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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-08-08

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] FM Avramopoulos holds talks with Italian counterpart Terzi in Rome
  • [02] Venizelos, Kouvelis object to the labour reserve measure

  • [01] FM Avramopoulos holds talks with Italian counterpart Terzi in Rome

    ROME (AMNA / Th. Andreadis-Syggelakis) -- Visiting Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met in Rome on Tuesday with his Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi and discussed developments in the European economic crisis, bilateral issues - with an emphasis on the sector of energy - the situation in Syria and the EU course of the Western Balkan states.

    "Italians and Greeks, we have managed to survive because we are optimists. We were always able to overcome crises and tough times. We will proceed with structural reforms. We should change our system and make our economy more competitive," Avramopoulos stated responding to a question by AMNA. "The support of the people is very important and that's exactly what we seek now in Greece," he added.

    "The drawing up of the European plan should continue; we are certain that the results can be positive. All necessary efforts need to be made to implement the measures decided by the European Council in June. I believe that we are on the right track and we should avoid any diversion," the Italian foreign minister stressed.

    He underlined that Italy expresses its strong support and solidarity to the Greek government, adding that "the course it follows can become more decisive in line with the plans of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras."

    "The European family is faced with the toughest economic crisis in its history. We have to do everything in our power to reverse this catastrophic course," Avramopoulos said, underlining that relations between the European partners should be characterized "by mutual responsibility to correct past mistakes and by solidarity."

    On the energy sector, Avramopoulos said that the political framework has been set up as regards the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), designed to carry natural gas to the European market directly from the Caspian Sea, adding that "in this way, energy security in Europe is strengthened."

    On his part, the Italian foreign minister spoke about a "strategic cooperation through the creation of a very important infrastructure," adding that it "constitutes top priority in bilateral relations with Greece and in the relations with Albania".

    They discussed the importance of natural gas deposits discovered in eastern Mediterranean that create new cooperation potential considering that "the European Union can use new alternative energy sources," Avramopoulos underlined.

    The two foreign ministers shared the same viewpoint as regards the European course of the Western Balkan states and stressed that they will continue to observe the changes brought about by the so-called "Arab Spring". As regards developments in Syria, the Italian minister stressed that "they threaten stability in the greater region and the civil war has taken up the dimensions of a massacre".

    [02] Venizelos, Kouvelis object to the labour reserve measure

    AMNA/ Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Tuesday referred to the labour reserve issue in comments he made after the meeting of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with the political party leaders backing the government. The meeting was held at Maximos Mansion government headquarters in the presence of government ministers.

    Responding to a question by a reporter on the labour reserve issue, Kedikoglou stated that "everything is on the table. We are seeking the best solutions."

    Exiting the Maximos Mansion, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras responded to a similar question stressing that "everything is being considered. We need to come up with 11.5 billion euros and we will."

    The government spokesman announced that the prime minister will visit the ministry of finance at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday to be briefed on all issues, adding that the latest developments in the shipbuilding sector were also discussed in detail during the meeting.

    Both political party leaders backing the government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DEM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, strongly objected to the implementation of the labour reserve measure.

    Commenting after the meeting, Venizelos stated that "our experience with the labour reserve measure was negative," adding that it was an involuntary situation and not the Greek government's wish.

    He said that he had pledged during the election campaign that there will be no layoffs in the public sector, stressing that this pledge still stands.

    Referring to the labour reserve measure, Kouvelis stated that he is categorically against it characterizing it as a fiasco.

    He said that "the measure will create no economic benefit for the country and lead more of our fellow citizens to unemployment", adding that "to the extent it was implemented, the labour reserve measure was proven to be a fiasco. I cannot agree with a fiasco," he stressed.

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