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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Prime minister briefed on progress of new Acropolis Museum
  • [02] Papandreou rules out constitutional revision
  • [03] Bakoyannis on FYROM 'name issue'
  • [04] Events commemorating Nov. 17 anniversary begin
  • [05] KKE adamant on proportional representation

  • [01] Prime minister briefed on progress of new Acropolis Museum

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday with Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, who briefed him on progress in the ongoing transfer of antiquities to the new Acropolis Museum from the old museum atop the Acropolis -- a distance of roughly 400 metres -- as well as on a ministry draft bill aimed at combatting antiquities smuggling.

    Liapis told reporters after the one-hour meeting that Karamanlis will visit the new museum in mid-December.

    He said he also briefed the premier on a ministry-related draft bill on combatting football hooliganism, which would shore up the state's "institutional arsenal" against such violence.

    Liapis also broached the issue of the culture ministry's financial resources.

    "Culture is not possible without funding," the minister said, adding that Karamanlis assured him that he considered culture a top priority, as well as the effort for its further financial reinforcement.

    Liapis said that he also briefed the economy and finance minister during their recent meeting over the need for increased funding for the culture ministry, adding that he had no complaints vis-a-vis the finance ministry, with which he has excellent relations.

    Caption: A file photo dated Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007, shows the new Acropolis Museum, some 400 metres south of the Acropolis itself -- from where the photograph was taken -- in downtown Athens. ANA-MPA / SYMELA PANTZARTZI.

    [02] Papandreou rules out constitutional revision

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Thursday outlined what he called the organisational changes he will promote within the party, days after he was re-elected to the party's helm in a nationwide poll amongst three candidates.

    Speaking to PASOK's parliamentary group, Papandreou referred to the Nov. 11 party election - in which he garnered nearly 56 percent of the vote to MP Evangelos Venizelos' 38.18 percent - saying that "politics won out and that expectations for PASOK have been rekindled", while again referring to a victory of "politics' autonomy vis-?-vis major interests and out-of-party centres (of power)."

    Moreover, the former foreign minister again referred to what he called a "mediacracy" prevailing amongst the country's major mass media. He further charged that after his election a handful of media outlets attempted to discredit the election process followed by PASOK, while he even cited the firings of journalists expressing a different opinion that those of their employers.

    In citing "five points" he said emerged from Sunday's party election, Papandreou pointed to a right for all to have a role and voice in the party; respect of collective decisions and public policy statements; defence of past PASOK governments' accomplishments; a willingness to change views and practices, as well as a "clear, radical and modern expression".

    He also announced that the party's national council will convene on Friday to focus on the party's charter.

    In turning to non-party issues and PASOK's opposition strategy, Papandreou first touched on a timely foreign policy issue, namely, the FYROM "name issue", reiterating and echoing standing Greek policy that the neighbouring country cannot join Euro-Atlantic alliance without Athens' approval.

    Turning to domestic issues, Papandreou criticised the government for avoiding substance and concentrating on "PR tricks" with the goal of out-maneuvering PASOK, with constitutional revision and changing the election law as just two examples.

    He again ruled out any participation by PASOK in constitutional revision debate, demanding instead a "dialogue from scratch".

    Regarding potential changes to the election law, an initiative all but guaranteed by the government, Papandreou said PASOK's proposal was for changes along the lines of a so-called "German model" version.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [03] Bakoyannis on FYROM 'name issue'

    The need for a mutually acceptable solution to a dispute between Greece and the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the so-called "name issue" -- the only difference separating the two countries -- was once again stressed by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday.

    Bakoyannis was replying to questions concerning a statement made the previous day by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, a former US ambassador to Greece.

    "Nobody wants to be put in the position of having to use a veto, that is why mutually acceptable solutions are needed," Bakoyannis said.

    She emphasised that the goal - on the basis of UN Security Council decisions and an Interim Agreement signed by Greece and FYROM in 1995 - was to find a mutually acceptable name that would allow Skopje's unobstructed progress toward joining the European Union and NATO, with respect for good neighbour relations.

    Bakoyannis also pointed out that good neighbour relations were among the fundamental criteria for all relations of partnership and alliance.

    "This is Greece's goal, we are going to move in this direction on condition - I repeat - that we find a mutually acceptable solution to the issue of the name," the minister said.

    Bakoyannis made the statements on the sidelines of a reception she hosted on Thursday for the ambassadors and envoys of Arab countries stationed in Greece, specifically those of Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Tunisia, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    Talks at the reception focused on developments in the SE Mediterranean region, with an emphasis on the Middle East problem.

    Caption: Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis.

    [04] Events commemorating Nov. 17 anniversary begin

    Events commemorating the 34th anniversary of a student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic in 1973 began on Thursday. The gates of the university were opened and dozens of people came to deposit a flower on a memorial in the campus' front courtyard.

    The polytechnic's rector said the academic community at the university had made necessary preparations to guard the campus from intrusion both on Patission Street and elsewhere during three-day celebrations that will culminate on Saturday with the annual march ending at the US embassy in Athens.

    The anniversary is held each year in tribute to a student uprising against a military dictatorship ruling Greece at that time, that was violently put down on Nov 17, 1973 when the army and tanks were brought in to disperse the students that had taken over the Athens Polytechnic.

    ANA-MPA file photo.

    [05] KKE adamant on proportional representation

    The Communist Party of Greece's (KKE) firm support of absolute proportional representation in the election system was reiterated by its parliamentary spokesman Spyros Halvatzis in an interview with the ANA-MPA, where he categorically stated his party's opposition to any other proposal.

    He said simple proportionality is the only fair voting system, reflecting exactly the vote percentage garnered by each political party, while adding that KKE will vote down any effort by the government to change the existing election law.

    Halvatzis stated that the policy followed by main opposition party PASOK serves major economic interests and that no policy change was presented during the campaign for the election of a new party leader with the rivals focusing on how they will defeat New Democracy in the next general elections. He added that PASOK and New Democracy represent the "major economic interests" and share the same policy towards the EU and NATO.

    On the party leader election model followed by PASOK, he said that inviting people who do not belong to a political party to vote for its leader does not constitute a political procedure and the result merely leads to a "super leader" who is virtually uncontrollable.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of KKE MP Spyros Halvatzis.

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