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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-12

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs working group at EU-Latin America-Caribbean summit
  • [02] Papoulias to address a special EU Parliament session
  • [03] Greek FinMin briefs parliament over WTO trade talks
  • [04] PM Karamanlis meets Turkish counterpart in Vienna

  • [01] PM Karamanlis chairs working group at EU-Latin America-Caribbean summit

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday chaired one of the three working groups at the summit meeting of EU member states and Latin American and Caribbean countries in Vienna, at the invitation of the Austrian chancellor a few days earlier.

    Addressing the group, Karamanlis stressed that the main objective was to consolidate the partnership relationship that has begun to develop between the EU and those two regions in recent years at both political and economic/commercial level.

    The working group examined issues such as democracy and human rights, a multilateral approach for strengthening poeace, stability and respect of International Law, the environment and energy, and terrorism, drugs and organised crime.

    Karamanlis said that the EU placed particular emphasis on strengthening the effectiveness of the political dialogue with the two regions, the development of economic relations with them, the dialogue on social cohesion and the environment, strengthening democratic governance, combatting cuorruption and drugs, etc.

    The Greek premier stressed that the challenges of globalisation can be effectively met through international cooperation, adding that terrorism, combatting poverty, social exclusion, human rights violations and drugs are areas of priority in the cooperation developing between the EU and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.

    At economic and commercial level, he said, the EU was advancing a framework of free trade agreements with the regional unions of countries of Latin America, and also with individual countries, such as Mexico and Chile.

    The goal, Karamanlis continued, was to liberalise the markets and revive the European economies, on the one hand, and to give a developmental prospect to the Latin American countries on the other.

    In that framework, Greece was also defending and advancing the Greek interests in perishable farm products, stressing that Greece has already joined several initiatives aimed at reinforcing the Greek business interests in Latin America.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Papoulias to address a special EU Parliament session

    Hellenic Republic President Karolos Papoulias will address the European Parliament plenary session on May 17, held to discuss the progress made in Bulgaria‚s and Romania‚s EU accession course.

    President Papoulias will be the second Hellenic Republic President to take the floor and address the European Parliament plenary session after the late Konstantinos Karamanlis in 1983 when Greece held the presidency of the then EEC for the first time after its accession on Jan.1, 1981.

    Another issue to be discussed in the special European Parliament session with major financial and social implications concerns the way certain foods are promoted through advertisement and the vitamins and other additives used in foods.

    Based on the compromise expected to be reached in the plenary session, only solid products with less than 3% fat or liquid products with less than 1.5 grams of fat per 100ml will be allowed to be advertised as low fat.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [03] Greek FinMin briefs parliament over WTO trade talks

    The abolition of export subsidies to farm products by 2013 and negotiations on cotton within the framework of agriculture were the most significant conclusions -for Greece- of a 6th ministerial summit of the World Trade Organisation held in Hong Kong last December, Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Friday.

    Speaking in parliament, the Greek minister said the agriculture issue was one the ?hottest? and most difficult points of the negotiations in Hong Kong with the EU coming under strong pressure to reduce its farm subsidies. The EU‚s Council of Ministers, however, resisted pressure and showed unity and fraternity by supporting the European Commission in its negotiations in the WTO current round. The decisions taken in Hong Kong fully covered a reviewed Common Agricultural Policy by 2013 and eliminated any dangers for farm products.

    Greece and Spain headed a group of EU member-states working to defend cotton production the European Union, Alogoskoufis said and added it was essential that cotton remained in the agricultural package of negotiations in WTO.

    The Greek government‚s strategy in the Doha round of trade talks (2001-2006) sought to defend a reviewed CAP, access in industrial product markets, an agreement on services and the trade of services, the construction sector, insurance, financial services and technical support for less developed countries.

    The Greek minister also released a report saying that a large number of public sector enterprises have agreed in introducing an incomes policy envisaged in a new legislation on public sector enterprises. A total of 29 enterprises have pledged to adhere to a new incomes policy with 15 enterprises currently in negotiations, Alogoskoufis said.

    ?It its important that both the boards and workers in public sector companies have acknowledged the need for consensus on a new incomes policy,? he told reporters.

    Under a new legislation on public sector enterprises, pay increases should not exceed 3.0 percent this year and 4.0 pct in 2007, while total spending on personnel should not exceed 6.0 percent.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [04] PM Karamanlis meets Turkish counterpart in Vienna

    Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Friday morning with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Vienna, on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the EU, Latin American and Carribean countries, and discussed mainly economic and business issues, particularly in view of the imminent commencement of the tourism season.

    Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis and Turkish minister of State Ali Babacan were also present at the 45-minute meeting.

    No statements were made to the press after the talks.

    The discussion, which came on the heels of a Karamanlis-Erdogan meeting on May 4 on the sidelines of the South East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Thessaloniki, was held within the framework of the two PMs' new policy of frequent bilateral contacts, and was requested by the Turkish prime minister two days earlier.

    Commenting on the meeting to reporters later on Friday, Karamanlis said that the everyone would have to get used to the idea that such meetings and contacts would take place regularly and would not be major news.

    He said that the main focus of his talks with Erdogan on Friday had been economic, particularly on tourism and cooperation in the tourism sector.

    Regarding tourism, a moratorium on avoiding tension during the summer months that was agreed in 1988 between then Greek and Turkish foreign ministers Karolos Papoulias -- currently President of the Hellenic Republic -- and Mesut Yilmaz, is still in effect, although the issue was not broached during the Karamanlis-Erdogan meeting.

    Karamanlis called for the repeal of a 50-dollar duty imposed by the Turkish authorities on tourists travelling to Greece -- even on a brief visit -- from Turkey, and Erdogan replied that it was an "administrative matter" that concerned the state services, and promised to look into a solution.

    The two men also discusssed the problem of long delays arising at the Evros River bridge on the frontier between the two countries, which are mainly due to bureacracy, and mulled the possibility of establishing a second bridge.

    Discussions also encompassed Greek-Turkish cooperation in the energy sector.

    Turkish minister of state Ali Babacan, who also attended the meeting, presented a briefing on progress in Turkey's EU accession course, but the Cusoms Union protocol issue was not broached.

    Greek government sources, on condition of anonymity, told ANA-MPA that "Turkey is very much interested in showing that it is doing everything possible to fulfill the criteria set out by the EU. And let's not forget that all these are also linked with the domestic political front".

    The two sides further reiterated their volition for improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis is scheduled to visit Istanbul on June 10 for a Greek-Turkish journalists' conference, and will meet with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the conference.

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.


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