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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-20

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanis confers with ND secretary
  • [02] FM visits Albania on Thursday
  • [03] Nationwide strike staged Wed.

  • [01] PM Karamanis confers with ND secretary

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Thursday with ruling New Democracy (ND) secretary Lefteris Zagoritis at the Maximos Mansion (government headquarters).

    No statements were made after the meeting.

    Karamanlis and Zagoritis departed afterwards for parliament, where the debate on the employment and social protection ministry's bill on social security reforms was continuing, with the vote on the draft law scheduled for Thursday night.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the Maximos Mansion

    [02] FM visits Albania on Thursday

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis begins a working visit to Albania on Thursday, during which she will have talks in Tirana with the country's state and government leadership.

    Bakoyannis will have separate meetings with her Albanian counterpart Lulzim Basha, Prime Minister Sali Berisha, parliament speaker Jozefina Topalli, and President Bamir Topi.

    The two Foreign Ministers will discuss issues concerning bilateral policies and economic relations, including matters of interest to the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, as well as regional issues, with emphasis on Kosovo and the FYROM name issue.

    They will further discuss issues bearing on Albania's European perspective and its candidacy for NATO membership.

    Bakoyannis will also meet with the Mayor of Tirana and head of the Albanian Socialist Party Edvin (Edi) Rama, who will present her with the Gold Key to the City.

    Further meetings are also planned with Archbishop Anastatsios of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, and with representatives of the ethnic Greek minority.

    She will also visit a Tirana hospital where people injured in the recent munitions depot explosion are being treated.

    On Friday Bakoyannis will meet with her FYROM counterpart Antonio Milososki in Brussels, in the framework of the ongoing UN-brokered effort for finding a mutually acceptable solution to the FYROM name issue as per the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, a foreign ministry announcement said Thursday.

    The meeting, which will also be attended by US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried, aims at assisting the developing negotiations process under the UN secretary general's personal envoy on the name issue, Matthew Nimetz, being held in the framework of the UN, the ministry announcement added.

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

    [03] Nationwide strike staged Wed.

    Workers and employees in the public and private sectors, joined by professional groups and journalists, staged a mass nationwide 24-hour strike on Wednesday, with demonstrations throughout the country, in protest of the bill on social security reforms that is due to be voted on in parliament on Thursday.

    The strike was called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), to demand withdrawal of the new social security draft law.

    Addressing a main protest rally in downtown Athens, at the Pedion tou Areos park, GSEE president Yannis Panagopoulos accused the government of deceiving the Greek people, charging that it was not abiding by the three fundamental commitments the prime minister had assumed pre-electorally, and also accused the government of attempting to penalise the working people's struggles, warning that the trade unions would not back down.

    He called the draft law a "shame" for social security, charging that it negatively affected "everyone and everything". Particularly regarding the planned unification of the social security funds into a handful of larger funds, he said it was a "concoction in the imaginations of its writers" that lacked prospect, and which would soon collapse.

    Panagopoulos charged that the government was following an undemocratic path for imposition of the social security bill, which was a path without dialogue, without consensus, and through summary procedures that snub the parliament, and warned that even if the ruling New Democracy (ND) party passed the bill in parliament, the government would be defeated "because the working people are many, the right is on their side, and they have a memory".

    Speaking to reporters earlier, the GSEE leader said that the bill had "stepped on the toe" of society, and that in such cases the social reactions could be uncontrollable. He called on the government to withdraw the bill, warning that the trade unions would continue with their struggle even if the bill was passed in parliament.

    ADEDY president Spyros Papaspyros, addressing the same rally, accused the government of de-constructing the public system of social security in order to pave the way to a "three-pylon system", and namely to the "mass entry of the private sector" to social insurance, predicting that the attempt would not succeed, and called on the working people to wage their fight united.

    GSEE secretary general Costas Poupakis (from the ND-affiliated trade union organisation DAKE) said that DAKE was also taking part in the mobilisations, resisting the "mistaken policies" regardless of which party was in government, and trying to isolate the political expediencies.

    Poupakis conceded that changes were necessary to the social security system, "but with consensus and social dialogue", and called on the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) to enter the negotiations on the collective labor agreements with acceptance of the union's demand for real salary and wage increases.

    GSEE alternate president Alekos Kalyvis called on the trade unions to continue their fight beyond Thursday, so as to render the "Petralia law" (employment minister Fani Palli-Petralia) inactive.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Progress (SYN) leader Alexis Tsipras, addressing the protestors, called the strike and demonstrations "a battle for dignity, a battle for life", and stressed that the government had only two solutions left: to back down with dignity, or to "pack its bags".

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and PAME trade union organisation held a separate demonstration, simultaneous with the GSEE-ADEDY rally, at Omonia Square.

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