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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-05-20

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, May 20, 2003





  • [04] ELECTIONS ON MAY 2, 2004



  • [01] RESTRUCTURING BEFORE THE DEAD END Businesses have a social responsibility and should utilize current modernization and restructuring policies before things reach a dead end, state Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, while the Avgerinopoulos and Peratikos groups are standing in lin e concerning scenarios of their shutting down. Reppas letter to Philip Morris on securing positions in Papsstratos. The government has not "lived up to the occasion", "it neither has a plan to deal with unemployment, nor for development and real convergen ce", stated the head of ND's economic sector G. Alogoskoufis.
  • [02] EXAMS WITHOUT SURPRISES High school students entered the battle for the 80,500 positions in higher and technical educational institutions. The total number of candidates is approximately 137,000, and there is a 55% acceptance probability. Approximately 75,000 11th graders are p articipating in the exams. As far as the choice of topics is concerned the Exam Committee is expected to move along the same lines as last.
  • [03] CONTRADICTIONS OF A FIASCO Maria Tsinteri was called to make clarifications on information she gave the authorities on the meeting members of the 17N organization had on Louise Riancour st. in 1992, while her name was confirmed by the testimony of the then Chief of Police, St. Mak ris. Mrs. Tsintseri had received 13 million drachmas for her information. S. Xeros spoke of a plan within the police force for police officials to keep the money. Mrs. Tsintseris' testimonies so far are contradictory.
  • [04] ELECTIONS ON MAY 2, 2004 Elections will be held on May 2, 2004, stated Minister of the Interior Costas Scandalidis, who, in a speech in Athens, stated that "subversion now and everywhere" is the only answer to "where are we going?", a question often raised lately, as PASOK seems

    to be in the "middle of a storm" and "with its back up against a wall". If there are no changes, national elections and European elections will be held separately in 2004, stated Mr. Protopapas, pointing out that the Greek Presidency has not taken an ini tiative in changing the date of the Euroelections. PASOK's Executive Office is meeting in preparation of the Central Committee and Parliamentary Group meetings.

  • [05] EU COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS The strengthening of relations between Balkan countries and the European Union, the course of the works of the Convention working on the Constitution of the EU, the Middle Eastern issue and Iraq were the discussed at the Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers i n Brussels, Presided over by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    As far as the Balkans are concerned, the Greek Presidency underlined the need to strengthen the ties of the region's countries to the EU. In statements, Mr. Papandreou mentioned that the "15" agree on general terms that community subsidies towards those countries should be reinforced, while at the same time they should try to intensify their efforts for social and financial modernization.

    On the issue of Iraq, the Foreign Minister said that the distance between EU member-states has gradually begun to decrease, and he stressed that EU member-states decided to reopen their Embassies and offices in Baghdad.

    As far as the Middle Eastern issue is concerned, Mr. Papandreou underlined the need to promote the so called road map, and stressed that the EU condemned the recent, new, outbreak of violence, pointing out however the concern of the "15" in the consequen ces to the Palestinian civilian population.

  • [06] CONTRADICTIONS OF A FIASCO Maria Tsinteri categorically denied that she was a police informant in the Riancour rendezvous case of 1992. Mrs. Tsinteri denied receiving any money and stated she knew nothing about the reasons for which she was involved. "We are waiting to see to whom

    and how the millions in rewards were split", stated defendant Dimitris Koufontinas, whom the DA immediately asked, "where did the money from the robberies carried out by the organization go?"

  • [07] TSINTERI DENIES INFORMING THE POLICE ON 17N Maria Tsinteri, who allegedly informed the Greek Police on the Louise Riancour rendezvous, testified in the trial of the "17 November" suspect members, causing great tension in the courtroom.

    Maria Tsinteri was named by former Greek Police Chief Stefanos Makris, as the informant in the Louise Riancour case who received 13 million drachmas as a reward. The witness denied any implication in the case during her testimony in the trial today.

    She supported that she gave no information to the Greek Police and that she never came in contact with Mr. Makris. To prove her testimony she brought a telephone bill from February 2002, in which she showed that her telephone number is withheld. The reas on she brought it was that Mr. Makris testified tat the second time she allegedly called him in March, he recognized the number.

    The Former Chief of Police, who was present in the courtroom, insisted that the witness called him and that her number was displayed on his telephone. This allegation angered Maria Tsinteri who stressed that she knew neither him, nor anything about the a ctivity of "17 November".

    However, she could not find a reason as to why the police would choose her and not some other woman.

    "We have seen the beautiful, angelically created world of the web of agents, informants, rats, and the leadership of the police in the case of devouring secret funds. "17 November" was not and could not have been connected to these things. We are waiting

    to see how the millions in awards were split", stated defendant Dimitris Koufontinas, in relation to the newest development in the case.

    The court DA, Christos Lambrou, responded by asking where all the money that the organization acquired from bank robberies was.

  • [08] SIX HUNDRED REFUGEES AT THE GREEK-FYROM BORDERS About 600 gypsy refugees are at the Greek-FYROM borders at a small distance from the border crossing of Niki at the prefecture of Florina, northwestern Greece. They are gypsies from Kosovo, who want to cross the borders to Greece citing reasons concernin g their own safety.

    Among them are women and children, who were forced to leave the province of Kosovo in 1999 because of the war and since then they live at a refugee camp created at the Suto Orizari region in FYROM. A few days ago, the FYROM government and the UN High Com mission for Refugees ordered them to leave the camp and return to Kosovo causing their strong reaction.

    Yesterday, they boarded on buses and reached the neutral zone at the Greek-FYROM borders where they attempted unsuccessfully to cross the borders to Greece. They say that the Albanians living in the region accuse them of collaborating with the Serbs in t he 1999 war operations and they express fear that if they return to Kosovo they will be exterminated.

    FYROM army and police forces have isolated them at the border's neutral zone in the effort to prevent them from entering the Greek territory, while a similar mobilization is underway at the Greek side as well. About 100 Greek police officers and border g uards are in the region since yesterday, while the army has increased its patrols.

  • [09] SMALL LOSSES IN THE ASE Small losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.15% at 1.732,42 points, while the volume of transactions was at 113.4 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 99 recorded gains and 212 had losses, while the value of 66 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] CHANGES IN THE PENSIONS OF EU OFFICIALS The GAERC approved the Greek Presidency's Proposal concerning the revision of Staff Regulations applicable to EU officials. This is the first time since the creation of the Communities that a major overhaul of the provisions concerning pensions, remunera tion and careers has been undertaken.

    The modernization on the European Administration has become more pressing in light of the imminent enlargement. A basic characteristic of the new career system is the reinforcement of merit-based promotions. Measures are also foreseen for the promotion o f equal opportunities, the reinforcement of the multilingual dimension the EU civil service and the continued recruitment of highly qualified candidates from all the member states.

    Remuneration will be adjusted on the basis of a multi-annual adjustment mechanism, which will remain in force for eight years. A new special levy (2,5% phased to 5,5%) will be paid by officials in order to contribute to the costs of the European Schools and other social purposes. In addition, the system of allowances will be simplified.

    The parameters of the pension system will be modified. For new staff statutory pension age will increase from 60 to 63, the annual accrual rate for pension rights will de decreased from 2% to 1,9% and the present bonus granted to those remaining in servi ce after the statutory pension age will be replaced by a flat rate "Barcelona incentive" of 2% per annum. The acquired rights and the legitimate expectations of existing employees will be fully protected by adequate transition measures.

    Other changes to the pension system include the elimination of correction coefficients for future pension rights.

    The final compromise was successfully concluded by the Greek Presidency, following intensive negotiations at Council.

  • [11] EUROPEAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT "Environment for Europe", is the topic of the 5th European Ministerial Conference in which will participate Greek Minister of Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Mrs. Vaso Papandreou, who is the president of the EU Environment Ministers Council.

    The conference will be held in Kiev on May 21-23 with the participation of EU member states, eastern European countries, the Caucasus' countries, and central Asia countries, in the presence of representatives from OECD, international organizations, insti tutions and non governmental organizations.

    The "Environment for Europe" initiative got underway with the ministerial conference that took place at Dobris, Czechoslovakia (1991) followed by Ministerial Conferences in Switzerland (1993), Bulgaria (1995) and Denmark (1998).

    The goal of the Initiative is to bolster environment safety and secure public health in the UNECE region (UN Economic Committee for Europe) with an emphasis to eastern European countries, the Caucasus and central Asia.

    The Kiev Conference will attempt to send a strong political message for the improvement of the environment in Europe and the effective exploitation of the decisions reached in the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development.

  • [12] THE GREEK HEALTH MINISTER MET WITH HIS COUNTERPARTS FROM ISRAEL AND TURKEY Greek Health Minister and President of the EU Health Ministers Council, Kostas Stefanis met with his counterparts from Israel and Turkey. The meeting took place in Geneva on the sidelines of the proceedings of the 56th World Health Organization annual ge neral assembly.

    In the meeting with Israel's Health Minister they exchanged views on ways to deal with SARS and the measures already adopted. They also discussed the situation in the Middle East and expressed guarded optimism on the implementation of the "roadmap". A sp ecial reference was made to the recent visit of Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou to the region.

    The Turkish Health Minister invited Mr. Stefanis to visit Turkey to set the basis for the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the sector of health. Mr. Stefanis accepted the visit and briefed the Turkish Health Minister on the prospects of the upgradin g of the sensitive health sector within the EU framework.


  • [13] EU DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION MINISTERS' COUNCIL DISCUSS IRAQ The humanitarian aid to Iraq and issues concerning the country's reconstruction course were discussed in the EU Development Cooperation Ministers' Council that met in Brussels today.

    According to Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos, the Council pointed out that the assistance to Iraq, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank should not affect the development aid to the African states and the less developed countries.

    The Council also discussed issues concerning the new regulations and the commitments stemming from the Monterey Summit, as well as the release of the aid approved.

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