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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis arrives in Brussels
  • [02] PASOK spokesman on American elections
  • [03] Informal EU FMs Council

  • [01] PM Karamanlis arrives in Brussels

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis arrived in Brussels on Monday afternoon and shortly afterwards met with European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens.

    Their talks focused on the repercussions of the international economic crisis on the European economy and on developments in the Balkans.

    Karamanlis will be meeting on Tuesday morning with Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker and he will then be addressing, together with European Commission President Jose Barroso and European Parliament President Hans Pettering an event on the 10th anniversary of the death of statesman and New Democracy (ND) party founder Constantine Karamanlis.

    In Athens earlier in the day, the prime minister conferred with health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss general policy and matters falling under the ministry's authority.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Avramopoulos said that problems that have been chronic in recent years in the health sector were reaching the stage of resolution.

    Regarding the problem of duty shifts at hospitals, Avramopoulos stressed that the goal was to sign, in a few days, a collective labor agreement with the doctors so that the relevant EU Directive may be implemented in Greece.

    He also said that there was agreement with the economy and finance ministry for additional hirings in the health sector afterwards.

    Asked whether doctors were threatening to close the hospitals, Avramopoulos said that the ministry was in the final stage of its discussions with the doctors' unions in order to resolve the problem with the duty ships, stressing that a new collective agreement must be signed.

    The ministry, he continued, has reached agreement both with the doctors and the economy ministry, and this outstanding issue was nearing its end, so that the Community Directive could be applied in Greece.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] PASOK spokesman on American elections

    The main opposition PASOK party said Monday it had "great expectations" from the possible election of Barrack Obama to the Presidency of the United States.

    Replying to a relevant question on Monday, party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said that PASOK "expects change, which is the Democrat candidate's main slogan."

    Papaconstantinou added that it expects "a different economic policy," pointing out that the crisis started from there. It also expects "a different foreign policy and hopes for this" and of course "the shaping of a progressive majority in the world."

    [03] Informal EU FMs Council

    A day before elections in the United States and with the participation of Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, the European Union's 27 foreign ministers adopted in Marseleille, France, a text proposal to the United States regarding cooperation on major international issues in which, as it was stressed, transatlantic relations will change chapter and that "American friends" remain "a great power but not dominant" in "a world that is complicated now."

    The common European position is set out in a six-page text that summed up the informal Council that convened here on Monday afternoon to examine the situation in light of new developments, namely the international economic crisis and elections in the U.S.

    The text underlines the complexity of the new international system, in which the Europeans were called on to play an active role in light of the crisis in Georgia and the international economic crisis.

    It further pointed out that the Middle East chapter must constitute a top priority, including Iran and Iraq, while also referring to Afghanistan where "we Europeans are sharing a common vision with the United States and we already have many years of experience with our presence in the region."

    Lastly, it focused on relations with Russia, a power that has changed and with which there must be dialogue.

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