Prime Minister Kostas Simitis referred to the need for new national confidence in a speech he made during his visit to the area of New Philadelphia which was struck during the 1999 earthquake, and where there have since been reconstruction works in progress.
"We have the chance today, under difficult conditions for the whole world, to build a safe and secure world together. To create the new national confidence our people want. We continue on the road for a powerful Greece, the road of development, we continue on the road of social justice", said the Prime Minister, and added: "In this period of uncertainty, the government can guarantee Greece's future". Addressing the residents of the area that was struck by the earthquake, he underlined that throughout this entire period, great works to deal with the earthquake took place, and he observed that: "The political lesson is that we may look at each other. And say that we worked together and made it. We changed the situation we were in, overcame the difficulties improved the quality of our lives and offered better conditions of living for our children, which what is important to all of us".
Accompanied by 10 Ministers and MPs, the Prime Minister visited a workers' housing compound and a new school compound, and entered the repaired house of a many-membered family.
European Union Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou proposed the instituting of English as a second official language in Greece, in an interview to the "Kathimerini" newspaper.
Mrs. Diamantopoulou stressed that the issue of multilingualism will directly be brought up in the European Union, and pointed out that after the enlargement Greece must prepare in time and institute English as a second official language. To those who express fears of losing cultural and national heritage from such a measure, she answers that learning to speak English as well as Greek will not hurt Greeks.
The Minister of National Defense, Giannos Papantoniou, speaking on New Greek Television, ruled out the possibility of sending Greek soldiers to Afhanistan. "We believe that we have many other open fronts surrounding us", said Mr. Papantoniou, and he pointed out that Greece is providing other military accommodations in the Afghanistan operations.
Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that the 12 month army service, will come into effect in 2003 as it has been announced, despite the fact that there has been little interest in the position of "professional soldier".
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis will meet with the President of the Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, tomorrow at noon. The Prime Minister will brief him on all developments in all issues of interior and foreign policy. Later, Mr. Simitis will meet with the Secretary of PASOK's Central Committee, Kostas Laliotis.
Minor incidents took place during the Thessaloniki march in memory of the Polytechnic School uprising. A group of protesters broke the windows of a bank, a mobile phone store and a military item store, all on Ethnikis Amynis St.
Also, there was tension a little later outside the US Consulate, where police forces had lined up on Tsimiski St. to block the protesters.