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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-04-22

Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] GREEK REACTIONS TO FRENCH ELECTIONS
  • [02] EU COMMISSION POSITIVE ON SHIPYARDS SALE
  • [03] GREEK BANKS CONSULTANTS FOR OA SALE
  • [04] PROTOPAPAS: THE FAR-RIGHT IS A THREAT FOR THE FUTURE OF EUROPE
  • [05] PROTOPAPAS ON THE SOLANA STATEMENTS
  • [06] PAPANTONIOU-JONES MEETING
  • [07] MAGRIOTIS-JONES MEETING
  • [08] LOSSES IN THE ASE
  • [09] CHINESE DELEGATION TO THESSALONIKI
  • [10] SIMITIS: JOSPEN'S DECISION TO LEAVE POLITICS WAS RIGHT
  • [11] PAPADIMOS: BREAK ON TAX MEASURES
  • [12] GREECE FIRST IN ABORTIONS
  • [13] PRAISES FOR THE GREEK CYPRIOT STANCE ON THE CYPRUS TALKS

  • [01] GREEK REACTIONS TO FRENCH ELECTIONS

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (15:14 UTC+2)

    Vigilance towards the dangers that may arise from disdain towards certain political systems was recommended by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, in statements on the results of the Presidential elections in France.

    During a meeting the Prime Minister had with junta resistance members in the framework of events to be held by the government on Gyaros, the Prime Minister attributed the French elections' results to indifference and the fragmentation of the progressive parties, while he considered the decision of the Prime Minister and President of the French Socialist Party Lionel Jospin to withdraw from the political foreground. "He did very well and took up his responsibilities. he gave a very good message with his position. People should know that not everyone is the same and not everyone has the same views" said Mr. Simitis, characteristically.

    "The junta seems to be very far away, many do not remember it any more. The dangers of far right positioning, the dangers from disdain towards the political system are always here and we must be vigilant against those dangers because political disdain and extreme speech lead to social oppression, delays and being led blindly. We must remember to participate in the struggle against forgetfulness and that is precisely the reason we are promoting the Gyaros monument and I would like to warmly thank all those who made an effort for it" added Mr. Simitis.

    "The electoral result in France is a consequence of the recession many European economies are going through, the insecurity of their citizens, the breaking up of the left into many small fractions and the mentality of general disdain, which create an ideological substructure for the "flourishing" of extreme right views", stressed Minister of the Press Christos Protopapas, in an interview with Flash radio.

    "We have witnessed such phenomena in rest of Europe (in Denmark and Austria), and we may see them in other countries, but it is crystal clear that this cannot be our future, the future of Europe. The far right is a danger for democracy, it is a danger for a cohesion society, it is a danger for the European course of each and every country", said the Minister of Press.

    "All these socialist parties paid for their insecurity, the recession and the need, which may have even been delayed by European socialist party, to raise new ideological flags. The modern left in present day conditions", said Mr. Protopapas, commenting on the rise of the far right in European countries.

    To the question of whether the above also stands for PASOK, Mr. Protopapas stressed, "PASOK is in a different situation. PASOK does not have this image of insecurity and Greek economy is not going through - comparatively speaking - the conditions the other countries went through. There are of course problems, questioning, and criticisms within the Greek people.

    We get the messages and deal with them through our work. There is no room for introversion and internal nagging.

    We get the messages and we will respond.

    Lowering unemployment by 2% means we understand the peoples' worries. One can't change everything from one day to the next. It isn't possible.

    When one cultivates it with populism then he will pay for it, just as in France's case. We have been working systematically in depth, and we have results of this improvement", ended Mr. Protopapas.

    "The French did not just wake up one day and decide to belong to the far right. They woke up angry and determined to demand solutions to their problems", stated Head of Foreign Affairs for New Democracy Dora Bakoyanni in an interview to Flash radio, and she noted that there is a great responsibility for the parties of the center-right to respond to the expectations of the citizens. They must speak about the substance, the contents of their policies, and not go into an avalanche that will pull all socialist parties down with it.

    The secretary of New Democracy's Parliamentary Group, Dimitris Sioufas, made the following statement: "People throughout Europe, as in Greece, disapprove of governments that do not show social sensitivity, that are not close to their citizens and their problems. For us solutions are not in the extremes and extreme actions. Now more than ever, we insist on choosing the middle path, that of composition and consent".

    "The neoliberal policies applied by in the European Union by spurious center-left governments, have led great parts of their people into the margin and despair, and that has resulted in extreme reactions by those people", commented President of DIKKI Dimitris Tsovolas. He called the Greek people to consolidate and resist the neoliberal and extreme right models of government.

    Minister of the Interior Kostas Skandalidis characterized the results of the first round of the French Presidential elections as a major negative development, immediately after a meeting he had with the Prime Minister in preparation of his visit tomorrow to the Ministry of the Interior.

    To questions of the Macedonian Press Agency, deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Giannis Magriotis pointed out that the rise of the far right in France is due to the manipulation of a mixture of xenophobia-racism and utilizing everyday problems.

    Answering questions of the Macedonian Press Agency Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis underlined: "This sad outcome may function as a bell or a warning for the powers of the broader center-left in France, in Greece, and Europe in general" it is due to the breaking up of the powers of the center-left into small fractions, and i believe that in the parliamentary elections of June there can and must be a restructuring. All these events send messages with many lessons for Greece".

    [02] EU COMMISSION POSITIVE ON SHIPYARDS SALE

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (13:06 UTC+2)

    Within the next few days the EU Commission is expected to give the green light for the sale procedure of the Skaramagas Shipyards to the German HDW/Ferrostaal joint venture.

    On Thursday EU Commissioner of Competition Mario Monti, is expected to approve the recommendation of the Commission on the issue of the so called state backing, regarding workers' reimbursements.

    Two weeks later, on March 8, the decision for the buying out by HDW will be announced, which has also been recommended by the EU, according to "Imerisia" newspaper sources.

    According to the same sources, both issues were discussed during meetings Mr. Monti had with both Minister of Development Akis Tsohatzopoulos and deputy Minister of Development Alexandros Kalafatis, in the framework of the Commissioner's visit to Athens.

    The Commission's services deemed that the reimbursements paid to the workers in order to leave the shipyards and have a decrease in personnel, are compatible with the rules of the EU on the support of shipyards, as long as the Greek authorities are committed that they will lower its repair potential.

    The Commission still seems to have reservations as far certain specific points of the social package towards the workers is concerned reservations however that do not obstruct a positive outcome. As soon as the official approval of the EU is given, the Ministry of Development will call the HDW/FS management to sign a final sale agreement.

    [03] GREEK BANKS CONSULTANTS FOR OA SALE

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (13:09 UTC+2)

    The National, the Commercial and Alpha Banks, are expected to take up the part of privatization consultant of Olympic Airways, aiming at finding private capital.

    The government's agreement with Credit Suisse First Boston was dissolved, due to the fact that its services were too expensive, while, as reported in press publication, the reform measures proposed for the national airliner were excessive.

    The three local credit institutions, were chosen since they have the necessary know-how and the human resources, as mentioned in press publications.

    [04] PROTOPAPAS: THE FAR-RIGHT IS A THREAT FOR THE FUTURE OF EUROPE

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (19:53 UTC+2)

    The far-right cannot be the future. It is a threat for democracy and social cohesion. It is a threat for the future of Europe, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas commenting on the results of the French Presidential elections.

    Mr. Protopapas stated that everybody in Europe is shocked by the strong presence of the far-right which has adopted racist and xenophobic slogans.

    The response of the democratic world must be characterized by certain points, stated Mr. Protopapas. Namely, it must offer solutions to the problems faced by the citizens and consolidate a sense of security. In addition, the Left must regroup and adopt a modern platform, while measures must be taken to deal with phenomena that lead to the depreciation of politics and institutions.

    [05] PROTOPAPAS ON THE SOLANA STATEMENTS

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (19:10 UTC+2)

    Greece wants progress on the issue of the Euro-army but this does not mean that everything Mr. Solana wants will be accepted, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas.

    Mr. Protopapas made the statement commenting on the content of interviews given by the EU official to Greek newspapers according to which, only the Greek Cypriot side will become an EU member if the Cyprus issue is not resolved by the time the country is accepted in the EU.

    [06] PAPANTONIOU-JONES MEETING

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (18:52 UTC+2)

    The continuing crisis in the Middle East, international terrorism, the EU-NATO relations regarding the Euro-army, the Cyprus issue and the situation in the Balkans were the issues discussed in the meeting Greek Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou had with US assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones, responsible for European affairs.

    Regarding the Middle East issue, it was stressed that the immediate ceasefire is necessary, while a political procedure must get underway to lead to the creation of a Palestinian state that will coexist in peace with the state of Israel. Mr. Papantoniou stressed that if no solution is found destabilizing situations will be created in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean.

    On international terrorism, Mr. Papantoniou reiterated Greece's commitment to actively participate in the effort to deal with this great threat.

    On the Euro-army, Mr. Papantoniou reiterated the position that Greece cannot accept the so-called Ankara Text and pointed out that it is an EU issue and not a bilateral issue between Greece and Turkey or between Greece and the United States. He said that the EU must reach a compromise proposal that will satisfy the Greek positions and the interests of the European family.

    From her side, the US minister pointed out that the US regards the agreement on the specific issue as very important.

    On Cyprus, the Greek Minister of Defense stated that Cyprus' EU accession into the EU is a unique historical opportunity that must be exploited to put an end to the tragedy in Cyprus. He added that Cyprus' accession into the EU is an EU decision and is not linked to the outcome of the direct talks between Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    [07] MAGRIOTIS-JONES MEETING

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (18:14 UTC+2)

    Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis met with US assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones and discussed issues concerning the initiatives that will be undertaken by Greece in the region of Caucasus during the Greek EU Presidency as well as the expansion of the EU-US cooperation.

    They also discussed the developments in the region of eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

    [08] LOSSES IN THE ASE

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (18:00 UTC+2)

    The general index in the Athens Stock Exchange closed with losses today as a result of the bad climate in Europe and the strong pressures on the small and high capitalization.

    The general index dropped to -0.77% at 2.204,43 points, while the volume of transactions was 67.3 million Euro or 22.9 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 54 recorded gains and 259 had losses, while the value of 64 stocks remained unchanged.

    [09] CHINESE DELEGATION TO THESSALONIKI

    Thessaloniki, 22 April 2002 (17:56 UTC+2)

    A seven-member Chinese delegation from Jiangsu province arrived in Thessaloniki this morning within the framework of the relations developed with Greek local administration authorities at a prefecture level.

    The Chinese delegation will have a number of contacts with production forces and organizations in northern Greece aimed at strengthening the Greek-Chinese trade and cultural cooperation.

    Thessaloniki prefect Kostas Papadopoulos stated in a press conference that the visit came to underline and strengthen friendly relations between the two countries, while he pointed out that an effort is being made to promote Thessaloniki's role in the wider region of southeastern Europe. He stressed that Thessaloniki could become the basis in the effort of China to consolidate its trade activities in the countries of the wider Balkan region.

    From their side, the Chinese delegates stated that there is a lot of room for the further development of cooperation between the two countries mainly in the sectors of technology and tourism and referred to the imminent visit of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis to China.

    [10] SIMITIS: JOSPEN'S DECISION TO LEAVE POLITICS WAS RIGHT

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (17:53 UTC+2)

    Vigilance to deal with the risks that can result from the depreciation of the political system, was suggested by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in statements he made on the occasion of the results of the first round of the French Presidential elections that were held yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis attributed the French election results to indifference and the split observed in the ranks of the progressive political forces, while he characterized as very correct the decision of French Prime Minister and Socialist Party leader Lionel Jospen to leave politics after his defeat.

    [11] PAPADIMOS: BREAK ON TAX MEASURES

    Athens, 22 April 2002 (16:08 UTC+2)

    His annual report on the Greek economy will be presented on Monday, April 29, by the Director of the Bank of Greece, Lukas Papadimas, shortly before his transfer to the position of Vice-President of the European Central Bank. According to information, the Papadimos report includes proposals that will "hit the breaks" on further possible tax measures, which may lead to the decrease of income.

    Specifically, the "helmsman" of the Central Bank stressed that the tax reform must be directly promoted, but must in no case lead to losses, which could endanger fiscal stability.

    During his report Mr. Papadimos is also expected to mention the social securities reform, stressing that it "should ensure the system's viability, as well as the just allotment of weight", so that no fiscal problems arise.

    Apart from that, the report also warns for the need to better check state expenses, as well as controlling inflation pressures. Furthermore he asks for the securing of Budget surpluses and the decreasing of the public debt, as well as the promotion of structural changes.

    [12] GREECE FIRST IN ABORTIONS

    Thessaloniki, 22 April 2002 (13:11 UTC+2)

    The first position in abortions, comparatively speaking, both in relation to European countries and to the US, is held by Greece. The large number of abortions, which take place both before and during a marriage, and which can cause serious complications are the main reason for the high percentage of under-fertility in Greece. According to specialists abortions are responsible for a 40% decrease in a woman's fertility. It is estimated that 150,000 couples in Greece cannot have children, because they have at least one abortion in their past. More than 250,000 abortions take place every year in Greece, of which 40,000 are on underage girls younger that 16. Also, a third of them are performed on married women who would avoid them if they could afford a larger family. This information was announced by Gynecology Professor of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Ioannis Bodis, speaking at the 2nd day of the 17th Northern Greece Medical Conference, organized by the Thessaloniki Medical Company.

    In the 1980-1999 period, stressed Mr. Bodis, Greece exhibited a decrease of 41% in fertility, twice as much (in percentage) as in the rest of Europe, while the US showed an increase in the fertility factor of 14%.

    [13] PRAISES FOR THE GREEK CYPRIOT STANCE ON THE CYPRUS TALKS

    Nicosia, 22 April 2002 (18:11 UTC+2)

    The creative way in which the Greek Cypriot side is handling the direct talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem was praised by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, the UN Security Council and the United States. The praising statements were made in the contacts Cypriot Parliament President Dimitris Christofias had in his recent visit to the United States.

    In statements made after his meeting with Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides, Mr. Christofias stated that the UN secretary-general, the UN Security Council and the US officials were not pleased because there is no progress in the talks for the solution of the Cyprus problem. However, he said that they realize that the lack of progress is the result of the stance adopted by the Turkish Cypriot side.


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