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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM chairs cabinet meeting on privatisations
  • [02] Gov't on Siemens case
  • [03] Buzek addresses committees
  • [04] EU- Western Balkans meeting
  • [05] Fires near Corinth

  • [01] PM chairs cabinet meeting on privatisations

    Chairing an informal cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed that the government had to make major changes now, so as to exploit the momentum of PASOK's electoral victory and the current difficult crisis. The meeting focused on a raft of planned privatisations and healthcare.

    He stressed that the current difficulties had to be turned into an opportunity to correct long-term problems and dysfunctions in the country, while noting that the harsh measures had to be offset by government support for the poorer sections of society and the middle class through properly functioning state services that dealt with people's everyday problems.

    The prime minister revealed that the problems of public administration and the complaints and observations of the Greek Ombudsman would be one of the issues occupying one of the upcoming cabinet meetings.

    Papandreou ended by criticising phenomena of poor cooperation and even rivalry between different government ministries, asking cabinet members to do their utmost to process issues where they have joint responsibility with another ministry.

    He also commented on leaks to the press, saying that there must be support for the decisions taken without "demonising" different opinions.

    [02] Gov't on Siemens case

    "We shouldn't rush to conclusions ‚¶because they could be proven wrong," government spokesman George Petalotis said Wednesday, commenting on the likelihood of an "artful" effort being underway for the marginalisation of parliamentary investigation committees.

    The statement followed widespread criticism due to the misinterpretation of certain documents relating to the Siemens kickbacks and bribery affair, for instance, incorrecting attributing a payment to a "Cabinet" minister when in essence it was directed to a "cabinet" maker in New York.

    Petalotis stressed that "the work of the parliamentary investigation committees should not be obstructed by surmise, misinterpretations and leaks that do not contribute to transparency."

    Commenting on speculation concerning an email related to Siemens and allegedly addressed to main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, the spokesman said the rumors and leaks should be handled with the proper seriousness and caution. He stressed that the parliamentary investigation committees have their own way of operation, adding that they can and are obligated to investigate everything.

    [03] Buzek addresses committees

    Visiting European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek, addressing the members of the Parliamentary Economy, European Affairs and Defence Committees on Wednesday, stressed that "reforms are unavoidable. They concern the EU in its entirety and not Greece only. If we want to recover, we must follow a painful therapeutical treatment."

    Buzek praised the Greek Parliament for "the determination that it showed in adopting a difficult monetary adjustment programme," stressing that the "sacrifices for handling the crisis at European level are necesary."

    "We must unlock the productive potential in all the regions of Europe, we must give emphasis to transport networks, to new technologies. We must secure jobs particularly for young people, we must invest in education, we must modernise our economies," Buzek said.

    In parallel, however, it will be necessary "for us to work more hours, to decrease our leave, to save resources for our insurance. The solution to the demographic issue may be the best solution."

    Buzek further said that "at this moment the demonstration of leadership abilities is required and as political elites you showed your leadership character. Greece needs more than ever the three virtues of Plato - wisdom, courage and moderation. This responsibility, of course, is undertaken by all Parliaments in difficult times," adding that "I hope that the path of recovery will be short, brief."

    [04] EU- Western Balkans meeting

    SARAJEVO (ANA-MPA/M. Savva) - Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said that a clear message that the Balkans belong to the European family was given from Sarajevo on Wednesday.

    After the end of the high-level EU-Western Balkans meeting organised by the Spanish Presidency, Droutsas said that the fact that this meeting was held is of particular importance in itself and its message is the message that is contained in the Greek initiative on the "agenda 2014."

    He pointed out that it is a very important event if one considers that until a few months ago the procedure on the rapprochement between the Western Balkans and the EU had become inert.

    Droutsas said that this is the self-evident path because "the strategic goal of Greece is for economic activity to open to the wider region and our neighbourhood to become safer."

    The minister also called publicly on his FYROM counterpart Antonio Milososki for the neighbouring country to show a constructive spirit and come to the talks with a positive disposition.

    Droutsas also had the opportunity of discussing with Turkish European Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis Turkey's European prospect, the course of reforms in the country and the issue of the EU-Turkey agreement on the readmission of illegal immigrants.

    [05] Fires near Corinth

    Two wildfires broke out on Wednesday in the prefecture of Corinth, one at the location Kyra Vrysi in Loutraki and a second in farmland near the village of Examilia.

    The first fire was reported at 12:08 and is now partially under control as it burns through an expanse of meadow and trees, with a strong fire-fighting force from Corinth, Kiato, Nafplion and Argos sent to put out the flames.

    The second started at 13:20 and burnt an expanse of farmland before it was placed under complete control.

    Also participating in the effort to put out the two fires were two Canadair water-bombing aircraft.


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