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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-09-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] KKE leader refers to social security issue
  • [02] SYRIZA leader claims government is a 'minority"
  • [03] FM: FYROM must abandon stance of impasse

  • [01] KKE leader refers to social security issue

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga said on Sunday night that workers "have nothing to pay" regarding the reform of the country's social security scheme announced by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis during his government's policy statement on Friday.

    Addressing the three-day parliamentary debate on the policy statement, Papariga accused main opposition PASOK party and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party of "offering a worse service by supporting that the government has not tabled a policy statement."

    "The government has made specific policy statements. The declaration by (Employment and Social Protection Minister Vassilis) Magginas was crystal clear regarding the social security issue. The workers shouldwait and see what his intentions are. Our position is clear. They must not wait for the dialogue, they should mobilise themselves now and put forward their demands. There is a need for the battle of ideas to develop."

    During her main parliamentary address on Saturday, Papariga said her party would continue to conduct politics in the same way as before, with policies guided by the interests of the workers and ranged against big capital.

    The KKE's leader underlined that her party's policies were not swayed by the results of ballot boxes and elections and that it would therefore not change its stance toward either the ruling party New Democracy, whose policies it diametrically opposed, nor to any of the other parties in Parliament.

    "We do not agree with artificial additions," she added, noting that her party was not interested in making impressions but only in contributing "so that the majority of the Greek people are not in the condition that they find themselves in today."

    Replying to an announcement by Prime Minister Karamanlis about planned changes to election law, Papariga expressed her opposition and repeated her party's positions in favour of simple proportional representation.

    She predicted there would be even harsher measures for lower income strata and the working class and criticised the government's foreign policy, saying it would make Greece the weak link in southeastern Europe, where each of the major powers were trying to promote their own interests.

    [02] SYRIZA leader claims government is a 'minority"

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alekos Alavanos claimed on Sunday night that the ruling New Democracy (ND) government "does not possess the democratic legitimization because it is a minority", while addressing Parliament during a three-day debate on the government's policy statement.

    Relating his claim to the issue of the revision of the Constitution, Alavanos posed the question to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis whether he intended to call new general elections since he "apparently does not dispose of the necessary 180 votes" to proceed to constitutional revision.

    The SYRIZA leader also asked the government to publicise the draft budget.

    Addressing Parliament on Saturday, Alavanos presented a 10-point proposal toward all the political parties.

    Alavanos was also scathing about what he called ND's attempts to re-establish client politics and "buy votes during the fires" and said it had started out as a "government of cooperation between the right and far-right" whose first act was to give in over the 6th-year history text book.

    SYRIZA's leader repeated his party's position in favour of adopting an election system of simple proportional representation and said that the days of two-party dominance were numbered.

    He particularly emphasised what he called "the attack on the younger generation of 300-euro salaries with the trimming of their rights, the shrinking of the public sector, the dismantling of the social state and the inability to appreciate environmental changes".

    The proposals listed by Alavanos included greater independence for Justice, spending 5 percent of GDP on education, paying base salaries of 1,400 euros a month to school teachers, supporting young people with jobs without cutting back their social insurance rights, a stop to racism with equal pay for equal work, popular referendums in Greece, support for the national health system, support for the social state, increase in unemployment benefits, granting Greek nationality to all people born in Greece, recognition of life-partnership contracts between homosexuals and withdrawal of Greek troops from Afghanistan and the Middle East.

    [03] FM: FYROM must abandon stance of impasse

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, speaking in Parliament on Sunday night during the three-day debate on the governmentās policy statements, sent a new message to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) ?to abandon as soon as possible the stance of impasse? it maintains on the name issue.

    ?The recent Cerim incident at the United Nations fully confirms the correctness of our arguments on how the Skopje leadership understands its participation in multilateral organizations, and on its intransigence. It also reconfirms and strengthens our positions that, under these terms, there can be no progress in FYROMās European and Euro-Atlantic prospects,? Bakoyannis said.

    ?Skopjeās actions and omissions, the intransigence and the extensive irredentist propaganda and every type of provocation undermine the spirit and the letter of the interim agreement and it is not possible to invoke only certain points of this. The interim agreement is unified and undivided and this is why Greece maintains to the fullest all the rights which derive from its capacity as member of NATO and of the European Union," Bakoyannis noted. She stressed that the objectif of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, as well as the interim agreement of 1995 is the finding of a mutually acceptable solution and not the extension of the pending issue.

    ?Greece has taken all the necessary steps. However, the other side must also cover the distance and unfortunately it has not yet done so,? Bakoyannis further stressed.

    ?Thereās one road for Skopje towards NATO and the European Union. The road of a mutually acceptable solution,? she emphasized.

    Referring to the European Unionās future, the foreign minister said that ?Greece has decided to be at the vanguard of those forces which promote the unifioying endeavour: Greeceās position is that we, and all our partners together, must continue. No one must be absent. However, at the same time, if is necessary, we are prepared to support a system of reinforced cooperation, without apriori exclusions, between partners which desire to proceed and go ahead faster, with the eurozone as a model. Our country has prooved that it has the will and capability of participating in the hard nucleus of Europe.?

    As for Turkeyās European course, the foreign minister reiterated that providing it fulfills its obligations, it can and should join the European Union, but with the procedure which has been agreed and ?without blank checks.?

    She also stressed that the development of relations between the peoples of Greece and Turkey is important as well as the smoothing of their relations, however, fully smooth Greek-Turkish relations is not feasible without a viable settlement of the Cyprus issue.

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