Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-04-07
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 07/04/1997 (ANA)
- Papandreou proposes referendums on EU issues
- Papandreou discusses Greek position on Albania force
- Italian Undersecretay says governments agree
- Government says no crisis with Italy
- Greek Commissioner comments on Italy's role
- Greek businesses in Albania damaged
- Illegal immigrants deported
- Albanian shot dead in Crete
- German woman dies on yacht
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Papandreou proposes referendums on EU issues
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou proposed that Europe-wide
referendums be held on major issues, as a heated debate among European
Union Foreign Ministers continued today in Noordwijk over the question of
re-shaping European institutions, according to an ANA dispatch from the
Papandreou said such a move would be a step towards deepening EU institutions
and could become a democratic procedure "that would go beyond national
boundaries and give a precise indication of the desires of the peoples in
EU member states".
Particularly with regard to the question of reducing the number of
Commissioners (which now has 20 seats), Papandreou noted that the plethora
of views on the issue were often conflicting. Greece has favoured equal
representation of all member states. The issue is to be raised again at a
General Affairs Council in Luxembourg at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, with regard to the question of employment, Papandreou reported
there had been a "conflict between progressive and conservative forces".
The former, he said, proposed the introduction of an employment chapter in
the revised treaty as well as the formulation of a "social contract".
Informed sources say Britain and Spain were against such a move, while
smaller states, including Greece, were in favour.
The current Dutch presidency of the EU council, facing a tight schedule to
ready the revised treaty by June, are to call an ad hoc meeting for 23 May
when they will present the completed plan for a new treaty of Maastricht.
Papandreou discusses Greek position on Albania force
Greece's position on the deployment of a multinational peace force to
secure aid to Albania was received positively by Italian Foreign Undersecretary
for European Affairs Piero Fassino in a meeting this morning with Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou, according to an ANA report from
Papandreou, who met with Fassino this morning on the sidelines of a
European Union meeting on the Albanian issue, reiterated Greece's proposal
for a "mixed presence" of the Greek troops in various areas of Albania, a
view which Fassino promised to discuss with his government.
According to informed sources, details of the force's deployment are almost
finalised and it is expected to be ready to leave for Albania in about a
The foreign presence in Albania will be headed by the Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which will have a special
representative in Tirana. The EU will liaise with the OSCE representative
via its current presidency. The OSCE will also be in charge of observing
preparations for the June elections in Albania, while the EU will oversee
the distribution of humanitarian aid. Italy, meanwhile, is to head the
In a separate meeting with German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, Papandreou
discussed Turkey's relations with the EU and Greece, following Kinkel's
recent visit to Turkey.
According to informed sources, Kinkel told Papandreou that Turkey should be
oriented towards Europe, although the improvement of its relations with
Greece and positive developments in the Cyprus issue would do much to
improve Turkey-EU relations.
The Turkey-EU association council is due to meet at the end of April.
Italian Undersecretary says governments agree
Italian Foreign Undersecretary for European Affairs Piero Fassino told the
ANA in Noordwijk today that the Greek and Italian governments agreed in
general terms on issues related to the deployment of the multinational
force to Albania and that they were in continual contact with the other
states participating in the force.
"The governments of Greece and Italy agree and are cooperating with regard
to the deployment of the...force... which will be in charge of the
distribution of humanitarian aid," he told the ANA, adding that deployment
will begin on 14 April, although the final decision rests with the
Greece and Italy both supported the government of Prime Minister Bashkim
Fino, which should eventually assume full responsibility for governing
Albania, he added.
With regard to the European Union's general stance during the Albanian
crisis, Fassino admitted that at first the EU had not fully realised the
true dimensions of the crisis, but had later decided to commit itself more
deeply, particularly with the decisions reached at the EU council meeting
of 25 March.
Greece says no crisis with Italy
There is no question of a crisis in relations between Greece and Italy with
regard to the placement of the Greek corps in the multinational force in
Albania, according to acting government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis.
A discussion is currently under way in Rome on all related issues, he added,
noting that Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou had clearly set
out Greece's positions in his meeting with Italian Undersecretary for
European Affairs Piero Fassino.
Greek Commissioner comments on Italian role
Greece's European Commissioner Christos Papoutsis commented today on
Italy's stance regarding the deployment of the multinational force in
Albania, an issue which he said did not lend itself to competition between
member states of the European Union.
"The crisis in Albania is a dangerous one and is not an appropriate area of
competition between member states of the European Union. Italy is trying to
play such a role, while the Greek government has maintained a responsible
stance, since it has neither become involved in such competition, nor has
it become part of the Albanian crisis," said Papoutsis after a meeting this
morning with the main opposition New Democracy party's new leader
"Any intervention or promotion of views by the European Union or international
organisations should be made through institutional organs, and the
initiative should be with the presidency of the EU Council and the European
Commission," he continued, adding:
"If certain governments take their own initiatives, as Italy has done, that
is something which they themselves must judge, as to whether it is of
benefit to the general situation and general goals."
In response to a question regarding the outcome of the last elections in
Albania and the position of President Sali Berisha, Papoutsis said:
"It is the Albanian people who will judge the future of the political
situation...any solutions should be political ones, with a consensus of all
political parties, and should be aimed at promoting careful action on the
part of all interested parties."
Greek businesses in Albania destroyed
One in five Greek enterprises in Albania have been destroyed in the recent
insurrection, when armed gangs or individual looters made off with whatever
they could lay their hands on - even roof tiles, according to the ANA's
correspondent in Tirana.
An inventory being carried out by the Greek Embassy's commercial section
has so far recorded damages at 60 of the 250 Greek-owned businesses in
Albania. An embassy staff member said the damage to each of these was
valued at betweeen 200-400 million drachmas.
The Greek government is reportedly considering a special measure providing
for part of a 20 billion dr. loan to Albania to be set aside for the
restoration of property owned by Greek firms.
However, it is feared that continuing anarchy will make this task difficult,
as well as the fact that business owners are taking advantage of the
situation to declare non-existent losses. Most enterprises, including Greek-
owned ones, remain closed due to continuing fears of attacks by robbers.
Illegal immigrants deported
Three hundred and twenty Albanian illegal immigrants have been arrested by
Epirus police over the last three days and sent back over the border. Two
Iraqis and a Turk were also apprehended by soldiers as they crossed into
Greece from Albania.
Albanian shot dead in Crete
An Albanian has been killed and another two injured in a fight between two
rival gangs early this morning in Crete.
Leonidas Girtsos, 33 was shot dead and Monder Girtso, 22 and Vangelis
Kristo, 39 were injured in a shooting at Tymbaki, Iraklio. Four people have
been arrested and another three are being sought in connection with the
crime, which police attribute to a settling of accounts.
German woman dies on yacht
A German woman died after inhaling fumes from a fire which broke out on the
Italian-flagged yacht Flying Moon in the port of Leros shortly after
Sabine Trakse, 42, who was nine-months pregnant with twins, was rushed to
the local hospital in a comatose state. However, it was too late to save
either Trakse or her twins.
The fire, which had been extinguished by the local fire brigade and the
torpedo ship Konidis, later rekindled, sinking the yacht. An investigation
is being carried out by the Leros port authority.
Rain over most of the country, with snowfalls in mountain areas, clearing
gradually later in the day. Winds in the central and western areas will be
moderate to strong northerlies, strengthening later on. Temperatures in
Athens will be 6-13C and 3-7C in Thessaloniki.
Friday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 263.326
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German mark 157.093 Italian lira (100) 15.841
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