|Thursday, 5 December 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-07-19
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 19 July 2010 Issue No: 3544
 PM in 'Guardian' interview: Greece on normalised roadGreece is on a normalised road, prime minister George Papandreou opined in an interview with the UK newspaper Guardian, noting that in the nine months since his PASOK government took office "it has been crisis management, day in, day out", and stressing that, in politics "you have to make tough decisions".
In the interview, titled "Reinvigorating Greece is an Olympian task for prime minister Papandreou", the premier noted: "We knew that we had high debt and a high deficit with high inequality, high unemployment and negative growth but we had no idea about the depth and breadth of the problems or the lack of good, transparent, democratic governance. When we found the deficit as high as it was [13.6% of GDP], we wanted to be absolutely transparent."
On the reactions to the austerity measures and major overhaul of the pension system, Papandreou admits that "naturally I feel very bad that we had to take these measures and that our financial sovereignty is under the tutelage of the so-called troika (the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank".
"It's not a happy state to be in, and the most painful thing is to take measures against people who were not responsible for the crisis," Papandreou said.
"But you have to make tough decisions in politics," he continued, adding: "You can theorise about the options you have but in reality they are very specific. The option was: "Do we default or do we take these measures? Do we lose our pension system or do we save what we can? it was a question of existence, of being able to pay civil servants their wages or losing that possibility."
Papandreou described as "a small revolution" the reforms his government has pushed through, adding that his hope is to "turn Greece into maybe the most transparent country in the world, with everything on the web".
Noting that re-election is not his aim, Papandreou said he is determined to change Greece "and mindsets" for the better through his modernising policies, regardless of the political cost.
"I have always said I will be in politics to serve as best as I can and it will take me wherever it will take me. As long as I feel I am doing what I think is right and just for my country, for the Greek people, that is enough for me," he said
"Saving Greece from this crisis was the first thing on the agenda. We are now on a much more normalised road," Papandreou added.
 IMF interim report says Greek stability program 'broadly on track'The International Monetary Fund (IMF) late Friday issues its interim report "Greece Stand-By Arrangement - Review under the Emergency Financing Mechanism", in which it finds that the Greek stability program is broadly on track, with the Greek authorities having made considerable progress in putting the public finances on a sustainable path and have implemented major reforms ahead of schedule.
According to a press release by the IMF, the review "presents the findings of an IMF staff visit to Athens during June 14-18, 2010...conducted in cooperation with the European Commission and the ECB" for the purpose of conducting "an interim review of economic developments and policy implementation, as called for under the Fund's Emergency Financing Mechanism (EFM)".
"The report confirms the preliminary conclusions of the interim mission. In particular, the program appears to be broadly on track as authorities are making considerable progress in putting public finances on a sustainable path and are implementing major reforms, including of the pension system, ahead of schedule," the report said, adding that a more comprehensive review of the program is scheduled for July 26-August 6, 2010.
"Completion of this comprehensive review by the Fund's Executive Board -expected in early September- will make the next tranche under the stand-by arrangement of SDR 2.1627 billion (about US$3.27 billion) available to the Greek authorities," the IMF press release said.
According to a five-point Executive Summary of the report:
With regard to the overall strategy of the program: "The authorities are making progress to put the public finances on a sustainable path, complemented with structural reforms to boost competitiveness and growth, while seeking an equitable distribution of the adjustment burden across all levels of society and protecting the most vulnerable."
In the second point, the report states that: "Economic activity is declining as expected with the downturn projected to become more acute as the year goes on. The decline is led by cuts in government spending, with some latent buoyancy in private consumption. Inflation is running higher than expected as indirect tax increases are not (even partially) absorbed in margins. Unit labor costs are, however, moderating considerably, and unemployment is rising."
In the third point: "State budget implementation is on track with good expenditure control. However, hospitals and social security funds present clear risks, as do financial pressures in public enterprises. These three areas are not directly controlled by the state budget and require more attention. The pension reform contains significant reductions in future pension costs, even though it is not clear that the authorities can bring them down from 12.5 ppts of GDP before the reform to 2.5 ppts in one step, as aimed in the program. A full actuarial assessment of the reform will take more time than foreseen in the program."
In the fourth point: "Banks face continued liquidity pressures and some solvency erosion but plans are in place to deal with this. Sharp downgrades of the sovereign led to margin calls on collateralized borrowing. Deposits also are quite soft. That said, the European Central Bank (ECB) is assisting Greek banks to tide them over the liquidity crunch. NPLs are rising but banks' capital remains well above the regulatory minimum and the Financial Stability Fund is nearly in place."
In the fifth point: "Structural reforms are progressing. The authorities announced a privatization program, labor reforms, a local government reform, and initiatives to liberalize closed professions. They are ahead of schedule in setting up a public sector employment and wage census."
The report further notes that the IMF is "encouraged by the progress so far in view of the difficult situation the country faces", noting that the first full review of the program will be conducted during a mission to Athens at end-July, and Board discussion of this review is planned for early September.
 Droutsas meets with Turkish FM on sidelines of OSCE meeting in AlmatyAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas had a series of bilateral meetings in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on the sidelines of an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) foreign ministers' meeting on Friday.
Droutsas met with EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy Baroness Catherine Ashton, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Spain, Serbia, Israel and Turkey, and with US deputy secretary of state James Steinberg.
During his meeting with Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Droutsas brought up the recent moves of the Turkish vessel Piri Reis inside the continental shelf of Greek islands, stressing the inconsistency between Turkey's statements and actions. He warned that Ankara's recent actions undermine the prospects for improvement of Greek-Turkish relations and bilateral cooperation.
Droutsas further stressed Greece's continued desire for normalization of relations with Turkey and progress in the issue of delimitation of the Aegean continental shelf through exploratory contacts, pointing out, however, that recent actions, and particularly the appearance of the Piri Reis in the Greek continental shelf not only do not contribute to improvement of relations but instead contain the risk of annulment of the entire effort.
During the meeting of the ministers of the 56 OSCE member countries acknowledged the Corfu Process as the legacy of last year's Greek presidency of the organisation for enhancing security in the European area.
At the OSCE ministerial meeting in Athens last year, at the Greek presidency's initiative, the ministers adopted a Political Declaration on the Corfu Process and relevant ministerial decision for development of the Process, establishing the Greek initiative officially as an OSCE process.
It was also decided during the meeting that the next OSCE Summit meeting will be held in the Kazakhstan capital Astana, 11 years after the previous summit, which was held in Istanbul in 1999.
 KKE leader in KavalaCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga called for the creation of a "movement of objection" against all those seeking political authority, speaking in Kavala on Saturday night, and adding that an important landmark in this collective effort will be the forthcoming local government elections in November.
Papariga said that the municipal elections will be a big opportunity to forge a different correlation of forces among the people, who should choose candidates who "will not cover up but reveal".
She said that the wider region of eastern Macedonia and Thrace has been the recipient of "tons of promises and misleading developmental visions" in the past years, but today was in a bad state, stressing that the working people in the region must realise that their problems are the result of the general policy followed in Greece in recent years by all the governments.
From the moment the crisis broke out, "tons of lies" have been have been said so as to disorient them from who is to blame for the crisis and why. "We continuously hear that the growth made in Greece was accomplished with borrowed money and that the social state that was created was also founded on borrowed money," she said, but this was not so.
"Growth in Greece was founded on the work and contribution of the working people, on the production and services of the working people. This growth led to large profitability and concentration of capital. It was, therefore, a growth that was not founded on borrowed money but on the looting of the people's toil," Papariga stressed.
Commenting on developments in the banking sector, Papariga said that ruling PASOK had, before the elections, championed extensive mergers, privatisations and buyouts. "The buyouts and mergers are the law of the capitalist system itself. But the privatisation of ATEbank concerns us because the farming land and many cooperatives are mortgaged there," she continued, referring to Piraeus Bank's recent proposal to acquire the state's major shareholdings in the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATEbank) and the TT-Hellenic Postbank.
She further criticised the government's policy on the Aegean and Greek-Turkish relations, charging that the government was silently advancing an agreement for rendering an area of the Aegean Sea "neutral", in accordance with Turkey's wishes, "and this is very worrying for our national interests".
 Papariga continues tour of Eastern Macedonia and ThraceCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga held a press conference in the northern Greek city of Komotini on Sunday, during which she noted that Eastern Macedonia and Thrace were the regions with the highest unemployment in all of Greece and among the poorest regions of the European Union.
Papariga continued her tour of the region by visiting Sostis in the prefecture of Rodopi, where she met with the mayor and municipal council and with local cherry and tobacco farmers.
KKE's leader said her party had always considered measures for the development of the region to be "aspirins" and "measures with an expiry date" since industrial units were set up were at the expense of smaller business and then either shut down or relocated to Bulgaria and Romania where labour costs were lower.
She urged people "to support the formation of a strong front for struggle and not the 'powdered', aged, rotten and outdated political system".
"The people must set a course that will bring another bloc of political forces to power," she stressed, adding that such forces could be strengthened through a strong KKE and by developing a strong movement of opposition and power".
 SYN decides action planThe Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) Central Political Committee on Saturday concluded a two-day meeting for drafting the party's action plan up to the local government elections in November.
The party's aim is to render the elections a vehicle for manifestation of the citizens' displeasure with the government's policy through backing candidates who have raised their voices against the Memorandum signed with the EU and the IMF.
A decision was also taken for a series of actions to highlight the unifying role that the party and the SYN-led Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary alliance can play in the wider area of the Left.
The Central Political Committee further decided to organise a rally and protest march during the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in September, where the prime minister traditionally unveils economic policy for the following year, and to begin an informational campaign for and participation in a Europe-wide labor strike that has been called for September 29.
A series of activities was also planned on social and environmental problems.
The meeting was addressed on Friday by party leader and SYRIZA parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras.
 Loverdos on soc. sec. systemThe social security system requires constant navigation, employment and social security minister Andreas Loverdos said, adding that the government is not making any change "that will lead directly to 2060", but "we need to constantly measure and adjust it," speaking in an interview appearing in the Free Sunday newspaper.
"We never concealed the risk that certain social security agencies are facing," he stressed.
 Greece to assist stranded Goldtrail touristsThe Greek culture and tourism ministry on Sunday ordered national tourism organisation (GNTO) offices throughout the country to offer every possible assistance to some 4,000 tourists left stranded in Greece by the collapse of the Goldtrail travel agency based in southwest London.
The UK travel agency specialising in trips to Greece and Turkey suddenly folded earlier this week, so that tourists already in the country lost their return tickets, while several will require assistance with somewhere to stay until they can go home.
Among the destinations offered by Goldtrail were Rhodes, Corfu, Kos and Crete.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that it is making arrangements so that all the Goldtrail customers will be able to fly home after the end of their holiday. Meanwhile, those booked to fly out of Britain for holidays abroad were asked to contact their travel agents since Goldtrail has cancelled all its flights and the tickets already issued are no longer valid.
Reports from Greek airports on Sunday said that the return of Goldtrail customers from destinations on the Greek islands was progressing smoothly, without any particular problems, mainly on flights by the UK airline Viking.
The head of the GNTO office on Corfu Petros Mouhlianitis told the ANA-MPA that another 340 Goldtrail passengers were due to depart on Monday without any problems.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.310
Pound sterling 0.852
Danish kroner 7.510
Swedish kroner 9.556
Japanese yen 113.44
Swiss franc 1.365
Norwegian kroner 8.117
Canadian dollar 1.369
Australian dollar 1.493
 Fires in NE Attica, rest of country recedingThe fire fronts in northeastern Attica that broke out at noon Saturday, as well as a spate of other fires throughout the country, were reported as receding early Sunday morning.
According to the Fire Brigade's operations center, several minor pockets were burning in the main fire between Mikrochori (Kalamos), Kapandriti and Varnavas but without an active front, after destroying an estimated 8,000 stremma (2,000 acres) of pine forest before being contained by an immense ground and aerial team.
The fire broke out around noon in a ravine between Kalamos and Varnava, and was quickly fanned by high winds, with an immense force of more than 340 firefighters on the ground, with 60 fire engines and assisted by 11 water-dropping planes and four helicopters, two regiments on foot and 14 water trucks from surrounding municipalities, as well as a strong police contingent, volunteers and locals racing against time to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby Varnava Forest and contain the front before nightfall.
There were several rekindlings throughout the night, threatening homes, but the buildings were saved by firefighters, EMAK emergency operations teams, volunteers and locals, while fire-fighting planes and helicopters resumed operation at the first light of day.
A total of 327 firefighters with 61 fire engines, 122 soldiers, 22 water trucks of the surrounding municipalities and 22 water trucks from the Civil Protection services and a large number of volunteers were on the spot as of dawn Sunday.
An estimated 2,000 acres of pine forest have been burned, as well as a 40 sq.m. hospice, but the full extent of the damage will be calculated after the fire is fully extinguished, with the use of aerial photographs.
Local residents have charged that the fire was an act of arson, and prosecutor Dimitris Gyzis has opened an investigation into the causes of the Attica fires, whether they were due to negligence, accident or intent, while a report on an investigation by the Fire Brigade will also be forthcoming. Experts have also been called in to examine a Public Power Corporation (PPC) medium-voltage pylon with transformer that was found fallen at the point where the fire began.
The Fire Brigade is on general alert on Sunday in Attica and neighboring Evia prefectures, due to high temperatures and strong winds forecast for the day.
A second major, but less threatening, fire also broke out at noon Saturday at Punta Zeza in Lavrion, towards Sounion, causing the evacuation of homes and several children's summer camps for precautionary reasons, although no buildings were at risk from the fire.
A strong ground force, assisted by aerial means, managed to break up the fire into smaller pockets by late Saturday.
Two more fires broke out later Saturday at Aghios Nikonas in the Mani, on the border between the prefectures of Lakonia and Messinia, and at Aghios Petros, Kynouria, at Parnona, on the border of Lakonia and Arkadia prefectures.
More than 50 fires broke out throughout the country on Saturday, according to estimates.
 Environment ministry promises reforestation for NE Attica areas burnt on SaturdayAll the areas of northeast Attica burnt during Saturday's fire will be immediately included in reforestation programmes, the environment ministry said in an announcement on Sunday.
The announcement said that roughly 80 percent of Attica has already been covered in a project to draw up and ratify maps of forests in the prefecture. The mapping of the remaining 20 percent is still in the process of being put up for tender and is due to be completed soon, so that ratified forest maps will be produced that will help protect burnt areas from any change of use, such as illegal occupation and unauthorised building.
 Fires in Salamina, MegaraTwo new fires broke out on Sunday afternoon in Salamina and Megara.
The fire in Megara broke out on Mt. Kantyli in a forested area, and was not threatening any residential regions, according to the Fire Brigade.
A team of 33 firefighters with 33 fire engines, assisted by a water-dropping helicopter, was battling the blaze.
The Samalina fire broke out in the Ambelakia settlement, and nearby houses were at risk.
The fire was burning dry brush, and a team of 30 firefighters with 10 fire engines, assisted by three water-dropping planes and a helicopter, was battling the blaze.
 New forest fire at Agios Georgios in KynouriaAnother forest fire broke out in Greece on Sunday, starting in the region of Agios Georgios in Kynouria in the late afternoon. A contingent of firemen with six fire engines has been deployed to contain the blaze, assisted by two fire-fighting aircraft.
The blaze was quickly placed under control, with fire fighting forces now striving to fully extinguish it.
 Two arrested on charges of setting fire in Ano Souli, GrammatikosA 27-year-old Albanian truck driver and a 37-year-old Greek man riding with him were arrested as suspects for starting the fire that began in Ano Souli, Grammatikos in Attica at 14:12 on Saturday.
The arrest was made by the fire brigade's department for combatting crimes of arson while a major fire was still underway at Mikrohori and Varnava in Attica.
The Albanian national is accused of throwing a lit cigarette from his car that set fire to dry grass on the roadside, in spite of the fire brigade's appeal for exceptional caution due to the high risk for fires.
The fire that broke out was promptly extinguished by the fire brigade and the arrest was made shortly afterward based on evidence arising from the fire brigade's investigation.
The 27-year-old stands accused of setting fire to forest through negligence and his companion for harbouring a criminal and giving false testimony because he tried to cover up for his colleague.
 Memorial service in Athens for fallen in 1974 Cyprus invasionA memorial service for the fallen during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey was held in Athens on Sunday, at Agios Dionysus Church.
Among those attending was Parliament Vice-President Grigoris Niotis, Alternate Defence Minister Panagiotis Beglitis, main opposition New Democracy MP Eliza Vozenberg, the ambassador of Cyprus in Athens, representatives of the Greek Armed Forces and representatives of the political parties in Greece and Cyprus.
 Athens Festival: 'Prometheus in Athens' by Rimini ProtokollAn innovative, contemporary performance, a take-off on Aeschylus' 'Prometheus Bound', the first play of the Prometheus Trilogy and the only one of the three that has survived intact, was staged at the ancient Herod Atticus open-air theater in Athens by the Rimini Protokoll group, titled "Prometheus in Athens", and directed by Daniel Wetzel and Helgard Haug.
Dissolving the boundaries between reality and myth, the pioneering documentary theater group Rimini Protokoll explores here the effects ancient tragedy has on contemporary life: Who identifies with Prometheus and who with Io? Who with Hermes and who with Oceanus?
One hundred Athenians, representing Athens in statistical terms of age, sex, district and nationality, declare their similarities to - and differences from - the tragic heroes on stage. Prometheus is only the beginning. From him spring 100 Athenian voices, each representing 40,000 Athenians, turning Aeschylus' "Prometheus" into a source of questions and revealing unheard statistical facts on stage.
"Rimini Protokoll show people who have experiences with the disposition to durable sufferings; who see themselves as well in a situation of uncompromising insurgency; people who understand their jobs as a continuation of the "promethean effort" to improve the human future; those who execute uneasily but consequently the power of the state; those who are on the run; those who think to have broken a law for the sake of others; and people who perceive god as a more important legislator than civic society," according to the group itself.
"Prometheus in Athens", a contribution by Helgard Haug and Daniel Wetzel to the 'Promethiade' at the Athens Festival this year, "can only take place in Athens: In the center of the city, a stone's throw away from the center of the Athenian theater-democracy, for which the 'Prometheus'-trilogy was once written," the directors say.
 Illegal migrants, smugglers arrestedThree migrant smugglers and seven illegal migrants were arrested by Feres border guards in the Evros region on Friday, police said.
The border guards stopped a vehicle driven by one of the smugglers, with the seven illegal migrants on board, arresting all eight, while they also arrested a second smuggler on foot and a third smuggler, who was driving a second car and was headed to pick up more illegal migrants.
A preliminary investigation turned up that the two vehicles had been stolen in the prefectures of Attica and Fthiotis.
 Migrant smuggler, illegan migrants arrestedA migrant smuggler and six illegal migrants were arrested in Nea Karvali, Kavala, by Kodyli border guard police on Sunday.
The 27-year-old smuggler, who was carrying six illegal migrants in his car, refused to stop for a police check and attempted to escape, but was caught by police, who seized his car and two cell phones.
The seven detainees will appear before a Xanthi prosecutor.
 Man arrested for child pornA 27-year-old man was arrested by Thessaloniki police on Saturday for child pornography files in his PC.
In a surprise search of the man's home, police confiscated his PC, which contained nine child pornography files, including an internationally-disseminated file that the detainee had downloaded via special share-file software and disseminated to other net users.
The detainee will be taken before a local public prosecutor.
 Sunny on Monday, rain from the afternoonSunny weather with the possibility of local showers and storms from the afternoon is forecast on Monday. Winds from mainly northerly directions, light to moderate, with temperatures ranging from lows of 19C to peaks of 36C. Sunny in Attica with temperatures from 23C to 36C. Cloudy with a chance of rain in Thessaloniki, temperatures ranging from 23C to 32C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceDevelopments in the banking sector and the course of the economy in general were the main front-page items in Athens' Sunday newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "180,000 civil servants to receive 'marching orders'."
APOGEVMATINI: "Winners and losers - Public sector social security changes - The new retirement ages".
AVGHI: "Are we again to pay for the banks' crisis? Government at critical crossroads".
AVRIANI: "As 64 percent of the public rejects the entire political scenery, opinion polls show steep drop in PASOK's popularity".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government producing new debts through direct assignments (of hospital supplies)".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The State engine is sputtering".
ETHNOS: "We openly encourage the restructuring of banks - George Papaconstantinou (finance minister) opens up his cars, in interview".
KATHIMERINI: "Questions and objections on (Piraeus Bank proposal to acquire the State's holdings in) ATEbank and TT-Hellenic Postbank".
PARON: "Acquisition (of ATEbank and TT-Hellenic Postbank by Piraeus Bank) freezes after strong reactions in government and (ruling party) PASOK".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Public childcare stations unable to cover the needs of the working families - Huge blame for PASOK and ND".
TO VIMA: "National Bank preparing super deal - Winks at Alpha Bank and Eurobank".
VRADYNI: "The retirement ages for women and mothers of minors".
 Spokesman: President's proposals to the benefit of allNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said over the weekend that the proposals announced Thursday by President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias on Famagusta and the international conference on Cyprus, give a strong motive to the EU to be more engaged and to demand Turkey's cooperation for the implementation of those proposals.
"President Christofias has again announced a new package of proposals which is in the interests of the international community, the EU and Turkey," he said.
Describing the proposals as balanced, he said they are to the benefit of all sides.
"For this reason, Turkey can have a motive to cooperate for the implementation of those proposals and thus give a strong impetus to its EU accession course and to the achievement of a solution in Cyprus", he pointed out.
He said that Nicosia wishes for a more active EU involvement in Cyprus, noting that Turkey's EU accession can work as a catalyst so that Ankara cooperates in efforts to reach a solution in Cyprus.
Stephanou recalled that the December 2009 EU Council had noted that Turkey had not yet fulfilled its obligations towards Cyprus, despite Turkish statements for a solution soon.
Cyprus, he said, continues its intensive efforts to achieve a solution and undertakes initiatives.
Asked whether there will be a new procedure similar to the one in Buergenstock, Switzerland, in 2004, Stephanou said that "it has been stated that if we don't accept Turkey's proposal we will have a new Buergenstock.''
''I would like to stress that Turkey has made one proposal, reiterated recently by its Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, which is actually a new Buergenstock,' he added.
Saying that the Republic of Cyprus has rejected this proposal, he noted that Nicosia has proposed something to which the UN Secretary General refers to in his latest report on his good offices in Cyprus.
"If and when he deems that an international conference can take place for the resolution of the international aspects of the Cyprus problem, this must be done", he went on to say.
He explained that the Cypriot President is in favour of an international conference, organised by the UN with the participation of the five permanent UN Security Council members, the EU, the guarantor powers, the Republic of Cyprus and the two communities of Cyprus, in order to solve the international aspects of the Cyprus issue.
The Spokesman said that Cyprus continues its efforts for the resolution of the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, noting that "the solution, as we have agreed with the UN Secretary General, must be mutually acceptable, the two leaders must agree and the agreed solution will then be subject to approval by the two communities in two separate referenda".
Asked about the EU proposed direct trade regulation of the EU countries with the Turkish Cypriot community, Stephanou stressed that the regulation is not based on a correct legal or political basis.
He recalled that the conclusions of the April 2006 EU Foreign Ministers' Council note that measures must be taken so that Turkish Cypriots can benefit from Cyprus' EU accession with a view to reunify Cyprus. The direct trade regulation, he stressed, does not work in favour of the reunification of Cyprus.
"The proposed direct trade regulation serves the division of the island", he pointed out.
He noted that the President's proposal is based on UN Security Council resolution 550 of 1984 which since then remains unimplemented due to Turkey's refusal to respect it.
Stephanou added that this proposal can give Turkish Cypriots the possibility to enhance their relations with the EU and give the Union a motive to act to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community.
On Thursday, the Cypriot President announced three proposals on the Cyprus issue. The first suggests the linking of the discussion of three of the chapters of the Cyprus problem, those dealing with property, territory and immigration, for easing the resolution of the thorny chapter of properties and for expediting the dialogue.
The second proposal urges Turkey to apply UN Security Council resolution 550, which calls for the transfer of the fenced off area of Varosha, in Famagusta, to the administration of the United Nations. Part of this proposal is the opening of the port of Famagusta under EU auspices to benefit the Turkish Cypriots.
The third proposal is to convene an international conference when within range of an agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem.
Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
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