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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Bakoyannis backs Juncker report at CoE
  • [02] Deputy FM Kassimis to visit Patriarchate
  • [03] Briefing on Turkish bank buyout

  • [01] Bakoyannis backs Juncker report at CoE

    The report prepared by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on relations between the European Union and the Council of Europe (CoE) could become a source of inspiration and a reference point for human rights in Europe, leading to operational reforms, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis told her counterparts from CoE countries in Strasbourg on Friday.

    Addressing the CoE committee of foreign ministers held in Strasbourg, Bakoyannis stressed that Greece placed great emphasis on strengthening the system for the protection of human rights and on a "reforms package" that aimed to efficiently implement the European Treaty on Human Rights on a national and European level.

    The Greek minister also expressed Greece's support for the accession of the EU to the Treaty as a separate entity.

    According to Bakoyannis, the CoE was now in the midst of a critical period, in which it sought to redefine its role within the total European architecture.

    "The biggest challenge we face is to adapt the vision and interests of 46 sovereign states into a cohesive and dynamic whole," she said.

    Another aspect emphasised by the Greek minister was the prompt ratification of Protocol 14, providing for reforms to European Court of Human Rights, which she said was of crucial importance.

    "We hope that the remaining eight member-states will do their utmost for the ratification of the Protocol, so that it can go into effect as soon as possible," Bakoyannis stressed.

    She also emphasised that CoE member-states should ensure that compliance with ECHR decisions was not negotiable, adopting on a domestic level the necessary legislative measures that would be compatible with bringing this about.

    The minister additionally emphasised the CoE's potential role in inter-cultural dialogue between Europe and surrouding regions, and in regional cooperation.

    "Greece has always considered intercultural dialogue as one of the best means to promote tolerance and understanding between cultures. It is a way in which tension and crises can be anticipated," Bakoyannis said.

    She noted Athens' appreciation for CoE initiatives in southeastern Europe, and the attempts to promote 'cultural routes' that linked cultural heritage with economic development and tourism, stressing that Greece was inseparably linked with the economic and political development of its surrounding region and an active supporter of its European prospects.

    The 116th session of the CoE foreign ministers' committee met on Thursday and Friday in Strasbourg to discuss EU-CoE cooperation and also consolidation of the CoE system for the protection of human rights.

    The meeting marked the handover of the CoE presidency from Romania to the Russian Federation and was also an opportunity for a an informal meeting with Martti Ahtisaari, the United Nations special envoy for the future status of Kosovo.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis)

    [02] Deputy FM Kassimis to visit Patriarchate

    Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis will travel to Istanbul over the weekend to attend ecclesiastical services at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the feast day of St Constantine and St. Helen on Sunday, which in the Orthodox calendar also celebrates the memory of the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchs.

    Kassimis will also be received by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and travel to the Sea of Marmara island of Halki.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis)

    [03] Briefing on Turkish bank buyout

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Friday received the leader of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party Alekos Alavanos and briefed him on the acquisition of Turkey's Finansbank by the National Bank of Greece (NBG), Greece's largest and formerly state-run bank, in which the government remains a major shareholder.

    After the meeting, Alavanos said that Synaspismos had lodged a public complaint in view of NBG's general shareholders' meeting on May 23. He said the party was concerned about the buyout and the concomitant increase in NBG's share capital, which would reduce the state's percentage share of NBG's stock.

    Alavanos also pointed out that the increase in share capital will reduce the position of the bank's employee insurance funds and said that he had asked the finance minister to either support NBG's insurance funds or that the unsold stock be bought by the state.

    On his part, Alogoskoufis stressed that the government had no additional information to that already available and that NBG now operated in the same way as all other private-sector banks, while noting that the deal was part of the bank's strategy of expansion in southeast Europe.

    (ANA-MPA file photo of Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos)

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