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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-03-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM chairs Cabinet meeting on justice sector
  • [02] Samaras receives ADEDY leadership
  • [03] ANA-MPA interview with Serbia‚s Secretary for Tourism Petkovic
  • [04] Deputy FM Kouvelis article in ANA-MPA periodical 'Greek Diaspora'
  • [05] FinMin meeting with Rehn
  • [06] Alternate FM confer with Schulz
  • [07] ADM to acquire Skaramangas

  • [01] PM chairs Cabinet meeting on justice sector

    Prime minister George Papandreou on Monday chaired a Cabinet meeting on justice sector issues, which was also attended by the presidents of the country's three highest courts and the Areios Pagos (Supreme Court) prosecutor.

    Papandreou stressed, in his opening address, that the people need to feel that Justice protects them and that, in recent years, there has been a sentiment that the power of law has been overshadowed by the power of the mighty, and called on the high courts' functionaries to frankly state their views for a justice system worthy of the expectations of the Greek people.

    The premier said that his government is prepared to give an answer on all those issues with courage and determination, and create the feeling that those who breach their duties and those who break the law will be punished.

    The justice system is not functioning in a way that protects the citizens from lawlessness, and the sentiment is that no one is punished in Greece, while the Greek citizens and leaders of the European Union countries are asking whether Justice exists in Greece, Papandreou said, adding that frequently economic crime remains unpunished, citing a series of examples in which, "for reasons of inconceivable bureaucracy" or faulty attitude, many cases are judged at the expense of the citizen and the proper attribution of justice.

    "We can't go on like this," the premier stressed, adding that "as Justice is a foundation of Democracy, it must be attributed quickly and qualitatively...This is the demand of the citizens, and the government is determined to materialise this".

    Papandreou further spoke of phenomena of manipulation of justice by the political authority, which he said gave rise to serious questions on the distinction of the authorities, adding that his government has begun efforts to restore a democratic system of selection of the justice leadership.

    Turning to the crisis Greece is facing, the premier stressed that it is a political crisis that is only the tip of the iceberg of a generalised crisis, and that is why it is necessary to tackle the causes of the crisis and not only the symptom, namely the political crisis.

    In recent years, he added, there has been corruption and extensive lawlessness in Greece, coupled by a weakness of the institutions to put a check on the phenomena of lawlessness.

    Papandreou said his government is calling for rallying together to save the country, adding that the overwhelming majority of the Greek people are willing to help in this, despite the endless and unjust defamation the country has recently undergone. However, he continued, the citizens need also to see that their sacrifices are not in vain and that the state is taking them and their problems seriously, and that it is punishing those who break the law and breach their duties.

    [02] Samaras receives ADEDY leadership

    ANA-MPA/Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras met on Monday with the presidium of the civil servants' umbrella federation ADEDY.

    Shadow alternate finance minister Christos Staikouras said afterwards that the government was holding deliberations in the absence of the social partners, while the prime minister was casting blame on ND, the European Commission, speculators and rating firms for the present state of the economy.

    "This government is to blame for nothing. However, five months after it took office, the only measures it has taken are in the direction of raising indirect taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and fuel on increasing taxes on real estate," Staikouras said, adding that all other measures are simply being announced, but not implemented, and constantly being altered towards the worse, and cited the incomes policy as an example.

    He said that ND once again calls on the government to put aside its incessant "measures-talk" and actually take measures and enrich its policies with "developmental breathers" that were recently proposed by ND, because the tolerance and endurance of the Greek society is not unlimited.

    [03] ANA-MPA interview with Serbia‚s Secretary for Tourism Petkovic

    The promotion of tourist destinations in Serbia and Greece is at the center of the talks currently taking place between representatives of Serbia's economy and regional development ministry and tourist sector professionals in the prefecture of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, Serb Secretary for Tourism Goran Petkovic told ANA-MPA.

    In an interview held on the sidelines of the 32nd International Tourism Fair in Belgrade, Petkovic stated that he has discussed with representatives of the Professional Chamber of Thessaloniki (EETH) the "mapping" and promotion of specific tourist destinations in both countries.

    He underlined that northern Greece is a popular destination for the Serb people who are starting to discover the beauties of other regions as well, such as the Ionian Sea islands, the Peloponnese and Crete.

    On its part, Serbia will put emphasis on the development of tourist destinations along the Danube River particularly those that are directly associated with the "Route of the Roman Emperors". The development of the specific route is a priority project for the newly established Tourism Center for the Competitiveness of the Danube, a regional initiative undertaken by six countries on the river's course namely, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia and Moldova.

    Petkovic invited the Greek tourists to visit Serbia and discover its natural beauty, urging them to choose alternative and less popular destinations.

    [04] Deputy FM Kouvelis article in ANA-MPA periodical 'Greek Diaspora'

    "The Greeks abroad must feel, and know, that Greece is at their side", is the title of an article by deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis appearing in the latest edition of ANA-MPA's periodical "Greek Diaspora".

    Kouvelis stressed, inter alia, that "Greece must address itself to all the Greeks, regardless of their line of work, social role and place of residence", adding that in the context of a "green diplomacy", the active participation of the Greeks abroad in green growth, inside and outside the Greek borders, can become feasible.

    The deputy minister further stresses the necessity of enhancing the teaching of the Greek language, which is "the most important connecting link between Greece and the Greeks of the Diaspora", stressing at the same time that "without the Greek language, 50 percent of Hellenism is at risk of being lost".

    "All of us, together, must place the new, modern, creative and distinct Greece on the global map of green growth. We must put our country in an outstanding position in this new developmental era for the entire world. Together, all we Greeks, in every corner of the world, can and will do this," Kouvelis concluded.

    [05] FinMin meeting with Rehn

    ANA-MPA/Finance minister George Papaconstantinou met on Monday with visiting European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn, and reiterated afterwards that the Greek government will do everything necessary, including additional measures, for the implementation of Greece's Stability and Development program.

    Rehn said that additional measures are necessary, and encouraged the government to examine and announce the new measures.

    Papaconstantinou said the meeting with Rehn was "open and constructive", adding that he outlined in detail the country's Stability and Development program, the measures that have been taken and are being materialised, the major changes in the budget and taxation, the bill that will render the national statistics service ESYE an independent agency, and all the initiatives taken by the government.

    Caption: Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou (R) and European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn (L) in Athens on Monday 1 March 2010. ANA-MPA/SYMELA PANTZARTZI

    [06] Alternate FM confer with Schulz

    Visiting president of the Socialist group in the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Monday expressed the Group's complete support for Greece in its difficult economic situation, after a meeting with Alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas in Athens.

    Schulz stressed that the situation is difficult and "respect for the immense measures being taken by the Greek government to face the economic crisis is mandatory".

    Referring to European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn's concurrent visit to Athens, the president of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group underlined that "the government's measures must first be implemented and become conscience among the Greek people before the imposition of additional measures on the shoulders of the people is attempted".

    On his part, Droutsas, in statements after meeting, characterised "the confidence shown by the European parliament and the Socialist Group in the Greek government" as an "important indication of solidarity".

    The two officials also discussed issues of Greek interest, including Greek-Turkish relations and the "Agenda 2014" initiative for the integration of the Western Balkan countries in the Euroatlantic institutions, and also the course of the Cyprus issue ahead of Schulz's visit on Tuesday to Nicosia where he will have a series of meetings with Cypriot officials.

    [07] ADM to acquire Skaramangas

    (ANA-MPA) -- The Greek government on Monday welcomed a decision by the shipbuilding group Abu Dhabi Mar (ADM) to invest in the Greek shipbuilding and repair sector through the acquisition of a majority stake in the Hellenic Shipyards S.A. at Skaramangas, and the Abu Dhabi emirate's authorities' support of that decision.

    A Communications and Information General Secretariat announcement said that the new consortium scheme to be headed by ADM (with 75.1 percent of the Skaramangas stake), which also includes ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS, with a 24.9 percent stake), "has the complete approval of the Greek government".

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