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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-12-18

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01]  aramanlis, Putin focus on energy relations; EU-Russia ties discussed
  • [02] PASOK leader visits OTE
  • [03] Roughly one million migrants live in Greece

  • [01]  aramanlis, Putin focus on energy relations; EU-Russia ties discussed

    Expanding energy cooperation between Russia and Greece dominated talks here on Monday between visiting Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis and Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the two leaders' meeting also reportedly touched on the thorny Kosovo issue.

    In statements after the more than one-hour meeting, both leaders said the expansion of already burgeoning energy cooperation between the two countries substantially benefits Europe's energy sufficiency and security, with particular mention to a finalised three-nation pact (Russia, Bulgaria and Greece) to construct the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and proposals for the "Southstream" natgas pipeline linking Russian gas reserves with SE Europe.

    Putin, in fact, said a protocol signed earlier in the day in Moscow -- establishing an international company by the three sides to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis line -- is the next-to-last step for constructing the pipeline.

    Military cooperation was also discussed, with Karamanlis directly referring to the purchase of 420 Russian-made armoured vehicles, whereas Putin said there is "no restriction" on the development of bilateral defence cooperation with Greece, including an interest to proceed with joint weapons production on Russian soil.

    Int'l developments

    In response to a press question regarding ostensible "criticism" of close Greece-Russia ties by EU civil servants -- the reporter's words -- Putin merely noted that domestic issues have dominated his attention of late, with no time to "deal with the statements of respectable functionaries of Brussels."

    Moreover, he said EU-Russia relations are moving along "not so badly", while the Russian leader expressed hope that a long-term agreement with the Union will soon be concluded.

    Beyond Moscow's ties with the Union, Putin said he discussed the Kosovo issue and the Cyprus problem with the Greek leader, underlining that their views were similar.

    As per Greek-Russian relations, in particular, Putin said they are not restricted to merely the energy sector, but involve several other fields, adding that "certain (parties) don't delve deeply enough into the nature of this relationship".

    On his part, Karamanlis reminded that Greece is a European nation that operates within the framework of the European Union, adding however, "that our bilateral relations revolve on the basis of national interests".

    Asked about the Southstream project, Karamanlis said experts on both sides are examining its feasibility prospects, with predictions impossible at present.

    Turning to other matters, the Greek premier said Athens was ready to assist the Sochi 2014 Winter Games organisers and preparations, with Greece-based contractors also eager to win Olympics-related projects.

    Along those lines, he proposed that the Olympic year 2014 be declared "Year of Russia" in Greece, concurrently, "Year of Greece" in Russia, an idea that was accepted by the Russian side.

    In a reference to the ongoing year-long series of events showcasing the Russian language in the country, Karamanlis said a promise he made to the Russian leader in 2004, namely, the establishment of a Slavic studies department at the University of Athens, is nearing fulfillment.

    "In fact, as of the next academic year, a pilot programme for the teaching of the Russian language will begin in certain (Greek) secondary schools," Karamanlis stressed.

    Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shake hands in Moscow's Kremlin on 18 December 2007. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Moscow on Monday for an official visit. ANA-MPA / EPA/DMITRY ASTAKHOV

    [02] PASOK leader visits OTE

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on Tuesday toured the main offices of state-run Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) in northern Athens, where he met with the telecoms utility's management and the employees' representatives.

    During the meetings, the one-time foreign minister expressed his party‚s support for keeping the telephony company under state control.

    Addressing OTE personnel, he stated that he shares their concerns over OTE's future, stressing that the company has played a decisive role in the modernisation of the Greek economy and the country‚s technological development.

    He stated that OTE's investments were also very successful, pointing out that the listed company should remain an essential "tool" in the hands of the Greek state in efforts focusing on the country‚s advancement in the sectors of technology, infomation, communication and telecommunications.

    [03] Roughly one million migrants live in Greece

    Non-EU foreign nationals with residence permits in Greece number 481,501, according to mid-October figures announced by the interior ministry on Tuesday on the occasion of World Migrants Day.

    Foreign nationals currently living and working in Greece are estimated at between one million and 1.07 million people. A total of roughly 370,000 illegal immigrants took advantage of a first legalisation scheme in 1998, while an additional 350,000 acquired legal status in 2001, the government said.

    Meanwhile, many former legal residents from eastern Europe (primarily Polish nationals) left the country for other EU states upon their home country's accession to the European Union. Based on the EU-established Migrant Integration Policy Index in 2004, the job market in Greece is regarded as uncertain for migrants.

    Roughly 63 percent of the immigrants come from non-EU state Albania, corresponding to 303,225 legal permits; followed by recent EU member-state Bulgaria (27,182); the Ukraine (19,005); EU state Romania (15,884); Georgia (12,990); Pakistan (12,126); Russia (10,704) and Egypt (10,356).

    The gradual opening of the European job market to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals -- the two countries became EU members in 2007 -- is expected to reduce the number of migrants from former eastern European countries. On the contrary, the continuous attempts of mostly Third World foreign nationals from Asia and the sub-Saharan Africa to reach the country is expected to raise their numbers in the illegal job market, as their legalisation appears impossible under current conditions, a relevant report stated.

    The overwhelming majority of migrants are young people aged between 19 and 40, constituting 56 percent (268,324) of legal migrants, while 17 percent are second generation children of migrants (80,860).

    Regarding the education of non-EU foreign nationals, 13.4 percent are tertiary education graduates, 59.3 percent have secondary education, 16.2 percent have finished grade school and 9.2 percent have little or no schooling.

    Roughly 5 percent of legal migrants are home owners and their average family income is 1,550 euros, 28 percent lower than the average Greek family income. About 20.5 percent of their income is spent on food and non-alcoholic beverages; 19.6 percent on housing, water bills, fuel, electricity, and 10.6 percent on transportation.

    Roughly 32 percent of all legal migrants work in construction; 20.5 percent are females employed as household help; 12.8 percent are employed in manufacturing; 11.6 percent in commerce and repair work; 8.2 percent in hospitality and restaurants, as well as 6 percent in the agriculture.

    Uninsured migrants correspond to roughly 13 percent of overall migrant population, compared to local uninsured workers, who correspond to 4 percent of the workforce.


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