|Sunday, 3 December 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-12-07
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 EU FOREIGN MINISTERS END MEETING IN BRUSSELSThe meeting of the 15 European Union foreign ministers ended in Brussels yesterday without issuing a common decision on Turkey's candidacy to the EU. Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou left open the possibility of a Greek veto on the matter at the Helsinki summit, if Greece's European partners did not pledge to deal with pending issues in Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus question.
Nevertheless, Mr Papandreou clarified that negotiations would continue till the last moment. Meanwhile Washington is in favour of Turkey's EU candidacy and also supports Cyprus' entry procedure. For his part, Turkish president Suleyman Demirel has warned that Greece's vetoing of the Turkish candidacy at the Helsinki summit would mean that tension would return in Greek-Turkish relations.
EU commissioner for foreign affairs Chris Patten has told the German magazine "Der Spiegel" that many political changes are needed in Turkey before admission negotiations can start. He also estimated that Ankara would never be able to become a full member of the EU, because 63 million Turks would jeopardize the Union's balance.
 GREECE CONTINUES CONTACTS WITH EUROPEAN PARTNERSIn view of the upcoming Helsinki summit on 10 and 11 December which will focus on EU enlargement, Greece is continuing its contacts with European partners and the Greek government is holding deliberations on the issue.
On Wednesday, the inner cabinet will meet to discuss the Greek stand at the Helsinki EU summit. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas has said that Greece's European partners appear to have reacted favourably to the Greek stands on Turkey's EU candidacy and he called on Turkey again to make some positive moves. Referring to the Cyprus proximity talks in New York between Cypriot president Glafkos Kliridis and Turkish Cypriot representative Rauf Denktash, Mr Reppas said it was a positive thing that UN secretary general Kofi Annan had dismissed demands by Mr Denktash for recognition of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot state and for a confederation on the island. Mr Reppas reiterated that the talks should touch upon the substance of the Cyprus issue.
 WORLD COUNCIL OF HELLENES ABROAD MEETS IN THESSALONIKIRepresentatives from Greek communities around the world have gathered in Thessaloniki to attend the third assembly of the World Council of Hellenes abroad which is looking into closer ties between Greeks abroad and the homeland and substantive cooperation. The session was officially declared open yesterday by president of the Greek republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos of Constaninople and prime minister Kostas Simitis.
Addressing the opening session, Mr Simitis referred to the fact that Hellenism has spread to the four corners of the world and to the difficult times Greeks abroad went through in the first years of emigration. He stressed however that expatriate Greeks managed to prosper and adapt to local societies, keeping alive the conscience of their origins. The Greek prime minister also said that the state recognised the contribution and support of Greeks abroad to the promotion of Greek foreign policy issues.
Finally, foreign undersecretary responsible for matters of Greeks abroad Grigoris Niotis said in a press conference that winning over the most active group of Greeks living abroad, forging permanent relations of cooperation among businessmen and setting up a coordinating body were the goals of the Forum of Greek businessmen living abroad.
 PUPILS POISED TO CONTINUE PROTEST ACTIONGreek pupils and students yesterday decided to continue sit- in protests in schools, despite the government's decision to issue a legislative act authorising public prosecutors to press charges against all persons forcibly occupying school buildings.
Speaking in Thessaloniki, prime minister Kostas Simitis said that the sector of education was a place for dialogue to resolve problems and not a place for confrontation. He added that whoever persisted in creating problems in that sector was doing so because of the forthcoming elections. Education minister Gerassimos Arsenis said that the Greek Communist party was instigating the students' protest action. According to data collected by the High-school Teachers Federation, the number of schools under occupation nationwide stands at 150, while the education ministry has set the number at 100.
The Athens prosecutor's office has said that out of 120 schools in the region of Attica only 25 are under occupation. Today, the Teachers Federation is expected to see justice minister Evangelos Yannopoulos and call for the freezing of the controversial legislative act. Yesterday, two parents, members of the parents' association of a school in Kallithea, Athens, were arrested after the school principal accused them of preventing her from entering the premises.
 INFLATION SLIGHTLY UP IN NOVEMBERWith an imminent reduction in interest rates by the Bank of Greece and much speculation concerning the actual amount of the decrease, and a slight rise in inflation, the Greek economy is slowly but surely heading towards European economic and monetary union. Today it will be announced that the inflation rate rose from 2.5 to 2.6% in November 1999 and the monetary council is scheduled to meet to discuss interbanking interest rates. In the meantime, the general share price index on the Athens stock exchange continued dropping on Monday by 1.28% to close at 5,489 points.
 GREEK AUSTRALIAN TENNIS PLAYER HERO OF THE DAYTennis-player Mark Filippousis is the personality of the day in all Australian mass media. The famous athlete, who is proud of his Greek descent, is the new hero of the Australians who are very keen on sports.