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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-05-06

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] SCANDAL MONGERING IN POLITICS
  • [02] EUROPEAN POLICY AGAINST THE VIRUS
  • [03] A THREAT TO HISTORY
  • [04] FOR A DEFENSIVE EUROZONE AND POWERFUL PRESIDENT
  • [05] THE GREEK UNDERSECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE ATTACK AGAINST A
  • [06] INFORMAL MINISTERIAL AND HIGH-RANKING OFFICIALS MEETING ON EUROPEAN
  • [07] GAINS IN THE ASE
  • [08] INFORMAL MEETINGS OF THE EU MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE, TRANSPORTATION
  • [09] GOV'T SPOKESMAN: ELECTIONS IN THE SPRING OF 2004
  • [10] PETSALNIKOS: THE HAND OVER OF EUROPEAN CITIZENS TO THE US CAN BE
  • [11] KOUFONTINAS: SOTIROPOULOU UNRELATED TO 17N ACTIONS
  • [12] SLOW BUT STEADY INIFICATION FOR EUROPE
  • [13] SYMPOSIUM ON TRANS-EUROPEAN AND PAN-EUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORKS
  • [14] CULTURE AND AUDIOVISUAL MINISTERS COUNCIL MEETING IN BRUSSELS

  • [01] SCANDAL MONGERING IN POLITICS

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (09:03 UTC+2)

    A new attack against MP and member of PASOK's Executive Committee Michalis Neonakis, was carried out today by the Avriani newspaper, while the Prime Minister stated yesterday that the Presidency is the government's priority, and that he would not allow the discussion to move to scandal mongering, while the Government Spokesperson stated that elections will be held in 2004. Charges were pressed against Avriani publisher G. Kouris, whom Mr. Neonakis is also threatening with lawsuits. There is also discomfort in New Democracy, drawing on the book published by the former director of the Eleftheros Typos newspaper G. Kyrtsou, referring to the relationships between party officials and businessmen.

    [02] EUROPEAN POLICY AGAINST THE VIRUS

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (09:03 UTC+2)

    An emergency meeting in order to set a policy as far as dealing with SARS is concerned will be held today by the Ministers of Health of the EU. If there is a case of SARS, the patient can be transferred to anywhere in the EU very quickly, said Prime Minister Costas Simitis. There were encouraging messages on controlling the virus in certain countries, but new measures were taken in Beijing, where the situation seems to be out of hand and new, yet ineffective, measures are constantly taken.

    [03] A THREAT TO HISTORY

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (09:21 UTC+2)

    Developments in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem may have dangerous side effects, since Patriarch Irineos, whom the Israeli state does not recognize despite international pressure, submitted a lawsuit in Athens against the Metropolite of Vostra, Timotheos, calling on the confession of a Palestinian arrested by the Palestinian authorties, who stated that he had accepted a proposition to kill the Patriarch for 0,000. Moscow and the Vatican are opening a discussion on the regime in the Holy Lands.

    [04] FOR A DEFENSIVE EUROZONE AND POWERFUL PRESIDENT

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (09:21 UTC+2)

    President of ND Costas Karamanlis was in favor of Greece's participation in the works for the creation of a defensive Eurozone, during his speech welcoming the new EuroMPs from the countries of the enlargement to the European Peoples' Party. At the same time, Mr. Karamanlis was in favor of instituting a powerful President for the European Commission, while he asked for European initiative for a solution for the island. The EU can and must enforce its historically justified model on policies, not military operations, stated Mr. Karamanlis.

    [05] THE GREEK UNDERSECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS ON THE ATTACK AGAINST A GREEK MISSION IN IRAQ

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (20:08 UTC+2)

    The Greek charge d' affaires in Iraq and the members of the Greek mission carrying humanitarian aid to Iraq are safe in Baghdad after they were attacked by unidentified gunmen, 90 kilometers from the Iraqi capital.

    Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos referring to the incident pointed out that the gunmen fired twice at the jeep with the Greek charge d' affaires in an attempt to immobilize it and fortunately, no one was injured in the attack.

    The Greek mission, made up of the Greek charge d' affaires Nikos Garilidis, another Greek and two Portuguese -members of the non governmental organization Doctors of the World- was carrying medical and pharmaceutical supplies.

    Mr. Loverdos also said that the buildings housing the Greek embassy and the ambassador's residence in Baghdad were not damaged during the war.

    [06] INFORMAL MINISTERIAL AND HIGH-RANKING OFFICIALS MEETING ON EUROPEAN TOURISM

    Crete, 6 May 2003 (19:20 UTC+2)

    An Informal Ministerial and High-Ranking Officials meeting on European Tourism, held in Aghia Pelaghia, Crete, under the Greek EU presidency, laid the foundations for drafting a common tourism policy in the European Union by proposing specific measures on tourism promotion and communication.

    The informal meeting also recorded the common will of the expanded EU 25 member-states to include a reference of the tourism industry's significant contribution to sustainable growth in a European Convention, to be presented in 2004.

    Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos made these announcements after the completion of the informal meeting alongside EU Commission Erkii Liikannen.

    The Greek minister stressed that tourism issues would be discussed, for the first time, in a Competitiveness Council (a new EU body aimed to ensure coordination of micro-economic policies).

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also announced a decision by the 25 EU members to create a common portal for the promotion of tourism in EU level.

    Both the Greek minister and EU Commissioner Erkii Liikannen expressed their optimism over European tourism in 2003 despite the impact from the war in Iraq and the SARS global scare.

    [07] GAINS IN THE ASE

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (17:59 UTC+2)

    Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.94% at 1.768,27 points, while the volume of transactions was considerable at 129.8 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 172 recorded gains and 135 had losses, while the value of 68 stocks remained unchanged.

    [08] INFORMAL MEETINGS OF THE EU MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURE, TRANSPORTATION AND MERCHANT MARINE

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (17:51 UTC+2)

    Two interesting informal meetings of the EU Ministers of Agriculture, and the Ministers of Transportation and Merchant Marine will take place in the following days. They are: the informal Council meeting of the EU Ministers of Agriculture in Corfu on May 10-13 and the informal Council meeting of the EU Ministers of Transportation and Merchant Marine that will be held on board a yacht on May 15-19.

    The EU Agriculture Ministers Council in Corfu will discuss issues concerning mainly the so-called quality agriculture, the quality agriculture products and food safety and health issues.

    The proceedings of the Transportation and Merchant Marine Ministers will take place on board a yacht that will sail from Corinth to Mesologgi and Katakolo. Then the EU Ministers will visit Ancient Olympia. The proceedings of the Merchant Marine Ministers Council meeting will open on Saturday, May 17, 2003. The ministers will discuss issues concerning shipping and are also scheduled to visit the Aegean islands of Santorini, Naxos and Patmos.

    [09] GOV'T SPOKESMAN: ELECTIONS IN THE SPRING OF 2004

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (16:55 UTC+2)

    Elections will be held in the spring of 2004 as already stated by the Prime Minister, reiterated acting government spokesman and Ministry of Press General Secretary Dimitris Gerou responding to a relevant question. On the likelihood of a government reshuffle, he said that it is the Prime Minister's prerogative to choose if and when he wants to proceed with a reshuffle.

    Called to comment on the press reports on the newspaper Avriani, he stated that the government has responded to this scandal talk by adopting a specific political stance, adding that the government has priorities it has a job to do and it is concerned only with that.

    He also said that those who want to bring the stock market issue back to publicity create a foggy atmosphere that can hurt the Greek society, adding that the government has already given its response.

    [10] PETSALNIKOS: THE HAND OVER OF EUROPEAN CITIZENS TO THE US CAN BE REJECTED

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (16:35 UTC+2)

    The right of every EU member state to reject an extradition (even for reasons not explicitly predicted in the bilateral agreement) if it is in conflict with constitutional principles, is recognized in the EU-US extradition agreement achieved by the Greek EU Presidency after negotiations with the US side.

    The success of this agreement was pointed out to the responsible Parliamentary committee by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos in the briefing on the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency.

    The Justice Minister explained that the initiative for the extradition agreement negotiations between the EU and the United States belonged to the Belgian EU Presidency but the negotiations themselves opened during the Danish EU Presidency.

    He said that the US agreed to withdraw among others their demand for the abolition of the political crimes. Also, the US agreed to accept as a reason for the rejection of an extradition request the likelihood for the person extradited to receive the death penalty.

    Regarding the judicial cooperation between Greece and the United States, Mr. Petsalnikos stated that there is wide protection of personal data information through regulations limiting their use.

    [11] KOUFONTINAS: SOTIROPOULOU UNRELATED TO 17N ACTIONS

    Athens, 6 May 2003 (15:52 UTC+2)

    The testimony of witness Theodosia Mania, who recognized Dimitris Koufontinas and Aggeliki Sotiropoulou as implicated in the Saunders killing by 17N, was commented on today, by Dimitris Koufontinas.

    Shortly before the court adjourned, Dimitris Koufontinas characterized the indictment of Aggeliki Sotiropoulou as leverage against him.

    The action against Saunders took three months of very careful planning. There was careful studying of the area and you believe that we would wait until the last day for the organizer to inspect the site with his wife? supported the defendant.

    As far as Aggeliki Sotiropoulou's implication in the Saunders killing is concerned, after Mrs. Mania's statement, Koufontinas said: Aggeliki was unrelated to the action of the organization and she is here now only to be used as leverage against me, like blackmail and punishment, empathy and revenge for anything that touches me.

    [12] SLOW BUT STEADY INIFICATION FOR EUROPE

    Thessaloniki, 6 May 2003 (15:03 UTC+2)

    The enlargement of the European Union with the accession of ten new states marks a development of major historic significance. However, an equally important development in the course of European unification is the new Constitution of Europe, which is being prepared feverously, and the draft of which will be presented at the Thessaloniki Summit in June, by the President of the Convention for the Future of Europe, Giscard D' Estaing.

    Drawing on the above, as well as the Day of Europe, which has been designated for May 9, Vassilis Skouris, the Greek Judge at the Court of European Communities and Director of the Center of International and European Financial Law in an interview with mpa.gr referred to the joint Constitution, common foreign policy and defense, and the "tomorrow" of the European Union, as well as the role played by Greece in the developments taking place in Europe.

    As far as that last point is concerned, Mr. Skouris underlined that the country's image in the European region has improved noticeably. "We are a serious country with serious representatives in European bodies, and of course we participate in European procedures, as was seen in the framework of the Greek Presidency, despite the enormous difficulties we faced". "It is to ones benefit", he added, "to be considered a serious country, to participate in European developments, to stay informed, to express positions, which will accepted as long as they are correct and coordinated".

    The Greek judge underlined that the works of the Convention under Mr. D' Estaing for the new Constitution are difficult and laborious.

    "The difficulties lay in that there must be broad agreement in issues that are very difficult and controversial, such as, for example, the issue of role distribution within the EU and its member-states. What will happen with the communal bodies", stressed Mr. Skouris, and asked a series of questions: "Apart from the upgrading of the European Parliament, what will be the role of the Council from now on? Will the EU President be elected and have a longer tenure than that of half a year? Will we have a "foreign minister", and what will his role be?"

    THE IRAQ EXPERIENCE

    Connecting the above with the traumatic experience the EU faced with the issue of the Iraq war, he pointed out: "Of course newer developments, with the division of Iraq, are issues that are promoted through their institutional cloak. Who will have the first word in these issues, how they will be carried out, how they will be decided on, and whether Europe will have a united voice".

    In any case, Mr. Skouris expressed his optimism that there will be a compromise, and called on the view of those who believe that "after a crisis there is ground for an agreement to be made, which can avert such phenomena in the future".

    He characterized the limitation of the prism through which we see Europe with what is happening in Iraq a mistake.

    COMMON FOREIGN POLICY AND DEFENSE IS A ONE WAY STREET

    Mr. Skouris indirectly, yet clearly characterized the need of the EU to have a common foreign policy and defense as a one-way street, stressing that if this does not happen, "we will have a serious drop in the progress of European unifications".

    Commenting on the move of the "4" (Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg), who came up with a new defense model for the EU, Mr. Skouris appreciated that such moves should not be looked at as some form of tactics. The member-states "have not sold out their sovereign rights as far as these issues are concerned. And they can therefore discuss them, question them and move on", he said.

    Regarding the EU's steps following the European Constitution, Mr. Skouris, after pointing out that the EU is moving to its unification slowly, but steadily, stressed that what is of importance is that Europe be able to accept these ten new member-states without careening , a fact he characterized as a challenge to all European bodies.

    [13] SYMPOSIUM ON TRANS-EUROPEAN AND PAN-EUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORKS

    Brussels, 6 May 2003 (19:30 UTC+2)

    The Symposium Toward the integration of Trans-European and Pan-European Transport Networks, which was jointly sponsored by the Greek Transport Ministry and the European Parliament, concludes in Brussels today.

    Ministers from all countries in Europe, euro-deputies, delegates from the European Commission, international funding organisations and transport sector representatives reviewed issues regarding the completion of Pan-European and Trans-European transport network infrastructures, as well as the effective incorporation of their functional features in the European Transportation System.

    Participants also analyzed the role of Trans-European Networks in an enlarged Europe and the positive impact they are expected to have on the free movement of people and goods.

    In addressing the Symposium, Greek Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said that the Trans-European Networks should be designed to boost the competitiveness of the European economy, as well as economic and social cohesion, stressing that new principles and new criteria should govern the future development of the networks which are designed to act as a leverage for ensuring the strategic role of enlarged Europe within the global economy.

    It was furthermore stressed that railways were in the centre of the new policy and that they were expected to play a significant role in the European transportation system.

    A special mention was made about the positive steps taken by the Greek EU Presidency, since significant progress had been made with a variety of issues such as the second railway package, the security of aircraft originating from third countries that use Community airports and the ''Galileo'' programme.

    On the sidelines of the Symposium the Greek Minister had separate meetings with European Commission officials, Commissioner for Energy Loyola de Palacio and former Commission Vice-President Karel Van Miert.

    [14] CULTURE AND AUDIOVISUAL MINISTERS COUNCIL MEETING IN BRUSSELS

    Brussels, 6 May 2003 (19:07 UTC+2)

    The Council of the Ministers of Culture and Audiovisual took place in Brussels, on May 6, 2003 with the participation for the first time-of the 10 new member states of the European Union. The Council was presided over by the Minister of Culture Mr. Evangelos Venizelos and by the Minister of Press and Media Mr. Christos Protopapas.

    Culture:

    The Council designated the Greek city of Patras as the European Cultural Capital for 2006.

    In the context of the European Year for the People with Disabilities, the Council adopted a resolution concerning the accessibility to the cultural infrastructure and the cultural activities for the people with disabilities.

    The Council adopted a resolution concerning the horizontal aspects of culture, focusing in the increasing of synergies with other sectors and Community actions.

    The Council held an exchange of views on the extension of the program Culture 2000 for the years 2005- 2006. This extension will cover, as well, the 10 new member states, increasing the budget by 69, 5 million euros.

    Finally, the Council adopted a resolution concerning the cooperation between the national archives in the 25 member states.

    Audiovisual:

    The Council held an exchange of views on the Commission's Television without Frontiers work programme for 2003, on the basis of a paper drawn by the Presidency. The discussion focused on the three themes covered by the public consultation with the view to an eventual future review of the directive: issues concerning television advertising, access to events of major importance to society and access to short extracts of major events. Commission is expected to present a Communication with proposals for an eventual review of the directive in the beginning of 2004.

    Finally, the Council held an exchange of views on the proposal of the extension of MEDIA programmes (MEDIA training and MEDIA PLUS) for the year 2006. The current programmes end in December 2005. The proposal increases their budget by 7,4 million euros (MEDIA Training) and by 85,6 million euros (MEDIA- Plus).


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