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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM confers with Interior Minister
  • [02] Stylianidis on education
  • [03] Visas for UAE visitors axed
  • [04] US aircraft carrier in Rhodes

  • [01] PM confers with Interior Minister

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met Thursday with interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who briefed him on progress in the implementation of the government's program on public administration and administrative reform.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Pavlopoulos said that during his latest meeting with economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis, the execution of the special Operational Program for curbing bureaucracy and enhancing the structure of first and second degree Local Government had been set in motion.

    He stressed that relevant pre-congress procedures were commencing in the Union of Prefectural Administrations of Greece (ENAE) and the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), which concerned the future of local administration (government) and were linked also with the administrative reform aimed at rendering the local governments (OTA) stronger and financially more robust.

    After the ENAE and KEDKE congresses, which will finalise the local administrations' positions, a meeting will take place with the prime minister before drafting of the government's final position on the issue of unifications of prefectures and municipalities, the minister explained.

    Pavlopoulos said that he will outline the government's basic policy lines at the ENAE congress, adding that he briefed Karamanlis on the procedures to be followed, so that the relevant draft law would be ready for release for public deliberation in time to enable its tabling in parliament after autumn.

    "The administrative reform is a big, positive challenge for the structure of the State, and for society itself," Pavlopoulos said, adding that "its good preparation is of immense importance".

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis (R) and Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos (L)

    [02] Stylianidis on education

    A new round of dialogue on Education, following the implementation and testing of the relevant framework law, was announced by Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis, addressing a one-day conference held in Komotini on Wednesday evening hosted by the Thessaloniki newspaper "Makedonia". The government has a mandate to clash with the forces of inaction, said Stylianidis, adding that tertiary education should be freed from the State monopoly without experiencing phobic syndromes. He also pointed out that already 120 education institutions are undergoing evaluation. He underlined that the postgraduate studies draft law will be approved before the end of the current academic year, giving a new boost to universities and technological institutions in combination with the law regulating research that was approved recently. Stylianidis made an extensive reference to the education ministry strategy, which is based on the triptych "smart school"- "tertiary education policy reform" - "Greek citizen, citizen of Europe and the world".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Education Minister Evripidis Stylianidis

    [03] Visas for UAE visitors axed

    Bilateral tourism and trade relations between Greece and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have acquired new momentum following a statement by Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos that Athens will abolish visa requirements for diplomatic and special passports. Spiliotopoulos, currently on a visit to Dubai, also said Greece is actively promoting tourism investments -- construction of marinas and seaports -- by Dubai-based companies. The close relations shared by the two countries were reaffirmed in a meeting Spiliotopoulos had Wednesday with UAE Finance Minister Sultan Vinsaaedal-Mansouri. Roughly 28 million tourists visited Dubai last year. Indicative of the tourism sector's momentum is its contribution to Dubai's GDP, rising to 35 percent.

    Caption:ANA-MPA/EPA file photo of an aerial view of high rise residential buildings under construction with the Arabian sea on one side and a man-made cannal on the other, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, In the background the Jumairah Palm Island, an artificial island that will feature villas, hotels and theme parks. EPA/Jorge Ferrari

    [04] US aircraft carrier in Rhodes

    The aircraft carrier USS "Harry Truman" sailed into the port of Rhodes on Wednesday, after duty in the Persian Gulf where it was stationed since November.

    More than 3,000 US sailors and officers are on board the vessel.

    In the afternoon, local officials toured the vessel following a reception, which was given and was attended by Deputy Merchant Marine & Island Policy Minister Panagiotis Kammenos and US ambassador to Greece Daniel Speckhard.

    The aircraft carrier will remain in Rhodes for a couple of days.

    Caption: A file photo shows the 14th century Palace of the Grand Master in Rhodes' old town quarter. ANA-MPA / N. NANEV.

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