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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-04-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM: Constitutional revision discussion to open
  • [02] PASOK tables question on 'structured bonds'
  • [03] Greece on FYROM name talks
  • [04] EU Constitutional Law conf'

  • [01] PM: Constitutional revision discussion to open

    The Constitutional revision will be the first item to be introduced for discussion in parliament immediately after the Easter holiday, by decision of the government and the majority of parliament, the house president Dimitris Sioufas announced on Wednesday, speaking to reporters after a meeting with prime minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Sioufas met with Karamanlis at noon to discuss the parliamentary work, and also briefed the premier on the 7th parliamentary assembly of the SEECP (Southeastern Europe Cooperation Process) member countries held early in the week in Sofia.

    He said topics of parliamentary cooperation among the SEECP members' parliaments were discussed at the assembly, adding that the parliaments could contribute to strengthening bilateral and multi-lateral relations and to rendering SE Europe a region of peace, stability and cooperation.

    Earlier, Karamanlis met with former prime minister and ruling New Democracy (ND) party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis.

    Mitsotakis said afterwards that they had an exchange of views, and also wishes ahead of Orthodox Easter, noting that he would be leaving to spend the holiday on his home island of Crete.

    Turning to the FYROM name issue, Mitsotakis opined that this was not the most appropriate time to move ahead, stressing that Greece was not the one in haste, and adding that both the US and FYROM must "make their decisions", as "Athens is in no hurry".

    Mitsotakis said the outcome of the recent NATO summit in Bucharest had been a "success" for the Greek side, adding that Greece was ready at any moment for a solution to be found with a composite name for the neighboring country.

    [02] PASOK tables question on 'structured bonds'

    Main opposition PASOK party on Wednesday tabled a Parliament question for the government regarding the investigation and political aspects of the "structured bonds" case, which erupted on the national scene roughly a year ago following charges that several state-controlled pension fund managements engaged in questionable investments, i.e. purchases of structured bonds.

    In the tabled question, PASOK calls for the establishment of a fact-finding committee in Parliament, while charging that high-ranking government officials, "either directly or indirectly", participated in the affair, which it also called an "unprecedented scandal" aimed at siphoning off pension funds' assets.

    PASOK leader George Papandreou's name was first on the list of MPs to sign the tabled question.

    [03] Greece on FYROM name talks

    Greece has stressed, both before and after the NATO summit in Bucharest, that it remains actively involved in the UN-mediated negotiation process on the FYROM name issue, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said on Wednesday, and described as "positive" the fact that the process was progressing, with the UN secretary general's personal envoy on the name issue Matthew Nimetz's upcoming visits to Skopje and Athens.

    At the same time, it is obvious that the fact that FYROM was now in a pre-electoral period was also being taken into serious consideration, Koumoutsakos added, replying during a regular press briefing to questions on whether the pre-electoral period impacted the negotiation process.

    To questions on the various "name proposals" appearing in the media, Koumoutsakos reiterated the foreign minisry's firm position of not becoming entangled in the "name mongering", stressing that Greece has already clarified the fundamental characteristics that any proposal must meet in order to be considered a basis for negotiation.

    Asked whether Greece considered the FYROM representative to the UN talks, ambassador Nikolai Dimitrov, a credible negotiator, given recent statements he has made, Koumoutsakos said that, at this stage, the discussion to take place in the framework of the UN mediator's mission will be with Nimetz himself, who will pay separate visits to Skopje and Athens.

    Caption:ANA-MPA file photo of foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos

    [04] EU Constitutional Law conf'

    Decentralization through a long-awaited draft law and e-governance will combat the problems plaguing public administration, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed, addressing a two-day conference in Athens hosted by the Centre for European Constitutional Law (CECL). The conference, which wound up on Tuesday evening, focused on disfunctions and shortcomings in public administration. Referring to the role of civil servants, Pavlopoulos stated that their attitude is what makes a State citizen-friendly, stressing that otherwise all structures are ineffective. "Apathy on the part of the citizens has its roots in politicians who are not regarded as being reliable," he pointed out. Main opposition PASOK MP Evangelos Venizelos, assessing the conference conclusions, pointed out that the social State is being disputed, stressing that its protection is absolutely necessary. He also referred to the political party malignancies and the absence of debate on the problems and prospects of the political party system. Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Achilleas Kantartzis stressed that the State is necessary for its interventions in significant production sectors such as energy, communications and transport. Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MP Fotis Kouvelis stated that the local government does not have the means to meet its obligations, stressing that centralization does not allow for actual regional decentralization.
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