The seminar, which runs up to and including Wednesday, was opened by deputy foreign minister Yannis Valynakis, who pointed out the importance of EU cooperation with the countries of the Mediterranean and the need to reinforce the Barcelona Process.
"The period of internal reflection into which the EU has entered should not also be a period of isolation," Valynakis said, adding that Greece placed particular importance on Euro-Med cooperation not only due to its geographical position but also because of its historic relations with the countries of the region.
Addressing the event, National Defense General Staff (GEETHA) chief Panayotis Hinofotis expressed hope that the seminar would contribute to strengthening the dialogue and cooperation among the countries of the region, and to the further advancement of the Lisbon Process.
According to foreign ministry sources, the aim of the seminar is to advance the dialogue, strengthen mutual understanding, and further boost cooperation between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners on matters of crisis management both with and without military means.
The legislation being prepared by the ministry concerns bills on conscription and procurements.
No statements were made after the 45-minute meeting.
The minister is also due to brief parliament's standing committee on foreign affairs and defense on armaments programs on Wednesday.
"In September, the heads of state and government of the world will meet at the United Nations for a summit meeting that will lay the foundations for reforming the organization. Greece supports this effort and will contribute to the success of this attempt with all its powers," he said.
"In 1945, representatives of 50 countries gathered in San Francisco for a conference that would lead to the adoption of the United Nations Charter. Greece participated in this conference and was among the countries that contributed to the drafting of this historic text.
"Sixty years on, in Greece and throughout the world, we celebrate the signature of the UN Charter; a groundbreaking document for its time, which determined the structure of the international system up to this day. Thanks to the United Nations, principles such as respect for human rights, the precedence of international law, the right to self-determination of peoples, the protection of minorities and the rights of all to developments became part of our everyday life and a spring-board for humanity's course toward the future.
"Sixty years later, the system built on the UN Charter needs renewal. It must become more dynamic and more functional in order to cope with the challenges brought by the new century. Thanks to the development of technology, the countries and peoples of the world have never before in history been closer. Closer cooperation is therefore a one-way street, in order to successfully deal with tomorrow," Molyviatis concluded.
The talks were held during a dinner given in Molyviatis' honor at the Luxembourg Embassy in Athens to mark the end of Luxembourg's EU presidency, which was attended by the ambassadors of EU member-states and candidate states.
According to diplomatic sources, during the dinner Molyviatis reiterated and stressed that Greece's position on European integration remained unchanged and that Greece was steadfastly in favor of a united, democratic and prosperous Europe. He said that, in this framework, Greece supported the logic of enlargement and saw European prospects as a catalyst for stability, peace and development in the surrounding region.
The Commissioner was responding to a question put by Greek MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party, which was linked to recently passed Greek legislation restricting the rights of media owners to take on public sector contracts, known in Greece as the "primary media shareholder" law.
In her reply, Reding pointed out that certain EU member-states have introduced national restrictions on the ownership of same type or different types of mass media, using different upper limits and methods, and that these could also include incompatibility clauses, transparency demands and other rules that member-states considered necessary.
She stressed that these national measures, however, had to be compatible with community laws and fundamental principles such as the free movements of goods, services, people and capital, as well as other arising from these, especially proportionality and impartiality.
Noting that the Commission was charged with monitoring and ensuring compliance with Community rules, Reding pointed out that a full answer to Papadimoulis' question had to be based on individual assessment of each case.
Replying to a question on the Patriarchate, Gul said "with the Lausanne Treaty the freedoms of religion, worship and education for minorities are regulated at length."
He further said that "however, the Treaty does not include the Phanar Patriarchate and issues related to it. However, the issue of the Patriarchate was among issues discussed extensively at the Lausanne Conference. Of course, the position of the Patriarchate is being evaluated in the framework agreed at the Lausanne Conference."
The Turkish minister pointed out that "the arrangements concerning the election of the Patriarch take place in accordance with this agreement."
Regarding the question of the School of Theology at Halki, Gul said "efforts are being made so that problems allegedly facing our citizens of Greek origin on the issue of the training of clergymen will be handled in the framework of existing legislation."
Turkish Minister without Portfolio Mehmet Aydin also referred to the issue of the School of Theology, according to a report on Monday in the newspaper "Radikal" entitled "Turn on the issue of the School of Theology."
The minister said "nobody can request some special, exclusive arrangement", adding that "in Turkey, both Moslems and non-Moslems have the same rights and nobody can request the granting of some privilege."
At 18:00 on Tuesday, the premier will address Parliament during an off-the-agenda debate on government policy for public administration held at the request of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.
According to Alavanos, the deficit will approach 22 billion euros, once deficits from banks and public utility services - controlled in essence by private capital - are transferred to IKA.
Alavanos expressed his party's disagreement to the transfer of these obligations by bankers and by private shareholders of public utilities to the public sector.
He called on IKA's governor to convene the board and express his position on the banks' social security issue. The necessary hiring of staff at IKA was also requested during the talks.
Commenting on the F-16 Block 52 Plus, he said "it is the aircraft which makes the air force stand apart from the rest of the armed forces, since it carries great firepower very quickly and very far."
Speaking to reporters, Avlonitis did not rule out the possibility of a third squadron being created with such aircraft.
"There is a provision for a third squadron to be created. The plans of the air force have not been finalized, but there is the possibility of a third squadron being created. Now, whether or not it will be created in Crete remains to be decided," Avlonitis said.
The six Turkish aircraft were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while on one occasion the interception process developed into a mock dogfight.
Reports said that one Turkish formation was armed and two aircraft were photograph-taking Phantom jets.
Asked to comment on Monday's illegal activities by the Turkish air force, defense ministry sources, observing a reserved stance, said that any assessment is premature.
The Hierarchy called an extraordinary meeting for the occasion and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos explained the reason why it was convened and the need to fill the vacancy at the Metropolis of Thessaliotida from which Metropolitan Theoklitos Koumarianos had resigned a few months ago.
Archbishop Christodoulos spoke of all that had happened in the sector of the Church in past months, saying that "all necessary measures were taken for internal self-cleansing as well as for the further shielding of the holy institution of the Church."
However, Archbishop Christodoulos predicted the rekindling of the crisis as a result of the promotion of the idea of separating the Church from the state, but rejected the proposal for a special committee to be set up to examine the issue.
In Larissa, Ries met with Fotios Goupas, Secretary General of Thessaly, Loukas Katsaros, Regional Prefect, and with Mayor Kostas Tzanakoulis.
Commenting on Thessaly's agricultural wealth, he said: "Greece's agricultural heartland, and the modern farming methods I have seen here, are impressive. There are good prospects for fruitful collaboration with American seed and technology companies as Greece improves its international competitiveness in the food sector."
Ries was also briefed by Commander Lt. General Ioannis Yiagos during his visit to the Hellenic Tactical Air Force. Yiagos briefed Ries on the HTAF's organization and mission.
At a lunch hosted by Yiagos in the ambassador's honor, Ries was able to meet with additional military and civilian officials, as well as with representatives of Greek-American organizations.
After lunch, he visited the international school in Tirnavos and the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre 7. He expressed appreciation for Greek contributions to NATO, particularly the recent announcement that Hellenic Air Force C-130s will participate in the NATO mission to support the African Union's efforts in Darfur.
At the beginning of the debate, Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis said that the government does not accept any of the amendments proposed by MPs Miltiades Evert, Stefanos Manos and Yiannis Dragasakis.
On Saturday, Alogoskoufis communicated with Evert by phone on the issue, following the former's initiative.
Alogoskoufis told Evert that his amendment concerns auxiliary funds and not the admission of principal social security which is governed by the Reppas law.
During the conversation, Evert had reiterated his own positions but had said that he would wait until the debate in Parliament to see which elements will be included in the Alogoskoufis amendment.
OTOE will also organize a rally and concert on Wednesday night in Syntagma in front of Parliament, while on Thursday morning the union will set up a symbolic human chain from 10:30 in the morning, when Parliament will be wrapping up discussion on the amendment in question, until the end of the vote.
OTOE trade unionists said that their struggle appeared to be yielding results and that it had already created a climate in which preventing the government's plans appeared possible.
Once the amendment is passed, the union said it intends to react with law suits and by organizing protest action at every bank that attempts to join the new unified auxiliary pension fund.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Basiakos said that government's choice -also a demand of the society- was a full disconnection of community subsidies to farm production to ensure the biggest possible funds inflow from the European Union and at the same time offer new incentives to farmers.
The Greek minister said the issue would be discussed by an inner cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Greece has to present its final position to the EU by the end of July. Basiakos said the ministry decided in favor of fully disconnecting subsidies to farm production to ensure more funds for the sector, in line with the positions taken by farm unions, farmers and political parties.
Souflias emphasized that the ministry's current leadership is not to blame for any of the pending environmental issues.
He also said that he has signed the relevant ministerial decisions regarding the adoption of seven EU directives which have been pending since 2002-2003 and for which Greece has been taken to the European Court of Justice.
Furthermore, the ministry has cooperated with the responsible EU authorities regarding the adoption of necessary environ-mental policies which were pending in Greece.
Liaskos said that tourism, culture and the environment were interconnecting values creating the three main pylons of a new tourism policy in Greece. New measures and policies introduced by the ministry aimed to further emphasized in harmonizing tourism with environment and highlighting each region's cultural heritage to enhance and enrich the country's tourism identity.
In an Athens radio interview, Sioufas said the integration would be made directly and not on a gradual basis, allowing Greek households "to take back the difference for heating oil with an honest and simple system next winter".
The Greek minister again urged consumers to save energy this summer and said that a decision to put a ceiling on fuel prices in domestic markets, due to rising international oil prices, was an extreme solution and it would be used "only if things got out of control".
The main topic discussed at the ministers' meeting was the European Commission's "e-2010" initiative for the Information Society and new technologies that outlines a new globalized model for information, adapted to market developments.
Neratzis stressed that member-states have to intensify their efforts in e-government, the remote provision of healthcare services and the security of networks and information.
The minister also called for clearer indicators and assessment criteria of member-states progress with respect to annual national reform programs in the telecoms sector, as well as more specific targets that took into account individual structural differences between member-states.
Addressing SEKAP's general assembly, Nik Pappas, the president of the cooperative, said its 2004 results (profits of 700,000 euros, a record annual production of 3,600 tons of cigarettes and a third-place ranking among tobacco industries), were the basis for more impressive business successes in 2005.
Pappas said export activities jumped in the first six months of 2005, with the volume of exports totaling 630 tons of cigarettes from 160 tons in the same period last year.
Presenting SEKAP's growth plan, Pappas announced the immediate introduction of an investment plan worth more than 3.0 million euros, the immediate circulation of a new brand of cigarette package (Cooper Slims) in the international market, the co-production and distribution of a new European cigarette in the markets of Greece, Italy, Spain and Romania using a bio-filter and bio-tobacco.
SEKAP also announced the signing of an agreement to export its Brooks cigarette brand to Spain and other European markets.
The survey said the Greek market resembled a net growing around Hellenic Telecommunications Organization's body, the backbone of the market, and stressed that the market's biggest challenge was infrastructure and network use with private companies cautious in investing new capital ahead of a new framework on electronic communications in the country.
Hellastat said 43 companies in the sector reported an increase in sales last year with revenues totalling 7.65 billion euros from 7.19 billion in 2003, an increase of 6.3 percent.
Hellenic Telecoms was the negative exception to the positive rule in the sector, as the organization reported an 8.7 percent drop in revenues last year. OTE reports a 6.2 percent average annual decline in turnover during the last four years, the report said.
Other companies reported an 18 percent increase in revenues and a 24.1 percent rise in net results.
Vodafone and Cosmote, the leading mobile telephony operators, reported increases of 14.2 percent and 17.2 percent in last year revenues, while the third company TIM Hellas reporting a 4.0 percent increase in revenues and a 22.6 percent drop in net profits.
Tellas and Q-Telecom reported spectacular growth rates last year (149 pct and 75 pct, respectively) in the fixed-telephony and the mobile telephony markets, respectively.
The soccer betting game is steadily losing market share from intensified competition by e-betting firms and technical problems faced after the introduction of KINO game in Greece.
Under the agreement, Intralot will have to gradually include Greek soccer games to its services from the period 2005/06, include over/under bets, in-play betting, other sport events, such as tennis, volleyball, water polo, car races, and non-sport events such as art events.
The agreement also envisages raising the guaranteed percentage of distributed gains to winners by 6.0 percent for the period January 31, 2005 to January 29, 2007. OPAP will cover 82 percent of the increase and Intralot with remaining 18 percent.
Intralot will have to supply 2,000 new terminals to support the improved betting services, along with upgrading OPAP's technological platform in a period of eight months.
Takis Christodoulopoulos, the Institute's president, told a news conference that the domestic banking system was suffering from an institutional illegality and stressed that both businesses and consumers were seeking to revoke banks' operating licenses for breaching existing legislation in the country.
Christodoulopoulos said that 92 percent of applications made by interested parties to be included in a government-sponsored program on penalty interest rates imposed by commercial banks on overdue loan payments were rejected by Greek banks, with only 8.0 percent finally included in the program (excluding the Agricultural Bank of Greece). He said that domestic banks were offering wrong interpretations of an existing legislation and that they continued a policy of asset auctions. According to Institute's estimates, more than 5,000 small- and medium-sized enterprise owners have been convicted with illegal jail terms for debts to the public sector.
The Institute has sent letters to the Prime Minister, Development, Finance ministers and to the EU in February presenting, in detail, domestic banks' illegal activities and urging for the annulment of a clause on penalty rates.
"[Working in the] tourism [sector] is not an occupation, it's an art," Chamber President Elias Kotiadis said during a press conference held in Rhodes on Monday.
"The best advertisers of our islands are visitors, which is why this awareness campaign is being realized in cooperation with the Union of Rhodes' Hoteliers, the Union of Restaurateurs and the Federation of Taxi Owners," he added.
The campaign will include ads in the local press, billboards, and pamphlets among other items.
According to figures quoted during the Committee's debate, levels of financial poverty are steadfastly above 20 per cent, and stood at 21 per cent in 2003.
Poverty is highest in the countryside (42.1 per cent), among one-parent families (34.5 per cent), among large families with more than four children, older couples, the unemployed and pensioners.
Also at a high risk of poverty are young people aged 16-24, at a rate of 25.2 per cent.
Deputy Employment Minister Gerassimos Giakoumatos referred to the phenomenon of new poverty, which he attributed to the policies followed prior to 2004.
The government's action plan sets the following priorities:
A new developmental policy; coordination of social policy on a national basis; support for families; and support for families lacking a family support structure and other vulnerable groups.
Specifically, "Zaharaki" from Rethymno won the second prize, while the olive oil produced by the Sitia Coop in Lasithi, won third prize. Both competed in the "medium fruitiness group."
The Construction, Publications, IT and Investments indices suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (5.61 pct, 2.72 pct, 2.67 pct and 1.27 pct, respectively), while the Textiles (1.63 pct), Insurance (0.70 pct) and Retail (0.39 pct) indices ended higher.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.28 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.09 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index dropped 1.43 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 175 to 83 with another 67 issues unchanged.
Attended by academics from various countries, the seminar will examine the myth of Atlantis as set out in Plato's dialogues, examining whether it might be based on true events, such as the collapse of the Minoan civilization on Crete and the volcanic explosion at Thera.
At present, there are 27 different theories on the whereabouts and the true story behind the legend of Atlantis. The seminar will provide an opportunity to present the results of new research using modern technology and new ideas from the fields of archaeology, philosophy, vulcanology, cartography and oceanography, which will seek to shed light on the ancient mystery.
According to Liapis' proposal, the fund would be charged with financing activities and initiatives related to road safety.
The main topic of discussion at Tuesday's meeting was the reduction of traffic accident victims. The EU's mid-term target has been set at 50%.
Liapis also requested that practices implemented by EU member-states be assessed in order to identify the best practices.
He also emphasized the importance of education on all levels: youngsters in schools, drivers and officials involved in the issuance of drivers' licenses.
Regarding Greece, Liapis noted that while the number of traffic accidents has decreased, a lot still needs to be done.
Finally, Liapis agreed with the majority of ministers who favor the installation of digital speedometers in lorries traveling in the EU.
They said that, following investigations, two foreign nationals aged 20 and 23 were arrested in the rural region of Ionia. Police said 48 packets of heroin, totalling 1,456.7 grams, and two packets of a substance used for mixing with the heroine, totalling 1,860 grams; two electronic precision scales, a sawed-off hunting rifle and ammunition, and a pistol were found in their possession and confiscated.
A search of the 20-year-old's residence turned up another packet of heroin weighing 0.8 grams and 1.3 grams of cannabis, as well as 740 euros, which were also confiscated.
A further search in a rural area in Magnesia turned up a further 11 packets of heroin totalling 98.7 grams.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the detainees were to sell the narcotics on behalf of a 29-year-old foreign national who was currently serving time in a Greek prison.
The two detainees were taken before a public prosecutor on Monday.
Bakoyannis gave the prime minister a detailed presentation of the plan. Fifty acres in Athens' Votanikos district have been allocated for the project; the stadium will cover 20 acres, while the remaining 30 will be covered in green.
Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2006 and is estimated to take two years to complete.
Bakoyannis noted that the project is part of Greece's bid to host the 2012 European Soccer Championship, but did not provide any details regarding its funding.
As for the existing stadium located on Alexandras Ave., plans include the construction of an underground garage to serve the needs of the nearby Metro stadium and creation of green space.