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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 96-11-25
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, November 25, 1996
NEWS IN DETAIL
 EU FOREIGN MINISTERS COUNCIL MEETS IN BRUSSELS TODAY
Brussels, November 25 (M.P.A.)The European Union's Foreign Ministers Council will convene in Brussels today and will examine the Irish EU Presidium's proposal for converging the EU-Turkey Association Council.
Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who departed this morning for Brussels, has unequivocally stated that Greece will use its veto power during the Council in order to block the adoption of the EU Presidium's proposal.
The Irish-held EU Presidency has arrived at a draft text containing the conclusions of today's Council session, for which Greece's permanent representative has already relayed the Greek Government's misgivings.
This draft text attempts to maintain the essense of the text issued on July 15, 1996 wherein there was a clear message on the need to resolve the greek-turkish differences -including the Imia islets issue- either through direct dialogue, or through either party's resort to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Yet, according to reports, there is a possibility the Irish proposal will not contain any mention of the Imia. This is construed as an effort on behalf of the EU Presidency to arrive at an acceptance from Greece, albeit a difficult feat to accomplish since the text of July 1996, which was satisfactory for Greece, is contained in the new text in a convoluted manner.
As such, the overriding conclusion is that the text has been drafted in such a way as to satisfy Ankara. Therefore, it is not ruled out that the mild approach adopted by Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou in the recent ministerial councils will be abandoned in favor of Mr. Pangalos' more rigid stance which will aim at making the text more cogent and clear, thus returning to last July's common statement issued by the "15".
It should be noted that the EU members must reach a consensus in regards to their common stance towards Turkey during the EU-Turkey Association Council, which is scheduled for December 6.
Sweden supports that the Council must take place in order to be given the opportunity, along with other countries, to express its chagrin to Ankara over Turkey's lack of progress on the democratic process, the continuous violations of human rights and the oppression of the Kurdish minority.
 BUDGET TO BE TABLED ON FRIDAY: AIMS TO REDUCE DEFICIT, CONTAIN INFLATION
Athens, November 25 (M.P.A.)The PASOK Ministerial Council will convene tomorrow in order to draw its conclusive decisions on tax exemptions, focusing on the objective criteria for self- employed professionals, while the 1997 budget will be tabled in Parliament on Friday.
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stated today that the main target of the state's economic policy for the upcoming year will be the reduction of deficit and the containment of inflation.
 LABOR AND PUBLIC SERVANTS UNIONS PROTEST STATE'S ECONOMIC POLICY
Athens, November 25 (M.P.A.)The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) will hold a country-wide strike on Thursday, protesting the Government's economic measures and the 1997 budget.
The union members are protesting what they deem to be unfair taxation, given that 55.2% of state revenue will burden the incomes of public servants, workers, and pensioners.
The President of GSEE Christos Polyzogopoulos has stated that the situation can no longer continue as it is, and has demanded that the Government index the income tax brackets to inflation, raise tax exemptions to GRD 2 million and tax state securities to finance social policies.
Government officials are not surprised by the announced strike. PASOK Executive Bureau member Paraskevas Avgerinos stated that the workers' reactions were to be expected.
 GREEK-AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HOLDS ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
Athens, November 25 (M.P.A.)Addressing the Greek-American Chamber of Commerce's seventh annual conference titled "the Time of the Greek Economy", the Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou stated today that the Government's aim is to reduce inflation to 4.5% by December of 1997.
Mr. Papantoniou added that accomplishing such feat is a responsibility that lies not only with the state, but with the society at large.
Also, the Minister added that investment and development are two national priorities and expressed his optimism that Greece will be ready by the year 2000 to enter the Economic and Monetary Union on equal terms.
The President of the minor opposition party Democratic and Social Movement (DIKKI) Dimitris Tsovolas also addressed the conference and stated that the Maastricht Treaty's terms should be reviewed on a Europe- wide level, while not ruling out the need to enforce a stabilizing policy.
Nevertheless, Mr. Tsovolas noted that the said policy cannot be achieved through squeezing incomes and enforcing new taxes, but rather through improving production.
 EUROPARLIAMENT DELEGATION TO FYROM, GREEK DEPUTY INCLUDED
Thessaloniki, November 25 (M.P.A.)A delegation from the European Parliament's Committee for Relations with Southeastern European countries, departed from Thessaloniki today for FYROM where they will meet with President Kiro Gligorov on Tuesday evening,
Participating in the delegation, which oversees the Europarliament's relations with Yugoslavia, Croatia, Albania and FYROM, will be the greek main opposition party's eurodeputy Panayiotis Sarlis (New Democracy).
During its two-day stay in FYROM, the delegation will hold a joint conference with FYROM's corresponding parliamentary committee and the delegates are expected to also meet with FYROM's Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frtckovski and leaders of various political parties.
Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Sarlis stated that the meeting will address all the current issues concerning the European Union and FYROM. The N.D. deputy did not rule out the possibility of the name issue pending between Greece and FYROM rising during the talks.
 GREEK FREIGHT FORWARDERS AIM TO LINK FAR EAST MARKETS WITH THE BALKANS
Thessaloniki, November 25 (M.P.A.)Linking the Far Eastern markets with the Balkans via Thessaloniki -as soon as next year- is the target of the Association of International Freight Forwarders of Greece, as emerged for its First Conference held last week in Thessaloniki.
The Association's President Belisario Capocci, stated that the aim is to bring the Greek and Balkan freight forwarders closer to one another in order to develop strategic alliances and enter into the Far Eastern markets next year.
At next year's conference, to be held November 1997 in Thessaloniki, freight forwarders from Far Eastern countries will be invited to attend.
Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/