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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-12-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting
  • [02] Author Margarita Karapanou passes away
  • [03] Testimonies on Vatopedi affair

  • [01] PM chairs Inner Cabinet meeting

    The Inner Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will convene on Wednesday to discuss economy related issues. On Tuesday, government's spokesman Evangelos Antonaros asked to comment on the criticism of various aspects of economic policy expressed by ruling New Democracy MPs, the spokesman confined himself to saying that ND was "a living cell" and repeated that decisions regarding a cabinet reshuffle were the prime minister's exclusive prerogative. He also stressed that Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis had the prime minister's support.

    Regarding the Eurogroup's decision not to approve a reduction in VAT in Greece, Antonaros said the council decided that there were more effective measures, while he stressed that the repercussions of the financial crisis in Greece were limited in comparison with other countries.

    He also noted that the Greek plan for dealing with the crisis, along with that of two other countries, had been approved and that the plan proposed by France had run up against opposition.

    About the government's intention to resort to borrowing in order to raise the money to support banks, Antonaros said the state was not borrowing for the banks but to secure the flow of cash for the whole economy.

    Greece was borrowing at a high interest rate because it had a high public debt, he added.

    [02] Author Margarita Karapanou passes away

    Greek author Margarita Karapanou died in an Athens hospital on Tuesday night from respiratory problems at the age of 62.

    Margarita Karapanou, daughter of well known author Margarita Lymperakis, was born in Athens and brought up in Paris and Athens. Her fisrt novel "Cassandra end the Wolves" was a best seller in Greece and abroad, while her second novel "The Somnabulist" was awarded in France.

    Her funeral will take place at the Athens first cemetary on Friday.

    [03] Testimonies on Vatopedi affair

    High-profile New Democracy MP and former minister Vassilis Magginas on Tuesday told members of a Parliamentary fact-finding committee probing the politically charged Vatopedi Monastery land exchanges that an Olympics Properties <font size="3" face="Verdana">building in extreme northern Athens never belonged to the employment ministry, which he headed at one point. Magginas told his fellow MPs on the committee that the property belonged to the National Public Real Estate Corp. (KED), which had the right to proceed with a transfer -- something it did with the Vatopedi Monastery. According to Magginas, the property in question was not suitable to accommodate the ministry of employment. He nevertheless admitted that he had never visited the specific building, while he decided to cancel relocation plans when he agreed with recommendation in relevant studies. Magginas also referred to an April 2007 visit to his ministry office by a delegation of Vatopedi Monastery monks, stating that they had expressed their intention to create a non-profit foundation. Magginas added that the monastery's leadership had apparently also discussed the plan with his predecessor, based on the newest information. Former deputy finance minister Apostolos Fotiadis, who served in the last four-year term of a PASOK government (2000-04), also testified on the property swap between Vatopedi Monastery and the Greek state. Fotiadis has been called to appear before the committee for accepting two recommendations by the Land Bureau Legal Council, based on which the Greek formally recognised the Vatopedi Monastery's ownership over Lake Vistonida, in the Xanthi prefecture of Thrace province. Local authorities in Xanthi protested the decision, with Fotiadis then bringing their arguments to the attention of the Legal Council. The State went to court with the Monastery in November 2003 and won the case. The court ruling, however, was never issued because the State and the Monastery entered an out-of-court settlement and proceeded with the land property swap. In his testimony before the inquiry committee Fotiadis maintained that in March 2003 when the party of New Democracy (ND) came to power, three Legal Council recommendations had already been rejected and sent back to be reexamined based on the evidence presented by the local authorities in Xanthi while a court trial had been won by the State. Responding to tough questioning by the MPs as regards his earlier actions, Fotiadis cited "respect for the law" concerning his decision to endorse the Legal Council decisions giving Lake Vistonida to Vatopedi Monastery.

    Fotiadis also claimed that the Lake Vistonida file he had received was incomplete maintaining that the favorable for the Greek State Council of State No 11/2000 decision was missing as well as the characterization of Lake Vistonida as protected area by the Treaty of Ramsar while, in addition, he was not aware of the fact that the region was a national park. He stated that he had no briefing on behalf of the ministry of environment, town planning and public works but he too never briefed his successor Petros Doukas on the pending case when he handed over his portfolio. Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of h<font color="#FFFFFF" size="2" face="Verdana">igh-profile New Democracy MP and former minister Vassilis Magginas.

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