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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-07-19
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Karamanlis confers with Athens mayor over local gov't reforms, financesPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Thursday with the leadership of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) to discuss institutional reforms and finances for local governments. The meeting was also attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
KEDKE president and Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis told reporters after the meeting that there was identity of views with the prime minister regarding the "Kapodistrias II" plan for the administrative reform of the country, which is being advanced by the government, adding that the deadline for voluntary mergers (of municipalities and communities) expired in end-2008, and noting that strong incentives for such mergers were provided in a relevant draft law.
KEDKE president and Athens mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis told reporters after the meeting that there was identity of views with the prime minister regarding the "Kapodistrias-2" plan for the administrative reform of the country, which is being advanced by the government, adding that the deadline for voluntary mergers ('unifications' of municipalities and communities) expired in end-2008, and noting that strong incentives for such mergers were provided in a relevant draft law by the interior ministry.
Kaklamanis said that the prime minister pledged that a draft law on collaborations among metropolitan centres would be tabled in parliament by the end of the year.
One of the biggest issues for local government, he continued, was that of the withheld taxes, adding that a solution would be forthcoming by 2008 for the gradual rebate of those taxes to the municipalities.
Asked to comment on the various views seeing the light of day regarding the recent barrage of forest fires throughout the country, Kaklamanis said that "extreme statements do not express us, regardless of where they come from...We demand, from the political forces of the country, more projects and less talk".
KEDKE former president Paris Koukoulopoulos said that the discussion with Karamanlis was at "the level of understanding" but added that, without wishing to doubt the prime minister's intentions "the same dialogue took place a year and ten days ago", which, he said, indicated the lack of a clear-cut government plan regarding local government.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Karamanlis.
 Greece, Turkey sign power exchange protocol<!--ÔëòüìòñÞüìòGreece and Turkey on Thursday signed a protocol for the transfer of electricity, with the agreement signed in Ankara between Greek Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Mehmet Hilmi Guler.The protocol, effective immediately, marks the first step towards closer bilateral cooperation in the power generation and transport sector. The two countries aim to complete all grid connection projects by January 2008 (using the Filippi-Babaeski 400 KV line).
During the meeting, the two ministers also discussed bilateral energy issues, focusing on a Turkey-Greece natural gas pipeline and preparations of a tri-party agreement to complete a natural gas pipeline extension to Italy.
After the meeting, the Turkish minister said "works have been completed for the exchange of electricity with Greece, all preparations have been made and we are here today to announce our cooperation. The 268-kilometer line will carry electricity of 137 KV to Greece by the end of July or early August. Our relations with Greece are very good, with new projects constantly emerging. We will be able to receive electricity power from Greece as well".
Guler added that this kind of cooperation will offer more results and expressed a hope that the agreement will become a model for other countries in the region.
Sioufas noted that the protocol was "another significant energy agreement between the two countries and a significant step towards strengthening bilateral relations".
Commenting on the pipeline project, the Greek minister said he hopes to complete talks over the next few days over the tripartite agreement between Italy-Greece and Turkey, "thus laying the foundations for a south European natural gas corridor".Caption: File photo showing high-voltage pylons of Greece's Public Power Corp. (PPC) in the Kantza district, east of Athens proper. ANA-MPA / K. MAVRONA.
 Athens highlights Ecumenical Patriarchate issueForeign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has addressed a letter to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to brief him on problems faced by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate, particularly with regard to the Patriarchate's operation and the Turkish state's non-recognition of its ecumenical nature, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Referring to Greece's initiatives on the specific issue, spokesman George Koumoutsakos told a regular press briefing that FM Bakoyannis will also inform her EU counterparts during a Council of Foreign Ministers/ General Affairs meeting in Brussels on Monday.
In addition, Greek diplomats abroad have been instructed to fully explain the issue to other governments
"The Ecumenical Patriarchate is not just a Greek-Turkish issue, it concerns Europe and the international community as well," said Koumoutsakos, adding that Athens' initiatives are being undertaken on this basis, while reiterating that the Ecumenical Patriarchate is undoubtedly an issue of major Greek interest.
Caption: A Turkish police officer is shown guarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Istanbul district of Fanar on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006 shortly before a meeting in the Bosporus metropolis between Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Vartholomeos) and Pope Benedict XVI. Draconian security measures had been in force during the pope's visit to Turkey. ANA-MPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU.
 Waste-fuelled power plant opens at Attica landfillDevelopment Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Thursday inaugurated a new power plant that uses waste byproducts to produce electricity and thermal energy at the Ano Liossia landfill, the greater Athens area's largest refuse site.
At an inauguration ceremony, Soufias said the unit would act doubly to help protect the environment, since it would promote ecological waste management in addition to producing energy in an environmentally friendly way.
He congratulated the bodies involved in the project, such as the Unified Association of Municipalities and Communities of Attica Prefectures and the company Ilektor SA. The project includes an expanded network for collecting biogas produced at the landfill and the construction of a new plant for producing both electricity and thermal energy that is linked to this network.
The total budget for the project, which has been inducted into the operational programme for competitiveness, is more than 15.5 million euros and the state's share is 6.25 million euros.
The power plant has a capacity of 9.7MW and consists of four biogas generator sets, while total electricity production at the plant is expected to reach 72,000 MWh a year, which means that the atmosphere will be relieved of a CO2 burden amounting to 61,200 tonnes a year.
The electricity generated will be sold the Hellenic Transmission System Operator (HTSO) S.A. and the heat given off during the process will be used to heat water used by a leachate processing unit run at the landfill by the Unified Association of Municipalities and Communities of the Attica Prefecture.
The heat energy produced will be the equivalent of 2,500 tonnes of diesel oil and represents a saving of 1.75 million euros a year.
The plant began pilot operation last October and went into commercial operation last June.
Caption: Development Ministe (L) tours the new waste-fuelled power plant at the Ano Liossia landfill site in northwest Athens on Thursday, July 19, 2007. ANA-MPA / G. ANTONIOU
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