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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-01-29

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, January 29, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] UK PROPOSES SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS TO GREECE
  • [02] GREEK FM MEETS WITH TURKEY'S DEPUTY PREMIER
  • [03] PRESIDENTIAL DECREEE TABLED ON GAMES SECURITY
  • [04] SPEAKER REPLIES TO CLAIMS OF "DISAPPOINTMENT"
  • [05] POLL FINDS MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY AHEAD OF PASOK
  • [06] GREECE TO SEND HUMANITARIAN AID TO INDIA
  • [07] NO SHOCK TACTICS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM
  • [08] GREEK HUMANITARIAN AID TO INDIA
  • [09] PAPANDREOU-CEM MEETING IN THE SPRING
  • [10] MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF AVIATION AUTHORITIES IN GREECE
  • [11] THESSALONIKI'S SUBWAY IS TO RECEIVE THE "GREEN LIGHT" BY THE EUROPEAN BANK OF INVESTMENTS
  • [12] THE DOWNWARD COURSE OF THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE CONTINUES
  • [13] THE ALGERIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WILL BE IN ATHENS ON THURSDAY
  • [14] CLARIFICATIONS BY BEGLITIS ON PAPANDREOU'S STATEMENTS CONCERNING FYROM
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [15] THE CONTACTS OF THE GREEK NATIONAL ECONOMY UNDERSECRETARY IN TIRANA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] UK PROPOSES SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS TO GREECE

    The Labor Ministry is to receive a report on social security reforms this week, drawn by a specially-designated team of British government experts.

    According to reports, the Government Actuary's Office of Britain will propose that pension benefits be reduced so that they do not exceed 60 percent of the last wage earned and that a single retirement age of 65 be instituted (as opposed to many groups retiring before that age).

    These reforms are mainly targeted towards employees of public utility companies, banks and the civil service.

    [02] GREEK FM MEETS WITH TURKEY'S DEPUTY PREMIER

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou had a one-hour meeting with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz yesterday in Davos, on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum.

    Messrs. Papandreou and Yilmaz discussed relations between Turkey and the European Union, focusing on Ankara's commitments and obligations stemming from its partnership agreement with the EU.

    Mr. Yilmaz conveyed his country's will to rapidly proceed with reforms so that Turkey will meet its partnership commitments, while he also reportedly sought Greece's assistance in the transfer of EU know-how.

    Earlier, Mr. Papandreou had participated in a round-table discussion at the forum on the subject of Balkan reconstruction, a discussion that also included the participation of new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov. Finally, he also discussed the latest developments in the Middle East with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Mousa.

    The Turkish deputy PM also met with EU Commissioner for enlargement Guenther Verheugen and told him that Turkey would submit its National Program by the end of February, outlining its priorities within the framework of its partnership agreement with the EU.

    [03] PRESIDENTIAL DECREEE TABLED ON GAMES SECURITY

    A draft Presidential Decree on the organization and functioning of the Olympic Games Security Department (OGSD), which will be responsible for security measures during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, has been submitted to the Council of State by the Public Order, National Economy and Finance and Culture ministers.

    According to the draft Decree, the OGSD will be responsible for the necessary security and public order measures during the preparation and holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as for the Cultural Olympiad.

    The OGSD will also have to supervise the implementation of security plans and the coordination of relevant services and agencies which will be contributing to the smooth and safe holding of the Games. Its duties cover every location featuring the presence of athletes, escorts and umpires, such as coach transport, airports and ports.

    The OGSD will cooperate with the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee and every other relevant agency in preparing security plans in the framework of timetables agreed with the International Olympic Committee.

    [04] SPEAKER REPLIES TO CLAIMS OF "DISAPPOINTMENT"

    The President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis has issued a response over the publicized reports that a delegation of visiting congressmen was "surprised" and "disappointed" by the former's statements after their talks.

    It all began yesterday, when Mr. Kaklamanis was reported to have said that "it is inconceivable that the U.S. should be in the prosecutor's position and Greece in the position of the accused, or that terrorism should be made use of to exert pressure of a diplomatic or financial nature, as is the case with the 2004 Olympics."

    In turn, the U.S. Congress delegation issued a response stating that it was "surprised and disappointed by Speaker (i.e. Parliament President) Kaklamanis' statement following their meeting. The delegation had a frank and private exchange of views with the Speaker on the issue of terrorism, which is a concern of all countries... the United States has long supported the efforts of the Greek government to fight terrorism", it added.

    "Mr. Kaklamanis' statement does not reflect the spirit of cooperation between our governments. It is solely a Greek responsibility to make arrests and convictions. We support what the Greek people also desire - justice for those who have been killed in terrorism attacks. The United States had had five of its own Embassy employees assassinated, more than one hundred wounded in the last quarter century," the statement concluded.

    In turn, the Speaker's press office issued the following statement this morning:

    "The President of the Parliament Mr. Apostolos Kaklamanis knows that the government takes a public stand, especially when it concerns the president of the Parliament, either through the Premier himself, or through the government spokesperson.

    "Therefore, Mr. Kaklamanis is not concerned with comments made by anonymous and as such irresponsible ‘sources' that mislead public opinion in regards to the ‘frank' and ‘honest' talks held by the President of the Parliament and the U.S. congressmen, as the delegation's leader Mr. (Benjamin) Gilman verbatim stated on camera.

    "Moreover, Mr. Gilman also expressed his esteem for the President of the Hellenic Republic and his satisfaction over the course of strengthening cooperation between the US Congress and the Hellenic Parliament.

    "It is noteworthy, the ease with which these anonymous sources adopt the long-known position of "anti-Americanism" over every effort taken towards an honest and dignified response to the known libelous campaign against our country, aiming at misleading the American public, as well as the members of the US Congress."

    [05] POLL FINDS MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY AHEAD OF PASOK

    The conservative main opposition party of New Democracy is ahead of the ruling socialist PASOK by 4.6%, according to a nationwide poll publicized today in the Athens daily "Ta Nea".

    The poll, conducted by V-PRC, finds that 32.3 percent of the respondents would cast a vote for ND, whereas 27.7% would opt for PASOK. Also, 16.8% of those polled would vote for the yet-to-be- founded party of Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    More specifically, 17.9% of ND followers would sway into Mr. Avramopoulos's party, slightly more than 16% of PASOK voters who would be willing to switch camps.

    [06] GREECE TO SEND HUMANITARIAN AID TO INDIA

    Greece will dispatch two Hellenic Air Force aircraft to transport humanitarian aid to earthquake stricken India, where the victim toll has risen to over 20,000.

    The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Health are presently coordinating their efforts to send medical supplies, blankets and tents as first aid assistance, while Foreign Minister George Papandreou has also ordered the allocation of GRD100 million in funds from the Directorate of International Humanitarian cooperation.

    Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis will conduct as planned his official visit to India on February 4.

    [07] NO SHOCK TACTICS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM

    Reforming the social security system is "one of the most fundamental factors in adapting Europe to the new reality and a priority for all European governments," Greece's European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou stated in an interview with the Athens daily "Kathimerini".

    According to the Commissioner, pension funds in their present form are facing a viability crisis and "won't be able to pay out pensions within the next 35 years." However, she stressed that under no circumstances should shock tactics be used in order to bring about change.

    "We have to find a gradual process, with a consensus so that the effects will not be immediate," she said, adding that European governments will have to work out their own systems based on conditions prevailing in their own countries.

    As for Greece, Ms. Diamantopoulou said that the country is faced with a more difficult task, given the irrationality of its system, since 80 percent of pensions are paid on the basis of special arrangements and only 20 percent on the basis of standard regulations.

    [08] GREEK HUMANITARIAN AID TO INDIA

    Two Greek C-130 transport aircraft will arrive in India tomorrow with medicine, blankets and tents to cover the needs of the victims in the devastating earthquake that hit country.

    Already, the Greek foreign ministry is in cooperation with the ministries of defense and health for the coordination of the humanitarian aid efforts. The aid transportation cost will be covered by the Greek foreign ministry. As it was made known, the Greek foreign ministry will also offer the sum of 100 million drachmas to the International Humanitarian Cooperation Directorate Office at the order of foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    It should be noted that the formal visit to India by prime minister Kostas Simitis will take place on Sunday, February 4 as scheduled.

    [09] PAPANDREOU-CEM MEETING IN THE SPRING

    Foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey Giorgos Papandreou and Ismail Cem are expected to meet in early spring, possibly in March.

    It should be reminded that the meeting of the two leading diplomats is pending since last October when bilateral relations were tense because of the unacceptable Turkish claims during the NATO exercise "Destined Glory" resulting to the cancellation of their meetings in Rhodes and Marmaris.

    In the meeting Greek foreign minister Papandreou had in Davos Switzerland with Turkish government vice-president Mesut Yilmaz they discussed the Greek-Turkish relations and Turkey's European course, while they gave an emphasis to the issue of the materialization of an agreement aimed at avoiding double taxation. Mr. Papandreou also raised the Cyprus problem.

    [10] MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF AVIATION AUTHORITIES IN GREECE

    Members of the European Association of Aviation Authorities will be in Athens tomorrow at the invitation of Greek Civil Aviation Agency director Athanasios Tzoganis.

    In the meeting it is expected to be discussed issues of mutual interest such as, flight regulations and security issues.

    [11] THESSALONIKI'S SUBWAY IS TO RECEIVE THE "GREEN LIGHT" BY THE EUROPEAN BANK OF INVESTMENTS

    The developments concerning the funding of Thessaloniki's subway network are expected to be positive as the project meets the preconditions set by the European Bank of Investments, according to its president Phillipe Maystadt, who gave an interview to Thessaloniki's Sunday Macedonia newspaper.

    Mr. Maystadt said that Thessaloniki's subway is a characteristic project of urban infrastructure and the decisions concerning its funding will depend among others, on the evaluation of all its aspects namely, the project's viability from an economic, financial and technical point of view.

    [12] THE DOWNWARD COURSE OF THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE CONTINUES

    The Athens Stock Exchange continues its downward course. The general index dropped by 0.89% to 3.044,58 points, while the volume of transactions was very disappointing at 70.4 million Euro or 24.01 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 109 had gains and 218 recorded losses, while the value of 48 stocks remained unchanged.

    [13] THE ALGERIAN FOREIGN MINISTER WILL BE IN ATHENS ON THURSDAY

    Algerian foreign minister Abdelaziz Belkasdim will be in Athens on Thursday for consultations with the Greek leadership in view of the visit of the Algerian president to Greece in October.

    Among the issues under discussion will be the activation of protocols for political consultations between the two countries, the development of Greek-Algerian relations at economic and cultural level, the candidatures in international organizations, the course of the materialization of the Muslim mosque project in Athens, the EU-Algerian relations and the latest developments in the Middle East.

    Also, among the issues for discussion will be the Greek- Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and the developments in southeastern Europe.

    [14] CLARIFICATIONS BY BEGLITIS ON PAPANDREOU'S STATEMENTS CONCERNING FYROM

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis stated that Greece's support to the further development of FYROM is not linked with bilateral agreements or its accession into the European and Atlantic structures. Mr. Beglitis denied that FYROM made a verbal demarche in protest to the statements made last week by Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou speaking before the foreign affairs and defense parliamentary committee.

    Mr. Beglitis also spoke of a misinformation and misconception on behalf of the journalists.

    The Greek foreign ministry spokesman also stated that a mutually acceptable solution on the issue of FYROM's name will serve the interests of both countries.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] THE CONTACTS OF THE GREEK NATIONAL ECONOMY UNDERSECRETARY IN TIRANA

    Greek undersecretary of national economy Yiannis Zafiropoulos, who continues his visit to Albania for a second day, met with Albanian finance minister Anastas Ankeli.

    Mr. Zafiropoulos will meet this afternoon with economic cooperation and trade minister Ermelinta Meksi and state economy and privatization minister Mustafa Muci. Yesterday, he met with Albanian prime minister Ilir Meta and they discussed issues concerning the materialization of the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans, the speedier absorption of the Greek loan for the strengthening of the Albanian social infrastructure and the best possible use of the Greek assistance.

    The Albanian prime minister underlined the significant support offered by Greece to his country's efforts for growth and stabilization characterizing Greece as one of Albania's main strategic partners.


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