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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-10-02

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, October 2, 2003

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] HOW FAR CAN IT GO?
  • [02] MIN. OF AGRICULTURE VS AGRICULTURALIST IN COURT
  • [03] BALANCE, EQUALITY AND THE COMMUNAL METHOD
  • [04] STRIKES GALORE
  • [05] GAINS IN THE ASE
  • [06] RECOMMENDATIONS BY COMMISSIONER DIAMANTOPOULOU TO ROMANIA
  • [07] THE ASSOCIATION OF BALKAN REGIONS CALLS FOR THE COHESION AND DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPEAN REGIONS
  • [08] BSTDB: 20 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN TO A MAJOR RUSSIAN STEEL PRODUCER
  • [09] GREECE'S SOVEREIGN INTERESTS ARE NOT HURT BY THE AIR CORRIDORS' AGREEMENT
  • [10] THE DRAFT PLAN OF THE NEW STATE BUDGET WAS APPROVED
  • [11] PAPANTONIOU IN THE EU DEFENSE MINISTERS' SUMMIT
  • [12] PROTOPAPAS ON THE MUSLIM MINORITY PRESS REPORT
  • [13] BEGLITIS ON THE ISSUE OF THE MUSLIM MINORITY IN THRACE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    NEWS IN DETAILS

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] HOW FAR CAN IT GO? The Cabinet is discussing the new budget today, which foresees increases in salaries and pensions. So far, they do not seem to satisfy certain employee groups. University and technical school professors are continuing their strike, there are protests in hospitals, and courts are closed. The government stated that it not exceed the economy's limits.
  • [02] MIN. OF AGRICULTURE VS AGRICULTURALIST IN COURT A request that the strike of civic agriculturalists and veterinarians, the extension of which is a danger to public health, be declared illegal and excessive, was made by the Ministry of Agriculture. This view was shared by deputy Minister of Development

    K. Koulouris, who gave his assurance that consumers can feel safe, as there are specialists carrying out checks on the meats. Prices are going up and there is lack in supply. Truck drivers in the Kipi customs took over the station symbolically, as they c annot continue with their exports.

  • [03] BALANCE, EQUALITY AND THE COMMUNAL METHOD "Athens believes that there should be balance in the European system between institutional bodies, as this succeeds in securing the interests of countries such as Greece", said Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis, summing up the Greek positions in view to adopting the European Constitution. Greece accepts the fact that foreign policy decisions with a special majority, but reactions will be noted on each issue.
  • [04] STRIKES GALORE Mobilizations and strikes have been being carried out all week and will continue, despite efforts of the government to satisfy the demands of employees.

    The strike of civil agriculturalists and veterinarians, which has caused tons of perishable goods to be exported or imported to spoil at the borders, as there is no one to check them and let them through, will be tried today, after the suit filed against

    them by the Ministry of Agriculture asking that their strike be proclaimed illegal and excessive.

    The strike has caused a lack in fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish throughout the country's market, as well as an increase in prices.

    University and technical school teaching staff are still on strike after a failure to reach an agreement on the raise they are asking for. Their strike has jeopardized the September exam period, although there have been provisions for students graduating

    from university, who need to make dates for post graduate degrees and receive their diplomas before leaving for their tour of duty in the Greek Army.

    However some there is some hope of a solution being found soon, after the announcements made by the Minister of Finance, Nikos Christodoulakis, following a meeting he had with a university staff delegation last night. The Minister made a commitment that funds towards education this year will be increased by 19 million euro, 14% in contrast to the 25% asked for by the rectors, while there will also be emergency funds, to be determined later.

    In fact, the Minister proposed an increase in the raise they were to be given, which was initially 6.5%, and is now 8%. However, this will limit their benefits, so that the total cost for university teaching staffs remains at the same level.

    Employees under the contract of the Ministry of Culture are continuing their strikes, thus keeping many archeological sites closed to the public. The employees have organized a protest rally outside the Ministry of Culture today.

    They are accusing the Ministry of the procedures used to hire 1000 employees, 300 for permanent positions and 700 for an indefinite period of time. These procedures will leave out all those who have worked for the Ministry for many years, they supported.

    Courts, land registries and cadastral offices all over Greece will remain closed for the second day, due to the 48-hour strike of judicial employees. They are fighting to resolve their salary, institutional and pension demands, as well as for the coverag e of 1700 positions. An emergency meeting of the 5 Presidencies of judicial association Administrative Councils will be held today to assess the situation.

    Judicial employees have declared another three-day strike for the 15, 16, and 17 of October.

    Further mobilizations have been announced for tomorrow, with hospital doctors and staffs throughout the country joining in. Hospital doctors have announced a three-day strike for October 6, 7 and 8, in reaction to the failure of the government to meet th eir institutional and financial demands. On the dates above, hospitals will be running on security staffs only. The doctors are asking for a new payroll, an increase in funds towards healthcare services and emergency work being counted towards remaining t ime till their pensions.

    In fact, public hospital staffs have decided to move to five-hour walkouts every Thursday, beginning October 9. They will not work from 10am to 3pm, and only emergency cases will be treated.

    Olympic Airways will also have to move to a change in itineraries, so as not to cause problems in flight schedules, due to the walkout announced by the Union of Flight Attendants.

    The Union has announced walkouts from 8-11am and 5-8pm, accusing the administration of OA of training flight attendants under contract to cover its flights needs, while going around permanent staff members, as it is preparing to fire employees under the guise of forced retirement.

  • [05] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +2.02% at 2.052,86 points, while the volume of transactions was at 128.27 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today the overwhelming majority of 325 recorded gains and 21 had losses, while the value of 16 remained unchanged. Eighteen stocks had no transactions.

  • [06] RECOMMENDATIONS BY COMMISSIONER DIAMANTOPOULOU TO ROMANIA European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, responsible for employment and social affairs, expressed her deepest concern regarding the press reports on the prearranged marriage between young gypsies in Romania, a girl 12 to 14 years old and a 15yearold bo y.

    Mrs. Diamantopoulou stressed that Romania has requested to become a European Union member and the convergence process with the EU has begun, with all the consequences involved in terms of the respect of the fundamental human rights.

    Mrs. Diamantopoulou stressed characteristically that when fundamental human rights and earlier traditions collide then it is the traditions that have to be adjusted and human rights should prevail.

  • [07] THE ASSOCIATION OF BALKAN REGIONS CALLS FOR THE COHESION AND DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPEAN REGIONS The drawing-up of a European Constitution that will provide for the convergence and cohesion of all the European states, the continuation of the EU regional policy and the development of the Balkans and the European regions were discussed in the 3rd Gene ral Assembly of the Balkan Committee of Regions of the Association of Coastal and Marginal Regions of Europe that took place in Thessaloniki today.
  • [08] BSTDB: 20 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN TO A MAJOR RUSSIAN STEEL PRODUCER The Black Sea Trade & Development Bank (BSTDB) will make available 20 million US dollars to Severstal, the second largest steel producer in the Russian Federation, for its expansion plans. The project involves the purchase of equipment manufactured by t wo Ukrainian manufacturers for the modernisation of the production facilities of Severstal in the Russian Federation. The maturity of the loan is up to 7 years.

    The BSTDB's corporate loan will be directed at further improving the quality of Severstal's specialized steel products and covers the modernization and technical upgrading of the production facilities of Severstal.

    "We consider this as a first step toward the long-lasting and mutually beneficial cooperation of our two organizations", said Alexander Andrianov, CFO of Severstal. "We are very happy to begin cooperation with Severstal, one of Russia's model companies,

    with an excellent regional and international reputation", said Mustafa Gurtin, President of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, signing the project.

    Situated at Cherepovets, in Russia's northwestern Vologda region, Severstal is one of the leading Russian steel producers. Its capacity is more than 10 million tons per annum and it ranks number 17 worldwide by steel output.

    Including the Severstal project, BSTDB's approved investments in Russia total more than US$ 140 million.

  • [09] GREECE'S SOVEREIGN INTERESTS ARE NOT HURT BY THE AIR CORRIDORS' AGREEMENT The agreement on the new air corridors was at the center of the discussion between the government and the opposition during the briefing of the members of the Parliamentary Committee on European Affairs made today by Alternate Foreign Minister Tasos Yian nitsis and Undersecretaries of Defense Lazaros Lotidis and Manolis Stratakis.

    It was clarified categorically both by the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense that no sovereign right is affected by the agreement that has to do with the operation of civil aviation.

    On their part, the opposition Parliament deputies stated that this is an unfair agreement that serves only the interests of Turkey.

    Based on the new agreement, 15 new air corridors are being created. Nine of them will belong to the Athens FIR, five will be shared by the Athens FIR and the Istanbul FIR and one will belong to the Istanbul FIR.

  • [10] THE DRAFT PLAN OF THE NEW STATE BUDGET WAS APPROVED The five main characteristics of the 2004 state budget were analyzed by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in the cabinet meeting today, during which the state budget's draft plan was approved.

    Mr. Simitis stressed that the state budget backs development as it aims at an increase of 4.2% for the GDP, and one of its goals is to bring unemployment down to 8%. It is also a social budget, with a social package of 2.3 billion euros and aims at the f airer distribution of income, while it is expected to contribute to the materialization of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

  • [11] PAPANTONIOU IN THE EU DEFENSE MINISTERS' SUMMIT Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou departs for Rome tomorrow to attend the Informal Summit Meeting of the EU Defense Ministers.

    In the summit will be discussed the EU-NATO relations, the development of the military capability and the creation of a European organization on armaments and research. The participants will also discuss the role of the EU and the peacekeeping missions i n the Balkans, as well as the Mediterranean Dimension of the European Policy on Security and Defense.

    On the sidelines of the summit, Mr. Yiannitsis will have meetings with his EU counterparts.

    The Defense Ministers of the 10 EU acceding countries and the NATO Secretary General have been invited to attend the summit.

  • [12] PROTOPAPAS ON THE MUSLIM MINORITY PRESS REPORT Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas commented on a press report according to which, the Greek Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling that will lead to the recognition of the Muslim minority in Thrace as a Turkish minority. Mr. Protopapas stated that the Supreme Court ruling on the issue is not out yet and underlined that the government has no intention to interfere in the work of Justice.

    Justice in Greece is independent. We will wait for the Supreme Court ruling, said Mr. Protopapas adding that Greece is very careful when handling minority issues. Greece respects their rights and operates within the framework of International Law and the

    Treaty of Lauzanne, stressed Mr. Protopapas.

  • [13] BEGLITIS ON THE ISSUE OF THE MUSLIM MINORITY IN THRACE Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis suggested to wait for the final decision of the Greek Supreme Court on the issue of the Muslim minority in Thrace. The comment was made in response to a press report on the Athens newspaper "TO VIMA" accord ing to which, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling that will lead to the recognition of the Muslim minority in Thrace, northeastern Greece, as a Turkish minority.

    Mr. Beglitis stated that Greece's policy on the minority in Thrace is firmly based on the respect of International Law and International Treaties especially, the Treaty of Lauzanne.

    In the specific press report it is mentioned that Supreme Court Judge N. Kasavetis in his introduction accepts that the use of the terms "Turkish Association" and "Turks of Western Thrace" by members of the Muslim minority is legal.

  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


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