|Tuesday, 21 September 2021|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 01-05-09
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
NEWS IN ENGLISH ERA 5 - THE VOICE OF GREECE
9/5/2001 2:38:00 ìì
 Statements on Turkey's new provocationGreek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas referred to Turkey's decision not to allow a Greek helicopter flight carrying the Greek Navy Staff Chief to Turkey's Aksam Base to take place. The Greek Navy Staff Chief was going to attend a ceremony for the delivery of new NATO mine-sweepers. Turkey's decision was aimed at promoting its claims concerning the demilitarization of the island of Rhodes in southeastern Aegean.
Mr. Reppas maintained that Greece will not be represented in this event if there are limitations imposed. He said that legally and politically Turkey's position is wrong and Greece's position is clear namely, nobody can impose restrictions inside the Greek territory. Mr. Reppas also stated that NATO' s legal services have ruled that flights can be held over regions which are regarded as demilitarized by Turkey.
Meanwhile, foreign minister George Papandreou attributed the turkish negative stance on the issue to the country' s military regime which is concerned about the progress that has been achieved in Greek-Turkish relations.
 Military exercise ''Sarisa - 2001''The military exercise code-named "Sarisa - 2001" will begin on Friday, May 11 and will conclude on May 17.
The annual exercise is to take place in to Central Macedonia and its aim is to examine the operational possibilities of the Second Army Corps. The final phase of the exercise will be held on May 15 and the defense ministry's civil and military leaderships have been invited to attend.
Meanwhile, the Navy's medium-scale exercise code-named "Kataigida 2001" is currently underway in the south, central and eastern Aegean. The final phase of the exercise will be observed by National Defense General Staff Chief Manousos Paragioudakis.
 Prince Charles' visit in Mount AthosThe heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, visited the holy relics and treasures kept at the Monastery of Vatopedi in Mount Athos, in Chalkidiki northern Greece. According to information, the Prince of Wales will stay in Mount Athos for three days and he is expected to visit other monasteries at the monastic community as well.
Prince Charles arrived at Chrisoupolis Airport in Kavala, northern Greece yesterday afternoon and boarded the "Rio Rita" yacht. The Prince and his entourage got to Mount Athos on board small boats from Ierissos in Chalkidiki.
It is Prince Charles' second visit to Mount Athos within a year. In early May 2000, he had visited again the monasteries of Vatopedi, Iviron and Megistis Lavras. The police and port authorities in the region as well as the representatives of Mount Athos have stated that his entourage hadn't briefed them on the schedule of his visit to Greece, stressing that the Prince of Wales didn't want any publicity to be given to his visit.
 EPP-ED' s group session in ThessalonikiThe Group Study Days of the European People's Party ? European Democrats (EPP-ED) Parliamentary Group is presently underway in Thessaloniki where the participants are to discuss the future of the Balkans, asylum and immigration policy and public health.
The leader of Greece's main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis is to give a keynote address this morning, thus inaugurating a series of debates that are organized in three thematic forums.
The first forum will deal with the future of the Balkans and their restructuring with a view to their membership of the European Union. Aside from Mr. Karamanlis, other keynote speakers are Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nazeda Mihailova, and European Parliament members Elmar Brok, Doris Pack and Arie Oostlander.
The second forum will address the issues of asylum and immigration policy, especially in light of the EU's enlargement. Distinguished speakers include the director of "EUROPOL" Jurgen Storbeck and the Interior Ministers of Austria Ernst Strasser, and Estonia Tarmo Loodus.
The debate will be introduced by Austrian eurodeputy Hubert Pirker, who is also the spokesperson for the EPP-ED Group. Intervening in the debate are eurodeputies Hartmut Nassauer, Gérard Deprez, Christos Zacharakis and George Dimitrakopoulos.
The third and last forum concerns Health and Consumer Protection in the EU. Spain's Health Minister Celia Villalobos is to be the featured keynote speaker, while the debate will include contributions from eurodeputies Antonis Trakatellis, EP's rapporteur on the EU Public Health Program (2001-2006), Francoise Grossetête, John Bowis and Giuseppe Nistico. The debates are organized at the invitation of the Greek Delegation and presided by Hans-Gert Poettering, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group.
 Archbishop pondering papal pardonArchbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, presently on an official visit to Moscow, continued to comment on the apology given by Pope John Paul II, during the latter's recent pilgrimage to Athens.
"We handled the Pope's recent visit as a challenge, not as a trial", Mr. Christodoulos stated, adding that he set forth the Orthodox peoples problems and secured, aside from the apology, the pontiff' s condemnation of proselytism and the use of violence.
Furthermore, he stated that he secured a statement from the Pope calling on the European countries to retain their Christian character and not return into secular states.
The Archbishop refused to term his role as an intermediary one between the pontiff and the other Orthodox sects, especially the Russian, albeit adding that he would be willing to carry out such role if it is requested by him.
The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Cyrill stated that Moscow freely conducts talks with the Vatican and is not in need of any intermediaries.
At the same tine, he added that a potential meeting between Pope John Paul II and Russian Patriarch Alexy II should not turn into a "media show" without resolving the pending issues, reiterating the Patriarch's earlier statement that "open wounds" still remain.
 Social Security to be given public fundsPrime Minister Costas Simitis, presently attending the European Socialist Party Convention in Berlin, told Greek journalists that the issue of social security is a topic for dialogue, since dialogue is taking place "across-the-board and without preconditions".
When asked if the government intends to maintain the tripartite funding of pension monies, Mr. Simitis responded that "the social security system should be public and there should also be public funding. And to a great extent there is public funding". "You only have to see the figures, the amounts anticipated in the budget. A big amount of tax revenues will be used to support social security," he added.
Mr. Simitis is heading a ruling PASOK party delegation that includes Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
The "Security in Change" conference, is being attended by 11 prime ministers and a total of 281 delegates from 20 parties. Issues to be discussed are European Union enlargement, modernizing the European social and economic model, the EU' s global role on the creation of a fairer world and promoting institutional reforms in the EU in light of the inter-governmental conference and Euro-elections in 2004.
 Common foreign policy, a top priorityAddressing the European Socialist Party Convention in Berlin, entitled "Security in Change", Prime Minister Costas Simitis, stressed that a common foreign policy, security and mutual defense should be Europe' s foremost priority in contributing to the formulation of a multipolar world. "A soundly structured defense policy should and will- strengthen NATO", the Premier said, adding "our aim is not to antagonize the USA, but to secure stability".
Referring to the Balkan region, Mr. Simitis stated that Europe has a duty to ensure regional security. "The bloodshed in the Balkans has bitterly made us aware of the fact that Europe is not immune to instability", he said, noting that the EU should undertake a more active role in regional security, even outside its borders as "the prevention of conflicts is the top issue on the international agenda".
Moreover, the Greek Premier added that the European Union has plenty of abilities, sources and experience to confront the new challenges we are faced with.
Calling on the European socialists and social democrats to develop "new ambitions", Mr. Simitis stressed that the future of the Union is inexorably bound with the future of European social democrats and both are connected with the dynamics of the wider international system.
He also stated that Europe should promote democratic institutions and should find new balances between governments, the market and the citizens, pointing out that there is a "deficit of democracy and responsibility" within the international economic and political system.
Moreover, the Greek premier stated that one of Europe's greatest advantages is the social model built in the recent years by the social democrats upon the values of democracy, social justice and solidarity. This social model, he explained, combines freedom with equality, social cohesion with economic competitiveness, and, while it is characterized by the "market economy" it categorically rejects the "market society".
Lastly, the Greek Premier stressed that Europe' s international obligations include combating poverty on the planet and protecting the environment.
 Inflation in AprilInflation in Greece was 3.5% in the month of April showing a notable increased compared to March' s 3%, while it remained at the same levels with last February's 3.5%. The announcement was made today by the National Statistics Agency. The inflation increase and its return to last February's levels is solely attributed to the fuel price increases.
 Athens stock exchangeMarginal losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.02% at 3.155,52 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 106.0 million Euro or 36.1 billion drachmas. Of the stocks trading today, 219 recorded gains and 89 had losses, while the value of 70 stocks remained stable.