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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-05-16

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 Thessaloniki, May 16, 2003








  • [01] SIMITIS RECEIVES PROPOSALS The Prime Minister holds the proposals of the relevant ministers and officials on the modernization of the political system, in the framework of the initiative he has announced he will take after the completion of the Presidency. Among the proposals is t hat for the change of the electoral law, which Minister of the Interior Mr. Scandalidis said does not exist. There are also proposals for checking into political funds on a local level. Proposals for changes in institutions and persons seem to have been m ade by the Secretary of PASOK's Central Committee, Costas Laliotis.
  • [02] ARMY BRIEFS ERDOGAN VIA THE PRESS The contradictions in the centers of authority in Ankara were brought back into the spotlight by the Greek protests on Turkish violations in the Aegean. Foreign Minister Am. Gul stated that he knew nothing and that he would ask to be briefed, when his Gr eek counterpart, Mr. Papandreou, raised the issue, while shortly afterwards the General Turkish Army Staff was accusing the Greek side of harassing Turkish fighter aircrafts in international airspace. New scenarios of thoughts of a coup in the army.
  • [03] CONTRADICTION INSTEAD OF CONSENT IN EDUCATION Understanding, composition, unification of forces and consent of the citizens on the application of ND's program for education, which was presented yesterday by ND's political planner G. Souflias, was asked for by President of ND Costas Karamanlis. What ND is asking for, answered Minister of Education P. Efthymiou, is the demolition of the public character of public education, with universities at its point.
  • [04] SCANDALIDIS: THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO ELECTORAL LAW READY "The government does not have an electoral law sitting in a desk drawer", stressed Minister of the Interior Costas Scandalidis yesterday, after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, with whom he discussed changes in the electoral system and a new

    bill on means tests for politicians and parties. Issues concerning the course of the government's work until the end of the Presidency were also raised.

    When asked about the scenarios concerning the electoral law, Mr. Scandalidis noted that they are not being processed by the government, and added that general initiatives are being looked into, so that there is a contribution to the quality of democracy.

    He also said that he submitted proposals to the Prime Minister and that Mr. Simitis would decide if any initiative is to be taken.

    Mr. Simitis also met with the Secretary of PASOK's Central Committee with whom they discussed issues concerning preparations for the meeting of the Executive Office, which is to take place on May 20 and the meeting of the Central Committee to be held on May 27.

    In fact, according to information, Mr. Laliotis expressed his own proposals to the Prime Minister, in the sectors in which changes could be made in view of the initiatives that are expected to be taken by the Prime Minister in the beginning of July.

    Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will meet with the Minister of Health Costas Stefanis, and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.

  • [05] STEFANIS STATEMENTS ON SARS The construction of negative pressure chambers in five more hospitals in Attica, as well as at regional university hospitals, in order to deal with possible SARS cases and avoid the spreading of the SARS virus, was mentioned in a radio interview to "Flas h" radio, by Minister of Health, Mr. Stefanis.

    Mr. Stefanis said that there has been a small drop in the problem of SARS, while as far as the case with the flight attendant that caused a stir in Greece is concerned, he said that molecular identification has already minimized the chances of her being infected by the virus.

    Regarding the effectiveness of the measures, which are being taken by Greece and the rest of the world, Mr. Stefanis said that there are no effective measures, since no matter how well we fortify our country, even if we completely isolate it, it would be

    very difficult to guarantee that the virus not enter the country.

    "Because we cannot bar all people from entering, from any point of the planet, since the virus itself has a 10 day gestation period, consequently the host enters the country a healthy person and presents the symptoms a few days later. We do not know whic h point in the development of the virus is the most or least contractive", he stated characteristically.

    Regarding China's decision to punish those violating quarantine, even by death, the Minister stated that that will only cause people's abhorrence.

  • [06] TSOCHATZOPOULOS: SELF CONTROL IN FACE OF TURKISH PROVOCATIONS Self control is the answer to the barrage of Turkish provocations in Greek air space according to Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos, while he stated that the meeting of PASOK's Central Committee on May 27 must be used to reach an agreement on an initiative that will use the full potential of the governing party, in statements he made from Ioannina.

    On the Turkish provocations in the Aegean, he observed: "I think that this is an issue of analyzing Turkish strategy, as it has been formed after the latest developments. I believe that Turkey is going through a special period, characterized by intense c ompetition in its interior, as far as the content of the policy it will follow as a country is concerned.

    This competitiveness is developing to very high levels, from traditional bodies, whether it is within or outside politics. Consequently we see coexisting efforts for the materialization of convergence with the European Union, while at the same time holdi ng a harsh position on the Cyprus issue, following a position on the same issue that seemed very open and ready for dialogue and the acceptance terms, both in the plan of the UN Secretary General and in the proposals of the European Union."

    "What is necessary, as a response to the situation, is self control. At the same time, however, I believe that the clear message towards Turkey and towards the European Union, is that there is a basis of adequacy, ability and power in Greece, obviously a nd evidently recognized in the EU and everywhere, and those are a guarantee, so that our message towards Turkey and the EU is clear: that we want neighborly relations, of cooperation, approach and common effort to deal with issues.

    On the atmosphere within PASOK, he pointed out that "it is an era where there is an atmosphere which is against us and unfairly so, since Greece is on a very positive course. Greek society is at one of the most powerful points of its development in the l ast few years. It has significant advantages, recognition, authority."

    "However we want to do more. The redistribution mechanisms, in the framework of our course over the past few years have decisively contributed to improving the position of Greek citizens. Don't forget that we have invested 26% of the GDP in the social se ctor, which is one of the best averages in the European Union. Thus, we also need to promote new systems of redistribution, while materializing our developmental strategy for which we ask the broadest participation possible, so that there can be overall d evelopment. We are interested in regional, endogenous, complete development, which is a democratic development and gives everyone a chance to participate.

    In that direction, PASOK has the obligation to submit proposals. Proposals for a new social contract, a new strategic course, which will show the exact way to move in specific basic sectors. In fact we have the meeting of the Central Committee in a few d ays, and we must use it to agree on an initiative that will utilize PASOK's overall potential, with a new unity and new momentum, in order to be able to go to the new, next stage, where we must contribute to the interests of the Greek people".

  • [07] NEW NEGATIVE PRESSURE CHAMBERS Negative pressure chambers will be constructed in 5 Attica hospitals, as well as in regional university hospitals, in order to deal with possible cases and to avoid spreading of viruses, such as SARS, according to an announcement made by Minister of Heal th C. Stefanis, who said that there has been a minor drop in the SARS problem globally. Mr. Stefanis said that there are no effective measures, since no matter how fully we fortify Greece, even if we isolated it, it would be very difficult to secure again st the possibility of the virus entering the country.
  • [08] ATHENS REFUTES EMBARGO AGREEMENT Athens refuted Turkish press publications mentioning that the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers, G. Papandreou and Am. Gul, had agreed to cooperate in order to lift the sanctions against Turkish Cypriots. The confrontation between the centers of author ity in Ankara was brought back to the foreground by the Greek protests over the violations in the Aegean.
  • [09] GREECE AT THE PACE OF THE CUP FINAL Greece is moving to the beat of the Cup final in Thessaloniki. The two eternal opponents, Aris and PAOK will stand against each other tomorrow at 21:15, in the great final to be held in the Toumba stadium for the first time after 33 years. Both sides are

    overly optimistic about conquering the title, game problems have been minimized, while tickets for the game are selling like hot cakes.

    The 9,400 tickets available to each FC were sold in record times. Demand for tickets by fans was excessive, however very few managed to secure the "golden ticket". Thousands of fans started queuing since yesterday and there were some minor incidents when

    tickets were not distributed from the main ticket stands, as well as some cases of ticket "scalping".

  • [10] EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FISCHLER IN ATHENS ON MONDAY European Commissioner Frants Fischler, responsible for agriculture and fisheries issues, will visit Athens on Monday.

    He will participate in the meeting of the Parliamentary Agriculture Committees of the 25 European Union member states, the European Parliament and the Parliaments of the EU candidate states. The meeting is organized by the Greek state Parliament.

  • [11] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.02% at 1.750,97 points, while the volume of transactions was at 117.6 million euros.

    The ASE followed the upward trend recorded in the major European stock markets today and received a boost by the well-selected investments made in the sectors of banking and textile.

    Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 258 recorded gains, compared to 63 that had losses, while the value of 56 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [12] DISAGREEMENTS IN CHALKIDIKI ON THE FINANCING OF STRUCTURAL POLICIES The 15 EU member states are divided into two camps regarding the EU GDP percentage allocated for the financing of structural policies in the Europe of the "25" in the period after 2006.

    The European Commission and the Greek EU Presidency believe that the percentage should be maintained at 0.45% of the GDP or be increased, a position also backed by most member states. However, the other side, made up of Britain, Germany, Holland and Belg ium, backs a decrease of the percentage in question.

    The difference in opinions was made clear during the proceedings of the informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Finance and Regional Policy taking place in Chalkidiki today and tomorrow in the presence of the responsible European Commissioner, Mr. Michel


    In a press conference held on the occasion of the meeting, Mr. Barnier stressed that the obligation of the European Commission is to achieve dynamic compromise in this field.

    On his part, Greek Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, who presides over the meeting, expressed the belief that the cohesion policies will promote development not only in the countries that signed the enlargement treaty recently but the whole of t he EU as well.

  • [13] THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR SAE The Cyprus issue was and continues to be among the top priorities of the World Council for the Greeks Living Abroad, SAE, according to statements made to MPA by SAE Vice-President and Cyprus coordinator Charis Sofoklidis, who is also President of the Wor ld Federation of Cypriots Living Abroad, POMAK.

    Mr. Sofoklidis expressed satisfaction for Cyprus' EU accession and stressed that this way Cyprus met its second strategic goal as its first goal still is the adoption of a fair, viable and operational solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The POMAK President stated that he backs the free movement and cooperation between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots and the implementation of human rights across the Cyprus island. He added, however, that vigilance should continue for as long as there are 35,000 Turkish troops on the island and thousands of Turkish settlers and the Turkish side continues to demand the creation of a separate state.

    On the tactic followed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to announce a partial lifting of the movement restrictions from and to the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus, he said that it is a readjustment to the new situation aimed at creating the impre ssion of good neighborly relations in Cyprus.

    Mr. Sofoklidis also said that the overnight stays in the Turkish occupied northern part of Cyprus and the extravagant behaviors (thankfully, of only a few of his fellow Cypriots) such as, night-club entertainment, casino visits, etc, actually confirm the

    Denktash point of view, who spoke of tourist visits. He also said that the financial support of the Turkish Cypriot regime encourages the continuation of the Turkish occupation.

  • [14] INFLATION IN GREECE AMONG THE HIGHEST IN THE EU Inflation in Greece is the third highest among the EU member states. According to the monthly bulletin issued by the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat, inflation dropped in Greece from 3.9% in March to 3.3% in April.

    Based on the Eurostat bulletin, the highest inflation among the "15" recorded in April was in Ireland (4.6%) and the lowest in Germany (1%).

    At Euro-zone level, the price index dropped to 2.1% in April from 2.4% in March. In the "15", it dropped from 2.3% in March to 1.9% April.

    Compared to April 2002, the largest average percentages were recorded in Ireland (4.7%), Portugal (3.8%), Greece and Spain (3.7%).

  • [15] SATISFACTION BY THE HEALTH MINISTER FOR THE MEASURES AGAINST SARS Greek Health Minister Kostas Stefanis expressed satisfaction for the measures taken in the country in order to deal with the likelihood of SARS cases.

    Mr. Stefanis made the statement after the meeting he had with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis. He said that the policy implemented so far and the measures taken limited as much as possible the likelihood to have a SARS case in Greece.

    In the case of the suspected SARS patient reported a few days ago, Mr. Stefanis stated that all the right steps were made and the WHO was briefed as it should. He also said that all the necessary infrastructure has been secured for the country to be able

    to deal with the virus.

  • [16] SIMITIS-PAPANDREOU MEETING Turkey's European course means that the country will adopt the criteria set by the European Union, including respect for international law and the good neighborly relations principle, underlined Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou after the meeting on fo reign issues he had today with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.

    On the occasion of the recent violations of the Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets and the contacts he had with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Brussels during which the specific issue was raised, Mr. Papandreou stated that Greece's policy re garding Turkey has consistency and cohesion.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that he discussed with the Prime Minister the developments in Cyprus in view of the visit of Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos to Athens. They also examined issues that will be discussed in the Thessaloniki Summit meeting, the f uture of Europe and the European Constitution, immigration, and the European prospects of the Balkan countries after meeting the Copenhagen criteria.

  • [17] EU PRESIDENCY DECLARATION ON THE OPENING OF NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF NEPAL AND THE MAOISTS The European Union notes with satisfaction the peace negotiations which have been opened between His Majesty's Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The EU reaffirms its support for an inclusive democratic political process and s uccessful negotiation. Recent developments have given cause for concern and EU urges all sides to adopt a flexible approach and renounce violence.

    The EU welcomes the recent public commitment of HMG/N and the CPN (Maoist) to negotiate with the National Human Rights Commission a separate Human Rights Accord. The EU views this initiative as a significant step in the peace process which will bolster c onfidence. The EU is willing to support the implementation of this agreement.

    The EU will continue to support the Government of Nepal in its efforts to tackle poverty, discrimination and to improve governance. Successful negotiations between His Majesty's Government of Nepal and the CPN (Maoist) would provide an improved basis for

    future co-operation between the EU and HMG/N.


  • [18] CONFERENCE OF THE ADRIATIC-IONIAN INITIATIVE PARLIAMENT PRESIDENTS Illegal trade and international terrorism were the two issues on the agenda of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative Parliament Presidents, who met in Ravenna, Italy today.

    Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis pointed out in the meeting that the risks involved in these phenomena are, at this time, at the center of the proposals under discussion in the EU within the framework of the efforts to establish an area of

    freedom, security and justice.

    Mr. Kaklamanis gave an emphasis to the issue of terrorism, stressing that every form of terrorism or any other kind of violence is condemned unequivocally

    A tripartite meeting of the Presidents of the state Parliaments of Greece and Italy and the European Parliament was held on the sidelines of the conference. In the meeting they discussed issues concerning the cooperation of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliam ents and the transformation of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliaments' Conference into a Permanent Parliamentary Assembly.

  • [19] KAKLAMANIS' COMMENTS ON CORRUPTION Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis referred to the phenomena of decay and corruption observed in every country, which undermine and incapacitate every legislative effort and every institution established against organized crime.

    The statements were made by Mr. Kaklamanis in the Conference of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative Parliament Presidents taking place in Ravenna, Italy.

    Mr. Kaklamanis also said that things will change if the social and political forces, the intellectuals and the business world in every country stop tolerating, and in some cases, taking advantage of the phenomena of decay and corruption both at a persona l and a collective level.

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