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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Parliament rejects referendum
  • [02] Dassin buried in Athens
  • [03] DM at NATO ministerial dinner
  • [04] FinMin on Eurogroup, Ecofin
  • [05] Restoration of Medieval Palace

  • [01] Parliament rejects referendum

    Parliament on Wednesday evening rejected proposals by the opposition parties for a referendum to be held on the social security system reform. Voting against the holding of a referendum were 152 deputies, while 146 voted for it.

    A three fifths majority, meaning 180 out of the 300-member House, was needed for the proposal to pass.

    The vote ended a two-day Parliamentary debate on the matter.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Greek parliament

    [02] Dassin buried in Athens

    American-born film director Jules Dassin, who died last Monday at the age of 97, was buried in Athens on Wednesday afternoon in the presence of relatives, friends, politicians, actors and intellectuals.

    The burial service was held at the synagogue in the Israelite sector of the 3rd Athens cemetery in the afternoon. The service was attended by Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, former prime minister Costas Simitis, party representatives and Parliamentary deputies, as well as his two daughters and three grandchildren.

    At the end of the service, Dassin's body was taken to the 1st Athens cemetery where he was buried next to his beloved late actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri, according to his wish.

    [03] DM at NATO ministerial dinner

    Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis, accompanying Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on his visit to Bucharest for the NATO summit, attended a dinner for the Alliance's defence ministers on Wednesday.

    Talks held during the dinner focused on developments in Afghanistan, as well as issues concerning the transformation of the Atlantic Alliance, according to a defence ministry press release issued in Athens on Wednesday night.

    Speaking during the dinner and referring to developments in Afghanistan, Meimarakis said that "our will to support the efforts of the International Community and of the Alliance in particular is a given fact. We are present in Afghanistan because we wish to contribute to the combatting of terrrorism and the reconstruction of the country."

    The defence minister also pointed out that "our contribution is linked to our international commitments and to our operational potential."

    On the question of efforts to transform the Alliance, Meimarakis said that "the Speedy Reaction Force (NRF) constitutes the most important tool that guarantees the upgrading of the Alliance's potential and constitutes the guide for NATO's transformation process. Greece, acknowledging the policy and the operational importance of the NRF contributes substantively and without fail to the effort to achieve and maintain its full operational readiness."

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of Greek Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis

    [04] FinMin on Eurogroup, Ecofin

    Finance and Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis briefed the Parliamentary European and Economic Affairs Committees on the outcome of the recent Eurogroup and Ecofin Councils, focusing on reforms carried out in the country in the past years.

    "Although the state of the world economy has worsened over the past months, the reforms that have been implemented in our country in the past years have strengthened the growth momentum and the endurance of the Greek economy," the minister said.

    Alogoskoufis further said that "our country has a very strong growth momentum and endurance for the winds that are coming," while mentioning that he has called on the ministry's services to reassess macroeconomic predictions to enable speedy changes in the international economic environment and the factors of the new national collective labour agreement, which was signed last week, to be taken into consideration and the government's economic staff will soon be in a position to present them.

    "Even, however, with a downward revision of growth predictions, Greece will have double the growth rate of the average of eurozone countries in 2008 as well," he stressed.

    At the same time, the minister pointed out that in no way can he see a revision of goals set in the budget, adding that "certain repercussions from greater expenditures due to the increase in oil are offset due to VAT."

    Alogoskoufis noted, however, that the goals set regarding inflation are revised somewhat more due, as he said, to the contract signed by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and the increases will affect both inflation and the rate of the decrease in unemployment that will be slowed down.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file of Greek Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis

    [05] Restoration of Medieval Palace

    The palace of the Grand Maitre in the medieval quarter of the city of Rhodes, the capital of the eponymous Dodecanese island, will close on April 4 for extensive restoration and maintenance works, according to the local archaeological bureau.

    No date was set, however, for a completion of the works.

    The issue of the monument's restoration arose after a heavy rainfall caused a portion of the site's entrance to collapse. Experts also discovered extensive damage in other parts of the building.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of the Grand Maitre Palace in the Medieval town of Rhodes,Dodecanese

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