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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-03-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM to address EPP group meeting in Athens
  • [02] Tribute event for late statesman Constantine Karamanlis
  • [03] Messages on Chavez death, SYRIZA leader to attend funeral
  • [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines on Thursday
  • [05] Troika reservations on plan for indebted households
  • [06] Alexandroupolis-St. Petersburg flights to begin May 31

  • [01] PM to address EPP group meeting in Athens

    AMNA -- The European People's Party (EPP) group presidency and heads of delegation will hold a series of meetings in Athens on Thursday and Friday, focused on the EU's means to achieve economic growth.

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be addressing the meeting Thursday, presenting the reforms Greece is undertaking to exit the crisis. Attendees will also include the head of the Greek group in EPP Eurodeputy Marietta Giannakou, secretary general of the parliamentary group of New Democracy MP Athanasios Bouras, high-level government officials and members of the European Commission.

    Other issues to be discussed will include political and economic reforms, the security of the EU's external borders, and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

    The first part of the proceedings, which will be open to the press, will wrap up with a press conference by EPP group chairman Joseph Daul.

    The EPP currently includes 74 member-parties from 40 countries, the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, 15 EU and 6 non-EU heads of state and government, and 13 members of the European Commission; it is the largest Group in the European Parliament.

    [02] Tribute event for late statesman Constantine Karamanlis


    The country's state, political and religious leadership on Wednesday evening attended an event titled "Constantine Karamanlis then and now", that was organised by the Foundation bearing the late statesman's name, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of his death.

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, addressing the event, said that the work of Constantine Karamanlis "lives on and inspires us who are his heirs and those who are the descendants of all who fought him."

    "We must become the continuers of his work and realise his principles and values and take his legacy further," Samaras said.

    Referring to Karamanlis's work, he stressed that "he made surpassings and leaps. He was a man of western culture who was not led away on thirdworld paths. He was the architect of the multifaceted foreign policy that threw bridges in east and West. He knew the country's limits and did not make communication games. He always had the national interest as a compass, he had a vision for the country and looked ahead. He realised that the country's position is in Europe when others were shouting slogans. He embraced all the parties, he legalised them but did not cease to criticise their mistakes. He did not attempt to pose as a pseudo-progressive. He was really progressive and ahead of his time. He was a good captain because he led with a firm hand. He was a leader because he embraced them all. In his first period he had growth as a priority, in the second he had the consolidation of democracy. He disdained the pseudo-cultural makings and detested populism. He combined elements from the Atlantism of (late German chancellor Konrad) Adenauer and (late French president Charles) de Gaulle, he clashed on some occasions, but he never isolated the country. He restored and laid the foundations of parliamentarism. He was the Doric and strict leader who however shed tears for Macedonia."

    Establishing correlations with the present, Samaras said that "the more bold reforms we make, the more openings we make to the international environment, the more we respect his legacy. We honour his legacy when we keep Greece in Europe when some thought we were finished, when we implement the law, when we try to achieve our targets for fiscal adjustment, when others only respect it with words".

    The event was also attended by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, main opposition SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras, the leaders of the government coalition parties Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, former president Kostis Stephanopoulos, former prime ministers Constantine Mitsotakis, Costas Simitis, Costas Karamanlis accompanied hy his wife, George Papandreou and Panayiotis Pikrammenos.

    PASOK leader

    Adressing the same event, PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed his certainty that late Greek statesman Constantine Karamanlis "would tell us today that it is a common obligation of all political forces of the constitutional arch to safeguard the minimum of our understanding and political culture as one of the basic conditions for the country's recovery in conditions of national unity and social cohesion."

    Venizelos said that the three basic historical developments linked to Constantine Karamanlis, namely the 1974 transition to Democracy, the definite solution of the country's regime problem and Greece's accession to the EU "have been long ago and definitely become a common national possession."

    Venizelos underlined that Constantine Karamanlis, "who had the rare privilege to cover, as a political leader, a period of around fifty years, has nothing to fear from this historical evaluation in process."

    "Although there will always be questions and doubts over this or that of his options, the difficulties that he had to face both during the first phase and the second phase of his premiership, as well as his adherence to Europe and fiscal discipline are now better understood," Venizelos added.

    DIMAR leader

    "The legacy left behind by the leader of the liberal party in the country's political realm is enormous: What Constantine Karamanlis believed in and practiced for 60 years was his clear-cut views, a fine political culture, respect for other politicians' positions and that politics must be in the service of the general good," Democratic Left (DIMAR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis told the event.

    Kouvelis in his address praised the role of Constantine Karamanlis in the restoration of democracy and political normalcy after the fall of the dictatorship (1974), the vision and realization for the equal participation of Greece in the then European Economic Community (EEC), as well the legalization of the Communist Left.

    SYRIZA leader

    Main opposion Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras underlined the contribution of Constantine Karamanlis in the laying of the foundations of democracy in Greece after the dictatorship.

    According to Tsipras, Karamanlis was a "distinguished personality of modern Greece" and also reminded of a reference by late Communist Party of Greece secretary general Harilaos Florakis who had termed Karamanlis as an "important leader of his class".

    Tsipras said that Karamanlis was the politician who "achieved a rare political and personal surpassing".

    "He succeeded in overcoming the asphyxiating limits that the civil war and the foreign protectors had imposed on both the country and his party. The status of the separation of the Greeks into nationalists and not. The practices of prosecutions, police unaccountability and the state of siege that characterised Greece until 1974. Heightening of course, with the seven-year dictatorship," the main opposition leader said.

    The SYRIZA leader fully separated Karamanlis's activity before the dictatorship and the way with which he ruled the country in the first years of the post-junta era. He analysed the surpassing he did from the Left's point of view. Tsipras said that this surpassing, of great importance for democracy and the country, constituted a brave option since he was the leader who emerged in that post-cil war political, social and democratic half-light. "All political forces, we must safeguard this surpassing and not forget that he was the same person who was over a series of years the strong person of an authoritarian regime, that had been built in international and internal conditions that we all know," he said.

    As regards the post-junta era Karamanlis, Tsipras said that he pursued and succeeded in widening the limits of his party. He listened to the new democratic needs and mainly the historical need for a stable democratic legality to be built in the country that will protect elementary rights, restrict political separations to a minimum and secure the smooth alternation in power.

    From this point of view, he added, Karamanlis "did not only contribute decisively for the practices and ideas of other eras to be overcome, which he had also served and indeed in a protagonist way. But he surpassed, in a sense, his very self, and this is, I believe, what renders his personality distinguished, even for his opponents."

    [03] Messages on Chavez death, SYRIZA leader to attend funeral

    AMNA/The PASOK and Democratic Left (DIMAR) parties on Wednesday issued messages of condolences over the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

    PASOK stressed that "in his country's difficult course towards democratisation, economic growth and social progress, the contribution of Hugo Chavez was catalytical," adding that "it is a pity that his premature death came shortly after his triumphant re-election".

    In its message of condolences to the people of Venezuela, the Democratic Left stresses that Chavez attempted in his own way and with his particular characteristics to handle poverty and social inequalities in his country. It also expresses the wish "for Venezuela even after his death to continue and confirm its direction as a modern pluralistic country based on the principles of social justice and democracy".

    Messages were issued earlier Wednesday by main opposion SYRIZA and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

    Meanwhile, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras,also in his capacity of vice president of the European Left Party grouping in the European Parliament, will leave for Venezuela on Thursday morning, heading a SYRIZA delegation, to attend the funeral of Hugo Chavez.

    According to a relevant announcement by SYRIZA, the party's delegation will participate in the historical leader's farewell ceremony that will be held at the capital's Military Academy, together with tens of heads of state and representatives of parties from all over the world.

    [04] Athens Newspaper Headlines on Thursday

    AMNA/ The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Tsipras (main opposition SYRIZA leader) clash with Samaras (prime minister) over country's course)"

    DIMOKRATIA: "The Reich's party in Kolonaki - Frau Merkel's (German Chancellor) and the lenders' 'attaché' Herr Reichenbach (European Commission Task Force for Greece chief ) celebrated his 68th birthday as a 'bon viveur' at bistro in 'cosmopolitan' Kolonaki".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Let's open up the ovens - Shock over Golden Dawn (ultra-right Chryssi Avghi party) candidate MP in documentary: The migrants could become soap and their skin could be used for lamp shades...".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Package arrangement for taxes, (social security) contributions".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Massacre of ministers at the feet of the civil servants in breach of their duty".

    ELLADA: "The secret charm of Karamanliism".

    ESTIA: "Myths and truths about the taxation".

    ETHNOS: "Retirement with 25 years of work for 250,000 public sector workers".

    IMERISSIA: "Disagreement with the Troika".

    KATHIMERINI: "Three 'no', one 'yes' and one 'perhaps'."

    KERDOS: "The 2.8 billion euro tranche stumbles on layoffs".

    LOGOS: "Troika: everything here and now".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Proceed with the layoffs immediately in order to get the tranche".

    NIKI: "Loans: 7 options that take you out of the tunnel".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Troika insists on salary reductions, layoffs and abolition of tenure in public sector".

    TA NEA: They (Troika) say 'no' to tax reductions and insist on layoffs".

    VRADYNI: "Loans: The arrangement (for settlement in installments) up in the air".

    [05] Troika reservations on plan for indebted households

    AMNA/ A troika delegation expressed serious reservations on Wednesday over a government plan to ease the burden of over-indebted households, saying that the plan was generous and jeopardised the capital adequacy of Greek banks.

    The troika expressed its reservations during a meeting with Development ministry's political leadership. The ministry hopes it can overcome the troika's reservations during a new five-party meeting, scheduled for the next few days, which will bring together the troika, the Bank of Greece, Hellenic Bank Association and the Finance and Development ministries.

    "Every cost calculation is currently unjustified and the two sides want to offer the biggest possible support to private debtors who are facing problems in servicing their debts, without however causing any problems in the stability of the system," Athanasios Skordas, Development Deputy Minister told reporters after the meeting.

    Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said there was no talk over house foreclosures during the meeting.

    The meeting also focused on the issue of setting up an Investment Fund in Greece. The ministry presented a survey conducted by Oliver Winnman –an international firm- which supported the creation of the Fund saying it could offer added value by covering –up to a point- a lack of liquidity in the banking system. Hatzidakis said no final decisions over the structure of the fund have been taken, although the plan envisages that the private sector will be major shareholder in the fund which will have a high-level management. He said he was "cautiously optimistic" over the course of negotiations and added that the fund could offer liquidity in large infrastructure projects.

    [06] Alexandroupolis-St. Petersburg flights to begin May 31

    AMNA/ A new itinerary of Aegean Airlines linking the northern city of Alexandroupolis with St. Petersburg, Russia, to be inaugurated on May 31 was the main agenda topic Wednesday between prefecture officials and the airlines.

    The meeting looked at how best to prepare prefecture and tourism agencies and services for tourist arrivals.

    "There will be more charter flights from other areas to our prefecture," vice-prefect Giorgos Geromarkos said, "that is why we are trying to improve results...There is optimism that organised tours will arrive from St. Petersburg, as data so far is encouraging."

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