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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-05-31

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek beaches praised in European environment report
  • [02] Parl't President addresses European counterparts in Tallinn

  • [01] Greek beaches praised in European environment report

    The high quality of Greek coastal waters and beaches, as well as the country's high biodiversity, was praised in a report on the state and prospects of the environment in European Union countries carried out by the European Environment Agency, which was presented in Thessaloniki on Wednesday.

    Greece fared badly with respect to its recycling efforts and the development of renewable energy sources, however, ranking last in Europe.

    The EEA's report was presented at the 2nd session of Thessaloniki University's Environment Council focusing on the environmental problems faced by the city and surrounding region.

    According to the report, 99.9 per cent of Greek beaches satisfied national criteria and 97.6 per cent satisfied EU criteria in the summer of 2004.

    On the other hand, greenhouse gases have increased steadily in the country over the past decade, while the main sources of these emissions are the production and use of energy, the disposal of wastes and agriculture.

    By contrast, renewable energy sources covered only 8 percent of the total use to generate electricity when the European average is 14 per cent.

    At the same time, Greece ranks last among EU countries for the rate of recycling, while refuse and urban waste increased by 42.5 per cent between 1995 and 2003 due to economic development, intense urbanisation and increased consumerism.

    The country is also slammed for its methods of disposing and handling wastes, which are judged unsuitable and lead to the degradation of surface and underground waters, but has made improvements in the handling of hazardous wastes.

    Problems are also pinpointed in the distribution of water, which is seen to be particularly unequal. Agriculture is the largest consumer of water, with demand for irrigation purposes double over the past 20 years.

    [02] Parl't President addresses European counterparts in Tallinn

    The issue of the gradual integration of different religious, racial or cultural groups into the social and political scene as a prerequisite for the stabilization of Europe and its consolidation as an area of freedom and security, was raised by Greek Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda on Wednesday, while addressing the European Conference of Presidents of Parliaments in Tallinn, Estonia.

    The conference, held with the participation of representatives from 46 countries, was organized by the Estonian Parliament in cooperation with the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

    As the main speaker on the role of parliaments in promoting pluralistic democracy at home and abroad, she stated that pluralistic democracies function more effectively when minorities -- religious, racial or cultural -- coexisting in the same society are able to express themselves through political parties with a distinct political and ideological identity.

    The Greek parliament president pointed out that the democratic organizing of political parties is a self-evident precondition for the system to operate correctly, allowing religious, racial or other differences to find expression in a political party.


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