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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-11-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM on gov't policy to combat illegal migration
  • [02] Papandreou on Cyprus issue
  • [03] Proton Bank reports 29.3-million-euro loss in Jan-Sept
  • [04] Gov't condemns terror attacks in Mumbai

  • [01] PM on gov't policy to combat illegal migration

    Assurances that Greece will utilise and exhaust every EU resource available to tackle the serious, multifaceted and major problem of illegal immigration through a comprehensive European policy, was reiterated on Friday by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who spoke from Parliament's podium. Responding to a tabled question by Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) leader George Karatzaferis, who charged that the problem of illegal migration has generated "unforeseen consequences" for the east Mediterranean country, the prime minister stressed that it can be effectively combated only through a single European policy. Referring to efforts made by the Greek government on the European level, he emphasised Greece's contribution to the development of a European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, which was recently signed, while pointing directly to the issue of repatriation of non-EU third party nationals back to their countries of origin or the country from which they illegally entered the EU. The premier acknowledged that the number of incarcerated undocumented foreign nationals is on the rise, adding however, that it would be a mistake to associate this trend with an increased crime rate. He rejected any assertions claiming government inaction, pointing out that, in compliance with the Schengen Pact, Greece is proceeding with the implementation of a coordinated strategic plan within the framework of a European policy. Karamanlis also referred to the protection of the EU's external borders through joint European policies, stressing that the goal is to utilise European cooperation and funds. On his part, Karatzaferis underlined that illegal migration flowing into Greece is a real and major problem with upward tendencies, while at the same time there is no measure to determine its exact size. Using official figures provided by the national Migration Policy Institute, he said that a total of 400,000 illegal migrants have been arrested since 2001 and if previous years are also taken into account their number could reach as high as two million. He referred to "ghettos" that have been created in the centre of Athens (i.e. the Aghios Panteleimon neighbourhood) and in the western port city of Patras, where "thousands of people live in shantytowns". "If we let the situation get out of hand we could witness vigilante-type phenomena, which is the worst thing a democracy can face," he concluded, adding that the number of illegal migrants held in Greek prisons is on the rise, while calling for foreign inmates' repatriation.

    [02] Papandreou on Cyprus issue

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou said Thursday that Turkey's stance was not positive regarding the Aegean and the Cyprus question.

    "Turkey's stance at present in both the Aegean and in Cyprus is not at all positive," Papandreou told reporters after talks with visiting Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

    "Turkey's questioning of the Cyprus Republic's sovereign rights, that is, its right to exploit its marine wealth according to international law, is unacceptable," he added.

    The main opposition leader said that Greece should continuously highlight that the problem of Cyprus is the ongoing Turkish occupation and that "President Christofias has repeatedly expressed his will for a solution in the framework of United Nations resolutions and always in full respect of European values and acquis."

    "Turkey must change its conception, change its strategic conception, while it will need to adopt principles which all of us in Europe respect...Turkey must adopt European values in order to have regional cooperation and peace consolidated and thus being able to look forward to a European course," Papandreou also noted.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou.

    [03] Proton Bank reports 29.3-million-euro loss in Jan-Sept

    Proton Bank on Friday reported a net loss of 29.3 million euros in the January-September period, after a profit of 27.5 million euros in the corresponding period last year.

    The bank said its nine-month results were affected by negative conditions prevailing in financial markets and higher provisions.

    Loan portfolio fell by 4.0 pct to 1.317 billion euros, saving deposits fell 2.1 pct to 1.419 billion euros and net interest revenues eased 1.0 pct to 32.8 million euros, burdened by higher money costs.

    Net commission revenues fell 54 pct to 14.1 million euros, while operating expenses eased 2.5 pct to 42.2 million euros. Proton Bank said a new agreement transferring 92.71 pct of Proton Insurance to Aspis Holdings also affected its nine-month results.

    [04] Gov't condemns terror attacks in Mumbai

    Government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Friday emphasised that "nothing can justify such cowardly attacks against defenseless and unsuspecting civilians," in referring to the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The spokesman added that "no one has the right to take human lives". "Life and the respect of human dignity constitute inalienable rights," he said, while extending the Greek government's condolences. He also noted that Athens has from the first moment expressed its intention to offer assistance if requested.
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