|Wednesday, 16 October 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-02-15
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5. THE VOICE OF GREECE
15/2/2001 2:09:34 μμ
 2004 Olympic GamesAt a bi-ministerial committee meeting on Wednesday, PM Kostas Simitis called on all ministers involved in the Athens Olympics to speed up the pace of preparations.
The president of the ''Athens 2004'' Organizing Committee Yanna Agelopoulou, who met with Mr Simitis, underlined the urgency of the matter and pointed out that time was the enemy. For his part, Mr Laliotis disclosed that the way in which Attiko Metro would link up with the Olympic Stadium will be announced in the next few days. Meanwhile, development minister Nikos Chirstodoulakis submitted a file containing plans for the creation of 42 hotels.
In parallel, Labour minister Christos Protopappas announced that interested parties will be able to submit tenders for the construction of the Olympic Village, starting Thursday. He added that the work should be completed by December 2003. The Vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogues arrived in Athens on Thursday, at the head of a IOC delegation to inspect the course of the Olympic Games works. Mr Rogues will meet with the prime minister and also with the minister of public works, town planning and environment Kostas Laliotis, and culture minister Evangelos Venizelos. In the meantime, the Australian state TV described the course of Athens towards the 2004 Olympics in gloomy colors.
 Debate on Constitutional revisionThe parliamentary plenum began a debate on Wednesday, on the revision of article 32 of the constitution regarding the election of the President of the Republic. However, the government and the opposition remained firm on their positions regarding the election procedure. Specifically, the ruling PASOK party proposed that the election procedure should be released from the procedure of early elections or continuous elections until the right candidate was found.
The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party insisted on the direct election of the President of the Republic by the people, giving the president additional powers. The Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress party supported the dissolution of parliament after six unsuccessful ballots, while the Greek communist party maintained that the relevant provision should not change.
In the meantime, during the debate on the revision of the Constitution, the honorary president of the ND party Konstantinos Mitsotakis asked for a political leaders council meeting under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic and also that the minutes of the council's meeting on the issue of the naming of the Federal Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) held in 1992 under Konstantinos Mitsotakis at the time - be released. For his part, culture minister Evangelos Venizelos disagreed with this proposal, maintaining that it would be a strategic mistake to open the cards at a time when the issue was under negotiation.
At another point of the debate, New Democracy party deputy Ioannis Varvitsiotis disclosed that the ND party leader Konstantinos Karamanlis had disagreed with former Pasok leader Andreas Papandreou's committal to trial, something that occurred under the premiership of Mr Mitsotakis.
 Cyprus issueThe American secretary of state Colin Powell, in a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulidis, expressed the full support of the Bush administration to the UN continuing efforts for a Cyprus settlement.
In the letter - which American ambassador in Nicosia Donald Badler conveyed to Mr Kasoulidis on Wednesday, Mr Powell says that he looks forward to the strengthening of bilateral relations and a warm friendship with Cyprus. He also reassures that the US will remain engaged in efforts to resolve the decades-old Cyprus division.
Mr Powell's letter was sent in reply to a letter of congratulations Mr Kasoulidis had sent for Colin Powell's appointment as secretary of state in the Bush administration. In another development, ND deputy Dora Bakogianni who is on a visit to Nicosia, stated on Wednesday that Cyprus' European prospects were a one way road for the island and that this course was becoming stronger from Greece's assistance.
In a speech Mrs Bakogianni delivered to the Cypriot Federation of Businesswomen and Professionals, she pointed out that Greece ought to make it clear to its European partners , publicly and in time, that the first accession wave of countries to the EU should definitively include Cyprus.
 Structural reforms programThe government's economic staff appears determined to implement with no deviations whatsoever the program on structural reforms. Speaking at the annual general assembly of the Greek Banks Union, national economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou pointed out that there would be no differentiations in the state budget, stressing at the same time that strict fiscal policy was imperative for the creation of a surplus. Mr Papantoniou also announced that a legislative plan would be tabled in parliament in March, according to which the boards of the National Bank and the Commercial Bank will be from now on elected directly from their general assemblies, without the participation of the government.
 Inflation rateAccording to rough estimates of the National Statistical Service, inflation in January closed at 3.5% as compared to 3.9% n December.
 Fuel price increasesIn the meantime, fuel prices increased as of Wednesday midnight. Specifically, heating oil is by 10 drachmas more expensive per litre, diesel by 8 drachmas and gas by 3.5 drachmas.
 New legislation on coastal shippingMerchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis announced on Wednesday the basic principles of the new plan on shipping. Restrictions in coastal shipping in the Aegean and ships under EU flag will be lifted 14 months earlier than initially planned. Mr Papoutsis said healthy competition, the protection of public interest and ensuring the countries territorial continuity in coastal shipping were some of the principles of the new legislative framework.
 Plan on stronger municipalitiesThe board of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece met on Wednesday with PM Kostas Simitis and the minister of public administration and decentralization Vaso Papandreou.
The object of discussion was the local administration's economic and institutional demands. After the meeting, Mrs Papandreou stated that after the ''Kapodistrias'' plan, it was the turn of the plan on inter- municipal cooperation focusing on strong and well organized municipalities with transparency and efficiency.
 Statements about financial postionThe Civil Servants Union had recourse to the State Council, asking the annulment of the circular according to which civil servants ought to submit statements of their financial position, as the deadline for submitting the relative forms ends on Thursday.
 Rises in air ticketsThe Union of Greek Air Transports is asking the state to review the issue of rises in air tickets, as this means higher duty fees for the new international airport in Spata.
 EU credits for agrucultureAgriculture minister George Anomeritis announced that 3.18 trillion EU funds will be allocated for the development of agriculture. As of March, the agriculture ministry services will be ready to receive the first applications by farmers and businesses in the field to join the financing programs.
 Athens bourseOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index went slightly up on Wednesday by 0.47%, closing at 3,211.32 points.