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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-12-23

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM has separate meetings with finance, education ministers
  • [02] Massive tail-back toward Lamia as exodus continues

  • [01] PM has separate meetings with finance, education ministers

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday had successive meetings with Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou.

    Alogoskoufis made no statements after the meeting, which focused on economic affairs, while Yiannakou said that they had a general discussion on the results of the dialogue on education and her ministry's prospects.

    According to the minister, their overall assessment was that the dialogue held was exceedingly constructive, while she stressed that this was the first time that such a in-depth, exhaustive dialogue on these issues had taken place in Greece and this would help society understand what was best for everyone.

    Asked to comment on the reactions to the government's plans for revising article 16 of the Constitution so as to allow the foundation of private, non-profit universities in Greece, largely opposed by academics and students themselves, Yiannakou said that this was the exclusive responsibility of Parliament and that MPs would each vote separately and by name.

    Regarding press reports concerning the recognition of degrees awarded by foreign university branches or franchised centres operating in Greece - which Greek authorities have so far refused to recognise - Yiannakou said that this was demanded by an EU directive concerning the rights of professionals and has been in effect since 1989.

    Meanwhile it was announced on Saturday that the prime minister will be spending Christmas with his family in the northern Greek prefecture of Florina.

    Karamanlis will be depart for Thessaloniki on Saturday afternoon on board an Olympic Airlines flight and will then make his way to Florina from Thessaloniki by car.

    On the morning of Christmas Eve, Karamanlis will visit the Florina Phileducational Association to hear Christmas carols and will then attend a reception organised in his honour by locals at the "Ligos' Hotel.

    [02] Massive tail-back toward Lamia as exodus continues

    Excursionists heading north on the Athens-Lamia highway had to negotiate a 10-kilometre tailback outside Aghios Kostantinos on Saturday, as the record exodus for the Christmas holidays continued, with journey times extended by as much as two or three hours.

    Traffic police said they were forced to periodically interrupt traffic going into Athens in order to accommodate the huge volume of traffic heading up from the capital on the northbound lane.

    The stretch of road at Aghios Konstantinos is a bottleneck that causes problems whenever traffic is heightened, since recent roadworks have reduced its width to one lane in each direction that comes right after a two- and three-land highway.

    In northern Greece, the sunny weather was also driving Thessaloniki residents to the countryside in droves but so far without major problems, while inter-city bus stations said that all bus routes, including additional services, were leaving 100% full. According to KTEL bus station president Christos Lioupas, an estimated 150,000 passengers will be travelling from Thessaloniki to areas throughout Greece over the holiday.

    Traffic was also higher than in previous years at Thessaloniki's New Railway Station and at 'Macedonia' airport.

    According to authorities, Thursday marked the start of a record exodus for the Christmas period in past years, during which hundreds of thousands of excursionists will be leaving Greece's larger cities during the holidays.

    Most of them are travelling to the provinces and abroad. More than 250,000 Greeks will spend Christmas in European capitals, in tourism destinations and exotic islands.

    At Athens' "Eleftherios Venizelos" International Airport, from December 22-28 there will be more than 300 extra flights and another equal number is estimated to be made during the New Year period."

    However, those who enjoy winter sports and are planning to have a white Christmas in one of the ski centres of Europe and Greece will most probably be disappointed, as the lack of snow is unprecedented for this period.

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