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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 03-11-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

November 18, 2003

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU Council of Foreign Ministers examines Commission's recent reports on Turkey
  • [02] 30th anniversary of Polytechnic uprising celebrated in Athens,
  • [03] PM Simitis to send letter to PASOK MPs on candidacy intentions
  • [04] Foreign minister slams incidents during Albanian elections
  • [05] ND watching election process in Himarra with concern, party spokesman says
  • [06] U.S. freezes Albanian National Army assets, calling it dangerous for peace
  • [07] NATO Parliamentary assembly concludes in Orlando, USA
  • [08] EU defense ministers call for independent operational capabilities
  • [09] PM Simitis to meet visiting Croatian president this week
  • [10] Deputy FM participates in Development Cooperation Ministers' meeting in Brussels
  • [11] Papathemelis' departure from PASOK officially announced on Monday
  • [12] PASOK deputy Kremastinos will not run for reelection
  • [13] Trade union group criticizes US envoy's statement on Theodorakis
  • [14] Greek 2004 budget to focus on growth, social policies, FinMin says
  • [15] Greek current account deficit widens in Jan-Sept
  • [16] Commission comments on Greek fiscal deficit projections
  • [17] EU report on unemployment rates in EU-25
  • [18] FinMin to announce decision on Post Savings Bank this week
  • [19] Greece rejects full decoupling of EU tobacco subsidies, output
  • [20] Geopolotical worries push Greek stocks 1.43 pct lower
  • [21] Greeks wary of globalization, Eurobarometer survey shows
  • [22] New president analyses Greek Canadian Congress' policies
  • [23] Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Istanbul, meets with Vartholomeos
  • [24] Defense for Giotopoulos plays down N17's impact on Greek society
  • [25] FM Iacovou tells EU Erdogan aligns himself with Denktash
  • [26] Spokesman says Erdogan's visit a provocation
  • [27] Christofias: Erdogan's visit consists open support to Denktash
  • [28] Turkish Cypriot side responsible for collapse of Hague talks, UN official says
  • [29] Spokesman says UN report not exactly reflecting reality
  • [30] President Papadopoulos to pay official visit to Greece
  • [31] Spokesman says no information yet on US envoy's tour of region

  • [01] EU Council of Foreign Ministers examines Commission's recent reports on Turkey

    BRUSSELS, 18/11/2003 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Union's Council of Foreign Ministers convened here on Monday and examined the European Commission's recent reports on Turkey and Cyprus, relations between the EU and Balkan countries and developments in the Middle East.

    Referring to Turkey's European prospects, Foreign Minister George Papandreou reiterated the Greek government's steadfast support for Turkey's candidacy, but underlined that everything depends on Turkey itself.

    Papandreou conceded that recently Turkey has taken considerable steps in the direction of democratization, but stressed that the European Commission acknowledges in its report that a deficit exists regarding implementation.

    The foreign minister referred to specific examples related to difficulties faced by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, pointing out that the Turkish candidacy will also be judged on the basis of respect for religious minorities existing in Turkey.

    On the question of Cyprus, Papandreou reiterated that 2004 is a crucial year since the EU's political will is to have the Cyprus issue resolved by May 1 when the Republic of Cyprus will officially join united Europe.

    Commenting on the same issue, Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iakovou, who addressed Monday's session, said the EU's reports and texts have had an effect in Turkey and among the Turkish Cypriot community to a greater degree than UN Security Council resolutions have.

    Regarding the EU's relations with Balkan countries, Papandreou said the target of Bulgaria and Romania joining the EU by 2007 is feasible, while also having a positive approach to Croatia's claim to enter a process of EU accession.

    Commenting on Albania in particular, the foreign minister underlined problems created during the election process in Himarra, stressing that the existence of problems is confirmed by the delegations of the OSCE and the United States which monitored the election process.

    Papandreou stressed the importance of respect for democratic freedoms in Albania, saying that a similar view was voiced by the relevant foreign affairs commissioner Chris Patten.

    As regards developments in the Middle East, the foreign minister opposed the ''embargo on meetings'' imposed by the authorities of Israel on international personalities meeting with Yasser Arafat, stressing the need for the phenomenon of terrorism being handled by the relevant Palestinian authorities.

    Papandreou further noted that Israel has begun to realize the substantive role which the EU is playing and will ultimately play in the finding of a peaceful solution to the Middle East issue.

    [02] 30th anniversary of Polytechnic uprising celebrated in Athens,

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    The 30th anniversary of the uprising of university students against the military dictatorship at the Athens Polytechnic University begun on Monday, marking the fateful date of November 17, at about 4 p.m. with a rally and a march headed by the blood stained Greek flag held by the students that died there in 1973.

    Political parties, workers' unions, non-governmental organizations and non-organized citizens attended the rally that became a march through the streets of the city of Athens.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas said that the government honors those people that gave their lives for the restoration of democracy, adding that the memories of yesterday ''inspire us and teach us'' to continue the struggle of today for a better tomorrow.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos, academics and unionists addressed the rally.

    Early in the evening, celebrations ended with the conclusion of the march organized by political parties, workers' unions and other organizations to the American embassy.

    The march ended about 7:30 p.m. and cleaning crews of the Athens Municipality began cleaning the streets and buildings from graffiti.

    A similar march and celebrations were also organized in Thessaloniki, where police had taken measures to avert problems.

    As every year, problems were not absent from the celebrations, as police arrested 20 people before the march started, on charges of possession of stones and wood, which they could use to upset the peaceful march.

    Later in the day as the march started, police faced of with a small number of self-styled anarchists, in front of the police headquarters, throwing stones and sticks to the police, which responded with tear gas.

    Also small groups of the extreme right wing ''Golden Down'' followed the march exchanging hostile remarks with those taking part in the march.

    PM briefs president, comments on Polytechnic uprising anniversary: Emerging from a meeting with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Monday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said their talks had covered the full range of foreign and domestic affairs, though with greater emphasis on major foreign policy issues such as the Cyprus problem, Greek-Turkish relations and the European Union.

    Simitis and Stephanopoulos met at noon at the presidential mansion for the regular president's briefing, which lasted about an hour and a quarter.

    In statements for the 30th anniversary since the Polytechnic uprising, meanwhile, Simitis noted that the message of the Polytechnic today was one of ''constant struggle for essential change, progress, modernization, changing attitudes and practices''.

    According to the premier, this was a timeless and perennially living message that urged us to deal positively with what was new, take responsibility in the face of developments, not to be afraid and to work for a society that would be open for all and give all Greek citizens more opportunities.

    Parliament remembers the Polytechnic University uprising: The Parliament on Monday held one minute's silence in memory of the 30th anniversary since the uprising of students at the Polytechnic University of Athens in November 1973.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis stressed that ''30 years later the uprising of the Polytechnic remains a fully alive symbol of the struggle and pride of the Greek people, while the message of resistance against totalitarianism is kept alive''.

    Ruling PASOK deputy Floros Konstantinou said that ''all those that attempt to draw static conclusions and insert new slogans either did not understand the message of the Polytechnic or they are adopting a conservative way of approach''.

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) deputy Anastasis Papaligouras stressed that ''democracy today is threatened by widespread corruption, the huge increase in vested interest control and petty party tricks and there is a field for resistance and struggle against all that threaten to nullify popular sovereignty''.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Antonis Skylakos said that ''all the demands of the Polytechnic not only remain unfulfilled, not only are they still current, but also demand their satisfaction more so now''.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos criticized Public Order Minister George Floridis of choosing this day ''to show the equalization of the government logic with the theories which call for the use of the pretext of combatting terrorism and are leading to the combatting of democracy''.

    [03] PM Simitis to send letter to PASOK MPs on candidacy intentions

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Prime minister and ruling PASOK party leader Costas Simitis was expected to send a letter to all members of the PASOK parliamentary group later on Monday, calling on his MPs to declare whether they wished to be candidates or not in the next general elections.

    The letter is being sent to the MPS in view of next Friday's PASOK central committee meeting being called for the purpose of drafting the party's candidate lists.

    Commenting on the letter, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said the letter and the November 20 deadline set by the premier aimed to ensure that there was enough information to begin drafting PASOK election tickets at the upcoming meetings of PASOK's Executive Bureau and Central Committee.

    He said the full text of the prime minister's letter was the following:

    "PASOK's Central Committee will convene on November 21 to decide who PASOK's candidates will be in the next elections. I would like to ask all fellow MPs to inform me in writing by Thursday, November 20, whether they wish to be a candidate in the next elections. As you know, certain colleagues have said that they do not wish to continue their Parliamentary activity. I would like to report clearly to the Executive Bureau and the Central Committee which of the current MPs want to be candidates."

    [04] Foreign minister slams incidents during Albanian elections

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Monday criticized Albanian authorities and the government of Fatos Nano for the irregularities reported during repeat municipal elections in certain areas, including the region of Himarra where there is a large ethnic Greek population.

    According to a foreign ministry announcement, Papandreou made the statements while addressing an EU Council of Ministers' meeting focusing on the western Balkans in Brussels. The Greek minister called on the EU to take a tough stance over the incidents when assessing Albania's behavior in the framework of negotiations for the Stability and Association pact with Tirana, so as to send a clear message to the Albanian side.

    Papandreou pointed out that serious incidents had been reported both in the first round and during last Sunday's polls by an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) delegation and observers from the United States.

    ''The behavior of the Nano government and of Albanian authorities creates concern about its true goals and proves there is a significant deficit in democratic standards in a country that wishes for rapprochement with the European Union''.

    Both Greece and the EU continued their policy of supporting Albania's European prospects, but this policy was based on principles, criteria and conditions that Albania had to respect, he added.

    [05] ND watching election process in Himarra with concern, party spokesman says

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Monday, referring to elections that took place in the town of Himarra in neighboring Albania on Sunday, ND is watching the process of repeat municipal elections in Himarra, Albania, carefully and with strong concern.

    ''Every attempt to intimidate and oppress democratic sentiment is directed against the essence of democracy. It reveals mentalities and attitudes which are absolutely alien to the European concept of democratic values and processes,'' he said.

    Roussopoulos added that ''we are certain that the international observers have registered these phenomena, as well as every other effort to alter the will of the inhabitants of Himarra. We are also certain that the European Union will also draw the necessary conclusions.''

    The spokesman further called on the Greek government ''to take the necessary action and to condemn everything unacceptable taking place in Himarra.''

    [06] U.S. freezes Albanian National Army assets, calling it dangerous for peace

    WASHINGTON, 18/11/2003 (ANA/A. Ellis)

    The Albanian National Army poses a threat to peace and stability in the Western Balkans, said the U.S. State Department in a written statement to the press, in response to questions on the subject.

    The State Department response stressed that despite the fact that the Albanian National Army was not designated a foreign terrorist organization, it does pose a danger for stability and peace in the Balkans and measures were undertaken to bar its funding, at least as far as American sources are concerned.

    ''No, the Albanian National Army (ANA) has not been designated a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. In May 2003, however, President Bush issued Executive Order 13304 to take additional steps with respect to the continuing, widespread, and illicit actions in the Western Balkans,'' the written statement read.

    ''The Albanian National Army, which poses a threat to peace and stability in the Western Balkans, was designated in the Annex to that Executive Order. Executive Order 13304 blocks the assets of the Albanian National Army in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons. It further prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in most transactions or dealings with individuals and entities, including the Albanian National Army, designated in or pursuant to the Order,'' it added

    In response to the question concerning, ''what kind of organization is the Albanian National Army?'', the statement stressed that ''the Albanian National Army is a loosely organized criminal extremist group that has claimed responsibility for a handful of acts of violence in Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and elsewhere in the Western Balkans in the past year. Its purported violent goals pose a threat to peace and stability in the region. This organization, however, does not have popular support, because its goals are recognizably antithetical to the true interests of the region's ethnic Albanians''.

    [07] NATO Parliamentary assembly concludes in Orlando, USA

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    A NATO Parliamentary assembly held in Orlando in the United States concluded, a Greek Parliament announcement said on Monday.

    The end of the session found the US and Europe divided on issues such as defense spending, with the American side pushing for increased spending by European countries, and the creation of a European military force that Americans feel will unnecessarily duplicate existing NATO resources.

    The assembly also discussed developments on the front in Iraq and agreed that US forces should remain in the area and that the EU, United Nations and NATO should contribute to efforts for reconstruction in that country.

    The six-member delegation of MPs representing Greece again called for a solution via political means for Iraq, while it also initiated proceedings to update a report concerning terrorism with the addition of a section noting that "November 17" had ceased to be the main source of terrorism within Greece and that its members had been arrested and brought to trial.

    [08] EU defense ministers call for independent operational capabilities

    BRUSSELS, 18/11/2003 (ANA/G. Zitouniati)

    The European Union's defense ministers on Monday decided that the European force is in need of independent operational capabilities, which, however, will be complementary and not competitive to NATO.

    Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that Greece ''is an ardent supporter of the European integration, which presupposes the European defense, for which we will continue to fight''.

    The defense ministers placed special emphasis on the promotion of the processes for the establishment of a European Defense Organization, as was decided during the Thessaloniki Summit, and as it was a priority of the Greek EU presidency.

    Papantoniou also stressed that Greece, which possesses a defense industry, is especially interested in the harmonization of standards for all European made defense systems, which in turn will boost competitiveness and employment.

    The defense ministers also focused on the strengthening of the protection mechanisms for the population from threats and attacks that may employ biochemical weapons, making a list of countries which possess them and have such specialized personnel.

    Papantoniou stressed that Greece is very interested in relevant know-how, in light of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, adding that the defense ministry has already assembled a team of 200 persons to confront just such problems.

    [09] PM Simitis to meet visiting Croatian president this week

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to receive visiting Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on Wednesday at noon, during the latter's visit to Athens, government spokesman Christos Protopapas announced.

    Earlier on Monday, meanwhile, the premier had meetings with Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas, while at noon he visited President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    At 14:00 on Monday, Simitis had a meeting with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas, Deputy Press Minister Tilemahos Hytiris, and PASOK Central Committee Secretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis on mainly communications aspects related to the 2004 Olympics.

    On Tuesday, meanwhile, the premier is to chair a meeting of the cabinet beginning at noon and to attend the tabling of the 2004 budget in Parliament, after which he will meet Education Minister Petros Efthymiou.

    Simitis is to meet Chrysohoidis once again on Wednesday at 19:00, while on Thursday morning at 10:00 he will chair a meeting of PASOK's Executive Bureau where he will seek its approval for the framework of policy directions for PASOK from 2004-2008 that he will present immediately afterward at an event at Zappeion.

    At 18:30 on Thursday, Simitis will once more reconvene the Executive Bureau to discuss preparations for a PASOK Central Committee meeting on Friday morning at 11:00, where the premier is to deliver the central address.

    [10] Deputy FM participates in Development Cooperation Ministers' meeting in Brussels

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos participated on Monday in a meeting of Development Cooperation Ministers, taking place in Brussels in the framework of the European Union's Council of General Affairs and Foreign Relations, according to a foreign ministry press release.

    Issues discussed during the meeting were the Conclusions Plan on the relation between moral governance and development cooperation, the creation of a financial peace facility for Africa and the French delegation's proposal for the support of sub-Saharan African cotton producing countries.

    Regarding the creation of the financial peace facility for Africa in particular, a proposal by the European Commission was discussed to allow in principle the use of undistributed funds coming from the European Development Fund, amounting to about 250 million euros, to finance peacekeeping activities in Africa.

    [11] Papathemelis' departure from PASOK officially announced on Monday

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Parliament Deputy Stelios Papathemelis officially announced his decision to Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis on Monday, to leave the ranks of PASOK, via a letter.

    Kaklamanis read the letter to the plenum and as of Monday evening Papathemelis is an independent deputy.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed, in response, that Papathemelis' decision was his right, but political ethics demand of Papathemelis, who was elected with ruling PASOK party, to also resign from his seat at the Parliament.

    On his part, Papathemelis responded saying ''Mr. Protopapas, obviously forgets that, in all things that concern me personally, I was not elected by actions of the leadership (of PASOK), but as everyone knows I was elected despite its will and despite the strong reaction of mechanisms''.

    [12] PASOK deputy Kremastinos will not run for reelection

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    PASOK Parliament Deputy and former minister Dimitris Kremastinos on Monday notified Premier Costas Simitis of his decision to abstain from the next elections, and to return to his "university obligations"

    The well-known heart surgeon had already announced his intention not to run for reelection in September.

    On his part, in response, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in a letter to Kremastinos, thanked him for his political presence and underlined the decision of the doctor to accept the appointment to the post of director of cardiology in the new University Hospital of Attica.

    [13] Trade union group criticizes US envoy's statement on Theodorakis

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE), Greece's main umbrella trade union organization, on Monday sent a letter to United States Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller, expressing the displeasure of Greek workers at his response to the statements of Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis that criticized Israeli policies.

    ''Instead of attacking the artistic leaders of our country, we would ask you to do everything possible to change the policies of the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon, so that a just and peaceful solution can be found that will respect both the Palestinians and the Israelis as having a right to their own country,'' the letter said.

    GSEE also expressed the strong displeasure of Greek workers toward the Israeli government in a letter to Israeli Ambassador to Athens Ram Aviram, regarding Israel's ''unacceptable response'' to the same comments by Theodorakis.

    In a statement that he later clarified had referred exclusively to the Sharon government and aggressive US-Israeli policies rather than the people of Israel, Theodorakis had spoken of a ''fanatical'' attitude on Israel's part and described it as being ''at the root of evil''.

    Miller responded last week, saying the composer's statements were ''regrettable'' and said they couched his objections to Israel's policy in ethnic terms.

    [14] Greek 2004 budget to focus on growth, social policies, FinMin says

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Greece's 2004 budget is designed to support economic growth and social policies, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Monday.

    Speaking to reporters, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Bank of Greece governor Nikos Garganas, Mr Christodoulakis stressed that next year's budget would focus on higher economic growth, while it would also stabilize the economy and promote social policies.

    "I believe that the Greek economy is currently in a stage where it should have a clear priority of fiscal stability to reduce debts and contain deficits," the Greek minister said.

    Mr Christodoulakis noted that the government, after submitting its draft budget plan to parliament, would submit its updated stability and growth program to the European Commission. The three-year program (2004-2006) will reflect the government's estimated figures of economic goals.

    Economy ministry officials said that the Greek government was in constant talks with the European Commission and that submission of next year's budget would resolve several of the problems related with doubts over Greek budget figures.

    [15] Greek current account deficit widens in Jan-Sept

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    The Greek trade deficit remained virtually unchanged in September 2003 compared with the same month last year, although the country's current account deficit widened, reflecting an increase in the oil deficit and a small decrease in the services surplus, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

    In its monthly report on the trade figures, the central bank said that a slight increase was recorded in the transfers surplus, which offset the small growth of the income account deficit.

    A rise in non-oil export receipts was fully offset by the increase in the non-oil import bill, while a small decrease in the services surplus mainly stemmed from reduced net travel receipts, the bank said.

    Net transport (notably sea transport) receipts grew, as gross receipts increased considerably, while gross payments rose moderately. The small increase in the income account deficit came mainly as a result of a decline in fees and wages receipts, while the small rise in the transfers surplus mostly reflects the fact that net EU transfers to general government grew.

    The January-September 2003 period saw an improvement in both the non-oil trade deficit, which fell, and the services surplus, which grew in comparison with the same period in 2002. However, as a result of a widening of the oil trade deficit and the income account deficit and a narrowing of the transfers surplus, the current account deficit eventually grew by 475 million euros over the same period in 2002, reaching 5.019 billion euros.

    The non-oil trade deficit decreased by 435 million euros in the January-September period over the same period in 2002, as export receipts grew by 289 million euros and the import bill declined by 145 million euros. The services surplus grew, as the increase in net transport receipts more than offset the decrease in net travel receipts. The income account deficit widened by 518 million euros, mainly owing to increased net interest payments on Greek government bonds, which are associated with a commensurate rise in non-residents’ holdings of such securities since the beginning of 2003.

    Finally, underlying the narrowing (by 348 million euros) of the transfers surplus was a reduction in net transfers from the EU to general government, which more than offset the growth of net transfers to the other sectors.

    Financial account balance: Direct investment flows were low in September 2003. The net inflow was small (7.6 million euros). As regards ''other investment'', the net inflow of 530 million euros was mainly connected with an increase in non-residents’ deposits and repos holdings in Greece.

    In January-September 2003, a net outflow of 671 million euros was observed under direct investment, which is mainly accounted for by residents’ direct investment abroad. Over the same period, a substantial net inflow of 11.320 billion euros was recorded under portfolio investment. This development is mainly associated with an inflow of foreign investors’ funds for the purchase of Greek government bonds, which increased considerably year-on-year.

    At end-August 2003, Greece’s reserve assets stood at 5.0 billion euros.

    [16] Commission comments on Greek fiscal deficit projections

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    The European Commission on Monday, indirectly, hinted that its autumn forecasts for the Greek fiscal deficit might have been excessive.

    A spokesman for Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pedro Solbes, answering to journalists' questions over the issue, stressed that Greece needed to adhere to a fiscal discipline program.

    The spokesman said that a representation group of the Commission's general directorate on economic and monetary affairs had visited Athens last week in the framework of regular contacts between community agencies with Greek authorities. The visit, the second this autumn, was aimed to collect additional data for next year's budget and Greece's updated stability and growth program.

    The spokesman stressed that preliminary data received from Greek authorities confirmed the EU executive's forecasts over the country's fiscal condition. He hinted, however, that the Commission's autumn predictions might be excessive and stressed that the country should focus on its structural deficit, which the Commission said that it worsened this year, exceeding 2.0 percent of Greek GDP from 1.5 percent in 2001.

    The Commission spokesman also noted Greece, helped by its high growth rates, should focus on reducing its public deficits and seek balanced budgets according to an EU stability and growth pact.

    He noted that the EU Commission would publish its opinion over the Greek stability and growth program in the first quarter of 2004.

    [17] EU report on unemployment rates in EU-25

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Western Macedonia, South Aegean and Central Macedonia were the Greek regions with the highest unemployment rate in 2002, with rates of 14.7 percent, 14.2 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively, Eurostat said on Monday.

    In its annual report on unemployment in the EU-25 in 2002, the EU's executive stressed that the Peloponnese (7.3 percent), Crete (7.7 percent) and Ionian islands (9.0 percent) were the regions with the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

    Eurostat said that Reunion (France) with 29.3 percent, Ale (Denmark) with 27.1 percent, Lubuski and Dolno Slaski (Poland) with 26.3 percent and 26.1 percent, respectively, Guadelupe (26 percent), Calabria (Italy) with 24.6 percent and Vihode Slovesko (Slovakia) with 22.2 percent were the regions with the highest unemployment rates in the EU-25.

    On the other hand, Tirol (Austria) with 2.0 percent, Utrecht (Holland) with 2.2 percent, Zeeland (Holland) with 2.3 percent, Azores islands (Portugal) with 2.5 percent, Cyprus with 3.3 percent and Prague with 3.6 percent, were the regions with the lowest unemployment rates in 2002.

    [18] FinMin to announce decision on Post Savings Bank this week

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis is expected to announce the government's plans over the future of Post Savings Bank at the end of this week, in a meeting with union representatives.

    Mr Christodoulakis is scheduled to meet with the bank's board before reaching his final decisions.

    The Greek government has said it was seeking to sell a minority stake in Post Savings Bank as part of its privatization program this year.

    [19] Greece rejects full decoupling of EU tobacco subsidies, output

    BRUSSELS, 18/11/2003 (ANA/B.Demiris)

    Greece repeated on Monday that it would not accept a full decoupling of European Union tobacco subsidies and production.

    Speaking after an EU farm ministers meeting in the Belgian capital, Agriculture Minister George Drys told reporters the government would accept a partial decoupling if the move was implemented cautiously in order to avoid destabilizing output and protect areas and varieties of tobacco where alternatives were unavailable.

    Greek tobacco producers join demo against EU overhaul: Greek tobacco producers took part in a demonstration in the Belgian capital on Monday to protest against reform of the sector by the European Union's executive Commission.

    Around 5,000 producers in the protest called by Unitab, the sector's European umbrella union.

    The reform plan aims to phase out subsidies.

    [20] Geopolotical worries push Greek stocks 1.43 pct lower

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    Renewed geopolitical worries, after a wave of bombing attacks in the Middle East during the weekend, undermined sentiment in international and the Greek markets on Monday, pushing stock prices sharply lower.

    The general index fell 1.43 percent to end at 2,132.57 points, off the day's lows of 2,127 points. Turnover was a moderate 93.5 million euros.

    All sector indices ended lower with the Textile, Publications and Base Metals sectors suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day (5.26 percent, 2.95 percent and 2.87 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks fell 1.53 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.56 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index plunged 2.76 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 302 to 30 with another 19 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Public Power Corporation, Football Pools Organization, National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover 82.8 mln euros on Friday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: -1.53% percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: -1.56 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (1,045)

  • Total turnover in derivatives market: 47.6 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers match sellers on Monday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.43 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 15 bps

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-yr, expiring May 2013 (790 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 2.2 bln euros

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Closing rates of November 17 2003

    Parities in euro

    Banknotes

    Foreign Exchange Buying Selling

    US Dollar 1,186 1,162

    [21] Greeks wary of globalization, Eurobarometer survey shows

    BRUSSELS, 18/11/2003 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Greeks are particularly wary of globalization, with 51 per cent considering the creation of a truly global market to be negative, according to the results of a Flash Eurobarometer published on Monday in Brussels.

    Only about 47 per cent of Greeks support globalization, compared to 78 per cent in the Netherlands, and 71 per cent in Ireland and Germany.

    This contrasts with the responses in the 15 EU member-states overall, where 63% of EU citizens support the development of globalization while more than half (52%) believe that if globalization intensifies in the future this would be more advantageous for them.

    The survey conducted between 8 and 16 October 2003 also shows that 62% of EU citizens believe the process of globalization can be effectively controlled and regulated, while 56% believe that more rules are necessary to harness the development of globalization.

    Other key findings of this survey were that three in four EU citizens have heard of globalization, with awareness levels highest in Austria (90%), Finland (89%), Greece and Italy (88%).

    One in two EU citizens foresees an optimistic future for themselves and their families should globalization intensify, and 56% of the respondents view the opening-up of markets as a good opportunity for domestic industry.

    Around 56% of EU citizens call for regulation of globalization to be stepped up, while 61% of trust the EU for ensuring that globalization follows the correct course, ahead of international institutions (56%), trade unions and national governments (45%) or anti or alter-globalist movements (42%).

    On the other hand, Europeans believe that anti or alter-globalist movements raise points that deserve to be debated (79%) but believe they fall short of proposing concrete solutions (53%).

    An estimated 58% of EU citizens are positive about the European Commission negotiating on behalf of all Member States on trade matters, and 57% of EU citizens believe globalization is positive for economic growth, 52% believe it is negative for employment, 64% believe it is positive for solidarity between countries.

    Within Greece, an estimated 15 per cent of respondents believe the country is too open to international markets and 48 per cent believe it is too closed and 35 per cent that it is adapted to international needs.

    Around 67 per cent of Greeks believe regulation of globalization should be stepped up and 58 per cent believe it is a threat to domestic industry, while 46 per cent believe it will have a negative impact on themselves and their families.

    Around 54 per cent of Greeks believe alter- and anti-globalization movements can steer globalization in the right direction, compared to 44 per cent that believe the opposite, and 55 per cent believe that these can promote specific solutions against globalization, compared to 39 per cent of Europeans.

    [22] New president analyses Greek Canadian Congress' policies

    MONTREAL, 18/11/2003 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    The policies of the Greek Canadian Congress were presented in detail during a press conference here on Sunday by the new President Thanassis Fousias, who said ''all must look at the future and close old accounts.''

    Fousias, who had served as president of both the Metropolitan Community of Toronto and the Congress itself in the past, said there would be transparency in the Congress' movements and the conflicts of the past will be avoided at all cost.

    The new president of the Greek Canadian Congress said the aim of his administration will be to promote the issue of the letter vote, which belongs to overseas Greeks by right, particularly following developments in the European Union.

    [23] Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Istanbul, meets with Vartholomeos

    ISTANBUL, 18/11/2003 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams arrived here on Monday for an official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate accompanied by a delegation, composed of a bishop and four priests of the Church of England.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos presented the delegation to the members of the Holy Synod and soon after the meeting of the Committee for Inter-Christian Dialogue began, headed by Metropolitan of Pergamos Ioannis.

    The meeting was also attended by Orthodox Archbishop of Theatera (Britain) and Archbishop of America Dimitrios.

    [24] Defense for Giotopoulos plays down N17's impact on Greek society

    Athens, 18/11/2003 (ANA)

    The trial of 19 suspected members of the terrorist group ''November 17'' resumed after a four-day break on Monday, with the defense team for alleged N17 leader Alexandros Giotopoulos addressing the court.

    After the first attorney on Giotopoulos' defense team, Costas Chrysikopoulos, wrapped up his case-by-case treatment of each of the 900-plus charges against his client, he was succeeded by Yiannis Rahiotis, the second attorney for Giotopoulos.

    In his final arguments before the Three-Member Criminal Appeals Court, Rahiotis played down the impact of the terror group on Greek society, saying that it was an organization that fought against big capital and the Americans and that its actions were within the measure of what Greek society could tolerate.

    ''There was no bloodbath,'' he said at one point and described the group as an ''armed mechanism of intervention'' and an ''organization of revolutionary subversion, perhaps with an extreme method of expression because of its small powers''.

    He also claimed that the Greek people did not feel the group's victims to be ''one of their own'' and attributed its lengthy career to its working-class constitution.

    The lawyer criticized the two main parties in Greece and the Left as ''failed''.

    ''What is on trial here is not a remnant of the past but will always grow where the conditions exist,'' he added.

    Referring to another 48-hour strike declared by the Athens Bar Association on Tuesday and Wednesday, meanwhile, Rahiotis said he had contacted Bar president Dimitris Paxinos but had not been given permission to address the court during the strike.

    Presiding judge Mihalis Margaritis, however, asked Anestis Papanastasiou to find out if his own defense lawyers were prepared to request the Bar's permission to speak on Tuesday.

    As things stand, the trial will adjourn until Thursday, when Rahiotis will resume his address to the court.

    The judge has repeatedly noted that frequent delays due to strike action and other reasons have created a risk that the 18-month period of legal detention before trial might elapse before the proceedings for all 19 defendants are completed.

    [25] FM Iacovou tells EU Erdogan aligns himself with Denktash

    BRUSSELS, 18/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Foreign Minister of George Iacovou said on Monday it was a pity that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chose his recent illegal visit to Cyprus to align himself with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and refer to a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of two separate states.

    Addressing the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels, Iacovou said the recent reports of the European Commission were objective.

    Referring to the report on Cyprus, he said the government promises to meet all its obligations in the context of harmonization with the acquis communautaire.

    The Commission's report on Turkey and especially the indirect connection of Ankara's EU accession course with a Cyprus settlement received positive comments during today's meeting.

    Regarding the strategy report on Turkey, Iacovou said the report had a profound impact on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community, more than the UN Security Council resolutions did.

    Iacovou also said it was a pity that Erdogan chose his recent illegal visit to Cyprus to align himself with Denktash and refer to a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of two separate states.

    The Cypriot minister also spoke about the reference on Cyprus included in the agenda of the forthcoming European Council and asked that it be written in such a way so that it would reflect the true situation. He specifically referred to the Salonica European Council conclusions and the recent European Commission reports on Cyprus and Turkey, which call on all interested parties, especially Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, to support the UN Secretary General's efforts for a settlement.

    They also note that the absence of a settlement could pose a serious obstacle in Turkey's European aspirations.

    Iacovou's statements were supported by his counterparts from Spain, Greece, Sweden and Austria. Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou requested that a reference be made in the agenda of the forthcoming European Council, similar to that of the Salonica conclusions.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [26] Spokesman says Erdogan's visit a provocation

    NICOSIA, 18/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has described Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's illegal visit to the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic as a provocation to the international community, noting that the international community should direct its efforts to Turkey if it wants to curb its intransigence and proceed with the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    ''After this visit, it should be clear to all of us what Turkey's policy is,'' the spokesman said on Monday and reiterated the Greek Cypriot side's will to reach a settlement before May 2004, when Cyprus will become a full member of the EU. He added however that ''Erdogan's statements create a pessimism and a slimmer chance of solving the Cyprus problem by then.''

    Chrysostomides said Erdogan's visit ''is a provocation to the international community, and the international community should direct its efforts in the right direction, that is in the direction of Turkey, if it wants to curb her intransigence and proceed with the solution of the Cyprus problem.''

    Asked if Erdogan's visit dispersed any hope of reaching a settlement by May 2004, Chrysostomides said ''we continue to insist that a solution is necessary before May 1, 2004.''

    ''Erdogan's statements create a pessimism and a slimmer chance of solving the Cyprus problem by then. However, our determined efforts will continue in all directions,'' he added.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

    [27] Christofias: Erdogan's visit consists open support to Denktash

    LARNACA, 18/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cyprus House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias has said Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's illegal visit to Cyprus' Turkish-occupied areas has shown Erdogan's clear support to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, and noted that the official Turkish policy remains divisive and is backed both by Denktash and the military and diplomatic establishment.

    Speaking to the press here on Sunday prior to his departure for Ireland, at the head of a parliamentary delegation paying an official visit to the country, said Erdogan's visit ''consists an explicit, open and beyond any custom and diplomacy support to Denktash and unfortunately to its positions and philosophy.''

    Christofias said ''the official Turkish state policy continues to be divisive and is backed by Denktash and the military and diplomatic establishment as it happened previously with Bulent Ecevit and all previous Turkish Prime Ministers.''

    As regards the visit to Ireland, Christofias said it takes place at his Irish counterpart's invitation and that during the delegation's meetings to Ireland the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' EU course will be discussed given the fact that Ireland takes over the EU rotating six-month presidency in January 2004.

    ''I believe that this visit will also make its own contribution to the whole effort we are making to promote our cause, and to the strengthening of relations between EU member-states,'' he added.

    [28] Turkish Cypriot side responsible for collapse of Hague talks, UN official says

    NEW YORK, 18/11/2003 (ANA/P. Panagiotou)

    The Turkish Cypriot side was responsible for the collapse of the talks at The Hague, the UN Secretary General's deputy spokes-man Mari Okambe reiterated on Monday in reference to a report by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. During a regular press briefing, the spokesperson, in reply to a question whether there was any change in Annan's attribution of responsibility for the impasse in the Cyprus issue, she said that the answer is contained in the UN Secretary General's report of April 1, 2003.

    In his report Annan named Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as being responsible for the failure of the talks, at the same time noting the position of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos that in order for referendums to place there should first be an agreement.

    [29] Spokesman says UN report not exactly reflecting reality

    NICOSIA, 18/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Monday that the UN chief's recent report on the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force's (UNFICYP) mandate in Cyprus does not exactly reflect reality.

    He noted, however, that ''the non reference to the true dimensions of the problem is reduced by the Secretary General's reference to a previous report of his and UN resolution 1475 and also from the fact that this report refers specifically to the renewal of UNFICYP's mandate,'' The spokesman noted that ''the government expects that all UN reports reflect the reality,'' adding that ''this report refers to a previous report of the UN chief on April 1, 2003, which clearly blamed the Turkish side for the failure of efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, and to resolution 1475 of April 14, which again repeats the positions on Denktash's negative stance.''

    Asked if the government believed the report reflected reality, the spokesman said: ''Not exactly but this is reduced by the non reference to the true dimensions of the problem by the Secretary General's reference to a previous report of his and UN resolution 1475 and also from the fact that this report refers specifically to the renewal of UNFICYP's mandate.''

    Replying to other questions, the spokesman noted that UN chief Kofi Annan ''in fact calls on the Turkish side, which remains intransigent and monolithic in its positions, to change course and at the same time expresses his willingness and readiness to intervene again, to become involved in the Cyprus problem, once conditions allow it.''

    He added that these conditions are ''a change of policy on behalf of Turkey.''

    [30] President Papadopoulos to pay official visit to Greece

    NICOSIA, 18/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos will pay a three-day official visit to Greece from November 25 to 27, at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The official welcoming by Stephanopoulos will take place on the day he arrives in the Greek capital. Meetings will follow and in the evening the Greek President will host an official dinner in honor of President Papadopoulos.

    On November 26, President Papadopoulos will meet with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said the full program of the President's visit would be made public in the next few days.

    [31] Spokesman says no information yet on US envoy's tour of region

    NICOSIA, 18/11/2003 (CNA/ANA)

    The Cyprus government has no information about a new tour of the region by US State Department Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston, government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Monday.

    Chrysostomides noted, however, that since Weston's last visit, the latter had announced that he would be returning within a few weeks to the region ''and this is what he has been doing.''

    ''It is his usual and periodical visit to the Athens-Ankara-Nicosia

    triangle and even Brussels, to explore the possibilities of resuming negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan,'' the spokesman said.

    Asked what message the Cyprus government would send Weston on what to say in Ankara after the illegal visit to the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a couple of days ago, the spokesman said ''Weston needs no guidance on what to say.''

    Chrysostomides furthermore expressed certainty that the US diplomat would have noted all statements, including those by European Commission President Romano Prodi, Commissioner on Enlargement Gunter Verheugen, and European politicians.

    ''It appears that Turkey's EU course passes through the Cyprus problem indeed,'' the spokesman concluded.


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