|Tuesday, 28 November 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-01-24
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
24/1/2001 12:38:00 μμ
 Simitis: Greece's entry in the Euro zone is a historic momentTaking the floor in Parliament at the pre-agenda debate on the issue of "The country's course with the EU" yesterday, the prime minister Costas Simitis described Greece's entry in the Euro zone on January 1st, as a historic moment for the country.
Referring to the decisions of the Council of Europe in Nice, the prime minister said that the new conditions were not creating the desired EU standards and consequently Greece would work to develop the Union into a political Union with a federal character.
Regarding Turkey's accession to the European Union, prime minister Simitis said that the neighbouring country ought to respect the principles and the criteria in force in the EU, as its accession from "the back door" was not conceivable.
For his part, the New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis referred, among other things, to the Nice summit, saying that although the decisions that were made were a step towards European integration, the final result was not up to the expectations.
The secretary general of the Greek Communist Party Aleka Papariga stressed that the workers - being the large majority of the European peoples - were feeling insecure.
In his speech, the leader of the Coalition of the Left wing and Progress party Nikos Konstantopoulos said he was in favour of a policy of Europe's unification with federal prospects.
 A draft bill on terrorism will be ready by mid FebruaryIn the wake of Sunday's terrorist attack on New Democracy deputy Vasilis Michaloliakos, the justice minister Michalis Stathopoulos gave assurances yesterday that a new, tougher anti-terrorism law was currently being drafted and will be ready by mid February, indicating the government's intention to speed up the process.
At the same time, the culture minister Evangelos Venizelos warned against blowing the assassination attempt out of proportion, pointing out that it would result in damaging the country's prestige.
He stressed that Greece was a safe country for visitors - compared to the United States and Spain - both of which had already hosted the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, the government spokesman Dimitris Reppas expressed the conviction that the authorities were on the right path towards eliminating terrorism in Greece.
Addressing the Parliamentary Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, the foreign minister George Papandreou referred to terrorist acts that aim to hit the country's democratic institutions and try to endanger Greece's international prestige, which it has worked so hard to acquire. He also mentioned a joint proposal by Greece and Britain for coordination of counter-terrorism activities by EU member states.
In the meantime, the victim of the terrorist attack, Vasilis Michaloliakos is in a satisfactory condition, according to the latest medical report.
The counter-terrorism squad - which is continuing its investigations - said that so far, no organisation has claimed responsibility for Sunday evening's bomb attack on the ND deputy, while officers from Britain's Scotland Yard are also participating in police investigations.
 President Stefanopoulos visits VaticanThe president of the Greek Republic Constantine Stefanopoulos began an official visit to Italy yesterday.
The Greek president met with his Italian counterpart Carlo Angelio Ciambi in a good climate and discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the two countries and also the role they can play in the Balkans and the EU.
President Stefanopoulos participated afterwards in the economic forum organized by the Italian Industries Union and later attended an official banquet the Italian president hosted in his honour.
Today, the Greek president will meet with the head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope John Paul II, at the Vatican. Their discussions are expected to focus mainly on an upcoming visit by the Pope to Greece.
 A cooperation memorandum was signedA memorandum of cooperation was signed yesterday between the finance ministry and the "Athens 2004" organising committee for the Olympic Games.
The president of the committee Yanna Angelopoulou called on the national economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou to be the first to sign up as a volunteer for the Olympic Games in Athens.
In a related development, the culture minister Evangelos Venizelos announced yesterday the program framework of the Cultural Olympics - which will revolve around the concept of the universal nature of culture.
 Vaso Papandreou meets with the Civil Servants UnionThe interior minister Vaso Papandreou will meet this afternoon with the board of the Civil Servants Union to discuss about property statements. Public servants should submit their property statements until tomorrow.
 The Cyprus issueThe Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said yesterday that the Cypriot government had no information indicating that there will be any changes in American policy regarding the Cyprus issue.
According to the head of the American State Department office of Southeastern European Affairs Ann Corky, Washington will continue its efforts to resolve the Cyprus dispute. Mrs Corky who met with the Cypriot president Glafkos Cleridis in Nicosia, also said that the US administration will continue to back a just settlement of the Cyprus problem, boosting at the same time, its strong ties with Cyprus.
On his part, the American ambassador in Nicosia Donald Butler said that the US was making efforts to ensure a resumption of the proximity talks between the Greek-Cypriots and the Turkish-Cypriots.
Meanwhile, reliable sources indicate that the UN secretary general's envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will arrive on the island next Friday or Monday, depending on the date the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash will return from Ankara.
 State hospital doctors are on a strikeState hospital doctors throughout the country began a three- day strike yesterday, to demonstrate their opposition to the controversial draft bill providing for reforms in the National Health System, which is currently being debated in Parliament.
During the strike, hospitals will be staffed only with key personnel to deal with emergency cases.
In addition, the Athens Medical Association stage a 24-hour strike today, while medical school teaching staff at Athens University will refrain from carrying out their duties for the next 7 days.
Meanwhile, health ministry employees are continuing their industrial action, which began on November 28, in support of their demands for better pay and working conditions.