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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Parl't debates referendum motion
  • [02] KKE on FYROM, NATO summit
  • [03] Justice Ministry tables bill
  • [04] Deputy FM in Egypt

  • [01] Parl't debates referendum motion

    A debate began in Parliament on Tuesday on the proposal submitted by the opposition for a referendum to be held on a law titled "Administrative and organisational reforming of the social security system and other social security arrangements."

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party rapporteur Ioannis Bougas opposed the holding of a referendum saying "the lack of arguments has brought tension," adding that the government "is being given the opportunity to show that all the opposition parties, abusing rights emanating from the constitution, are continuing their peculiar competition, which is indifferent to the citizens but dangerous."

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandrerou, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday during the debate on the opposition's proposal for a referendum on the government's social security bill, said it was a "democratic challenge" for the government and "oxygen for democracy."

    Papandreou said that the referendum was a reply "to the authoritarianism of a government which says that since it is in power it does what it likes," while adding that PASOK had proposed referendums in two other cases, for the European Union's Constitutional Treaty and for Education.

    "The referendum necessitates systematic consultations with society and the substantive teaching of public opinion on the different aspects of the dilemmas. It requires responsible and democratic information for the Greek citizen. It makes the people aware of their own option," he said.

    Responding to Papandreou, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that the relevant provision in the consitution had been an initiative by the New Democracy (ND) party in 1975 and it had been strengthened with the institution of local referendums, again by ND.

    Main opposition PASOK party rapporteur Andreas Loverdos said that the government "is denying a referendum on a law that binds the future of working people, adding that in essence the government is fearful since 70-80 percent of the people say no to the draft social security law and call for its withdrawal."

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) rapporteur Achilleas Kantartzis said that KKE "is not limiting itself to the request for the reversal of the government's anti-social security bill, but it is struggling for the abolition of the anti-social security Sioufas and Reppas laws as well."

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) rapporteur Fotis Kouvelis said that the party did not pursue "any impressive move or struggle with other opposition forces," stressing that it made use of the institutional possibility provided by the constitution.

    Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party rapporteur Adonis Georgiadis said that "the view that the people are not mature to judge the social security bill in a referendum is an oligarchic one," adding that "it is the majority's right to vote against the proposal for a referendum, but not to speak of Parliamentary activism since we are not moving outside Parliament. We demand respect for our view and for the exercising of our lawful right."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo

    [02] KKE on FYROM, NATO summit

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Tuesday expressed its strong opposition to the expansion of NATO in the Balkans.

    In an announcement, the KKE also accuses ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK of "not referring to other issues" scheduled for discussion at the NATO Bucharest summit, which begins on Wednesday.

    "Limiting, by the ND government and PASOK leadership, the discussion to the name issue of FYROM only, and making no reference to the other crucial issues that the NATO summit will decide, is a dangerous disorientation," the announcement said in reference to a meeting earlier in the day between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    "KKE warns the Greek people that NATO's expansion in the region, the US anti-missile shield in Europe, reinforcement of occupation troops in Kosovo and Afghanistan, the creation of a Euro-army -and with Greece's participation in all above actions - bear enormous threats for peoples' rights, peace and sovereign rights," the announcement added.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Communist Party of Greece secretary general Aleka Papariga

    [03] Justice Ministry tables bill

    The Justice Ministry has tabled a bill for the speeding up of the administering of justice by the courts.

    Apart from the ruling New Democracy (ND) party deputies, the bill also meets the in principle consensus of the Orthodox Popular Rally (LA.OS).

    Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis told the House on Tuesday that the aim of the bill is the speeding up of the pace of justice, while it promises "a very significant upgrading of its building installations and infrastructures and the staffing of prisons."

    ND rapporteur Katerina Papakosta, said that the provisions of the so-called "model trial," restricts the contradictory decisions and rids courts of first instance from a great burden which are swamped by thousands of cases.

    Main opposition PASOK rapporteur George Nikitiadis clarified that his party agrees with many articles of the bill, however it disagrees with its general spirit and with part of the provisions, and this is makes his party unwilling to vote for it in principle.

    Achilleas Kantartzis (Communist Party of Greece) observed that the bill does not deal with the causes of the "increased cases of poor management, which were due to political options."

    On the part of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), Nikos Tsoukalis said that the restriction of postponements restricts the possibility of sufficient support in cases, and not only for the collection of documents. "Now the courts, unable to postpone a case, will issue by necessity prejudicial decisions. The weakness to prohibit a second suspension also clashes with the principle of a fair trial in this case," Tsoukalis said.

    The representative of LA.OS, Athanasios Plevris, agreed with the idea of the restriction of suspensions, "but in such a way so that the real reasons be examined, because suspensions are given very easily."

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Justice Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis.

    [04] Deputy FM in Egypt

    Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas is heading a delegation composed of businessmen and representatives of the literary and artistic world and of state agencies currently visiting Egypt, responding to an invitation extended last December by President Hosni Mubarak during his visit to Athens.

    Over 300 meetings took place between Greek and Egyptian businessmen at a business forum held here on Tuesday morning, in the presence of Doukas and Egypt's Industry and Commerce Minister Mohammed Rashid, that concerned discussions on possibilities for new agreements, while sectors were pinpointed that are suitable for investments, as well as on strengthening the presence of Greek products, such as energy, banks, shipping, construction and building materials, telcommunications, farm products, textiles, medicines and cosmetics.

    The Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) signed a cooperation protocol with the Federation of Egyptian Industries at the end of the forum, aiming at providing its members with "specialised information and necessary contacts wth the important and dynamic Egyptian companies to enable them to enter the local market," as it said in an announcement.

    "We are promoting Greece of creation and of extroversion," was the massage sent by Doukas, while on the other side, Egypt is gradually opening to the outside world with reforms, privatisations and the restriction of bureaucracy.

    Doukas held bilateral meetings with the Egyptian investments minister, the oil minister and the civil aviation minister on Monday and Tuesday, raising issues of interest to Greek businessmen and securing a solution for some of them and favourable consideration by the Egyptian authorities for others.

    During his meeting with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit , the deputy foreign minister conveyed an invitation to him from Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to visit Athens and outlined Greek positions on major regional issues, the Balkans and the Middle East, as well as on th Mediterranean Union.

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