|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-03-03
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 3 March 2009 Issue No: 3135
 PM Karamanlis stresses need for coordination at European level to tackle economic crisisBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis stressed the need here on Sunday for boosting coordination at European level to tackle the economic crisis. Karamanlis said that during the European Union's extraordinary summit, the European leaders dealt with the restoration of the banking system's operation in Europe, safeguarding the smooth functioning of the internal market and the consequences of the crisis for employment.
The prime minister said that many European economies are going through a recession and are being faced with considerable problems in the monetary sector. "Indeed, we are exeriencing the most serious crisis in the postwar era," he said.
Karamanlis further said that social problems created cannot be ignored and stressed the need for helping the sectors of the population that are worst hit by the crisis.
However, he noted that a return to protectionism must be avoided, adding that this could jeopardise a great deal of what Europe has achieved so far.
The prime minister placed particular emphasis on the need to protect such economic sectors as the car industry, tourism and shipping. He further said that problems facing the real economy were discussed, as well as the issue of strengthening the supervision of Europe's monetary organisations and foundations.
He went on to say that the economic crisis is dealing a blow to Greece, just like to all the European countries. He pointed out that the Greek government has three main priorities. Boosting growth, fiscal restructuring and supporting the financially weaker citizens.
Karamanlis underlined that achieving these three goals is a difficult business and added that the country's big debt does not allow the government to provide the grants that it would like to.
"We never beautified the situation, the situation is difficult, the crisis is not static and nobody can predict its outcome," he said.
Karamanlis also said that the EU's position is that a greater effort is required with regard to the monetary issue, while Greece is obliged to implement its plan without the slightest deviation.
Lastly, the prime minister said that extraordinary conditions are being experienced and that it is not by chance that there has been once again an extraordinary meeting of EU heads of state and government, while calling on all to show a feeling of responsibility and reiterating with emphasis that he is not thinking of elections and this issue is over.
 Reactions on EU extraordinary summitThe opposition parties reacted on the weekend to the outcome of Sunday's extraordinary EU summit held in light of the global financial crisis, which was attended by prime minister Costas Karamanlis.
Main opposition PASOK press officer George Papaconstantinou said that Karamanlis had taken with him to Brussels "the dramatic figures of the collapse of the 2008 budget, figures that up until a few days ago he had been hiding from the Greek citizens".
The premier, he added, was "returning the same way that he left (for the summit), without ideas, without a plan for the country, without credibility on that which he should have sought for our country".
Greece, he said, cannot exist from the crisis only through restrictive policies. Developmental policies were needed that would boost the citizens' income and invest in the future, he said, adding that, above all else, credibility was required, something which the present govenrment "simply does not have".
Responding to the PASOK press officer's statement, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros said that "those who comprise the leadership team in PASOK are the last to deserve to speak of credibility".
He said that those who sacrifice the national interests on the altar of petty party populism were the ones hugely lacking in credibility, as were those who refused to look reality straight in the eyes and those who do not know, or pretend to not know, precisely what is being discussed in the European Union.
The Greek people, Antonaros continued, were awaiting prudent and responsible actions for an exit from the crisis, and the Karamanlis government fully met those expectations both at home and internationally.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said that the EU summit had proved the very slim margins for management that the liberal and social-democrat governments had at their disposal, given their decision to shift the weight of the crisis onto the working people's shoulders.
Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) europarliamentarian Dimitris Papadimoulis said that Karamanlis was calling for consensus, without proposing anything specific.
He said that the only thing that mattered to the prime minister was remaining in power in order to continue his neo-liberal policy, placing all the burden of his government's failure on the shoulders of the socially weaker strata.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis said that the prime minister had returned from Brussels clearly more troubled than he had arrived there.
Karatzaferis added that national rallying was necessary in light of the crisis, which apparently even the strongest economies in the world were unable to adequately confront.
 FM at Gaza donors summitCAIRO (ANA-MPA/N. Katsikas)
Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis represented Greece at Monday's summit of the 80 donor countries for the reconstruction of Gaza, held in the Eyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh at the initiative of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Addressing the summit, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's constant and active concern not only on the crisis in Gaza but also peace in the region of the Middle East, as well as its devotion to a solution of two viable states (Palestine and Israel) living side-by-side in peace and security.
She further expressed the Greek people's solidarity with the Palestinian people, and pledged five million dollars for the people of Gaza in addition to the continuous humanitarian aid forthcoming from Greece.
Greece, on January 1, was the first western country to despatch humanitarian aid to Gaza, which included large quantities of medical and medicinal suppolies, as well as blood, and such despatches are continuing to the present, while recently Greek state television organized a TV marathon that raised some 1.2 million euros for Gaza.
Bakoyannis, who is accompanied by deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy matters Miltiades Varvitsiotis, told reporters that Greece supports the efforts of the Egyptian government for an endo-Palestinian dialogue aimed at establishing a Palestinian unity government and for the peace process to proceed as quickly as possible.
In an interview with Al Ahram newspaper, Bakoyannis stressed that stability and security in the Middle East was a priority of Greek foreign policy.
"Greece wants to play an effective role in the Middle East peace process and strongly endorses the solution of two states," she added.
Bakoyannis also said that Greece supports Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas in his efforts to achieve national conciliation.
Greece, she continued, further stresses the importance of opening of all the crossings to Gaza in order for the problems faced by the Palestinians to be ameliorated, and also supports the Arab peace initiative and considers that all efforts for Gaza reconstrution are key to the peace process finding its way again.
Bakoyannis said that the international communitymust exhaust all efforts to bring peace and stability to the Middle East region, in which "the shocking images of terror and war revealed on television must not be repeated".
She noted that Greece backed the Egyptian initiative for ending the war in Gaza, adding that the situation there remained critical and required caution so that the truce between Israel and the Palestinians may be stabilized.
The Greek foreign minister further noted the close and historic bonds between Greece and Egypt, which she said shared a common cultural heritage.
 PASOK on decision to participate in Gaza reconstruction bidMain opposition PASOK party foreign affairs spokesman Andreas Loverdos said on Monday, commenting on the foreign ministry's decision on the international reconstruction of Gaza, that its decision to participate in the international bid to rebuild Gaza, following the destructive 22-day attack by Israel, "is correct".
"Unfortunately, however, it is not combined with continuous political activity regarding the Middle East issue. The interest of Greece, unfortunately, withdrew from the region together with the international mass media, as soon as Israel's bombings came to an end and the pictures of horror and blood were 'consumed'. In this way, however, the country does not intervene politically in the regions for which it possesses knowledge, prestige and possibilities of solving problems or achieving settlements. It merely resigns itself to copying the moves of others," he said.
"The Middle East issue proves in a clear way that the country needs change with regard to its foreign policy issues as well," the spokesman added.
 PM briefed by FMPrime minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed on Saturday by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis on her visit to the US and her talks in Washington and New York.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Bakoyannnis said she briefed the premier on her visit and talks in the US, and on the "new spirit" in the US, as well as the need for further rapprochement.
Bakoyannis further said that the world was facing an immense international crisis, which also touched Greece.
She added that the government had a clear-cut plan, stressing that a common European policy was necessary.
"We are facing this problem, together," Bakoyannis said.
 FM Bakoyannis gives interview to 'Kathimerini'Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis ascertained during her visit to Washington that the Obama government has a new spirit and will for cooperation with the European Union in general, as well as with Russia, according to her interview with the newspaper "Kathimerini".
The foreign minister stressed that Greece "is being faced as a reliable interlocutor and a strategic partner by the Obama government".
Bakoyannis believes that the terrorist attacks, the kidnappings and the escapes of detainees recently have dealt a blow to the image of Greece in the United States, but added that the problem is being tackled.
"This is what I sought with my address at the Brookings foundation. Now, with the new government in the U.S., we will follow a new approach strategy with research foundations of a similar prestige," she said, adding that "we will request the cooperation of all in this case."
 FM Bakoyannis to receive OSCE official on TuesdayForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will receive the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) chair's Personal Representative for Combating Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Andre Baker, on Tuesday, a foreign ministry announcement said.
Bakoyannis is currently chair-in-office of the OSCE.
 Greece condemns attack on Greek tourist coaches in FYROMGreece on Monday condemned an organized attack against three Greek tourist coaches in FYROM the previous night, warning that such actions hurt relations between the two peoples.
A group of some 20-30 people attacked three Greek tourist coaches in downtown Ohrid as they were waiting for Greek holidayjakers to return from a tour.
According to local media in FYROM, the assailants spray-painted various ant-Greek slogans on the coaches, while eye-witnesses said they also threw stones and sticks, causing damage to one of the coaches.
The incident was also condemned by Ohrid residents, who noted that such actions mar the lake-side town's tourism image.
The incident was being investigated by Ohrid police.
In Athens, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos strongly condemned the "organized attack by unidentified perpetrators against Greek visitors and their property".
"Such actions unfortunately harm the communication betweel peoples, and are the visible result of the ethnicism and the bigotry against Greece that is purposely being cultivated recently in Skopje," Koumoutsakos said.
Greece, he added, "calls on the authorities of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to protect the Greek citizens who visit their country, and for the arrest and punishment of those guilty of yesterday's (Sunday's) unprovoked attack".
 PASOK on incident with Greek tourists in FYROMMain opposition PASOK party foreign affairs spokesman Andreas Loverdos said on Monday, referring to Sunday's incident in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) against Greek tourist coaches, said that "displays of hostility by inhabitants of FYROM against Greek travellers in their country constitute an unfavourable and absolutely undesirable development. What happened in FYROM is the exclusive result of the tactic followed by the country's current nationalist and intolerant leadership."
Loverdos added that Greek men and women must be calm and that every thought of moves in the same direction is not compatible with Greek mentality and culture.
 Green development a force of reversal of country's ills, Papandreou saysMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou considers "green development" as being the force of reversal for the country's ills.
Papandreou, who was speaking in an interview with the Athens newspaper "Kathimerini", said that his party proposes "targeted, longterm planned and qualitative growth."
He went on to say that "we shall put an end to the state of unaccountability prevailing in the country's banking system," adding that "if necessary and if the necessary capital adequacy of banks is not secured by their shareholders, we shall not hesitate to proceed with nationalisations."
Papandreou also considers the holding of elections soon a necessity, stressing that "it is an act of responsibility for us to be requesting an end to this downhill course."
 Social cohesion necessaryThe preservation of social cohesion was a prerequisite for overcoming the global financial crisis, main opposition PASOK officer for the economy Louka Katseli said in an interview appearing in the financial weekly Kosmos tou Ependyti (Investor's World) on Saturday.
She added that the present economic crisis was a result of the rationale that the markets were self-regulated and that they can function efficienty without rules.
The PASOK MP further said that bold leaderships were were necessary, prepared to proceed with breaks and deep changes and to undertake initiatives in order to put in force rules for regulating the iinternational credit markets.
Katseli also criticized the ND government of failing to effectively shore up the Greek economy over the past five years (that ND has been inpower), adding that "the worst is ahead of us" and that a reversal of the current policy was more necessary than ever.
 ND, PASOK have same plan for crisis, KKE saysThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE), referring in an announcement on Saturday to the confrontation between the ruling New Democracy party and the main oposition PASOK party over the ongoing crisis, said that they both have the same plan for it.
"ND and PASOK have the same plan for the crisis, that has been proved as being reactionary and deadlocked: The strategy of the European Union. This plan, in any way that it was implemented, led to the crisis, and in any way that it will be implemented it will bring ills for peoples," KKE said.
The KKE further said that the people must obtain their own plan, that of disobedience and insubordination towards the EU, a plan of alliance and of struggle against the monopolies and their parties.
 It will be nice even with 7 pc, Alavanos says in interviewRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alekos Alavanos, speaking in an interview with the newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis" and replying to a question on the party's target in the elections, said that "it will be nice even with 7 percent."
Alavanos noted that "we might even drop further in our elections result. So what?" and added that "the beauty for the Left is the overturning of opinion polls."
He sees no danger of a split in the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos), while on the question of cooperation with the main opposition PASOK party, he pointed out that "wider cooperation is determined by general programme convergence. This does not exist with PASOK."
 National plan on educationThe government's national plan for education was above and beyond parties and agencies, education minister Aris Spiliotopoulos said in an interview with the financial weekly Kosmos tou Ependyti (Investor's World) appearing on Saturday.
Spiliotopoulos said that he was not seeking the "role of regulator". The national plan on education was above and beyond political parties and agencies, and even individuals, the minister added.
He said that his ambition was "for all of us together to plan a long-term strategy on education".
 New opinion pollsAn opinion poll prepared by the V-PRC company for the Sunday newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia", shows the main opposition PASOK party leading the ruling New Democracy party by three percentage points ahead of the Euroelections.
PASOK garners 38 pc of preferences, followed by ND with 35, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 10, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) 7.5, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party 4.5 and the Ecologists Greens with 3.5.
The poll further revealed that 45 percent are interested in the Euroelections, compared to 54 percent who are not. In addition, 43 percent believe that the EU is in a better position to handle the economic crisis, while 28 pc have confidence in the Greek government.
Another poll carried out by the RASS company for the newspaper "Paron" showed PASOK being preferred by 34.2 pc of respondents, followed by ND with 30.8, KKE 7.3, SYRIZA 6.1, LAOS 4.7 and the Ecologists Greens with 3.2.
 Alternate interior minister on police, terrorist groupsAlternate Interior Minister for Public Order Christos Markoyiannakis indicated in an interview with the newspaper "Proto Thema" that efforts will be made to upgrade the potential of the police and that changes will be taking place in the anti-terorism squad to improve its effectiveness and to enable it to produce results over a short period of time.
Referring to terrorist groups, the minister said that today "they are making more frequent strikes, which shows that there is no time for planning. For this reason, the mistake will be taking place soon and we shall be having arrests."
Markoyiannakis expressed support for the naming of mobile card phones, as well as for the use of cameras in cracking down on crime.
He pointed out that at a time when many things are at stake "it might be necessary for us to do without some things in order to be able to tackle even greater problems."
Markoyiannakis also considers the problem of hooded assailants as being a serious one and stressed that "the police will react now and will protect the property of the citizen and the citizen."
 Parliament president attends EU Parliament presidents conferencePARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas stressed that the main conclusion drawn from the two-day conference of European Union National Parliament presidents, that took place here, was realising the important role that National Parliaments will be called on to play in the EU in the near future.
The conference, that came to an end on Saturday, was attended by 42 National Parliament and Senate presidents from member-states, as well as from the three candidate coutries for accession, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Turkey.
Sioufas said that "the meeting was very important because it highlighted Parliamentary reflection over the major issues of Europe and of the world."
 No magic wands for monetary crisis, BoG governor saysBank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos, referring to the future of Greek banks in an interview with the newspaper "Realnews", said that alliances and mergers must take place in a concerted and friendly way in order to produce real and permanent benefits.
On the question of the monetary crisis, the governor said that "there are no magic wands" and added that "what is necessary for us to emerge from the crisis is a plan lasting for many years that will be characterised by a longterm perspective, an integrated approach, a commitment with explicit and clear targets and with predetermined implementation timetables."
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.274
Pound sterling 0.900
Danish kroner 7.51
Swedish kroner 11.544
Japanese yen 124.22
Swiss franc 1.496
Norwegian kroner 8.957
Canadian dollar 1.611
Australian dollar 2.005
 Justice minister on country's penitentiary systemJustice Minister Nikolaos Dendias stressed in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Vima tis Kyriakis" that the criminals Paleokostas and Ritzai, who escaped from Korydallos prison with the help of a helicopter last Sunday, took advantage of the vacuums in the country's penitentiary system and, probably, of existing corruption to escape again in exactly the same way.
The minister pointed out that he had visited the Korydallos prison a few days before the escape and he had been reassured that there was no possibility of a helicopter landing.
Dendias further said that what happened "is not a problem of the government or of the ministry" but "a problem of Greek society in its entirety, that needs an appropriate penitentiary system with officials who will do their job as well as possible."
 Patras CarnivalThe beginning of the 40-day Lent period leading up to Greek Orthodox Easter was celebrated throughout Greece on Clean Monday, with the traditional kite flying and delicacies of the Greek fast.
The annual Patras carnival on the eve of Clean Monday featured more than 40,000 revelers this year and 144 theme floats, as well as a hidden treasure hunt.
Joining in the celebrations, that lasted throughout the day, was a group of revelers from Sienna, Italy, with medieval trumpts and flags, while a troupe from Rome staged an airborne muscial performance.
Other events included a 'chocolate war', local dances and the burning of King Carnival, ending with a fireworks extravaganza.
Similar celebrations were held in several cities around the country.
 People traffickers arrestedTwo men aged 28 and 29 were arrested at the 25th kilometer of the Kastoria-Kozani stretch of the national highway by Kozani border guards for trafficking of illegal immigrants.
Two foreign nationals without travel documents were found in the car of the 28-year-old during a routine inspection.
The driver was arrested, as was a 29-year-old man driving a a vehicle escorting the first car.
Both vehicles were seized.
 Two passenger aircraft make emergency landings at Athens airportTwo aircraft whose flights did not have a Greek destination made emergency landings at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens on Monday, within a period of three hours, when the one was faced with a technical problem and the other with a passenger's health problem.
In the first case, a Boeing 747 aircraft of the jet.com company with 192 passengers on board, carrying out a flight from Manchester to Egypt, developed a technical problem, probably a decompression problem in the passengers cabin, and landed at Athens airport at 15:40, where all necessary precautions had been taken beforehand.
In the second case, an aircraft of the Alitalia company on a flight from Rome to Cairo, landed at Athens airport at 19:12 when one of the passengers suffered a heart attack and the pilot decided that he had to receive medical attention immediately.
 Super League soccer resultsOlympiakos Piraeus retained its comfortable lead in the Greek Super League despite drawing 0-0 at home with arch rival Panathinaikos Athens over the weekend. PAOK Thessaloniki edged Panionios Athens 2-1 away, with the winning goal being scored in injury time, and holds second place. AEK Athens defeated Xanthi 2-1 at the Athens Olympic Stadium and remains in fourth place.
In other action:
Larissa-Ergotelis Crete 3-2
Aris Thessaloniki-Thrasyvoulos Athens 2-1
Levadiakos Livadia-Iraklis Thessaloniki 3-0
OFI Crete-Panseraikos Serres 0-0
Panthrakikos Komotini-Asteras Tripoli 0-0
Standings after 24 weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 58 points
2. PAOK 49
3. Panathinaikos 47
4. AEK 44
5. Larissa 38
6. Aris 35
7. Panionios 29
8. Xanthi 29
9. Panthrakikos 29
10. Ergotelis 27
11. Iraklis 26
12. Asteras 26
13. Levadiakos 25
14. Panseraikos 22
15. OFI 20
16. Thrasyvoulos 13
 Cloudy, rainy on TuesdayCloudy and rainy weather and westerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 2C and 19C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with westerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 8C to 19C. Cloudy with slight rainfall in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 7C to 16C.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe ongoing economic crisis, political developments, opinion polls and the extraordinary EU summit were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Bonuses amounting to 500 million euros to end".
APOGEVMATINI: "Semi-outdoor premises legal".
AVGHI: "Time for turn to Europe. Record dismissals in eurozone and threat of collapse in eastern countries".
AVRIANI: "Let the scoundrels go to hell".
CHORA: "3 changes in labour conditions. Tough bargaining in Brussels against backdrop of economic crisis".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Bonus for 110,000 employees".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Opinion poll for crisis and EU. 87 pc of Greeks expect personal financial blow. 61 pc hope for Europe but also question it".
ETHNOS: "They are seeking 2.5 billion euros from 'legalisation' of semi-outdoors premises".
KATHIMERINI: "Interview with 'K'. Papandreou: strong state in bank sector".
LOGOS: "'Dangerous mission' for Karamanlis in Brussels."
NIKI: "Period of great fasting. Greeks being crushed by economic crisis".
PROTO THEMA: "Less freedom...'for our own good'. Markoyiannakis: Calling for restriction of individual rights".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Goldmine for capital, all the burdens on the working classes. ND-PASOK-EU plans for managing crisis".
VIMA: "Fasting until the polls. Elections only if crisis is over. Economy changing plans of government and parties".
VRADYNI: "Pensions: what is changing in April. How the men-women equation will be implemented".
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