|Friday, 22 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 27, 2005
 Gov't moving forward according to plan, PM tells ND's Central Committee
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said that the government is moving forward according to plan and that Greece will not turn back, in comments he made during New Democracy's Central Committee meeting on Friday.
Karamanlis emphasized that while the government will not adopt a strategy of polarization and extremes it will also not allow issues to remain unaddressed.
He underscored the government's determination to continue with its planned reforms, saying that "the plan for reforms will not be abandoned; It is a non-negotiable choice aimed at growth, it is a choice that serves the majority's needs and is being developed within the arena of the contemporary, political Centre."
The premier added that "reforms constitute a promise to re-establish the state, to restructure the economy, to ensure sustainable development and to increase social dividends.
We cannot burden future generations with the mistakes, omissions and timidity of the past; we cannot rally for change and at the same time make excuses to avoid it. Lies and a negative attitude towards everything do not constitute criticism, they are a rejection of progress," he said.
Referring to the main opposition party, Karamanlis predicted that PASOK will step up its attacks against the government in order to make its presence felt.
He accused PASOK of distorting the truth, of promoting inaccuracies and of continuously resisting innovation.
He said that PASOK is trying to pin problems, such as the high cost of living and unemployment, on New Democracy, problems "that were created by their [PASOK's] governments."
Regarding Greek-Turkish relations, Karamanlis said that "We are pursuing complete normalization in relations with Turkey," adding that his government has and continues to support Turkey's EU prospects.
By becoming an EU member state, Turkey could function better for everyone concerned, he said.
However, Karamanlis reiterated that Turkey's EU accession depends on Turkey itself, referring to the country's performance regarding respect of human and minority rights, its behavior towards Cyprus and its foreign policy.
"If Turkey really wants to join the EU it is obligated to respect international law, international treaties and European principles and values," the premier added.
Regarding Greece's stance ahead of the meeting of the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives and the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers later in the month, Karamanlis said: "We are continuously taking into consideration information and developments and we are preparing a course of action responsibly and with vision."
Switching back to domestic issues, Karamanlis outlined the situation his party was faced with when it took office in 2004: bureaucracy, corruption and graft.
He added that state organizations had become synonymous with waste, ineffectiveness and unaccountability.
He also referred to the Greek economy and how false impressions were created to cover up huge debt and deficit.
Karamanlis provided a short overview of his government's accomplishments to date, including the successful staging of the Olympic Games, measures to boost competitiveness, a new tax and development law, measures aimed at helping small- and medium-sized businesses, improvements in health care, ensuring transparency in public works contracts, and others.
In closing, the prime minister referred specifically to the difficult economic conditions that prevail internationally as a result of soaring oil prices. The impact on the Greek economy is particularly great, given the country's great dependency on oil, which is twice greater than that of other EU member states, he said.
ND central comm't members express support for change in local gov't election law: A high-profile proposal, by the party's secretary no less, for changing the local government election law dominated addresses by ruling New Democracy's central committee members on Friday, following an opening speech by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.
Most speakers expressed their support for lowering the first-round election figure to 42 percent, as opposed to the 50 percent plus 1 limit now needed for the election of mayoral and prefectural candidates.
Several speakers also reminded that the proposal was clearly cited as a pre-election position by New Democracy.
 Interior Minister Pavlopoulos addresses ND's Central Committee meeting
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Internal Affairs, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, speaking at the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Central Committee meeting on Friday, said that "the government is implementing its pre-election program regarding the change of the law for the election of the representatives of local government with the ulterior aim of strengthening local government."
As Pavlopoulos said, "local government will undertake the crucial role for the absorption of the funds of the 4th Community Support Framework (CSF) and the government is obliged to prepare the prefectures and local government in order for them to respond to this role."
Regarding his ministry's policy for the confrontation of bureaucracy, the interior minister stressed that "emphasis is being given to the Citizens Service Centers, which not only better serve the citizens, but contribute substantially to the solution of major problems." He added that "bureaucracy is gradually being reduced and the way with which dealings with the citizen is conducted is changing" for the better.
 Ministers underline need for growth at ruling party meeting
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Two economics ministers on Friday underlined the need for economic growth, addressing a meeting of the ruling New Democracy party's central committee.
Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said he saw signs of fresh impetus to growth, linked to the government's economic policy, especially mild fiscal adjustment, that had brought a brisk GDP rise, the highest in the eurozone, and a drop in unemployment by one percentage point.
Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas underlined the need for full deregulation of the country's energy market and introduction of biofuels and alternative energy to lower a dependence on fossil fuels and spur growth.
 ND Secretary Meimarakis addresses party's Central Committee meeting
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Secretary Evangelos Meimarakis, closing the sessions of the party's Central Committee meeting, said on Friday that "the ND as a party completely supports the government's reforms and this is the message that the Central Committee meeting sends today."
Meimarakis said that "the ND as a party proposes to the prime minister to proceed in reforms and to not think that he has before him the municipal elections."
The ND Secretary added that "the policy of reforms is to the benefit of the many and does not serve, as some say, other expediencies."
Directing himself to the party cadres, Meimarakis said that "they have the difficult role of passing the party's positions to society, given that some decisions are not particularly popular."
He announced that the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair will be an opportunity for Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis "to make an overall review of the government's work."
Meimarakis made an extensive reference to the issue of ND's proposal reform the law for the election of mayors and prefects and launched an attack against the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), attributing to it "expediency" and of wanting to "encircle the other forces."
He said that the issue of the first round in the municipal elections "has been discussed since the 1980s and nobody can claim that they were taken by surprise." In any case, he added, "it had been discussed during the PASOK governments."
 KKE leader Papariga and SYN spokesman criticize PM Karamanlis' address to ND's Central Committee
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary-General Aleka Papariga on Friday afternoon criticized the speech made by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to the ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Central Committee.
She said: "When Mr. Karamanlis finished his speech I thought it was a speech which reminds one of floriculture and decoration. That is, he concealed his savage, anti-popular policy with neutral slogans. He spoke of 'reforms' and on the effectiveness of his policy. Whatever he says, his policy is savagely anti-popular."
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) spokesman Nikos Voutsis said that Karamanlis "denies any responsibilities over the dramatic consequences which the persistence of austerity policies have." He added: "He swears, in the name of reforms, to the extreme neo-liberal orientation which abolishes social rights and labor gains. Yet again, the country's prime minister, in light of the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, presents a fictitious reality."
Meanwhile, KKE leader Papariga, speaking after a meeting she had on Friday with the executive committee of the civil aviations unions (OSYPA), expressed her concern over the safety of flights and stated that she was "completely opposed to privatizations, of Olympic Airlines and of other services." She said that "competitiveness and productivity, as projected, are incompatible with the protection of flights and the respect of human life."
Papariga said that her party was opposed "to every privatization and every form of privatization which concerns the civil aviation service, the airport and the airline company, that is, of Olympic Airlines."
 Papandreou refers to PASOK's plan for offering alternative to gov't policy
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou continued his criticism of the government on Friday during the second day of his party's political council conference in the port town of Lavrio, southeast of Athens.
Turning to his positions, Papandreou told delegates that "... we have a plan, we have a plan at PASOK ... we will unfurl our alternative proposals on specific sectors during the course towards the Greek people."
In again focusing his criticism on ruling ND, he said the Karamanlis government has been unable to tackle problems such as inflation and unemployment. Additionally, the former foreign minister said the government is proceeding with spasmodic decisions for the economy that "do not help a productive Greece, but (help) a parasitic Greece..."
He also charged that the government is "reducing the country's prestige" on the international scene.
 TIF schedule of PM and political leaders announced
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' schedule as well as that of opposition leaders during the International Thessaloniki Trade Fair (TIF) was finalized and announced on Friday.
Specifically, Karamanlis will be inaugurating the 70th TIF on September 9 at 8 p.m.
On Saturday he will meet with local government officials and at 9 p.m. he will present the government's economic policy for the year ahead.
On Sunday at noon, the premier will hold a press conference.
Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou will arrive in Thessaloniki on September 17 and will speak during a dinner scheduled for 9 p.m. that same evening.
On Sunday, September 18, he will hold a press conference.
Secretary General of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Aleka Papariga will attend TIF on September 14 and 15.
Finally, Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) President Alekos Alavanos will visit TIF on September 13 and 14.
 PM meets with Finnish trade minister regarding hosting of 2006 Euro-Med summit
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis led a high-ranking Greek delegation on Friday during a meeting with visiting Finnish Trade and Industry Minister Mauri Pekkarinen, as talks focused squarely Greece's assumption of the 2006 Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Barcelona Process) summit of the Union's 25 members and 10 third countries from around the Mediterranean basin.
The hosting of the summit was transferred by Finland, which will hold the EU presidency in the latter half of 2006, following a request on behalf of Athens by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas.
The Euro-Mediterranean summit will take place in September 2006 on the island of Rhodes.
On his part, Pekkarinen said Greece has posted significant growth rates over the past few years, although he noted that there is enormous room for improvement in bilateral trade ties, where Finland enjoys a significant edge in the trade balance.
Greek, Finnish ministers discuss Euro-Med conference: Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Friday met Finland's trade and industry minister, Mauri Pekkarinen, for talks on hosting a Euro-Mediterranean ministers' industry conference to be held in Rhodes in autumn 2006.
Pekkarinen congratulated the government on high Greek growth rates, which have held at 3.0%-4.0% for several years.
Also taking part in the meeting was Deputy Foreign Minister Euripides Stylianidis, who called on Finnish investors to place their funds in Greece.
Stylianidis also asked Pekkarinen to help Greek firms launch an investment offensive in Finland to equalize the trade balance.
 Premier Karamanlis receives letter from Germany's Merkel on Turkey
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Government sources said on Friday that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has received a letter from Angela Merkel, the centre-right leader with the best chances of becoming German Chancellor at next month's election, in which the German party leader proposes to all premiers-members of the European People's Party to jointly hinder an offer of full European Union membership to Turkey.
Instead, Merkel said, Ankara should be offered the "privileged partnership" proposed by her CDU/CSU alliance.
Sources close to the prime minister's office said that "Merkel's remarks are being seriously considered within Greece's foreign policy framework and parameters".
The EU is set to open talks with Turkey on October 3. The EU Commission's proposals at the talks only mention membership, not the privileged partnership concept.
 EU-Turkey relations discussed by Molyviatis, Straw
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Friday spoke by phone with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on the subject of Turkey's often intricate EU prospects, particularly in light of a couple of significant meetings of the Union's representatives in the coming week.
Britain holds the EU's rotating presidency for the ongoing six-month period.
Meanwhile, Molyviatis earlier received a delegation of visiting US House of Representatives, with talks focusing on the Middle East, the Balkans and Turkey's EU course.
According to reports, the US Congressional representatives queried Greek diplomats on Athens' positions regarding a handful of current issues and also discussed prospects for increasing bilateral trade ties.
The delegation was accompanied by US ambassador to Athens Charles Ries.
 Greek Deputy FM Valinakis to hold talks in Vienna on Monday
VIENNA 27/8/2005 (ANA/D. Dimitrakoudis)Turkey's course in the European Union, in light of the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee on August 31 but also of the informal meeting of the European Union's Foreign Ministers in Newport, Wales on September 1-2, is expected to be the focus of talks which Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis will have during a working dinner in Vienna on Monday with his Austrian counterpart Hans Winkler.
The same issue, with emphasis on the matter of the Turkish statement regarding the protocol of the extension of the Customs Union of Turkey with the ten new EU member countries, will be at the centre of talks which Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou will have in Vienna in Tuesday afternoon with his Austrian counterpart Ursula Plassnik.
Valinakis will arrive in Vienna from Prague where he will be accompanying Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his two-day working visit to Czech Republic on Sunday and Monday and in his talks with new Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek.
Iacovou's talks in Vienna will be preceded by talks with his Dutch and Slovak counterparts in Amsterdam and Bratislava respectively.
 Gov't has confidence in DEH president, denies claims to the contrary
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)The government and the Development Ministry have complete confidence and trust in Public Power Corporation (DEH) President Yiannis Paleokrassas, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Friday.
Sioufas' comments were made in response to allegations that Paleokrassas may be forced to resign following his disagreement with DEH's Board of Directors on Thursday regarding their decision to appoint new directors within the organization.
 Pilot of crashed Cypriot jetliner identified through daughter's DNA sample
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)The remains of Hans-Juergen Marten, pilot of the Cypriot jetliner that crashed into a mountain near Athens two weeks ago killing all 121 people on board, were identified through the DNA method late Friday afternoon.
The daughter of Hans-Juergen Marten had been located in Germany, Greek police officials said, and had sent a DNA sample to help with identification of the pilot's remains.
117 out of 121 victims aboard crashed Cypriot airliner ID'd; One-hundred and seventeen bodies out of the 121 victims aboard the Helios Airways flight ZU522 that smashed into the hills north of Athens last week have been identified, authorities in the Greek capital said on Friday.
Of those, 90 bodies were identified via DNA testing, the coroner's office said.
Meanwhile, samples taken from a body believed to belong to the German pilot of the airliner were scheduled to undergo DNA testing on Friday afternoon, following the arrival of DNA samples taken from the man's daughter.
The bodies of three passengers, however, have yet to be located amid the downed Boeing 737-300's wreckage or around the crash site.
Memorial service held at crash site of Helios Boeing 737: Par. 5 should read "Reportedly, one of the two unidentified bodies may belong to the plane's pilot..." instead of "...one of the two unidentified remains..." as reported earlier. The corrected version follows:
A memorial service was conducted on Friday by Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Christodoulos and members of the Holy Synod at Grammatiko, the site northeast of Athens where all 121 people on board Helios Airways flight ZU522 died when the plane went down nearly two weeks ago.
Of the 121 victims, three bodies remain missing.
Of the 118 that have been recovered, all but two have been identified.
Ninety bodies were identified through DNA testing, while 26 were recognized by relatives from their features and personal belongings.
Reportedly, one of the two unidentified bodies may belong to the plane's pilot Hans-Juergen Marten. His daughter has been contacted and is expected to send a DNA sample to help with identification of her father's remains.
Results of the DNA testing are expected to be released within a few days.
Chief investigator and head of the Greek airline safety committee Akrivos Tsolakis is due to visit Cyprus on Monday.
 Next BALCINET summit in Craiova, Romania
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)The Balkan Cities' Network (BALCINET) summit will convene in the Romanian city of Craiova at the end of September (Sept. 30 to Oct. 2), the network's executive secretariat decided on Thursday in Thessaloniki.
Balkan countries' EU prospects are expected to dominate the summit, along with the issues of fighting crime and illegal narcotics trafficking.
The current BALCINET secretariat is comprised of the mayors of Piraeus, which hosted the summit in 2004, Craiova and Ankara, the host city for 2006.
In a related development, Macedonian Press Agency (MPA) general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos presented delegates with a plan by Greece's soon-to-be unified national news agencies (ANA and MPA) for cooperation with BALCINET.
 Initiative by Alexandria Patriarch for cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce of Crete and Egypt
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros B' has undertaken an initiative for the strengthening of the economic and trade relations between the Chambers of Commerce of Crete and Egypt.
The initiative followed a visit the patriarch had made to his birthplace, Crete, a few weeks ago.
According to Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros B', such a cooperation could constitute "a significant step for the activation of Cretan businesses in Egypt," but also to contribute to an official cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce of Crete and the Patriarchate.
The meetings between the two Chambers of Commerce is expected to take place in the coming months under the auspices of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.
 Greek tourism increase to exceed 11.5% in 2005, Tourism Minister says
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Minister of Tourism Development Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed his optimism regarding the tourism industry, estimating that 2005 will see an increase of more than 11.5% in tourist arrivals compared with 2004, in comments he made on state television NET on Friday.
He noted that the outlook is positive for September and October as well, judging by the number of tourism packages already purchased.
Avramopoulos also urged tourism industry professionals to pay particular attention to the quality of services and products they provide.
 Head of national tourist board to Cairo trade fair
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)The president of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), Aristidis Kaloyeropoulos, is to visit Cairo to take part in Egypt's largest sector trade fair on September 6-8.
The GNTO will make a strong showing at the event in the wake of economic diplomacy carried out by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to boost ties between the two countries.
 Greek commerce group backs EU, China textiles pact
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)The National Confederation of Greek Commerce said on Friday that it backed a textiles agreement forged by the European Union and China.
"It benefits millions of Europeans but a handful of major commercial groups are trying to overturn it by pressuring EU authorities almost to the point of blackmail, claiming that their shelves will remain empty and they will be forced to order redundancies," the confederation said in a statement.
"The agreement was necessary to avoid collapse of the Greek and European textiles sector, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. Despite knowledge of the pact's contents, these large groups made enormous purchases from China in a bid to overturn the quotas," the statement said.
 Stocks nose down in late sell-off
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished lower after a bout of late selling reversed an earlier rise, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,221.84 points, marking a decline of 0.01%. Turnover was 147.8 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.04% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 0.55% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.09% down.
Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 146 to 118 with 65 remaining unchanged.
On a weekly basis, the market lost 3.15%
 Thessaloniki to host 16th International Biennale of Sport and Contemporary Art
Athens, 27/8/2005 (ANA)At the initiative of the Ministry of Sport, Thessaloniki, northern Greece, will host the 16th International Biennale of Sport and Contemporary Art (Bienal Internacional del Deporte en el Arte) - BIDA.
The event will last from September 7-30 within the framework of the 2005 International Year of Physical Education, which was set by the United Nations. The event aims at projecting sport from a different and more modern artistic viewpoint, expanding in essence the borders of the meaning of culture.
BIDA is organized with great success since 1967, in cities of Spain and it is the first time that it will be held outside the Spanish borders.
 Cyprus House President says Turkey's stance provocation to
EU LIMASSOL 27/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot House of Representatives President Demetris Christofias on Friday said Turkey's unacceptable attitude of not recognizing the Republic of Cyprus and implementing the protocol extending its customs union agreement to cover the ten new EU member states, including Cyprus, is a provocation to the EU.
Christofias told delegates at the 14th Congress of Overseas Cypriots that continued Friday with the deliberations of the International
Coordinating Committee - Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) that the EU must take into consideration Turkey's stance when the final decision for its EU course will be taken.
Declaring the opening of the PSEKA deliberations, Christofias expressed the conviction that with the contribution and help of the overseas Cypriots ''we will be able to secure the much desired solution that will turn Cyprus into a common and safe home for all Cypriots and a bridge of peace and cooperation in the region.''
He underlined the issue of Turkey's obligations towards the Republic of Cyprus, which are also obligations towards the EU, noting that this has been raised before the National Council, noting that a preliminary discussion took place and will be completed soon with final decisions taken.
''We aim at a solution that will reunify our common country and vindicate all the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,'' he added.
''Through a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which was the most painful yet necessary compromise, we aim to avert the final division of our country and we will remain firm and consistent on this compromise,'' he added.
Christofias said the Greek Cypriot side does not want the Turkish Cypriot side to be isolated and that the responsibility lies with Turkey, which violates international law with the occupation of a large part of the Republic of Cyprus.
''All those who underline the need for Turkish Cypriots to get out of the 'isolation' and especially Turkey and the new Turkish Cypriot leadership, must realize that this can only be done with solutions that are compatible with international law principles,'' he added, noting that ''otherwise the situation will be perpetuated and those who will firstly lose will be the Turkish Cypriots.''
He said the Turkish Cypriot side is already losing the last opportunity it had to gain the 259 million euro from European funds, which the Republic of Cyprus consented to.
During his speech, Christofias extensively referred to the various measures announced by the government in favor of Turkish Cypriots, such as free medical care and the opening of new crossing points to and from the occupied areas.
Furthermore he mentioned Turkey's refusal to accept the government's proposal for the return of the fenced area of Famagusta to its lawful residents, according to Security Council resolution 550, and its co-management.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island's northern third.