|Tuesday, 19 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-08-31
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>August 31, 2005
 Papoulias briefed by FM, EU-Turkey relations discussed
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was briefed by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Tuesday over various issues concerning foreign policy, although the increasingly complex scope of EU-Turkey relations expectedly topped the agenda of talks.
Afterwards, the veteran Greek diplomat referred to a "series of problems that the European Union must now deal with" following an unprecedented statement attached by Turkey to its decision extending a customs union protocol with the EU's 10 new members. While officially extending the protocol, EU hopeful Turkey nevertheless conveyed a written statement reminding that it continues to not recognize EU member-state Cyprus.
Molyviatis merely added that both Athens and Nicosia are working closely to solve the problems emanating from Ankara's diplomatic gambit.
Conversely, he again reiterated Athens' volition to support the neighboring country's European orientation, while adding that the Greek government is carefully evaluating the most recent statements by French, German and Austrian officials regarding the increasingly controversial issue of Turkey's possible EU membership.
 Gov't on EU-Turkey issue, FYROM
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)The Greek government on Tuesday again emphasized that numerous deliberations are currently underway at the European Union level regarding the future of EU-Turkey relations, "where Greece's strategy on the issue will be examined".
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the statement in reply to a press question on whether Athens will demand recognition of the Republic of Cyprus on the part of Turkey as a prerequisite for accession negotiations to begin.
Cyprus is one of 10 new EU member-states whereas Turkey is an EU candidate hopeful.
Asked about Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' terse statement a day earlier regarding Athens' stance vis-a-vis the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) European prospects, Roussopoulos merely noted that "it is reasonable for a different approach to exist in every foreign policy issue ... there cannot be a unified position for everything. This is historically established and probably right for governments to do."
Turkey's Apakan holds talks at Greek foreign ministry: Turkish Assistant Deputy Foreign Minister Ertugrul Apakan, in contacts he had at the Greek Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, expounded on Turkey's positions in light of the meetings of the European agencies regarding Turkey's European course.
Apakan held talks with foreign ministry officials while he also had a brief meeting with Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis.
His Greek interlocutors presented the steadfast Greek position in favor of Euro-Turkish rapprochement and referred to the need for the full implementation of the Turkey-EU Customs Union protocol.
KKE on Cyprus issue and Turkey's EU accession course: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Tuesday concerning the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, said that "the Turkish government's stance towards the Republic of Cyprus, by which it insists not to recognize, as it ought to, if is accepted by the European Union, it is possible that it will lead to the existence of an unequal status for Cyprus in the EU."
The KKE believes that not only Turkey and the British EU presidency is responsible for this but also the European Union.
The KKE reminds that "the KKE's principle opposition is known regarding the accession and entry of countries to the EU, a position which naturally is valid for Turkey, as was also valid for Greece's accession."
Concluding, the KKE announcement underlined that "the New Democracy government cannot, in the name of Turkey's accession course to the EU, agree substantially to the currently shaped unacceptable situation and is obliged to respect the will of the Greek Cypriots on the Annan plan."
 Greek Deputy FM Valinakis holds talks with Austrian counterpart Winkler in Vienna
VIENNA 31/8/2005 (ANA/V. Dimitrakoudis)The steadfast stance of Greece that it supports Turkey's efforts for full participation in the European Union, on condition that Ankara fulfills all the criteria and prerequisites which have been set by the EU, was reiterated by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis to his Austrian counterpart Hans Winkler during a two-hour meeting they had in Vienna on Monday night.
Valinakis noted to Winkler that Turkey, through the unilateral statement it made by signing the Customs Union Protocol, created a series of problems which must be confronted, and furthermore decisively, by the European Union. Valinakis said that it must be made clear that this unilateral statement, in which Ankara says that it does not recognize the Cyprus Republic, cannot create ambiguities as to the meaning and content of the signing by Ankara of the text of the protocol.
The deputy foreign minister underlined that Greece's steadfast position is that the signing must be followed also by the implementation of the protocol.
Valinakis, who met late Monday night with Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iakovou in the Austrian capital, expounded to Winkler the Greek positions regarding the pending issue of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), explaining that Athens' relations with this country are very good, particularly in the industrial and trade sector.
As stressed by Valinakis, the proposals by United Nations special envoy Matthew Nimetz constitute the basis for an agreement to this serious pending issue, an agreement which must come as soon as possible in light of FYROM's efforts to start accession talks with the EU.
In light of Austria's presidency of the European Union on January 1, 2006, the deputy foreign ministers of Greece and Austria examined all the spectrum of European issues which concern the two countries and the other EU partners.
During "the very friendly and useful talks," as stressed by Valinakis, the two men discussed Europe's future, the course of the European Constitutional Treaty and Europe's fiscal prospects for the 2007-2013 period.
On the issue of Europe's future, the two deputy foreign ministers agreed that it was necessary for the EU to be able to overcome the matters created by the referendums in France and the Netherlands. The Austrian EU presidency will convene a special meeting of heads of state and government to discuss and examine the issue of the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty in the countries which have not yet ratified it.
 Greek DM addresses students of Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)The Greek national defense minister, speaking on Tuesday to students of the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, referred to the contribution of the armed forces in the safety of the Olympic Games.
He said the Greek government proves and strengthens, within the framework of its development policy, Greece's advantages in the sectors of shipping and tourism, utilizing with planning and programming, the post-Olympic Games period, aimed at the highest possible benefit for the Greek citizens.
The minister reiterated that Greece categorically condemns terrorism from wherever it comes from, and as an important factor of peace and security in the region of the Balkans, the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, contributes to the efforts of the international community for the combatting of terrorism.
Concluding his official visit to China on Tuesday, the Greek defense minister met with Chinese Popular Congress Vice-President He Luli, during which the good climate in bilateral relations was reiterated.
 Draft law passed in principle for creation of International University of Greece
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)A draft law was voted in principle on Tuesday for the establishment of the International University of Greece.
Deputy Education and Religious Affairs Minister Spyros Taliadouros said that the students of the new university will pay the same tuition fees, regardless of their country of origin.
The draft law which was voted in principle by the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and by the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), provides for the founding of a public university based in Thessaloniki, which will offer higher education in English and in other languages, and will be directed mainly to foreign students.
 Papandreou to reportedly tour schools on opening day, Sept. 12
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou, along with other PASOK cadres, will reportedly visit various public schools on Sept. 12, when schools open around the country.
Education issues, meanwhile, were on the table for discussion on Tuesday during a meeting of PASOK's top coordinators, a meeting that was chaired by Papandreou himself.
According to reports, in terms of university and technical schools' competitiveness, Papandreou said competitiveness depends on institutions' link with the work force and not on the number of new college students every year.
 Chief investigator of plane crash meets with Cypriot transport minister, President Papadopoulos
NICOSIA 31/8/2005 (ANA/A.Viketos)Chief investigator Akrivos Tsolakis and members of the Greek committee charged with discovering the causes that led to the crash of an Helios Boeing 737, met with Cypriot Transport Minister Harris Thrassou and President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos separately on Tuesday.
Tsolakis and his team arrived in Cyprus on Monday to collect testimony from witnesses in connection with the plane crash that killed all 121 people on board on August 14.
Following his meeting with the transport minister, Tsolakis expressed his support as well as the support of the other committee members towards the victims' families.
On his part, Thrassou reassured Tsolakis that the transport and other ministries will gladly cooperate with the committee providing it access to any documents or information it may require.
 Budget revenue shows rise
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Net budget revenue in January-July 2005 rose by 3.7% against the same period a year earlier, falling below a target of 11.4%, the General State Accounting Office said on Tuesday.
The budget deficit was 11.4% lower in comparison with January-July 2004, according to a routine statement.
Primary budget spending showed a 2.5% rate of growth, well below a targeted 4.9%, the statement said.
Spending on interest rose by 16% in January-July 2005 versus an annual target of 3.5%, it added.
 Gov't sees firms keeping retail prices flat despite oil price hike
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Tuesday that he expected producers to absorb the brunt of a sharp rise in global oil prices, avoiding passing the increase down to consumers, which could jeopardize their market stake.
After a round of consultations with sector representatives, Sioufas told reporters that none had raised the issue of price hikes.
At the same time, the government was not seeking a "gentle-men's agreement" on price hikes, as the method would only conceal problems, not resolve them, Sioufas said.
In addition, many companies had shown interest in boosting exports to the Balkans, taking advantage of incentives in three laws that were passed recently, the minister added.
 PM Karamanlis holds consultations ahead of economic policy speech
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is to hold consultations with trade groups ahead of his annual economic policy speech in the northern port city of Thessaloniki on September 10.
On Thursday, Karamanlis will hold separate meetings with commerce trade groups and the civil servants union; and on Friday with industrialists and the GSEE, the country's largest trade union federation.
Demonstration scheduled during TIF will not be 'anti-government' trade union leaders assert: The demonstration scheduled to take place during the International Thessaloniki Trade Fair (TIF) on September 10 will not be anti-government nor geared towards serving political party interests, trade union leaders asserted during a joint press conference on Tuesday.
Specifically, General Confederation of the Employees of Greece (GSEE) President Christos Polyzogopoulos and Spyros Papaspyros, head of the civil servants' union ADEDY said that their organizations would be cooperating with the Public Order Ministry and police to ensure a peaceful demonstration.
Costas Poupakis, Secretary General of GSEE and President of DAKE's private sector division, the New Democracy-affiliated trade union, said that DAKE would participate in the demonstration.
 Gov't defends efforts to hold down inflation, cites successful tourism ad campaign
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)The government on Tuesday again defended its efforts at keeping inflation at bay amid skyrocketing international oil prices, reminding that Greece would have enjoyed the lowest annualized inflation hike in decades had it not been for the ongoing crude frenzy.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos also pointed at previous fines slapped by the development ministry on super market chains that had threatened to pass on liabilities they themselves had incurred.
Roussopoulos added that although the price of oil has more than doubled in the past two years, the inflation rate increase remains low.
In an unrelated development, the spokesman dismissed reports of friction between the tourism development ministry and the public works ministry, noting that exactly the opposite was true.
Additionally, he said successful inter-ministerial cooperation resulted in last year's commencement of an international tourist ad campaign in December, a course that will be followed up this year with public tenders for next year's promotion.
His comments followed a high-profile inner Cabinet meeting earlier on Tuesday, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, to focus on tourism policy and development.
 Inner Cabinet convenes to discuss course of tourism
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)The Inner Cabinet convened under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday and focused on the course of tourism and on the legislative work which will follow for its strengthening and the extension of the tourism period.
Rapporteur at the meeting was Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos who after the session said that the government's initiatives have borne fruit and noted that the planning for the next year is already in progress.
The tourism minister said that the country "has re-entered the world tourism map and constitutes one of the top tourism destinations."
Avramopoulos said tourism increased this year compared to last year but underlined that what was needed was an improvement of infrastructure for tourism.
In the coming months, Avramopoulos said, a legislative work will follow which will help strengthening the alternative forms of tourism and will extend the tourism period.
This year's positive results, Avramopoulos said, are due to the communications campaign.
According to sources, a draft law will be tabled in Parliament after the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair for spa tourism and also the replacement of old hotels with new ones.
 Greece, Cyprus eager to closer business ties
NICOSIA 31/8/2005 (ANA/A Viketos)Cyprus' minister of commerce, industry and tourism, George Lillikas, said on Tuesday that the island republic and Greece were eager to closer business ties.
Lillikas was speaking after a meeting with the Cyprus-Greece Business Association.
The ministry would arrange a seminar to bring together companies from the two countries that were operating in the Balkans and Middle East, Lillikas said.
 Stocks rise, tracking sentiment abroad
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Stocks finished higher with the market tracking bullish sentiment abroad, in the wake of six declining sessions, traders said.
The Athens general share index closed at 3,205.99 points, marking a rise of 0.62%. Turnover was 164.4 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.73% up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 1.43% higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.98% up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 181 to 75 with 80 remaining unchanged.
 Renowned National Resistance fighter Alexis Rosios dies; condolences by PASOK leader
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Renowned National Resistance fighter Alexis Rosios died on Tuesday.
In a statement, main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou said "I was deeply grieved when I was informed of the loss of a fighter and worthy comrade, Alexis Rosios, of the National Resistance."
Papandreou added: "His ethics and fighting spirit is what made him always special to the very end. His contribution to the country, but also his vigorous activity in PASOK is recognized by all. His comrades honored him for this with his election to the Central Committee and Executive Bureau of the Movement. His lengthy presence and his contribution to the struggles of our people, from the National Resistance until today, always constituted for us a source of inspiration, but also a shining example for all of us, for today and tomorrow. I express my sincere condolences to his family."
 Athens Mayor Bakoyannis says new stadium of Panathinaikos will be built in Votanikos
Athens, 31/8/2005 (ANA)Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, after a meeting she had at the Town Hall on Tuesday with representatives of Panathinaikos Football Club, announced that Panathinaikos will acquire, after many years, its own stadium at Votanikos, with a capacity of 35-40,000 seats.
Bakoyannis said that she is optimistic that the new stadium will be ready in 2008, when the club celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding.
 Cyprus FM: We expect an EU declaration that secures our interests
NICOSIA 31/8/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Republic of Cyprus believes that a declaration, expected to be issued by the European Union's Foreign Ministers this week in response to Turkey's unilateral statement that it does not recognize Cyprus, should safeguard the Republic's interests and ''put things in their right dimension,'' Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iakovou said Tuesday.
In statements to CNA from Vienna, where he met with his Austrian counterpart Ursula Plassnik, Iakovou said that the EU countries understand the Cypriot government's positions, regarding the text of the declaration that will be discussed and finalized this week in Newport, Wales, during the informal EU Foreign Affairs Ministers' meeting.
''I hope that there is a declaration by the EU that would secure all our interests. We will not accept a declaration that does not secure them'', the minister underlined.
He added that the EU declaration should secure that the protocol extending Turkey's customs union with all new EU member states, including Cyprus, is implemented, and that in the case of Cyprus it should include all Cypriot flagged vessels and aircraft.
''The declaration should reflect the current situation in Cyprus on the basis of the principles of legality, of the UN Security Council and the acquis communautaire. A declaration should be drafted in this framework'', he stressed.
According to the minister, the Committee of Permanent Representatives at the European Union (COREPER) may not discuss the issue of the declaration at its meeting Wednesday, after a request by the British EU Presidency.
''I am satisfied by my contacts so far with my European counterparts. There is great understanding for our positions'', Iakovou said.
Apart from a meeting with Austrian FM, Iakovou met on Tuesday with his Slovak counterpart Eduard Kukan and on Monday he held a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Bernard Rudolf Bot.