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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-03-27

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Karamanlis presses on with 'transparancy everywhere' campaign
  • [02] Alogoskoufis: State will retain minority stake in OTE, 'strategic alliances' possible
  • [03] Gov't promises to simplify tourist visa procedures for Russian nationals
  • [04] Molyviatis reiterates Athens' volition for mutually acceptable solution on FYROM 'name issue'

  • [01] Karamanlis presses on with 'transparancy everywhere' campaign

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Sunday appeared unwavering in his determination to combat so-called "vested interests" as well as corruption in the country, a pre-election "banner" he again unfurled during a high-profile event on Crete in honor of the large island's best-known 'native son', 20th century Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos.

    Karamanlis was the keynote speaker at Sunday's annual memorial ceremony at the tombs of Eleftherios and Sophocles Venizelos.

    "We have an obligation, and that's what we are doing, to clash with the vested interests and corruption that swelled to dangerous levels in recent years. In modern Greece the rules must be the same for all; to ensure transparency everywhere; to render the citizen dominant and to serve the common good," Karamanlis told an audience of Cabinet members, local officials and hundreds of Cretans gathered at the Akrotiri site, near the ancestral home of the Venizelos family outside of Hania.

    Moreover, Karamanlis reiterated that he stands by his promise of "re-establishing the state", referring to an obligation to make the east Mediterranean nation of roughly 11 million competitive in both Europe and the world.

    "Our country faces many and serious problems due to conservatism, inertia and a lack of daring in the past. It faces difficulties because of an increase in the public debt and deficits in the wider public sector," Karamanlis stressed.

    Amid a looming political skirmish with Brussels over a constitutional article and executive legislation regarding media ownership in the country as well as vociferous criticism by the main opposition on the subject, particularly on the so-called 'primary shareholder' law, Karamanlis ticked off a list of factors he said nurtured the country's problems.

    [02] Alogoskoufis: State will retain minority stake in OTE, 'strategic alliances' possible

    Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis referred to changes in the contract regime for all new employees hired by bourse-listed but still state-controlled enterprises and utilities, in an interview published on Sunday by an Athens daily.

    In outlining one of the government's priorities, Alogoskoufis said the labour regime applied for the private sector and inclusion in the primary Social Security Foundation (IKA) is envisioned for new employees in such entities.

    Moreover, he said a new law clearly delineating the boundaries between the public and private sectors will be implemented by the autumn. In specifically referring to the bourse-listed telephony utility, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), Alogoskoufis said the state will retain a 34-percent minority stake, although the prospect of a "strategic alliance" cannot be ruled out.

    The minister's interview was published in the Sunday edition of "Apogevmatini".

    [03] Gov't promises to simplify tourist visa procedures for Russian nationals

    The relevant deputy minister on Sunday announced that the government is simplifying tourist visa procedures for Russian nationals, a long-time demand by travel and tourism sector professionals.

    Deputy Tourism Minister Anastasios Liaskos made the statement in an address to members of the Federation of Thrace Hotels, who gathered in Alexandroupoli, the biggest city of the region in extreme northeast mainland Greece.

    Local officials and holiday sector professionals estimate that up to 11,000 Russian tourists will visit Evros Prefecture this season, following the debut of a direct Moscow-Alexandroupoli air link.

    [04] Molyviatis reiterates Athens' volition for mutually acceptable solution on FYROM 'name issue'

    Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Friday continued his official visit to the United States by meeting in New York with the UN chief's special representative for the FYROM issue, Matthew Nimitz, as the former reiterated Athens' volition to accelerate procedures towards finding a mutually acceptable solution to the "name issue" still separating Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    According to diplomatic sources, Molyviatis stressed to the UN official that the Greek government is "looking to the future" and that a mutually acceptable solution will significantly improve bilateral relations as well as strengthen regional stability. Furthermore, the Greek foreign minister also reiterated that resolution of the issue would facilitate Skopje's Euro-Atlantic prospects.

    Finally, he expressed a hope that the FYROM government will emulate Athens and display a "productive and European stance", instead of remaining entangled in a "besieged intransigence".

    Although Athens and Skopje have achieved remarkable progress in bilateral relations, especially in trade and investments, since signing a UN-mediated "interim agreement" nearly 10 years ago, the "name issue" continues to block the full normalisation of ties.

    Athens strenuously opposes FYROM's use of the name "Macedonia", citing historical and political reasons. Moreover, Greece's largest province, which shares borders with FYROM, is called Macedonia, the same geographical region that more-or-less corresponds with the ancient kingdom of Macedonia.


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