Write to us with Feedback for the HR-Net Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923) Read the Convention Relating to the Regime of the Straits (24 July 1923)
HR-Net - Hellenic Resources Network Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Tuesday, 21 March 2023
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Interesting Nodes
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-10-03

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>


  • [01] Ankara Agrees
  • [02] Karamanlis' Message
  • [03] Harsh Response
  • [04] Tourists Freed
  • [05] Croatia Close to EU
  • [06] Heated Talks
  • [07] Talks Fall Behind
  • [08] Budget Promises Growth
  • [09] Changes in Medicine Prices
  • [10] Unemployment Rates Drop
  • [11] Greek Football Team Meets

  • [01] Golden Mean for Article 5 Ankara Agrees

    03 Oct 2005 21:06:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Following marathon talks and a heated diplomatic dispute, the 25 EU Member-States managed to reach an agreement on the negotiating framework that is to rule Turkeys accession talks. The agreement is to be ratified in a meeting that is expected to be held in the minutes to come. The Turkish government has confirmed the information. The Turkish FM Abdullah Gul is flying to Luxemburg. Earlier, he stated that he will announce the details of the agreement on Tuesday in Luxemburg. "The USA are staunch supporters of Turkeys future in Europe," claimed a spokesperson for State Department after the agreement was achieved.

    Article 5 Sparked Controversies

    Diplomatic feverish contacts preceded the accord with Ankara refuting to the very last minute the information that spoke of an agreement. The information had been released by a UK Presidency sources.

    The spokesperson for the Turkish Premier had refuted the aforementioned information saying that Turkey had not agreed with the EU terms and that Abdullah Guls trip to Luxemburg had not been decided.

    Article 5 of the negotiating framework had been the horny issue of the talks. The article in questioned forced Ankara to cease blocking Cyprus accession to international bodies, including NATO, in which Ankara has the right of veto.

    The USA intervened on the issue of the controversial article. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan contacted the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with the latter reassuring that the paragraph is not to affect Turkeys rights within NATO. With regard to paragraph 5, the British Presidency is expected to issue an explanatory statement.

    The accord was finally reached after the UK Presidency issued a clarifying statement that read, "Irrespective of whether a country is a EU Member-State or not, its policy within the international bodies is not at all affected."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [02] Karamanlis' Message

    03 Oct 2005 11:21:00 (Last updated: 03 Oct 2005 21:39:27)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    During his speech at NDs Parliamentary Committee 31st anniversary meeting, the Prime Minister addressed a message to all for zero tolerance of corruption phenomena, wherever they may be coming from. "We are on a head-on collision course with the forces of inactivity, maintenance and with those who try to make ends meet at any cost. Morbid practices, which thrived in the past, will not be tolerated. Nobody, wherever they may be, are above the law," stressed the Prime Minister, giving a harsh answer to PASOKs criticism. "They pretend to criticise situations for which they are solely responsible. This is as far as it gets," he underlined. Mr Karamanlis also referred to the government efforts for improving the Economy and the initiatives to increase growth rates in the country. "We are in a period of major importance for Greeces course, in a period of radical changes, in a difficult international concurrence of events. Our agreement with the citizens stands to the fullest. A lot of things have happened during the past 18 months. Let me remind you: Pensioners, LAFKA, compounded interests, modern migration policy. We have applied policies aiming at fiscal rationalisation." Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, ND Secretary General and the party coordinators also spoke at the meeting. Earlier, Mr Karamanlis met with former ND President Miltiadis Evert at the latters request.

    Zero Tolerance

    "We will show zero tolerance to corruption phenomena," strongly underlined Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, launching an attack against PASOK for having chosen practices that do not correspond to the present.

    "Citizens cannot be plagued by employees who do not respect their profession and ask for more money in return for their services. This is as far as is goes. I say it and I mean it," underlined the Prime Minister, while referring to corruption phenomena. He also added, "We will not be stopped by the forces inactivity and inertness, we are on a head-on collision with them." Remaining on the subject, Mr Karamanlis noted, "there are no dilemmas. We will not tolerate cases which oppose to the Government's aims and commitments." He also stated that the Government would be very strict on perjurious employees and illegal practices. The Government, he continued, will not back down on this collision.

    Following, the Prime Minister launched a harsh attack against PASOK, saying the Main Opposition has chosen practices that do not correspond to the present.

    "PASOK hides behind denial and reaction. Instead of arguments, it uses slander. Instead of admitting its wrongs, it attributes the problems it has created to others." Continuing his attack, the Prime Minister stressed, "They dare speak of hiring people, the same men who gave their members green cards so they could find jobs and fired competent executives, simply because they did not vote for PASOK."

    Referring to the practices of his own Government, Mr Karamanlis stated, "our course is radically different, the party will distance itself from the state, we view all Greek citizens equally and PASOK's party practices do not belong here."

    Mr Karamanlis also spoke of the reforms strategy, which as he said is his government's non-negotiable choice, serving the many and the unprivileged.

    Initiatives and Measures

    "We proceed with undivided attention to re-establishing the state, we form an alliance with society for changes and reforms, we create a modern and effective stare, the ministries are obliged to continue with reinforcing transparency, eliminating bureaucracy and reducing overspending," stressed Mr Karamanlis.

    The Prime Minister made special reference to the rationalisation of DEKOs (public enterprises classed as public utilities and services) in order to reinforce their social role, respecting tax payers' money and increasing productivity and healthy competition.

    He said the promoted changes are very important, noting, "Citizens understand the government's solution, however when stagnant waters are stirred, there are some who react."

    He also referred to the new privatisations and denationalisations, to the new licensing framework for businesses and to the second phase of the tax reform, which includes the reduction of tax rates for physical entities as of 2007.

    Mr Karamanlis said the previous government left him with a difficult complex of challenges and problems adding, "We know where we wish to go, we have a thoroughly processed action plan, we proceed with prudence and heart," while he extensively referred to his government's actions over the past 18 months.

    Speaking about foreign policy, he noted that Greece supports Turkey's European prospect, fought by Cyprus' side to ensure their interests in the negotiating framework draft and concluded by saying that if Turkey meets the preconditions set by the European Union and it will have the right to become a full member at the end of its long course.

    Meimarakis' Speech

    Speaking at the Parliamentary Committee meeting, ND Secretary Vangelis Meimarakis noted that over the past 18 months, ND has done no serious political mistake. "Any wise governor would have made the same decisions," he stressed.

    Alogoskoufis' Speech

    Speaking at the Parliamentary Committee meeting, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said this year is very important for Greece, noting that despite the unfavourable international developments, Greek Economy reacts positively to the initiatives of the government's economic policy. "We are increasing our efforts," he stressed, adding that the aim for the 2006 budget is to reduce deficit below 3% of the GDP, limit public debt and reinforce social cohesion.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [03] Harsh Response

    03 Oct 2005 19:45:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    PASOK press spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis lashed out at the Greek Premiers speech at NDs Parliamentary Group. "The Greek people have had enough of Karamanlis government and his works," stated Mr Athanasakis noting that when the Prime Minister spoke of zero tolerance, he obviously referred to his Ministers and affiliates. He wondered, though, to whom he referred given that Messrs Regouzas, Tatoulis, Alogoskoufis and Palaiokrassas keep holding their posts. At the same time, he accused the Prime Minister of being inconsistent with his pre-election pledges. Mr Athanasakiss criticism triggered the government spokespersons immediate reaction. Mr Roussopoulos urged PASOK to criticise its 20-year rule first and then to express its enragement for the 18 lost months of the ND ruling.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [04] They had been trapped at the Samaria Gorge Tourists Freed

    03 Oct 2005 11:32:00

    By Jenny Charalampidou

    The adventure of 300 tourists at the Samaria gorge ended well. The tourists got trapped in the gorge after weather conditions worsened over the weekend. As a result, there were landslides and the water level of the river running across the gorge rose. EMAK rescue crews, EKAB rescuers, employees at the gorge and inhabitants from Agia Roumeli helped to the rescue operation of the tourists, who are all safe and sound.

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    [05] Following Del Ponte's Favourable Report Croatia Close to EU

    03 Oct 2005 21:49:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte cleared the way for Croatia to resume talks with the EU. "Croatia has long been working alongside the International Criminal Tribunal to track down and arrest Croatian former general Ante Gotovina," read her announcement that was sent to the EU Foreign Ministers. Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader welcomed Carla Del Pontes favourable report. "The decision to commence accession talks rest with the EU Foreign Ministers," he added noting that irrespective of the outcome, Croatia has no intention of obstructing its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal. It should be noted that the EU had halted Croatias accession talks in March, due to Zagrebs unwillingness to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [06] Heated Talks

    03 Oct 2005 18:06:00

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    Heated talks are being held in Brussels regarding the negotiating framework that is to determine the EU-Turkey talks. Earlier, sources from the UK Presidency had reported that an agreement was achieved. However, a spokesman for the Turkish Premier refuted the information. The final text is being assessed by the Ankara Authority, which had opposed paragraph 5 forcing it to cease blocking Cyprus accession to international bodies, including NATO, in which Ankara has the right of veto. The USA intervened on the issue of the controversial paragraph. Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan contacted the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with the latter reassuring that the paragraph is not to affect Turkeys rights within NATO. With regard to paragraph 5, the British Presidency is expected to issue an explanatory statement.

    Turkey Refutes Information

    Late on Monday, a spokesman for the Turkish Pemier refuted the information that spoke of an agreement. "Turkey has not accepted the suggested road map on its accession talks and it has not yet determined when the Turkish FM Abdullah Gul is going to fly to Luxemburg for the opening ceremony," stated the spokesperson. "Should an agreement be achieved, should the issues be resolved, Mr Gul will definitely fly to Luxemburg," he added.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    Related News:

    Awaiting Discussions

    They Fail to Agree

    [07] Between the EU's 25 Foreign Ministers Talks Fall Behind

    03 Oct 2005 13:39:00 (Last updated: 03 Oct 2005 18:36:46)

    By Mary Lou Tzempelikou

    A ray of hope for the future of talks between the EUs 25 Foreign Ministers has shone, after the British Presidency announced there has been progress in the negotiations for Turkeys accession to the Union. However, the talks will not open at 17:00 CET, as the British Presidency issued an announcement stressing, "Theres no plane in existence that can get the Turkish Foreign Minister here for five oclock." The 25 have still not managed to reach a final agreement, based on which negotiation talks could open, especially after Austrias demands that the Muslim nation be offered an alternative short of full membership, meaning that Turkeys accession to the EU cannot be taken for granted. At the same time, Ankara rejected the amendments to the negotiating framework that will govern accession talks, thus posing one more obstacle to the continuation of talks. Turkish FM Abdullah Gul said the responsibility lies with the EU, while as per the foreign ministry spokesperson, Mr Gul would not depart for Luxemburg unless there is an agreement on the framework. As per information, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned the Turkish Prime Minister and then contacted her British counterpart to discuss the negotiating framework issues.

    Ankara Rejected Paragraph 5

    It is worth noting that according to diplomatic sources, the British presidency informed the European Council at the last minute on Turkey's denial to accept paragraph 5 of the draft describing the negotiating framework for Turkey's accession, if and when negotiation talks open.

    The paragraph in question reads that during the period until its accession, Turkey would have to gradually harmonise its policies towards third countries and its positions in international organisations with the policies and positions of the European Union. In other words, with this paragraph Ankara is called to stop ambushing Cyprus in international organisations, like NATO for instance, where Turkey has a veto right.

    As per Reuters, citing diplomatic sources, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to assure him that the proposed EU negotiating framework would not impinge on NATO.

    As for the Greek delegation, it has informed the British Presidency that for Greece there is no issue of renegotiating texts that have already been agreed for, while in case such an issue occurs, the Greek diplomacy is willing to set a series of other matters up for renegotiating.

    Turkey Stays Put

    In the meantime, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called an emergency Cabinet and Party meeting for this afternoon to discuss the latest developments concerning negotiation talks. As Mr Erdogan stated, his country holds tight to its positions regarding the EU and the negotiating framework and added, "The European Union need Turkey at least just as much Turkey needs the European Union."

    At the same time, the Turkish Prime Minister launched an attack against the extreme right party of National Resistance, which held a demonstration against Turkey's accession. Addressing the European leaders, he asked of them to "be logical for world peace and stability," while he said those opposing Turkey's accession "are against the alliance of civilisations."

    Cyprus Has Reservations

    In the meantime, Cyprus is reserved regarding the commencement of negotiation talks. As government spokesperson Kypros Chrisostomidis said, Nicosia is reserved regarding Gul's possible statement referring to Cyprus and with regard to a new amendment on the negotiating framework. At the same time, Mr Chrysostomidis said the EU has agreed on the negotiating framework and thus is cannot be changes, except for the parts where Austria and the British Presidency do not share the same opinion.

    Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly President Ren&#233; van der Linden said the European Union should keep its promises, like Turkey did when it rejected the alternative solution of a "privileged collaboration," as such a thing could lead Turkey into "turning its back to Europe and looking towards a different direction."

    Translated by Sofia Soulioti

    Related News:

    Awaiting Discussions

    They Fail to Agree

    [08] Emphasis on Growth, Employment, Social Cohesion Budget Promises Growth

    03 Oct 2005 19:14:00 (Last updated: 03 Oct 2005 23:32:22)

    By Tina Valaoura

    Sources: ANA - NET

    The Greek Economy Minister submitted in Parliament the 2006 draft budget that envisages a speedier reduction of Greeces public deficit to ease at 2.8% of the GDP in 2006 as opposed to 3.6% in 2005. The changes are to be realised through curbing consumer spending and combating tax evasion rather than introducing new tax measures. The Minister described the year of 2006 as a turning point for the countrys economy and further added that major steps have been taken towards eliminating the deficits. "Those who have been foreseeing catastrophes looming were proved wrong one more time," he noted. The new budget, which was presented during a press conference, speaks of a 3.8% growth rate, rise in investments, rise in net wages by 1.7% as well as rises in the pensions granted by OGA (Agricultural Insurance Organisation) and EKAS (Pensioners Social Solidarity Allowance).

    The announcements of the Economy Minister stirred up reactions on the part of the Opposition parties. "Again the wrong path, again at the expense of the majority," commented PASOK spokesperson Nikos Athanasakis. SYN parliamentarian responsible for Economy Panagiotis Lafazanis spoke of a budget that suits an extreme neo-liberal and anti-social model that has turned into a government doctrine.

    Aim at Eradicating Tax Evasion

    While presenting the draft budget, Mr Alogoskoufis pointed out that eradicating tax evasion and combating corruption and smuggling are to be seriously dealt with by imposing objective tax inspections.

    He also made it clear that the government has no intention of implementing additional tax measures. While explaining the objectives of the governments tax policy to be employed in the upcoming three-year period, he underlined that the government is after boosting both entrepreneurship and competitiveness of the businesses by gradually reducing the tax rate on businesses profit, reducing the tax burden on natural persons, curbing the income tax rates as of 2007 as well as increasing the tax relief to ease the tax handling of the low income earners.

    Mr Alogoskoufis clearly stated that the government is working on reducing the average income tax rate to stand at 25% as opposed to 30%.

    What the Budget Envisages

    The net revenues of the budget are envisaged to post a 7.4% rise in 2006 to amount to 46,448 million euros. The expenditures of the budget are to rise by 4.8% to stand at 50,182 million euros. Primary expenditure are to present a 6.4% increase, while expenditure on interests are to drop by 1.3%.

    The Public Investment Programme is expected to amount to 8,700 million euros in 2006 posting a 13% rise as opposed to 7,700 million euros that the end of the current year will witness.

    As for revenues that come from taxation, the 2006 budget foresees that direct tax revenues are to rise by 6% to amount to 19,046 million euros, while indirect tax revenues are to rise by 8.4% to reach 25,612 million euros.

    The increase in the growth rate will result in enhancing employment and dropping the unemployment rates to 9.8% compared to 10.4% of this year. At the same time, inflation is also forecast to drop to 3.2% as opposed to 3.5% for 2005. The decline in the inflation combined with rises in wages in both the public and the private sector will contribute to further raising the net average wage by 1.7% in 2006.

    The expenditures on wages and pensions are to be on the increase as well posting a 5.9% rise in 2006. The budget also envisages a 30 million euros expenditure to cover new hirings.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [09] By Development Ministry's Amendment Changes in Medicine Prices

    03 Oct 2005 16:25:00

    By Annita Paschalinou

    Sources: NET

    The Greek Development Ministry submitted in Parliament on Friday an amendment that provisions new pricing regime for medicines. The new regime provisions reductions up to 20% in widely used medicines, as well as rises in the so-called cheap ones that cost up to three euros. The price of the new medicines is to depend on the average price of the three cheapest medicines in the 15 EU Member-States and the cheapest one in the 10 countries that have recently joined the Union.

    Cuts And Rises

    As per the amendment, the price cuts by 20% refer to the medicines that are to expire. In fact, some of them are widely used.

    Cuts are expected in: LIPITOR (for cholesterol) PRAVACHOL (for cholesterol) ZANTAC (for stomach ailments) NORVASK (for heart)

    On the other hand, appreciations are expected to be issued on dozens of medicines that cost up to three euros, including:

    ASPIRIN 0.50 euro PONSTAN 1.50 euro LEXOTANIL 1.66 euro

    The amendment also imposes fines on pharmaceutical businesses that withhold or provide inaccurate clues with regard to the pricing of medicines.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [10] In the 2nd Quarter of 2005 Unemployment Rates Drop

    03 Oct 2005 12:06:00 (Last updated: 03 Oct 2005 20:41:20)

    By Athina Saloustrou

    The unemployment rates recorded a significant drop to 9.6% in the second quarter of 2005, as opposed to 10.4% in the second quarter of 2004. The findings released by the Hellenic National Statistical Service rank the young up to the age of 30, the women and those with technological degrees among the unemployment-prone groups. The unemployment rate in women reaches 15.2% and outnumbers that of men. As for the young aged 15-29, the unemployment rate is as high as 18.8% with young women aged 15-29 scoring 26.6%. With regard to the education level, unemployment mostly affects the holders of technological degrees by 11.8% and those who do not hold a tertiary education degree by 10.9%. The unemployment rate for people with postgraduate studies stands at 6.6%. The total number of the unemployed in Greece amounts to 466,835 with 36% of them seeking a fulltime occupation. In terms of geography, the highest rates are recorded in Western Macedonia (18.4%), Ipiros (11.5%) and Central Macedonia (11.1%), while the lowest rates are posted on Crete (6.1%) and the southern Aegean Sea (8.1%). Finally, the unemployed foreigners residing in Greece amount to 8.3%.


    "Should the government thinks that it can settle the unemployment issue and cast away the unemployment threat by forwarding unfair and unilateral class choices, deregulating the labour relations and adopting bills, like the one that refers to the working hour scheme, it is deeply underrating the intelligence and the instinct of the Greek people," stated PASOK parliamentarian responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Health Evangelos Venizelos commenting on the findings released by the Statistical Service.

    "Unfortunately, unemployment has turned into a social reality for Greece and there is no statistical finding that can question that," he added and went on to speak of policies that aim to present a "magic picture." "It was the government that applied its favourite practice of inventory deliberately inflating the rates it received in March 2004, so that, after 19 lost months that witnessed lack of growth and employment, we go back to the same statistical findings, which reveal the major structural problems that the government avoids settling, for it is void of a national strategic development."

    GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos also used a harsh tongue and spoke of "provocation and mockery." Mr Polyzogopoulos described the findings as a "sheer statistical fraud," which has nothing to do with the reality thousands of families experience. Furthermore he urged the government to seriously deal with the countrys growth and employment issues and not to vie to break the deadlock with numerical alchemies.

    SYN questioned the unemployment rates released on Monday by the Hellenic National Statistical Service and requested that the government put an end to "statistical alchemies and unreliable findings that speak of a so-called drop," and take measures to settle the issue.

    SYN member Dimitris Stratoulis commented that the real unemployment rates in Greece are much higher, because thousands of unemployed who are currently taking part in training programme and approximately 100,000 unregistered unemployed (people who have been out of work for more than two year and are not registered, for they have lost their hopes) have not been taken into account.

    "They should no be speaking of decline, when thousands of employees are being made redundant by dozens of enterprises that keep shutting down and by nearly 3,500 enterprises that have been transferred to the Balkans. When it is common knowledge that only 20% of the fired manage to find another job," argued Mr Stratoulis.

    Translated by Areti Christou

    [11] Greek Football Team Meets

    03 Oct 2005 16:47:00

    By Vasilis Kalpinos

    The Greek national football team met on Monday in view of the crucial remaining matches against Denmark and Georgia for the 2006 World Cup preliminary round. The Greek players said they are ready to take the first step, namely winning the games and claiming their advance to the World Cup in the playoffs.

    Crucial Matches

    Being aware of the significance of the game against Denmark, the Greek players pointed out that they are ready and that should they do their best, they will succeed in conquering Denmark.

    Striker Nikos Liberopoulos said, "It is a crucial game for us and we will do our very best to win. Should we perform they way we performed in Portugal, we will definitively get the desired result. To my mind, Denmark is the best team in our group. It performs better, but it has certain weaknesses, which can use to our benefit."

    Hearts defender Takis Fyssas stated, "We have to win in Copenhagen. It is a matter of life and death. All preliminary games are crucial, but this one is even more. In case we lose on Saturday, only a miracle can help us qualify. Denmark is really good on the offence, but we are used to playing against tough opponents. We will be playing for Greece and our country." On his part, Fanis Gekas claimed, "We will play well, to win. We should not wait for the other results, our goal is to win."

    New Faces

    Head coach Otto Rehhagel called for new faces to complete the teams roster. Stefanos Kotsolis and Vangelis Matzios were really happy for their being unexpectedly, as they themselves said, selected to play in the Greek national football team.

    Larisas goalie Kotsolis said, "Being called in the Greek national team was one of my goals, but I have to confess that it came earlier than I had expected. What is important now is that the team strikes two wins to stand good chances of qualifying to the World Cup."

    On his part, PAOs striker Matzios stated, "I did not expect to be called so soon. I will do my best to help the team."

    Translated by Areti Christou

    The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright © 1995-2023 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    eraen2html v1.01 run on Monday, 3 October 2005 - 20:44:39 UTC