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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Papandreou pledges autonomous environment ministry
  • [02] Alavanos urges vote for environment
  • [03] Greek-Turkish pipeline to begin operations in 15-20 days

  • [01] Papandreou pledges autonomous environment ministry

    The foundation of a separate and autonomous environment ministry and a single body to tackle forest management and fight wildfires were among changes promised immediately after the elections by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou in an interview appearing in the Saturday issue of the newspaper "Kosmos tou Ependiti".

    Papandreou said these will mark the first days of his government if elected, along with the merger of the public order and interior ministries.

    The main opposition leader also stressed that the first budget drafted by PASOK "will reflect our central commitment to the redistribution of produced wealth" and repeated a pledge to personally oversee planning for the reconstruction of fire-stricken areas, promising to "start each day and end each week with the work of reconstruction".

    He expressed confidence in PASOK's victory at the elections of September 16, clarifying that his clash with Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was not personal but political and criticising Karamanlis for choices that favoured a favoured few while plunging the many into financial insecurity.

    [02] Alavanos urges vote for environment

    Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party leader Alekos Alavanos on Saturday urged the electorate to cast their vote for the environment during a speech at the 72nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

    He stressed that SYRIZA was proud of its record on environmental issues, noting that it had been talking about climate change when ruling New Democracy and main opposition PASOK had been wrangling about bond scandals, party cronies, corruption and the government audit.

    During his speech, Alavanos presented a 10-point programme for sustainable development that included weaning the country from dependence on fossil fuels, energy conservation, compliance with targets on greenhouse gas emissions, development of renewable energy sources, protection of forests, new legislation for housing development, comprehensive water management, support for energy-saving agricultural methods, measures against overuse of private cars, integrated waste and sewage management and a cleanup of all unmonitored dumps.

    Commenting on the appearances of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou at TIF, Alavanos criticised what he said was a familiar picture of the two parties trying to outbid each other in promises to the electorate and of "running to extremes" in their announcements of programmes for the reconstruction of burned areas in Evia and the Peloponnese.

    The government, in particular, was "pretending to be Santa Claus on the burned land," he said.

    Regarding Papandreou's proposal to SYRIZA for collaboration after the elections, Alavanos said this proposal was addressed to the centre-left and not the radical left. He added that the distance between PASOK and SYRIZA had increased in the pre-election period because the main opposition party had launched its election campaign with methods that were "far from the values of the democratic and progressive movement".

    He accused PASOK of getting into a promises war with ND and of drawing up election tickets based on client politics, while he ruled out all prospect of post-election cooperation.

    According to Alavanos, the current period was the "swan song of the two-party system". He said that SYRIZA would like the elections to result in a hung parliament in order for there to be a change in the political scene and a reconfiguration of the political forces, regardless of how many elections this required.

    Regarding PASOK's leadership, Alavanos said this had taken the party away from its roots and noted that he personally felt closer to PASOK supporters that were now in a quandary and urged them to dare to take a step toward SYRIZA while keeping their traditions.

    Immediately after the press conference, Alavanos visited the 72nd TIF while earlier that morning he had toured Serres, the second electoral constituency where he is standing for election, as well as Thermi and Pylaia in Thessaloniki.

    [03] Greek-Turkish pipeline to begin operations in 15-20 days

    A natural gas pipeline will begin supplying Greece with natural gas from Turkey in the next 15-20 days, as the section of the project extending from Evros to Komotini is ready, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said on Saturday.

    Speaking to reporters, during his visit to the 72nd Thessaloniki International Fair, the Greek minister stressed that the project -to be inaugurated by the prime ministers of Greece and Turkey- will offer a new natural gas supply route. Sioufas also said he expected a natural gas pipeline, linking Elefsis with Korinth, to be tested in the next few weeks and that the ministry was examining plans to extend the pipeline to Megalopoli in the southwestern Peloponese.

    The Greek minister added that by the end of 2008 the ministry will have completed its "huge" investment program to modernise all 31 industrial zones in the country and creating an additional 20 new industrial zones. Sioufas said that absorption rate of a "Competitiveness" programme, budgetted at 6.7 billion euros, reached 70 percent and noted that research and technology will become top priorities for the new government.

    DESFA, the operator of the natural gas national system, plans to invest between 900 million to one billion euros by 2012 to expand the country's existing distribution network, to completing a Greece-Italy pipeline and creating transport infrastructure.


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