|Saturday, 17 August 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-01-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 TROIKA AGREES WITH GREEK PRIORITIESNafplio, 24 January 2003 (12:51 UTC+2)
The works of the Troika, which included the next two presidencies of Italy and Ireland, as well as representatives of the European Parliament's Council Secretariat, the Social Partners, non governmental organizations and the handicapped, last night, ended with agreement on the three goals of the Greek Presidency on Employment and Social Protection.
Minister of Labor Dimitris Reppas expressed his satisfaction on the opening of the informal meeting of Social Affairs' Ministers of the EU in Nafplio, after the completion of the first discussion of the Troika and the social partners.
Mr. Reppas made mention of an atmosphere of consensus and promoted agreements, which, however, will be put to the test on Friday, in the most decisive of the Ministers' discussions.
 GREEK FULL SUPPORT FOR DE SOTOAthens, 24 January 2003 (12:30 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis met with the UN Secretary General on the Cyprus issue Alvaro De Soto this morning, in the presence of Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
Immediately after the half hour meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated: "Mr. De Soto is in Athens for various meetings. He saw the Prime Minister and informed him of the present situation in the Cyprus negotiations. Mr. De Soto has our full support and he has the will to continue the efforts to achieve the goal before the deadline set by us and the EU, and of course UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, on February 28. Within the next few days, Mr. De Soto will also have meetings in Turkey, and today he will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (who, as you know, is in Athens). Russia plays an important role as a permanent member of the Security Council, and as a supporter for the solution of the Cyprus problem".
 SECRET WITNESSES ON BLACKMAILSAthens, 24 January 2003 (13:15 UTC+2)
The DA investigation into the blackmail case using the threat of the "November17" terrorist group, is underway.
So far, 13 witnesses have testified in the case, while the identity of six has been kept secret. DA Dimitris Papaggelopoulos has called a stock broker, a publisher and members of the clergy who have allegedly fallen victims to the blackmailers to testify within the next few days. Businessman D. Kontominas, was the last witness to testify to the DA today
 KICK OFF FOR GREEK FOOTBALLAthens, 24 January 2003 (12:03 UTC+2)
Enormous debts have been accumulated by Greek FCs, as the Financial Crime Service has announced that it has found 10 million euro violations in 9 FCs and one Basketball Team, while FIFA is threatening with demoting three FCs with debts to their foreign players. Three major league football players were found in violation of doping regulations. Criminal charges against the "invisible" owner of AEK Makis Psomiadis were set by DA Athanasios Psarakis, for the incident at AEK team member Demis Nikolaidis' house. Psomiadis is accused of insulting and threatening the player, while those accompanying him at the incident were also accused as accomplices.
 GREEK EU PRESIDENCY STATEMENT ON THE RECENT EARTHQUAKE IN MEXICOAthens, 24 January 2003 (19:38 UTC+2)
In a statement issued today, the Greek EU Presidency expresses the EU willingness to cooperate with the authorities of Mexico to alleviate the effects of the earthquake that hit the country last Tuesday, January 21.
It is stressed that the statement has the support of the central and eastern European countries, Cyprus, Malta, and Turkey as well as, the countries of the European Zone of Free Transactions and the European Economic Forum members.
 THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE INFORMAL MEETING OF THE EU LABOR AND SOCIAL SECURITY MINISTERS IN NAFPLIONafplio, 24 January 2003 (19:22 UTC+2)
The Informal Meeting of Employment and Social Policy Ministers, chaired by Minister Mr. Dimitris Reppas, took place in Nafplion on the 23rd and 24th of January 2003.
The semester of the Greek Presidency coincides with the need for the Union to come to a series of decisions, the outcome of which may alter in fundamental ways the contribution EU processes may make to employment and to social cohesion in the member states. After five years of operation the European Employment Strategy its review may lead to employment taking a wider role in the overall Lisbon Strategy.
For social cohesion, the progress attained in the separate fields of social protection must be consolidated in order to highlight the contribution of the EU to securing the European Social Model. The Informal Council gave the opportunity for Ministers of Employment and of Social Affairs, the European Commission as well as the representatives of the social partners and of NGOs to discuss, in a free and frank manner, some of the fundamental issues underlying the future evolution and shaping of European societies.
The priorities that have been set by the Presidency, regarding employment and social policy are the promotion of following issues:
Full and sustainable employment (more jobs)
Quality and productivity at work (better jobs)
Cohesive and inclusive labour markets
On Social Policy
Modernisation of the European Social Model,
Streamlining in the area of Social Protection and Social Cohesion processes in the E. U.
With regard to Employment, the Greek presidency focused the discussion in the revision of European Employment Strategy taking into consideration:
the conclusions of Barcelona, for simpler and more efficient guidelines, according to the need for the harmonisation of various processes of co-ordination of policy of E.U.
the evaluation of the European Employment Strategy (EES) and its positive impact in job creation and the reduction of unemployment, and
the need for a new, more ambitious and effective European Employment Strategy, capable to face the new challenges i.e. the rapid economic change, the demographic prospects and the enlargement of the EU.
This Informal meeting was an opportunity to discuss the revision, the simplification, and the evolution of the European Employment Strategy which will be in effect for the next three-year period in the European Union and which will be agreed during the Greek Presidency, in the Spring Council of the E. U. on the 21st of March this year.
The Preparatory meeting took place on the afternoon of the 23rd January and was attended by the Social Troika, the Economic and Social Committee, the Social Partners, the European Parliament, the Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council and the Chairmen of the Employment and Social Protection Committees .
The Informal meeting of the Council of Employment and Social Affairs was held on the 24th of January and underlined the need for effectiveness and inclusiveness in employment policy. The discussion focussed on better governance of the EES, specifically via the broader involvement of social partners and civil society, and streamlining of the strategy with other E.U. political co-ordination policies such as the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and policies on social protection.
On the overall theme, discussions showed a shared understanding that the following is necessary:
Broad agreement on the three over-arching objectives of the new EES
- Full employment (more jobs)
- Quality and productivity (better jobs)
- Cohesive and inclusive labour markets for all citizens.
The increase and improvement of investments in human capital with the mobilization of public and private funding, in order to face up to accelerating economic and social restructuring and to promote a knowledge based economy.
The contribution of the Structural Funds and especially of the European Social Fund is crucial and must become more effective focused and flexible.
The strengthening of entrepreneurship, especially for small and family-owned firms, in order to facilitate the creation of more, better and sustainable jobs.
The gradual transformation of undeclared work and the underground economy into legal employment and economic activity.
The active integration of immigrants in society and in the labour market, which is also essential for addressing the impact on employment and on the labour force of the ageing population. This should be defined in an appropriate way.
The promotion of a new equilibrium between flexibility and security. Enterprises should be adaptable and flexible, with a better-trained workforce keen to assume initiatives, to participate, and which is responsive to change. Workers should feel safer, through a richer range of choices, so that they can develop their skills and qualifications and be satisfied in their work on an ongoing basis.
The better governance of the Employment Strategy (EES), especially through the wider involvement of social partners and civil society and the harmonization of the strategy with the other E.U. coordination policies, such as the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and the policies on social protection.
Moreover, there was a wide consensus on the need to set priorities as proposed and specified in the Communication on the Future of Employment Strategy. These specific priorities may be supported wherever possible by quantified targets, including inter alia, the Lisbon Strategy targets and other more specific ones: getting women (back) into work, helping older workers to stay in work and making work pay.
Finally, there was widespread support for the following:
The review of the EES must also lead to the simplification of the relevant procedures for drawing up and monitoring the National Action Plans for Employment.
Synchronization will improve coherence between the policies. Nevertheless, it is also necessary to avoid overlapping and this can better be achieved by providing that the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines relevant to employment are formulated in a sufficiently general manner, given that the European Employment Strategy and the Employment Guidelines will specify the policies in detail.
With streamlining, the monitoring of implementation of the EES becomes part of the broader monitoring of the Lisbon Agenda, which takes place in the Spring Summit of the European Council. The Joint Employment Report and the Communication on the Future of Employment Strategy thus assumes a greater significance as a contribution to the preparation of the Spring Summit.
Although the increased focus on implementation certainly necessitates the identification of targets and indicators, the question of indicators, targets, and benchmarking remains to be examined further on the basis of the suggestions made by the Commission, the debate with the European Parliament and other European institutions, the Social Partners and in particular the conclusions of the European Spring Summit.
 THE EU TROIKA DISCUSSED IRAQ AND THE EU-RUSSIA RELATIONSAthens, 24 January 2003 (18:45 UTC+2)
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov called on Iraq to fully comply with UN resolution 1441, in statements he made after the meeting of the EU Troika in Athens. In the meeting participated Mr. Ivanov, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Chris Paten and EU Common Foreign and Security Policy High Representative Javier Solana.
Mr. Ivanov stressed that the international community needs clear answers on whether there are mass destruction weapons in Iraq and in case there are they will have to be destroyed. In a different case the sanctions imposed on Iraq will have to be cancelled, he stressed.
The Russian Foreign Minister stated that the UN inspections in Iraq should continue and no pressures should be exerted on the UN weapons inspectors He made it clear that no unilateral actions should be undertaken without earlier UN Security Council resolutions because this would cause the deterioration of the situation.
Mr. Papandreou referred to another major issue examined in the meeting, the cooperation between the EU and Russia. The Greek Foreign Minister stressed that this cooperation is of great importance for peace and stability not only in the immediate region but at a world level as well.
 SIMITIS: DE SOTO DID NOT BRING AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN FOR CYPRUSAthens, 24 January 2003 (18:26 UTC+2)
UN Secretary General special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto did not bring an alternative plan to Athens for the solution of the Cyprus problem, stated Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis after the meeting he had with his Norwegian counterpart Kjell Magne Bondevik, who is on a visit to Greece.
Mr. Simitis referred to the meeting he had this morning with Mr. de Soto in the presence of Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. He said that Mr. de Soto assured him that he will use all the time that is left in the timetable set and will make every effort for a solution in Cyprus.
On his meeting with his Norwegian counterpart, Mr. Simitis stated that Norway backs the Annan Plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem and stressed that they discussed bilateral issues as well as, issues concerning the Greek EU Presidency. The two Prime Ministers discussed merchant marine issues and the protection of the sea environment as well as, the organizing of global transportation within the framework of the international organizations.
Mr. Simitis pointed out that Norway has suggested the signing of an agreement by the European Economic Forum members and the EU to take place in Athens on April 16. Norway has a special relation with the EU given the fact that it is not an EU member but it participates in the economic sector.
The Norwegian Prime Minister characterized as useful the contacts he had on European issues and the close cooperation of the two countries.
 GREECE-RUSSIA: IMPROVED COOPERATION IN THE ENERGY SECTORAthens, 24 January 2003 (17:45 UTC+2)
Greek Development Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and visiting Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov discussed issues of bilateral cooperation between Greece and Russia in the sector of energy. The Russian official also met with the management of state-run electricity company DEH, the Hellenic Petroleum and the natural gas company DEPA to discuss their goals and activities.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated after the meeting that he briefed his Russian counterpart on issues with great interest for Greece and especially, on issues concerning oil as Greece covers 55% of its needs with petrol imported from Russia. He said that there is a great interest in expanding this cooperation and exploit new transport ways such as, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and the use of tanker ships carrying oil via the Black Sea.
The Russian Energy Minister stated that they discussed the plans for the development of the energy sector in Russia in the next 20 years. Responding to the question on what Russia expects from the Greek EU Presidency, he underlined that it wants a wider energy dialogue and added that through Greece's guidance the EU-Russia dialogue will proceed and the Energy Map will be ratified.
 GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE PROTESTS IN NAFPLIOAthens, 24 January 2003 (17:19 UTC+2)
The government does not regard the protesters as rivals, reiterated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas, referring to the protests in Nafplio where the informal Council of Labor Ministers takes place.
He said that all necessary measures have been taken and the government had talks with representatives of the activists to include their positions on employment and social protection in Europe in the meeting.
The government spokesman also pointed out that people have the right to protest for Iraq or any other issue and expressed the belief that the protests will be peaceful.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 24 January 2003 (17:04 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.41% at 1.720,99 points, while the volume of transactions was at 98.1 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 200 recorded gains and 90 had losses, while the value of 87 stocks remained unchanged.
 EU AGRICULTURE MINISTERS MEETING ON JANUARY 27-28Athens, 24 January 2003 (16:53 UTC+2)
The EU Agriculture Ministers Council will meet for the first time under the Greek EU Presidency in Brussels on January 27-28 chaired by Greek Agriculture Minister Giorgos Dris. The European Commission will present its proposals on the Common Agricultural Policy interim review.
The Greek Agriculture Minister has already discussed the proposals with the responsible European Commissioner Mr. Fischler in their meeting in Brussels yesterday.
Mr. Dris stressed that the EU should promote a common policy that respects the farmers' work, recognizes the distinctiveness of production in different regions and takes under consideration the consumer demands and the messages sent out by the market.