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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-02

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM receives Moldovan counterpart
  • [02] Papandreou sees major crisis for Greek universities
  • [03] Athens on FYROM poll violence

  • [01] PM receives Moldovan counterpart

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Monday with his Moldovan counterpart Zinaida Greceanii at the Maximos mansion (prime's office).

    Greceanii is on an informal visit to Greece. No statements were made after the meeting.

    On Friday, Prime Minister Karamanlis was strongly critical on statements made by the leadership of the left-wing parties, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), concerning the crisis in universities.

    "The government initiated the educational reform by placing priority on improving tertiary state education, culminating in the framework law [for education], with the clear goal of making universities truly self-regulating, to connect them with the social and professional success of their graduates and allow them to play a leading role on an equal footing within the European sphere," he stressed.

    The opposition, by contrast, had made no proposals, suggested no measures and taken no action to improve state universities, the premier stressed.

    Replying to questions tabled during the premier's hour by the head of SYRIZA Alekos Alavanos and KKE General Secretary Aleka Papariga, Karamanlis accused both but particularly Alavanos of inaccuracies, distorting the truth and inflammatory statements that fuelled the few extremists that were causing the upheaval within state universities.

    While critical of KKE's opposition to the introduction of assessment for universities, he singled out SYRIZA and its leader for much tougher criticism, intimating that the party's statements had given a green light to phenomena of violence on Greek campuses.

    He also blasted SYRIZA for distorting events, and its "indirect advance announcement of inflammatory situations in universities and the attempt to attribute these, in advance, to government statements

    [02] Papandreou sees major crisis for Greek universities

    Greek universities are currently undergoing a major crisis, main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Monday, blaming the government for "exiling state universities from its policies, its priorities and its funding". At the same time, "other minorities through their undemocratic behaviour were attempting to exile democracy from universities," Papandreou added.

    The main opposition leader made the statements after a meeting with the three-member chair of the Rectors' Conference.

    "PASOK wants universities to be free, democratic, self-governing and meritocratic. It wants state universities that are properly funded and give equal opportunities of access to all. Universities of values and ambition and, of course, universities that are open," Papandreou stressed.

    He invited the academic community to preserve this vision for universities and fight for state universities in this form, pledging that PASOK would stand by their side in this struggle.

    Commenting on the results of the meeting with Papandreou, meanwhile, the vice-rector of the Democritus University of Thrace Athanassios Karabinis described it as "exceptionally fruitful".

    He said they had discussed possible initiatives that would give universities a way out of the current crisis and ways "to isolate the slender minorities whose practices were daily diminishing state universities and indirectly but clearly serving interests that were outside Greek education."

    Technical University of Crete rector Ioakeim Gryspolakis was even more severe in his criticism of the groups responsible for the upheaval within Greek universities, comparing them to the colonels that had organized the military coup of 1967 and saying that universities had become "prey, at this moment, to the shock troops of the non-Parliamentary Left and not only them" that were trying to forcibly impose their views.

    Caption: Main opposition PASOK party George Papandreou on Monday 2 June 2008 ANA-MPA/PANTELIS SAITAS

    [03] Athens on FYROM poll violence

    Greece officially commented on Sunday's violence-plagued general election in the neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) a day later, with the foreign ministry again emphasising Athens' policy of ignoring much of the nationalistic rhetoric aired during the pre-election period in the landlocked former Yugoslav republic over the recent period.

    "Greece, throughout the entire period, carefully and critically monitored and assessed developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said, adding:

    "We share the international community's conclusions over the (violent) incidents, the irregularities and, overall, the democratic deficit that characterised the holding of yesterday's (Sunday) elections ... Beyond this, Greece now expects the continuation of the negotiating process, under the United Nations' auspices, with the representative of the government that will be formed in Skopje, in order to achieve a mutually acceptable solution to the 'name issue' for the benefit of peace, stability and cooperation in the region," he stressed.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos


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