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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader meets Bank unionists
  • [02] EU General Affairs Council

  • [01] PASOK leader meets Bank unionists

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou expressed his full support for the struggle of working people to defend collective negotiations, during his meeting on Monday with the directorate of the Bank Employee Unions Federation (OTOE).

    Papandreou said that PASOK supports a basic democratic right of working people and accused the government of "trying to abolish collective negotiating", rejecting at the same time that it is simply a move by businessmen.

    The PASOK leader added that it is "a political decision and the philosophy of the New Democracy party government to weaken working people's organised expression."

    OTOE President Stavros Koukos said that working people "are determined to reach extremes to defend the right of collective negotiations," while calling on the PASOK leader to assume initiatives in society and in Parliament and to highlight these undemocratic, as he termed them, acts.

    [02] EU General Affairs Council

    The European Union's General Affairs Council convened here on Monday and discussed the EU's policy in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, relations with Turkey and preparations for the June summit.

    Speaking to reporters and referring to Turkey, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said she was extremely satisified with the text on the joint position of the "27", that will be presented at the EU-Turkey Association Council on Tuesday.

    The minister said that with their joint position the "27" make it clear to Ankara that it must work in the direction of building relations of good neighbourliness and the peaceful settlement of differences with neighbouring countries.

    She also said she was pleased with references made on Cyprus, on relations between politics and the military in Turkey, on problems created by Turkish policy on fishing issues and on the need to secure high level security with regard to nuclear energy.

    Bakoyannis further expressed the wish that "domestic developments in Turkey will not decrease its desire and will to work to achieve its accession to the EU."

    Asked about reactions by the opposition in Athens to the ongoing visit to Turkey by National Defence General Staff chief Dimitris Grapsas, she attributed them to party pettiness.

    Focusing on developments in the Western Balkans, Bakoyannis once again expressed support for Serbia's European prospects that "remains a key country in developing harmonious relations between the peoples in the region."

    As regards Kosovo, the minister said that the EU is in constant contact with the UN and the aim is to find a suitable process and the suitable timetable through which the existing UN force in the region will be replaced by a European one.

    "We are at a delicate stage in discussions since June 15 is approaching when the Constitution of Kosovo will be implemented," she said.

    Also asked to comment on recent statements by the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Nikola Gruevski on a "Macedonian minority" in Greece, the foreign minister said that she would not follow him on his election rhetoric, but underlined that his statements confirm the correctness of Greek arguments.

    Bakoyannis expressed the wish that the government that will result from the elections in FYROM will show a political will similar to that of Athens to enable a mutually acceptable solution to be found on the issue of FYROM's name.

    The minister mentioned that the Council prepared the issues that will be discussed at the summit in June, starting with the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Also to be discussed will be issues concerning justice and internal affairs, the EU's policy in the Mediterranean and the increase in food prices.

    On the question of developments in the Middle East, Bakoyannis stressed that the progress being achieved is not satisfactory and added that the EU's objective is achieving a peace agreement by the end of the year.

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