|Monday, 26 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-11-02
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN EGLISH ERA-5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
2/11/2000 9:56:41 рм
 2001 state budget tabled in ParliamentPresenting the 2001 state budget in Parliament last night, National Economy minister Yannos Papantoniou said Greece was now turning a page and was entering in an era of strong development, low inflation and substantial social policy.
The new state budget - the first one in euro and in surplus - provides for tax exemptions and boosting revenues by 450 billion drs. The basic goal of the new budget is to develop a further surplus, and further decrease the public debt as a percentage of the Gross National Product (GNP), also boost the social aspect of the economic policy through tax cuts for low and medium incomes and increase the funds meant for education, health and employment.
Prime minister Kostas Simitis described the new state budget as historic and as the "beginning of a new era", because it is in surplus for the first time ever, and because it provides for a 5% growth rate, 2.3% inflation and 3.5% productivity, while civil servants will get 5% raises with all the allowances, while pensions will increase by 6.5%.
The heating allowance to low-income earners and pensioners, and also to unemployed for a long period of time will range from 30 to 50 thousand drs per region and will be paid in two instalments, Christmas and February.
Meanwhile, New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis said the government's economic policy affected all social groups, adding that it handed out peanuts at a time unemployment had risen greatly, while the Greek communist party and the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress party talked about anti-popular policy and continuation of unilateral sacrifices for the low income earners.
 Yilmaz arrives in Athens todayThe deputy Premier of the Turkish government Mesut Yilmaz arrives in Athens today to attend a Greek-Turkish meeting of businessmen and will have meetings with the Greek president Konstantinos Stefanopoulos and Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.
 Papandreou-Cook discussions on Cyprus issueGreek Foreign minister George Papandreou yesterday met his British counterpart Robin Cook and discussed developments in the Cyprus issue in view of the 5th round of proximity talks that started in Geneva yesterday, developments in Yugoslavia, the relations between the EU and Turkey and also the cooperation between Greece and Britain to combat terrorism.
After the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated that his British counterpart underlined the need for substantive progress at the talks on Cyprus. Mr Papandreou also pointed out that Greece and Britain would cooperate to consolidate democracy in Yugoslavia and resolve fast the energy problem Serbia was facing.
The British Foreign secretary congratulated Mr Papandreou on the patience and courage he showed during the dialogue with Turkey. Mr Cook then spoke in detail about the two countries' cooperation in investigations carried out for the assassination of Steven Saunders, appealing at the same time to any one knowing anything about the case to come forth and testify.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Mr Cook expressed hopes for substantial progress in the Geneva proximity talks and assessed that the EU would be able to receive soon a unified and undivided Cyprus.
To a question, whether Turkey's membership course to the EU was associated with the efforts it would make for a Cyprus settlement, Mr Cook refused to take a stand.
Nevertheless, the British Foreign secretary ascertained progress in the efforts to ease tension in the Aegean and pointed out that the text of the Helsinki EU summit meeting should be imprinted to the EU's partnership relation with Turkey.
 Cyprus proximity talksThe 5th round of proximity talks on the Cyprus issue began in Geneva yesterday.
The Unite Nations intend to insist patiently to the method of constructive involvement in the main aspects of the Cyprus issue, stated the UN Secretary General's special representative Alvaro de Soto shortly before the opening of the talks.
At the same time, Mr de Soto warned that one should not expect spectacular results in the near future, stressing that the stands of the Greek-Cypriots and the Turkish-Cypriots were too far apart on the main issues of the problem.
Meanwhile, the Cypriot president Galfkos Kleridis had a working luncheon with the British envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hanney in Geneva yesterday. Upon arrival at the hotel where the Cypriot delegation is staying, Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kassoulidis said the Greek-Cypriot side goes to the with all due responsibility and expectation, stressing that its goal is to seek a solution to the Cyprus issue.
A UN spokesman in Brussels said the UN secretary general Kofi Annan will not attend the opening of the talks, due to his obligations in the Middle East peace process, but will probably be in Brussels next week. Papandreou-Cem to begin dialogue on Confidence building measures The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers, George Papandreou and Ismail Cem, yesterday agreed in Budapest to start a dialogue on the Confidence Building Measures next week, in the framework of NATO.
The measures of military nature will be discussed first, followed by dialogue on bilateral level.
 Greek Foreign policyReplying in Parliament to a question raised by New Democracy party deputy Dora Bakoyanni who noted that the lack of coordination in the foreign policy allowed Turkey to consolidate step by step new claims, Prime minister Kostas Simitis said that the government's policy on Greek-Turkish issues was a single one and aimed at defending Greece's national and sovereign rights.
The secrecy on the context of the confidence building measures agreed upon between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers and the fact that some of them will be discussed at Nato, are causing concern, pointed out the Coalition of the Left wing and progress party.
 Special event at Old Parliament for Venizelos' bookSpeaking at a special event held at the Old Parliament on the occasion of his new book entitled "The relations between the State and the Church", Pasok deputy Evangelos Venizelos attempted to bridge the differences between the state and the Church of Greece.
Analysing the stands he formulated in his book, Mr Venizelos explained that there were preconditions to settle the issue of the disturbed relations between the two sides, following the controversial issue of the religious affiliation on the new state-issued identity cards.
 Judicial employees hold strikesJudges held a rally outside the courts in protest against unresolved problems in their field and adjourned hearings for one hour today.
The federation of judicial employees of Greece announced a strike planned for November 9 and 10. Meanwhile, people working in the local administration organisations will hold a 4-hour work stoppage starting at 11 am today.
Sundagma-Dafni line of Metro inaugurated today Public Works minister Kostas Laliotis will inaugurate today the extention of line 2 of the Attiko metro, from Syndagma to Dafni.
 2004 Olympics to be covered by ERT and OTEThe consortium, in which ERT and OTE-Greek radio and Television and Greek Telecommunications Organisation are participating -were chosen to cover the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.