|Monday, 22 April 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-04-03
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA. 5- THE VOICE OF GREECE
3/4/2001 10:47:59 ðì
 Two important economic forums in GreeceThe three-day conference on the subject of ''Strategy at the dawn of the 21st century'', organised by the magazine ''Economist'' opened in Athens on Monday and will end tomorrow, Wednesday.
The speeches of the former US president George Bush, the former prime minister of Russia Yevgeni Primakov, the former US defense secretary William Cohen and the EU spokesman for Foreign policy and defense Xavier Solana, are expected with interest.
The Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis, the New Democracy (ND) party leader Kostas Karamanlis and the ministers of foreign affairs George Papandreou, national defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos and finance Yannos Papantoniou will also deliver speeches at the conference.
The sessions of the business forum on the Balkans, organised by the Federation of Greek Industries and the Greek-American Trade Chamber, also opened in Thessaloniki on Monday and will end on Wednesday.
Addressing the 8th Balkan forum in Thessaloniki Monday night, prime minister Kostas Simitis said the principles of good neighborliness, cooperation, the recognition of international law, the inviolability of borders and respect of human rights were necessary preconditions for stability in the broader region.
Outlining the government's top priorities for the four year term, 2001-2004, Mr Simitis reiterated that the aim of the government was to fight unemployment, upgrade health services and education and to generally improve the citizens' quality of life.
Addressing the Balkan forum, ND party leader Kostas Karamanlis stressed that security and stability were the prerequisites for the development of southeastern Europe.
Meanwhile, prime minister Kostas Simitis today will meet his Bulgarian counterpart Ivan Kostov who is visiting Greece to attend the Balkan forum and will give a press conference afterwards together with the Greek prime minister.
 Meetings of the Greek foreign ministerDevelopments in the Balkans were the object of diplomatic contacts foreign minister George Papandreou had in Athens on Monday.
Papandreou met with the former US defense secretary William Cohen and immediately afterwards referred to the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, stating that the issue was a domestic matter of Yugoslavia and no one could interfere.
Next, Mr Papandreou met with his counterpart of Finland Erkin Tuomiya and discussed issues of regional security. Then followed meetings with the former prime minister of Russia Yevgeni Primakov and the prime minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Zoran Gingic.
 Confrontation on planned defense cutsNational defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, at the next cabinet meeting on Thursday is expected to bring up again the issue of cuts to defense credits, a move meant to boost the needs of the 2004 Olympic Games and the government's social policy.
Although the tones of confrontation have dropped on the issue, following a statement made by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, according to which ''no one questions the prime minister and the government's policy'', it seems that the issue will not close so easily.
The ND shadow national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis called on the government to change its policy formally by tabling in parliament the new revised state budget, and thus render credible the turn it is attempting to make.
 Reactions to education reformsEducation minister Petros Efthymiou described as unjustifiable the decision of rectors to keep universities closed until Wednesday, demanding the withdrawal of the regulation providing for the admission of technical education institutes to the higher education.
Mr Efthymiou said ''universities belonged neither to the rectors nor to the ministry of education, adding that only a conqueror would keep universities closed''.
Meanwhile, the number of students to enter higher education and technical education institutes this year will be smaller, as 36.100 students will be admitted in universities compared to 37.935 last year and 38.690 in technical education institutes compared to 39.830 last year.
 Problems in the new international airportProblems in the operation of the new "Eleftherios Venizelos" international airport in Spata are gradually being settled, while Olympic Airways has cancelled certain scheduled flights.
On Monday, transports and communications minister Christos Verelis visited the airport to inaugurate the base of Olympic Airways' airplanes maintenance service.
Meanwhile government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that every new start was difficult. He then apologized to the public for the problems in the new airport and called on everybody to contribute to smooth the situation.
 Call for the return of dismissed ND membersGeorge Souflias who recently joined again the ND party, called on all dismissed ND members to return to the party.
In the meantime, 24 hours after the end of the ND congress, party members seem satisfied with the return of Mr Souflias to the party ranks.
Commenting on the developments in the major opposition party, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas described the return of George Souflias as an internal affair of the ND.
Asked to comment on the same issue, Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos said ''developments in other parties were not of his concern''.
 Increased pollution levels in GreeceCarbon dioxide emission in Greece increased by 17.7% in the period between 1990 and 1998, while in the EU the respective average increase was 0.2%, according to data on atmospheric pollution in EU member states the European Commission released in Brussels on Monday.
 Athens bourseOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index dropped slightly by 0.41% on Monday, closing at 3,032.08 points.
 Soaring fuel pricesFuel prices will rise significantly on Wednesday at midnight. Gas will cost 8 drachmas more per litre, heating oil will rise by 1 drachma and only the price of diesel remains the same.
 Radio MarathonUNICEF and the Greek state radio - ERA - with the cooperation of the private radio stations Flash, Antena and Sky organize for Thursday, April 5, a major radio-marathon to rescue and improve the life of children in Palestine. 37 more radio stations from all over Greece have applied to participate in this effort.