|Tuesday, 12 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-14
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 INCOMPATIBILITY WITHOUT REFORMS OR EXCEPTIONSAthens, 14 February 2003 (11:28 UTC+2)
PASOK MPs are prepared to take initiative on legislative reforms on the professional incompatibility of MPs, after the related bill, prohibiting MPs from holding other professional positions, was voted down, but the government gave its assurance that it will not submit a new proposal. The Prime Minister mentioned a defeat of those against the incompatibility, while ND made mention of a bitter defeat for PASOK.
 SIMITIS' LETTER TO HIS EUROPEAN COUNTERPARTSAthens, 14 February 2003 (19:00 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis addressed a letter to his 14 European Union counterparts.
The letter mentions that the Greek EU Presidency has set as a high priority the effort to secure a common stance for the 15 on the issue of Iraq. It is stressed that today it is clear that the present crisis is likely to enter a decisive turning point soon. For this reason, it is important for the 15 to meet to discuss the latest developments under the light of the report that will be submitted by the UN weapons inspectors to the UN Security Council on February 14, underlines the Prime Minister.
He also mentions that the effect the problem in Iraq will have on the Middle East peace process should be examined.
The Prime Minister states that taking under consideration the gravity of the situation and after consultations with other partners, he decided to call an informal European Council meeting to take place in Brussels on February 17.
In the letter it is stressed that the associated countries with the EU will be briefed by the Greek EU Presidency at heads of states and governments' level on February 18.
 COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRSAthens, 14 February 2003 (18:26 UTC+2)
The Council will be preceded by the customary Eurogroup meeting, which will be held in Brussels on February 17.
The Eurogroup will discuss the economic situation and policy developments, the Commission's communication on strengthening the coordination of budgetary policies, and budgetary developments.
The Council itself will start on Tuesday with the preparation of the European Council spring meeting March 20-21. Other items included on the provisional agenda of the ECOFIN are: voting modalities in the Governing Council of the ECB, implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact, tax issues (energy taxation and administrative cooperation on VAT), establishment of the Financial Services Committee and issues relating to statistics (budgetary statistics and information requirements in EMU).
Over lunch, Ministers will be debriefed on the Eurogroup meeting and take note of an oral report by Commissioner Bolkestein on recent developments in the discussions with Third Countries concerning the taxation of savings.
 LIIKANEN: ACTIONS IN THREE FRONTS TO STRENGTHEN ENTERPRENEURSHIPThessaloniki, 14 February 2003 (18:11 UTC+2)
The European Commission will fight in three fronts to materialize the strengthening of enterpreneurship in the 15 EU states in view of 2010, according to responsible European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen in a press conference in Thessaloniki today.
The main priority is the strengthening of research funding to reach 3% of the GDP. The second goal is the incorporation of new technologies into businesses within the framework of the Green Bible and the third, is to encourage enterpreneurship starting from the school years through the strengthening of science and math classes in schools.
Greek Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos clarified that in today's informal ministerial meeting in Thessaloniki for the small-medium sized businesses, the participants agreed on a complete action plan to be submitted during the Greek EU Presidency, namely by the end of the first half of 2003. The goal of those actions is to limit the enterpreneurship deficit in Europe.
Based on figures presented by Mr. Liikanen and Mr. Tsochatzopoulos, the procedure for the opening and operation of a private business in Denmark lasts 15 minutes, in Britain less than 24 hours and in Greece about 40 days. However, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos expressed the belief that the time needed in Greece has been considerably shortened and based on the new amendment concerning the chambers of commerce, the registration of new businesses will take place within a day.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON MONDAY'S EU INFORMAL MEETINGAthens, 14 February 2003 (17:33 UTC+2)
Greece, which is currently holding the EU Presidency, respects the views of its partners and the ethics concerning the letters of leaders addressed to the Prime Minister, stated government spokesman Christos Protopapas when asked to comment on the contents of British Prime Minister Tony Blair letter to Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.
Mr. Protopapas stated that the EU Presidency cannot give the letter to publicity and it is a matter that concerns Mr. Blair.
Responding to questions on the EU informal meeting in Brussels next Monday, the government spokesman reiterated that the goal is to promote the need for a common EU stance through debate. He said that Greece supports a peaceful solution in Iraq and an open and clear discussion among the EU states is necessary, pointing out that there are difficulties because there are different views.
 SMALL GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 14 February 2003 (16:53 UTC+2)
Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.20% at 1.679,43 points, while the volume of transactions was at 50.7 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 136 recorded gains and 152 had losses, while the value of 80 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE "15" BUILD COMMUNICATION BRIDGES WITH THE SMALL-MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSESThessaloniki, 14 February 2003 (16:43 UTC+2)
Bridges of direct and meaningful communication were built between the small-medium sized businesses and the responsible EU ministers during the two-day events organized in Thessaloniki by the Ministry of Development within the framework of the Greek EU Presidency.
Closing the joint meeting of the EU ministers with the representatives of the European small-medium sized businesses, Greek Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated that the meeting's conclusions will contribute to the effort of the responsible ministers to agree on the final proposals to be presented in the Competitiveness Council. The Competitiveness Council will discuss the proposal for the prospects of the small-medium sized businesses toward the Spring Summit in March.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos underlined that yesterday's Conference and today's meeting with the representatives of the small-medium sized businesses respond to a strong demand coming from all state leaders to proceed quickly with the materialization of the Lisbon strategy and back the development of the European economy.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out that flexibility and work cost have a direct effect on the competitiveness of the small-medium sized businesses. Furthermore, he pointed out that the Green Bible, formally presented yesterday by European Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, reveals the enterpreneurship deficit characterizing Europe.
 BANK OF GREECE GOVERNOR VISIT TO BULGARIAAthens, 14 February 2003 (14:52 UTC+2)
Bank of Greece Governor Nikolaos Garganas will be on a formal visit to Bulgaria today at the invitation of his counterpart Bank of Bulgaria Governor Svetoslav Gavrisky.
They will examine issues of mutual interest concerning the activities of the two central banks. Within this framework, Mr. Garganas will deliver a speech on the changing structure of the European banking sector under the light of the Greek experience.
The two banks signed a cooperation agreement in May 2002 on issues of banking supervision as a result of the considerable activation of Greek banks in the neighboring country.
Five Greek banks are active in Bulgaria, the National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Commercial Bank, Eurobank-Ergasias and Bank of Piraeus. The National Bank of Greece, the Commercial Bank and the Eurobank-Ergasias have bought out Bulgarian banks, while Alpha Bank and the Bank of Piraeus have their own branches.
 STRUCTURAL INFLATION AT 3.7% IN JANUARYAthens, 14 February 2003 (14:22 UTC+2)
Structural inflation rose to 3.7% in January compared to 3.3% in January 2001 and 3.5% in December.
The fact that inflation remains at high levels is due to the price increases in food, manufactured products and services.
For the record, structural inflation includes the price changes in all goods and services not considering the changes in fuel and fresh fruit and vegetable prices.
 PAPANDREOU IN N.Y. FOR REPORT ON IRAQNew York, 14 February 2003 (12:28 UTC+2)
The Security Council will meet for the second time in ten days in order to receive the second report of the UN Inspectors on the progress of the Iraqi disarmament, in view of a possible US attack.
The Heads of the two committees, Hans Blix and Mohammed Elbaradei, have already sent the basic points of their reports to the members of the SC in order for them to prepare their positions.
Ten Foreign Ministers, including all those of SC permanent member states, will speak at the meeting today, which Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, who is already in New York, will attend as an observer.