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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-03-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: Reforms to proceed; opposition moves 'fireworks'
  • [02] Papoulias receives Euro-Med
  • [03] FM on 'name issue' proposal

  • [01] PM: Reforms to proceed; opposition moves 'fireworks'

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis sharply criticised main opposition PASOK and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliament grouping on Thursday, addressing his ruling New Democracy (ND) party's parliamentary group ahead of a second day of debate on a censure motion against the government tabled a day earlier by PASOK leader George Papandreou over planned social security reforms.

    The three-day debate, which began shortly after noon on Wednesday, winds up at midnight Friday, at which time a roll-call vote of confidence will take place.

    Karamanlis called PASOK's motion of no-confidence and SYRIZA's demand for a referendum on the social security reforms as mere political "fireworks".

    The PASOK motion and SYRIZA's call for a referendum are "a competition amongst the opposition", Karamanlis said, adding that "difficult and complex matters are not simplified in this way, by asking the people to decide on a law that confronts dozens of problems with a 'yes' or a 'no'. PASOK's leader is attempting to play game of impressions, too. He is not competing against the government, but against those who first called for a referendum. He is trying to 'beat out' SYRIZA".

    The premier said no reform would have ever taken place in the county if a referendum was needed to be held every time.

    The motion of censure does not alter the government's planning, he said, adding that ND would emerge victorious from the "battle" in Parliament.

    "The battle of impressions amongst the opposition does not concern us. Our concern is the production of political debate," Karamanlis said, accusing the opposition of populism and irresponsibility, while warning that "it is a mistake if they believe that they will keep the country hostage".

    In an extensive reference to the FYROM "name issue", Karamanlis said the government has made intensive efforts for a solution to the problem and has taken bold and honest decisions, while referring to a mutually acceptable name that will apply for everyone, and with a clear geographical dimension.

    "However, we have met with intransigence from the other side (FYROM)," Karamanlis continued, and stressed once again that "without a mutually acceptable solution, there can be no invitation to Skopje to join NATO".

    Outlining the conditions put forward by Greece, the premier said "we seek a substantive, composite name that does not describe the form of government of FYROM. That does not concern us. We seek a substantive solution; not just a solution on paper, but a solution that will apply for everyone".

    He further said that any solution agreed upon will not be ratified simply by a statement of agreement "but will be a final resolution with the seal of the United Nations".

    Regarding the latest proposal submitted by a UN special mediator on the FYROM 'name issue', Karamanlis reiterated that "we are far from a mutually acceptable solution", but he added that efforts would continue.

    "We are facing the issue with responsibility, and seek a solution that will not support unacceptable tactics or serve as a vehicle for irredentist actions, and will not subscribe to a rationale of instability, which is not suited to our times," he explained.

    Regarding the "major reform of the social security system", Karamanlis said the relevant bill tabled by the government tackles the "multi-splintered" system, achieves reduction of expenditures, and confronts contribution-evasion, while it also establishes a national fund for solidarity, and sets in motion a substantive reform for a viable, fair and modern social security system.

    "It is a matter of social justice and solidarity of the generations," he said.

    Karamanlis reiterated his government's determination to carry on unwaveringly with changes and reforms, adding that the government had a mandate to continue on the difficult path with responsibility and solid steps forward.

    "This is our agreement with the political alliance of the citizens, and we will fulfil it".

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

    [02] Papoulias receives Euro-Med

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias received members of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly on Thursday, who were accompanied by Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas. The delegates and heads of delegations, representing 37 national parliaments from EU and Mediterranean countries, will attend the proceedings of the 4th plenary session of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly on the environment and energy, taking place in Athens on Thursday and Friday. Papoulias stressed that political, economic and cultural cooperation between European and Mediterranean countries can contribute immensely to regional development and global stability. He also stressed that throughout his political career he was an "active advocate" of Euro-Med cooperation. Sioufas said efforts aimed to establish peace, development and prosperity in the region are spearheaded by parliamentary cooperation and implementation of the Barcelona Agreement.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Greek President Karolos Papoulias

    [03] FM on 'name issue' proposal

    Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Thursday reiterated that the latest proposal by a UN mediator to finally resolve the thorny "name issue" with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is "far removed from what could be termed a mutually acceptable solution".

    Speaking to ruling New Democracy (ND) party's Parliament group members in the legislature's senate chamber, and following Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis at the same podium, Bakoyannis said Athens has already responded to UN mediator Matthew Nimetz over the points in his latest proposal that do not meet with the Greek government's approval.

    Nimetz tabled his latest proposal on Tuesday to Greek and FYROM negotiators in New York City.

    She also noted that Athens has also detailed the points that require additional clarification.

    In echoing repeated and high-profile statements by Karamanlis over the recent period, the Greek FM reminded that failure to achieve a mutually acceptable solution over the nagging issue means "no invitation to NATO".

    Her address comes roughly a week before a crucial NATO summit in Bucharest, where Albania, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) hope to receive invitations to join the Alliance.

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


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