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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: PASOK the only force for change
  • [02] Employment minister Magginas resigns
  • [03] Bakoyannis against Kosovo link to Serbia's EU prospects
  • [04] Cold front sweeps northern Greece

  • [01] Papandreou: PASOK the only force for change

    Main opposition PASOK's Parliamentary group is to meet on Sunday afternoon with party leader George Papandreou chairing the session. Papandreou is expected to stress that the main opposition party is the only reliable force for change in the country.

    In statements on Friday, meanwhile, a PASOK spokesman expressed the party‚s satisfaction over the level of participation in a nationwide strike two days earlier, saying that the rally translates into a rejection of the government‚s economic policies by a "majority of the people".

    Spokesman Yiannis Ragoussis also called potential reforms, as outlined by the government, "harsh" and said they were targeted against the majority of the population, reiterating the socialist party‚s position that it is in favour of state control of certain strategic utilities.

    Moreover, the state deputy referred to "foreign capital of unknown origin" being used to purchased state-run enterprises in Greece, an indirect reference to the Marfin group‚s recent interest in the shares of the telephony utility OTE.

    Moreover, the spokesman said PASOK will outlaw the use of CCTV traffic cameras for surveillance of demonstrations, saying that such a measure is not in line with the way a modern European country‚s should operate.

    Finally, he said the latest opinion poll results were discussed during Friday‚s session of the newly formed political planning committee, chaired by PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [02] Employment minister Magginas resigns

    Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos on Saturday announced the resignation of Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas, who is to be replaced by former minister for tourism Fani Palli-Petralia.

    "Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas submitted his resignation this morning for reasons of sensitivity. It was accepted by the prime minister, who thanked Mr. Magginas for his important contribution in the matter of social security reform," the spokesman said.

    Roussopoulos also underlined that the government's position regarding the need to continue social security reforms without any attempt to tone these down remained steadfast and unchanged. He stressed that the only criterion for the reforms remained the interests of the Greek people and ensuring the viability of the social insurance system.

    Palli-Petralia is due to be sworn in at noon on Monday, before President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.

    Magginas submitted his resignation in response to a series of damaging articles in the press concerning his summer house in Koropi, following revelations that this was built using a licence to erect a canteen.

    Caption: Employment Minister Vassilis Magginas while attending the second conference of ruling New Democracy's youth group ONNED on social security reforms at the Hotel Caravel in Athens on Friday, 14 December 2007. ANA-MPA/MARIA MAROGIANNI

    [03] Bakoyannis against Kosovo link to Serbia's EU prospects

    Greece's Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis has expressed strong opposition to any attempt to link Serbia's European prospects to events in Kosovo, according to a Greek foreign ministry press release on Saturday.

    "At this crucial moment any attempt to link the European prospects of Serbia with the matter of Kosovo's future status would be counterproductive. It would be a mistake to link these two issues," Bakoyannis was quoted as saying.

    The minister was answering a question by reporters on whether Serbia's EU prospects should be linked to developments in Kosovo in the form of a criterion.

    "The western Balkans are undergoing a critical period for their stability, peace and developmental prospects. The Greek proposal to give a new impetus to the rapprochement with the EU of countries in this region, including Serbia, is on the European daily agenda. Serbia is a country of pivotal importance for regional stability. Its European prospects must acquire a new, tangible impetus: first with the signature of the Stabilisation and Association agreement and then, by the end of 2008, with it acquiring the status of an EU candidate-country," the Greek minister said.

    Caption: Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis briefing Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on foreign affairs developments in Athens on Tuesday, December 11 2007. ANA-MPA/Pantelis Saitas.

    [04] Cold front sweeps northern Greece

    A cold front bringing snow and very low temperatures swept areas of northern Greece on Saturday, with snow settling even in the centre of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki and the plains of Trikala.

    Vehicles needed snow chains on many parts of the road network in northern parts of the country, especially at high altitudes, while several flights due to arrive at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport had to be cancelled or rerouted due to low-lying cloud that created conditions of low visibility and prevented aircraft from landing.

    Even though the snow stopped falling later on Saturday afternoon, conditions in the area remained difficult and more roads became impassable without snow chains by Saturday evening.

    Among the flights re-routed were a Swiss International Airlines flight from Zurich and a CSA flight from Prague - both of which landed at Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens - while two outgoing flights by Aegean Airlines for Athens and Dusseldorf were cancelled. Also cancelled was a scheduled stopover at the airport by an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Stuttgart via Thessaloniki, which was carried out without the intermediate stop.

    More flights were prevented from landing later in the day, including Olympic Airlines flight 906 from Athens to Thessaloniki, an Alitalia flight from Rome to Thessaloniki and back, a German Wings flight from Stuttgart and back and another German Wings round-trip flight from Cologne. All the above flights from abroad landed at Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photograph of Thessaloniki's White Tower covered in snow.

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