|Monday, 18 February 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-12-06
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
6/12/2000 2:43:24 μμ
 EU Summit Meeting begins in Nice , France todayThe 6-month term of the EU, French Presidenship condludes with the summit meeting which begins today in Nice , France. The revision of the Maastricht Treaty and the EU's enlargement are the main issues to be discussed at the summit
In reference to the EU's enlargement ,the French Presidenship has announced that procedures for the conclusion of negotiations with candidate countries would be sped up .
Prime minister Kostas Simitis yesterday chaired a meeting of the political leadership of the foreign ministry in view of the EU Summit meeting.
Following the meeting , Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed that institutional reforms would be the main subject of talks at the Summit meeting in Nice and underlined that Greece'saim was to achieve a strong position and maintain a strong voice within the frame of the new institutions .
On her part , Deputy Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi referring to the issue of the composition of the European Commission stressed that Greece was in favour of one commissioner per country, while regarding the issue of the redistribution of votes on decision making, she proposed double majority, based on the majority of population and the majority of states .
 EU-Turkey partnership agreement text ,a positive step for theupgrading of Greek-Turkish relations
Yesterday morning, Prime- minister Kostas Simitis briefed the President of the Republic, Konstantinos Stefanopoulos regarding the text on the EU- Turkey partnership agreement.
In his statements after the meeting , Mr. Simitis stressed that the content of the text was a positive move and a step forward from the Helsinsky treaty for the upgrading of Greek- Turkish relations. Mr.Simitis also stressed that Ankara should make every effort to resolve the long-standing Cyprus dispute and to overcome its differences with other countries, while Government Sposkesman Dimitris Reppas and Foreign Minister George Papandreou made similar statements.
On the contrary, the New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis stated that the 15 EU member states text further weakened the already insufficient and unclear terms of the Helsinski treaty, while the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress spoke of vagueness and ambiguity in the relative text.
Nevertheless, the Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulidis appeared satisfied over the relative document and stated that the EU Foreign Minister's decision reflected the decisons at the Helsinki summit .
On his part , Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem described the EU-Turkey partnership text as very important regarding transitional procedures for Turkey's admssion to the EU.
 Royal dinner at London's British Museum Hall housing theParthenon Marbles
Greece's ambassador to Britain Alexandros Sandis, said yesterday, he will boycott a Royal dinner at London's British Museum this week, because guests have been invited to dine in a gallery housing the disputed Elgin marbles.
Alexandros Sandis said the decision to use the marbles, removed from Athens 200 years ago, as a backdrop for the dinner today was insensitive and risky.
Known as the Parthenon marbles in Greece, the sculptures - Alexandros Sandis said - were a symbol of the birth of Western civilisation. The Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos commented on the British provocative act, stressing that the sculptures were not decorative elements, but objects of respect.
Greece has long demanded the return of the marble sculptures, saying Britain's 19th century ambassador Lord Elgin illegally hacked the 2,500 year-old friezes from the Parthenon after bribing ruling Ottoman officials.
The British Museum refuses to give them back, claiming that Lord Elgin had legitimate papers and that the museum had saved the marbles from the ravages that have damaged other monuments on the Acropolis.
 Annual meeting of the Greek-American Chamber of CommerceAddressing the 11th annual conference of the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce, Prime- minister Kostas Simitis stressed that Greece had a long-term and ambitious strategy which could not be influenced by circumstancial factors .
Mr.Simitis expressed optimism and certainty over the fast economic growth of the country while he launched a strong -worded attack against those who criticised the govement's economic policy .
In parallel ,he committed himself to materialise the program regarding structural changes ,underlining that we should stop judging economic development based on a gambling mentality .
The developmental course of the Greek economy and the promotion of structural changes were the focus of yesterday's meeting of the inner cabinet .
 Significant reductions in fuel pricesThe Ministry of Development will today announce significant reductions in fuel prices.
According to information, super and unleaded gasoline will go down by 8 to 10 drachmas per litre, heating-oil by 8 drachmas and diesel oil by 9 drachmas per liter.
 Mad cow diseaseThe EU Agriculture Ministers will most probably decide on the permanent ban of ground up cattle carcasses to stop the mad cow disease from spreading, as the European Commissioner responsible for Agricultural matters Franz Fishler announced in Paris yesterday.
In a press conference, Mr. Fishler pointed out that the temporary ban the EU Agriculture Ministers decided yesterday will have numerous repercussions and for this reason the issue must be carefully examined. The relative ban will be in force for 6-months as of January 1st, 2001
 Exhibition '' Thrace 2000- 80 years of its incorporation to Greece ''" Thrace -2000 - 80 years of its incorporation to Greece " is the title of the exhibition inagurated yesterday by the President of the Republic,Kostis Stefanopoulos at the Eleftherios Venizelos Hall ,in the Greek Parliament .
The exhibition is included in the program of activities and events organised by the Parliament after a proposal by the Speaker of the House Apostolos Kaklamanis to mark the 80th anniversary since Thrace's incorporation to Greece
 The parliament plenum debates draftbill on labour relationsThe plenum of the parliament began the debate on the draftbill on employment and labour relations .
The speakers of the ruling Pasok party stressed that several reforms were necessary for the adjustment of businesses operation to new conditions, without however affecting the substance of labour relations.
Opposition parties criticised the draftbill from different point of views.
 Trams in Athens by the end of 2003Trams will return to the streets of Athens at the end of 2003, as the first stage of a major project to upgrade the city of Athens and its public means of transport .
The first two lines will link Zappion with Neo Phaliro and Glyfada suburbs via Sygrou Avenue.
The Athens tram, in its modernized form - as officially presented by Transport Minister Christos Verelis yesterday - is considered to be a vital factor, along with the Athens Metro, in reducing pollution and traffic and facilitating movement of the capital's residents and visitors of the 2004 Olympic Games.
 Athens stock exchangeOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index had a slight drop of 0,28% on Tuesday to close at 3,531.07 points.
 Weather forecastA cloudy day is forecast for Attica, with occasional showers, moderate-to-strong northern winds and a maximum temperature of 16 degrees centigrade.
Local cloudy patches are expected in Thessaloniki, where the top temperature will reach 14 degrees centigrade.