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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-01-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK slams government over farm policy
  • [02] FM on FYROM, Turkey, Cyprus
  • [03] Money for farmers finalised

  • [01] PASOK slams government over farm policy

    Main opposition PASOK spokesman George Papaconstantinou on Monday accused the government of unreliability over its policies for agriculture and called for clarifications regarding the final sums that farmers will receive and which farmers will receive them after the government's recent announcements.

    He also questioned whether ruling New Democracy had any real policy for agriculture at all and claimed that the government was confused, at a loss and in a panic.

    Papaconstantinou also advised the government to look at its own policies and its track record as main opposition instead of talking about "incited" farmer mobilisations, adding that the prospects and solutions to farmers' problems were in PASOK's policies.

    Asked about PASOK's stance to farmers blocking access to national roads, Papaconstantinou said the party had a "very clear" stance of support for farmers, respect for their decisions, without any desire by PASOK to tell them what they should do but with the party's standing position that those mobilising should also bear in mind the whole of society and the country's economy.

    [02] FM on FYROM, Turkey, Cyprus

    Speaking at the local think tank CPES (Centre for European Policy Studies) in Brussels on Monday, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined Greece's positions on issues like the name dispute with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and relations with Turkey.

    She criticised the government of Nikola Gruevski in Skopje, accusing it of resorting to "short-sighted populism" in order to consolidate its political position and reiterated Greece's desire to find a mutually acceptable solution to the name issue.

    The minister noted that this had not yet been possible and expressed hope that Skopje would finally take decisions that were in the interests of its people and abandon nationalist rhetoric and outdated practices.

    "There must be a mutually acceptable solution that reflects the geographic reality without winners and losers," she underlined and expressed concerns about Skopje's attempts to "monopolise" use of the name 'Macedonia'.

    She also underlined the importance of having good neighbour relations for states wishing to join the European Union and NATO, adding that recent decisions taken by the country's premier Gruevski - such as a recent provocative move to name a highway running through FYROM as 'Alexander the Great the Macedonian' - indicated that "he does not believe in the negotiations underway" at the United Nations on this issue.

    On relations with Turkey, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's support for Turkey's prospects of joining the EU provided that Ankara observed the commitments and obligations it had undertaken. He said that Greece's support for Turkey was the same as for every candidate state and that there could be no "a la carte" Europe, regardless whether a country's population was 700 million or 70 million.

    She insisted on the need for Turkey to continue reforms, with emphasis on establishing a democratic system, respect for minorities, religious freedom and freedom of expression. Another major factor was that of having good neighbour relations and respect for international law, she added.

    The minister said Greece was determined to make every effort to improve relations with Turkey but that no improvement had been apparent in 2008, during which there was an increase in provocative activity over the Aegean.

    She added that improving Greek-Turkish relations should be based on European criteria and international law, expressing hope that 2009 would provide a new opportunity to improve relations given Turkey's own apparent desire for European rapprochement.

    On the issue of Cyprus, Bakoyannis said that Greece was working closely with the Cyprus government to find a fair, just and functional solution for reuniting the island. She also noted that such a solution should take into account the fact that Cyprus was a member-state of the EU, with all the principles and provisions that this entailed.

    Turning to energy issues, and speaking in her capacity as the current chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Bakoyannis welcomed the restoration of the natural gas supply to South Ossetia and reaffirmed the OSCE's efforts to tackle other urgent, humanitarian crises, including the supply of water.

    [03] Money for farmers finalised

    Amounts of money to be provided for farmers in support of their income over the 2008-2009 period, out of the package of 500 million euros, were finalised on Monday and the farmers' representatives were duly informed by the Agricultural Development and Foods ministry.

    Cotton: Farmers having extensive losses will receive 45 euros per stremma and 25 euros per stremma for limited losses.

    Maize: 25 euros per stremma for extensive losses and 20 euros per stremma for limited losses.

    Grain: For soft grain 12 and 8 euros per stremma will be given respectively and for hard grain 10 and 7 euros per stremma.

    Olive oil: Losses regarding olive oil will be assessed and up to 30 cents per kilo will be provided.

    Agricultural Development Minister Sotiris Hatzigakis said that with the finalisation of the amounts, "all of the farmers' demands have been met and the continuation of mobilisation is unjustified."


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