|Wednesday, 22 May 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-03-30
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEW IN ENGLISH ERA 5 - THE VOICE OF GREECE
30/3/2001 1:48:23 μμ
 Inner cabinet decided cuts on armament expenditures to boost social policySocial policy, balanced development and preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games are the top priorities of the goverment for thew 2001-2004 period according to a unanimous decision of the inner cabinet meeting on Thursady chaired by Prime- minister Kostas Simitis.
Mr. Simitis said that better control of expenditures would provide the necessary funds for the materialisation of the social policy program. The inner cabinet decided to put off the purchase of 4th generation war air-crafts, Greece's participation in the construction of the "Eurofighter" war aircraft as well as some other armament programs to save up to about 4 trillion dracmas to boost social policy.
Mr Simitis further pointed out that the country's best defence ability has been achieved through the increased expenditures in the armament program which in combination with the good economic prosoects allows the goverment to proceed to the materialisation of a more just social policy.
Meanwhile, National Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos who is in Brussels, appeared disatisfied with the inner cabinet decisions and stated that there was no question of putting off the armament programs for 2001 while he stressed that the Govenerment Foreign Affairs and Defense Council would look into the possibility of putting off the armament program for the next few years. However, Goverment Spokesman Dimitris Reppas pointed out that the cabinet's decision was unanimous.
However, earlier Labour Minister Tasos Yannitsis had kept a distance from the decision to cut funds from the defence budget.
Commenting on the cabinet' s decision, New Democracy deputy Dora Bakogianni said the goverment could neither ensure the country's defense ability nor deal with the problems of the low-income social groups.
In the meantime, following a meeting with Prime-minister Simitis attended also by Interior,National Economy, Health and Agriculture ministers, Labour Minister Tasos Yiannitsis said that Mr.Simitis will announce the measures to deal with poverty and social isolation next Thursday.
 ND party 5th Congress begins on FridayThe Executive Committee of the ND party proposals for the 5th regular congress of the party - which begins on Friday and ends on Sunday - the establishment of the post of General secretary of the Central Committee, the enlargement of the Executive Committee and renamig it to Political Council.
In an interview with the Athens News Agency, the ND party President stated that he would not ask for confirmation of his leadership of the party and underlined that the goal of the congress was to address to all creative forces and people of the country regardless of their political beliefs in order to build a stronger Greece and a society of cohesion solidarity and humanism.
 European Committee President in ThessalonikiThe President of the European Committee Romano Prodi arrived in Thessaloniki today for a two -day official visit. Mr. Prodi will deliver a speech at an event in Thessaloniki on Thursday to mark the 20th aniversary of Greece's admission to the EU.
Prime-minister Simitis and the President of the ND party will also deliver speeches at the same event.
 British Agency proposals for reforms in social security systemReduction of pensions by 20% and 5 year increase in the pension age- limit, are the two alternative options to deal with the aging - population problem, stressed Antony Young - spokesman of the British Agency which has assumed to carry out a study on Greece's social security system.
Speaking at a conference of the Labour ministry on Thursday, Mr. Young also said he proposed a system where the workers' social security contributions would be invested.
European Union Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou and the Prime minister' s advisor Platon Tinios said they were in favour of a combination system, based both on investments and redistribution of the workers contributions.
 Greece's cooperation with US , British and Israeli security forces for safer Olympic GamesMerchant Marine Minister Christos Papoutsis and the American ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns on Thursday discussed measures for the safe holding of the 2004 Olympic Games.
In his statements, Mr. Papoutsis said the government will cooperate in the security sector, with both the American authorities as well as the security authorities of Britain and Israel.
 Greek operational program ''Education and Elementary Vocational Training'' approved by EUThe Greek EU Commissioner - responsible for social policy issues - Anna Diamantopoulou on Thursday signed a decision on the approval of the Greek Operational Program "Education and elementary Vocational Training''.
The program includes EU funds for all the Greek districts amounting to 1.9 billion euro, a sum equivalent to 8.6% of the overall funds of the EU support framework allocated to Greece.
On the occasion of the signing of the decision, Mrs. Dimantopoulou stated with satisfaction that with the relative operational program, Greece is expected to overcome the existing problems and achieve all its educational goals to catch up with the advanced EU countries.
 Private radio permits less than frequeciesSeven deputies of the ruling PASOK party have submtted a question to parliament requesting to be informed on the reason why radio station permits in Attica , are less than the number of frequencies which -according to the competent bodies - can be used.
At the same time, the Muncipality of Acharnes and the Community of Thracomakedones - which are against the transfer of the private radio stations' antennas to Mount Parnitha - have taken recourse to the State Council.
 Ships under EU member states flags free to sail in Greek seasAccording to a draftbill of the Merchant Marine Ministry, ships under EU member states flags will be free to sail in the Greek seas as from November 2002.
The General Ports Secretariate - whose aim is the planning and drawing of the National Port policy will be under the jurisdiction of the Merchant Marine Ministry.
Finally, the decrees to change the Port funds to Limited companies for the better development of ports were signed.
 British Company has the exploitation of the Korinth CanalThe British firm "Sea Container Service'' has assumed the exploitation of the Corinth canal for 30 years, whith the state making a least economic profit of 10 billion drachmas.
 Athens stock marketOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index recorded heavy losses of 1.22% on Thursday, to close at 3,013.42 points.
 Weather forecast for FridayA cloudy day with rain and local thunderstorms in Attica and most parts of the country. In Athens temperature will range from 13-20 degrees Celcius and in Thessaloniki from 10-17 degrees Celcius.