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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-03

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Vivere says bid for Corfu casino totals 7.6 mln euros
  • [02] Link Up Markets to begin operation on March 30
  • [03] Cretan farmers opt to leave port
  • [04] FM arrives in Kosovo for talks
  • [05] Juncker eyes eurozone debt agency

  • [01] Vivere says bid for Corfu casino totals 7.6 mln euros

    Vivere Entertainment SA on Tuesday said its bid in a tender for Corfu Casino totaled 7.6 million euros. In a reply letter to the Capital Markets Commission, Vivere said that under the terms of the tender, Tourism Properties Enterprise (ETA) has the right the ask for an improved bid from the preliminary winner of the tender, or even to annul the tender.

    The listed company said thus far the final price for the purchase has not been agreed yet. Vivere Entertainment and Theros International -the operator of Rio Casino- hold a 50 pct stake each in a joint venture that was declared preliminary winner of the tender to buy Corfu Casino.

    [02] Link Up Markets to begin operation on March 30

    Link Up Markets, a consortium of eight European Central Depositories that account for 50 pct of securities transactions in Europe, will begin operations on March 30, 2009, the Athens Stock Exchange said on Tuesday.

    Link Up Markets will facilitate the operation of participating Central Depositories with the aim to boost efficiency and reducing costs of cross-border transactions.

    The operation of Link Up Markets will begin on March 30 with the connection of Clearsream Banking Frankfurt (Germany), OeKB (Austria), SIX SIS (Switzerland) and VP (Denmark), while Hellenic Exchanges (Greece) and Iberclear (Spain) will follow in June.

    [03] Cretan farmers opt to leave port

    Up to 2,000 farmers from Crete that arrived at the port of Piraeus on Monday morning with the intent to hold a tractor rally through downtown Athens on Tuesday finally decided to leave the port, Greece's largest, after authorities continued to prevent their vehicles' exit.

    In deciding to depart, however, farmers' representatives said they would continue their rallies back in Crete.

    Earlier, farmers attempted to break through riot police ranks, with police using teargas to disperse the protestors. Scuffles briefly broke out after a second group of Cretan farmers arrived in Piraeus to join a first group that had arrived the preceding day.

    On Tuesday, main opposition PASO leader George Papandreou met with farmers holed up at the port of Piraeus.

    Papandreou, in a brief statement, characterised the conditions as unacceptable and condemned the government's stance on the farmers.

    The leader and former foreign minister left the port shortly afterwards.

    Meanwhile, in the extreme north of the country, local farmers continued blocking the Promahonas border crossing on the frontier with Bulgaria, stressing that they will not withdraw their tractors.

    The border crossing remained closed on Monday and was briefly opened only for one hour early in the morning when trucks with perishable goods were allowed to cross the border into Bulgaria. Traffic is backed up on both sides of the borders.

    Later in the afternoon, SYRIZA Parliamentary group leader Alekos Alavanos is expected to visit the farmers' blockade in Promahonas.

    Groups of farmers around the country have demanded cheaper fuel, greater VAT rebates, guaranteed crop prices and a freeze on farm loan payments, amongst others.

    Gov't spokesman

    Speaking during a regular press briefing in Athens, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros commented on the main opposition party's stance vis-?-vis farmers' mobilisations, saying that "the government will not, under any circumstances, follow PASOK in its intended efforts to create artificial political tension."

    Antonaros made the statement in response to a PASOK spokesman, who demanded resignations for the developments at the port over the past 48 hours.

    "It is not acceptable, and I am sure that PASOK will agree on this too, even if it has not stated so, for a rally with heavy machinery to take place in downtown Athens," he added.

    [04] FM arrives in Kosovo for talks

    Visiting Kosovo on Tuesday, the second stop on her western Balkans tour after Belgrade, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis stressed after meetings with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Pristina that she was here to assist in securing a better future for the region.

    "I am here as a friend, as a neighbour and as chairperson of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), with the intention of helping the people of Kosovo, regardless of race or religion, so that they can ensure a better future within the European family," she said.

    She underlined, however, that Greece's position of not recognising Kosovo's unilateral independence remained unchanged and was based on Athens' own interests.

    "Now is the time for peace and mutually acceptable solutions," she told local reporters and even media representatives from Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), who flocked to the press conference held after the meetings.

    The Greek foreign minister underlined Greece's desire to boost relations with the people of Kosovo and expand economic ties, revealing plans for a business forum that will examine investment opportunities in the region.

    The desire for rapprochement was also confirmed by Thaci, who said there were contacts on all levels, social and political, and expressed satisfaction with the Greek government's effort to find ways to overcome problems arising from the fact that Greece does not recognise passports issued by Kosovo authorities.

    Bakoyannis noted that her presence in Pristina highlighted the importance that the Greek OSCE presidency in 2009 places on promoting stability and peace in the western Balkans. She also underlined that she was visiting Kosovo under a regime of neutrality, since there was no absolute agreement between the organisation's 56 member-states concerning recognition of Kosovo's independence, something required for every decision.

    FYROM questions

    During the press conference, the Greek minister was also questioned about the outstanding dispute over the name issue with FYROM, and why her tour did not include a visit to Skopje, which will be holding presidential elections in March.

    Bakoyannis did not rule out the possibility of a visit to the landlocked one-time Yugoslav republic to Greece's north during 2009, as part of a series of visits she intends to carry out to the OSCE's 19 missions.

    She nevertheless urged the government in Skopje to carry out free and fair elections, noting that these would be monitored by a delegation of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and by the OSCE parliamentary assembly.

    In echoing Belgrade, she appealed to the Skopje government to "abandon the nationalist rhetoric of yesterday", so that FYROM and Greece can move forward to a joint European future.

    After her meetings with local officials, she attended a reception by representatives of international organisations with missions in Kosovo, such as the OSCE, KFOR, and the UN Secretary-General's special envoy, during which the work and prospects of the OSCE mission in Kosovo were discussed.

    Bakoyannis had earlier visited the offices of the OSCE missions in Pristina and Belgrade, while she is due back in Athens on Tuesday afternoon.

    Caption: Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis addresses reporters during a press conference in Pristina, 03 February 2009. Bakoyannis is on a one-day visit to Kosovo. ANA-MPA/EPA/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

    [05] Juncker eyes eurozone debt agency

    Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday reiterated his support for the creation of a joint state securities agency in the Eurozone, in statements to the ANA-MPA.

    The president of Eurogroup added that there was never a formal proposal to hold an extraordinary summit in the Eurozone to discuss the current global economic condition.

    Juncker, replying to written questions, said he was also in favour of creating a joint debt agency in the Eurozone and stressed that such an agency could be set up in the medium-term.

    The Luxembourg premier said such a move would be one more step towards common management of the single currency and an important step forward to coordinate economic and fiscal policies in the Eurozone.


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