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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-06-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] France's Chirac sends letter to PM, stressing continued French commitment to EU
  • [02] Main opposition leader blasts labour pact in OTE telecom
  • [03] National Art Gallery acquires Rodin sculpture
  • [04] Greek Tourism Minister completes official visit to Egypt

  • [01] France's Chirac sends letter to PM, stressing continued French commitment to EU

    French President Jacques Chirac expressed conviction that the rejection of the European Constitution by French voters did not cast into doubt France's deep and historic commitment to the European Union, in a letter to Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday.

    Chirac stressed that France is a founding member of the EU and will continue to maintain this position with respect for all the obligations that arise from it and under his personal supervision.

    The French president also noted that, even though nine member-states had so far ratified the Euro-Constitution, the remainder had still to express their will.

    Chirac concluded by saying that it would best to devote the necessary time to analyse the repercussion of the French vote for the Union in depth and that this issue should also be addressed at the European Council on June 16-17.

    [02] Main opposition leader blasts labour pact in OTE telecom

    The leader of the main opposition Panhellic Socialist Movement (PASOK), George Papandreou, on Tuesday criticised an agreement on early retirement forged by management and trade unionists at Athens-quoted Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

    "The agreement is invalid and cannot be applied....It is an affront to society," Papandreou told reporters after a meeting of his party's political council.

    Tough, lengthy negotiations led to agreement at the weekend, sparking the ire of PASOK-affiliated trade unionists, who criticised their counterparts in OTE's staff union for voting in favour of the deal.

    Papandreou said that he opposed what he called the government's intention of selling state firms in order to reap quick gains. A further flotation is in the pipeline for OTE.

    "The voluntary retirement scheme at OTE is unacceptable on a number of levels, and the departure of employees will be effected without criteria, indiscriminately and provocatively," he forecast.

    The PASOK leader also questioned financing of the retirement plan, fearing that taxpayers would foot the bill.

    [03] National Art Gallery acquires Rodin sculpture

    The National Art Gallery acquired a legal copy of French sculptor Auguste Rodin's Walking Man, Gallery Curator Marina Lambraki-Plaka announced on Tuesday.

    The copy was given to the art gallery as a gift from the National Bank of Greece.

    According to Lampraki-Plaka, the sculpture carries a stamp, indicating that it is the second of eight copies the Rodin Museum has allowed to be reproduced.

    Neither Lampraki-Plaka nor Takis Arapoglou, President of the National Bank of Greece and a member of the Gallery's executive board, disclosed the amount NBG paid for its purchase.

    They did say, however, that the "price was reasonable compared with other works of art."

    [04] Greek Tourism Minister completes official visit to Egypt

    Greek Tourism Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Wednesday completed an official visit to Egypt by meeting with the country's President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

    The 45-minute meeting reaffirmed the very good level of relations between the two countries. Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Avramopoulos said both countries agreed to further promote bilateral relations in all sectors, particularly in tourism, and stressed that the "two peoples can cooperate in tourism and economy".

    The Greek minister said further cooperation would be discussed during his Egyptian counterpart's visit to Athens. He noted the common comparative advantages both countries have in tourism, advantages that could bring Greece and Egypt up to a leading position in the world tourism market.

    Avramopoulos also met with representatives of the Greek community living in Cairo and Alexandria and stressed the clear will of the Greek state to support Greeks living in the Nile country.

    "For all of us, the Greek community in Egypt, the community of Cairo and Alexandria, is known for its cultural and spiritual activity dating back to 200 years," the Greek minister said. He announced that a delegation of experts would visit Cairo soon to study the necessary legal status for supporting initiatives by the Greek communities in Cairo and Alexandria.


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