|Thursday, 21 February 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 00-12-12
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA-5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
12/12/2000 10:58:20 ðì
 Nice EU summitReferring to the final content of the Nice treaty regarding the new structure of the European Union, the Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis spoke of a good settlement for Greece.
Europe, prime minister Simitis said, acquires new prospects. However, he did not rule out that it might lead to inequalities.
Meanwhile, the views of European countries are divided on the agreement the 15 EU leaders reached in Nice. The European Commission spokesman Jonathan Foll stated no one can say there was no progress, as the way has been paved for the EU enlargement.
In Greece, the New democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis spoke of a miserable result which in the long run will not serve national interests, while the Greek communist party remarked that the Nice treaty was a leonine agreement and the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress talked about the upgrading of the role of the powerful.
The former president of Cyprus and head of the Cypriot negotiating team George Vasiliou underlined the special importance the outcome of the EU summit in Nice has for the island, as it is clearly defines equal treatment in Cyprus like in all the other candidate countries for membership.
In the meantime, the UN representative Richard Holbrook said in an interview with the Turkish newspaper "Yeni Binjil" yesterday that the most important obstacle in the Cyprus issue negotiations was the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. He also said that he was in favor of a federation settlement.
 Opinion poll on favorite ministerAccording to an opinion poll published in today's issue of the daily To Vima, national defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos is the most successful minister of the government, while public order minister Michalis Chrysochoidis comes second.
To the question which are the three greatest problems the government should focus on, unemployment comes first, education second and the economy third, followed by health, the national issues and then the citizens day-to-day life.
 Military observers kidnapped by AbhazisThe efforts continue to find the Greek captain Efstathios Kokkinidis and a Polish officer, colonel Zbigniew Blehac -both military observers- kidnapped by Abhazi guerillas in the neutral zone between Georgia and Abhazia.
The UN Security Council today asked their immediate release, while the Russian ambassador to the UN Sergei Lavrov who is presiding the Security Council this month stated that the Council members explicitly condemn this unacceptable act of international terrorism and demand the immediate release of the observers.
Meanwhile, the president of Georgia Edward Sevardnadze said the kidnaping is a shame for his country and pledged that the authorities will do everything humanly possibly to free the two kidnapped observers, while a UN spokesman stated that the kidnappers have not come forward with any demands yet.
 Fuel price risesFuel prices will drop significantly as of midnight Wednesday. Gas will drop by 14 drs per litre and heating fuel by 12 drs, while the heating allowance will be paid to people who are unemployed for many years, as of December 18.
 Interest ratesThe Monetary Policy Council is expected to announce today, a new reduction to interventionist interest rates.
 Pilots sue Olympic AirwaysThe pilots of Olympic Airways will file a suit against the national air carrier this week, asking a conservative seizure of the company's assets up to 750 million drachmas, unless they are paid for their overtime work during summer is settled - according to information - by Wednesday.
 Less taxes in 2001Less taxes will be deducted every month from salaried and pensioners in 2001, following changes in the income taxes provided for by the new taxation bill.
The finance ministry yesterday released a relative circular with the instructions on the deductions to the accounting offices of businesses and social security funds. Reforms in Health The bill on the reforms in the National Health System -ESY- was tabled in parliament last night.
 Meat marketImports of sheep, pork and poultry from third countries will be increased, in view of the Christmas holidays.
 Taxi owners plan strikesTaxi owners have left open the possibility of holding strikes after the Christmas and New Year holidays.