|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-09
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS' PRESS CONFERENCE IN NICE, FRANCENice, 9 December 2000 (18:23 UTC+2)
A directorship, made up of the strong countries, is trying to impose its views especially on the issue of the votes distribution, stressed Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis in a press conference he gave in Nice, France today where the EU Summit meeting takes place.
Mr. Simitis stated that Greece and other 8 small countries agree with each other and disagree with the strong countries. He characterized as tough the negotiations that are taking place and underlined that if there is no agreement by this afternoon, which appears to be most likely, there will be a new proposal by the French EU presidency. The prime minister also stated that on the issue of the votes there is a wide range of views and an agreement on this issue will be difficult.
Mr. Simitis stated that the main points of the French proposal is the composition of the European Commission, the votes distribution and the issue of the special majority and unanimity.
Regarding the fact that Turkey is not mentioned as a candidate country and it is also not mentioned in the vote distribution among the 27 countries that will eventually make up the EU after its enlargement, the prime minister stated that Turkey is a candidate country in a special category. He also said that the accession process for this country has not started yet, adding that both the issue of Turkey and the issue of the western Balkans will be discussed later and this is Greece's wish.
 THE GREEK FARMERS MAKE UP 8.5% OF THE EU FARMERSBrussels, 9 December 2000 (16:16 UTC+2)
The Greeks make up 8.5% of the farmers in the European Union, while the Portuguese make up 7.5% and the Italians 25.6%. Also, 45% of the farmers in Greece are over the age of 55 as they are in Italy too, while in France, Finland and Holland this percentage drops to 25% and in Austria to 20%.
The figures were given to publicity yesterday by the EU Statistics Agency, Eurostat. Based on the Eurostat report, the majority of the farmers in the EU are middle aged, namely over the age of 50 and work mainly in family businesses.
 STATEMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF SAE-OCEANIA ON THE PENSIONS ISSUEAthens, 9 December 2000 (17:40 UTC+2)
World Council for the Hellenes Abroad, SAE-Oceania president Mr. Kostas Vertzagias had a meeting in Athens with the social security undersecretary to discuss the issue of the pensions concerning the Greeks in Australia which appears to be stagnant.
In statements he made to MPA, Mr. Vertzagias stressed that he has reservations on whether a solution can be found. He said that the problem is the result of the differences between the social security systems of the two countries. The main conflict point is that the Australian side proposes 49 working years for those who have already left from Australia and such an agreement would be a huge injustice for the repatriated Greeks who are estimated to be about 40.000.
It should be noted that in the relevant agreement between Australia and Italy the minimum working years were 25.
 WOMEN PILOTS IN THE GREEK AIR FORCEAthens, 9 December 2000 (16:12 UTC+2)
Defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos announced that starting next year women pilots will be accepted in the Greek Air Force. The statement was made at the Kalamata Air Base yesterday during the ceremony for the new A-6 training aircraft.
The three new training aircraft that have been delivered to the Greek Air Force will be used in the initial and basic training stage of the pilots, while the rest 42 A-6 aircraft that have been purchased by the Greek Air Force are expected to be delivered by the end of 2003.
 SAE EXHIBITION IN CHICAGO IN OCTOBER 2001Athens, 9 December 2000 (15:51 UTC+2)
The World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, will hold the "Trade and Cultural Fair" exhibition in Chicago, United States in October 2001 aiming at Greece's better promotion, while at the same time, it will boost the economic and cultural relations between Greece and the United States in view of the 2004 Olympic Games.
In statements to MPA, SAE president Mr. Andrew Athens stressed that in the event will participate the ministries of national economy, culture, foreign affairs and the general secretariat for the Greeks living abroad.
The issue was discussed in the meetings Mr. Athens had in the Greek capital this week with government and parliament members as well as with "Athens 2004" officials. All the meetings were held in the presence of undersecretary of foreign affairs Grigoris Niotis and general secretary for the Greeks living abroad Dimitris Dollis.
 THE GREEKS START SMOKING AT THE AGE OF 14 ON THE AVERAGEThessaloniki, 9 December 2000 (15:47 UTC+2)
The majority namely, 60% of the young Greeks smoke. Of them 38.3% started smoking before the age of 17. They usually prefer "strong" cigarettes and they choose them based on their taste and not their price. The majority of young smokers buy imported cigarettes because they find them to taste better than the Greek brands, while 21.6% of them smoke a pack of cigarettes a day on the average.
These are some of the conclusions reached based on a study conducted by Thessaloniki's Macedonia University Statistics Department.
The study was made on a sample of 120 young people in Thessaloniki (72 male and 48 female). The percentage of those who started smoking before the age of 17 is by 14% larger than the percentage of those who started smoking after the age of 17. Also, 37.5% of those questioned responded that they do not smoke, while 38.3% stated that they started smoking before the age of 17 namely, when they were about 14 years old, and 24.1% tried a cigarette for the first time after the age of 17.
 THE GREEKS DO NOT TRUST THE POLITICAL PARTIESAthens, 9 December 2000 (15:35 UTC+2)
The Greeks do not trust the political parties, according to the shocking results of an opinion poll conducted by the polling company V-PRC and published today by the Athens newspaper "Imerisia".
To the question which of the political parties are more able to govern the country, 44.4% responded that no one of the two main political parties is fit to govern. Just 19% has a positive view about the socialist government of PASOK, while the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy has the positive views of 21.8% of those questioned.
Also, 74.5% believe that through politics people can become rich and just 19.1% believe that the politicians are not corrupt.
 THE 1ST MEETING OF BIG BALKAN CITY MAYORS IS UNDERWAY IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 9 December 2000 (15:13 UTC+2)
The 1st Meeting of Big Balkan City Mayors opened in Thessaloniki today with the speech of Thessaloniki mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos, who proposed the adoption of a friendship, cooperation and development agreement aimed at the creation of a Balkan Cities Network.
Mr. Papageorgopoulos proposed Thessaloniki to take over the network's presidency for 2001 and for a three-year period. In his speech pointed out that the Network of Cities, the creation of which he proposed, will be an institution that will safeguard the implementation of the friendship, cooperation and development agreement.
He also pointed out that the goal of the proposed agreement is the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the largest Balkan cities.
Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos expressed his support to the proposal and stressed that the only channel of communication that remains clean is that of the local communities. He also referred to the situation in the Balkans, pointing out that the region should expand to include the area between Austria and Cyprus.
Piraeus mayor Christos Agrapidis pointed out that Greece is an EU member and today is in a position to help and rest Balkan countries to achieve what it was able to achieve.
Deputy administrator of the municipality of Tuzla, Mr. Ekrem Sehovic presented the picture of his municipality and the problems it faces, while Sofia deputy mayor Ventseslav Nikolov presented the situation in the city and referred to the efforts made for a free market economy and a democratic administration. Kumanovo mayor in FYROM, Mr. Kovatsevski referred to his city's history and its economic, cultural and sports activities proposing the cultural cooperation of the Balkan cities.
Sintzan mayor Rustem Altunbas in Ankara, Turkey suggested that the freedom of movement and the free trade must be safeguarded between the Balkan and the EU countries and called on the EU to clarify its position toward the south-eastern European countries.
 ΑΠΕΡΓΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΕΡΓΑΖΟΜΕΝΩΝ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΥΑΘΘεσσαλονίκη, 9 December 2000 (10:19 UTC+2)
Αρχισαν οι απεργιακές κινητοποιήσεις του Σωματείου Εργαζομένων της Εταιρίας Ύδρευσης-Αποχέτευσης Θεσσαλονίκης (Σ.Ε.Ε.Υ.Α.Θ), οι οποίοι αντιδρούν στην απόφαση του υφυπουργού Κοινωνικών Ασφαλίσεων ο οποίος κατάθεσε τροπολογία που προβλέπει την κατά 50% μείωση του εφάπαξ τους.
Από την απεργία των εργαζομέμων θα δημιουργηθουν προβλήματα στην υδροδότηση της Θεσσαλονίκης.
 THE PROBLEMS IN THE NICE SUMMIT MEETING CONTINUENice, 9 December 2000 (17:11 UTC+2)
French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine stated that there are serious objections and hard negotiations are taking place in the Nice Summit meeting on the text under discussion concerning the reforms in the European Union.
Based on this development, the French presidency announced through Mr. Vedrine that a new pre-discussion plan will be submitted this afternoon.
The French officials had presented a compromise agreement text on the EU restructuring and reforms in view of the preparations for its enlargement. France proposed that the five larger EU countries should abandon one of their two votes after 2005 and that in 2010 when the EU will be made up of 27 countries the European Commission will continue to have 20 members operating on an equal basis rotating system.
Also, France suggested that the "15" should abandon the veto on immigration and asylum to be discussed later, while another French proposal suggested to keep the veto on taxation issues for another five years, a proposal to which objected most of the 15 member-states.