking, as the unacceptable Annan plan not only legalizes the occupation of northern Cyprus, but also mortgages the rest of the free areas; what’s needed is a new patriotic uprising of all Greeks, no matter where they belong to, for the defense of national sovereign rights.”
In a related development, events in the northern port city of Thessaloniki will begin with a gathering at the main Aristotelous square for a protest march past the US consulate in the city and ending at the local university’s polytechnic.
 Parties issue messages on Polytechnic uprising anniversary
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Political parties on Friday issued messages marking the anniversary of the November 17, 1973, student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta ruling Greece at the time.
The message by the ruling PASOK party said the future of Greece can now be viewed with greater optimism, while the country is giving a successful struggle on the international scene for national independence, growth and social cohesion.
It also referred to developments on the Cyprus issue, stressing that now a solution to the problem has been raised, PASOK steadfastly proclaims its longstanding position for a unified, independent and democratic Cyprus, which will be a European Union member with new prospects of progress and prosperity for all the citizens of Cyprus.
A similar message by the main opposition New Democracy party's leader Costas Karamanlis said the struggle of Greece in the 21st century is against poverty and unemployment, regional and social inequalities, decline and a compromise with misery.
He said ''the truth is that Greece in 2002 is still very distant from the visions of the Greeks. The truth is we deserve and can do better'', and pointed out that the struggle for just national causes and the quality of life, the struggle for Greece which is desired and can be achieved is the affair of all.
'Nov. 17' holiday celebrations begin under heavy security: Celebrations to mark the anniversary of the November 17, 1973 student uprising against the military junta that ruled Greece in 1967-1974 began outside the Athens Polytechnic on Friday under extremely heavy security.
Among those who laid flowers on the monument for those killed when the dictatorship sent in armed troops and tanks to quell the student protest were representatives of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), the civil servants' union ADEDY and the president of the federation of secondary school teachers OLME.
Representing main opposition New Democracy was the party's secretary Vangelis Meimarakis.
Polytechnic vice-rector Andreas Andreopoulos, who is in charge of the celebrations, warned during his message for the holiday that the celebrations would be immediately called to a halt if things got out of hand or if any criminal offences were committed.
The polytechnic grounds would be guarded on a 24-hour basis by rotating teams of students and staff, he said, while the gates would be open between 9:00 and 21:00.
He also announced that the polytechnic's senate would be in constant session until Monday morning and that the schools in the centre of Athens would remain closed and closely guarded.
Five thousands police officers would be deployed to keep order during this year's celebrations as opposed to 3,000 the previous year, he added.
The official celebrations will peak on Sunday afternoon at about 14:30, when the gates of the polytechnic will be shut, while a few minutes later the traditional march to the United States Embassy will begin.
 Citizens in the 10 EU candidates positive toward accession
BRUSSELS 16/11/2002 (ANA - G. Zitouniati)The supporters of accession to the EU among citizens of the 10 candidate member-states increased considerably, according to an opinion poll conducted by Eurobarometer.
The poll was conducted throughout the 10 candidate member states, with the participation of 12,000 citizens over the age of 15, and showed that 61 per cent were in favor of the entry of the 10 new members.
In fact, 52 per cent of those asked, considered the accession of those 10 new members positive, raising the percentage with that response by 2 points, compared to an opinion poll conducted a year ago.
Only 10 per cent responded that the accession of this first wave of countries will have a negative impact, a drastic decline of 20 points.
 Public order ministry tables bill transferring passport issue to police
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)The public order ministry on Friday tabled a draft bill in Parliament transferring responsibility for the issue of passports from prefectural government to the police and other matters related to the police and fire brigade.
Under the bill, passports are issued by a central police service created by president decree, except for diplomatic and service passports, temporary repatriation passports and emergency travel documents, which will continue to be issued by the foreign ministry.
The bill also expands the brief of the police force's Internal Affairs Department to include crimes carried out by border guards and special guards and cases of bribery or extortion in the wider public sector, with the exception of the coast guard, merchant marine ministry staff and the legal public-sector entities under its supervision.
In addition, the bill decrees that 10 per cent of all revenues earned by sports clubs, athletes' fees, sports companies from television broadcast rights and the equivalent revenues of sports organization that organize international competitions will be paid to the police force as compensation for the safe and smooth execution of the Games and security for sports grounds.
Also included in the bill are articles related to special guards and benefits for athletes that perform well in international meets, an official police holiday, security issues related to the Olympics and the provision of accreditation of those involved in the organization of the Olympics and Paralympics, expected to create a one-off expense of five million euros on the ATHOC budget, while it abolishes a fee paid to police officers for removing license plates from vehicles that do not display the special road tax sign.
 Portuguese president due in Athens in early December
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio is due to carry out an official visit to Greece on December 1-4.
 Christodoulakis presents Greek presidency's economic goals
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Ensuring a stable economic environment and regaining confidence over Europe's economic prospects was a main target of the Greek EU presidency, beginning January 1, 2003, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Friday.
The Greek minister said that the Greek presidency coincided with a "new economic and political reality of low growth rates and big political and economic dangers."
Addressing a seminar by the Greek Centre of European Research and Studies (EKEME) over the prospects of the Greek EU presidency, Mr Christodoulakis noted that achieving this goal it would need structural reforms to boost competitiveness, efficiency and economic cohesion.
He stressed that a Stability and Growth Pact was significant in this effort because of the need to maintain short- and medium-term economic stability and to ensure long-term prospects of growth and employment.
Mr Christodoulakis said that the Greek presidency would also aim to further promote targets set in the Lisbon summit, with focus on: - promoting business activity, simplifying corporate governance and supporting smaller enterprises, - developing European information technology, with increased spending in research and technology, - deepening a single European market with an agreement for full and functional deregulation of the energy market, promoting the venture capital industry and strengthening competition regulations, - promoting employment, social cohesion and environment protection.
 Main opposition accuses gov't of 'total failure' in agriculture
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday said the government's policies for agriculture had ''totally failed'' and had lowered farmers' incomes, in a question during Prime Minister's Question Time in Parliament.
ND's leader also targeted his criticism at Prime Minister Costas Simitis in person, saying that the premier had remained ''silently neutral'' in EU meetings where crucial battles for a series of Greek agricultural products were fought and lost.
Karamanlis accused the ruling party of leaving farmers to ''fend for themselves'' even while claiming to be the farmers' party. He spoke about ''nightmarish'' and rising farmers' debts that were further augmented by ''brigandly interest rates from the Agricultural Bank'' and said the farming population was shrinking and ageing.
He also alleged that 'government modernists' had essentially given up on the farming sector in Greece and were allowing it to sink into a decline that mirrored the situation in other European countries. He blasted this attitude as a ''huge mistake'' for Greece and called for measures to support and modernize the farming sector.
In the absence of the prime minister, who is currently at a Party of European Socialists (PES) Council in Warsaw, the main opposition leader was answered by Agriculture Minister George Drys, who denied claims that farming incomes were steadily shrinking.
He accused ND of attempting to "capitalize on the results of the recent local government elections" - where ND had an easy win in traditional PASOK strongholds mainly due to disaffected farmers - and of misrepresenting his own statements to the media regarding farmers.
With respect to the EU, he stressed that EU subsidies to Greek farm products were nearly double the value of the country's contribution to overall EU farm production and that no other country with the exception of Ireland came anywhere near that percentage.
He also claimed that farmer incomes had increased by 46.9 per cent between 1993-2001, with an average annual increase of 5.15 per cent, while the delayed payment of subsidies was not the fault of the relevant government body but of those who failed to submit complete payment dossiers.
 Minister and EU commissioner discuss open European skies
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis held talks in Athens on Friday with Energy and Transport Commissioner and European Commission Vice President Loyola de Palacio.
No statements were made at the end of their talks but, according to reports, they discussed issues concerning the open European skies issue.
On this question, Verelis briefed Palacio of the frequent harassment of civil aviation aircraft by warplanes in the airspace of Greece and Turkey, which often leads to air traffic regulation infringements and violations of the two countries' airspace.
Palacio, who will arrive in Nicosia on Saturday, said she is aware of this and termed the situation tragic.
 Gov't tells EU that Olympic Airways' finances are recovering
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Friday told a senior European Union official that finances of Olympic Airways, the ailing national carrier, were showing signs of recovery, ministry sources said.
During talks in Athens with EU transport and energy commissioner Loyola de Palacio, Verelis presented a report that showed Olympic's finances were continuously improving, the sources said.
The two officials made no statements after their meeting.
 Two bids in Athens 2004 Olympics home-lease tender
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Two consortiums have submitted bids in a tender called by organizers of the Athens 2004 Olympics to find companies that will lease private homes to visitors attending the international event.
Bidding are Alpha Olympics Hospitality (Alpha Bank) and Greek Olympics Hospitality (EFG Eurobank Ergasias).
The bids will be evaluated next week. Both groups are likely to be awarded contracts, sources said.
 Capital Link company organizes economic forum in New York
NEW YORK 16/11/2002 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)The Capital Link company organized an economic forum here for the sixth consecutive year, focusing this year on the theme ''2004: Greece Going for the Gold'' and on investment opportunities provided by the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
The forum was attended by senior officials of the Greek capital market, as well as the banking and shipping sectors.
The inauguration of the event was addressed by Greece's Ambassador to the United States George Savvaidis and the President of Link Capital Nikolaos Bornozos.
Savvaidis referred to progress achieved by the Greek economy, its participation in the eurozone and the holding of the Olympic Games and stressed a series of new economic challenges which can be beneficial for both Greece and the United States.
He further noted that this new economic environment offers unique opportunities for strengthening economic relations between Greece and the United States.
 Southeast Europe takes step to create regional electricity market
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Countries of southeastern Europe have taken the first step towards creating a regional electricity market, which is to be based in Athens, officials said on Friday.
Signing a memorandum of understanding in Athens were ministers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Romania; and representatives of the European Union.
According to the memorandum, countries taking part in the plan will undertake to modernize and develop their electricity networks and markets by 2005, following EU specifications.
Backing the scheme are the World Bank, European Investment Bank and banks in the US and other countries.
The market's first rotating president is Greek Development Minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
 Greek current accounts deficit falls in September, yr/yr
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Greece's current accounts balance recorded a 565 million euro deficit in September, slightly less than the corresponding deficit of September 2001 (581 million euro), the Bank of Greece said on Friday.
This small improvement resulted mainly from the widening of the services surplus and, to a lesser extent, the rise in the transfers surplus. By contrast, the trade deficit grew and the income account deficit rose slightly.
The central bank, in its monthly report, said that the higher non-oil deficit reflected an increase in imports combined with a decrease in exports in September. Net payments for fuel imports practically remained at September 2001 levels. The rise in the services surplus came from the apparent increase in net receipts, mainly from travel services. It should however be noted that data on travel receipts and payments in 2002 are not fully comparable with those for previous years. The rise in the transfers surplus reflects a small increase in net receipts of both general government (from the EU) and other sectors in September. The income account deficit increased slightly.
In the January-September 2002 period, the current account deficit rose by 406 million euro, compared with that of the corresponding 2001 period, and came to 5,372 million euro. This development reflects mainly the lower transfers surplus, but also the widening of the trade deficit, which is related to the increase in both the non-oil deficit and net imports of fuel. The income account deficit rose a little. These developments were only partly offset by the rise in the services surplus.
The non-oil trade deficit grew by 392 million euro in the January September 2002 period, as a result of a considerable decrease (by 570 million euro) in export receipts. At the same time, however, the import bill also decreased (by 178 million euro). Net imports of fuel rose by 148 million euro. In the same period, the services surplus widened, as the increase in net travel receipts more than offset the decrease in net transport receipts.
The income account deficit increased mainly because of the rise in net payments for interest, dividends and profits. This development reflects lower interest rates and dividend yields in 2002, which resulted in a drop in receipts and – less so – in payments. Lastly, the narrowing of the transfers surplus is attributable to the fall in EU transfers, the increase in general government payments and the decrease in other sectors' net receipts.
Financial account balance: In September 2002, direct investment abroad by residents and in Greece by non-residents was very low, whereas there had been a substantial net inflow in September 2001. Under portfolio investment, there was a net inflow of 1,396 million euro, mainly reflecting inflows of non-residents' funds for the purchase of Greek bonds, as well as repatriation of residents' funds that had been invested abroad. ''Other investment'' showed net outflows of 405 million euro, because there was a reduction by residents of both assets and liabilities abroad.
In the January - September 2002 period, net outflows of 425 million euro were recorded under direct investment, mainly attributable to residents' investment abroad. In the same period, a substantial net inflow (of 9,736 million euro) was recorded under portfolio investment; this is connected with the considerable inflow of foreign investors' funds, mainly for the purchase of Greek government bonds and, to a lesser extent, for the purchase of shares. These developments more than offset the outflow of Greek investors' funds for the purchase of foreign bonds and shares. The shift of both foreign and Greek investors to the bond market reflects the uncertainly prevailing in international capital markets.
Under ''other'' investment, there was a net outflow of 1,305 million euro, because the increase of deposits and repos holdings abroad by residents and the net decrease in general government loans more than offset the increase of deposits in Greece by non-residents.
The country's reserve assets came to 8.9 billion euro.
 Greek weekly economic review
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Greek banks' profits fell significantly in the first nine months of 2002, according to figures released during the week under review, although bankers remain optimistic over future profitability of the sector on the belief that Greek banks' organic profitability remains intact and continues growing rapidly. The bankers said the Greek banking sector had very favorable prospects of profitability and growth in the wider retail banking services throughout the current decade.
In other headline news this week, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said that next year's budget, to be submitted to parliament Tuesday, November 19, would aim at continuing the country's development course, agriculture growth, supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises and regional convergence. Mr Christodoulakis said that 2003 incomes policy would be based on inflation projections with the aim to strengthen Greek citizens' income and containing government spending.
Greece's regular budget revenues rose 8.2 percent in the first 10 months of 2002, compared with the same period last year, the finance ministry said. Value added tax revenues rose 11.7 percent, income tax revenues were 4.9 percent higher, while other budget revenues rose 13.3 percent. Securities transaction tax revenues dropped 46.1 percent over the same period. The National Statistics Service announced that the country's gross domestic product rose 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2002, compared with the same period in 2001.
The European Commission made positive forecasts for the country's economic growth and unemployment, but warned over high inflation in Greece. In its autumn economic forecasts, the EU's executive said that the Greek economy would continue expanding this year, in 2003 and 2004, and that unemployment would fall further over the same period, but forecast that inflation would remain stubbornly high.
The Commission also reaffirmed that Greece would show fiscal deficits following adoption of stricter fiscal rules by Eurostat.
Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis reacted strongly to a decision by French company Sofipost, a subsidiary of French Port (LaPoste), to back down from its original bid to acquire a 10 percent equity stake in Hellenic Post (ELTA). Mr Verelis, in a letter sent to the French company, demanded explanations from Sofipost's new management team after the latter decided to lower its bid for the Greek company to 17.5 million euros. Sofipost won an international tender in May bidding 26 million euros.
National Statistics Service will conduct a first ever survey on vacant labor positions in the country both in the private and the wider public sector.
Greek consumers continued complaining over an increasing cost of living in the country, INKA said in the week. The country's largest consumer group said that Greek consumer filed a total of 108,000 complaints with the group, of which 48,000 accounted for increased consumer product prices in the first 10 months of 2002.
 Greek stocks jump 1.14 percent on Friday
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)Greek stocks ended the last trading session of the week higher in the Athens Stock Exchange, with sentiment encouraged by a positive climate in other European markets.
The general index rose 1.14 percent to end at 1,830.54 points, with turnover an improved 97.56 million euros.
The Metals and Textiles sectors suffered losses (0.62 percent and 0.31 percent, respectively), while the Publication, Wholesale, Insurance and IT sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (2.68 percent, 2.61 percent, 2.40 percent and 2.35 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 1.17 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.75 percent up and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 1.82 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 282 to 46 with another 32 issues unchanged.
The general index ended the week with a net loss of 0.31 percent.
The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, National Bank of Greece, Panafon, HBC Coca Cola, and Klonatex.
Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 95.0 mln euros Friday
Equity Index Futures:
Day's Market Turnover: 95.0 mln euros
Bond Market Close: Sellers match buyers on Friday
Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond
Most Active Bond: 10-yr (540 mln euros)
 Anti-flooding measures at Kifissos satisfactory, minister says
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)The temporary anti-flooding measures set up around the Kifissos River had proved satisfactory apart from a small section that had failed due to faulty work by a contractor, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou said on Friday in Parliament in response to questions from opposition parties.
Papandreou was speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who is currently in Warsaw for the Party of European Socialists (PES) Council, and was responding to questions on the recent floods from main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga, both of whom were represented by MPs belonging to their respective parties.
Papandreou reported that dozens of anti-flooding works costing upward of one billion euros had been carried out between 1994 to the present day, while a further 645 million euros would be spent on more anti-flooding measures from 2003-2008.
With respect to the Kifissos River in particular, she said that funding from non-governmental sources was not easy to arrange. According to Papandreou, no environmental impact studies had been carried out before 1994, while the work needed to be replanned to deal with the problems using different means and techniques because the climate in Attica had changed and more water was now being channeled into the Kifissos.
She also announced that the government had initiated procedures for further anti-flooding projects, such as diverting the Podoniftis stream and other water courses.
In their questions, the opposition parties had accused the government of taking slapdash measures in spite of the repeated floods during the summer, while claiming huge delays and budget overruns in carrying out the Kifissos River projects.
 Conference on lesser used languages in Thessaloniki
Athens, 16/11/2002 (ANA)The European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL) held a conference in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on Friday on preserving and promoting lesser used languages in Greece, while protesters assembled outside the hotel housing the conference protested against issues being raised.
EBLUL President Bojan Brezigar, who inaugurated the conference, said it was aimed at registering lesser used languages in Greece.
Issues raised during the conference focused on the need for promoting or not lesser used languages, the presentation of legislation on the use of languages in Italy and Greece and the institutional framework applied in the European Union.
Shortly before the end of the conference, members of the Cultural and Educational Society ''Diavlos Ellinon'' and the Panhellenic Federation of Societies of Thrace gathered outside to protest, while such slogans as ''Macedonia is Greek'' and ''God save Greece'' were heard.
A resolution prepared by the protesters and delivered to the hotel's director, who in turn gave it to the conference's directorate, denounced the conference as unacceptable and unhistorical, adding that its issue and purpose was to promote such languages as Slavomacedonian, Turkish, Pomak and Vlach.
 President Clerides says Athens talks will decide strategy on Annan's plan
LARNACA 16/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides went to the Greek capital on Friday to discuss with the Greek leadership the strategy, which the Greek Cypriot side will follow regarding the UN Secretary General's plan for a Cyprus settlement.
Speaking before his departure to Athens where on Saturday he will hold talks with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Clerides said Monday's deadline to reply to the Annan plan was still on and the National Council, which will discuss the results of the Athens talks on Monday, will decide what the reply of the Greek Cypriot side will be.
Asked what the purpose of his visit to Athens is, President Clerides replied ''to exchange views with the Greek government on the strategy which we will have to follow, regarding the UN plan submitted by the UN Secretary General."
He also said he will convey the results of the Athens talks to the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem, when the council meets on Monday to discuss the issue.
Clerides said his talks with Simitis on the plan will continue during lunch on Saturday and that ''they have prepared an agenda on the fundamental issues which we must discuss."
The president replied positively to a question whether the Greek Cypriot side and the Greek government have prepared the points on which they want to negotiate and they will compare notes during their Athens talks.
To a question that there are many who are voicing their opposition to the Annan plan, like the people of the Turkish occupied town of Kyrenia, Clerides said he would not want to comment on that. ''We have a democracy here, people can freely express their views and can freely try to get their views accepted,'' he added.
Asked if he expects to receive the go-ahead from the National Council to negotiate the Annan plan, Clerides replied he did not want to preempt the National Council decision because that would not be right.
He explained that the National Council has the following rules:
''Unanimous decisions of the National Council bind the President. If there are disagreements, the President must give special attention to the majority which is determined not by the number of those attending the body, but by what they represent.''
The president clarified that Monday's meeting ''will be the first of many, and one of the first issues which it will deal with is our reply (to Annan) if we will negotiate the plan."
''We must be ready on Monday," he said, to give the Secretary-General a reply to the seven-day deadline he has given. Referring to a meeting he had on Friday with the UN Secretary General's advisor on Cyprus, Alvaro de Soto, Clerides said the UN diplomat told him the Turkish Cypriot side ''had asked for an extension but he did not tell me that they gave an extension."
The president told reporters that the Greek Cypriot side had asked for clarifications on the Annan plan from the UN ''and already they are coming back to us with clarifications on some issues but we have not yet finished."
To a question whether the Greek Cypriot side is being pressured by the Greek government to sign an agreement by December 12 when the European Council will convene in Copenhagen and decide about the enlargement, expected to include Cyprus, President Clerides replied ''so far, the Greek government has not exerted, neither I believe it will exert any pressure."
''The suggestion to meet in Athens and discuss the plan and the strategy which we will follow, came from the Greek government and I gratefully responded," Clerides said.
Asked if the procedure for a settlement would continue after December 12, if, for any reason, either side is not ready to sign an agreement, President Clerides said ''I do not think there is an issue that if any side does not wish to go ahead and sign, the procedure will come to an end."
Invited to say if he believes the island is heading for peace, the president said, ''we were always heading for peace, our effort, not only of my government but the governments in the past, were to find a peaceful solution of the Cyprus problem. Whether we will succeed or not, this does not depend only on one side."
Clerides begins his contacts on Saturday with a meeting with main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis. He will later meet his counterpart, Costis Stephanopoulos and after that will confer with Prime Minister Costas Simitis. The two will give a press conference and then the prime minister will host a working luncheon for the president.
Later Saturday he will meet Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleca Papariga, Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nicos Constantopoulos and later US Special Coordinator on Cyprus, Thomas Weston.
On Sunday, he will meet the president of the Federation of Cyprus Organizations in Greece, Costas Syllouris and the federation's central council.
He returns to Cyprus on Sunday afternoon.
 Lord Hannay to visit Greece and Cyprus
LONDON 16/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)British envoy for Cyprus, Lord David Hannay, will visit Greece and Cyprus next week.
His visit comes as the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides are expected to reply to a plan submitted by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for an overall settlement to the Cyprus problem.
Lord Hannay will visit Athens around the middle of next week for talks with Foreign Minister George Papandreou and will be in Cyprus towards the end of the week.
During his stay on the island, Hannay will hold separate meetings with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.