|Friday, 1 March 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-05-04
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH
(THE VOICE OF GREECE - Translators Dpt.)
 Greece enters in Euro zoneThe European Commission and the European Central Bank have recommended Greece's entry in the Eurozone through their reports. Greece's European partners have thus recognised the progress of the Greek economy.
The European Commissioner Pedro Solbes announced officially that Greece has fulfilled all 5 criteria provided by the Maastricht Treaty and will therefore be the 12th member of the Euro family as of January 1st, 2001.
Immediately after, the Greek government expressed, through the national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou and the Greek government spokesman, its satisfaction at the evaluation reports on the country's economy, which are also suggesting speedier steps in structural changes, pointing out that a new era begins for Greece.
The national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou described the day as historical and pledged that the government's policy statements regarding the era after the country's entry in EMU for utility bills with lower rates, salary increases and creation of new jobs would be applied. Mr Papantoniou stressed that the reports were much more positive than the ones that had been drawn up for the first 11 countries of the Euro zone on May 2nd, 1998.
The opposition New Democracy party issued an announcement expressing satisfaction at the two reports, pointing out that the government should now change tactics and steps.
The Greek communist party said that the workers would be the ones to shoulder the burdens for Greece's admission to the Euro zone, while the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress pointed out that the country's entry in the Euro zone could have been achieved earlier with less social cost.
 Health problem for President CleridesAll the scheduled official contacts of the Cypriot president Glafkos Kliridis, as well as his trip to Athens have been postponed, as he will undergo an operation tomorrow to remove a polypus from the intestines.
Meanwhile, it appears that the third round of proximity talks on Cyprus will also be put off due to the Cypriot president's illness.
The United nations secretary general's special advisor for Cyprus has also postponed for an indefinite period of time his trip to Athens, Nicosia and Ankara, which had been scheduled for next week.
 Papandreou-Cem-Albright in New YorkThe Greek foreign minister George Papandreou visits Boston, after his official contacts in New York. The Greek foreign minister's talks in New York with his American and Turkish counterparts, Madeleine Albright and Ismail Cem, focused on the course of Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and the confidence building measures in the Aegean.
The American secretary of state Madeleine Albright stated that the settlement of the Cyprus issue was one of the priorities of the American foreign policy, while Mr Papandreou stressed that eventual progress in the Cyprus problem would have a positive impact in Greek-Turkish relations.
The Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem said that Turkey would work to that end. However, the Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit stated that there was no hopeful step for dialogue on the issues of the Aegean on the part of Greece, but expressed satisfaction at the good climate prevailing in the relations of Athens and Ankara.
Mr Ecevit also said that the Cyprus issue should be examined independently of the Aegean problem. Meanwhile, the Greek foreign minister spoke at the East-West Institute's conference on the subject of "An Integral Free Europe in Peace - The Future of Southeastern Europe", and underlined Greece's significant contribution to stability, security and peace in the Balkans, as well as the importance of economic development and cooperation.
Mr Papandreou added that the rapprochement between Greece and Turkey was the guarantee for investments in the Balkans. Addressing the conference, the American secretary of state Madeleine Albright called on individual investors to support the efforts of Washington and Europe with the aim of bringing back stability in the Balkans through economic growth.
 Plans and meetings for 2004 Olympic GamesThe Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis today will meet with the Sports undersecretary George Floridis to discuss the speeding up of the works for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Mr Simitis had a meeting on the same issue with the environment minister Kostas Laliotis. Meanwhile, the culture minister Theodoros Pangalos is in Brussels and will meet with the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rog, while Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos will meet with the IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch.