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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-09-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Antiracism bill moves on in Parliament amid controversy
  • [02] Main opposition SYRIZA leader meets with SEV federation

  • [01] Antiracism bill moves on in Parliament amid controversy

    ANA-MPA - The antiracism bill introduced by the Justice ministry was passed in principle on Tuesday during the Parliament's third summer session.

    Discussion on the bill will continue to Friday, when it is expected it will be voted per article.

    Voting for it were the two coalition partners - New Democracy (ND) and PASOK - and the opposition Democratic Left (DIMAR). Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) reserved judgment, while voting against it were Independent Greeks (ANEL), Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi), the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Independent Democratic Deputies.

    Justice Minister Charalambos Athanasiou rejected amendments by PASOK, SYRIZA and DIMAR calling for the expansion of the cohabitation agreement to homosexual couples, claiming it is a very complex and serious issue that needs further deliberation, because of its "multiple parameters, including insurance, social, religious and political issues." He said such an issue must be included in civil and family law instead of coming to Parliament under a clause in the antiracism bill.

    PASOK had promoted the amendment, signed by 17 party deputies, as a rider to the bill, saying through its parliamentary group's secretary, Panagiotis Rigas, that "the State and the Greek society must move ahead and recognise the cohabitation agreement of homosexual couples."

    ND deputy Giorgos Konstantopoulos said in support that the amendment was moving in the right direction. "Children of homosexual couples are not invisible and we cannot be accepting the benefits of the West a la carte," he pointed out.

    Also creating controversy was article 2 in the bill, which criminalises intentional denial of war crimes and genocides. (Parliament has already recognised the genocides of the Pontian Greeks, the Armenians and the Christian minorities of Asia Minor.) The minister introduced improvements in the clause, but opposition parties rejected them.

    In its argument, SYRIZA charged the government with criminalising opposing historical views, while president of KKE's parliamentary group Aleka Papariga said, "We are totally opposed. No such regulation can be included in the bill. For us, it is casus belli."

    DIMAR deputy Maria Repoussi said that "such regulations lead to dangerous paths and are not the least bit effective."

    In his defense of the article, the minister stressed that the government's intent was to modernise the legislation and bring it up to part with international and European standards.

    [File photo of Justice Minister Charalambos Athanasiou]

    [02] Main opposition SYRIZA leader meets with SEV federation

    ANA-MPA - The public and private sectors can both help in domestic job openings and in the economy's revival, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said during a meeting with the leadership of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) on Tuesday.

    The party's strategy for exiting the crisis, he said, included the restoration of labour laws and the minimum living wage, the redistribution of income towards more sensitive segments of society and the resolution of the issue of banks' "red loans" to lighten the debt of households and businesses.

    Greece's economy is at a critical point, he said, as the four-year implementation of memorandums in Greece has destroyed society and suppressed the real economy; there can be no growth when the country's public debt hovers at 175% of the GDP, with 10 billion euros a year being used to pay off interest rates while the annual primary surpluses are set at 4.5% of the GDP, per memorandum obligations.

    SEV's chairman, Theodore Fessas, stressed the need for a national growth plan of wide acceptance focusin on five issues - funding the economy in tandem with managing the "red" loans; taxation policy; industrial policy; strengthening work opportunities through social dialogue; and energy policy.

    [In photo, Tsipras (L) with Fessas (R, foreground, in gray suit)]


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