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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Latest opinion poll shows 1.6-point lead for ruling ND party
  • [02] Papandreou backs revision of Article XVI
  • [03] FM details Athens' stance on EU-Turkey talks
  • [04] Deputy FM attends informal SEECP meeting in Croatia
  • [05] Patriarch message to Archbishop on Vatican visit

  • [01] Latest opinion poll shows 1.6-point lead for ruling ND party

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday will be separately briefed by Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis on and by the head of the country's largest social security institution, IKA, as his weekly itinerary begins on the heels of the latest opinion poll over the weekend by an Athens daily, with the particular poll giving ruling New Democracy a 1.6-percentage point lead over rival main opposition PASOK.

    The latest opinion poll, commissioned and published by the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia", gave ND a slightly smaller lead over PASOK, 37.5 percent of respondents favored the former over 35.9 percent for the latter.

    In terms of smaller parties, the Communist Party garnered 6.8 percent; 3.7 percent for the Coalition of the Left and 4.1 percent for the out-of-Parliament Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party.

    The poll was conducted by the GPO firm on a sample of 1,000 respondents.

    On Friday, meanwhile, Karamanlis held a 10-minute telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as talks expectedly focused on EU-Turkey prospects, with the Greek premier reportedly reiterating Athens' support for Turkey's European prospects on the condition that Ankara meets its obligations and commitments to the Union.

    [02] Papandreou backs revision of Article XVI

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday outlined his positions favoring the revision of controversial Article XVI, the constitutional provision that prevents the establishment of recognised non-state universities and colleges in Greece.

    The prospect of overturning the unique -- by western standards -- ban, has generated impassioned debate over the past year, with the Karamanlis government unwavering in its intent to allow non-state institutions in the face of resistance by the leftist political opposition, trade unions, certain student groupings and the university professors' union.

    On his part, Papandreou's standing support for the revision has run up against some opposition from within his own party, although in published comments on Sunday he clarified that PASOK MPs have the right to vote freely when constitutional revision draft bills arrive in the next Parliament.

    In differentiating his stance with that of the government's, Papandreou referred to "two lines leading to different directions, which converge at only one point".

    Moreover, he again aired his proposal for a referendum on a variety of education issues, including the revision.

    "Our (PASOK) position is clear, but I understand that there are certain issues that, for instance, deal with religion or other matters, where some people may have another view. However, PASOK has an official position," he noted.

    [03] FM details Athens' stance on EU-Turkey talks

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis again detailed Athens' oft-enunciated policy vis-a-vis increasingly complex relations between the European Union and EU hopeful Turkey, especially ahead of a closely watched General Affairs Council in Brussels this week.

    In statements carried in the Sunday edition of the Athens daily 'Eleftheros Typos', Bakoyannis reiterated that Greece wants a "unified European position that clearly includes a message over the future of Turkey's negotiations with the EU."

    Asked about the timely issue of establishing a timetable and evaluating procedure for gauging Turkey's accession course, Bakoyannis said what was significant was for "whatever decisions to remain at the council of ministers' level.

    "In other words, decisions should be taken by the 25 member-states, or, in the future by the 27. This is what has heightened significance, because unanimity is mandatory."

    Regarding the most recent counter-proposal by the Erdogan government to open one port and one airport on Cyprus, Bakoyannis was mostly dismissive, saying the idea "obviously serves PR needs ... the real facts at the moment are that Turkey has not honored its signature" to implement the customs union protocol.

    Conversely, she reminded that it was both in Greece and Cyprus' interests to keep Turkey "on the path towards Europe".

    [04] Deputy FM attends informal SEECP meeting in Croatia

    Deputy Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis on Saturday attended an informal meeting in Rijeka, Croatia of the South Eastern Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP), which examined the progress of SE European countries in relation with their accession to the Euroatlantic structures and the strengthening of the region's European prospects.

    The sessions of the informal SEECP meeting was chaired by Croatia's Foreign and European Integration Minister Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

    The participants expressed their support to the ambitions of the SEECP member-countries for accession to the European Union and NATO and underlined the importance of them as a framework for the securing of stability and prosperity in this specific part of Europe.

    They also examined the situation in the region, in light of the negotiations on the final status of Kosovo and noted the common interest of the countries of SE Europe, for the solution of this important matter to be to the benefit of the peoples and of stability in the region.

    [05] Patriarch message to Archbishop on Vatican visit

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Saturday conveyed his best wishes to Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos over the latter's upcoming official upcoming visit to the Vatican and his scheduled meetings with Pope Benedict XVI.

    Vartholomeos, two weeks after the Pontiff's visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, also expressed his hope that talks between the two men prove productive.

    ANA-MPA file photo of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

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