|Friday, 15 February 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-12-11
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
11/12/2000 10:04:24 ðì
 EU agreement reached in NiceThe European Union summit held in Nice France ended at 5:30am local time with an agreement among the participants after hard negotiations.
According to Prime minister Costas Simitis' statements the agreement will boost development, peace and cooperation in Europe and will additionally strengthen Greece's position.
As Mr. Simitis said Greece would benefit from the way the decisions would be taken by the expanded European Union. However, he pointed out that it might complicate the functioning of the European Union in the future and create inequalities.
According to this proposal, which subtracts votes from the big countries in favour of the smaller ones, Greece would have 12 votes at its disposal, instead of 10 which were provided for initially.
In the meantime, the issue of seats' distribution at the European Council seems to have been resolved, with Greece having 22 seats, instead of 19 which were provided for by the first proposal.
For a decision to be hampered, the votes of at least three large and a medium sized countries are required, Mr. Simitis stressed.
 Statements of French leaders on the agreement in NiceIn a Press conference a while ago, French President Zacques Chirac stated that the summit meeting in Nice was "a great conference". Accompanied by Prime minister Lionel Zospen and the President of the European Council Ronano Prodi, Mr. Chirac stated that although the Treaty signed in Nice would not be last in Europe's history, it would be one of the landmarks.
He also added that the reformation of the European structures could not take place with the absence of discussions and clashes of views and that a reform was a difficult exercise.
Mr. Chirac said that the "ratification of the Treaty" in the Parliaments of the EU country-members and the candidate countries would take about 18 months. He stressed that the timetable for the accession of new countries to the European Union would be kept.
From his side, the French Prime minister Lionel Zospen stated that he was happy for Europe and France, which responded to its responsibilities. Referring to the agreement, he described it as a satisfactory packet, which could however be more ambitious.
The French Prime minister also said that the summit meeting accomplished the necessary reform of the European structures, expressing his thanks to the Belgian government and especially to the Belgian Prime minister, who contributed to the substantially to a unanimous agreement.
Mr. Chirac stated that compromises were made for the basic European Union views.
The President of the European Council Romano Prodi criticized the obstacles set at the course of the negotiations and especially the exercising of veto, a development which created problems even to discussions.
 Greek military observer kidnappedUnidentified persons yesterday kidnapped Greek captain Efstathios Kokkinidis and a Polish colonel, both military observers in the neutral zone, between Georgia and Abhazia.
According to General Army Staff sources, the kidnappers could be Abhazian autonomist guerrillas or members of the organized crime.
The UN official in the region is expected on the spot today. Kidnapping is a common phenomenon in the area, and ransom is usually the motive.
It should be noted that 14 months ago, another Greek captain who had been kidnapped, was released after the UN mediation.
 Karamanlis criticizes public administrationMain opposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis, who concluded his tour to Eastern Macedonia yesterday, stated that a contact of confidence with the people constituted New Democracy's top priority.
He also blamed the public administration for corruption and called on the government to adopt his party's views on public administration and show confidence to the Greek civilians.
 Cyprus issueThe head of Cyprus' negotiating team for European Union entry, Yorgos Vasiliou went to Budapest yesterday, in order to attend a meeting of negotiators for the first group of candidate countries. Views will be exchanged on the progress of entry procedures and, in general, EU expansion under the new developments of the summit meeting in Nice.
The United Nations expect more from Ankara now following Turkey's partnership relationship agreement with the European Union.
According to the Cypriot news agency, the members of the UN Security Council will be briefed today on the positions and views of the parties involved in the Cyprus dispute - particularly those of the Greek - and Turkish-Cypriots.
In the meantime, diplomatic sources appeared certain that no additional reference would be made for the renewal of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus, whose term ends on December 15, adding that the Security Council would listen to the positions of the parties involved before it took any decision.
 Memorandum of understanding signed between Greece and FYROMA memorandum of understanding and a cooperation agreement on issues of border security were signed last night in Skopje by the Greek Defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and his Skopjan counterpart Liube Paunofski.
 Arrest of Greek Intelligence employeeYiorgos Vasiliou, employee of the Greek Intelligence Service will appear before the Public Prosecutor today after having been arrested carrying a small arsenal in his car near Ieropigi, Kastoria yesterday.
 UNICEF organises events for World Day for ChildrenThe Greek committee of UNICEF has called on the personages the country to participate in the events dedicated on the World Day for Children.
The epicentre of the celebrations will be the tele-marathone of NET for the children living in the streets.
NET will begin broadcasting its programme at 18:30 as well as the event and performances due to take place in Gazi.