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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-06-09

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK, KKE leaders discuss policy toward Turkey
  • [02] Employment minister addresses ILO conference

  • [01] PASOK, KKE leaders discuss policy toward Turkey

    Foreign policy, specifically the country's relations with Turkey, dominated a meeting on Friday between the leaders of the two largest opposition parties in Greece, the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    After the meeting, PASOK president George Papandreou said he was convinced that Greece could create the conditions needed to exercise all its sovereign rights while at the same time cultivating a climate of peace and cooperation with Turkey.

    He stressed that PASOK would insist on the need for collaboration for a new foreign policy strategy that would "yield a dividend of peace" in relations between Greece and Turkey.

    KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga, on her part, said that her party was always in favour of dialogue with Turkey but outside the framework imposed by the European Union or NATO, which she said appeared "tolerant" towards Turkey's demands.

    KKE's leader also commented on Papandreou's proposal to extend Greece's territorial waters to the 12-mile limit allowed under international maritime law - instead of the current six miles - before referring the issue of the Aegean continental shelf issue for arbitration to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

    Extending its territorial waters was Greece's legal right and the time when this would be done should be examined alongside other factors and preceded by technical and diplomatic preparation that was already delayed, Papariga said.

    She stressed that Greece and Turkey should take measures to reduce tension and avoid dangerous incidents in the Aegean.

    The two party leaders also referred to the problems in higher education and the protests being carried out by students and university staff against the government's proposed reforms.

    Papandreou expressed concern about the government's handling of education issues and said the vote on the education bill should be postponed until after the summer, so that a "national strategy" on education might be achieved through dialogue.

    Papariga expressed her party's support for protesting students and teachers, stressed that education was an issue of universal importance and called for a united popular front against plans to allow private universities, while she also asked that the government's bill should not be tabled in Parliament.

    [02] Employment minister addresses ILO conference

    Employment and Social Solidarity Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Thursday addressed the 95th international employment conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) taking place in Geneva.

    The minister, who was accompanied by the ministry's secretary generals, Dimitris Kontos and Constantine Tsoutsoplidis, stressed that the promotion of the European social model all over the world can contribute to the strengthening of global stability.

    The European Union should and can contribute actively to the handling of the negative repercussions of globalisation, incorporating the values of the European social model in its foreign relations.

    Tsitouridis said that social solidarity and social integration must continue to constitute a part of the new strategy of Lisbon.

    Referring in particular to flexibility in the labour market, he said that wisdom and caution are required since any action in this direction must proceed with consensual processes and strengthen the security of working people.

    The employment minister also said that reformist processes are necessary at both national and European level but the active role of social partners is required in advance to achieve success in reforms.

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