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

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Anti-doping drive
  • [02] Nimetz due in Athens
  • [03] Greece fined for aid to OA

  • [01] Anti-doping drive

    President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias received Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) President Spyros Capralos at the Presidential Mansion on Tuesday and was briefed on Greek sports issues and the problem of doping in sports.

    ?The problem is mostly traced to a specific sport,? Papoulias stated and expressed his intention to join the fight against the use of banned substances by athletes.

    On his part, Capralos briefed Papoulias on the meeting he had with all responsible authorities aimed at taking measures against doping and stressed that a ?collective effort is necessary,? while underlining that ?major interests are behind? the practice.

    Meeting at sports ministry

    The Greek state intends to take drastic measures against doping in sport, Deputy Culture Minister for sports Yiannis Ioannidis announced on Tuesday. He was speaking during a meeting that he convened at the ministry to discuss the latest incidents of doping in Greece's weight-lifting team.

    The meeting was attended by Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos, the head of Greece's athletics federation SEGAS Vassilis Sevastis, the head of the Weight-Lifting Federation Pyrros Dimas, the Athens Olympic Athletic Centre (OAKA) board chairman Alexandra Manou, the head of the OAKA doping lab Costas Georgakopoulos and other sports officials.

    Among the proposed measures listed by Ioannidis were that the results of samples be announced within 10 days, otherwise the samples will be sent for testing abroad, tougher penalties for athletes using banned substances and their coaches, and prevention of doping through an information campaign targeting pupils in schools.

    The doping lab will also be removed from the supervision of OAKA and will henceforth be part of the National Sports Research Centre.

    [02] Nimetz due in Athens

    SKOPJE (ANA-MPA - N. Frangopoulos) UN envoy Matthew Nimetz, the mediator in the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) had a round of meetings with FYROM's leadership in Skopje on Tuesday. Afterwards, he said that the talks had focused on basic aspects of his last proposal in October 2008 and possible modifications to this.

    "I suggested to the prime minister some specific modifications to the October proposal and asked the government to examine the package as a whole, with these changes," Nimetz told reporters after meeting the country's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and President Georgi Ivanov.

    The envoy said that he would be raising the same issues in talks with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis when they met in Athens.

    In his proposal in October, Nimetz had suggested the name "Republic of Northern Macedonia" for international use.

    The UN mediator declined to name the other changes he is proposing, stressing that the matter was "complex".

    "There are different views on this. Some concern the issue of the name and some others are linked with the name. Some issues are more important than others and what remains is for the two sides to adopt a position on these," he said.

    Nimetz appeared satisfied with the results of his talks in Skopje and repeated the view that a solution to the dispute by the end of the year was feasible, while stressing that there were no set deadlines.

    Replying to questions regarding issues of "identity and language", Nimetz emphasised that the negotiations were not centred on these and that no one had disputed the existence of an independent identity or language in FYROM.

    "We are examining and discussing the name of the country. This is the primary issue. I have never heard from an official of any government, including Greece, that the existence of a separate identity and language is in doubt," he said.

    Nimetz is due in Athens on Tuesday night and will have meetings with the Greek government on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of UN envoy for the name dispute Matthew Nimetz.

    [03] Greece fined for aid to OA

    Brussels (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris) -- The European Court on Tuesday imposed a two million euros fine on Greece and a daily penalty of 16,000 euros over the country's failure to conform with a previous Court ruling calling for the return of state subsidies paid to the now-privatised national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) that were ruled illegal in 2005 by the Court.

    In 2002, the European Commission ruled that certain sums allocated by the Greek state to OA were incompatible with respect to the common market because they did not comply with specific conditions initially set out and therefore must be recovered. The Commission took Greece to the European Court over the issue in 2003, and the Court ruling issued in 2005 found Greece to be in violation of EU legislation.

    The Commission took Greece to the European Court again for failure to comply with the ruling, asking that a lump-sum fine be paid and daily penalties be imposed. The Court ruled on Tuesday for a 2 million euros lump-sum fine, and a daily penalty of 16,000 euros for each day of delay in carrying out the 2005 ruling, with the penalty entering into effect one month from the publication of the new ruling, so as to give Greece the ability to prove termination of the violation.

    In its recourse, the Commission said the Greek State should recover the sum of 41 million euros paid for restructuring assistance in the form of capital inflows, 2.5 million euros for rentals due to certain airports, and 61 million euros for the duty paid by passengers departing from all Greek airports.

    Greece argued at the time that certain OA debts to the State had been offset with compensation adjudged to OA by a 2006 arbitration ruling for losses suffered by OA due to its early eviction from the old airport at Hellinikon, its relocation to the new Athens International Airport (AIA) in Spata, additional operational costs of the AIA and delays in the construction of the AIA facilities.

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