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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-05

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK leader on environment
  • [02] Greece to assume presidency of WTO
  • [03] President visits renewable energy sources centre

  • [01] PASOK leader on environment

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, in a message on Thursday on the occasion of World Environment Day, said that "we have decided to turn the disaster into a new opportunity for Greece, turning the Peloponnese into a craddle of a pioneering 'green development' with absolute respect for man, nature, history and its culture."

    The PASOK leader further said that PASOK, "consistent with its promises and commitments," would be tabling a draft law on Thursday on an Integrated Reconstruction and Development Programme for the wildfire-stricken regions.

    Papandreou further stressed in his message that "last year's destructive wildfires changed the map of the country. Tens of human lives were lost, thousands of families lost their homes and their property, tens of villages were destroyed completely."

    Party spokesman George Papaconstantinou announced earlier that PASOK tabled a draft law in Parliament on Thursday on an integrated reconstruction programme for the wildfire-stricken regions and called on the government to support the proposal.

    PASOK's proposal includes the creation of an interministerial committee under the supervision of the prime minister and the establishment of an agency over an eight-year span to monitor the reconstruction task.

    Moreover, the proposal contains a medium-term plan concerning the "guaranteeing of life achievements with a minimum guaranteed income of 1,000 euros a month for every farmer family in wildfire-stricken regions, by the end of 2012."

    The medium-term plan includes proposals on "the state covering the cost of animal food, the creation of stockbreeding parks and the establishment of a briefing and information network for farmers."

    PASOK's draft law does not omit funding sources that are "the 3rd Community Support Framework, the National Strategic Reference Framework, international funding sources and financing by the state budget."

    [02] Greece to assume presidency of WTO

    Greece will be assuming the presidency of the World Tourism Organisation's Sustainable Development of Tourism Committee for the next four years, following a decision taken Thursday by the Committee's nine member-states in the framework of the three-day 6th conference held in Athens.

    The Committee was established in 1999, while Greece had been elected a Committee member ever since its founding and held the position of vice president during the two previous four-year terms.

    Issues discussed during the conference concerned sustainable tourist development, such as climatic changes and their effect on tourism, the international code of ethics for tourism, quality in tourism and the sustainable development of regions of international cultural heritage.

    Addressing the conference, Tourist Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos sent a message of ecological conscience and environmental sensitivity. Also on the occasion of International Environment Day, the minister noted that only with tourist services unbreakably linked to tourist conscience will the Greek tourist product acquire the added value and produce a difference from its competitors.

    The minister reiterated that he favours the establishment of an Environment ministry, saying that "for us, tourism and the environment go together and for this reason we are trying, through the kind of tourist strategy that we have chosen, to awaken this form of ecological conscience."

    [03] President visits renewable energy sources centre

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Thursday paid a visit to the Renewable Energy Sources Centre in Marathonas, northeastern Attica, accompanied by Development Minister Christos Folias.

    After touring the facilities and learning about the centre's activities, Papoulias praised the centre's team of scientists, stressing that they were are at the forefront of their field in Greece and Europe.

    Folias, on his part, said the centre was a "key tool for renewable energy sources and had great worth, international prestige and praiseworthy accomplishments".

    He pledged that the use of unexploited renewable energy sources that Greece possessed in abundance would be pursued with greater vigour in order to preserve the country's natural wealth.

    "The environmental crisis and dealing with this by immediately taking responsible and effective action is the greatest challenge facing mankind from an individual to a global level," he added.

    The head of the centre Ioannis Agapitidis also noted that the centre was virtually self-funding, relying on the state for only 8 percent of its regular budget, and generated funds by designing programmes and providing technical services to solar energy systems, with 55 programmes in European countries.


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