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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-12-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] OSCE FMs adopt proclamation
  • [02] Gov't n EU's stance
  • [03] Birbili on green econ

  • [01] OSCE FMs adopt proclamation

    The foreign ministers of the OSCE's 56 member-states agreed, during the Organisation's two-day Ministerial Council in Athens on Wednesday, to provide an impetus for the dialogue on the future of European security by adopting a proclamation.

    "The vision of a free, democratic OSCE that includes countries from Vancouver to Vladivostok without dividing lines and countries with different security levels remains a common goal that we are determined to achieve," the document, which is focused on the Corfu Procedure, stressed.

    The document expresses the foreign ministers' "grave concern over the inadequate implementation and disrespect of the principles and commitments of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975."

    "Our greatest priority remains to restore confidence and to regain the concept of the common goal that brought our predecessors together in Helsinki 35 years ago," it added.

    The ministers also expressed grave concern "because the use of force is continuing to be considered an option for solving differences and because the danger of conflicts among countries has not been eliminated."

    The 56 ministers also agreed that their Permanent Representatives at the OSCE promote the Corfu Agreement and to reconsider their work in 2010, during the Presidency of Kazakhstan, that will be the first time a Central Asian country will exercise the presidency.


    [02] Gov't n EU's stance

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris) -- Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday expressed satisfaction over the understanding, as he said, showed by Eurogroup president Jean Claude Juncker and EU Economy and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia towards Athens' efforts at greater fiscal consolidation.

    Speaking to reporters after an ECOFIN meeting here, the minister stressed it was very positive the fact that EU officials acknowledged that positive steps were taken towards the right direction, while they (officials) categorically rejected speculation over the "collapse" of the Greek economy.

    Papaconstantinou said the Greek problem was mainly a problem of policies implemented by the previous government and stressed that an ECOFIN decision to proceed with the next step of disciplinary procedures against Greece for its excessive deficits was a clear line dividing the past and the future.

    "A future which will be judged based on decisions taken by the current government and will be recorded not only in the 2010 state budget but mainly in an updated Stability and Growth program to be submitted to the European Commission in January," he said.

    The Greek minister said he briefed his counterparts in a Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday over the main aspects of next year's budget, which aims at supporting the growth of the economy and put the country's public finances in order by cutting the fiscal deficit by 3.6 percentage points next year. Papaconstantinou said the government will table a new draft law on the tax system to Parliament in May, along with measures to drastically cut overspending in the public sectors, opening a dialogue on the reform of the social insurance system and actions to improving economic competitiveness.

    He said the European Commission has not made any recommendations to Greece towards cutting or freezing public sector wages.

    Papaconstantinou reassured markets that Greek state securities were a very good investment.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of FinMin George Papaconstantinou

    [03] Birbili on green econ

    A package of arrangements on renewable energy sources with interventions in the entire spectrum of the institutional framework that concern them will be included in a bill by the Environment, Energy and Climatic Change ministry, that will be provided for public consultation soon, according to statements made by Minister Tina Birbili on Wednesday.

    Addressing the Economist's conference on the green economy, Birbili said that the bill will include arrangements on the licensing of electric power production units from renewable energy sources, changes in the special land planning framework prepared by the previous government, terms on the construction of energy transport networks and on the familiarisation and participation of local societies in the undertaking.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Environment Minister Tina Birbili

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