|Monday, 9 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-11-21
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE 2002 STATE BUDGET WAS APPROVED BY THE CABINETAthens, 21 November 2001 (16:56 UTC+2)
The 2002 state budget, the first to be drawn-up in Euro, was approved by the cabinet today and later in the afternoon it was submitted in parliament by Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis.
The new state budget provides, among others, for tax revenues increases of 6.1% or 689 billion drachmas compared to last year. A special effort will be made to collect taxes of past years which are expected to be increased by 19.7%. Spending will be increased with a 5.4% rate compared to 2001, while the growth rate will be at 3.8%.
In statements he made in the cabinet meeting, Mr. Simitis pointed out that there is a feeling of security in the country concerning the course of the economy and this feeling must be preserved. He also said that measures must be taken to secure a better future for the Greek citizens to be able to feel a new national self-confidence.
On the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy proposal for the establishment of an inquiry committee on the issue of the state company DEKA and its activities in the Athens Stock Exchange during the pre-election period, Mr. Simitis said that it is a diversion move and added that New Democracy will have to give a responsible response in parliament.
Government spokesman Christos Protopapas characterized the new state budget as pro-development, stressing that the government's commitments for the strengthening of the weaker social classes will materialize.
 ROMANIAN PRESIDENT'S SCHEDULE IN GREECEAthens, 21 November 2001 (13:20 UTC+2)
Romanian President Ion Iliesku has been in Greece since this morning for a three-day visit. Mr. Iliesku met with his Greek counterpart, Kostis Stefanopoulos, at the Presidential Mansion, and a working lunch will follow this afternoon, with representatives of the Romanian-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, in a central Athens hotel.
This afternoon Mr. Iliesku will tour the facilities for the Olympics, while he will have meetings with the President of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Konstantopoulos, Minister of Development Akis Tsohatzopoulos, and the President of New Democracy Kostas Karamanlis. Later this evening, Mr. Stefanopoulos will hold a dinner in honor of Mr. Iliesku.
Tomorrow morning, the Romanian President will meet with the President of the Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, at the Parliament building and in the afternoon a discussion with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis will take place. Later he will meet with Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos, who will present him with the Golden Medal of the city.
On Friday, Mr. Iliesku will go to Crete. Among other places he will visit the Herakleion Archeological Museum and the Archeological area of Knossos, while he will meet with representatives of the Romanian community of the Island.
 STEPHANOPOULOS: GREECE BACKS ROMANIA'S EU AND NATO ACCESSION COURSEAthens, 21 November 2001 (17:54 UTC+2)
Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos assured his Romanian counterpart Ion Iliescu, who is on a formal visit to Athens, that Greece backs the efforts made by Bucharest to become a member of the European Union and NATO.
In a meeting they had today in the Presidential Mansion they discussed the prospects for the further strengthening of the Greek-Romanian cooperation both at a bilateral level and within the framework of international organizations like, the OSCE.
They examined the situation in Yugoslavia, on which Athens and Bucharest have "about the same stance", according to the Romanian President, while they also discussed ways to combat crime.
In addition, they tackled issues concerning bilateral economic cooperation as Greece is Romania' ninth largest trade partner.
In statements he made after the meeting, Mr. Iliescu referred to the efforts made by his country to become a member of the European "family" and to the recent statements made by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, that there is a need for all 12 candidate states to become EU members, among them Romania. He stated characteristically that Romania is aware of the fact that still a lot of work needs to be done for the Romanian economy to be improved, adding that greater assistance is necessary on behalf of the EU.
Mr. Stephanopoulos characterized the Vedrine statement as "positive" pointing out, however, that the delay in Bucharest's EU accession course is the result of the delay observed in the development of the Romanian economy.
The Greek President stated that Greece will help Romania but it is up to it to increase its growth rate.
 EUROBANK-ROMANIAN PRIVATIZATION MINISTRY AGREEMENTAthens, 21 November 2001 (17:30 UTC+2)
A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Romanian Privatization Ministry and the Greek bank EFG Eurobank Ergasias on the occasion of Romanian President Ion Iliescu's formal visit to Greece.
The memorandum of understanding confirms the intention of both sides to proceed with the privatization of Banc Post as provided by an agreement signed on April 2, 1999 and reformed on September 21, 2000.
Banc Post is one of the largest banks in Romania with a network of 126 branches and 2.650 sales points, through its cooperation with the Romanian Postal Service. It operates the largest network of automatic bank transactions machines and it is the biggest credit card issuer in Romania.
EFG Eurobank Ergasias jointly with Banco Portugues de Investimento, which is also a Banc Post shareholder, back the plan for its development aimed at making it a financial organization that offers high quality services in the Romanian banking sector.
 SMALL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 21 November 2001 (17:09 UTC+2)
Small losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.40% at 2.765,56 points, while the volume of transactions was at 255 million Euro or 87 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 280 recorded gains and 67 had losses, while the value of 15 stocks remained unchanged.
 THEODORAKIS' AUTOBIOGRAPHY IS THE "BOOK OF THE MONTH"Athens, 21 November 2001 (16:50 UTC+2)
The German press declared the fourth volume of Greek music composer Mikis Theodorakis' autobiography the Paths of the Archangel as the "Book of the Month". The book was published recently by "Suhrkamp", the largest German publishing house.
According to comments on German newspapers, Theodorakis is not just one famous music composer and a symbol of freedom struggles but a truly charismatic narrator, while the book is characterized as a fascinating panorama of the Greek history.
In an Austrian newspaper, Theodorakis' autobiography tops the list of the proposed books.
 DRIS ON THE TOBACCO GROWERS SUBSIDIESAthens, 21 November 2001 (16:46 UTC+2)
The EU Agriculture Ministers Council gave a third extension to the tobacco growers subsidies, which are expected to be at the same levels with 2001, according to Agriculture Minister Giorgos Dris.
Mr. Dris stated in an Athens radio interview that the farmers must coordinate their action and made qualitative changes in their primary product to make it internationally competitive.
On the tobacco issue and the cotton policy the southern European countries namely, Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal created a strong front in the EU.
The European subsidies on every farm product are expected to be discussed in the EU Budget Council today. The farmers are in a wait-and-see state expecting the final prices of their product to be announced, while they continue the regional meetings to decide on the future form of their mobilizations.
 THE KENYAN TOURISM MINISTER IS ON A VISIT TO GREECEAthens, 21 November 2001 (16:38 UTC+2)
Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Zafiropoulos met with Kenyan Minister of Tourism and Press Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka.
In their meeting both agreed that there is a need to upgrade bilateral relations by activating the Economic and Technical Cooperation Bilateral Agreement.
Mr. Zafiropoulos briefed Mr. Musyoka on Greece's willingness to train public sector employees from Kenya, especially in the sector of tourism, and offer assistance to the sectors of public health and agriculture. The Greek undersecretary also stressed that the development of the Sub-Saharan Africa should be boosted aimed at the overall upgrading of the region.
 OTE'S INVESTMENT IN ROMANI STRENGTHENEDAthens, 21 November 2001 (13:44 UTC+2)
The strengthening of OTE's investment in Romania was discussed yesterday during the meeting of the Organization's board of directors. OTE's administration has already moved to negotiations with the Romanian government in order to research ways of funding the Romanian Telecommunications Organization (Rom Telecom) by OTE, with an additional $50 million.
OTE's administration began new negotiations with the Romanian government in order to decide whether the amount of $50 million will be granted to the Romanian company either in the form of an increase in share capital or as a loan, convertible to shares. It should be noted that the new investments planned by OTE in Romania reach a total of $300 million. N. Manasis was also authorized to find a settlement solution with mobile telephony companies, as far as interconnection costs are concerned, which are contending for the amount of 9.3 billion drs.
 RUSSIAN INTEREST IN NATURAL GAS PIPELINEAthens, 21 November 2001 (13:20 UTC+2)
Russia seem to have lost interest in the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil-pipeline project, while it is showing intense interest in the natural gas projects, for which they have agreed to supply Greece with 6.1 billion cubic meters of gas annually, reintroducing, however, the issue of the provision of Albania via Greece.
Yesterday, Minister of Development Akis Tsohatzopoulos had a two-hour meeting with the Vice-President of the Russian government, Mrs. Valentina Matvienko, who is visiting Greece as the head of a party of Russian government officials, here to prepare Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Athens, on December 6, during which the signing of the joint declaration of cooperation in the power sector will take place.
From the meetings that have taken place so far, it seems that cooperation on natural gas is at the center of Russian interest: DEPA's request to procure further quantities of gas for the supply of electricity production, was answered by the Russians, who committed to supply 6.1 billion c.m. to the borders of Greece instead of the 2,8 billion c.m. that DEPA received so far.
 GREEK FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR ANTIQUITIES IN AFGHANISTANAthens, 21 November 2001 (13:20 UTC+2)
Greece has offered the amount of $100,000 for the protection of Greek antiquities in Afghanistan, as announced by Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos. As he mentioned, Greece has offered this money to the fund that it proposed be created in UNESCO for the antiquities of Afghanistan.
He also stressed that Greece offered to temporarily store and conserve the monuments in the museums and workshops of the Ministry of Culture, until local protection of these cultural items is possible.
 MAGRIOTIS MET WITH THE STATE AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN AZERBAIJANBacu, 21 November 2001 (16:33 UTC+2)
Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis met with the state and political leadership of Azerbaijan and also with businessmen, academics, the mayor of Bacu and representatives of the Greek community.
Mr. Magriotis met with Azeri President Mr. Aliyev with whom he had a two-hour meeting that covered the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and regional issues, while he conveyed an invitation to him by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos to visit Greece. The invitation was accepted.
Mr. Magriotis also met with Prime Minister Mr. Rasizade with whom he discussed issues of economic cooperation, while in the meetings he had with Foreign Minister Guliyev and Undersecretaries Khalafov and Mammed Guliyev and Development Minister F. Aliyev were discussed political, economic, and educational issues on which they reached an agreement on a specific framework of cooperation. They also discussed the initiatives Greece will undertake concerning the wider region when it will take over the EU rotating presidency in 2003, in addition they discussed Azerbaijan's relations with international organizations and the new international situation created after the terrorist attack on the United States.
Mr. Magriotis visited Bacu's mayor and the Slav University which has a Greek Language Department, while he inaugurated the new building housing the Greek embassy and the offices of the Greek community.
 GREEK CINEMA WEEK IN VIENNAVienna, 21 November 2001 (13:44 UTC+2)
On Thursday November 29, the Greek Cinema Week will commence in Vienna, with the screening of Pantelis Voulgaris' Petrina Chronia (Stone Years). In the framework of the cinema week, which will last until December 6, 14 representative films of Greek creators will be shown, concerning the 50s, 60s and 70s, but with great emphasis on the last decade.
 SAFETY AND DEFENSE, COMMON EUROPEAN WILLBrussels, 21 November 2001 (12:07 UTC+2)
Dealing with terrorism is the first issue on the list of duties of the, under construction, Euroarmy, agreed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of the European Union with their counterparts of candidate countries, in yesterday's meeting in Brussels, in which European countries that are NATO members, but not members of the EU also participated.
In their interpositions, all countries expressed a wish to participate, they offered specific army, navy and air forces as their participation, and thus the common will of all European countries to build this defense and security system, has been confirmed, stressed Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou, addidng that the Greek delegation pointed out the importance of this fact.
The ministers stressed that the Euroarmy must cover the needs of the long war against terrorism, as Mr. Papantoniou stated in a joint press conference with replacement Minister of Foreign Affairs Tasos Giannitsis. He also noted that in all interpositions the importance of broadening the defensive capabilities of Europe was stressed, and there were also references to the threat of international terrorism.
Participation in the Eurodefense to the extent of its capabilities was announced by Cyprus. Mr. Papantoniou noted that Turkey repeated an observation it had made last year and the year before that, as far as the participation of the Cypriot Republic in the joint defense of Europe is concerned, and received the appropriate answer from the Belgian Presidency, stating that the issue is out of place, irrelevant and unfounded.
Mr. Giannitsis underlined that developments in the Balkans and the immediate area during the past few years, as much as recent developments during the past few weeks, as well as the pressures developing in the middle East, have led to the acceleration of developing a Common Foreign Policy and Defense.
He also stressed that attempts made by the EU in the Balkan region lately, showed that there can be results.
 GOUNARIS-TOSEFSKI MEETING ON FYROM NAMEGeneva, 21 November 2001 (12:06 UTC+2)
The name of FYROM was the topic of discussion, which the ambassadors of Greece and FYROM to the UN, Ilias Gounaris and Ivan Tosefski, had in Geneva. Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General, Mathew Nimitz, was also present.
It should be noted that the name of FYROM was also discussed at the meeting the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, Giorgos Papandreou and Ilinka Mitreva, had in the margin of the UN General Assembly.
 BAKU REACTS POSITIVELY TO ATHENS' OPENINGBaku, 21 November 2001 (12:06 UTC+2)
The opening being attempted by Baku towards Athens, has the total support of Azerbaijan's historical leader, Gaidar Alief, according to the results of the meeting between Mr. Alief and Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affaris Giannis Magriotis, who is making the first official Greek visit to Azerbaijan, in 5 years.
During an exceptionally long, both for Azerbaijan's political customs as well as for the President's age, who is now entering the 9th decade of his life, having been politically dominant during the Soviet era, meeting of 105 minutes, Mr. Magriotis communicated the unequivocal Greek position that agreements of cooperation and traditional friendliness between countries through time, do not constitute axes or poles that turn against other countries.
Entertaining the worries expressed at the press conference over Greece's defensive cooperation with Armenia, Mr. Magriotis categorically stressed that Athens has submitted a similar agreement outline to Baku, and is still waiting for its answer, reminding that the first steps towards a bilateral military agreement had been taken with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos' visit, which have already given some results.