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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-11-05
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 DEEPENING INTERBALKAN COOPERATIONAthens, 5 November 2003 (14:05 UTC+2)
The Greek position that interbalkan cooperation needs to deepen was conveyed to President of Bulgaria Giorgo Parvanov, who is on a visit to Greece, by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who repeated Greece's support for Bulgaria's accession to NATO and the EU. Earlier, Mr. Parvanov had been received by the President of the Greek Republic Costis Stefanopoulos.
In his statements the President of the Greek Republic stressed that Bulgaria has made significant progress as regards the European Acquis and he appreciated that it will have no trouble in being incorporated to the European Union. On his side, Mr. Parvanov spoke in very positive terms of the Greek Presidency of the EU, which he characterized as very efficient. Regarding his visit to Athens, he said: We hope that this warm wind we felt when getting off the airplane is a tail wind for Bulgaria's sails towards Brussels.
The two Presidents also discussed the issue of opening new routes between Bulgaria and Greece with the joint customs, as well as the Burgas Alexandroupoli oil pipeline. No the pipeline issue, Mr. Stefanopoulos made mention of a coordination of efforts, while Mr. Parvanov appreciated that the work is of great social and economic importance to Bulgaria, which is searching for a formula to un- jam the present stagnancy of the work with Russia.
At the meeting in the Presidential Mansion, the positive relations between Bulgaria and Greece were sealed, while, as it was pointed out, they are at the best point ever in the history of the two countries. In any case, as far as economic bilateral relations are concerned, Mr. Parvanov appreciated that there is still room for growth.
 TENSION AT HIERARCHY SYNODAthens, 5 November 2003 (11:08 UTC+2)
The first day of the meeting of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece on the conflict with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, was held in a tense atmosphere.
Following Archbishop Christodoulos many Metropolites were given the chance to speak, and the discussion, which became heated at points, mainly revolved around the issue of whether the Church of Greece intends to abide by the Act of 1928.
Some Metropolites, published a petition supporting the views of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and collected signatures. According to information, the document has been signed by more than 10 Metropolites.
In the present phase of the well known ecclesiastical issue, the worst that could happen would be for this issue to become a political issue or one for party conflict, mentioned Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos, responding to questions on the crisis.
We politicians, should avoid public statements on these issues, but we must be prepared to offer our services, because when there is knowledge, when there is love, when there is good will, solutions can be found easily for the harmonization of regularity, which is the order within the Church, and legality, pointed out the Minister of Culture.
 NEW CIVIL SERVICE PAYROLL IN PARLIAMENTAthens, 5 November 2003 (09:14 UTC+2)
Increases of 5.4% to 10% on average, starting wages of 590 euro and the incorporation of basic benefits in the wages, are foreseen in the draft on the new payroll for civil servants, submitted in Parliament today. The new payroll also foresees that the first payment of the late family benefit for civil servants in 2004.
 OPTIMISM FOR THE UNDECIDEDAthens, 5 November 2003 (09:04 UTC+2)
The message for PASOK is optimistic, according to party officials, based on two qualitative polls carried out over the past few days. 25% of the electoral body is undecided as regards to its vote. A significant percentage of the undecided, stated that they will make their decision on which party to vote for at the last moment. Voters who are sure of the party they will vote for came to 65%, while 5%-8% is not completely sure yet.
 SIMITIS-PARVANOV MEETINGAthens, 5 November 2003 (18:30 UTC+2)
Bulgaria's European course, bilateral economic relations, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, the Kozlodui nuclear plant, and the new border stations between Greece and Bulgaria, were among the issues discussed by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov in Athens today.
Mr. Simitis said that the atmosphere in bilateral relations is positive, adding that Greece strongly supports Bulgaria's European course, while he also expressed Greece's support to Bulgaria's participation in NATO. The accession act is going to be ratified by the Greek Parliament shortly.
On the issue of the Kozlodui nuclear plant, Mr. Simitis pointed out that this issue has been settled and two of the six nuclear reactors have been shut down, while the rest will close based on the agreed upon timetables.
Mr. Simitis characterized as very good the bilateral economic and trade relations, adding that Greece is the main investor in the neighboring country and the Greek businesses have the best presence in the Bulgaria.
Referring to the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans, he said that as far as Bulgaria is concerned it proceeds very well.
On his part, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov stated that the talks were very productive, adding that Greece offers its honest support to Bulgaria's consistent efforts for EU accession by the year 2007.
Mr. Parvanov pledged that Sofia is going to do everything possible to meet the timetables for the construction of the new border stations along the borders with Greece.
He also referred to the shut down of two nuclear reactors in Kozlodui nuclear plant and added that the EU findings are being expected for the safe operation of the remaining reactors.
 MARGINAL GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 5 November 2003 (17:53 UTC+2)
Marginal gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today just before the end of the session. The general index rose to +0.10% at 2.158,15 points, while the value of transactions was at 102.4 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 190 recorded losses and 95 had gains, while the value of 97 stocks remained unchanged.
 PROTOPAPAS ON THE VISIT OF THE FBI DIRECTOR TO GREECEAthens, 5 November 2003 (17:46 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas referred today to the visit of the FBI Director to Greece.
Mr. Protopapas stated that the senior US official is going to discuss with his Greek colleagues issues concerning security, given the cooperation with Greece on Olympic Games' security issues.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE CHURCH CRISISAthens, 5 November 2003 (17:38 UTC+2)
We watch developments. Many things are not pleasant but we hope that a solution will be found through the dialogue that will develop within the Church, reiterated today Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas responding to a question relevant to the crisis in the relations between the Church of Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Mr. Protopapas pointed out that the balance between the autocephalous Church and the special relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate should be preserved, reiterating that any interventions by third parties must be avoided because from a historical point of view the State interventions had led to extreme situations.
That is why we should not repeat past mistakes, said Mr. Protopapas, stressing that a solution can be found to this important problem through prudence and caution, keeping the interests of Orthodoxy in mind and above all through the Church dialogue.
 CHRISTODOULAKIS: THE POLICY AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT STARTS TO GIVE FRUITAthens, 5 November 2003 (16:41 UTC+2)
The people's anxiety over the course of unemployment resulted to the fact that the recent opinion polls showed that the government's strong card is the Prime Minister and not the economy, stressed Greek Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.
The head of the government's economic staff added that he can understand that anxiety and stressed that the policy followed by the government had as a result for Greece to record the lowest unemployment percentage compared to other four EU states.
 THE STATE BUDGET IS EXECUTED AS PLANNED ASSURED MR. CHRISTODOULAKISAthens, 5 November 2003 (16:24 UTC+2)
The assurance that the state budget is implemented as planned, and the flow of revenues and expenses shows no deviation from the targets set by the government, was expressed by Greek Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis.
On the course of the revenues until October 2003, the head of the government's economic staff stressed that they move with a growth rate of 5.5% compared to the same period last year. Referring to the budget deficit at an overall level, he said that it is expected to reach 1.4%.
 EURO-ZONE UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 8.8% IN SEPTEMBERAthens, 5 November 2003 (16:11 UTC+2)
Unemployment in the Euro-zone remained unchanged at 8.8% in September for a seventh month in a row, near the highest level of the past 3.5 years, according to the European Statistics Agency Eurostat.
The highest percentage of 11.2% was recorded in Spain, while the lowest (3.8%) was in Luxembourg.
 SIMON PERES WILL BE IN ATHENS AND THESSALONIKIAthens, 5 November 2003 (15:33 UTC+2)
Former Prime Minister of Israel and Nobel Prize laureate Simon Peres will be in Athens on Friday morning, where he will have talks with Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, as well as representatives of the Jewish community.
Mr. Peres will also visit Thessaloniki and lay a wreath at the Holocaust Monument on Sunday morning.
 RESPONSE BY BARTHOLOMEW TO YESTERDAY'S REFERENCES BY CHRISTODOULOSIstanbul, 5 November 2003 (17:11 UTC+2)
The crisis in the relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece intensifies.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew responded to the speech delivered by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece yesterday during the meeting of the hierarchy, stating that Archbishop Christodoulos puts in doubt the existing ecclesiastical regime in Greece and prepares the ground for changes.
The Ecumenical Patriarch points out that following yesterday's development the Ecumenical Patriarchate insists in its demand for strict implementation of the 1928 Patriarchal and Synodal Act.