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Athens News Agency: News in English, 03-05-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Christodoulakis, Barnier discuss details of CSFs16/05/2003 22:40:41
Issues pertaining to the European Unions Second and Third Community Support Framework (CSF) have been central to a meeting on Friday between Greeces Finance Minister and current ECOFIN president Nikos Christodoulakis and EU Regional Policy Commissioner Michel Barnier.
The meeting, held on the sidelines of an informal EU Council on Regional Policy in Halkidiki, also examined the preparation of the Fourth CSF, to be in effect 2007-2013, following the admission of the ten new member-states in May 2004.
With regard to the Second CSF, after the closing of the package in the member-states, the final data will be available at the end of June 2003, when the Commission would have concluded its inspections of the files of 700 projects and actions of a total cost of eight billion euros.
According to current data, Greece is expected to 'miss out' on approximately 360 million euros, which Christodoulakis said represents 2-2.5 percent of the total funds of the specific CSF.
Barnier said that the loss for other EU member-states would range between 0.7 percent and 10 percent of the allocated community funds.
Speaking during a joint press conference after the end of the informal Regional Policy Council, Christodoulakis and Barnier referred to the Fourth CSF.
Referring to the regions of the CSFs ?Target 1?, which includes Greece, Barnier said that following EU enlargement, other states would be added to the same target-region. He said that the major part of the Fourth CSFs budget would be directed to new member-states.
Referring to the Fourth CSF, Christodoulakis said that Greece would claim the funds needed to achieve a greater degree of convergence with other EU member-states.
 Greek PM, FM discuss major EU issues, Cyprus problem16/05/2003 22:39:30
In a lengthy meeting lasting nearly three hours, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Friday discussed all the major issues that are likely to occupy the European Union during the last six weeks of the Greek EU presidency and in the run-up to the Thessaloniki summit in June.
In statements afterward, Papandreou said they had covered a range of issues, including the debate on the future of Europe and the draft EU Constitution, the European prospects of Balkan countries after they met the Copenhagen criteria and immigration, which he said was still a priority concern.
The meeting also focused on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, in view of a visit to Athens by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos to Athens in 10 days time, and a meeting between Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Brussels on Thursday, in which the Greek minister raised the issue of Turkish airspace violations above the Aegean.
According to Papandreou, Greece's policy on this issue was ''characterised by consistency and cohesion'' while he stressed that Turkey's European process was extremely significant and that it would have to meet the criteria that applied to all EU candidate-countries, namely respect for international law and the principles of good neighbourliness.
 Greek PM to visit UK, Ireland, Slovenia next week16/05/2003 22:37:05
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be in London during the coming week to prepare for a conference on progressive government taking place in the city on July 11-12, government spokesman Christos Protopapas said on Friday.
On his way back from the UK, meanwhile, the Greek premier will make stops in Dublin on Friday week and Ljubljana on Saturday for talks with his Irish and Slovenian counterparts.
He will travel to London on Tuesday, spend Wednesday on preparations for the conference and meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday.
 Biggest seizure yet of fake 2004 merchandise reported here16/05/2003 22:35:58
The largest ever haul of bootleg Athens 2004 Olympics merchandise reported on Friday, two days after authorities raided a central Athens importers warehouse.
Some 13,500 T-shirts and other clothing featuring the 2004 Games emblem as well as the official mascots, Phevos and Athena, were seized in raid. According to reports, arrest warrants have been issued against the owners of the unnamed firm.
The raid comes before the summer tourism season, when sales of 2004 merchandise are expected to pick up dramatically. Athens organizers (ATHOC) have already warned consumers to check for the items authenticity, as a tag featuring a hologram of ATHOCs emblem accompany official 2004 item.
 Police on the trail of international ring of con-artists targetting banks16/05/2003 22:34:40
Two foreign nationals now in custody for stealing large sums from an Athens bank using a con trick could be part of an international band of con-artists that had hit a number of banks in Greece in the past 14 months, police said.
Mexican national Rodriguez Sanchez, 45, and Puerto Rican Roberto Vertuzo, 35, are now being held by police after their hide-out in Neos Kosmos was discovered by a passing member of the public, who tailed them back there after they had stolen some 38,715 euros and 200 Cyprus pounds for a Cyprus Bank branch in Kallithea on Thursday.
Police are now searching for a third man who evaded capture, Costa Rican Alphonso Octavio, who is suspected as their accomplice, while they also suspect a woman might be involved.
Apart from the theft on Thursday, the band is also suspected of having hit at least nine banks using the same method, each time walking away with large sums of money.
The two men arrested were led before an Athens public prosecutor.
 Greek EU presidency proposes spurring use of public transport16/05/2003 21:11:58
Greece's European Union presidency onFriday proposed that the bloc should improve public transport and encourage its use in order to help reduce urban traffic congestion.
The policy would protect the environment, save energy, and reduce problems stemming from traffic jams, said the presidency's proposal, presented at an informal meeting of EU transport ministers held aboard a ship plying Greek waters.
The proposal was endorsed with minor amendments.
According to officials, the number of automobiles circulating in the European Union has tripled to 175 million. The cost of traffic congestion is 80 billion euros annually, representing 1.0 percent of the EU's gross domestic product.
The plan includes incentives to the public to leave their cars at home and use public transport in urban areas.
It also contains proposals on raising cash to fund the expansion of public transport and new infrastructure.
The measures to aid circulation would include extending the use of bus lanes and giving circulation priority to public transport, Greek Transport Minister Christos Verelis said.
The ministers agreed that a common EU policy on public transport was needed.
 Prince Charles returns to London following 5-day stay at Mount Athos16/05/2003 19:56:54
Britain's Prince Charles, on board the yacht ''Rio Rita'' owned by the Latsis family, returned to the northern Greek city of Kavala on Friday following a five-day visit to the Vatopedion monastery at the autonomous all-male monastic community of Mount Athos, also known as the 'Holy Mount'.
After arriving at Kavala's ''Philippos'' port, the prince headed for Kavala's 'Megas Alexandros' airport where he boarded a Boing 737 flight for London.
 Foreign Exchange Rates - Monday16/05/2003 18:42:21
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank
U.S. dollar 1.158
Pound sterling 0.712
Danish kroner 7.483
Swedish kroner 9.222
Japanese yen 134.6
Swiss franc 1.519
Norwegian kroner 7.916
Cyprus pound 0.591
Canadian dollar 1.589
Australian dollar 1.787
 Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny on Saturday16/05/2003 18:33:33
The day will be sunny in most parts of the country, with showers and storms in the north, soon easing off. Winds northerly, light. On the northern mainland, temperatures will range from 12C to 26C; on the rest of the mainland from 14C to 30C; and in the islands from 16C to 28C. Temperatures in Athens between 17C and 29C; and in Thessaloniki from 16C to 26C.
 ASE jumps above 1,750 level on Friday16/05/2003 16:42:29
Greek stocks ended higher on Friday supported by renewed buying interest for blue chips, particularly banks, pushing the general index slightly above the 1,750 technical resistance level in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index rose 1.02 percent to end at 1,750.97 points, with turnover an improved 120.4 million euros. The index ended the week with a net gain of 2.23 percent.
The Textile, IT and Wholesale sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (4.04 percent, 3.43 percent and 2.84 percent, respectively), while the Telecommunications, Construction and Metal sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.33 percent, 0.31 percent and 0.26 percent).
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks jumped 1.22 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 1.40 percent, the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.49 percent higher and the wider FTSE/ASE 140 index rose 1.28 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 258 to 61 with another 43 issues unchanged.
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