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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Fluidity of positions in EU on Turkey's accession bid ascertained by foreign ministry
  • [02] Skepticism over possibility of Turkey's EU accession growing
  • [03] EU Socialist Group leader says Turkey "must make progress" in regards to the Cyprus issue
  • [04] Draft resolution in Congress calls for US to reinstate its use of the name FYROM, encourages negotiations for mutually acceptable
  • [05] Karamanlis confers with Balkenende ahead of Dec. 17 EU Summit
  • [06] Alogoskoufis briefs ND MPs on economy
  • [07] Gov't on fiscal audit, Papandreou charge
  • [08] European integration a long and perpetual struggle, Greek minister says
  • [09] Karamanlis departs for 3-day visit to Egypt on Friday
  • [10] Papandreou meets with Israeli political leaders
  • [11] Public order minister and Italian interior minister discuss illegal immigration, crime and terrorism
  • [12] Greece claiming OSCE general secretariat
  • [13] "Economist" editor comments on EU-US relations and the Middle East
  • [14] Gov't on return of 'Prestige' skipper
  • [15] President Stephanopoulos briefed by interior minister on public administration reform
  • [16] Turkey's new security doctrine considers the re-opening of Halki Theological School a 'domestic threat'
  • [17] Parliament president receives Auditing Council's report on state revenues and expenditures for 2003
  • [18] Lt.-Commander Gikas named new defense ministry information director and press spokesman
  • [19] Greek gov't approves farm investment programs worth 35 mln euros
  • [20] EU approves 360 mln euros in farm funds for Greece
  • [21] Minister blasts PASOK for its coastal shipping policy
  • [22] OTE Telecom, Armenia mend rift over mobile operator
  • [23] Public Power Corporation reports 1.6 pct fall in nine-month net profit
  • [24] Greek shipowners urge for full deregulation of domestic market
  • [25] Parliament OKs tax bill, finmin vows again to expose predecessor
  • [26] Greece eager to host European, Mediterranean industry meeting
  • [27] Government to tender western building works
  • [28] Stocks jump in blue-chip buying spree
  • [29] 11 ND MPs submit draft law regarding women and domestic violence
  • [30] Personal Data Protection Authority agrees to extended use of cameras in Attica region conditionally
  • [31] Medecins Sans Frontieres launch AIDS awareness campaign
  • [32] City of Athens honors British envoy Sir David Madden
  • [33] Social group records some 173 exploited minors in country's streets
  • [34] One out of 10 Greek teenagers has tried hashish says European Watch report
  • [35] Cyprus says Turkey has many Copenhagen criteria obligations
  • [36] German official says Ankara must recognize Cyprus Republic
  • [37] Cyprus spokesman: EU aware of our positions on Turkey's EU course November 26, 2004

  • [01] Fluidity of positions in EU on Turkey's accession bid ascertained by foreign ministry

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The foreign ministry ascertained a "fluidity of positions" regarding Turkey's accession bid among the EU member states in the deliberations ahead of the EU summit next month -- which was slated to decide on whether to set an opening date for Turkey's membership negotiations -- following foreign minister Petros Molyviatis' recent talks with his colleagues in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain and France, ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos told reporters during a regular briefing on Thursday.

    Koumoutsakos said that the fluidity was first of all ascertained on the matter of determining the date for commencing accession negotiations with Turkey. "At the moment, there is ambiguity regarding determination of the time, in other words whether it will be the first half or second half of 2005. And there are still some member states who have not yet opened up their cards," Koumoutsakos said, adding that it was also still vague as to "whether the negotiations, provided, naturally, that they proceed, will lead definitely to Turkey's full accession or to something else".

    Another difficulty regarding the negotiations was that, among the EU member states, there appeared to be a group of countries -- more or less those that were in favor of a general reference being made in the Conclusions of the December summit -- that did not appear disposed to advance beyond the political criteria set out at the Copenhagen summit and in other relevant EU texts. "In other words, they do not desire the inclusion (in the summit Conclusions) of references that could be interpreted as additional terms or conditions," the spokesman explained.

    "In that climate, the Greek side, given its position in support of Turkey's EU prospect -- which, however, develops only when the criteria, conditions and regulations are completely fulfilled -- considers that matters comprising the nucleus of the European rationale, the European rules and principles, cannot be overlooked. Naturally, the major issue of recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey falls into that framework," Koumoutsakos stressed.

    Responding to questions on whether Greece would seek a reiteration of the Helsinki principles in the December summit's Conclusions, Koumoutsakos said that "the European practice set out in the texts that have been adopted exist, they are not reversed", adding that "they develop, are updated, but they are not reversed, and they comprise stages of an acquis that evolves".

    He clarified that if the December 17 summit decided in favor of commencing accession negotiations with Turkey, "it will not be an end decision, but a start".

    "A mechanism will be set in motion, the philosophy of which is a consistent check, a consistent monitoring, in detail, and this is something that, naturally, does not apply only for Turkey," Koumoutsakos explained.

    In that course, "the texts and the commitments and criteria have their place, but at the same time, of great importance also are the atmosphere, the attitudes, the general impression that evolves on the course of that candidacy," the spokesman said, adding that "in that course of monitoring and checks, everything European is Greek, and everything Greek is European".

    Asked whether the member states were no longer discussing the prospect of the European Council, at its December summit, refusing to grant Turkey an opening date for accession talks, Koumoutsakos said that "nothing has been ruled out".

    He added that there were some member states, among them Cyprus, that have said they will finalize their stance on the night of December 16.

    [02] Skepticism over possibility of Turkey's EU accession growing

    BRUSSELS 26/11/2004 (ANA/G. Zitouniati)

    Skepticism over the possibility of Turkey's accession is growing in the European Union, even if it does fulfill criteria set by the EU.

    Those feeling "hesitant" about Turkey's accession, who can be found in almost all political groups in the European Parliament, propose that a date for the commencement of accession negotiations be set for Ankara at the EU summit in December (possibly in the second half of 2005), but the possibility of a "special relation" being reached must remain open in the event of failure in convergence with Europe.

    "The entire political class in Turkey is on the verge of a nervous breakdown in anticipation of the outcome of the European Council in December and due to the fact that there is no common European position," said main opposition PASOK party Eurodeputy Panos Beglitis, who has just returned from a visit to Ankara and Istanbul with a delegation of the European Parliament's socialist group.

    "What we are expecting from the EU at the European Council in December is a clear framework of conclusions which shall include the issue of Cyprus, recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, Greek-Turkish relations and the protection of the rights of the Greek minority in Turkey, a framework and a timetable, just as we had in Helsinki," he added.

    [03] EU Socialist Group leader says Turkey "must make progress" in regards to the Cyprus issue

    ISTANBUL 26/11/2004 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament's Socialist Group told Turkish journalists during his visit to Ankara and Istanbul Wednesday that "Turkey must make progress regarding Cyprus."

    Schulz said that he doesn't think the Republic of Cyprus will put up obstacles in the decision-making process regarding Turkey's EU accession negotiations.

    Particularly after the Greek prime minister's visit to Cyprus, there is a 'tone of moderation' to Cyprus' stance, Schulz reportedly said, adding that the "Cyprus issue continues to be a 'dangerous' issue."

    "We understand Turkey's arguments regarding Cyprus and its wish to see certain actions taken by the EU in favor of the Turkish Cypriots, but it is very difficult to begin accession talks with Turkey if it hasn't previously recognized an EU member state," Schulz emphasized.

    The Socialist Group leader said that Turkey "must do something" regarding recognition of Cyprus before the EU Summit of December 17. He added that the Greek Cypriot side must also make some progress on the issue.

    [04] Draft resolution in Congress calls for US to reinstate its use of the name FYROM, encourages negotiations for mutually acceptable name.

    Washington 26/11/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)

    A draft resolution encouraging the governments of Greece and FYROM to continue their UN-sponsored negotiations for finding a mutually acceptable official name for FYROM was tabled in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday by Congressman Mike Bilirakis (R-Florida) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) -- co-founders of the Hellenic Caucus -- which was co-signed by several other House of Representatives members.

    The resolution sets out the history of the creation of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) after the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the bilateral negotiations between Greece and FYROM, noting that the US State Department's recent recognition of FYROM with its disputed constitutional name of 'Republic of Macedonia' had taken place without the prior briefing of Congress, and had weakened Greece's negotiating position, while at the same time undermined the bilateral negotiations themselves.

    The resolution notes that Greece is FYROM's biggest investor and trade partner, and calls on the Skopje and Athens governments to honor their 1995 agreement to seek a mutually acceptable name for FYROM.

    The resolution further calls on the State Department to reinstate its long-term use of the name FYROM, and expresses Congress' support for the UN efforts for finding a mutually acceptable official name for FYROM.

    [05] Karamanlis confers with Balkenende ahead of Dec. 17 EU Summit

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday reported that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis spoke earlier in the day by phone with the presiding EU leader and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende regarding the agenda for the crucial Dec. 17 EU summit, especially issues related to Turkey's European prospects and the Cyprus issue.

    According to alternate spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, the Greek premier reiterated Athens' standing positions.

    Antonaros clarified that Greece remains in favor of Turkey's European prospect, in tandem, however, with that country's fulfillment of criteria and conditions necessary for its future EU accession process to proceed.

    He noted that "it (Turkey) must respect the rules and behavior that typify the European Union".

    Conversely, he declined to comment on "hypothetical questions", namely, what Athens would do if Turkey did not fulfill such conditions and criteria.

    In response to a barrage of subsequent press questions on the same issue, Antonaros said he was referring directly to the Copenhagen criteria and to those recorded in a recent European Commission report.

    Finally, he emphasized that Greece's political leadership is actively working so that Greece's positions become well known and respected.

    [06] Alogoskoufis briefs ND MPs on economy

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis briefed New Democracy (ND) MPs who serve on Parliament Economy and Commerce Committees on the budget, tax legislation and the development law at party headquarters on Friday.

    The finance minister began his briefing with an explanation as to why the government decided to proceed with the fiscal audit, emphasizing that it was not done to tarnish the past - as some claim - but for citizens to know the situation the new government was faced with and to know the truth.

    Alogoskoufis said that after reviewing the figures, "2005, if we succeed - and we will - will be the first time Greece will have achieved the European goal of having a deficit below 3%."

    Speaking of the tax law, Alogoskoufis said that New Democracy's pre-election promises had now been realized and that the tax-exempt limit was increased 10% - something that was not included in ND's election campaign program, in order to help low- and middle-income earners. Additionally, Alogoskoufis emphasized that this is the only tax law that does not impose any hidden or obvious added taxes.

    As for the development law, Alogoskoufis said that a new philosophy regarding the country's development and regional convergence is being implemented, stressing that the maximum subsidy foreseen by the EU for small- and medium-sized businesses is among the law's incentives.

    [07] Gov't on fiscal audit, Papandreou charge

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday dismissed a charge by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou that a recent high-profile and controversial fiscal audit was conducted solely with the purpose of "defaming PASOK".

    "Mr. Papandreou can claim, from time to time, whatever he likes. The audit was conducted so that transparency and truth can exist, and also, so we do not hide behind figures that have no basis in reality," alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros told reporters on Thursday.

    [08] European integration a long and perpetual struggle, Greek minister says

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The road to European integration is a long and perpetual struggle by Europe and its citizens, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Thursday.

    Addressing a conference on "An expanded Europe in a new international environment", organized by the union of Attica municipalities in cooperation with the European Commission in Athens, Pavlopoulos stressed that an expanding European Union should move in parallel with the cohesion of the community and noted that a new European constitutional pact was a very significant step towards European integration.

    The Greek minister added that a European constitution was not a leap but a very significant step forward. Pavlopoulos said that local authorities and EU's regions have a significant role to play in Europe's future.

    [09] Karamanlis departs for 3-day visit to Egypt on Friday

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis departs for Alexandria, Egypt on Friday to begin an official three-day visit to the North African country.

    Among others, Karamanlis will be received by new Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros, visit the state-of-the-art Alexandria Library, meet with members of the ethnic Greek community of Alexandria and also visit a museum in the port city dedicated to poet Constantine P. Cavafy.

    The prime minister heads to Cairo on Saturday, where he will have a busy itinerary, topped off by a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart and a reception hosted by the Greek ambassador in honor of the two premiers.

    He meets with Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak on Sunday morning. Karamanlis returns to Athens the same day.

    [10] Papandreou meets with Israeli political leaders

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) President George Papandreou began his two-day visit to the Middle East Thursday and is currently in Tel Aviv where he met with Israeli government officials and members of the opposition.

    Specifically, the PASOK president met with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Labor Party leader Shimon Peres. Both men briefed Papandreou on the political situation in Israel and on efforts to return to the "road map" for peace in the Middle East 50 days before elections are held in the Palestinian territories.

    Shalom informed Papandreou of the efforts being carried out for a resumption of a dialogue the Israeli government's support in order to ensure that the Palestinian elections are carried out successfully.

    Peres informed Papandreou of the possibility of his Labor Party participating in the government coalition which is currently being formed and the two also discussed the Palestinian issue following the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and the developments as they are expected to unfold according to Israeli officials' evaluations.

    "On occasion of my visit to Ramallah in order to pay homage to Arafat and of course to meet with the Palestinian leadership I had the opportunity to meet with Israeli officials and to learn about the renewed effort to return to the peace-making process - something that is very important for Europe and Greece," Papandreou said after his meetings with Shalom and Peres.

    "Immediately after I will have the chance to convey my impressions from the region to Europe's socialists with whom I will meet in two days," Papandreou added.

    On Friday morning Papandreou will visit Ramallah and will lay a wreath at Arafat's mausoleum and will then meet with Palestinian leaders.

    [11] Public order minister and Italian interior minister discuss illegal immigration, crime and terrorism

    ROME 26/11/2004 (ANA/L. Hatzikyriakos)

    Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu discussed illegal immigration, crime and terrorism here on Thursday. The talks also ascertained the excellent relations existing between Italy and Greece.

    Pisanu said in a statement that during their meeting "the excellent relations existing and excellent cooperation between the two governments, and between the two ministries in particular, the police and security services were ascertained."

    He further said "we discussed the problems facing us and in particular illegal immigrations, terrorism and organized crime. There was a very wide identity of views on all problems and, at the same time, we also determined the policy we must follow in the future, both at bilateral and European level."

    Voulgarakis stressed the fact that the two countries are facing common problems which can have common solutions, adding that close cooperation has been established some time ago.

    "The most basic problem is illegal immigration. Being bordering countries, we have a common concern and a common interest in the protection of borders, both land and sea ones. We had good cooperation which will also continue at the level of experts," he said.

    The minister also said immigration waves experienced by Greece and Italy were examined and cooperation protocols were also confirmed in the framework of Adriatic cooperation.

    Voulgarakis also noted that organized crime was discussed in particular, the issue of drugs and international terrorism. He wished every success for the winter Olympic Games which will take place in Turin and promised cooperation of all kinds.

    Replying to a question on the Balkans, Pisanu said "it was discussed that a part of funds amounting to 4.6 billion euros, provided by the EU, should be used for security in this region. Since terrorist threats 'pass' from this area which are dangerous for Greece and Italy. We agree that a part of the funds must be used."

    [12] Greece claiming OSCE general secretariat

    SOFIA 26/11/2004 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Greece is claiming the general secretariat of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), according to exclusive reports obtained by the Athens News Agency (ANA), a few days before the international organization's annual general assembly takes place here.

    The Greek candidate for the post of general secretary of the European organization will be Theodosios Georgiou, president of the Greek Atlantic and European Cooperation Union and former president of the Atlantic Treaty Union in which corresponding non-governmental organizations from NATO member-states participate, the reports said.

    [13] "Economist" editor comments on EU-US relations and the Middle East

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Bill Emmott, editor of the British weekly "The Economist" and writer, offered his views and opinion on EU-US relations and the Middle East situation, as he sees them developing over the next few years, in a lecture he gave in Athens on Thursday.

    Emmott, despite US President George Bush's ''hardcore'' cabinet, foresees that US foreign policy during the second Bush administration will focus more on reconciliation with Europe and improving America's image abroad regarding its credibility.

    The Economist's editor believes that the problems in Iraq will push the US to reconsider and tone down its policy regarding Iran, North Korea and Syria, or will at least try to buy time.

    Emmott expressed optimism that the gap in US-EU relations will be bridged. Other opportunities for reconciliation, according to Emmott, will occur within the World Trade Organization, investment and in the Middle East, where, albeit in the long-term, the US and Europe can formulate a plan to solve the Palestinian problem.

    [14] Gov't on return of 'Prestige' skipper

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday called the return to the country of the Greek skipper who commanded the ill-fated "Prestige" tanker a positive development.

    Capt. Apostolos Magouras was at the helm of the tanker when it sunk off the northwest coast of Spain, sparking the worst maritime environmental disaster in that country.

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros made the comments during his regular press briefing.

    Magouras was allowed to depart Spain following repeated representations by Athens over the past months.

    He was arrested in October 2002 following the tanker's sinking.

    Greece's justice ministry has conveyed a written guarantee to Spanish authorities that Magouras will travel back to Spain to stand trial when the time comes.

    [15] President Stephanopoulos briefed by interior minister on public administration reform

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos received interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday who briefed him on issues pertaining to his duties.

    Pavlopoulos said after the meeting he briefed the president on certain basic issues concerning the course of public administration reform, with emphasis on the issue of the civil servants status and the course of preparation for the civil servants code in particular.

    He also briefed the president on issues of first and second stage local administration, meaning issues concerning the municipalities and communities code and the prefectural administration code.

    [16] Turkey's new security doctrine considers the re-opening of Halki Theological School a 'domestic threat'

    ISTANBUL 26/11/2004 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Turkey's new security doctrine, which will soon be reviewed by the country's National Security Council, deems the re-opening of the Halki School of Theology as a "domestic threat," CNN Turk, which managed to secure a copy of the 31-page document, announced on Thursday.

    The Halki School of Theology is a recent addition to the older threats of Kurds' secessionist activities and Islamic fundamentalism.

    According to CNN Turk, the new doctrine says that efforts to change the existing status quo of the Orthodox Patriarchate in Phanar as well as efforts to re-open the Halki School of Theology must be prevented.

    The doctrine of 1997 listed the PKK's secessionist activities and Islamic fundamentalism as threats to the country's security. The doctrine remained unchanged for the most part, except for minor changes that were made in 2001 while Bulent Ecevit was prime minister.

    The national security doctrine describes the basic principles regarding national security and serves as the basis for political, defense and military planning. Departments of the armed forces, the foreign affairs ministry, the ministry of the interior and the finance ministry all participate in updating the doctrine.

    [17] Parliament president receives Auditing Council's report on state revenues and expenditures for 2003

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Auditing Council's report on the state's revenues and expenditures for the year 2003, as well as the general balance sheet at December 31 of the same year, were delivered to Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda by the president of the country's Supreme Administrative Court Constantine Rizos.

    Benaki said the text will be studied with great care and interest and in light of the discussion on the 2005 budget in particular.

    [18] Lt.-Commander Gikas named new defense ministry information director and press spokesman

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Navy lieutenant-commander Stephanos Gikas was on Thursday named director of information and press spokesman for the national defense ministry, following the resignation Wednesday of A. Gouriotis, citing personal reasons.

    Gikas was appointed to the post by decision of defense minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos, a ministry announcement said.

    [19] Greek gov't approves farm investment programs worth 35 mln euros

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greek Agricultural Development and Foods Deputy Minister Alexandros Kontos on Thursday announced the immediate approval of 20 investment plans in the farm sector, worth 35 million euros.

    Speaking to reporters, Kontos said the Greek state would cover 20 percent of total investment spending, while Community funds would cover another 50 percent.

    The ministry seeks to support agricultural producers' groups with the aim of improving quality and competitiveness of products and ensuring satisfactory condition of distribution and prices.

    The Greek minister also urged farmers to participate in producers' groups in order to benefit from national and community directives on production and distribution of farm products.

    [20] EU approves 360 mln euros in farm funds for Greece

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The European Union's executive Commission has endorsed 360 million euros in funds to Greece destined for implementation of a program to boost farm development and revitalization of agricultural areas, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos said on Thursday.

    Acquiring the extra funding, which falls under the EU's Third Community Support Framework package, was a great success as it was the first time the bloc had approved monies in recognition of effective implementation of the farm operational program in question, Basiakos said.

    [21] Minister blasts PASOK for its coastal shipping policy

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The thorny issue of ferry boat routes in the Aegean, especially to remote or sparsely populated islands, shot to the forefront during debate in Parliament on Thursday, a day after residents of several isles staged protests at ports.

    In responding to criticism from a main opposition PASOK deputy elected from the Dodecanese islands, Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis advised the MP to "petition the previous government and your party for the situation that you left behind in coastal shipping over the past 20 years."

    Kefaloyiannis also took umbrage with specific deputy, I. Paraskevas, and his past leadership of the now defunct DANE shipping line, a loss-making company whose vessels once serviced many of the Dodecanese islands.

    On his part, the PASOK MP admitted that the problem of Aegean ferry routes was exacerbated in April 2004 with the idling of DANE's ferry boats.

    However, he also referred to "rumors", as he said, of ANEK lines' interest in the Dodecanese routes, adding that he doesn't want to believe that Kefaloyiannis' origins (from Crete) has anything to do with the speculation. ANEK is a ferry boat operator based in Crete.

    In a heated response, Kefaloyiannis accused the PASOK deputy of gross mismanagement while leading DANE, a tenure that he said merely left DANE's employees jobless.

    "You should be more modest, have a memory, bow your heads and conduct your self-criticism," he said.

    [22] OTE Telecom, Armenia mend rift over mobile operator

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Athens-quoted OTE Telecom, the Armenian government and mobile operator Armentel said on Thursday that they had reached agreement in a rift that had jeopardized the mobile firm's business.

    Under the terms of the agreement, arbitration proceedings will be halted, a second GSM mobile operating license issued, and Armental's existing license amended, allowing the firm to function normally and meet its investment requirements, including new technology, a joint statement said.

    [23] Public Power Corporation reports 1.6 pct fall in nine-month net profit

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Public Power Corporation on Thursday reported a 4.9 percent increase in its nine-month revenues to 3.078 billion euros, reflecting a 4.7 percent rise in electricity energy sales over the same period.

    PPC, Greece's state-owned electricity utility, also reported a 3.1 percent increase in its pre-tax, interest and amortization earnings (EBITDA) to 929.5 million euros in the January-September period from 901.6 million euros last year, and a 2.7 percent rise in operating profits to 513.5 million euros. Profitability was affected by extra spending for the Olympic Games, totalling 60 million euros, the company said.

    EBITDA margin eased to 30.2 percent from 30.7 percent, while PPC's participation in losses reported by related companies fell to 9.9 million euros from 26.8 million euros last year, reflecting PPC's participation in Tellas SA, a telecommunications company.

    Pre-tax profits fell 0.8 percent to 411.3 million euros in the first nine months of 2004, while net profits fell 1.6 percent to 256.3 million euros. Earnings per share eased to 1.10 euros from 1.12 euros.

    Investment spending totalled 537.1 million euros, while PPC said its net debt eased to 3.798 billion euros in the January-September period from 4.001 billion euros last year.

    The company said its workforce eased to 27,790 from 28,120 last year.

    [24] Greek shipowners urge for full deregulation of domestic market

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Greek coastal shipping owners on Thursday urged for a full deregulation of the coastal shipping sector in the country and expressed their confidence over a positive decision by the country's Council of State on their appeal against an existing regulatory framework.

    Stelios Sarris, president of the Greek Coastal Shipping Owners' Union, speaking to reporters said that the government did not seek amending an existing legislation because of the political cost in such a move. Ship-owners also urged for improved harbor infrastructure and rejected accusations of expensive shipping fares in Greece. Commenting on recent reactions over lack of shipping services to Greek islands during the winter, the union said that the government was mainly responsible for solving the issue and urged for higher subsidies in shipping services to remote islands.

    [25] Parliament OKs tax bill, finmin vows again to expose predecessor

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Parliament on Thursday voted through a government bill to overhaul the tax system.

    Voting in favor were deputies of the ruling New Democracy party, with the opposition against the bill.

    In parliamentary debate before the vote, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said that he would bring fresh documentary evidence to light during upcoming debate of the 2005 budget, again exposing the previous government's fiscal policy.

    Alogoskoufis cited "excesses" by his predecessor in the job, Nikos Christodoulakis of the main opposition PASOK party, as the reason for presenting the data.

    "He was responsible for derailing the fiscal deficit and the public debt in recent years," the minister said.

    [26] Greece eager to host European, Mediterranean industry meeting

    BRUSSELS 26/11/2004 (ANA/A Simatos)

    Greece on Thursday expressed its interest to the European Union in hosting a Euro-Mediterranean ministers meeting in 2006.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an EU ministers' meeting in the Belgian capital to debate boosting competitiveness of the bloc's economy, focusing on implementing targets in the Lisbon strategy for economic growth, social cohesion and sustainable development, due for review at a summit in March 2005.

    At the session, Sioufas outlined the government's policy of improving competitiveness linked to fiscal revitalization, a tax overhaul, incentives contained in a new development bill, and simplification of procedures for companies to obtain operating licenses.

    [27] Government to tender western building works

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Public Works Minister George Souflias said on Thursday that the government would tender a spate of engineering studies and infrastructure projects in western Greece over the next 18 months.

    The projects include stretches of the Ionian Way, a highway network along the country's west that will employ a concession or self-financing arrangement.

    [28] Stocks jump in blue-chip buying spree

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks finished higher with players buying heavily into blue chips, spurring placements in other shares towards the end of the session, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,635.43 points, showing a rise of 2.37 percent. Turnover was 152.0 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 2.57 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.42 percent up; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.20 percent higher.

    Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 225 to 73 with 62 remaining unchanged.

    [29] 11 ND MPs submit draft law regarding women and domestic violence

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Eleven New Democracy MPs submitted a draft law in Parliament on Thursday regarding domestic violence on occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

    The draft, which according to the report accompanying it is being submitted in order to fill the legislative void regarding this issue, entails the following:

    - In case of domestic violence, the abused member of the family consults with a prosecutor and once physical or psychological violence has been determined following medical examination, then the abuser is immediately ordered to leave the place of residence until the appropriate court rules on relocation or care of the children in the household;

    - The State will immediately provide the abused with a monthly compensation for physical abuse or emotional suffering until the issue of alimony or professional rehabilitation is settled.

    According to the 11 women MPs signing the draft law, its passage will help ensure the mandatory removal of the abuser from the place of residence; the ability for both partners to attend organized seminars; and raising public awareness on this issue.

    [30] Personal Data Protection Authority agrees to extended use of cameras in Attica region conditionally

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    The Personal Data Protection Authority, with decision number 63/2004 has allowed the use of cameras installed in the Attica region by the Greek Police to continue operating for another six months (25/11/2004 - 24/05/2004) under 10 specific conditions.

    1) The cameras can only be used to monitor traffic;

    2) Cameras installed at major intersections are allowed; cameras installed in areas of limited traffic, such as squares, parks and gathering areas are prohibited;

    3) Cameras must be installed in such a way so that the entrance or interiors of homes is not visible.

    4) Sound recording is prohibited.

    5) Cameras installed in major intersections/roads where traffic has been suspended (i.e. for a demonstration or rally) are not allowed to operate.

    6) The system can only be monitored by the traffic police.

    7) Sharing data with third parties is forbidden.

    8) Data can only be stored for seven days, after which time they must be deleted.

    9) Safety measures regarding data processing and storage must be strictly enforced.

    10) Visible signs informing individuals that they are entering an area that is being videotaped must be in place wherever cameras have been installed.

    [31] Medecins Sans Frontieres launch AIDS awareness campaign

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    "AIDS: Access to therapy now" is the title of the awareness campaign the organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) are launching in Greece on occasion of international AIDS Day December 1.

    The same title was also used in the seminar the organization held in Athens on Thursday at the Foreign Press Association of Greece.

    Present at the seminar was 45-year old Winter Mutoba from Zambia, living proof that AIDS can be treated. Mutoba who weighed 49 kilos eight months ago (and is 1,89 m tall), now weighs 71 kilos and leads an active life, after receiving medical care and treatment from MSF.

    MSF Director in Greece Dinos Asproloupos and other representatives talked about the need for patients to have access to proper therapy as well as the results of programs MSF implements in developing countries.

    Part of the MSF's awareness campaign includes free information material available in the centre of Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as a soccer game between FC Barcelona and a team of international star players that will be held in Barcelona on November 30. The game will be broadcast live in Greece as a show of support of MSF's activities and efforts. The objective is not only to provide financial support to the organization but to also inform the public regarding access to therapy. According to data presented at the seminar, of the 40 million people suffering from AIDS (95% of which is in developing countries), 6 million need emergency care and only 400,000 of these patients have access to it.

    [32] City of Athens honors British envoy Sir David Madden

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday bestowed the Medal of the City of Athens to outgoing British ambassador Sir David Madden, during a ceremony at the municipality's town hall.

    Among others, Bakoyannis thanked the British envoy for the presence of British PM Tony Blair and several British ministers during the recent 2004 Olympic Games of Athens.

    [33] Social group records some 173 exploited minors in country's streets

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    A social group has recorded some 173 minors on the streets of the country's major cities engaged in panhandling or as hawkers of petty merchandise at traffic lights.

    The Arsis organization made the announcement on Thursday, part of its initiative to approach, record and support minors being exploited or illegally trafficked from neighboring Albania.

    Of the minors, 105 are male and 68 are female, ranging in ages from one to 18 years old.

    Meanwhile, in a related development, 11 ruling New Democracy deputies -- all women -- tabled an amendment on Thursday aimed at combating domestic violence.

    The main provision would allow a prosecutor to order the evacuation of the family member suspected of domestic violence until the issue of relocation of children's custody is resolved.

    [34] One out of 10 Greek teenagers has tried hashish says European Watch report

    Athens, 26/11/2004 (ANA)

    Ten percent of children in Greece aged 15 and 16 have tried hashish, according to a report by the European Watch publicized on Thursday.

    The situation is even worse in other European countries such as the Czech Republic, Spain, France and Britain where an estimated 30 percent of teenagers have tried hashish occasionally.

    The report further says that in general one out of five Europeans has tried hashish.

    Moreover, cocaine is in demand by people in productive ages, while it has been estimated that one out of 10 Europeans between the ages of 15 and 34 has tried this drug.

    A considerable increase has also been recorded in Greece, although no official data exists to confirm this.

    Scientists are concerned over the increase in the use of cocaine, particularly in places of entertainment where its mixing with other drug substances can even lead to death.

    [35] Cyprus says Turkey has many Copenhagen criteria obligations

    NICOSIA 26/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou said Thursday that Turkey has many legal obligations deriving from the Copenhagen criteria, and Cyprus' positions have been argued at the EU Council of Ministers on October 11, adding that among these positions is the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey.

    In comments to CNA on foreign press reports about his statements in Berlin after a meeting with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer, Iacovou said a reporter asked if the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus was a precondition for the commencement of Turkey's EU accession negotiations and if Germany would show understanding in case Cyprus refused to negotiate with a country that did not recognize her.

    Iacovou said Fischer answered the question, saying that it is obvious that the negotiations are carried out by all 25 EU member states.

    The reply was considered satisfactory and Iacovou made a general comment, saying that ''we must not necessarily speak about a crisis but a constructive utilization of the situation provided to the benefit of all.''

    ''We see the opportunity for a win-win situation,'' Iacovou said, explaining that in this case Turkey could obtain a date to start accession negotiations and Cyprus would get, with the help of its partners, whatever is necessary to carry out its duties and obligations as an EU member, especially as regards the examining of Turkey's EU course and future negotiations.

    ''Turkey has many legal obligations, deriving from the Copenhagen criteria. Our positions were expressed to the Council of Ministers on October 11 and were solidly argued as parameters of the political criteria of Copenhagen,'' he added, noting that these positions include the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey.

    The meeting with Fischer was held in a very amiable atmosphere and the German Minister showed understanding towards the Cypriot positions.

    The two ministers discussed Turkey's EU course in view of the December 17 European Council, mutual interest matters, such as the elections in Ukraine and the Middle East peace process, bilateral relations and EU issues.

    [36] German official says Ankara must recognize Cyprus Republic

    NICOSIA 26/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    President of the European Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag Matthias Wissmann said Thursday that the non-recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey was totally in contradiction with Ankara's obligations towards the EU.

    Official sources told CNA that Wissmann was speaking during a meeting in Berlin with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou, with whom he discussed the Cyprus problem and Turkey's EU accession bid in view of the December 17 European Council, which will decide whether or not to give Turkey a date to commence negotiations.

    Wissmann also put forward various questions to Iacovou on the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus, since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island.

    The German official said it was impossible for a candidate country to maintain occupation troops in an EU member state.

    [37] Cyprus spokesman: EU aware of our positions on Turkey's EU course

    NICOSIA 26/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The efforts of the Cyprus government in the direction of the European Union, in view of the December European Council, are continuous and both the EU Dutch Presidency and member states know exactly Nicosia's positions on Turkey's EU course, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides has said.

    The spokesman noted that ''there is a broad discussion in Europe on the Cyprus issue, mainly in connection with Turkey's EU course'' and added that there are positive remarks from the international community about the beginning of a demining process, which the government has begun unilaterally.

    Asked if there are indications that there will be a positive move on the part of Turkey before December 17 or explicit references to Cyprus in the Council's conclusions, the spokesman replied: ''there are indications that there are serious discussions on issues regarding Cyprus in connection with Turkey's European course.''

    Chrysostomides noted that the Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said on Wednesday that he conveyed to his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul

    Cyprus' desires, during the EU Troika's meeting with Turkey.

    "Bot underlined something already included in the Commission's report, that the negotiations will be carried out with the EU member states and explicitly indicated that the signature of the relevant protocol for the Customs Union before December 17 must be promoted,'' he added.

    The December EU summit will decide whether to start accession negotiations with Turkey. The Commission recommended in its October report the start of membership talks with Ankara.


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