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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-03-07

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Labour Minister's meeting with the troika ends
  • [02] German President's apology to Ligiades: 'What happened here was a brutal injustice'
  • [03] Sale of 67 pct stake in Piraeus port serves public interest, shipping minister says

  • [01] Labour Minister's meeting with the troika ends

    ANA-MPA - A meeting between Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis and the troika of Greece's lenders ended in Athens, without further information about an agreement being reached between the two sides.

    Vroutsis had met on Thursday with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. According to Labour ministry sources on Thursday, they examined the two issues under negotiation - mass layoffs in the public sector and the process of applying the reduction of the non-wage-related cost by 3.9 percentage points starting this coming summer.

    The source expressed optimism that negotiations between the troika and Labour ministry will be concluded shortly and that they will reach agreement on outstanding issues.

    [02] German President's apology to Ligiades: 'What happened here was a brutal injustice'

    ANA-MPA - Arriving in the village of Ligiades in northwestern Greece on Friday, visiting German President Joachim Gauck expressed his country's formal apology for the atrocities suffered by villagers at the hands of German troops, during the Nazi occupation of WWII.

    "I wish to express what the culprits but also those politically responsible over the years in the post-war period did not want to or could not say: that what happened here was a brutal injustice. With a sense of shame and anguish, I want to say sorry to the families of those who were murdered," he said.

    Earlier, the German president had laid a wreath at a monument for the fallen, who were killed in a mass execution carried out by the Nazi regime on October 3, 1943.

    During his speech, Gauck declared himself shocked at the "robberies, terrorist actions and murders committed by a country that had become a ruthless dictatorship".

    "I bow before the victims of the horrific crimes that were committed here and in so many other places in Greece," he said. Gauck noted that such places made him feel a "double shame", both that people raised within German culture had become murderers but also because democratic Germany, from the moment that it started to gradually process its past with a critical eye, had learned so little from its guilt concerning the Greeks.

    "I so wish that those who at that time gave orders or obeyed orders had long ago said 'I ask forgiveness' or 'I repent' or 'I am very sorry for the fact that I obeyed criminal orders'. These are phrases that have not been said, it is this incomplete knowledge that establishes a second guilt, since it excludes the victims from memory," he noted.

    Gauck then praised Greek President Karolos Papoulias for his part in effecting a reconciliation through the visit to Ligiades, thanking Papoulias for having accompanied him there.

    "Today, I am deeply indebted to you. The fact that we can face the past together is for me one of the great things that arise from reconciliation. You have show, Mr. President, that reconciliation is still possible even when grief runs deep ...For you have personally committed yourself for this reconciliation, essentially you are this reconciliation," he said.

    Ending his speech, Gauck said: "The terrifying events, whose victims we honour here today, impose on us an obligation: that these crimes should not be forgotten."

    The visit was also attended by a delegation of the National Council for the Claim of German Debts, which unfurled a banner reading 'Justice and Compensation' in Greek, English and German.

    Before leaving, the German president signed the visitors' book, writing the message "I bow to the victims of the horrific crime. Respect and protect human life and rights".

    [03] Sale of 67 pct stake in Piraeus port serves public interest, shipping minister says

    ANA-MPA - The decision to sell 67 percent of the Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) fully serves the public interest and will prove one of the most successful privatisations, Shipping Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told Parliament on Friday.

    Democratic Left (DIMAR) deputy Maria Repoussi had earlier tabled a current question in Parliament, expressing her opposition to the replacement of "the model of concession of services and commercial activities" with the sale of a majority stake in OLP.

    "Our decision to sell 67 percent of OLP, instead of proceeding with an additional concession of services, has to do with protecting jobs," Varvitsiotis said, adding that "by taking advantage of the 67 percent stake, we hold in place all existing labour relations and contracts." The concession of services and activities would have entailed layoffs, he noted.

    Regarding the regulatory role, Varvitsiotis underlined the government is proceeding with an agreement with the troika and the Task Force to gain European knowhow and expertise in the setting up a ports' authority.

    Ownership of the property remains with the Greek state and OLP is manager of this property until 2025. The government's decision is fully compatible with the European model, Varvitsiotis said.


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