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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-05-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis announces foundation of Performing Arts Academy
  • [02] Papandreou: Reverse count for gov't has begun
  • [03] Austrian President due on state visit

  • [01] PM Karamanlis announces foundation of Performing Arts Academy

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis formally announced the foundation of an Academy of the Performing Arts, following a meeting Saturday with culture minister George Voulgarakis, education minister Marietta Yannakou, and the working committee of performing artists who took part in drawing up the relevant draft law.

    The Academy of Arts is another commitment that is becoming reality, Karamanlis said. "It is a strategic choice" of his New Democracy (ND) government, the premier said, stressing the fact that the relevant bill has been drafted by "people of the Arts".

    "It is a step for the youth who wish to study theatre, music, dance, cinema," he said, adding that the Arts Centre would be housed at the Olympics facility in Liossia.

    Voulgarakis, in turn, said that the bill would be discussed at one of the next two Inner Cabinet meetings, and will be legislated this summer.

    Yannakou explained that the graduates of the Academy of Arts will have access to the institutions of higher education (AEI), adding that the Academy would be staffed by Greek and foreign artists. She said the professors would be judged on their work.

    The artists' committee comprised theatrical directors Theodoros Terzopoulos and Vangelis Vogiatzis, film directors Pantelis Voulgaris, Yannis Smaragdis and Angelos Frantzis and film director/producer Athina Tsagari, former artistic director of the State Theatre of Norther Greece Vassilis Papavassiliou, composer Theodoros Antoniou, orchestra director Alexandros Myrat, concert pianist Dimitris Sgouros, maestro Nikos Tsouchlos, choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou, dance instructor Deni Efthymiou-Tsekoura, and university professor Yannis Zervas.

    Terzopoulos told reporters after the meeting that "we are entering the road of realisation of the Academy of Arts", adding that the artistic community will wholeheartedly back the culture minister's efforts.

    Antoniou said that a long-standing dream was finally becoming a reality, while Voulgradis said that the founding of the Academy of Arts was important, as the young generations would find a venue for expression, and Efthymou-Tsekoura termed the announcement of the Academy a "historic moment".

    [02] Papandreou: Reverse count for gov't has begun

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou opined that "the reverse count has begun for the Karamanlis government", adding that the "river of victory (for PASOK) does not turn back". Addressing the opening session of his party's National Council, which is preparing the PASOK Programme Congress slated for late next week, Papandreou launched a scathing attack on the New Democracy government and outlined PASOK's principles and targets if it is elected to government in the next general elections.

    Papandreou criticised the government on its choices in all the major issues, adding that a new social and political momentum had developed that was leading PASOK closer to electoral victory.

    Regarding the time remaining until the next elections, Papandreou said that PASOK's duty was to uncover New Democrac's hypocrisy so that the "deep wounds" resulting from ND's policies could be healed. He further said that the perception that "all are the same" must be "broken", noting that when this perception is employed by the traditional Left, it is exploited by the traditional Right.

    Papandreou said that the people have "rejected" the New Democracy government and felt deeply hurt and betrayed, adding that PASOK must show up all of ND's wrongs as "as example to be avoided" by itself, and called on his party's officials to rally together in a struggle against corruption, lack of transparency, political favouritism and inertia, so as to create a society of rights rather than a society of privileges.

    He accused the government that, in its three years of governance, it has brought poverty, a high cost of living, unemployment and insecurity, saying that the prime minister had not honoured the confidence placed in him by the Greek people.

    "He won the elections with lies as his weapon. They deceived, but also underestimated, the Greek people and immediately applied their secret agenda, with the first choice being the big fraud of the audit of the economy," Papandreou said.

    "It is a government of covering the guilty and covering-up the scandals," the PASOK leader said, calling it a "weak and dependent government which defames the country internationall and has been implicated in the big scandal of the (social insurance) funds. It is a government of moral decadence and social division, which leaves many big wounds in its wake. It leaves the rich richer, and the poor poorer, a growth founded on clay legs, the debt increased by 50 billion euros, the social state semi-decrepit, and the social insurance funds with triple the debt from when it took over the government," Papandreou said.

    The main opposition further accused the government of "wanting to become a regime by applying a plan that wants the fundamental institutions totally dependent on the party mechanism", charging that senior judicial officials had been selected by virtue of party criteria and were now accoutable on matters of ethical order.

    "We are not all the same," he said, adding that PASOK guaranteed the autonomy of politics, the equal treatment of the citizens by the law, and a just society. "Guarantees which are not generalised and vague, but are contained, with specific proposals, in our programme," Papandreou said, adding that if one compared the 18 years of governance by PASOK and 15 years of governance by New Democracy (since the restoration of democracy in Greece), the overwhelming majority was in PASOK's favour.

    PASOK, he added, would govern on the basis of its values, while every minister and cadre would be evaluated on the basis of the programme, while a renewal of faces, in tandem with ensuring continuity, was a given fact.

    The PASOK government will be a government of ethos, values, confidence, capabilities, progress, democracy and social sensitivity, Papandreou said, adding: "We shall sign a new pact with the people, which will place our clean socialist seal on the country".

    The first target, he continued, will be a redistribution of the wealth in favour of the weak. The second target would be a new developmental model while the third target would be a radical democratic reform and upgrading of the state into one of values, absolute transparency and a catalyst for growth.

    Papandreou listed the principles with which PASOK will govern the country, if elected, as: confidence between state and citizen; evaluation everywhere; quality of services and products, beginning with the DEKO (public utility organisations); accountability to the social whole, in order to put an end to the arbitrariness of any authority; citizens' participation in all the changes and reforms; and transparency and new forms of control and new state structures.

    He further said that the countryt would not be governed, nor co-governed, by partisan mechanisms, adding that there would be full separation of the state from the operation of the ruling party. "The party has a very important role to play in the society of the citizens," he continued.

    PASOK's overall goal was a new social pact for the social state of the 21st century, Papandreou said, adding that, along that course, the major projects would not concern only infrastructures, but also nurseries, all-day schools, hospitals, and combatting poverty, unemployment and social exclusion.

    Gov't response

    Commenting on Papandreou's address, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said later that "at the moment when the government, via the prime minister, is announcing the founding of the Academy of the Performing Arts -- proving in action that it is preparing the future, materialising commitments it has undertaken and responding to needs that have been outstanding for decades -- PASOK chooses to once again show that it remains firmly stuck to the past".

    "Mr Papandreou was elected president of PASOK on the promise that everything would change. But he hasn't managed to change anything. On the contrary, he proves daily that populism and acrimony, and even an unwonted attack on functionaries of justice, are mentalities and practices that are deeply rooted in the hard-core of the PASOK system," Roussopoulos said.

    [03] Austrian President due on state visit

    Austrian President Heinz Fischer is due to arrive in Greece on Saturday afternoon for a four-day state visit, at the invitation of Greece's President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Papoulias will greet Fischer in Ioannina on Saturday for the two-day unofficial leg of the Austrian President's visit.

    During the private visit, Papoulias and Fischer, accompanied by their wives, will take a boat tour of Lake Ioannina and visit the Nisaki (the famed islet situated in the middle of the lake, where they will tour the island's Byzantine monasteries and the Ali Pasha museum.

    Papoulias and his wife May will host a dinner in honour of Fischer and his wife, Margit, at a seaside taverna on Nissaki.

    On Sunday, the two Presidents will visit the ancient theatre of Dodoni and the Zagorochoria (Zagori villages), and will be given a tour of the Ioannina castle in the afternoon, before leaving for Athens.

    Fischer will begin the official two-day leg of his visit on Monday in Athens.

    Caption: File photo of Austrian President Heinz Fischer (ANA-MPA/EPA).

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