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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-12-06

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tsipras: Greek-Turkish cooperation must be based on international law
  • [02] Clashes in Athens following Grigoropoulos protest marches
  • [03] Greece's pension system heading toward sustainability, Vroutsis informs MPs in budget debate

  • [01] Tsipras: Greek-Turkish cooperation must be based on international law

    ANA-MPA -- Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras held talks with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday, in a meeting held at Athens airport. During this he stressed that meaningful cooperation between the two countries must be based on respect for international law and "the prospect of a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus issue based on UN resolutions", while it cannot be based on provocations and "faits accomplis".

    "I stressed that sending a Turkish survey vessel, escorted by Navy ships, in order to conduct seismic surveys in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone and continental shelf, undermined this prospect since it constitutes a violation of the Cyprus Republic's sovereign rights," Tsipras said in statements after the meeting.

    "I underlined that the exploitation by the Cyprus Republic of its undersea mineral wealth is particularly important for the future of Cyprus since, as the Cyprus state leadership has made clear over the years, the benefits will be distributed fairly to the two communities by the Cyprus Republic, following a solution of the Cyprus issue.

    SYRIZA's leader said he had expressed grave reservations about holding the third Greece-Turkey High Level Cooperation Council meeting during the present phase of the crisis in Cyprus, noting that it was an "important forum for promoting cooperation on issues of low policy but not in the framework of talks to discuss developments on the island or the Cyprus issue, for which talks are taking place between on the level of the two communities under UN auspices."

    Regarding relations between Greece and Turkey in general, Tsipras said that diplomatic channels with Turkey must remain open and be based on direct and sincere contacts, especially in crucial times such as the present.

    "In this context, I underlined that SYRIZA strong supports enhancing cooperation with Turkey in a series of areas, for the benefit of the people of the two countries and for peace and stability in the region," he said.

    [02] Clashes in Athens following Grigoropoulos protest marches

    ANA-MPA -- Violence escalated in central Athens late on Saturday, in the wake of protest marches held to commemorate the shooting of teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos by a policeman six years ago. Groups of protestors that broke off from the main body of a march on Panepistimiou street made their way towards the Exarchia district, where Grigoropoulos was killed six years earlier on December 6, 2008, where they set fires, threw petrol bombs and engaged in 'guerrilla warfare' tactics with riot police.

    At least 20 people were detained for the incidents taking place in the city centre, while tensions remained high in Exarchia and a car was reported torched on Benaki street.

    The violence broke out during a second large march in memory of Grigoropoulos that was held in Athens, following a largely peaceful march by students and school children earlier in the day. Thousands of demonstrators set off from the area in front of Athens University, initially planning to reach Syntagma Square, but most turned back to the rallying point after clashes broke out between Panepistimiou and Stadiou Streets, before the marched reached the square.

    Tension between protestors and police erupted near Mitropoleos Street, where police used stun grenades, and on Panepistimiou at the intersection with Voukourestiou Street, where groups of protestors attacked police with stones and were again fended off with stun grenades and tear gas. Other groups set fire to dumpsters, broke shop windows, smashed marble stonework on buildings and vandalised bus stops and phone booths.

    Protest marches for Grigoropoulos in Thessaloniki, Patras and other Greek cities were also marred by violence, with at least five people detained in Thessaloniki and seven in Patras following clashes with police.

    In Thessaloniki, groups of protestors damaged shop windows and surveillance cameras at bank branches along Tsimiski road, overturned dumpsters, daubed paint on banks and threw stones and pieces of marble at police, who replied with stun grenades.

    One protestors threw a flare through a shop window, starting a fire that was extinguished before anyone was injured.

    Violent incidents were also reported during a demonstration for Grigoropoulos in the port city of Patras, where hooded individuals threw a petrol bomb at the Courthouse and seven people were detained in ensuing scuffles with police, who responded with stun grenades.

    Minor skirmishes between police and protesting youths were also reported in the western Greek city of Agrinio, during a rally in memory of Grigoropoulos and in support of Romanos, as well as in the city of Ioannina.

    [03] Greece's pension system heading toward sustainability, Vroutsis informs MPs in budget debate

    ANA-MPA -- Addressing Parliament during the debate on the 2015 draft budget on Saturday, Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis presented encouraging figures relating to the sustainability of Greece's state insurance system, based on the findings of studies conducted by the National Actuarial Authority that are close to the final stage of completion.

    In his speech, Vroutsis said the actuarial studies and projections until 2060 showed that Greece's state insurance system no longer needed structural reforms and was heading toward an "environment of sustainability," even based on the most conservative demographic and macroeconomic assumptions and with full adherence to EU methodology and rules.

    In addition, Greece appeared to be achieving one of its main commitments under 2010 laws, which stipulated that spending until 2060 should not exceed 2.5 percentage points of GDP with 2009 as reference year, he added.

    The labour minister said these results were an importance achievement but noted that maintaining them in the long-term meant that the state insurance system must "stay away" from politics and that any injustices, distortions or inequality are corrected promptly when they appear in the future.

    He said that the country's pension system was passing into a new era "provided it is never again undermined by irresponsible political decisions and behaviours."

    Vroutsis went on to list the hundreds of millions saved through changes and cross-checks carried out by the government to uncover illegal pensions, which he said had cost five billion euros over the last 15 years. He also referred to cases of pensioners with "provocatively" early retirement ages, saying these would be dealt with gradually and with exceptions made for cases truly needing special treatment, such as people with disabilities.

    Regarding planned changes to laws governing trade unions, he stressed that these would not affect the "core and principles of this important legislative arsenal" but seek to strengthen both trade union freedoms and the unobstructed growth of health entrepreneurship.


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