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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-08-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou addresses French Socialist Party event
  • [02] Foreign nationals charged with migrant smuggling, holding compatriots hostage
  • [03] No congress for leftist party

  • [01] Papandreou addresses French Socialist Party event

    LA ROCHELLE (ANA-MPA / G. Milionis) - PASOK party leader and Socialist International President George Papandreou addressed the French Socialist Party's annual "summer university" strategy session here on Saturday on the theme of "Geopolitics of the Crisis," stressing that "the citizens are looking for alternative solutions to the crisis and we socialists can become a force of change."

    The French socialists' "summer university" is a forum for discussion that has been functioning for about 15 years, while this year's event is also being attended by personalities not belonging to the Socialist Party.

    Papandreou went on to say that although voices are being heard that the crisis is nearing its end, however "if we are not careful it will return" and stressed that "we must not allow this" and opposed the "privatisation of benefits and the 'socialisation' of losses."

    The PASOK leader said policies concerning markets over the past 30 years need revising, pointing out that the socialists have followed at times, sometimes partially and sometimes in their entirety, some of these policies, adding that the voice must be heard of the excluded and of those affected by the crisis and new policies must be shaped at all levels.

    Papandreou further said that "the question is that the market and the state must serve the citizen" and proposed "democratic governance and democratic control of the market."

    After his address, Papandreou attended a luncheon given for him by the French Socialist Party's first secretary Martine Aubry at the Altantic Sea resort.

    [02] Foreign nationals charged with migrant smuggling, holding compatriots hostage

    Three Pakistani nationals were arrested on Saturday in the west Athens industrial district of Aspropyrgos on migrant smuggling, extortion and false imprisonment charges.

    The trio is charged with smuggling compatriots into the country via Turkey and holding them hostage until their relatives paid an additional 4,000 euros on top of 7,000 euros per head charged to ferry them onto Greek and EU territory -- a frequent practice of migrant smugglers transporting mostly South Asian nationals into the country.

    A total of 19 Pakistanis were discovered locked up in a residence in the district, while a fourth suspect is wanted by police.

    The suspects were also charged with robbing a local 86-year-old woman of 3,000 euros.

    [03] No congress for leftist party

    The central political committee of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) on Saturday evening rejected a proposal by the leftist party's president for an extraordinary party congress, after the bid failed to garner a majority of members that voted in the session.

    The vote came after a marathon 10-hour session by the party's committee, following an address by Synaspismos leader Alexis Tsipras, whose high-profile call for such a congress comes in the wake of a particularly poor showing by the affiliated SYRIZA leftist grouping in the June Euro-elections.

    Synaspismos is the biggest bloc in the SYRIZA Parliamentary grouping, the latter headed up by Alekos Alavanos, who stepped down in favour of Tsipras at Synaspismos' helm but who retains his Parliament seat. Tsipras, conversely, is not a Parliament MP. Criticism and counter-criticism between Alavanos and Tsipras surfaced in the wake of the Euro-elections.

    The vote was 49 in favour, 48 against and six members casting blank votes.

    Tsipras later said he was not interested in promoting the initiative without an absolute majority of the central committee members.

    Earlier, before the vote, Tsipras said he wasn't interested in a congress after the elections, "because after the elections we won't be holding a congress for revival but maybe a wake".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Alexis Tsipras.

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