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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM address int'l conference on climatic change
  • [02] PASOK leader to chair Parliamentary Group meeting

  • [01] PM address int'l conference on climatic change

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed an international conference on climatic change and energy security in Athens on Monday, underlining that Greece will honour in full the specific and measurable commitments that it has assumed to restrict greenhouse gas emissions and to include renewable sources in the country's energy balance.

    The prime minister said that the challenge for each country is a double one. On the one hand, ensuring energy security and, on the other, decreasing the contribution to the greenhouse phenomenon.

    Karamanlis referred to the policy on energy security that is being applied by Greece, stressing that this is an "open horizons energy diplomacy which is promoting the country to an international energy hub."

    He further referred, in this framework, to the agreements on the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, the Turkey-Greece-Italy natural gas pipeline, the recent agreement on the South Stream natural gas pipeline, the signing for the establishment of the energy community of southeastern Europe and the leading role played by Greek shipping in the international hydrocarbons market.

    The prime minister pointed out that with these actions Greece "is achieving its substantive geopolitical upgrading as an intersection between producer countries in the east and the south and the consumer countries of Europe. It also achieves securing adequate energy for the years to come and the security of its energy supply, as well as the consolidation of its role as a reliable transit centre."

    Karamanlis said that the path towards facing environmental problems passes through the gradual distancing of economies from costly and polluting oil, adding that it also passes through the curbing of energy extravagance and the decrease of greenhouse gas emissions, by taking specific measures through the implementation of strict specifications with the utilisation of the potential of new technology and with the training of all, and of the younger gmeneration in particular, on environmental issues.

    The prime minister added that it also passes through the increasing coverage of energy needs by renewable energy sources, as well as securing the energy security of each country.

    As regards policies followed by the country, the prime minister underlined the importance of the special planning framework for renewable energy sources, with which every citizen, every firm and every local administration organisation will be aware of what it can do, where and how.

    President Papoulias

    Addressing the conference earlier, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias stressed that "the environment is not a priority. It is the top priority."

    The president added that "the worsening of environmental problems is such that it requires the need for coordinated efforts to be assumed at a global level" and noted that "since we have reached the edge of the cliff we must take action to reverse the situation and that institutional difficulties exist at international level because timid steps are not enough."

    President Papoulias said, however, that steps have also been taken in the right direction.

    "Kyoto is a positive initiative and so is the European Union's commitment for a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020 and an increase in renewable energy sources," he said.

    The president made special reference to last year's disastrous wildfires, stressing that "last year's ecological disaster was tremendous," adding that "the prevention apparatus has a great responsibility for it not to be repeated. There are no more excuses, we must be prepared and make every effort so that last summer will not be repeated, last year's victims will be the last."

    [02] PASOK leader to chair Parliamentary Group meeting

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou will chair a meeting in Parliament on Wednesday morning of the party‚s Parliamentary Group.

    Papandreou, whose health is improving following a bicycle accident he had two weeks ago, met on Monday afternoon at Athens‚ northern suburb of Kastri with the Movement‚s Secretary of the National Council, Yiannis Ragoussis.

    Meanwhile, PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said on Monday that "the government is proceeding with increasingly dangerous concessions in its haste to conclude at all cost the sale of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) to Deutsche Telekom."

    Referring to an interview by Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis on Sunday, Papaconstantinou said that "it is deduced from it that joint management was a myth since, according to the finance minister, the state will ultimately possess only 5 percent of the shares and the management will be exercised exclusively by Deutsche Telekom."

    On the issue of exercising a veto, the spokesman said that "this will only be exercised for national security reasons and God forbid if the government did not even secure this."

    He further said that "a veto does not ensure that appropriate decisions will be taken" and wondered what "decisions will be taken when OTE's interests in the Balkans or elsewhere will conflict with the interests of Deutsche Telekom."

    Papaconstantinou also predicted, in relation to the minister's interview, that "there will also be a concession in the price of the sale of the Organisation's shares".

    Lastly, the spokesman claimed that OTE's sale had not been included in the New Democracy party's programme, "in which mention had been made of a strategic partner and not of a sale." And a strategic partner, as he said, "means an exchange of shares and not a buyout".

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