Unveiled yesterday by Interior and Public Administration Minister Vasso Papandreou and OECD Deputy Secretary-General Sally Shelton-Colby during a joint press conference in Athens, the report assesses the course of the Greek economy as "positive", but does stress that the state needs to clamp down on bureaucracy and simplify public administration procedures.
Ms. Papandreou outlined new public administration framework, which will be marked by quality checks and monitoring in the state's wide-ranging regulatory responsibilities, while also certifying the constitutionality and legality of actions.
In turn, Ms. Shelton-Colby stressed that the implementation of a well-designed public sector reform program is an "effective tool" in any government's attempts to improve its citizens' quality of life.
Mr. Persson visit to Athens is part of a tour of European capitals ahead of the EU summit in Gothenburg on June 15-16.
Meanwhile, Sweden's Ambassador to Athens Bjorn Elmer met with the leader of the minor opposition party of Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday, with whom he discussed the issue of human rights violations in Turkish prisons.
Following their talks, Mr. Constantopoulos stated that, in its course toward Europe, Turkey has to realize that there are no margins for such flagrant, brutal provocations in issues of culture, democracy and freedom.
Mr. Beglitis stressed that "the sick imagination of certain terrorist elements, who attempt to present non-existent issues, seems to have no bounds. Reaction against them by the international community should be equally without bounds.
"The UCK forces with their terrorist activities in FYROM and Kosovo, continue to be a destabilizing factor in the Balkans. For this reason they should be condemned and isolated by all countries," the spokesman said.
The issue erupted when a self-styled representative of the so- called "National Liberation Army" (aka UCK) active in FYROM, spoke to an Australian radio broadcast and announced the establishment and activation of an Albanian terrorist organization with the name "Tsamouria Liberation Army" on Greek soil.
Mr. Papandreou was referring to the clarification forwarded by the Turkish government, which dismissed as "absolutely inaccurate" Greek press reports that the said vessel would be searching for oil deposits in the Aegean.
"I believe that this latest incident provides us with a useful experience and we can arrive at a significant conclusion," Mr. Papandreou stated, adding that "Greece and Turkey may have important issues to resolve - such as the Cyprus problem - meanwhile, however, through dialogue, through systematic contact, the establishment of channels of cooperation and information exchange we can clarify issues immediately and avert - where necessary- tension, escalation and conflict".
"This is exactly what happened" Mr. Papandreou added, "we received an immediate clarification for this incident, so as something that in the past could have created escalation and tension ... now is - I believe - proof of a serious effort by both sides to avoid tension. I hope that we will continue in this manner," he said.
Moreover, the Foreign Minister stressed that "we do all this while securing our national interests, our territorial integrity, the sovereign rights of our country. All the while, we do this with special calmness and I believe that this is also an important conclusion - calmness and sobriety along with decisiveness is the best way to confront any incident.
"I believe that to become hostages of our own panic or insecurity would be a mistake. I believe that a well-documented, decisive and prudent, as well as sober confrontation always yields the best results."
However, in exclusive statements to the Macedonian Press Agency, Greek police and border patrol authorities also did not rule out the possibility that these self-styled organizations could cause an instigation premeditated by factors who would stand to benefit from a spill-over of clashes in FYROM into the remaining Balkan countries.
According to an MPA police source, Greek authorities have already undertaken the necessary measures to avert such potential incidents, which could occur under the guise of insulting a police officer, arms trafficking, pro-UCK graffiti, etc.
According to reports maintained by the Greek police authorities, the "Tsamouria Liberation Army" is a group comprising 30-40 Albanians who were briefly trained in a paramilitary camp in Northern Albania. However, according to the same reports, this movement, which envisions a "Magna Albania", could not sustain any strength since it was not granted support by the official Albanian authorities.
Moreover, the Greek authorities find it ludicrous that Albanian circles would pose claims over the Tsami population, a small group of Albanians who allied with the fascist Italian and German forces during World War II. Following the liberation of Greece from the Axis forces in 1944 this small group of Albanians (numbering 18,000 during the 1940 census) was drawn out of the country and moved to Albania.
The deadline extension provides the fourth bidder, Integrated Airline Solution, an opportunity to re-enter the tender, since it had pulled out over its inability to meet the original deadline. The other three are Axon Airlines SA, Golden Aviation Services (the Restis shipping group) and Cyprus Airways.
The bid criteria set forth by the government are that OA should operate mainly as an airline after its privatization and retain its logo retain its logo for a specified period of time. Also, the newly-built Athens airport Eleftherios Venizelos should be used as the main base for OA's aircraft.
Moreover, the privatized firm should have the financial strength and administrative capacity to post growth as a financially viable company with long-term prospects, while state and affiliate-firm risks and commitments should be minimized after restructuring.
The stabilization achieved by Greece, which reversed its economy's downward trend, has created a base for future growth, Mr. Simitis said and urged his audience to undertake business initiatives beyond the national borders.
llustrating his point, the Premier stated that in the last three years Greece had risen to 36th place from 48th place in the World Economic Forum, while the Institute of Management Development has ranked Greece 30th from 40th a few years ago, overtaking other European Union countries including Italy and Portugal.
Eureko announced earlier this week that it was acquiring a 54.38 percent stake from Interamerican founder and chairman Dimitris Kontominas, boosting its actual stake to 79.38 percent.
The meeting, to be held on June 8, will also be attended by Slovenian ambassador to Athens Borut Mahnic who will give an address on his country's economic situation.
A delegation of Slovenian entrepreneurs is to also attend the meeting.
Presided by Greece's Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis, the conference features the participation of agriculture ministers from Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Algiers, Tunisia, Morocco, Malta, Lebanon and Albania.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to receive the ministers this afternoon.
The said modification was approved by Justice Minster Michalis Stathopoulos yesterday, the second day of a parliamentary committee debate.
According to the bill, the DNA testing can be performed during the interrogation phase, following a court order.
Mr. Beglitis stressed that the issue was handled responsibly and expressed the belief that "with the clarifications given by the Turkish side everything agreed in Budapest will be kept". He said that the steps made were of precautionary nature to avoid possible research at the continental shelf that could put the Greek national sovereign interests at risk.
Mr. Beglitis said that the ministry neither concealed the "Piri Reis" issue nor came to the conclusion that a major issue was being created. He said that the foreign ministry wanted as a precaution to avoid any possible complications and pointed out that the lack of calm in similar cases in the past had led to crises.
The "prince", as he is called, stated that he will stay with the team under certain preconditions, stressing that he wants to continue the work he started. He also stated that this year was a very difficult one, adding that PAOK is a very good team with very good players. Mr. Bajevic said that PAOK has won the Greek Cup this year and efforts should continue for an even better performance in the new season.
Mr. Bajevic also stated that he does not want any of the players to leave the team and talks will be held this week with those who wish to transfer to another team.
Of the stocks trading today, 150 recorded gains and 173 had losses, while the value of 51 stocks remained stable.
Greece's Commercial Bank participates in the financing of the project with the sum of 14.850.000 British pounds. The Bank of America and Abbey National Treasury Services plc are heading the 26 bank Group.
The special event will be held in the presence of the book's 91-year-old heroine, Sano Halo, while also present will be her daughter and the book's author, Thea Halo. Excerpts from the book will be read by actress Anna Sinodinou.
In her book Thea Halo presents a dramatic part of the history of the Greeks from Pontos through the soul-stirring memories of her mother Sano (Efthimia), who was forced by the Turks to leave Pontos at the age of 10 and was the only one from her family to survive when she was left with an Armenian family in Diyarbakir. At the age of 15 and having lost everything she loved most in life, "even her name", she was introduced to a 45-year-old Assyrian-American whom she married and went with him to the United States where she lives until today. The book presents her life as a married woman, the way she brought up her ten children and her evolution from an innocent child to a loving mother and a resolute New York woman. Seventy years after, Sano returns to Turkey with her daughter Thea looking for her home in the village of Saint Anton (Agios Antonios).
It should be noted that the book was published by the giant US publishing house Picador St. Martin Press and received rave notices from the critics in widely respected US mass media.
The book will also be presented in the northern city of Kavala on June 5 and in Thessaloniki on June 7.
Mr. Reppas said that the Albanian government itself has condemned the actions of the UCK members, adding that Greece is a country that must deal seriously with everything. He also said that UCK is an organization with a terrorist action.
Prime minister Kostas Simitis stated that the European Council summit meeting under the Greek presidency will be held in Thessaloniki on June 19-21, 2003 and stressed that the goal of the government is to promote Greece's role as a country which actively contributes to the creation of the modern European reality.
The Greek EU presidency will be called to deal with major issues such as, the revision of the new treaty, the future of Europe and enlargement, the Lisbon decisions, the modernization of the European social model, the promotion of foreign policy, the creation of a joint defense policy, the gradual creation of a joint policy on immigration and asylum and the creation of a joint agricultural policy which is an issue of major importance for Greece.
The overall cost of the EU presidency is estimated to be 10- 13 billion drachmas.
The "Piri Reis" issue was also discussed in the cabinet meeting and foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou stated that he has received assurances that no research will be conducted in the continental shelf and that the movement of the Turkish research vessel will cause no problems to bilateral relations.
In three sessions, the 150 conference participants will analyze issues like the environment as an indicative factor of an oncoming crisis, the economic and environmental development and the 21st century values.
The conference will be opened by Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis. The participants will be addressed by Michail Gorbachev as the president of the world organization Green Cross, while among others will also be present agriculture minister Giorgos Anomeritis, Francine Cousteau of the Cousteau Group, Kiril Stepanov of the Vernadsky Institute in Russia and French author Tomi Ungerer.