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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-11-03

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

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

November 3, 2006

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis warns Turkey it must meet EU obligations
  • [02] Bakoyannis rules out EU progress for Turkey unless it fulfills obligations
  • [03] No reason for Greece to be invited to informal meeting on EU-Turkish Cypriot trade regulation, FM says
  • [04] Ankara rejects meeting with Cypriot FM in Helsinki without Greek FM present
  • [05] Turkish military chief continues official visit to Greece
  • [06] Party leaders comment on rape of student in Evia
  • [07] President Papoulias receives children's charity board, comments on racism
  • [08] FM to address European Conference of National Youth Councils on Friday
  • [09] Greece attracts increasing number of large-scale investments
  • [10] Greece is 2nd largest investor in Bulgarian market
  • [11] Tsitouridis addresses international conference in Dublin
  • [12] New International Trade Union Confederation founded in Vienna
  • [13] First International Internet Governance Forum ends in Greece
  • [14] Chinese publication lists Greece as among top honeymoon destinations
  • [15] Eurobank presents tourism study
  • [16] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop
  • [17] Central Museum Council holds first meeting
  • [18] Greek and Pakistani cultural ministers discuss bilateral cooperation
  • [19] Mitsotakis Foundation conference on landmark 1946 elections
  • [20] Seminar on domestic violence in Kosovo held in Thessaloniki
  • [21] General Council for Italians Abroad con'f begins in Athens
  • [22] Greek Music Centre in Trikala
  • [23] Public order minister addresses police officers conference
  • [24] Athens to reinstate municipal parking system
  • [25] Spokesman: Consultations are cancelled due to the Turkish stance
  • [26] Finnish Presidency: Talks on issues related to Turkey and Cyprus will continue
  • [27] President says Cyprus has worked hard towards harmonization with acquis
  • [28] German Minister of Defense arrives in Cyprus on Friday

  • [01] PM Karamanlis warns Turkey it must meet EU obligations

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The political paradox of candidate EU member country Turkey refusing to recognize EU member-state Cyprus cannot continue indefinitely, prime minister Costas Karamanlis warned on Thursday, during an off-the-agenda debate in parliament on foreign policy issues, taking place at political party leaders' level, and addressed a message to Ankara that the rate and outcome of its European course depended entirely on Turkey.

    "The political paradox of non-recognition of a member state by a candidate country" cannot be perpetuated indefinitely, Karamanlis said, adding that "the rhythm, as well as the final outcome, of its European course depends entirely on Turkey itself".

    "Implementation of the Customs Union Protocol, for the opening up of the neighboring country's ports and airports to Cypriot ships and aircraft is an explicit contractual commitment on the part of Turkey towards the European Union and the entirety of the EU members," Karamanlis said, stressing that "this obligation is self-evident and cannot be linked with matters that concern the internal operation of the EU".

    The prime minister elaborated that the Trade Regulation between the EU and the Turkish Cypriot community was an internal matter of the EU, noting that Athens supported the ongoing effort by the Finnish EU presidency "supporting the Cyprus Republic's approach, for achievement of the best possible result".

    On Turkey's EU accession course, Karamanlis explained that although Europe had put in place "the tracks and the road signs leading to accession", however, "the train driver on its own course is Ankara itself", adding that "the rhythm and final outcome of its European course depends entirely on Ankara itself", and warning that "refusal of the necessary reforms is outside the spirit governing the operation of the EU, and consequently this refusal cannot continue in perpetuity".

    Referring to the question faced by the EU of whether Turkey, in the first stage of its accession process, was meeting the obligations it has undertaken towards the EU '25', Karamanlis said that certain reforms have indeed been made, but "Turkey's attitude so far falls short of its commitments".

    Noting second thoughts by some EU member countries of a special relationship between the EU and Turkey, the prime minister said that "the attempts to improve the situation, concerning the respect of religious freedoms and minority rights, have, unfortunately, remained merely attempts, while on the issues of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Halki Seminary, the foundations' properties and the minorities properties, its obligations still remain obligations".

    Karamanlis further warned that "the maintenance of the unacceptable anachronism of the 'casus belli' does not help" towards achieving firm relations of good neighborhood, while Turkey's "obligations to the EU member states, among them the Republic of Cyprus, cannot be ignored".

    He said the European track was the only route that would ensure for Turkey a steady European course. "It is the only track that guarantees that the train will not be derailed on its route to Europe", he said, adding that "we do not want such an eventuality".

    However, he stressed, it was up to Ankara to rule out that eventuality.

    "Europe has clearly placed, just as in every other case, both the tracks and the road signs that lead to accession. The train driver, however, on Turkey's course is Ankara itself. Both the rhythm and final outcome of its European course depends on Ankara. Refusal of the necessary reforms is outside the spirit governing the operation of the EU, and that is why this refusal cannot continue in perpetuity," the premier underlined.

    Turning to the FYROM name issue, Karamanlis said that "even at this time, the neighboring country's leadership is obliged to assess the situation and respond to Greece's positive stance".

    "A mutually acceptable name is required on the road to the EU and NATO," Karamanlis said, stressing that "this is a condition for its accession to be ratified by the Hellenic Parliament".

    Assessing Greece's 2-year seat on the UN Security Council for the two-year period 2005-2006, and particularly its presidency of the Security Council during the month of September, Karamanlis said that "we proved in action our interest in a resolution of the Middle East problem".

    "Our efforts culminated with the holding of the extraordinary meeting of the Security Council, at foreign ministers' level -- the first to be held at that level in more than 20 years -- on the issue of restoring and consolidating peace in this strife-ridden region", the premier said.

    Greece, he continued, had made its own positive contribution in all the international issues faced by the international community during those two years, from the Iranian nuclear program-me to the Middle East and to the Kosovo issue.

    Concluding his presentation, Karamanlis said that the experience of the past, the problems of the present, as well as the challenges of the future "indicate, to all of us, the need for joining forces behind common goals".

    "They require understanding, collaboration, and political responsibility. They require unity and unanimity on the major national issues, and not sterile disagreement. They require boldness and prudence that, above all else, we place and serve the collective, the social, the national interest, the premier said, stressing that "whenever we Greeks unite forces and follow a common national strategy, we achieve great goals".

    "This is our standing aspiration. This is the certain and secure path to a dynamic and proud Greece," Karamanlis concluded.

    [02] Bakoyannis rules out EU progress for Turkey unless it fulfills obligations

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Turkey cannot progress toward EU accession if it refuses to honor the Ankara Protocol, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis told Greek MPs on Thursday, during an off-the-agenda Parliamentary debate on foreign policy.

    "Greece's position is clear: Turkey cannot progress on its European course without any repercussions or sanctions arising from its potential refusal to conform to its obligations," she told the Parliament.

    According to Bakoyannis, the coming two months were a crucial and difficult time, which Athens believed should be the "hour of truth about whether Turkey was prepared to adjust or not and to honor the Ankara Protocol".

    The Ankara Protocol extended EU-Turkey customs union to the Community's 10 new member-states, including Cyprus. Ankara has so far refused to open its ports and airports to Cyprus-flagged ships and planes.

    Regarding a proposal by the Finnish EU presidency for Cyprus, the minister said that it would be premature to make any comment.

    "We support it, with the view and arguments of the Cyprus government on this issue," she said.

    She underlined, also, that Cyprus was an independent state within the EU that needed Greece's support and cooperation but not its tutelage.

    The Greek government would agree to support any proposal that was backed by the Cyprus government and no solution that was decided without it. "There can be no imposed solutions," she stressed.

    The minister also made an assessment of Greece's performance in the presidency of the UN Security Council, noting that this could make all Greeks proud, since the country had successfully defended its values and principles and contributed its views on all the major international crises.

    "The government follows a responsible and low-key policy, which unquestionably boosts the country's prestige and self-confidence as a calm, regional power, but one that has viewpoints and a voice about its region," Bakoyannis said.

    PASOK leader: PM wasted country's 'credibility capital': Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thurs-day accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of wasting the country's "credibility capital", which he said was inherited from preceding PASOK governments, while also referred to "inertia" over the Cyprus issue.

    Papandreou was addressing an off-the-agenda parliamentary debate on foreign policy at political party leaders' level.

    He also called on Karamanlis to immediately take initiatives with respect to the Cyprus issue and ongoing developments in EU-Turkey relations, urging the submission of a proposal for the demilitarization of the island republic.

    Papandreou charged that Greek foreign policy, under the current New Democracy government, was pervaded by fear of political costs, inertia and lack of volition, resulting in the wasting of the country's "credibility and prestige capital".

    "You just read out to us a list of problems that Turkey was not solving. Why didn't you read out that list in December 2004 in Brussels and in October 2005? That's when you should have put your foot down, but you neglected it, fearing what political cost?" Papandreou said.

    "We would not have made the mistakes you made; we would not have been observers in Lucerne. We would have negotiated hard for a better outcome. We would not have announced that the Cyprus problem was not an issue for Greek-Turkish relations, because we believe that a non-solution is a source of tensions. We would not have allowed the Greek-Turkish relations to be disengaged from the EU-Turkey relations, nor would I have publicly stated on CNN that I will not place a veto," the PASOK leader continued.

    Papandreou said that Turkey's self-evident obligation for ratification and implementation of the Customs Union Protocol had now become a package deal with the development of relations with the Turkish Cypriot community and the approval of the Trade Regulation -- "a bargaining on the obligation that Turkey had undertook".

    PASOK, he continued, had succeeded in rendering the Greece-Turkey-Cyprus issues European issues to be resolved on the basis of principles, whereas ND had succeeded in putting them up for bargaining with arbitrators.

    Papandreou said support of Turkey's EU course was not a "carte blanche", adding that Greece should be a champion for enlargement, but at the same time it must have the courage to say "no".

    "Where is your substantial contribution to the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus? What is your position on the efforts of the Finnish EU presidency? What is your preparation and hard work for a new Helsinki? Will you visit country capitals and meet with your counterparts? Do you have plans, targets? I didn't hear anything. What is our position on Guantanamo? Why didn't you yourself go to New York to address the Security Council during our presidency? Our term on the Security Council is ending, and no one knows what we have done," the main opposition leader continued.

    Papandreou urged that Greece should undertake an initiative aimed at strengthening confidence between the two communities on Cyprus and to call for its immediate demilitarization.

    "I propose that you take this into your own hands, as today no one believes that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community are in danger; no one believes that the (Turkish) troops are there for Turkey's security. When (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan asked me for mutual moves of good will, this is what I proposed to him: Demilitarization," Papandreou said.

    "We must be a moral power on the international chessboard. We must work on the major problems of poverty, international equality, the environment..." he concluded.

    In his riposte, Papandreou took umbrage with the premier's statement to the effect that Greece does not exercise control over the Republic of Cyprus, saying "tutelage is one thing, being a Pontius Pilate is another".

    "You have no strategy. We all, of course, agree over the goals for peace, for Turkey to change. This is not, however, the object of consensus. The question is how to implement our strategy and how to reach out targets," he said.

    KKE: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Thursday again outlined her party's positions regarding foreign affairs, stressing that the Greek communist party is wholly in favor of the peaceful co-existence of peoples, governments and countries, although however, "there are limits."

    The KKE leader was speaking during an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament regarding foreign policy issues, a session that particularly focused on EU-Turkey relations amid the prism of Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus question.

    In qualifying her statement, Papariga noted that "we have no reason to aggravate our differences (with Turkey), however, there are limits, such as the extension of Greece's territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, which is the country's inalienable right."

    Moreover, she charged that both the country's major parties, ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK, have more-or-less similar positions on foreign affairs and do not disagree on substance of issues.

    Additionally, she said an initiative by the Finnish EU presidency to overcome a looming impasse in EU-Turkey relations due to the latter's failure to extend the Ankara protocol is merely a "variation of the Annan plan".

    Finally, she again voiced her party's opposition to the role of NATO and the European Union, "we reject and do not recognize the transfer of our sovereign rights to NATO or the EU..." she said.

    Synaspismos: In beginning his address, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos stressed that "we are in favor of Turkey's EU accession, the neighboring country must, however, meet implement its legal obligations and the Ankara protocol. Its accession course must be accompanied by specific steps, instead of its upgrading to take place effortlessly."

    Alavanos added that it would be ridiculous for the Union to begin negotiations with a country that does not recognize one of its (EU) member-states.

    In reference to the still-under-wraps Finnish initiative, Alavanos said it was "premature" to predict any result, "however, we must consider developments with caution because there are traps involved, and one of those is linking it (the prospective Finnish plan) with the implementation of the association agreement protocol."

    PM rejects Papandreou's criticism, says he is 'ignorant of the facts': Rejecting criticism leveled against him by PASOK president George Papandreou, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said the main opposition leader appeared "ignorant of the facts" during his rejoinder in Parliament on Thursday, in an off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy among the party leaders.

    The prime minister was particularly scathing about a claim that his New Democracy (ND) government had frittered away the country's 'capital' in prestige and credibility:

    "No one in the world has a similar view or made such serious accusations against Greece. Only you, Mr. Papandreou," Karamanlis noted, wondering whether the main opposition leader expressed similar views in his talks abroad.

    "I have noticed that the times when you appear to under-estimate the country and the government in your statements are not exactly few," the premier added.

    He also accused Papandreou of being ignorant of the facts concerning Turkey's obligations to the EU, noting that the issues were outlined in EU documents, in the conclusions of the 2004 EU summit and in the negotiating framework of October 2005.

    Regarding Papandreou's claim that the government had "abandoned Helsinki", Karamanlis countered that the Helsinki summit conclusions in December 2002 had said that Turkey's readiness to begin accession negotiations would be judged in 2004 only on the basis of internal political criteria and had made no reference to its external relations.

    "The conclusions of 2002 do not allow you to repeat your groundless assertions," he added, reading out extracts of the 2002 summit texts and pointing out that the present government had succeeded in extending the criteria for Turkey to include clear references to issues of Greek interest.

    On the Cyprus issue, the premier insisted that Cyprus could not be manipulated:

    "We are not the ones who attempted to press the Greeks of Cyprus to accept a plan that they considered wrong," he said.

    [03] No reason for Greece to be invited to informal meeting on EU-Turkish Cypriot trade regulation, FM says

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, replying to a question by the press on Thursday on the European Union's Finnish Presidency initiative for an informal meeting in Helsinki on the EU-Turkish Cypriot trade regulation, said that Greece was never invited to this informal meeting.

    "Greece was never invited to this informal meeting. In any case, there is no reason for this. If Greece was to participate in a discussion on the trade regulation between the EU and the Turkish Cypriot community she would do it, as is anticipated by the EU's procedures, at its relevant bodies together with the other member-states," she said.

    "The effort assumed by the Finnish Presidency is focused on the settlement of the pending issue of the trade regulation between the EU and the Turkish Cypriot community. Meaning for an issue of the EU's exclusive competence," Bakoyannis added.

    The foreign minister further said that "the initiative undertaken by the Finnish Presidency for the holding of an informal meeting between the European Commission, the Presidency, the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, with the participation of the Turkish Cypriot community, is aimed at assisting a substantive exchange of views between the sides directly involved."

    Lastly, Bakoyannis pointed out that "Turkey was invited to it due to the presence of Turkish troops that should be moved from specific areas that would facilitate trade between the EU and the Turkish Cypriots."

    [04] Ankara rejects meeting with Cypriot FM in Helsinki without Greek FM present

    ANKARA, 3/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    Turkish leadership is apparently balking at the prospect of a meeting between the Turkish and Cypriot foreign ministers in Helsinki along with a representative of the Turkish Cypriot community.

    Speaking during a joint press conference here on Thursday with the visiting president of Mongolia, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it was "out of the question for our foreign minister" to participate in a meeting without the Greek foreign minister.

    Erdogan also said he had a 45-minute phone discussion with Finnish Prime Minister Maati Vanhanen on Wednesday, while adding that no "written plan" has been forwarded to Ankara. "There are only rumors swirling over this (subject)," he said.

    [05] Turkish military chief continues official visit to Greece

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Turkish military chief Gen. Yasar Büyükanit continued his official visit to Greece on Thursday by meeting with his counterpart and host, Adm. Panayiotis Hinofotis, for talks mostly revolving around efforts to reduce tensions in Greek-Turkish relations and to increase a climate of trust between the two neighbors.

    The lengthy meeting, which was described as being of an "exploratory nature", also touched on regional security issues.

    Both sides appeared positive over the prospect of a joint Greek-Turkish task natural disaster force, within the framework of NATO, which will be able to operate in the wider Mediterranean and North African region.

    Another item up for discussion by the two countries' top military chiefs included the establishment of a council of Balkan countries' general staff chiefs, an initiative aimed at boosting regional security. An inaugural council meeting in Thessaloniki at the beginning of the year was discussed, among others.

    The Turkish general staff chief also expressed his condolences over the death of Hellenic Air Force aviator Lt. Costas Iliakis, the Greek F-16 pilot whose plane crashed into the southeast Aegean Sea last May following a mid-air collision with a Turkish F-16 during a mission to identify intruders in the Athens FIR.

    In other matters, Gen. Büyükanit referred to security problems faced by Turkey and Ankara's European prospects.

    Earlier, the highest-ranking Turkish military officer was received by Defense Minister Evangelos Meimarakis for a courtesy visit.

    In the morning, Gen. Büyükanit laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in front of Greece's Parliament, before he was officially received at the national defense ministry.

    During his official four-day visit to Greece - in reciprocation for Hinofotis' earlier visit to Turkey - the Turkish military chief will tour several archaeological sites and museums before departing on Saturday.

    [06] Party leaders comment on rape of student in Evia

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou and Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos on Thursday devoted part of their speeches in Parliament to the reported rape of a 16-year-old Bulgarian girl by four of her class-mates during a take-over of their high-school on the island of Evia.

    "I am anguished, as is the great majority of the Greek people at the image of our country with a government that has no reflexes on the major and important problems of the country. And I would like to congratulate from Parliament the President of the Republic for his move regarding the student in Evia. And I want to call on the teachers and local society to guard the values of humanity with great care," Papandreou said in his speech in Parliament.

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday sent the head of his personal office to the island to visit the 16-year-old rape victim.

    Papandreou also noted aspects of the incident related to the problem of migration, noting that the government's policy on the issue was extremely deficient:

    "A girl that has found herself far from her homeland in order to make Greece her own, needs to be treated with the greatest possible humanity," he stressed.

    Alavanos expressed his support for the young student, "first because she is a girl, secondly because she is an immigrant and third, because she was a conscientious presence in her town."

    Noting that the girl had been a top student that had carried the Greek flag in school parades, SYN's leader noted his "frustration and rage at the way this was dealt with by certain local bodies."

    He also praised the stance of Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou on the incident, while noting that several major institutions in public life, among them the Church of Greece, fanned the flames of xenophobia, racism and extreme nationalism and led to 'ugly' situations for Greek society, such as the incident in Evia or the attack and presumed killing of 11-year-old Alex Meschisvili in Veria.

    In statements regarding the Evia incident, Education ministry special secretary Costas Rammas said the ministry could not intervene with a decision by the Amarynthos school teachers' association to left off the four students responsible for the attack with a five-day suspension.

    He said that responsibility for controlling student behavior and imposing penalties lay with the teachers' association, while the ministry only checked the decision's legality.

    In response to other questions, he stressed that the ministry had discreetly lent its support to the family as soon as the incident became known, assuring them that they would do anything in their power to help, such as letting the girl change schools.

    The high school teachers' union federation OLME was hesitant to criticize the school's decision, saying that it did not have the facts and details that led to that decision and considered the event an isolated incident.

    It called for a comprehensive and collective approach to violence in schools by the education ministry, with measures such as appointing child psychologists within schools, a child ombudsman and lengthy training for teachers on how to deal with violence in their schools.

    According to the General Secretariat for Equality, meanwhile, the incident was a "contemporary social pathogeny that affects mainly women and young girls, regardless of socio-economic status, national or cultural identity."

    "The way that the incident was received by local society and the way that the 'protagonists' were evaluated denotes a stance of tolerance for violence and failure to appreciate the seriousness of the phenomenon. This is due mainly to society's stereotyped views on the role of women and the position of economic migrants in Greek society," an announcement said.

    The incident occurred in the town of Amarynthos in Evia during last week's high-school takeovers and was not reported by the girl immediately. It made the headlines this week, while press reports have also focused on a possible racial motive for the attack on the girl and the school's decision to let the four alleged offenders off with just a five-day suspension, a penalty described by the education ministry as much too lenient.

    [07] President Papoulias receives children's charity board, comments on racism

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday received the board of the children's charity 'Hamogelo tou Pediou', saying that he had extended the invitation in order to express hope that "Greek society, which experienced migration and racism, would not return these experiences to the immigrants that live and work here".

    The president was referring to the reported rape of a 16-year-old Bulgarian high-school student by four of her classmates during the take-over of their school in Amarynthos, Evia. The girl was the top student in her class and had thus been made flag-bearer in the school parade - often the cause of resentment among more conservative elements in Greek society - and there is speculation that the attack on her was largely racially motivated.

    There is also controversy over the school's decision to punish the four offenders with just a five-day suspension, which was widely seen as a slap on the wrist that was disproportionate to the charges against them.

    On Wednesday the president sent the head of his personal office to visit the girl's family in Evia and convey his support.

    [08] FM to address European Conference of National Youth Councils on Friday

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will address the European Conference of National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organizations at 10.30 a.m. on Friday.

    The conference will be held at the Zappion Mansion by the National Youth Council, with support by the foreign ministry, on the issue of "New Europe and the new generation have a common future."

    [09] Greece attracts increasing number of large-scale investments

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A total of 103 large-scale business plans. worth 3.1 billion euros, were submitted with the Hellenic Investment Center (ELKE) in the period January-October 2006, in the framework of a new development law, aimed to creating 5,360 new job positions.

    Presenting the figures, ELKE's president Yiannis Anastasopoulos, said the number of new-found enterprises totaled 57 in the same period, budgeted at 1.989 billion euros with an estimated 3,522 new job positions. The majority of investment plans submitted with ELKE focused on tourism, industry and manufacturing, energy, high technology and broadband networks and the supply chain.

    Foreign investors are showing increasing interest in building industrial facilities in Greece taking advantage of the country's improved infrastructure (road network, ports, investment safety, etc), its geographical position and extensive networks offering access to Southeast European markets.

    [10] Greece is 2nd largest investor in Bulgarian market

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Bulgaria's imminent accession to the European Union on January 1, 2007, will open up new horizons for economic cooperation with Greece, according to the conclusions of a conference titled "Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus: The common European future" hosted in Bulgaria by the Hellenic Business Council, in the framework of the SE Europe International Business Forum.

    Addressing the event, Greek ambassador to Bulgaria Danae-Magdalini Koumanakou reiterated Athens' standing support of Bulgaria's EU prospect throughout that country's entire accession course, while the Charge d'Affaires of the Republic of Cyprus embassy, Stavros Avgoustides, noted that "Cyprus welcomes Bulgaria to the United Europe, and is certain that its contribution, as a member-state, will be substantial and constructive".

    Commercial transactions between Greece and Bulgaria, which have been on the rise in recent years, reached a record 1.4 billion euros in 2005, Greek embassy economic and commercial attaché Dimitris Ziomas told the conference, adding that Greek exports to Bulgaria last year reached an estimated 813 million euros, while bilateral trade in the first half of the current year jumped by 62 percent over the corresponding period in 2005.

    He also noted that Greece was the second largest investor in the Bulgarian market, after Austria, with invested Greek capital reaching 1.364 billion euros in the first half of 2006, accounting for 11.52 percent of total foreign investments in that country.

    [11] Tsitouridis addresses international conference in Dublin

    3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Social consensus through meaningful dialogue is necessary in all reform efforts because otherwise reform plans remain just technocratic texts that cannot translate into political action. All major choices that need to be made in the economy and society are possible only if society itself accepts that they are imperative, stressed Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Thursday in his address to a conference on “Competitive Europe - Social Europe: Partners or Rivals” organized by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions in Dublin on November 1-3. The conference opened Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

    Tsitouridis also stated that the Greek government, acknowledging the need to further strengthen social cohesion, will increase 2007-2013 funding for all necessary measures.

    "Competitiveness cannot be an end in itself; one of the major Lisbon Strategy accomplishments is that it showed that growth, competitiveness, social cohesion and environmental protection are compatible goals," he added.

    Increased competitiveness with higher working standards, increased productivity, innovation and technology can be promoted only through well-planned comprehensive reform policies, while at the same time the effort to strengthen the European Union social goals should continue, added Tsitouridis.

    [12] New International Trade Union Confederation founded in Vienna

    VIENNA, 3/11/2006 (ANA-MPA)

    General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Yiannis Panagopoulos, speaking in an interview with the ANA-MPA here on Thursday, referred to the "encouraging message being sent to working people all over the world" with the founding in the Austrian capital of the new International Trade Union Confederation and to the upgraded role that GSEE is seeking and will undertake in the Balkan region.

    Panagopoulos said that the message is encouraging because the founding of the new Confederation will stop the fragmentation of the trade union movement on an international level, since the two biggest international Confederations will join forces and will represent the working people of 212 trade union organizations from 147 countries.

    He further said that what is also encouraging is the fact that the new Confederation can present globalized solidarity that trade union organizations can express in the face of neo-liberal globalization that is keeping many woes in store for the forces of labor.

    The new Confederation founded here on Wednesday, with the participation of hundreds of representatives of trade unions from all over the world and in the presence of Austrian President Heinz Fischer, will be headquartered in Brussels in the future and will aim at a change in orientation in globalization towards a more social direction and for the benefit of working people.

    [13] First International Internet Governance Forum ends in Greece

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis, speaking at a press conference on Thursday on the occasion of the end of the First International Internet Governance Forum (IGF) at Kavouri, outside Athens, stressed the effort that Greece must make to enable broadband networks to be extended to the country's rural areas, as well as the success achieved with regard to the people's sensitization on the use of the Internet.

    Liapis said that Greece has done a great deal in past years in this direction to narrow the gap between rural and urban centers concerning the use of the Internet.

    The minister said that the problem "is focused on the fact that we also wish to produce incentives for services to be provided through the Internet so that its use will be wider."

    Liapis further said that on the occasion of the IGF held in Athens "the Greeks learnt much more about the Internet over the past week and were sensitized in connection with its use."

    The next International Internet Governance Forum will be held in Rio, Brazil, in November 2007.

    [14] Chinese publication lists Greece as among top honeymoon destinations

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Greece is among the top 10 destinations in the world for honeymoons, according to a Chinese publication.

    The Chinese tourism publication Zhongguo Luyou Bao stated that Greece was chosen by 10,000 readers between May and September as one of the top 10 most popular honeymoon destinations.

    A special distinction will be awarded during a ceremony in Shanghai on Nov. 16. The event will be attended by senior Chinese tourism ministry officials, representatives of Chinese airlines and tourist agents.

    [15] Eurobank presents tourism study

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Athens-quoted Eurobank EFG said on Thursday that tour operators from abroad were pressuring hotels to keep their prices down.

    According to a sector survey conducted by the bank, door prices and average overnight stays rose by 4.6% in 2006 versus the previous year while full board arrangements sought by operators increased by 2.9%. Allotment deals rose by 1.2% and guaranteed arrangements by 1.4%.

    Without intervention by tour operators, the increase would have been 7.8%, said the study presented at a conference arranged by the private sector bank.

    Eurobank's deputy managing director, Nikolaos Karamouzis, noted that 16% of employment in Greece, or one in six jobs, were in the tourist industry and services.

    Addressing the conference, Tourism Minister Fani Palli Petralia repeated the government's pledge of improving the quality of the country's tourism product.

    Greece, Cyprus bourse platform presented a presentation for a joint trading platform founded by the Greek and Cypriot stock markets was held in London on Thursday, arranged by BNP Paribas.

    "Successful operation of the common platform with Cyprus is an ideal example for other stock exchanges that wish to cooperate as it gives them the opportunity for access to global capital invested in the Greek market," the president of the Athens Stock Exchange, Spyros Kapralos, told the presentation.

    "At the same time, the common platform will lead to a reduction in the cost of operation of the two markets, as well as the cost of access for investors," Kapralos said.

    The head of the Cyprus bourse, Akis Kleanthous, outlined his country's economy and the market's operation.

    [16] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks drop

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Athens share index closed at 4,137.97 points, showing a decline of 0.40%. Turnover was 271.4 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 0.45% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks 0.51% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 0.79% down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 193 to 77 with 40 remaining unchanged.

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Intracom (796)

  • Total derivatives market turnover: 100.1 million euros

    Bond Market Close: 10-yr benchmark at 3.99 pct

  • Greek benchmark 10-year bond (exp. 20.7.2016): 3.99 pct yield

  • Most heavily traded paper: 10-year bond, expiring 20.7.2016 (585 mln euros)

  • Day's Total Market Turnover: 1.7 bln euros

    Foreign Exchange Rates

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.286

    [17] Central Museum Council holds first meeting

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Central Museum Council held its first meeting at the National Archaeological Museum on Thursday afternoon, in the presence of Culture Minister George Voulgarakis.

    The Council's plenum unanimously approved the proposal presented by professor Dimitris Pantermalis on the new Acropolis Museum, that will be presented in a more complete form in the future to enable its implementation to go ahead when the construction of the building will be completed in a few months under the Acropolis.

    Speaking during the event, Voulgarakis referred to the need for a unified museum policy, that constitutes a priority for the Council, with the purpose of releasing the "hidden" and "inert strength" of our cultural heritage.

    The minister, who said that seven out of 10 Greeks declare that they never visit museums, also referred to projects that are at various stages of development in museums all over the country.

    [18] Greek and Pakistani cultural ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Culture Minister George Voulgarakis held talks on Thursday with his Pakistani counterpart G.G. Jamal, focusing on issues of bilateral cultural cooperation, while a joint announcement was also issued.

    "I welcomed the Culture Minister of Pakistan Mr. G.G. Jamal today, who is heading an important official delegation of state officials of Pakistan on a working visit to Greece," Voulgarakis said after the talks.

    "During the talks held in the morning between the two sides, the possibility was provided for us to examine the course of the implementation of the bilateral Cultural Program between Greece and Pakistan for the 2005-2007 three-year period, that implements the Cultural Agreement of 1976," he added.

    The joint announcement said, among other things, that "we ascertain that mutual interest exists for the promotion and deepening of our bilateral political and cultural relations. We believe that the strengthening of our bilateral cooperation will benefit the Pakistani community in Greece, providing its member with the possibility of maintaining 'live cultural ties' with their country of origin, as well as embracing Greek culture."

    Voulgarakis also said that he accepted an invitation by Jamal to pay an official visit to Pakistan on a date that will be set through the countries' embassies.

    [19] Mitsotakis Foundation conference on landmark 1946 elections

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The Constantine K. Mitsotakis Foundation, which is celebrating the 5th year since its founding, will be hosting a two-day conference next week titled "The 1946 elections: A Landmark in the Political History of Modern Greece", which will be dedicated to the 60th anniversary of former prime minister and ruling New Democracy party (ND) honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis' parliamentary career, since his election to the 300-member House for the first time in 1946.

    The scientific committee of the event, which will take place in Athens on November 9-10, comprises Athens Academy member Constantine Svolopoulos, Athens University professor Elias Nikolakopoulos, and Ionian University assistant professor Grigoris Psallidas.

    The conference will be opened by Mitsotakis, while a greeting will also be addressed by veteran leftist politician Leonidas Kyrkos.

    The conference comprises five thematic meetings on Centrist Parties and the Left (first day) and on the Right, the Press, and the Economy, as well as on the Outside Factor (second day).

    The thematic meetings will be followed by a round-table discussion during which the conclusions will be presented, as well as a summary of other themes that remain open for historic research.

    Announcement and recommendations will be presented throughout the conference by 23 professors and researchers of modern and contemporary history and political sciences from the Universities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannia, Macedonia, the Ionian University, the Aegean University, and Athens' Panteios University, as well as other research centers and foundations.

    The papers will focus on the elections of March 1946, the first post-war elections in Greece, placing them in a historical context in the economic and social framework of that complex and critical period in Greece history that led the country to civil war.

    [20] Seminar on domestic violence in Kosovo held in Thessaloniki

    3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Three hundred incidents of domestic violence are being recorded on a monthly basis in each of the 6 municipalities in Kosovo’s Mitrovica region but only half of them are being reported to police.

    The figures were announced by OSCE Kosovo Mission Officer Wanda Troszczynska within the framework of the two-day seminar on “OSCE-Stability Pact for SEE Inter-Agency Capacity Building and Cooperation in the Field of Domestic Violence Prevention” organized in Thessaloniki by the Alternative Seat of the Stability Pact for SE Europe to train the responsible Kosovo agency officials.

    According to Troszczynska, many domestic violence incidents, mainly attributed to economic, cultural and religious reasons, are being recorded in the region populated by approximately 100,000 Serbs and Albanians.

    The main cause leading to violence in micro-societies like families is the postwar period experienced in the region characterized by tensions and a state of insecurity, she explained. Furthermore, the patriarchal structure of the local society, the downgrading of the women and local customs, like the vendetta, lead to increased violence targeting women and children.

    The incidents that came to the mission’s attention are just the tip of the iceberg while there have been two reported incidents of women who were beaten to death.

    [21] General Council for Italians Abroad con'f begins in Athens

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A two-day conference of the General Council for Italians Abroad (GCIA) group's Europe and North Africa chapter convened in Athens on Thursday, with representatives from the Italian foreign ministry and expatriate Italians in Greece participating.

    Issues dealing with education, health and welfare as well as economic development are expected to dominate the sessions.

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, whose portfolio includes expatriate Greek issues, greeted delegates during the conference's opening.

    On his part, Italian ambassador to Greece Gianpaolo Scarante said the decision to hold the conference in Athens, "the place where the western concept was born, is a symbolic exercise in democracy."

    [22] Greek Music Centre in Trikala

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    A Greek Music Centre for local artists was founded in Trikala, central Greece, to collect, preserve and promote the region’s rich musical tradition and the work of important local musicians, composers and singers, who became popular in Greece and abroad.

    The center’s collection includes personal items, manuscripts, discography, photographs and audiovisual material about great musicians like Vasilis Tsitsanis, Apostolos Kaldaras, Giorgos Samoladas, Costas Virvos, Christos Kolokotronis, Dimitris Mitropanos, Giorgos Margaritis, Dimitris Sgouros and Dimitris Kavrakos.

    Visitors can get information about their work from a rich collection of newspaper and magazine abstracts.

    [23] Public order minister addresses police officers conference

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras addressed the opening of the Panhellenic Federation of Police Officers' conference on Thursday, stressing that "I am in favor of trade unionism, I am with you."

    The two-day conference, taking place at the Attica General Police Department, is focusing on the issue of "Managing the human potential of the Greek police."

    The minister said that "a large part of the defense ministry's duties has been conveyed to the public order ministry without the resources existing for this."

    Polydoras brought the delegates' attention to the relationship that must be created between the police and the ministry and society and clarified that mutual respect and mutual esteem is a top priority.

    He said that in his opinion "a quarter of police work should concentrate on direct crackdown, another quarter on prevention and a half on the modern consolidation of legal and political issues."

    [24] Athens to reinstate municipal parking system

    ATHENS, 3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    The City of Athens on Thursday presented a new municipal parking system, more than six years after the last attempt to charge for parking in the congested Greek capital was abandoned.

    According to outgoing Athens mayor Theodoros Bechrakis, the new regime begins on Nov. 20, with the first phase of implementation involving a total of 5,494 parking spaces, 2,538 of which will be exclusively reserved for permanent residents.

    One thousand spaces will be designated for special use -- ministries, public welfare organizations -- while the remaining 1,956 are for short-term visitors.

    The municipality of Athens is the largest, in terms of size and population, district in what’s known as the greater Athens area, or Athens-Piraeus, a region of Attica prefecture that includes dozens of municipalities and roughly half of Greece’s total population.

    Bechrakis said permanent residents will be able to park in their designated spaces without time limitations, with an annual fee of 10 euros.

    [25] Spokesman: Consultations are cancelled due to the Turkish stance

    NICOSIA, 3/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    The Finnish Presidency's decision to call-off consultations in Finland with all parties concerned, with a view to avert any crisis in EU-Turkish relations, seems to be the result of the positions and terms set out by the Turkish side, Cyprus Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pashiardis said on Thursday, adding that the Cypriot government will continue consultations with the EU Finnish Presidency in a constructive manner.

    In a written statement, Pashiardis said that the government has been officially informed by Finnish presidency that no proximity consultations will take place on the Finnish initiative, adding that the Presidency said that it will continue its efforts.

    ''We understand that this development is due to the positions and the terms presented by the Turkish side, which with its whole stance has rendered the holding of proximity consultations unachievable,'' the spokesman added.

    ''The Cypriot government will continue to hold consultations with the Finnish Presidency, observing the same constructive stance and attitude that it has maintained so far,'' Pashiardis concluded.

    Earlier, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja announced that the consultations in Finland were cancelled, adding that ''efforts to find a solution that will enable the uninterrupted continuation of Turkey's accession negotiations and improve the situation of both communities in Cyprus will continue.''

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.

    Turkey, a country aspiring to become an EU member state, does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and refuses to implement the EU-Turkey Customs Union Protocol, by opening its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels and aircraft.

    The Finnish presidency is trying to avert any possible derailment of Turkey's EU accession course, following Ankara's refusal to meet its EU obligations and Cyprus' position that Turkey must do exactly that before accession negotiations are allowed to move further on.

    [26] Finnish Presidency: Talks on issues related to Turkey and Cyprus will continue

    3/11/2006 (ANA/MPA)

    Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja has said that efforts to find a solution that will enable the uninterrupted continuation of Turkey's accession negotiations and improve the situation of both communities in Cyprus will continue, despite the fact that it has not been possible to arrange a meeting between the Finnish EU Presidency and all parties concerned before the European Commission's next report on Turkey that will be issued on November 8.

    ''The Finnish EU Presidency has had discussions with all parties on issues concerning Turkey's accession process and questions related to direct trade between the EU and the northern part of Cyprus. Our aim has been to find a solution that enables the uninterrupted continuation of Turkey's accession negotiations and improves the situation of both communities in Cyprus'', Tuomioja said according to a press release issued by the Finnish Presidency.

    He added that ''to this end, we have been prepared to arrange a round of talks between the Presidency and all parties in Finland.

    Unfortunately, this has not been possible before the Commission's next report on Turkey will be issued on November 8, but our efforts to find a solution naturally continue.''

    Tuomioja also noted that ''the Presidency continues talks at political level on Friday, when Minister Tuomioja will meet the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community Mehmet Ali Talat in Brussels.''

    A spokesperson of the Finnish Embassy in Cyprus told CNA that efforts will continue until the EU Summit in December.

    ''We will continue our work and try to facilitate new round of talks or meetings later on and we will not stick to November 8 stage. So we will continue our work until the end of the year,'' she added.

    [27] President says Cyprus has worked hard towards harmonization with acquis

    NICOSIA, 3/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos said on Thursday that the Republic of Cyprus has worked very hard and methodically to harmonize its institutional framework with the acquis communautaire, a process which has reformed the Cypriot lawful order.

    Addressing the opening of the 22nd World Congress of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE), taking place in Limassol, President Papadopoulos said ''justice and the respect of human rights is cohesive, universal and united.''

    ''We are especially proud of the state of law that we have in our country and the absolute independence of the judicial authority, which safeguards, abides by and implements the Cypriot law and now the European law,'' the president said, adding that Cyprus ''has worked very hard and methodically to harmonize its institutional framework with the acquis communautaire.''

    He pointed out that ''over 1,400 laws, regulations and orders have been enacted or amended, in the framework of the accession course and after our accession to the European Union.''

    President Papadopoulos pointed out that the cooperation of EU member states to achieve the goal of an area of true freedom, security and justice is facing great challenges.

    ''Thorny issues, such as organized crime and terrorism, bring the member states, on the level of political decisions, and national suppressive forces, on an operational level, before the necessity to balance two goods, those of the effective protection and safety of the open society on the one hand, and the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the other hand,'' he said.

    President Papadopoulos noted that the problem of mass illegal immigration is an especially acute problem, which appears mainly in the Mediterranean. ''It is a problem, the tackling of which demands a comprehensive plan, cooperation with third countries of origin and passage, European support and solidarity, as well as courageous decisions,'' he concluded.

    President of the Court of Justice of the European Communities Vassilios Skouris said the Congress is probably the most important academic event in the sector of European law, noting that it provides a unique opportunity to bring together a large number of attorneys from various countries, and that is why ''it is an irreplaceable source of inspiration.''

    He added that the structure of the Congress, with the presentation of international and European reports on every topic, has been correctly conceived and always gives the opportunity for lively and in depth discussions, noting that the issues to be discussed over the next three days will be especially interesting and have been chosen well.

    [28] German Minister of Defense arrives in Cyprus on Friday

    NICOSIA, 3/11/2006 (CNA/ANA-MPA)

    German Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung arrives in Cyprus on Friday for a two-day visit, on his return from talks in Beirut and Tel Aviv.

    On Saturday morning he will embark the German frigate ecklenburg Vorpommern, which is part of the German national contribution to the UNIFIL maritime task force 448.


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