|Tuesday, 18 December 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-04-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 19 April 2010 Issue No: 3471
 Papaconstantinou at ECOFINMADRID (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris)
In statements after an EU ECOFIN Council held here on Saturday, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told reporters that he had briefed Eurogroup ministers meeting on Friday about the contents of his letter to the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He stressed that the letter did not in itself activate the mechanism and that there were no deadlines for its activation.
The important thing at present was to clarify the size of loans available and on what terms these would be given if Greece decided to activate the support mechanism decided on by Eurozone member-states, the minister added.
He also clarified that the multi-year economic programme referred to in the letter was essentially the three-year Stability and Growth Programme that included fiscal adjustment and structural reforms.
Papaconstantinou appeared confident regarding the outcome of the talks between representatives of the Greek government, EU and IMF in Athens on Monday, saying he was certain that a common ground would be found between all the sides involved and a satisfactory agreement reached.
He stressed that the programme that the Greek government will agree to with the Euro area and the IMF will be "what is necessary, that which the country needs".
Papaconstantinou said the programme worked out would help stabilise public finances and introduce the major changes that would make the country stronger and more competitive while protecting social services and society's gains.
The minister also briefed his counterparts on the progress in implementing the stability programme for the Greek economy, such as the 40 percent reduction in the public deficit during the first quarter of 2010.
"We also discussed the structural changes the government intends to carry out, beginning with reforms of the tax and social insurance system and the opening of closed professions," he added, noting that all these will have been passed into law before the summer if things went as planned.
He noted that neither the EU nor the IMF have asked for additional cost-cutting measures to be taken within 2010.
Questioned about a statement attributed to ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet about possible liquidity problems faced by Greek banks, Papaconstantinou said Trichet had made no such statement during the ECOFIN Council.
He also pointed out that the Greek banking system did not have particularly serious problems since the exposure of Greek banks to toxic products was very small and the banking system stable, though currently suffering from a climate of uncertainty partly cultivated by international media.
Questioned about the possibility of a deeper-than-expected recession in Greece, the minister said that Eurostat estimates were still pending but that the measures taken by the Greek government were designed to cut the deficit by 6 percent of GDP, meaning there would be no problem with meeting a target of cutting the deficit by 4 percent of GDP by the end of 2010, even if the recession was deeper.
 PM: no decision yet on EU-IMF aidGreece will decide whether or not to activate the EU-IMF economic support mechanism within the next few weeks, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said in an interview with the magazine Newsweek.
The Greek prime minister stressed that no official decision had yet been made and that the country was preparing so that it was ready, "when we need to press the button."
Papandreou said that the aid package was not a programme for rescuing the Greek economy but would give Greece some "breathing space" in which to carry out necessary reforms, giving a margin to manoeuvre as it made changes that would make the economy sustainable.
He also predicted that Greece would not find it difficult to borrow from markets in the coming month, stressing that the country will not default.
According to the Greek premier, the problem Greece currently faced was the high cost of borrowing and how long it could continue to borrow at this rate.
Papandreou said he did not expect any problems, even in May, but that this did not mean that the Greek government had ruled out the possibility of activating the support mechanism.
 Announcement on Greek government's consultations with EU, ECB and IMFThe starting of scheduled consultations between the Greek government and the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund has been postponed for a few days due to difficulties in international airspace and the cancellation of flights, according to an announcement issued by the Finance ministry on Sunday.
The announcement added that "the consultations concern the three-year economic policies programme that will be based on Ecofin's conclusions in February and which can be supported with economic aid from the member-states of the Eurozone and the IMF in the event that the Greek authorities decide to request the activation of the mechanism."
Wednesday April 21 is the new scheduled day for the starting of the consultations, provided that the conditions permit this, the announcement concluded.
 Tsipras sees dire consequences from resort to IMFCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras stressed the dire consequences of any possible resort by Greece to the International Monetary Fund, during an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Typos tis Kyriakis".
"Whatever has not yet been sold will be sold, whatever rights are left to us will be lost," he underlined, predicting "conditions of total looting".
Tsipras blamed Prime Minister George Papandreou for the conditions that led the country to its current borrowing crisis, suggesting that "his advisors hailing from across the Atlantic may have played a part".
He opposed the solution of Greece exiting the eurozone, however, noting that such a move at present would drastically magnify existing social inequities. He also pointed out that the issue was not whether Greece would choose to remain in the euro but whether the common currency would survive the storm.
 Papandreou-Erdogan confirm mid-May visitA mid-May date for a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was confirmed in a telephone conversation held by Erdogan and Papandreou on Friday evening, the Greek government announced.
The call was made in view of Erdogan's upcoming visit to Greece, at the invitation of the Greek prime minister.
They also agreed that the Greek and Turkish ministers participating in the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council decided on earlier this month should soon hold meetings in order to better prepare for the Turkish premier's visit, especially in the areas of European and foreign affairs and those relating to economic cooperation.
 Samaras opens ND pre-Congress event in NafplioOpening main opposition New Democracy's pre-Congress event in Nafplio on Saturday, ND leader Antonis Samaras launched a harsh attack on the way Prime Minister George Papandreou and his government had handled the economic crisis but also acknowledged that mistakes had been made by his own party as well.
"ND has admitted all its sins and is getting rid of the dead weight of the past. This is the mandate I was given and this is the mandate I intend to carry out," Samaras said to resounding applause from delegates.
He stressed that ND would work to rebuild people's faith in the party from the beginning again, with the first step in this direction being the election of the party's leader by 800,000 people.
Samaras also stressed that ND would exercise a responsible opposition and not hesitate to clash with the government, especially when this seemed to have no plan for dealing with the crisis, while he held Papandreou personally and fully responsible for the country economic state and for driving Greece into the arms of the IMF.
"The prime minister has not yet understood anything: it is his own government that is faltering, his own government that is being tested, his own government that has brought us here and his own government that drags behind it an admission of complete inability to handle the debt," he stressed.
He also strongly criticised Papandreou's attempt to blame the policies of right-wing governments in Greece and Europe for driving Greece to the IMF:
"He forgets that the socialist governments of Greece more than tripled the country's borrowing, he forgets that PASOK introduce populism in the country, he forgets that he personally promised all things to all people and that he himself first referred to the IMF in order to put a 'gun' on the table but his bluff backfired on Greece and the gun went off in his hands," Samaras added, saying that ND was opposed to resorting to the IMF.
According to Samaras, ND's own governments were guilty of failing to correct the system they had inherited, in which one generation borrowed at the expense of the next.
 Samaras again opposes resorting to IMFMain opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras appealed to the government to avoid resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "even at the 11th hour", during an interview published by the Sunday newspaper "To Vima".
"We can still avoid it. And we must face the crisis supported by our own strength. We have massive unexploited resources, natural and human, material and immaterial, a huge wealth. We are a ...rich, over-indebted country! We have only just realised that we have excessive debt. We have not yet realised that we are rich," Samaras stressed.
ND's leader denied that he was afraid but expressed concern that Greece was heading toward "conditions of social unrest".
He went on to attack the government - while expressing his confidence in the prime minister on a personal level - for silly mistakes, mixed messages, delays, contradictions and obsessions.
According to Samaras, the current government succeeded in turning a deficit crisis that was common to all countries into a state borrowing crisis that was without precedent, turning Greece into the 'weak link' in the Eurozone.
Concerning ND's share of responsibility for the current economic situation, Samaras admitted that the previous ND government under Costas Karamanlis had in many cases "hesitated, delayed or not dared" to make necessary changes. In other cases, he added, it had come up against a blank wall of refusal from the entire opposition, led by PASOK.
 LAOS leader calls for 'common front' with NDPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis repeated his invitation for a "common front" with main opposition New Democracy in order to avert an extension of ruling PASOK's hold on power, during an interview published by the newspaper "Niki" on Sunday.
At the same time, he offered support to Dora Bakoyannis, the main rival to current ND leader Antonis Samaras in the recent battle for the party's leadership, saying that she had much to contribute to both the party and the country.
 Kouvelis outlines policy on Cyprus issue in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
Greece wants the talks on solving the Cyprus issue to carry on from where they left off after the Turkish-Cypriot side is done with electing its new leader, Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis stressed at a conference of the Cypriot Federation of America held in the New York district of Queens on Saturday.
"Our position is clear. After the so-called elections in the occupied territories of Cyprus, the talks for a fair, just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue must continue," he said.
Referring to a recent visit to Cyprus by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his 'complete support' for Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Kouvelis also underlined that the Cyprus issue was one of both international law and the violation of human rights.
Greece wanted a solution that originated in Cyprus and would rid the island of Turkish occupation troops, he added.
Kouvelis was in New York to represent the Greek government at the parade organised by the city's Greek-Americans in honour of Greece's independence day holiday on March 25.
The conference was also addressed by Archbishop of America Demetrios.
 Dep. Foreign Minister at Greek-Americans parade in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
"Greece will emerge from the crisis," Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis assured New York's Greek-American community on Saturday, while speaking at an even organised at a central New York hotel in honour of the sponsors and officials for this year's Greek Independence Day parade organised by the city's Greek community in honour of the March 25 national holiday.
Kouvelis is in New York to attend the celebrations and the parade, which will be held on Sunday along Manhattan's 5th Avenue.
 Deputy FM Kouvelis in New YorkNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis addressed the religious service that was held on Sunday at the Holy Trinity Church here, that was officiated by Archbishop of America Demetrius, in honour of the March 25 national holiday.
"I believe that Greece is indeed in a difficult situation, but precisely because we have received the messages from the people of our country and from all you overseas Greeks who have really moved the Greek people with your intention to offer, we shall overcome the difficulties," he said.
Kouvelis is representing Prime Minister George Papandreou and the government in the overseas Greeks' celebrations, that will heighten with the Greek parade that will be taking place on Sunday evening (Greek time) in 5th avenue in Manhattan.
 Cyprus Archbishop visits IstanbulISTANBUL (ANA-MPA - A. Kourkoulas)
Cyprus Archbishop Chrysostomos paid a visit to Istanbul on Sunday, where he gave a joint Sunday service at the historic Zoodochos Pigi monastery with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
 Labour minister: no cut in low pensionsThe government is not increasing pension contributions and retirement age, nor decreasing low pensions, Labour and Social Insurance Minister Andreas Loverdos stressed in an interview published by the newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia" on Sunday.
He clarified that those receiving pensions greater than 1,400 euros a month would contribute to a solidarity fund from the year 2010 and that this money will be used by social insurance funds in need.
On the pension system that will be introduced after 2018, Loverdos explained that part of this would be a 'welfare' pension paid directly from the state budget and the rest a 'returns' pension based on the years of work and amount of contributions paid.
"Everyone will get the pension they deserve and that they paid for. Whoever works more will get a bigger pension," he added. On the expected savings from contributions evasion, the labour minister said these were roughly 900 million euros a year and a "achievement of the stability programme".
 Katseli defends new pricing policy for pharmaceuticals"The government considers supporting Greece's pharmaceutical industry a basic support for the economy of the country." This was stressed in an announcement on Sunday by Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli, in response to an article published by the Sunday paper "Real News" on the new pricing policy for medicines.
Katseli said that recent pricing regulations established a reduction limit for a transitional period until the end of the year, especially for lower-cost medicines, so that Greek pharmaceutical companies will be able to adjust to new ways of pricing.
"Our aim is to support businesses in the sector, which contribute to creating added value in research and innovation, both through the developmental law and through the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)," she said.
At the same time, this support had to be combined with support for the viability of social insurance funds and ensuring a fair price for medicines on the Greek market in order to boost the real income of Greek consumers, Katseli added.
"It is obvious that the new policy for pricing medicines is against interests and attitudes that without control have in past years led to an explosion of spending on pharmaceuticals and a disproportionate burden on social insurance funds. These practices led our country to the third place in terms of the ranking of EU member-states for the cost of medicine," she stressed.
 Poll reveals anger, fear over IMF involvementNine in 10 Greeks, or 92 percent, are convinced that resorting to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan will lead to the imposition of new austerity measures, according to an opinion poll conducted by the firm Pulse RC and published in the newspaper "Typos tis Kyriakis" on Sunday.
The poll was based on a survey carried out on April 15-16, a few hours after news that Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou had sent a letter to the heads of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF had hit the headlines.
Of the respondents, 48 percent said that the news of the minister's letter made them feel anger and 28 percent expressed fear. Irrespective of what political party they support, 65 percent of respondents anticipated that resorting to the IMF will have a negative impact on their lives, while 57 percent state that before Papaconstantinou's letter they believed that Greece, with the right mix of policies, could overcome the crisis on its own without the intervention of Europe or the IMF.
Concerning current developments in the Greek economy, 58 percent considered all the recent Greek governments responsible for the current state of affairs, 23 percent blamed the government of Costas Karamanlis and 13 percent blamed that of Costas Simitis.
Only five in 100 respondents blamed the current government for the state of the economy but 74 percent describe its handling of economic issues as 'average', 'bad' or 'very bad'.
 Sharp decrease in operational cost of state-owned carsA decrease in the region of 70 percent in the operational cost of state-owned cars has taken place as a result of the decision by Interior, Decentralisation and Electronic Governance Minister Yiannis Rangoussis on cutting back on extravagance with cars that are used by members of the government and state officials and whose management is the responsibility of the ministry in question.
According to data made public by the Interior ministry, it appears that the consumption of gasoline decreased from 157,139 litres during the corresponding months last year to 50,616 litres this year, registering a decrease of 68 percent. In addition, expenditures for spare parts and repairs for the same months dropped from 292,932. 94 euros to 83,594.99 euros, registering a decrease of 71.5 percent.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.364
Pound sterling 0.884
Danish kroner 7.501
Swedish kroner 9.764
Japanese yen 126.3
Swiss franc 1.445
Norwegian kroner 8.018
Canadian dollar 1.367
Australian dollar 1.463
 Flights cancelled as ash cloud nears GreeceSeveral flights in Greece were cancelled on Saturday as the cloud of volcanic ash that has brought air travel to a virtual standstill in Europe crept southeast across the continent to reach neighbouring Italy and Belgrade. As the volcano in Iceland continued to spew a huge plume of ash into the air, it was unclear when normal air travel might resume.
The cloud of dust has not yet reached Greece but the civil aviation authority and other authorities were on standby in case they needed to ground planes over Greece as well.
At the moment, the only foreign flights leaving Greece are those heading to destinations around the Mediterranean, such as Albania, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, the Middle East and African countries.
Athens International Airport announced that 144 flight departures and arrivals have been cancelled on Saturday, with this number set to increase on Sunday.
Several passengers for flights to Europe remained stranded at Thessaloniki's international airport, where another 13 flights were cancelled before the evening.
Airport authorities and airlines have requested that passengers for destinations in northwest Europe should not go to the airport until flights can be resumed.
 Terror group's safehouse foundThe Greek police counter-terrorism squad on Saturday announced the discovery of an apartment and of a basement garage containing a cache of explosives in a Karea-area apartment block that were being used by the terrorist group 'Revolutionary Struggle'.
Police sources said the garage in the basement of 54 V. Antoniadou Street in Kareas was found on Saturday afternoon and had been leased in November 2007 under the name 'Dimosthenis Mandalozis'. This was also the name on a fake ID found two days earlier in the car of Constantine Gournas, one of the people accused as a member of "Revolutionary Struggle".
Inside the garage, police found 180 kilos of the explosive ANFO, the same explosive used in many hits by the terrorist organisation. These were contained in three 20-litre gas canisters, each about half full, and four 75-litre cans originally holding olive oil, of which two were full, as well as a green plastic bin liner containing another 15 kilos of ANFO.
Apart from the explosives, there were also three stolen motorbikes fitted with two sets of number plates and five luggage boxes that contained more number plates for motorbikes.
A police announcement on Saturday pointed to evidence that the terror group had used the aliases 'Dimosthenis Mandalozis' and 'Anastasios Grivokostopoulos' to make fake IDs, which they then used to rent safehouses.
A house occupied by Nikolaos Maziotis and Panagiota Roupa in Kalyvia had been leased under the name Vasiliki Paraskevopoulou.
They asked members of the public to contact authorities at the telephone numbers 170, 1014 and 1964 with any information concerning the group, especially in connection with the leasing of homes or other properties in any of the above names.
 Police update on terror safehouse findsIn an update on the explosives discovered inside a safehouse used by the terrorist group "Revolutionary Struggle" in Kareas, the Greek Police on Sunday announced further details regarding the composition of the substances found, based on the findings of police laboratories.
The announcement said that the solid substances in the three gas canisters were derived from agricultural fertiliser composed mainly of ammonium nitrate, impregnated with lamp oil. The substance in the two metallic cans were also made of agricultural fertiliser composed mainly of ammonium nitrate, with fuel oil added.
Police said the substance thus formed was similar to the explosive ANFO and not a standardised factory product.
"A similar type explosive with that found in the gas canisters (ammonium nitrate with lamp oil) was found in the makeshift time bomb that was neutralised on 18 February 2009, in a car parked outside the building housing the Citibank administrative services in Nea Kifissia," police said.
The substance found in the plastic bin liner was mainly agricultural fertiliser with ammonium nitrate as its main component.
 Car bomb in Athens not terror related, police sayThe small car bomb that exploded in central Athens early on Saturday morning was probably not planted by terrorists but a personal "settling of accounts", police said.
The bomb went off at 6:40 as the car, a BMW X5, was traversing the junction of Hios and Favierou streets in the central Athens district of Metaxourgio. There were two people inside the car at the time, an Albanian man and woman, neither of whom were injured as a result of the blast.
The driver originally told police that the explosion occurred when he went over a white plastic bag on the road but it was later shown that the bomb had been planted on the car itself.
The blast caused extensive damage to the front of the car and also blew out windows in a nearby veterinary surgery, the entrance to a building and a coffee shop.
Hios Street was temporarily closed to traffic between Favierou and Viktoros Hugo streets while a bomb squad collected fragments of the explosive device and examined the area.
 Jean-Paul Gaultier receives award in AthensFrench haute couture fashion designer and 'enfant terrible' Jean-Paul Gaultier received an award for his contribution to fashion, art and culture during an event organised in Athens on Saturday by the French Institute of Athens and the French Embassy.
The award was presented to the designer by Greece's Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou, during a special ceremony that formed part of the 11th French Film Festival in Athens, which began on April 15.
Gerekou, after praising Gaultier's decisive influence on the world of fashion, also noted that fashion and film were two sectors that needed great support in Greece, stressing that with the proper ground work they might well become a tourist attraction.
Gaultier, one of the main sponsors of the film festival, said he was happy to be back in a country that he loved and warmly praised the statuette made by Zolotas jewellers that was presented to him by the minister, noting that "this is the first time I am holding a real Zolotas'.
After the award ceremony, there was a screening of the film "Le Jour d'Avant - Jean-Paul Gaultier" - a documentary about the last 36 hours before a fashion show.
The event was also addressed by French Ambassador to Athens Christophe Farnaud and attended by Deputy Citizens' Protection Minister Spyros Vougias, as well as representatives of the fashion and film industry
 Actress Anna Kalouta dies, aged 92Greek actress Anna Kalouta, whose name had become practically synonymous with the genre of Greek theatrical revue, has died at the age of 92 after a brief spell of illness. Her funeral will be held at Athens' 1st cemetery on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.
 2013 Mediterranean Games to be held as planned, Pangalos saysThe 2013 Mediterranean Games will go ahead as planned, government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos assured local officials in the coastal city of Volos, where the games are to be hosted, during a visit on Saturday.
Pangalos stressed that Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos was firmly determined that the games will be held, though there might have to be some cuts to the budget.
 SoccerChampion Panathinaikos Athens beat PAS Yiannina 1-0 away in the last matches of the Super League's season over the weekend, while Olympiacos Piraeus beat Aris Thessaloniki 2-1 at home and AEK Athens defeated Asteras Tripoli 2-0 also at home.
In other action:
Atromitos Athens-Panthrakikos Komotini 3-1
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Xanthi 2-4
Larissa-Levadiakos Livadia 1-2
Kavala-Panionios Athens 1-1
PAOK Thessaloniki-Ergotelis Crete 4-1
Final standings after 30 weeks of play:
1. Panathinaikos 70 points -CHAMPION
2. Olympiacos 64 (4 points-PLAYOFFS))
3. PAOK 62 (3 points-PLAYOFFS)
4. AEK 53 (2 points-PLAYOFFS)
5. Aris 46 0 points-PLAYOFFS)
6. Kavala 39
7. Atromitos 38
8. Iraklis 37
9. Larissa 37
10. Panionios 37
11. Ergotelis 36
12. Asteras 36
13. Xanthi 35
14. Levadiakos 34 (RELEGATED TO SECOND DIVISION)
15. PAS Yiannina 28 (RELEGATED TO SECOND DIVISION)
16. Panthrakikos 12 (RELEGATED TO SECOND DIVISION)
 Cloudy, rainy on MondayCloudy and rainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 24C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 14C to 22C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 12C to 18C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceThe repercussions of Greece resorting to an IMF loan and its impact on private and public-sector workers and terrorism were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Civil servant in the morning, 'boss' at night". [article claims many employed in public sector will be forced to choose between their not-so-secure public-sector day jobs and the second private-sector job that many already have].
APOGEVMATINI: "New municipalities throughout the country".
ARTHRO: "Country under occupation". [on IMF loan and repercussions]
AVGHI: "IMF! Your money or your life".
AVRIANI: "IMF to turn the country into a hell".
CHORA: "IMF to govern Greece from tomorrow".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Alone with the IMF". [Claims government now entering into direct negotiations with the IMF over a loan after the EU 'backed away' from coordinating role]
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Private sector now on the operating table". [claims IMF will demand austerity measures extending to the private sector]
EPOCHI: "Our lives in hock..." [on IMF loan]
ETHNOS: "The three-year 'tunnel' under IMF and Euro-supervision that changes everything".
KATHIMERINI: "IMF to bring upheavals everywhere".
LOGOS: "IMF: 'Raise the gates' [quotes scripture, from Good Friday when Jesus orders that the gates of hell be opened] Everything changing in the economy from tomorrow".
NIKI: "IMF means political bankruptcy also".
PARON: "Under a new occupation" [article on IMF loan]
PROTO THEMA: "Document about Maziotis at New Democracy since 2005". [claims former ND ministers had been alerted to links between Maziotis and the Amanatidis murder by classified counter-terrorism squad document]
REAL NEWS: "Who will get the axe in the coming months. 250,000 to be laid off! Pogrom in public sector and organisations".
RIZOSPASTIS: "With self-sacrifice until the last moment. Everyone 'to arms' for the strike on April 21-22".
VETO: "70 million for George's man". [Claims scandal dating back to Simitis era that involves 'representatives' of ruling PASOK's current economic policy]
TO VIMA: "The documents of terrorism".
VRADYNI: "Barrage of public-sector layoffs. Between 200,000 to 300,000 mostly contract workers to be shown the door".
 Cyprus to seek legal advice on aviation agreement between EU and TurkeyNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
The Republic of Cyprus will seek legal advice from the EU Council's Legal Service on the horizontal aviation agreement initialed between EU and Turkey.
Speaking during a press conference over the weekend, Cyprus Minister of Communications and Works Erato Kozakou Markoulli said that she gave instructions to Cyprus Permanent Representative to Brussels to seek legal advice from the EU Council's Legal Service on whether this agreement abides by the acquis communautaire and if any of its provisions can be considered as harmful for the Republic of Cyprus.
EU and Turkey initialed on March 25 an aviation agreement which will remove nationally restrictions in the bilateral air services agreements between EU member states and Turkey, and will allow any EU airline to operate flights between any EU member state and Turkey, where a bilateral agreement with Turkey exists and traffic rights are available.
Markoulli said that she will discuss this issue with the European Commissioner for Transport and Vice President of the Commission Siim Kallas during their scheduled meeting on April 21 in Brussels, "in order to take all necessary assurances from the European Commission that the agreement does not harm the interests of the Republic of Cyprus."
"If the Council's Legal Service assures us that there is nothing in the agreement which constitutes a discrimination against Cyprus, we believe that it can be implemented and we will seek to activate provisions from that agreement that are beneficial for the Republic of Cyprus", she pointed out.
The Minister of Communications and Works said that Cyprus was informed about the initialing of the agreement between EU and Turkey on March 29 and after this the agreement was examined in depth by the Ministry of Communications, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and the Republic's Law Office.
An EU press release issued on March 25 said that this so-called ''horizontal''' aviation agreement does not replace the bilateral agreements in place between EU Member States and Turkey, but adapts them to bring them into line with EU law. Currently, there are 42 such horizontal agreements between the EU and 50 countries worldwide.
More than 800 bilateral air services agreements have already been modified by the joint efforts of the European Commission and EU Member States to replace nationality rules with the principle of EU airline designation.
Cyprus, an EU member state since May 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.
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