|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-07-24
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Parliament TV interviews d'EstaingIn an interview with Parliament's television channel broadcast on Friday, former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing attributed his initial love of Greece to an education firmly grounded in the Classics and his introduction to the writings of Homer and Plato.
"The language of intellectuals is Greek," he told reporter Alexia Koulouri. "The words of politics, philosophy, and the sciences are Greek. The French do not know this but the roots of the words are Greek."
Questioned about the "Greece-France Alliance" that began with himself and the late Constantine Karamanlis and was recently 'renewed' during a visit to Greece by current French President Nicolas Sarkozy, d'Estaing said that it had begun at a time of real need, when Greece faced external dangers in the Aegean and an unstable political scene at home, and was still continuing.
"Essentially it is the same alliance, which is continuing. I believe there is an unbroken continuity. It is due to our history, our culture, and our roots and to the fact that there have never been conflicts between our peoples. On the contrary, it began with the formation of the first, free government [of Greece] in Nafplion. It is an alliance that began with the birth of the Greek nation and continues."
On the future of Europe and the chances of creating a workable and politically united Europe, d'Estaing appeared less than sanguine, blaming what he called too-rapid enlargement for alienating ordinary Europeans from the idea of European unification and making them indifferent to European institutions. He also agreed that the latest expansion to a 27-member Europe was a "shock", expressing the opinion that further enlargement needed to be put on hold.
"All nations have their borders; for reasons of security, for reasons of migration. We cannot move the borders without stopping first. There are still many inequalities in income and in work conditions. One of the reasons for the negative vote of Europeans was due to enlargement," he said.
He also cited the 40 percent abstention rate at the European Parliament elections as indicative of this trend, noting that it was much higher than the first European elections held when he was president in 1979.
According to the French statesman, this trend toward Euro-scepticism was partly because people had become more nationalist and also because there was no longer any simple message to put across about the need for unity.
"In 1979, in that union, we were all together seeking what was good for Europe. In today's union there is the view, 'what will I gain from this Europe'. The question is to organise Europe," he said, stressing the need explain to people the complex mechanisms involved while conceding that there was no simple way to do this.
"It was simple to say that there will no longer be wars. Everyone was satisfied. In all the 'family' no one remembers war any longer. There are no longer injured or dead. We were saying something specific and serious," he pointed out.
D'Estaing was clear on the need for European unification to continue, however, though warning against attempts at further enlargement.
"Everyone is organised in big groups...If we are small, then we will be lost. It is a matter of size. If we have unity, then Europe's size plays a role."
On a more promising note, he pointed out that when major problems arose, such as the current crisis, people tended to ask what Europe was doing about it. "This means that subconsciously they want us to be united," he added.
The veteran politician warned, however, that any further enlargement could "kill" the original concept of the European Union.
"The original plan was extremely interesting and the people that had proposed it were very intelligent. The idea was to create a European Union that would culminate in a European state, not in the classic sense, but as a political European union. The Greek citizen would be a Greek-European, I would French-European, etc. If there are nations that do not share this idea, then the original plan is over. Europe will be transformed into a regional organisation of united nations," he concluded.
 Migrant-traffickers nabbed in twin car crashHopes for a better life brought 14 illegal immigrants very close to disaster on Friday, who in their efforts to enter Greece wound up in hospital as road accident victims. All 14, among them two children, are now being treated at Alexandroupolis General University Hospital in the northern Greek prefecture of Evros, where doctors say they are out of danger.
The immigrants were passengers in two vehicles that were under police surveillance because they suspected that they were being used to traffic immigrants. The drivers became aware of the pursuit and increased speed, heading off in different directions to avoid being stopped and checked.
The first of the two cars crashed into another four vehicles stopped at a traffic light at the junction with Apalos, leading to the injury of the immigrant-trafficker that was driving the car and the seven illegal immigrants riding inside it.
The second vehicle was heading down the Egnatia Highway toward Komotini and tried to come off at the Makri junction but the driver lost control because of the car's excessive speed and it overturned, injuring the six illegal immigrants on board and the driver.
During a preliminary inquiry, police discovered that the illegal immigrants had entered Greece by crossing the Evros River. The two immigrant traffickers now face the prospect of lengthy prison sentences for the incident under the law, which was recently modified.
 Gov't reacts to opposition position on novel influenza issueThe letter on the novel influenza issue addressed to the prime minister by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou will be answered in writing, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros stated, adding that "it took him (Papandreou) roughly three months to become alarmed".
Antonaros added that a short while ago PASOK maintained that the issue was in essence non existent and that it was used by the government to divert the attention of the public opinion away from other issues.
He said that state services remain vigilant and ready since the onset and referred to the steps made by the government, pointing out that the PASOK leader and his associates appear to be unaware of them.
Antonaros underlined that a total of three alternative plans are ready to be implemented against an anticipated outbreak of novel influenza.
 PPC bid for Montenegro utilityPublic Power Corp. (PPC), Greece's state-run power utility, on Friday said a consortium with GoldenEnergy One Holdings Ltd - a member of Restis Group of companies - was the highest bidder in tender to buy up to 45 pct of shares in Electroprivreda Crne Gore AD Niksic (EPCG), a state electricity company in Montenegro.
According to a report by the German press agency, the PPC-GoldenEnergy One Holdings Ltd consortium, has offered 11.10 euros per share to buy a 18.3-pct equity stake in EPCG, up from an offer of 8.4 euros per share by Italian company A2A. The two companies are the only bidders for EPCG after the withdrawal of NORD-Troendelag Elektrisitsverk of Norway and Russian Inter Rao from the tender.
Morgan Stanley, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Law Firm Sardelas, Saxonis, Liarikos & Associates and Law Office Velimirovic acted as consultants to the bid.
 Stocks end 1.57% higherGreek stocks continued moving higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, pushing the composite index of the market above the 2,300 level. The index rose 1.57 pct to end at 2,331.32 points, with turnover an improved 180.7 million euros, of which 9.4 million euros were block trades.
Most sectors moved higher, with the Health (5.92 pct), Media (3.84 pct) and Constructions (3.43 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecoms (1.13 pct), Utilities (0.43 pct) and Food/beverage (0.19 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE 20 index rose 1.79 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.82 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index jumped 2.09 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 164 to 58 with another 45 issues unchanged.
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