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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-11-28

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, November 28, 2002





  • [03] R. PRODI: A EUROPE OF 25 IN MAY 2004



  • [01] DECISION ON ROYAL ESTATE THIS AFTERNOON The European Court of Human Rights will announce its ruling on the damages the Greek state is to pay to former king of Greece, Konstantinos, concerning the confiscation of the so-called royal estate, today at 16:00.

    Sources mention that the court will obligate the Greek state to pay approximately 102 million euro to the former king. It should be noted that the initial demand of Konstantinos Glixbourg was almost 500 million euro.

  • [02] PAPANDREOU-POWELL MEETING The Cyprus issue and Turkey's relations with the EU were the main points of discussion at the meeting between Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and his US counterpart Colin Powell.

    In statements after their meeting, Mr. Papandreou expressed his hope that with the help of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan a solution will be found for the Cyprus issue. The Foreign Minister stressed that Cyprus' accession will be decided on at the Copen hagen Summit, regardless of whether a solution has been found or the messages sent to Ankara. He also added that Greece wishes to press for a date to begin Turkey's accession negotiations.

    Mr. Papandreou characterized the statements of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on the Annan plan, a request for "negotiations before the negotiations". He stressed however that the Denktash statements could be seen in a positive light, as the first step from the Turkish Cypriot side. "Let us hope that Mr. Denktash will realize that the historic time to stop playing games, to get serious and see that the peoples of Greece and Turkey have a common destiny, has come", he mentioned.

    Mr. Powell made mention of a historic opportunity to resolve the long standing Cyprus problem, however he left the possibility of not achieving an agreement by the Copenhagen Summit open.

    He added that he discussed the possibility of setting a date for Turkey's accession negotiations with Mr. Papandreou, a possibility Washington is seriously looking into.

    At the same time, he expressed his satisfaction with Greece's successes in dealing with terrorism.

    As far as Kofi Annan's proposal is concerned, the two Ministers expressed the view that the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot sides must deal with it positively.

    According to information, Mr. Powell expressed the dissatisfaction of the US on Mr. Denktash's position in relation to the Annan proposal. At the same time he pointed out to Mr. Papandreou that if there is no solution by Copenhagen, the procedure must no t hit a dead end, but on the contrary the dynamics to achieve a solution must be retained. However, he noted that Washington is pressuring towards finding a solution by the Copenhagen Summit.

  • [03] R. PRODI: A EUROPE OF 25 IN MAY 2004 On May 1, 2004, the new scene in the European Union will have cleared up completely after the enlargement, stated President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, in response to a question of the Macedonian Press Agency, in the framework of yesterday's

    open discussion on the Internet. Regarding Turkey's course towards accession, he pointed out that it depends on its own efforts alone, and is not connected to other broader issues.

    Specifically, to the MPA's question on whether it is possible that the 10 candidate countries will not be dealt with as a "package", the President of the European Commission stressed that differentiation is the main characteristic of the enlargement, poi nting out that by May 1, 2004, 10 countries must be ready, while Romania and Bulgaria will be incorporated at a later date.

    As far as Turkey's progress towards accession is concerned, Mr. Prodi observed that progress has been made in the neighboring country in harmonization with community acquis, a point recognized in the recent progress report of the European Commission, poi nting out however that there must be full application of the Copenhagen criteria. He also pointed out that Turkey's candidacy is being judged according to the preparations it is making itself, and not by broader issues.

    Commenting on Valery Giscard d' Estaing's statements, who was categorically against any prospect of Turkey's accession to the EU, he expressed his opposite opinion.

    On the financing of the enlargement, Mr. Prodi pointed out that its terms were agreed upon in Berlin in 1999, and added that the overall cost on the Union's budget during the 2004-2006 period is approximately 45 million euro.

    Regarding the discussion on the EU's borders, the Commission President characteristically stated that "we Europeans will decide where our borders are", pointing out that apart from candidate countries, Balkan states must at some point become a part of th e Union. "We will decide (on a possible further enlargement) after this. The decision, however, will be exclusively ours", he stressed. On the Balkan region specifically, he stressed that there are great developmental prospects.

    As far as Europol is concerned, Mr. Prodi pointed out that fighting organized crime is a main priority of the EU, and emphatically denied rumors wanting this force transforming into an FBI type police force.

  • [04] GREEK PRESIDENCY'S EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL WELFARE PRIORITIES Full employment and improvement of the quality of work in a competitive, dynamic economy, aiming at strengthening social cohesion, are among the five priorities of the Greek Presidency of the EU in the sector of Employment and Social Welfare.

    Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Dimitris Reppas, had a meeting with employee and employer representatives, whom he informed on the two chapters, the policy on the European strategy for employment and the policy for social cohesion, as well as the i nitiatives which are to be undertaken in these sectors, during the Greek Presidency of the EU, and asked for their contribution to its success.

    Upon analyzing the initiatives - priorities the Greek Presidency will develop in the employment and social welfare sector, Mr. Reppas stressed that the axes to be followed will have a three-year "horizon".

    On their side, the representatives were pleased with the Ministry's initiative and asked that their experts participate in the relevant Ministry committee, while they accepted the Minister's proposal for a meeting after the Brussels Summit, on December 2 -3.

    The five axes the Greek Presidency will follow are the following: - Modernizing the European Social Model

    The Greek Presidency considers, according to the Lisbon strategy, that the modernization of the European Social Model is a necessary and efficient policy. The modernization concerns policies on the reform of the labor market, social protection and welfar e, especially in face of the new challenges such as the aging of population, as well as regional inequalities, sex discrimination and issues connected to migratory waves and social inclusion. In fact it is obvious that the non-existence of a social policy

    creates a serious financial cost. - Defending the Lisbon goals

    The Lisbon Strategy set, among other things, a goal of 70% overall employment in the EU, and 60%for women, by 2010, and at the same time the modernization of the European Social Model and the systems of social protection. The European Council of Stockhol m (2001) set intermediate goals on employment percentages by 2005: 67% overall and 57% for women, and a further goal of 50% employment of older people for 2010. During the Greek Presidency it is necessary to confirm the trust and persistence in the Lisbon

    Strategy, but at the same time strengthen its efficiency, in terms of economic deceleration. Finally, the effectiveness of Lisbon's social axis must be strengthened because it is directly connected to competitiveness. - Revision of the European Strategy for Employment and the Modernization of Economic Policy and the European Strategy for Employment

    Concerning the Revision of the ESE and the Modernization of Economic Policy and the ESE, the Greek Presidency supports the need of autonomy, coordination, and complementarity of the two procedures, with the Council of Employment and Social Affairs and th e Council of Economy and Finances playing the major roles in the Employment Policy and Economic Policy respectively, while their coordination is considered necessary in order to improve overall policy cohesion.

    The Spring Council during the Greek Presidency will deal with the overall direction of the ESE's Revision. The need to simplify the ESE without weakening its content has been given priority. After taking new challenges such as the aging of the population

    and the various differentiations that may arise after the enlargement into account, the ESE will have to be applied with triptych of a concentration on the flexibility, quality and security in the workplace, in combination with productivity.

    Priority has also been given to the greater mobilization and participation of employee and employer representatives in its planning and application. At the same time reducing the number of guidelines and improving targets and effectiveness, without damag ing the broad application field of the ESE, setting medium term programming deadlines, with an annual monitoring, placing emphasis on an application connected to the Lisbon Strategy, is being looked into. - Social Protection and Social Cohesion: Defending the European Social Model

    The Greek Presidency recognizes the need to adopt a Single Procedure for a Policy for Social Protection and Social Cohesion in the EU, which would include all individual policies and goals in developments.

    Taking into consideration the need for the axis of social cohesion in the Lisbon procedure to essentially contribute to the encouragement of Competitiveness and Employment in Europe, we believe it is in our best interest to simplify and unify parallel pr ocedures concerning poverty and exclusion, pensions and medical welfare of the aged in a single open coordination method.

    The Greek Presidency is prepared to undertake initiatives in the directions of:

    Fighting poverty and social exclusion, reaffirming the Barcelona "Viability - Adequacy - Adaptability" triptych, continuing and fixing the open coordination method for pensions, accelerating the revision of pension systems, promoting the dialogue for the

    tracing and specification of common principles of pension systems of the 15 member states, and finally, contributing to the sensitizing and the location and eradication of obstacles for people with disabilities. - Legislative work

    The Greek Presidency has been called to assist in the steady progress of the legislative work of the EU, with the promotion of agreements on a series of issues including:

    Work provisions concerning temporary employment, a Regulation Proposal of the European Parliament and the Council on the coordination of social security systems (concerning the disabled and old age and survivors pension, as well as special benefits), the

    European health card, employee protection from asbestos exposure, the Direction proposal of the European Parliament and the Council on the protection of employees from exposure to electromagnetic fields, the proposal to form a Council on the application of legislature relating to health and safety of the self employed, the decision proposal of the Council for the formation of a Consultation Committee on safety, hygiene, and the protection of health in the workspace, the Direction Proposal concerning equa l treatment in sectors other then employment, and the incorporation of sex issues in the rest of the EU's policies as well as in the rest of the Council's structures (Gender mainstreaming, on which the Greek Presidency will propose an annual review of the

    issues at the Spring Council).

  • [05] THE GREEK STATE WILL PAY 4.6 BILLION DRACHMAS TO THE FORMER KING The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that the Greek state will have to compensate former King Konstantinos with the sum of 4.6 billion drachmas or 13.7 million Euro for the so-called royal estate. The decision is final and irrevocable a nd gives the Greek state three months to comply.

    Regarding the rationale of the decision, the European Court ruled with 15 to 2 votes that the Greek state has violated article 1 of the Human Rights Treaty Protocol that guarantees the right to property. The decision mentions that the real estate in the regions of Tatoi, Polidendri and Mon Repos belong to the Greek state and therefore, they were rightfully seized based on the 1994 law for reasons related with the country's system of government. However, the family of the former King had to be compensated

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