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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-03-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM, PES president address press con'f
  • [02] ND leader meets Ireland's Enda Kenny
  • [03] Interpol locates stolen icons in London gallery
  • [04] Hunger strikers reject offer 

  • [01] PM, PES president address press con'f

    (ANA-MPA) -- Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Party of European Socialists (PES) President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, addressing a joint press conference on the occasion of the convening in Athens of the PES directorate, stressed that the European Union does not have the luxury of not taking correct decisions at its summit on March 25.

    They also stressed that Europe needs vision and will and Papandreou said that Europe needs innovative tools, such as the Eurobond and the tax on fiscal transactions.

    On his part, Rasmussen said it is time for a wide support mechanism to be created and in parallel the interest rates of the loaning of Greece and Ireland to decrease.

    Both Rasmussen and Papandreou placed responsibility for the present situation and the difficulty in the taking of decisions on Europe's conservative majority and mainly on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Europe is in mistaken plans," the PES president said. (ANA-MPA)

    Rasmussen further said that the PES will present an alternative plan to the conservatives' competitiveness plan that concerns both growth and fiscal matters.

    Replying to relevant questions, Rasmussen said that the conservative leaders must not only look at money but the future of Europe as well. Papandreou stressed that Greece has taken bold decisions and added that the crisis in Greece is not a model for the rest of Europe. (ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [02] ND leader meets Ireland's Enda Kenny

    (ANA-MPA) -- Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras met on Friday with the winner of the elections in Ireland Enda Kenny, on the sidelines of the European People's Party (EPP) summit taking place in Helsinki.

    Samaras congratulated the Irish prime minister-elect for his victory and discussed with him the two countries' common problems and the memorandum, on which they agreed that "it does not solve the problems of their countries."

    They also agreed that Greece and Ireland have similar courses due to their subjection to the support mechanism and common problems that are being created by the need for growth.

    The ND leader expressed support for low tax rates and for the extension of the public debt's repayment with a parallel decrease in the interest rate. (ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [03] Interpol locates stolen icons in London gallery

    (ANA-MPA) -- Stolen icons from churches and monasteries in the mountainous Zagorohoria region of Ioannina, NW Greece, were discovered in a London gallery by Interpol, during an operation held with the assistance of New Scotland Yard

    According to an announcement on Friday, six of the stolen icons have been identified while an investigation is still underway.

    Stolen icons from Greece have also been discovered in Berlin but their exact number and the regions from where they were stolen remain undisclosed.

    For the record, dozens of icons and sections of chancel screens have been stolen in the past two years from churches and monasteries in the region. (ANA-MPA)

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


    [04] Hunger strikers reject offer

    (ANA-MPA) -- The 250-plus migrants on hunger strike in central Athens on Friday apparently rejected the government's offer of a six-month 'toleration status' allowed under EU migration laws, saying it did not meet their demand for full legalisation.

    An earlier meeting between representatives of migrants and government ministers had ended without any agreement and was followed by a meeting to discuss the government's proposals.

    After Interior Minister Yiannis Ragoussis and Health Minister Andreas Loverdos left the building, the migrants -- who entered Greece illegally -- held a meeting to decide whether they should accept or reject the government's proposal to allow them a six-month "grace period" before they are asked to leave the country.

    They also rejected Loverdos' offer to transfer all those on hunger strike to hospital in view of a sharp deterioration in the weather expected over the next few days, saying they would be transferred to hospitals at the recommendation of the doctors currently attending to them.

    The six-month "window" is foreseen under the law for those applying for political asylum and can be extended to illegal immigrants when there special circumstances, such as the serious health problems now faced by the group on hunger strike. This essentially delays deportation for a period of six months and the delay can also be extended for a "reasonable" space of time by the Citizens' Protection Minister.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

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