|Thursday, 22 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-27
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Athens on EU-Turkey tiesA foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday referred to a closely watched EU summit next month that is expected to make crucial decisions regarding Turkey's EU course.
"Greece is in cooperation and close coordination with the Republic of Cyprus," spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said, adding that Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou will be in Athens for next week's OSCE Summit. Referring to a letter by Cypriot President Demetris Christofias to the leaders of the Union's 26 other member-states, he pointed out that the course of negotiations is not satisfactory.
The issue will be discussed in the European Council and the Greek side has expressed a hope that there will be progress with Turkey making steps toward the right direction, "‚¶because Turkey will be judged very strictly and objectively. This is a given," Delavekouras stressed.
Asked to comment on a letter sent by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Prime Minister George Papandreou, he replied that it will be answered.
Meanwhile, the spokesman said that Papandreou proposed a tripartite meeting in the Lake Prespes region with his counterparts from Albania and fYRoM to discuss environmental cooperation in the verdant and ecologically significant region only a few days before the Copenhagen Summit on climate change.
Athens seeks the creation of a framework involving community programmes and know-how that will allow Greece, fYRoM and Albania to cooperate and deal with environmental issues.
The initiative was launched on the occasion of the anniversary of another similar meeting held in the Lake Prespes region 10 years ago and the issuance of a joint statement declaring their commitment to cooperate to face jointly the problems of the region's ecosystem which, due to its nature, needs inter-state cooperation.
"Negotiations between fYRoM and the EU will not be launched if the 'name issue' is not settled with the adoption of a name for all uses (erga omnes) that will include a geographic qualifier," the foreign ministry spokesman said in response to a press question.
Responding to a question on the likelihood of any discussion on the 'name issue', Delavekouras stated that it is understandable that "the entire spectrum of issues that concern participating countries will be discussed, and therefore, it is reasonable to have a discussion on the name issue with prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) Nikola Gruevski."
"However, there shouldn't be any misinterpretations. The framework for a solution is the process followed in the United Nations under UN envoy Matthew Nimetz. This is where a solution will come from and we expect that the other party will participate in the process constructively. Direct and private meetings can contribute by giving a momentum in the UN dialogue process," he stated.
"Skopje should adopt a constructive attitude to reach a mutually acceptable solution. EU accession negotiations cannot be launched for as long as such a solution is not achieved," Delavekouras said, adding that this should be made clear to avoid any surprises, misunderstandings and expectations that cannot be met.
Responding to a relevant question, Delavekouras said Gruevski will arrive for the meeting on a commercial flight.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Maximos mansion in Athens (government's headquarters)
 ND leadership candidates wind up campaignsThe three candidates for the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party's presidency wind up on Friday evening as the former ruling party prepares to elect its new leader on Sunday, with voting extended, for the first time, to all registered members.
Organising committee chairman Dimitris Sioufas said that election of the ND president by the party's grass roots is "an important conquest of direct democracy", and called on members to turn out on Sunday to vote at the 1,039 voting centers set up throughout the country so as to "consolidate this (conquest) with the widest possible participation" in the election.
He said that voting will begin at 7:00 a.m. Sunday and close at 7:00 in the evening, but clarified that the closing time may be extended in specific polling stations in the event that lines of voters were still waiting their turn to cast their ballot at closing time.
The final campaign appearances by the three candidates are scheduled for Friday evening: former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis will address a rally at Kotzia Square in downtown Athens, former culture minister Antonis Samaras will make a last campaign appearance at the Zappeion Mansion in Athens, and Thessaloniki prefect Panagiotis Psomadis will address a gathering in Serres.
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of candidates for main opposition New Democracy leadership Dora Bakoyannis(L), Antonis Samaras(C) and Panagiotis Psomiadis(R)
 Dep. FM briefs parliamentary com't on Greeks abroad issuesDeputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis Thursday outlined the activities that the ministry intends to undertake towards improving relations between Greeks abroad and the home country.
Addressing members of a permanent parliamentary committee on Greeks abroad, Kouvelis said the potential of Greek expatriates should be fully utilised through continuous and systematic communication via e-governance which constitutes a top priority of the government.
He stated that a major role can be played by the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) expatriate organization adding that the meeting of the SAE Youth Networks' Coordinating Councils to take place in Thessaloniki next week will be a great opportunity to learn what the young expatriates expect from Greece.
Kouvelis also referred to the role of the Church in uniting the Greeks worldwide.
 Trilateral meeting in Prespes on eco-cooperationThe prime ministers of Greece, Albania and FYROM meet informally on Friday in the Prespes Lakes region in northwestern Greece, at the initiative of Greek premier George Papandreou, to discuss prospects of cooperation in the protection and viable development of the Prespes National Park region (at the Pyli Information Center and exhibitions facility), which straddles the borders of all three countries.
Papandreou early this week extended invitations to Albanian prime minister Sali Berisha and FYROM prime minister Nikola Gruevsi to the informal meeting, which comes just days ahead of a crucial UN international summit on climate change in Copenhagen and two months before the 10th anniversary since the three countries first pledged to cooperate in order to protect the Prespes Lake ecosystem, in the February 2, 2000 (World Wetlands Day) Joint Communique of the then prime ministers of the three countries declaring their commitment to cooperate for protection of the Prespes ecosystem.
The initiative, according to Greek government spokesman George Petalotis, reflects the "high priority" placed by the government on environmental issues, while foreign ministry spokesman George Delavekouras noted that it also aspires to establishing a framework involving EU programs and knowhow so that Greece, Albania and FYROM may collaborate on confronting environmental problems
In the February 2000 trilateral summit, symbolically held on the annual World Wetlands Day, the then prime ministers Costas Simitis of Greece, Ilir Meta of Albania and Ljubco Georgievski of FYROM designated the Prespes region a National Park, indeed the Balkans' first nature park, with the aim of protecting the rare species of birds and fish living in the area, and also serving as a "meeting point among the three countries and a crossroad of cultural exchange", as well as an example of promoting cooperation among Balkan countries.
The Lakes Greater and Lesser Prespes in the prefecture of Florina, in the northwest corner of the country, form a unique ecosystem and constitute a natural border between the three countries.
The Lakes are home to the Mediterranean's most ancient species of trout, and also the short-horn pygmy cow, both of which are threatened with extinction.
The Prespes are also among the 10 most important wetlands of the Mediterranean, while eight of the 11 fish species native to the lakes are endemic and not found anywhere else in the world.
The Prespes area is a large basin at an altitude of 850m which contains two lakes, Mikri (Small) and Megali (Large) Prespa. Megali Prespa is today located in Greece, Albania and FYROM while Mikri Prespa is entirely located within Greece and Albania
According to the UNESCO World Heritage Center, the area is characterized by outstanding natural beauty and has been inhabited without interruption from antiquity (with traces of ancient inhabitation in the area of "Lemos" and on the island of Agios Achilleos) to the present day.
The local population has closely associated the area, its history and its natural beauty with myths, legends and traditions.
The Prespes region contains the highest degree of species biodiversity in a corresponding surface area in Europe. It is a unique limnetic landscape of outstanding natural beauty that includes a wealth of monuments from the Byzantine and post-Byzantine period. The uniqueness lies in the interaction between man and nature.
The area which covers the Mikri and Megali Prespes Lakes and the neighbouring slopes of Mounts Triklari and Varnunda is the largest National Park in Greece with a core area of 4,900 hectares and a surrounding zone of 14,750 hectares. It is also that with the highest biodiversity levels. It begins at an altitude of 850m and contains oak, beech, deciduous, fir and cedar forests. More than 1500 plant species and 12 forest types can be encountered in the area in which 46 mammal species live, including some of the rarest in Europe such as the wolf, bear, wild ibex and otter.
Moreover, the area is one of the most important biotopes in Greece with 260 species of birds. The grey goose (Anser anser) and the goosander (Mergus mersander), cranes (Ardeidae), cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis) and pygmy cormorants (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) nest here, as well as quite a few species of duck, terns, birds of prey, woodpeckers, etc. It is the only area in Europe other than the Danube Delta and the former USSR where two species of pelican reproduce, the White pelican (Pelecanus onocratulus) and the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus). The water meadows surrounding the lakes are home to significant amphibians and reptile populations.
 ASE opening: Big riseEquity prices were rising at the opening of trade on Friday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index up 2.28 percent, standing at 2,275.96 points at 10:55 a.m., and turnover at 101.2 million euros.
Individual sector indices were moving mostly upward, with the biggest gains in Food & Beverage, up 8.79 percent; Banks, up 5.59 percent; and Technology, up 2.25 percent.
The biggest losses were in Insurance, down 4.28 percent; Health, down 3.92 percent; and Industrial Products, down 1.56 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was up 4.28 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.61 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was up 0.12 percent.
Of the stocks moved, 66 were up, 62 were down, and 33 were unchanged.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The increase in the Greek state bonds' spreads, the debt crisis in Dubai and its effect on the Athens Stock Exchange, the dialogue on social security, and the candidates' campaigning for the main opposition New Democracy leadership ahead of Sunday's election, dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Major changes in pensions".
APOGEVMATINI: "17 'respectable' citizens caught in the trap - They were arrested for child pornography trafficking via Internet".
AVGHI: "Rigged dialogue on social security".
AVRIANI: "The tax storm and the government's fear of making the structural changes necessary to avoid bankruptcy are disastrous for the country".
CHORA: "Financial Times calls Greece 'An Iceland in the Aegean'."
ELEFTHEROS: "Shock! According to the president of the National Committee on the new flu, 800,000 Greeks have been infected by the H1N1 virus".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Brussels are putting on the pressure - Punishment by the markets - In Europe, they are calling us the 'Iceland of the Aegean'."
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Dubai virus strikes Greece - Plunge on Athens Stock Exchange - Rise in state bonds' spread".
ESTIA: "The 'morning after' in New Democracy - Radical reconstitution of the party".
ETHNOS: "Mini-crash in the midst of the international storm - Dubai's crash completed the tragedy".
IMERISSIA: "New crisis on the horizon - Market, economy out of control".
KATHIMERINI: "Turmoil in international markets - Substantial losses on Athens Stock Exchange and increase in spreads".
LOGOS: "The dialogue on social security finally began".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Free-fall in European stock markets".
NIKI: "Plunge off the cliff - Friends and enemies destroy Greece".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Social security for the working classes - All united in the battle".
TA NEA: "Extreme profiteering at economy's expense - Fears of new increase in interest rates".
TO VIMA: "Greece is facing an unprecedented profiteering attack".
VRADYNI: "Lost in .....deliberation - Social security issues: Decisions in April'.
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