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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: Extend of crisis is unpredictable
  • [02] Roussopoulos speaks out on resignation, denies accusations: "My conscience is clear"
  • [03] FM at EU Informal Council
  • [04] ASE: Rise

  • [01] Papandreou: Extend of crisis is unpredictable

    Main opposition PASOK party leader and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou, speaking to reporters on Monday at the end of a Stiglitz Commission's meeting, said that the social democrats' proposals will play an important role in the overcoming of the world economy crisis.

    Papandreou said nobody can predict the extent and the consequences of the crisis, but stressed that unless measures are taken in time there shall be a danger of wars for the control of energy sources and great pressures by waves of immigrants.

    Referring to the presidential elections in the United States, Papandreou expressed the hope that Barrack Obama will win and assessed that "in such a case considerable ground will be created for shaping a policy based on the social democrats' proposals," while adding that, according to a briefing by Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, conflicting views exist in the U.S. Democract Party on the handling of the crisis.

    Papandreou termed the Vienna discussion "very productive" saying that at presdent "bankers and investors are withdrawing their money from the developing economies and are bringing it back to main centres, resulting in economic asphyxiation being created in a number of countries."

    Referring again to the Stiglitz proposals, he spoke of a new agency to supervise the international monetary system and of the proposal for the creation of an international social protection fund, under whose umbrella 500 million people will be placed, while its budget will only amount to 50 billion dollars.

    PASOK's leader also commented on the EU's Maastricht Treaty, saying that he did not desire a slackening of the Maastricht criteria but support for small and medium-size businesses and protection for the unemployed since, as he said, the problem lying ahead will not be inflation but recession, while noting that certain ideas of John Meynard Kames must be utilised again.

    Representatives of Germany, France, Chile, Brazil and Morocco were absent from Monday's Stiglitz Commission session. Attending the session were representatives from Europe, Africa, India, Asia, Latin America and Russia, while also present was Socialist International Secretary General Luis Ayala, and Papandreou said that a proposal was made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to host the Commission's next session in London. Lastly, a future session will be taking place in Geneva, where contact will also be made with the heads of international organisations.

    [02] Roussopoulos speaks out on resignation, denies accusations: "My conscience is clear"

    Former minister of state and ex government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos spoke about the issues in which his name had been implicated, which led to his submitting his resignation to the prime minister, indeed "one and a half months before it was accepted" in order to "defend myself", in an interview on private MEGA television station late Monday night.

    Roussopoulos said that he had not know the details of the Vatopedi Monastery's claims, and denied any involvement whatsoever in the matter, stressing that his spiritual relationship was with the Orthodox religion and not with the monastery's abbot Ephrem, and charged that "political deviousness" was behind the implication of his name in the Vatopedi affair, aimed at his own political annihilation and at striking a blow against the government.

    He also criticized as "unethical" the main opposition PASOK party's motion for setting up a parliamentary preliminary inquiry committee on the affair, on the sole basis of four witnesses' depositions of which three referred to visits by Xanthi authorities to his office and a visit by Ephrem to his home.

    Roussopoulos further put blame on himself for the damage suffered by the government over the Vatopedi scandal, given that over the space of two months that he himself had been targeted as the 'coordinator' of the affair, he had not been able to respond to the accusations because "when you are the government spokesman, you are obliged to keep your distances".

    In response to other accusations that he had "gotten rich" during his ministerial term, Roussopoulos clarified that two of the three homes listed in his 'source of assets' statement had been acquired from the incomes of himself and his wife Mara Zacharea from their employment as television journalists.

    "I am open to any audit whatsoever by the institutional bodies of the state, and those who accuse me should do the same," he stressed.

    As for Zacharea's professional (journalistic) activities and whether they were incompatible with the fact that she was the wife of the minister of state, Roussopoulos said that his wife had no relationship with the state or state advertisements, and elaborated that she had been a news anchorwoman, not a media owner. "I maintained my institutional role, and my wife her professional role," he said.

    Roussopoulos further denied as a "fairy tale" the charges of a "Roussopoulos system" that distributed the state advertisements to the media at his will and kept the prime minister in isolation, explaining that the minister of state has no authority in the distribution of state advertisement, which was handled by the ministries, the relevant bodies, and the advertising agencies they worked with.

    As for the charges that he kept prime minister Costas Karamanlis "in isolation", Roussopoulos said: "Can anyone possibly believe that the longest-serving leader of New Democracy, who has been through "fire and brimstone", who was first elected as an MP in 1989, who is serving a second term as prime minister, can be placed in isolation by an associate? And from what does it arise that he does not perceive everything around him?"

    "My conscience is absolutely clear," Roussopoulos continued, but conceded that he had part of the blame for the reversal of the climate for the government, which he attributed to his distancing from the mass media and long-hour occupation with his ministerial obligations and responsibilities.

    "I was working 18-20 hours a day. I distanced myself from people, and surely I made other mistakes as well. I regret that the prime minister paid the price of that, but I believe that I will be vindicated, and so will his selection of me," Roussopoulos concluded.

    [03] FM at EU Informal 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 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.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis

    [04] ASE: Rise

    Equity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), influenced by the major European markets, with the basic share price index up 1.33 percent, standing at 2,146.83 points at 10:45 a.m., and turnover at 15.8 million euros.

    Individual sector indices were moving upward across the board, with the biggest gains in Food & Beverage, up 2.91 percent; Oil & Gas, up 2.76 percent; Health, up 2.72 percent; Travel & Recreation, up 2.62 percent; and Mass Media, up 2.04 percent.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 1.37 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was up 1.49 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 1.46 percent.

    Of the stocks moved, 92 were up, 14 were down, and 16 were unchanged.

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