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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: 1st target met with Euro-elections
  • [02] First parliamentary summer recess session opens Tuesday

  • [01] Papandreou: 1st target met with Euro-elections

    Main opposition PASOK attained its first target with its victory in last Sunday's European Parliament elections, which is the foundation for its victory with a self-sufficient majority in any upcoming national elections, PASOK leader George Papandreou said on Thursday, addressing a meeting of his party's political council.

    Papandreou also stressed the need for PASOK to address itself to all citizens and social strata, as well as to both those who voted in or abstained in the European Parliament elections, in order to convey to them the party's proposals and the changes it suggests for the political system and governance in Greece.

    "Never before has the opposition submitted so promptly so many specific proposals," the PASOK leader said, stressing that the party's goal is to unite citizens behind the major changes the country needs, while he also opined that "the citizens are looking to us" for solutions to the problems.

    Papandreou pledged that PASOK will put citizens' problems "back on the agenda" in Parliament and elsewhere.

    He also charged that ruling New Democracy (ND) "is in a vortex of its own problems" and "unable to comprehend the message of the elections and to translate it into a change of policy".

    Early general elections "are necessary for the country", given that ND was managing its defeat in the Euro-polls in a "petty partisan and public relations" way, Papandreou said, and warned that "its own crisis cannot be allowed to sweep the country along with it".

    On the problem of illegal migration, Papandreou charged that the government lacked a structured immigration policy, stressing that "Greece cannot be a free for all", as he outlined steps taken by the past PASOK governments, such as the establishment of border guards, boosting the coast guard corps, the signing of readmission agreements with Turkey.

    He also accused the ND government of having left Greece's borders "completely open" and of having made no effort to apply bilateral agreements -- a reference to a landmark November 2001 readmission protocol signed with Turkey that successive governments in Ankara have failed to fully implement.

    Papandreou added that the problem requires serious effort, and "not the cultivation of fear and rifts in the Greek society".

    [02] First parliamentary summer recess session opens Tuesday

    Parliament's first summer recess session opens next week, with a briefing on the course of the economy and the state budget, and discussion of a bill tabled by the tourism development ministry.

    The recess session commences on Tuesday afternoon, with discussion on the tourism development ministry's bill on "operational arrangement and sundry provisions", which will be voted on the following day.

    On Wednesday afternoon, economy and finance minister Yiannis Papathanassiou and deputy minister Nikos Leggas will brief the House standing committee on economic affairs on the course of execution of the 2009 state budget and the management of finances.

    Earlier, on Wednesday morning, development minister Costis Hatzidakis will brief the relevant parliamentary committee on the course of the Operational Program on Competitiveness.

    On Thursday morning and afternoon, a development ministry bill on "cross-border mergers of capital companies will be discussed and voted on, while on Friday a question tabled by main opposition PASOK on the state of the agricultural sector will be discussed.

    Before the recess officially opens on Tuesday, four new MPs will be sworn in: Andreas Makrypidis who assumes the seat of the resigned Christos Verelis for Aetoloakarnania prefecture; Thanassis Tsouras and I. Vlatis (PASOK) who assume the seats of Sylvana Rapti (Athens A' electoral district) and George Papaconstantinou (Kozani) following their election to the European Parliament; and Sophia Andriopoulou (SYRIZA, Athens B' district), who takes the seat of the deceased Michalis Papagiannakis.

    According to parliament president Dimitris Sioufas, the first summer recess session will run through July 9, while the second session will be from July 14 to September 3, with a break from July 31 or August 1 to August 23, and the third recess session will be from September 8 to October 1.

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