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

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] FM satisfied over EU's FYROM accession prerequisite
  • [02] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies
  • [03] Debt buy-back programme offers total 31.9 bln euros
  • [04] Christmas season opens in Athens

  • [01] FM satisfied over EU's FYROM accession prerequisite

    AMNA---Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed satisfaction over Europe's commitment to enlargement and its stipulation of the requirement of resolution of the FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) before accession negotiations can begin with the northern neighbor.

    Avramopoulos, who represented Greece at the EU Foreign Ministers' General Affairs Council in Brussels on Tuesday, said after the meeting that Greece sees expansion of the EU's membership as one of the EU's most important strategies and "a tool to establish peace, stability, security and development" in an era when one sees "an upsurge in nationalism in many Balkan countries".

    Speaking of FYROM's application for membership to the EU currently under consideration, the Greek minister said it was the first time that the Council decided unanimously and explicitly that a resolution of the country's name issue constitutes a prerequisite for accession negotiations to begin and a factor of continuing good neighbor policy with Greece.amna

    He said that the Council would use the European Commission report, expected this coming spring, to evaluate the steps FYROM needs to take to find a solution within the framework of the UN-mediated negotiations on the name issue, and that accession talks will begin only after a solution is found. The conclusions of Tuesday's meeting also include the EU's support of a Greek proposal to Skopje for the signing of a memorandum of understanding related to the name.amna

    "The EU spoke today in a single voice," Avramopoulos said, "and sent a clear message to Skopje. It is a positive and earnest message. We hope that Skopje will take the necessary steps and participate in a constructive way in the negotiations under the UN auspices."

    As for the other matters discussed at the Council, Avramopoulos reiterated Greece's "position of principal" on the situation in the Middle East advocating a solution of two states -- Israel and Palestine, and called on both sides to refrain from actions that create obstacles to the re-start of the talks. amna

    On Syria, he stressed that the "military path leads nowhere" and called on the EU to invest in the efforts of the UN special envoy and to help Lebanon and Jordan, which are facing great pressure due to the crisis in Syria. Avramopoulos also stressed that any solution on Syria will have to guarantee the rights of all the religious minorities, including the Greek Orthodox community, which he noted was currently dealing with significant challenges following the loss of its spiritual leader.

    On EU relations with Russia, Avramopoulos briefed his EU counterparts on his recent meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and underlined the importance Athens' places on this issue and the need to enhance cooperation in such sectors as energy, trade and tourism and, in that context, to lift the visa requirement for Russian citizens.amna

    Avramopoulos and deputy foreign minister Dimitris Kourkoulas briefed PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on the Councils draft conclusions on EU enlargement and particularly on the prerequisites for commencing accession talks with FYROM, over which Venizelos expressed his satisfaction, PASOK sources told AMNA.

    [02] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies

    The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Eurogroup's meeting on Thursday and its anticipated release of the disbursement of 44 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout package to Greece and the imminent increase in PPC electricity rates mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "Life in Greece comes to a standstill".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Antonis (Samaras, PM) Chancellery".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "The nine changes to the social security system for 700,000 professionals".

    ESTIA: "Sunday's lost 'turnover'."

    ETHNOS: "Tuition fees in private schools deregulated".

    IMERISSIA: "The tranche arrives - Growth now the wager".

    KATHIMERINI: "IMF's Ôbjections over the (proposed) tax scales".

    LOGOS: "Reserve labour status applied".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Political assessment of the bonds buy-back at the Eurogroup meeting".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "PPC imposes up to 48.7 percent rate increases on working class households"

    TA NEA: "Turmoil in parties - Split-ups and new alliances".

    VRADYNI: "Pensions: All the changes for the professionals".

    6 DAYS: "Ruthless collectors".

    [03] Debt buy-back programme offers total 31.9 bln euros

    AMNA--The Greek authorities on Wednesday said they have received offers worth 31.9 billion euros in a book-building process of a debt buy back programme which ended on Tuesday.

    Greece's Public Debt Management Organization, in a statement, said that the offered bonds were secured with six-month securities, worth 11.29 billion euros, of the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), while the average repurchase price was set at 33.8 cents per euro nominal value of the Greek bonds. amna

    The statement stressed that the Greek state plans to accept the offers in total if the EFSF agreed to raise its funding of the programme by 1.29 billion euros. Settlement date is set for Tuesday, 18 December.

    [04] Christmas season opens in Athens

    AMNA--The signal for the opening of the Christmas season in Athens was given on Tuesday evening by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, as 16 Christmas trees throughout the Greek capital were lit, inaugurating the Christmas celebrations for the city.

    The Athens Municipality "Big Band" and Symphony Orchestra played carols before an audience of Athenians in downtown Syntagma Square, creating a holiday atmosphere, while 550 musicians and entertainers will perform in 30 Athens districts from 11 December until 4 January.amna

    Addressing the turnout, Kaminis stressed that despite the tough times, Athens celebrates and struggles to remain alive and become festive. "All Athenians, young and old, from all races and religions, the homeless and those who are in bad financial condition, abandoned or jobless, have the right to celebrate".amna

    The Athens mayor also clarified that the municipality has kept the cost as low as possible, at just 10 percent of the money spent in previous years, adding that this year's Christmas events do not seek easy and gaudy shows but hope to rekindle the deeper, more humanitarian meaning of Christmas and New Year to light up the city in a way deserving of a European capital with an ages-long tradition of culture and history.


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