|Thursday, 24 September 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-01-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 24, 2005
 Economy minister briefs PM on contacts in EU
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis met with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday and briefed him on contacts he had in the European Union in the framework of the ECOFIN Council and the Eurogroup.
Satisfied with the outcome of his contacts, Alogoskoufis said efforts being made by the Greek government to reduce deficits, created by the previous administration, are being recognized.
He added that these efforts are also being recognized by the Greek people since curbing deficits is a precondition for the country's growth and the handling of problems related to unemployment and competitiveness.
Speaking to reporters, the minister said the climate for the country is not bad at the EU, efforts being made are being recognized, while the letter addressed by the ministers of the former PASOK government on the fiscal audit has caused hilarity.
Alogoskoufis further said the government is expecting a recommendation by the European Commission in February. However, what is important is the fact that it will not be obliged to take tougher measures for the economy since the country has been given another year in which to decrease its deficits.
 PM discusses development policy with Dimitris Sioufas
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis discussed development policy issues with Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas at the Maximos Mansion on Saturday.
Later on, commenting on the letter addressed to the European Commission on the fiscal audit issue by the two former PASOK government economy ministers Yiannos Papantoniou and Nikos Christodoulakis, Sioufas said PASOK has achieved the unachievable. In trying to deal a blow at the government, sacrificing even the country's interests, it succeeded in discrediting its own policy for the economy.
"The sterile opposition policy of PASOK and its insistence on fictitious reality has been proved once again. That was the way it ruled and that is the way it is exercising opposition now," the minister said.
Sioufas defended the fiscal audit policy again, saying that it has been vindicated absolutely and adding that a real economy can only be built on really strong foundations and that the government is keeping its promise, it is implementing its commitments and continuing its work.
He also said measures will be announced next week to simplify the licensing of companies with the purpose of curbing bureaucracy and strengthening enterprise.
 Coalition party decides not to back Karolos Papoulias as Greek President
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)The Central Political Committee of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology decided on Sunday not to back Karolos Papoulias, a former foreign minister, as the country's new president when the relevant vote is held in Parliament in spring.
The decision was taken with 61 votes in favor, 27 against and four blank votes.
According to the same decision, the party's Political Secretariat will decide how the party will act during the vote for the new president of the country, that is to say whether it will vote "present" or vote against Papoulias.
The Committee also rejected a proposal for the party to present a candidate of its own.
Coalition party leader concerned over possibility of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence: Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alekos Alavanos expressed concern on Saturday over the possibility of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, with support by the United States, and over the state of Greek-Turkish relations.
Alavanos was addressing the party's Central Committee which debated its plan of action for the near future.
Commenting on Greek-Turkish relations, Alavanos said "unfortunately, we have seen a lack of planning and of targets on the part of the government in connection with the process of resolving these problems and the course of Turkey's accession to the EU."
Referring to political developments in general, the Coalition party leader said "every day which passes ND is disappointing all the more popular illusions which had been created with its coming to power in the country."
Coalition party ratifies action plan for next three months: The Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party's Central Committee ratified its action plan for the next three months on Sunday, following a two-day debate.
Apart from the decision not to back the candidacy of former foreign minister Karolos Papoulias to become the country's president in spring, the Coalition party decided to give priority to political intervention in the major problems of unemployment and the farmers' ongoing protests and wholehearted support for the trade union and farmers movements.
The party will also be making timely preparations for the next municipal and prefectural elections in the country and a campaign for its organizational development.
 FM to meet foreign envoys on Monday
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)Foreign Minster Petros Molyviatis will receive on Monday the ambassadors of Brazil, Germany, Japan and India upon their demand, it was announced on Sunday.
Issues to be discussed pertain to the United Nation's charter revision. Greece is, since January 1, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
 KKE calls for release of journalists names on ministries', state agencies' payrolls
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)A Communist Party of Greece (KKE) spokesman on Friday called for the publication of the names of journalists working for, or affiliated with, ministry press offices and various public sector organizations and enterprises.
Spokesman Makis Mailis also said expenditures and payments should be released.
The issue shot onto the national limelight last week after Minister of State Thodoris Roussopoulos in Parliament repeated statements he said were made by the president of the Athens Journalists' Union (ESHEA), namely, that previous -- unnamed -- press ministers under PASOK governments threatened to "open their desk drawer and reveal the names of journalists on the ministry's payroll".
Further KKE comments will be made on Thursday during a press conference.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos says recent attacks against Patriarchate aimed at intimidation
ISTANBUL 24/1/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos said on Sunday, commenting on recent attacks against himself and the Patriarchate by Turkish nationalist circles, "they are reacting in an unacceptable way and they are trying to intimidate us so as not to continue our habits and customs."
Vartholomeos, who was addressing a company's delegation, went on to say that "we shall continue because we consider all this to be our right. It is our land. We have deep roots here and we have every right to continue our existence, our history and our habits and customs in the land of our fathers, no matter how few we are today."
However, he noted that "tomorrow we might be many more when Turkey will be a member of the European Union and many things will have changed. Greeks and many foreigners will come to make investments here with the guarantee and security to be provided for them by Turkey's capacity as a member of the European family."
 PASOK Eurodeputies visit Ecumenical Patriarchate
ISTANBUL 24/1/2005 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)The new Parliamentary Group of the main opposition PASOK party in the European Parliament visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate here on Saturday.
The Eurodeputies briefed Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on the policy of their group at the European Parliament and explained the importance attributed by the European Parliament to the protection of minority rights and the safeguarding of religious freedom in all European Union member-states and in candidate countries.
Vartholomeos in turn expressed his conviction that Turkey's course towards the EU will contribute to the handling of problems and restrictions the Ecumenical Patriarchate had faced at its seat in Istanbul in past decades.
 Farmers move tractors to Tempi valley, decide not to block roads until Tuesday
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)Representatives of Larissa-area farmers on Sunday night announced that dozens of tractors will be driven to the Tempi valley bottleneck on the main Athens-Thessaloniki highway on Monday, a prelude to threatened roadblocks by mostly cotton growers dissatisfied with crop prices.
The decision was taken by the "Larissa prefecture coordination committee", a grouping of farmers in Greece's major "farm belt".
Although they said a roadblock was unlikely for Monday, most representatives pointed to Tuesday as a "crucial day".
Meanwhile, rallies in the predominately agriculture-based towns of Farsala, Nikea, Agia, Tyrnavos and Elassona, all in central Greece, are planned for January 31.
Cotton growers carried out a symbolic closure of roads in central Greece on Saturday, wanting the government to increase their income and to absorb their crop at higher prices.
 Staff, equipment being flown to Aceh on Monday
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)A Hellenic Air Force C-130 "Hercules" transport plane departs on Monday for the tsunami-stricken Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra, Indonesia.
According to a defense ministry press release, the plane will transport technicians and equipment for setting-up an urgently needed water purification system.
The six officers, microbiologists and engineers, will be transported to the province, while another group of military officers are already in Indonesia to prepare for the mission.
 French National Front leader opposes Turkey's EU membership
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)French far-right National Front party leader Jean-Marie Lepen, speaking at a press conference on Saturday, expressed opposition to Turkey becoming a European Union member. Lepen is currently visiting Greece at the invitation of the Greek Front party.
Lepen said Greece is wrong in supporting Turkey's European prospects, claiming that Turkey is not a European country due to history, geography, sociology and culture.
He also said Turkey's EU accession is part of the geostrategic plans of the United States which wants to control the paths of oil, disregarding the interests of the European countries.
 PM tours Natural History Museum
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited the GAIA Natural History Museum, belonging to the Goulandris Foundation, on Saturday and was given a guided tour of the premises by Niki Goulandri.
Stressing the need for respect and protection for the environment, Karamanlis said "the environment is our home. It is today and tomorrow. Sensitivity, knowledge and respect are a criterion of upbringing and culture," the prime minister said at the end of his visit.
Referring to the Museum's role, Karamanlis said exhibits are impressive, the Museum provides considerable educational work, it contributes to research on the environment and it conveys timely messages on respect and protection for the environment.
 Education minister attends meeting of European counterparts on 'Europe-Asia, Solidarity for schools'
PARIS 24/1/2005 (ANA - O. Tsipira)Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou attended a special meeting of European education ministers here on Saturday that focused on the issue of "Europe-Asia, Solidarity for schools."
The meeting was attended by the European Education and Culture Commissioner Jan Figel and the deputy director of UNICEF Rima Salah.
The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate, on an inter-national scale, aid being collected for children and young people in regions of southeastern Asia struck by the recent disaster.
"We are fully aware that a large number of schools have been destroyed and a large number of teachers have also been lost. Our effort is focused on maintaining a level of education and training," Yiannakou said.
 President Stephanopoulos attends boy scouts' graduation ceremony
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos attended the graduation ceremony of the new boy scouts of the nation on Saturday and gave diplomas to 280 boy scouts in person.
President Stephanopoulos attended the graduation ceremony for the fourth consecutive year and expressed his satisfaction since, as he said, he had been a boy scout himself.
He promised to stand by them always and urged people who are unaware of their way of life to approach it and become acquainted with the system of principles and values governing it.
 Fire Brigade suspects possibility of arson in motorcycle workshop blaze
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)The Fire Brigade is suspecting the possibility of arson in an extensive blaze that broke out at a motorcycle workshop in the Athens district of Kolonos at 3:20 on Sunday morning.
The workshop was destroyed, along with 10 motorcycles kept inside, while three cars parked outside were damaged as was the front part of the building which was evacuated of its tenants.
Neighbors told firemen they saw a man running away from the scene shortly before the fire started and took on great dimensions rapidly before it was ultimately placed under control soon after.
 Singer Elena Paparizou to represent Greece at Eurovision song contest
Athens, 24/1/2005 (ANA)Popular singer Elena Paparizou will be representing Greece at the Eurovision song contest due to take place in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 21.
The Hellenic Radio and TV Corporation (ERT) selected Paparizou but has not yet announced details regarding the choice of the song to be heard at the contest, as well as details of the event.
A relative announcement by ERT stressed that this will be done in the next few days.