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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-10-20
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIMITIS IS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE GREEK ECONOMYAthens, 20 October 2003 (16:31 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis appeared optimistic about the course of the Greek economy and the growth rates after the meeting he had with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
There is progress in the sector of the economy that will become more obvious in the following months, stated to reporters. He clarified that a discussion has been made on the economy and it was established that there are signs of recovery at a European level as it was expected. The improvement is stable. Greece has the highest growth rate among the EU member states and it is capable of achieving even higher growth rates than the target set. He also said that the EU has moved ahead with the materialization of European programs aimed at strengthening the growth rates at a European level and Greece will benefit from this development.
Mr. Simitis briefed Mr. Stephanopoulos on current developments and referred to the Inter-Governmental Conference, the EU Summit meeting Brussels and the Greek-Turkish relations in view of the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to Athens tomorrow.
On the issue of the European Constitution, Mr. Simitis mentioned that no important progress has been made but there was convergence of views and certain extreme positions were overcome. He also said that the Italian EU Presidency will present a draft Constitution and appeared optimistic that an agreement will be reached before the end of the year.
On the proposal that will formed by the Italian EU Presidency, he stated that it will be close enough to the views expressed by everybody but it will not cover one or two countries that have expressed fundamental disagreements.
 OPINION POLL ON THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE AND THE ARCHBISHOPRIC OF ATHENSAthens, 20 October 2003 (16:53 UTC+2)
The feelings of the Greek citizens toward the dispute that has erupted between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archbishopric of Athens on the occasion of the election of a new Metropolite of Thessaloniki are being reflected on an opinion poll conducted by the polling company Global Link the conclusions of which were published on the Athens newspaper TA NEA
The governing Socialist Party of PASOK voters are on the side of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (48%), while right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy voters support Archbishop Christodoulos (42%)
A total of 57% of the voters of the two major political parties in Greece support the State-Church separation.
Also, 52% call for an intervention by the State in case there is no agreement between the Patriarch and the Archbishop, while 53% call for the intervention to be in favor of the Church of Greece and 17% in favor of the Patriarchate.
 ABDULLAH GUL WILL BE IN ATHENS TOMORROWAthens, 20 October 2003 (16:02 UTC+2)
The Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue and Turkey's European course will be at the center of the talks Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will have in Athens tomorrow.
Mr. Gul's visit is a scheduled one and has been carefully prepared by the two sides. Mr. Gul will arrive in Athens tomorrow and will meet with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
 PROTOPAPAS ON KARAMANLIS' SPEECH BEFORE THE ND PARLIAMENT DEPUTIESAthens, 20 October 2003 (18:32 UTC+2)
Mr. Karamanlis attempted again to create problems to the developments in the sector of the economy by referring to alleged problematic privatizations that will have to be reexamined. He made the allegations without using proofs or indications to back his point, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas commenting on the speech of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis before his party's Parliament deputies.
He said that it is clear that Mr. Karamanlis does not want the privatizations and the developments in the economy to continue, developments that strengthen the country's competitiveness, because he is interested more in serving the needs of his party in view of the elections and not the needs of the country and its economy.
 PROTOPAPAS ON THE SUCCESSION SCENARIOSAthens, 20 October 2003 (18:14 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas spoke of an orchestrated scenario campaign presenting the Prime Minister as being under a deadline, adding that this campaign serves right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy communication needs. He made the statement referring to newspaper reports on changes at the top of the government before the elections.
Called to comment on the results of the latest opinion poll, he responded that each opinion poll has its own elements and this is the reason why the opinion polls do not look alike. However, all elements are studied and evaluated. He stressed that the opinion polls do not predetermine the votes of the citizens, the political initiatives that will be undertaken will.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE CANCELLATION OF POWELL'S VISITAthens, 20 October 2003 (17:41 UTC+2)
The very heavy schedule of US Secretary of State Colin Powell is responsible for the cancellation of his scheduled visit to Athens, according to Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas.
A reservation on Mr. Powell's arrival had been expressed in spite of the fact that the invitation was confirmed and US officials had arrived for the diplomatic preparation of the visit, clarified Mr. Protopapas responding to a relevant question by reporters.
 SMALL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 20 October 2003 (16:39 UTC+2)
Small losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.19% at 2.120,72 points, while the volume of transactions was very small at 77.8 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, a majority of 159 recorded gains and 113 had losses, while the value of 112 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA PRESIDENCY TO VISIT ATHENSAthens, 20 October 2003 (16:09 UTC+2)
The members of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Dragan Covic, Sulejman Tihic and Borislav Paravac will arrive in Athens today for a visit that will last until October 22.
During their stay in Athens they will meet with Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, Greek Communist Party general secretary Mrs. Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left Party President Nikos Konstantopoulos.