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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-03-16

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Visitors flood Patras for annual carnival
  • [02] Main opposition chief wants to see greater European role in Balkans
  • [03] PM welcomes outcome of EU summit
  • [04] Italian trawler caught fishing illegally off Corfu
  • [05] Minister of the Aegean to visit Australia
  • [06] Australia Post says mail to Greece has gone astray
  • [07] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud, showers on Sunday
  • [08] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

  • [01] Visitors flood Patras for annual carnival

    16/03/2002 20:14:21

    Thousands of visitors poured into Patras in summer-like weather on Saturday for the start of the western port city's annual carnival, the largest in Greece.

    The carnival peaks on Sunday with a major parade through the city centre, this year featuring Poseidon, the sea god of ancient Greek mythology.

    Hoteliers reported that hotels were filled to capacity.

    [02] Main opposition chief wants to see greater European role in Balkans

    16/03/2002 20:00:46

    The leader of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party, Costas Karamanlis, said in an interview released on Saturday that Europe should have a greater presence in the Balkans.

    ''In the final analysis, we're talking about territory that belongs to Europe,'' Karamanlis told the Spanish News Agency in an interview.

    ''We believe that Europe must step up its presence and take more decisive steps until a common foreign and defence policy emerges, both in this region and in other areas in conflict like the Middle East,'' said the ND leader, who is also vice president of the European People's Party (EPP).

    Greece, a member of the European Union and NATO located at the Balkan crossroads, should also assume a more active and effective role in the region, Karamanlis noted.

    He criticised the government for delays in activating its reconstruction plan for southeastern Europe, which had been announced two years ago but only now reached parliament.

    Karamanlis was speaking before an EPP meeting he was due to attend in Barcelona.

    [03] PM welcomes outcome of EU summit

    16/03/2002 19:24:41

    BARCELONA (ANA/M.Spinthourakis) - Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Saturday welcomed the outcome of a two-day European Union summit held in the middle of Spain's six-month rotating presidency of the 15-nation bloc.

    Speaking to reporters, Simitis said that Greece wanted to see a compromise settlement emerge soon on ties between the EU and NATO on the operation of a European army.

    The settlement on access to NATO facilities for a European rapid reaction force should neither hurt the EU's autonomy nor discriminate against member or candidate states, Simitis noted

    ''If guarantees are given to any third country, then the principle of reciprocity must be applied, that is to say analagous guarantees for each country involved,'' he said.

    The prime minister addded that he was pleased the issue was now being debated within existing EU structures, emphasing that any solution reached should be definitive, with no need of further procedures.

    ''The autonomy of the European Union must be ensured in terms of its decision-making processes as well as the EU's equal status with NATO within their cooperation,'' Simitis said.

    Leaders at the summit also agreed that the EU should be ready in the near future to take over peacekeeping operations from NATO in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) if the mission needed to continue.

    Simitis said that the EU could take over if the question of ties with NATO was resolved, and if a request for continuation of the operation was received from the government to emerge in FYROM after national elections, expected in the autumn of 2002.

    In order to settle the issue, consultations would be held in coming weeks involving Greece, the EU's Spanish presidency and the bloc's defence representative, the prime minister added.

    Energy pact to spur growth

    Turning to a decision by EU leaders to back new rules allowing industry and business to choose among freely competing gas and electricity suppliers by 2004, Simitis welcomed the move as a spur to growth.

    On EU economic and social policy, he said that Greece would use its rotating presidency of the EU next year to tackle delays in attaining real convergence in the bloc and coordinating policy among member states.

    Greece had begun preparations for a spring summit during its presidency in the first half of 2003, Simitis added.

    The prime minister also indicated that the government would pay special attention to assistance for small and medium sized enterprises, which are the backbone of Greek industry. Aid for the sector would help to boost growth and create jobs in the EU.

    In addition, the prime minister welcomed the fact that the summit had not set 65 years as the minimum pensionable age, saying that retirement should depend on the number of years worked.

    Furthermore, incentives should be offered for the relatively elderly to remain in the labour market, accompanied by disincentives to early retirement.

    Other points at the summit backed by Simitis were setting a goal of a fully deregulated market in public utilities that would give retail consumers free choice with no geographical limits; a decision to sign the Kyoto environmental protection pact; a pledge to boost humanitarian aid to third countries; and a resolution backing the right of Palestinians to a state while guranteeing the security of Israel.

    [04] Italian trawler caught fishing illegally off Corfu

    16/03/2002 17:06:24

    An Italian skipper and three crewmen were arrested off Corfu for illegally fishing in Greek territorial waters, the merchant marine ministry said on Saturday.

    The captain of the Italian-flagged trawler, the Maria Concetta III, was identified as Giuseppe Mirabella, the ministry said in a statement.

    A patrol by Corfu Harbour Corps. located the trawler five nautical miles west of Ermones on Friday. Permission to fish in Greek waters had not been obtained, the statement added.

    The four seamen are due to appear before a public prosecutor on Saturday.

    [05] Minister of the Aegean to visit Australia

    16/03/2002 16:47:44

    MELBOURNE (ANA) - Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis is to visit Australia at the beginning of April, invited by the National Centre for Greek Studies and Research.

    During the visit, which begins on April 6, Sifounakis will present his book, ''The Wanderings of Odysseus'' and hold talks with politicians in Melbourne.

    [06] Australia Post says mail to Greece has gone astray

    16/03/2002 16:37:14

    MELBOURNE (ANA) - Australia Post said on Saturday that seven mail bags destined for Greece had gone missing before Christmas.

    In a statement, the postal authority said it was unclear whether the bags, containing letters and packages sent from Sidney, Melbourne and Adelaide, had been lost, stolen or sent to the wrong country.

    The matter, which was first uncovered by ethnic Greeks in Australia, was being investigated, the statement added.

    [07] Weather Forecast: Scattered cloud, showers on Sunday

    16/03/2002 15:36:40

    Scattered cloud and showers are forecast in many parts of the country. The west, Thrace and eastern Aegean will see sunshine. Winds north-northeasterly, light to strong, turning very strong to gale force in the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from 3C to 14C; in the west from 5C to 19C; and in the Aegean from 7C to 17C. Light cloud in Athens with temperatures between 6C and 17C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 5C to 14C.

    [08] Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday

    16/03/2002 14:53:30

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro until Monday

    U.S. dollar 0.892

    Pound sterling 0.626

    Danish kroner 7.492

    Swedish kroner 9.206

    Japanese yen 115.0

    Swiss franc 1.473

    Norwegian kroner 7.829

    Cyprus pound 0.580

    Canadian dollar 1.421

    Australian dollar 1.701


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