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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New Cabinet to be sworn in Thursday
  • [02] PASOK on the government reshuffle
  • [03] Greece to lodge demarches over harassment of gunboat, helicopter during operation by Turkish patrol boat, jetfighters
  • [04] Composition of the new Cabinet
  • [05] Parliament meetings put off

  • [01] New Cabinet to be sworn in Thursday

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis proceeded with a mostly expected government reshuffle on Wednesday just after noon, with a government spokesman announcing a change in the all-important economy and finance portfolio as well as in the transport ministry and the sensitive education ministry. The new Cabinet will be sworn in at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday and will hold its first meeting at noon, with the only subject being announcements by the prime minister, after which the handover ceremonies will take place in the individual ministries.

    George Alogoskoufis, who remains out of the government, will be replaced as FinMin by up-until-now deputy minister Yiannis Papathanassiou, while current Transport and Communications Minister Costis Hatzidakis - the architect of current efforts to privatise national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) and reform Hellenic Railways (OSE) will move to the development ministry, holding the commerce, internal market and significant energy portfolios. Evrypides Stylianidis, up to now education minister, takes over from Hatzidakis, whereas Stylianidis' post at the education ministry will be filled by Aris Spiliotopoulos, the up to now tourism development minister.

    Dora Bakoyannis remains as the head of the foreign ministry, with Evangelos Meimarakis continuing as the defence minister and Prokopis Pavlopoulos retaining the interior and public administration ministry, which also includes the public sector domain. No change at the environment, town planning and public works ministry, with high-profile government cadre George Souflias remaining, along with all the deputy ministers. Finally, a new alternate interior minister for public order was also announced, former deputy minister Christos Markoyannakis.

    The reshuffle also resulted in new ministers at the agriculture, justice, culture and Macedonia-Thrace.

    In brief, remaining in their previous posts are ministers of the Interior Prokopis Pavlopoulos, foreign affairs Dora Bakoyannis, national defence Evangelos Meimarakis, health Dimitris Avramopoulos, merchant marine Anastassis Papaligouras, and employment Fani Palli-Petralia.

    The outgoing Cabinet members are George Alogoskoufés (economy and finance minister), Christos Folias (development minister), Michalis Liapis (culture minister), Margaritis Tzimas (Macedonia-Thrace minister), Alexandros Kontos (agricultural development minister) and Petros Doukas (deputy foreign minister).

    Two deputy ministers were promoted to ministers: Stavros Kalafatis (from deputy development minister to Macedonia-Thrace minister) and Yiannis Papathanassiou (from deputy economy and finance minister to the helm of the same ministry).

    Also, four new deputy minister posts were created: Constantine Giulekas assumes the new post of deputy minister for mass media issues at the interior ministry, Michalis Papadopoulos assumes the new deputy minister post at the agricultural development ministry, Michalis Bekiris assumes the new deputy minister post at the transport and communications ministry, and George Kontoyiannis assumes the new deputy minister post at the employment ministry.

    New faces in the government are Antonis Samaras (a finance minister and foreign minister from 1989 to 1992 under the ND government of Constantine Mitsotakis) at the helm of the culture ministry, Nicolaos Dendias at the helm of the justice ministry, Costas Markopoulos at the helm of the tourism development ministry, and Christos Markoyiannakis as alternate minister for public order in the interior ministry.

    Papathanassiou's post as deputy finance minister was assumed by newcomer Athanassios Bouras, deputy foreign minister Petros Doukas' post was assumed by newcomer Miltiades Varvitsiïtis, deputy minister for social solidarity George Constantopoulos' post was assumed by newcomer Marios Salmas, and Kalafatis' post of deputy development minister was assumed by newcomer Ioannis Bougas.

    [02] PASOK on the government reshuffle

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said Wednesday that the announced government reshuffle announced earlier in the day was made for "party consumption purposes" and is unable to solve the people's problems. Lashing out at the prime minister, he said that he is incapable of regaining the control of his government and underlined that the country needs a new prime minister and a new government. Papaconstantinou also predicted that the new government will not be long-lived and that early elections are likely. "Policies remain unchanged," he stated, adding that "the economic policy that leads to the deterioration of the crisis will not change". He also said that no changes will be made in public administration and in the sector of security, in the inadequate funding of education, and the national health system, underlining that the prime minister was not bold enough to create an independent environment ministry. "The policies will not change because the prime minister, the only one who is responsible for the current situation, remains in his place," Papaconstantinou said.

    [03] Greece to lodge demarches over harassment of gunboat, helicopter during operation by Turkish patrol boat, jetfighters

    A Greek gunboat and military helicopter were harassed by a Turkish patrol boat and a pair of Turkish F-16 jetfighters near the islands of Farmakonissi and Agathonissi in the Aegean on Wednesday morning, and foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis immediately gave instructions for the relevant demarches to be lodged with the neighboring country.

    In a statement, Bakoyannis called the Turkish actions "unacceptable", stressing that they were in "blatant violation of International Law" while they also hampered the efforts being made for improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.

    According to the Greek National Defence General Staff (GEETHA), during a search and rescue operation underway around Farmakonissi to locate illegal immigrants, in which the gunboat "Nikiforos" and a Super Puma helicopter were taking part, at 9:15 a.m. the gunboat was harassed by the Turkish patrol boat and the helicopter by the pair of F-16s, "despite the fact that the area had been engaged since Tuesday for the execution of this operation, with a NOTAM issued by the Merchant Marine Ministry via the Search and Rescue Coordination Center".

    Greek fighter planes immediately intercepted the Turkish figher planes, which abandoned the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) at 9:22 a.m., flying at a low altitude above Farmakonissi.

    Shortly afterwards, GEETHA said, the two Turkish F-16s re-entered the Athens FIR, this time between the islands of Chios and Samos, without submitting flight plans. The Greek jetfighters again launched a reconaissance and interception of the Turkish fighter planes, following an engagement.

    A short while later the pair of Turkish F-16s entered the Athens FIR for a third time, again without submitting a flight plan, and were intercepted anew by Greek jetfighters before abandoning the Athens FIR at 9:55, flyng at a low altitude this time over Agathonissi.

    Also, at 12:17 p.m., a formation of eight Turkish jetfighters entered the Athens FIR between Chios and Samos, without submitting flight plans, and were reconnaisced and intercepted by Greek figher planes following engagement. Two of the eight planes of the formation -- F-4s -- flew at an altitude of 6,000 fet over Farmakonissi as the formation existed the Athens FIR at 12:39 p.m.

    The above data was forwarded to the foreign ministry for the relevant actions towards international organizations, a GEETHA announcement said.

    [04] Composition of the new Cabinet

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis made a sweeping Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.

    The new government scheme, as announced by government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros, is as follows (in alphabetical order by ministry). New posts and faces in the ministries are in bold:

    Prime Minister: Costas Karamanlis

    Ministry of Agricultural Development and Foods Minister: Sotiris Hatzigakis Deputy Minister: Costas Kiltidis

    Deputy Minister: Michalis Papadopoulos

    Ministry of Culture Minister: Antonis Samaras Deputy Minister for Sports: Yiannis Ioannidis

    Ministry of Development Minister: Costis Hatzidakis Deputy Minister: George Vlachos Deputy Minister: Ioannis Bougas

    Ministry of Economy & Finance Minister: Ioannis Papathanassiou Deputy Minister: Antonis Bezas Deputy Minister: Nikos Legas

    Deputy Minister: Athanassios Bouras

    Ministry of Employment & Social Protection Minister: Fani Palli-Petralia Deputy Minister: Sophia Kalantjakou

    Deputy Minister: George Kontoyiannis

    Ministry for the Environment, Town Planning & Public Works Minister: George Souflias Deputy Minister: Stavros Kalogiannis Deputy Minister: Themistoklis Xanthopoulos

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minister: Dora Bakoyannis Deputy Minister: Yiannis Valinakis Deputy Minister: Theodoros Kassimis

    Deputy Minister: Miltiades Varvitsiotis

    Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity Minister: Dimitris Avramopoulos Deputy Minister: George Papageorgiou Deputy Minister: Marios Salmas

    Ministry of the Interior Minister: Prokopis Pavlopoulos

    Alternate minister for public order: Christos Markoyiannakis Deputy Minister: Athanassios Nakos Deputy Minister: Christos Zois

    Deputy Minister for Mass Media issues: Constantine Giulekas

    Ministry of Justice Minister: Nicolaos Dendias

    Ministry of Macedonia - Thrace Minister: Stavros Kalafatis

    Ministry of Merchant Marine, the Aegean & Island Policy Minister: Anastasis Papaligouras Deputy Minister: Panayiotis Kammenos

    Ministry of National Defence Minister: Evangelos Meimarakis Deputy Minister: Constantinos Tassoulas Deputy Minister: Yiannis Plakiotakis

    Ministry of National Education & Religious Affairs Minister: Aris Spiliotopoulos Deputy Minister: Andreas Lykourentzos Deputy Minister: Spyros Taliadouros

    Ministry of Tourism Development Minister: Constantine Markopoulos

    Ministry of Transport & Communications Minister: Evrypides Stylianidis

    Deputy Minister: Michalis Bekiris

    Government spokesman: Evangelos Antonaros

    A new post of deputy minister for Mass Media issues will be established at the Interior ministry, which will be held by Constnatine Giulekas

    [05] Parliament meetings put off

    The prime minister's scheduled meetings on Wednesday with Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Employment Minister Fani Pali Petralia were canceled due to the government reshuffle announced. Meanwhile, Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas announced that the parliamentary committee meetings scheduled for Wednesday have been put off to a later date due to the changes in the leadership of the ministries of finance and education. In addition, legislative work scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday has been postponed following the appointment of a new development minister.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of an aerial view of the Greek parliament in Athens

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