|Wednesday, 21 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-09-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 16 September 2009 Issue No: 3298
 Chambers present proposed economic plan to PASOK leaderIn statements after meeting the presidents of Greece's five largest bilateral chambers of commerce on Tuesday, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou repeated that PASOK will seek to promote green development as an answer to the economic crisis, while adding that the experience of the chambers would be very valuable when the party proceeded to take measures. During the meeting, the five presidents had presented him with a proposed plan for leading Greece out of the economic crisis.
"The big issue for the coming years will be the identity of the Greek economy," he stressed, adding that PASOK welcomed the thoughts and proposals of the bilateral chambers at this crucial time for the country.
Referring to PASOK's 100-day programme for the economy that he had presented at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Papandreou said that this essentially proposed the things that had already been done in most countries in response to the crisis.
PASOK's leader noted that these measures had helped stabilise the situation and, while not ending the recession, had helped these countries "avoid the worst".
"The interventions in the United States, as well as in Europe and China, allowed this normalisation," he stressed, adding that Greece had failed to do what was necessary.
"It is not enough to reduce the deficit and suck the market dry, with the result that you have no revenues for the state," he said, promising that PASOK would negotiate with the EU for a medium-term and reliable programme that will not 'choke' the market.
Papandreou also cited an index of an economy's capacity, saying that in Greece's case the economy's performance was much lower than its true potential.
"We are determined to make use of this potential and convert the current crisis into an opportunity for promoting growth, improving competitiveness and strengthening the country's position internationally, he said.
American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce president Yiannos Grammatidis described the plan presented by the five chambers as a "working tool" for the future of Greece's economy and outlined the proposed actions and direction of a "strictly reformist policy".
Grammatidis also noted that a copy of the same plan had earlier been presented by the five to Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou.
"It is the only tool that we believe can help deal with the crisis, so that we can emerge from it as quickly as possible but also create the prospects for a competitive Greece in 2020," he said.
 PM Karamanlis gives interview to ANT1Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, speaking in an interview with the ANT1 television channel on Tuesday evening, said that his New Democracy party has the time and the ground to gain the confidence of the people and to win the October 4 elections.
"Of course, we all know that it is a difficult struggle, but we have a clear message, a clear position and I believe that what we must do and we are doing is to work very hard and explain to the citizens what is at stake on October 4," he added.
Referring to the Siemens affair, the prime minister said that "New Democracy did not have, nor has it received a sponsorship, or whatever you want to call it, from the company in question. And I am saying it very clearly, very rationally and as I have repeatedly said, New Democracy's books are open to any Authority wishes to make whatever check. The Factfinding Committee, political probing can take place always and I have said it and I have committed myself on this, but it cannot coincide with the judicial probe."
Commenting on the economy, Karamanlis said that the country's big weakness "is the structural fiscal imbalance. A very big debt, a huge debt, that renders all moves difficult and which is certain, if we let it go on developing, will ultimately lead to the taking of much more difficult, or if you prefer the term, unbearable measures and will obstruct the restarting of the economy when we exit from the crisis."
He further said that "now, what is necessary to handle it is an even greater tightening of public expenditures, which we are already doing. The second is war on tax evasion. It is a phenomenon that we all know, we all agree on and it is time for us to combat it and effectively. And if you wish I can describe specific measures then."
Thirdly, the premier added, "the great structural changes. The opening, for example, of closed professions. Only this, it has been assessed by International Organisations, could add almost 2 percent to the growth rate that we have every year."
Concluding, Karamanlis accused the main opposition PASOK of "deceiving citizens". The easy solution PASOK proposes with pleasant recipies are in essence worthless, he said.
 ND releases candidate tickets for Oct. 4 electionsThe ruling New Democracy (ND) party on Monday night released its candidate tickets for the October 4 general elections.
Excluded from the ballots are former ministers Savvas Tsitouridis, Petros Doukas and Aristotelis Pavlidis, while new faces include Yiannis Andrianos, up to recently director of the prime minister's press office, in Argolida.
There are a few emplty slots in a handfull of constituencies, which will be completed by Wednesday, while the party's list of State MP candidates will be released by Sunday.
 PASOK leader addresses rally in TripoliMain opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a rally in the city of Tripoli, in the Peloponnese, on Tuesday evening, stressing that "the time has come for us to leave decline behind and to place the country on a national recovery course."
Papandreou further said that "the time has come for us to speak to our neighbour, the disappointed voter of the New Democracy party, and tell him whether you vote, or whether you do not vote for PASOK we shall struggle to make you proud."
He added that "the decline that we are experiencing is not a simple economic crisis, but an economic, of values and institutional crisis which will not pass simply when the international economic crisis is over."
The PASOK leader referred to the differences between PASOK and ND, stressing that his party "is aware that every day that it gains the confidence of the citizens the more its responsibility towards the country and them increases."
Papandreou pointed out that "the country needs a serious plan and we are already prepared for the plan of the first 100 days, an 'emergency' plan to back the market, support middle-level and low incomes and to curb state extravagance."
The PASOK leader concluded his address by saying that "only together shall we put Greece ahead and create a better tomorrow that has to give to all of us and not only to the greens, the reds and the blues and this effort shall succeed in a Greece having a political leadership that owes to no one, only to the people themselves."
 Papariga calls for 'equality', focus on the issues, in TV debatesCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Tuesday called for equality and adherence to the issues in televised debates among the political party leaders ahead of the October 4 general elections, in order to put an end to debates where the leaders' are anticipated in advance, thus rendering the debates themselves "something ridiculous and rigged".
She also charged that the planned debate between the leaders of the two mainstream parties -- ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK -- was being held for the sole purpose of focusing the voters' attention on those two parties in order to "narrow their choice to between the two, without an alternative option".
Papariga further referred to "powerful 'pockets' that have access to the media as well and are trying to cement PASOK's lead, so as to manipulate and 'break' the popular movement, while they do not want ND to lose too much".
The KKE leader stressed that "the battle of battles" is not the debate, but the struggles taking place in the places of work and the resistance on the streets, noting that the debate battle should be conducted with respect for the citizens/audience, and that the protagonist role should be played by the representatives of the political parties, and not the journalists.
 KKE leader calls for immediate funding of projects in EviaCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga held a telephone conversation with caretaker Interior Minister Flogaitis and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Tuesday on the floods that swept Evia, in eastern Greece, over the weekend.
Papariga called for the immediate disbursement of the necessary amount to compensate those who sustained damage and for the funding of projects, coordination by the Public Works ministry of the relevant regional, prefectural and municipal services and the speedy completion of necessary projects ahead of the coming winter.
 SYN President Tsipras visits IKACoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras expressed concern about the future of social security during his visit Tuesday to the Social Security Foundation's (IKA) computer center, underlining that the flexible employment applications that exist are innumerable.
Tsipras stated that the prime minister "appeared to be holding a stick" in his address at the 74th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF), whereas the main opposition PASOK leader "was holding a stick and a carrot", and pointed out that "what the country needs is fundamental change."
On the televised debate of the leaders of the political parties represented in parliament, Tsipras stated that for the "first time in many years the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and PASOK, assisted by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), create the preconditions that could destroy the prospect of a dialogue among all the political party leaders or political forces, as was the case in the last elections."
 Karatzaferis: LAOS will play significant role after electionsPopular Orthodox Rally party (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis, in a campaign speech on Monday evening at a downtown Athens hotel, expressed his belief that after the October 4 general elections his party will play a significant role that will be even more important than what he initially believed.
Karatzaferis, referring to the latest opinion polls, said that his party is "a breath away" from becoming the third largest party in parliament, adding that new political forces have joined his party, including the small Ecologists of Greece party.
He called on his party MP candidates not to follow ruling New Democracy attitude in "the political decline of insults" despite the fact that, as the LAOS leader said, prime minister Costas Karamanlis is justified because he is very stressed since things are not going very well for him and his party, but added also that "Mr. Karamanlis is responsible for this situation, because he is the one who is 'offering' to PASOK the governance".
He charged both mainstream parties (ruling ND and main opposition PASOK) are 'afraid' to speak about the national issues and corruption, and stressed that LAOS will leave no provocation unanswered and estimated that the most probable post-electoral cooperation would be one between ND and PASOK because "they are the two sides of the same coin".
Karatzaferis also reiterated that he will be a candidate in the Rodopi constituency
 LAOS party leader in ThessalonikiPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis said during an address in Thessaloniki on Tuesday that his party was on an upward course and made the assessment that it will be the regulating factor after the general elections on October 4.
Karatzaferis was speaking on the occasion of the announcement of the party's tickets.
The LAOS party leader also said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is "stressful" and for this reason he "is resorting to abuse against LAOS."
He also said that LAOS will abolish university asylum because it does not exist anywhere else.
 EU Commission: Frontex in talks with Turkey over helicopter harassmentBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
Officials at the EU border surveillance agency FRONTEX have begun talks with Turkish authorities to arrive at an agreed framework of cooperation for operations to guard the EU's external borders, according to a written statement issued by the European Commission's press spokesman for justice, freedom and security issues Riccardo Mosca on Tuesday.
The spokesman was replying to a question put by a journalist regarding the harassment of a helicopter on a FRONTEX patrol by Turkish radar operators.
"Frontex is coordinating the joint operation 'Poseidon 2009' promoted by Greece, whose aim is to restrict illegal immigration in the eastern Mediterranean. The helicopter deployed in this joint operation patrols along the length of the external borders of the Greek islands of the Aegean. The operational plan and instructions given to the helicopter crew ensure that the patrols are carried out exclusively in Greek airspace.
"According to the Frontex agency, Turkish air traffic control attempted to establish radio contact with the specific helicopter so that it could be identified. This contact was not possible because of the use of different radio frequencies. It must be noted that similar incidents occur often. In this framework, it must also be stressed that the aircraft deployed during joint operations have never entered Turkish air space and have never been threatened by Turkish authorities. Frontex is in negotiations with the appropriate Turkish authorities for an arrangement whose aim will be the creation of a common framework of operational cooperation regarding the guarding of borders. The agency has also informed its Turkish counterparts about the activities being carried out in the framework of Poseidon 2009," the spokesman wrote.
The issue was also raised by Greek MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, who noted Turkey's provocative behaviour during a debate on migration, the role of Frontex and cooperation between EU member-states and demanded the EU's immediate intervention.
Ruling New Democracy MEP George Papastamkos underlined the need for a common policy on immigration in the EU, with more resources for Frontex and cooperation with third countries, especially Turkey and Libya.
Main opposition PASOK MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Stavros Lambrinidis particularly stressed that Turkey was not just a country of origin and transit for immigrants but also an EU candidate-state and thus had a double obligation to respect the principles, policies and agencies of the EU.
He also called for a common EU policy on migration issues and greater powers for Frontex.
 Country needs new growth model, greater state supports, union survey saysThe Greek economy needs a new growth model and a mix between economic and social policy to deal with the economic crisis, a labour union's survey on Greek economy and employment stated on Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by the Labour Institute of GSEE - Greece's largest trade union umbrella - said the growth model of the Greek economy, based on private consumption, excessive borrowing, taxation, income imbalances and improving competitiveness levels through cost cutting, has reached a dead-end.
Savvas Robolis, president of the Institute, presented the survey, where he noted that combating unemployment must become a priority because rising unemployment has an impact on incomes, social insurance contributions and tax revenues. The survey urged a variety of policies aimed at improving the country's public finances in the short- and medium-long-term.
In the short-term, the government must recall all new tax burdens on wage-earners and pensioners in the 2010 budget, reversing a declining trend in public investments, restoring tax imbalances and redistributing incomes, boosting demand, easing borrowers, supporting the unemployed and lower incomes.
In the long-term, action was needed to improve the production, technological, innovative and energy basis of economic activity, implementing policies aimed at improving quality and not cutting costs, supporting investment activity and replacing a privatisation model with a model of public interest enterprises, the union report stated.
 Joint ministerial decision for free reconstruction of fire-damaged buildingsEnvironment and Town Planning Minister George Souflias on Tuesday signed a joint ministerial decision defining the terms and preconditions for the allocation of non refundable state economic assistance to be used in the reconstruction and repair of buildings damaged during the August wildfires that ravaged the prefectures of Attiki and Evia.
The roughly 10-million-euro initiative will be funded by the State Investments Programme and is based on the relevant programme already implemented in the regions damaged by the 2007 fires. An estimated 100 buildings, 70 of which are private residences will be reconstructed, while an additional 200 including 160 private residences, will be repaired. The eligible owners will have a period of one year to fill out the necessary applications.
The lump sum of 10,000 euros will be received by owners whose residences were totally destroyed to replace their household appliances.
 Marfin Popular Bank completes sales of 500-mln-euro bond issueMarfin Popular Bank on Tuesday announced teh successful completion of a three-year bond, worth 500 million euros, included in an EMTN (Euro Medium Term Note) program to raise medium and long-term capital.
The bank said its bond issue was 1.3 times oversubscribed (the book building procedure totaled 650 million euros), with around 50 pct of the bond offered to foreign institutional investors.
The bond issue strengthened Marfin Popular Bank's presence in international capital markets and will further improve liquidity in the group. The three-year bond has a fixed interest rate and a coupon of 4.375 pct. It will be listed in the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. BNP Paribas, DZ Bank, Lloyds TSB, Morgan Stanley and Unicredit were the main underwriters of the issue.
 Emporiki Bank fully covers subsidiary's share capital increase planEmporiki Bank on Tuesday announced the completion of its 100 pct participation in a share capital increase by its subsidiary Emporiki Bank-Cyprus Ltd, worth 9,049,998 euros.
A bank statement said Emporiki Bank-Cyprus Ltd's equity capital totaled 40,772,167 euros after the share capital increase plan, or 23,843,373 common nominal shares of a nominal price of 1.71 euros each.
 Employment in retail sector down in Q2Employment index in the retail sector fell 1.7 pct in the second quarter of 2009, compared with the corresponding period in 2008, the National Statistical Service said on Tuesday.
The index, which includes figures for the fuel and car lubricants sector, was down 4.1 pct in the second quarter from the first quarter of 2009.
 Stocks end 2.59% upGreek stocks recovered strongly at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, pushing the composite index of the market back above the 2,500 level. The index rose 2.59 pct to end at 2,531.94 points, with turnover rising to 236.3 million euros, of which 44.8 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved upwards, with the Health (4.61 pct), Technology (3.62 pct), Food/Beverage (3.41 pct), Travel (3.28 pct) and Banks (3.0 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day.
The FTSE 20 index jumped 2.76 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.92 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 1.81 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 165 to 59 with another 43 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.61%
Personal & Household: +1.50%
Raw Materials: +2.52%
Travel & Leisure: +3.28%
Food & Beverages: +3.41%
Financial Services: +1.22%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Eurobank, OPAP and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 11.78
Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.59
HBC Coca Cola: 16.69
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.30
National Bank of Greece: 22.36
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 9.65
Bank of Piraeus: 11.20
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market jumped to 2.280 billion euros of which 1.360 billion euros were buy orders and the remaining 920 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 1.171 billion euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was almost unchanged at 126 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 4.54 pct and the German Bund 3.30 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.25 pct, the six-month rate 1.04 pct, the three-month rate 0.77 pct and the one-month rate 0.45 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.472
Pound sterling 0.894
Danish kroner 7.502
Swedish kroner 10.325
Japanese yen 134.33
Swiss franc 1.528
Norwegian kroner 8.708
Canadian dollar 1.599
Australian dollar 1.715
 Education minister on Int'l Day of DemocracyEducation Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos visited the 4th high school in the east Athens district of Zografou on Tuesday on the occasion of the UN International Day of Democracy, celebrated on Sept. 15. Addressing the pupils, he stressed that Greece is the birthplace of democracy but despite this a lot of blood has been shed by the Greek people who fought hard on many occasions to ensure its consolidation.
 Foreign national Greece's first new flu casualtyA 29-year-old French tourist died in a hospital intensive care unit at dawn on Tuesday, in the first new flu death in Greece.
According to a health ministry announcement, the man died at 4:25 a.m. in the Sismanoglio general hospital's ICU, due to a severe case of pneumonia resulting from the A/H1N1 virus, which caused acute respiratory failure. The patient, who did not have any history of health problems, developed multi-organ failure and died.
It was the first death in Greece from the new flu without any underlying disease.
 Resolution supporting return of Parthenon MarblesThe 35th Conference of the International Byronian Society, held on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Lord Byron's first visit to Greece, came to an end in the city of Mesolongi, westen Greece, on Tuesday with the signing of a statement supporting the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
"We the members of the International Byronian Society, who met in Greece, remember how Lord Byron was among the first to condemn the damage done to the Monuments of Athens by the agents of Lord Elgin," said the statement that was signed by 60 university personalities and scholars of the poet's work.
"Today, 200 years after his first trip to Greece, the opening of the new Acropolis Museum provides the possibility for this incident to end," it added.
The resolution was sent by the Conference's organiser, Roza Florou, to Acropolis Museum president professor Dimitris Pantermalis, to assist Greece's effort to seek the Marbles' return.
 Chinese delegation from Shanghai visits EKEFE DimocritosThe Íational Natural Sciences Research Centre (EKEFE) "Dimocritos" was visited on Tuesday by a delegation of the Science and Technology Committee of the local government of Shanghai and the Greek-Chinese International Alternate Information Centre in the framework of international exchanges and cooperation between Greece and China.
The vice president of "Dimocritos" outlined the Centre's activities, as well as prospects of cooperation. The delegation termed the visit very positive and an examination of the widening of interstate cooperation in sectors of joint interest was agreed.
According to an announcement by "Dimocritos", the strengthening of cooperation, that EKEFE already has with other organisations in China, will assist the further promotion of Research and Technology produced at "Dimocritos" and in Greece in general, in such a large market as the Chinese is.
 Abduction of foreign national solvedPolice in the greater Athens area solved the abduction case of a 19-year-old Pakistani national after arresting a 54-year-old Iraqi national in the Mandra industrial district, west of Athens, on Tuesday.
The Iraqi and other nine people, who are still wanted, are accused of kidnapping the Pakistani last Friday in the region of Aspropyrgos.
The suspects had initially led their victim to the facilities of a company in Mandra before locking him up in an abandoned house in the city of Thebes, central Greece. There he was brutally tortured and forced to contact his relatives in Pakistan requesting that they pay a ransom of 4,000 euros in order to be released by his captors.
The teen's relatives informed the police and the adductors' hideout was located following an investigation.
In a separate incident, two Albanian nationals, aged 30 and 31, were arrested in Agii Anargiri, northwest Athens, on Tuesday accused of drug trafficking and illegal arms possession.
A police search revealed 70 kilos and 170 grams of unprocessed cannabis, roughly 500 grams of cocaine, equipment used for the adulteration of drugs, a precision scale, a submachine gun and an Italian-made pistol.
 Arrest on child pornography chargesÁ 39 year-old man has been arrested by the police's computer crime squad on child pornography charges via the internet and illegal possession of firearms, police announced on Monday.
A search of his computer and cell phone revealed videos containing child porn material.
Moreover in his house officers found and confiscated a computer hard drive, a pistol, a cartridge containing nine bullets and a doubled-bladed jack knife, an electric shock gun, a pair of handcuffs and three mobile phones.
The suspect will appear on Tuesday before a prosecutor.
 Olympiacos' coach firedGreek Superleague football club Olympiacos Pireaus on Tuesday fired Georgian coach Temuri Ketsbaia, a day before Olympiacos' first match against Alkmaar for Champions League group competition.
According to the club's announcement, assistant coach Bozidar Bandovic will temporarily assume the team's helm.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 32C. Slightly cloudy in Athens, with light winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 30C. Cloudy with possible local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 26C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceRuling New Democracy's (ND) candidate lists for the upcoming general elections, announced on Monday, and the European Comission's intervention for an immediate reduction of the fiscal decifit, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Farmers vote for ND".
APOGEVMATINI: "Major suprises in ND's ballots - High-profile cadres excluded".
AVGHI: "Severe austerity tunnel - ND proposes two-year period while main opposition PASOK one extra year, wrapped with compassion".
AVRIANI: "European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia demands immediate measures to reduce deficit".
ELEFTHEROS: "Almunia sends double negative message to George Papandreou for benefits".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Massacre and collapse - Opinion polls foresee ND's Waterloo in elections".
ESTIA: "Populism dominating".
ETHNOS: "Shock and awe for ND and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis".
KATHIMERINI: "Rendez-vous with European Commission after the elections - Almunia awaiting measures from new government to cut deficit".
LOGOS: "Almunia sends strict message to ... whoever's interested".
NIKI: "George Papandreou on his father's (former premier and PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou) tracks, meanwhile, Karamanlis legend collapses".
RIZOSPASTIS: "ND and PASOK deceiving people with false dilemmas".
TA NEA: "Lists of dissolution - ND in chaos".
VIMA: "Ballot lists of defeat - Product of compromise, blackmail".
VRADYNI: "Lists of victory".
 National Council to conclude deliberations Friday, says SpokesmanNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus question, wrapped up Tuesday's morning meeting and will continue its discussions on Wednesday. It is set to conclude on Friday.
During Tuesday's session, under President Demetris Christofias, the leaders of the parliamentary parties have concluded the submission of their positions on the Cyprus problem and on the assessment of Turkey's EU accession course in December by the EU Council, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou stated, adding that this was followed by a discussion.
"The discussion will be concluded tomorrow (Wednesday) and on Friday President Christofias will recapitulate the discussion, and the necessary conclusions will be reached", he said.
Questioned on the need for unity on the homefront, Stephanou said that the meetings of the National Council provide the opportunity for discussion and consideration on a series of issues, and this is a precondition for unity as well as a factor that helps unity.
Asked if it would be possible for the Council to come up with a common strategy on the handling of the Cyprus problem, Stephanou said that this is what is being pursued. He also pointed out that it will be very helpful if the National Council adopts common positions.
The National Council comprises members are the government and parliamentary political parties. It is presided over by the President.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Peace talks are underway between the leaders of the two communities to find a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country. The second phase of the talks began September 10.
 Commission approves annual Green Line reportNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The European Commission has approved the fifth annual report on the implementation of the EU regulation on the Green Line, between the Cypriot government controlled areas and the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus.
The report states that additional effort is needed as far as tackling illegal immigration is concerned.
The report, covering the year to 30 April 2009, notes also that trade in goods increased by more than a third, but expresses concern over smuggling cases across the Line.
In the report it is stated that control of people crossing the Green Line, at the authorized crossing points works well, but "the number of third country nationals crossing the Line illegally between the crossing points remains significant- total number of apprehended illegal migrants is 5,525".
"Both the Republic of Cyprus and the UK Sovereign Base Areas reinforced their surveillance of the Line, however additional effort is needed in this respect", it is added.
The report also refers to the total value of goods entering the southern government controlled areas under the provisions of the Green Line Regulation, noting that it was 6.1 million euro, up 36% on the previous year.
"Green Line trade now accounts for over 10% of Turkish Cypriot trade leaving the northern part of Cyprus", a press release on the report says.
It is also noted that "however, smuggling across the Line remains a matter of concern".
Following the adoption of the report, EU Enlargement Commissioner Oli Rehn welcomed the "positive results of this year's Green Line Report" saying "I am particularly encouraged by the further substantial increase in Green Line trade".
"I also take note of the challenges concerning the further strengthening of the surveillance of the Line between the crossing points'', he says.
Rehn notes that following a comprehensive settlement and the reunification of the island, the Green Line Regulation will no longer be needed.
''The Commission's priority now must be to support the settlement process", he concludes.
The Green Line Regulation provides the legal basis for people and goods to cross the Green Line. It has been in force since 1 May 2004 and defines the terms under which EU law applies to the movement of persons, goods and services across the line from the areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the government of Cyprus does not exercise effective control due to the illegal Turkish occupation of the island's northern part, since 1974.
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