|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-02-03
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 NEW STABILIZATIONAthens, 3 February 2004 (10:39 UTC+2)
The difference between PASOK and New Democracy has stabilized at 4%, according to the polls published yesterday, in which candidate President of PASOK Giorgos Papandreou has a steady lead on President of ND Costas Karamanlis as far as who is more appropriate for the position of Prime Minister. There is also a major difference in favor of ND for electoral victory probability. ND satisfaction on the stabilization and PASOK satisfaction with the fact that Mr. Papandreou popularity was not harmed by the Porto Carras events.
 INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY FOR CYPRUSWashington, 3 February 2004 (10:39 UTC+2)
The Cyprus issue is on the daily agenda of today's meeting between US President George Bush with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the White House, while American diplomacy has been mobilized in order for new developments to take place. Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou had a long telephone communication yesterday with Mr. Annan, who informed him of the contacts and communications he has had with President of the Cypriot Republic Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
 REASSURANCE AND INSPECTIONS ON THE EXPOThessaloniki, 3 February 2004 (10:44 UTC+2)
The President and the Secretary General of the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions), Wu Jiammin and Vincente Gonzalez Loscertalesz are in Thessaloniki, in order to look into the city's candidacy for holding the 2008 World Expo. The BIE officials met with alternate Foreign Minister T. Giannitsis, who gave his reassurance that Thessaloniki, apart from its long history in holding trade fairs, also has excellent infrastructures and experience in flawless preparations and carrying out of major events.
 SUING THE SPIEGELAthens, 3 February 2004 (11:12 UTC+2)
A lawsuit for libel will be filed with German Justice by Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos, after a Spiegel magazine publication on irregularities in the purchasing of Leopard tanks by the Greek Armed Forces. In the middle of the pre-election period, an issue that has been repeatedly responded to by the Greek Government and the Minister of Defense, is being raised again, to contribute to the atmosphere of the times, mentioned Mr. Tsochatzopoulos in his statement, in which he announced his intention to appeal to German Justice.
 KARAMANLIS: ND IS READY TO MAKE POLITICAL CHANGE A REALITYAthens, 3 February 2004 (19:31 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis stated that his party is ready to make a reality the major political change society demands. He made the comment in the presentation of his party's economic program today.
Mr. Karamanlis underlined that New Democracy proposes to every social group and every citizen a contract of honor on the policy of the next four years, which will be clear and totally binding.
He criticized the government for the economic policy it has followed, stressing that it increased public debt by 85 billion euros and created secret debts of at least 15 billion euros, as well as secret unemployment.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that the cause of those problems is the State-Party, adding that it is now obvious that the system of power, the System of PASOK is unable to respond to the demands of the New Era and promote the necessary reforms, while it has also lost the ability of management.
He said that New Democracy is aware that the economic problems it will inherit are many and serious but there are solutions, as well as resources. Mr. Karamanlis added that his party knows what the problems are and it knows the solutions to the problems. He also stressed that New Democracy aims at an annual growth rate of over 5%.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE CYPRUS ISSUEAthens, 3 February 2004 (19:02 UTC+2)
It is obvious that there is great mobility regarding the Cyprus problem, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas when asked to comment on the forthcoming meeting of US President George Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and reminded that the Greek Cypriot side has declared its readiness to take part in talks.
Mr. Protopapas expressed the wish that the intentions of the Turkish side will prove to be as sincere. He said that if the Turkish side's intentions prove to be sincere talks are going to be underway based on the Annan Plan.
Mr. Protopapas stated that he wanted to remind the statements made by Giorgos Papandreou yesterday on the issue of the procedures followed, stressing that his statements were important because through the talks and negotiations on Cyprus a positive climate of trust will be created that will give the opportunity for a continuation of the efforts.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE OPINION POLLSAthens, 3 February 2004 (18:44 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas expressed satisfaction over the messages coming from the governing Socialist Party of PASOK election campaign.
Called to comment on the outcome of the recent opinion polls, he reminded that they record the effects of a specific conjuncture and added that with the election of the new PASOK President next Sunday the party will enter the finishing stretch to the elections in a dynamic manner.
Mr. Protopapas pointed out that all opinion polls show that PASOK's future President Giorgos Papandreou is leading in popularity and is the one people trust.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 3 February 2004 (16:51 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today, which was affected by the negative climate that dominated in the European markets.
The general index dropped to -0.76% at 2416.56 points, while the volume of transactions was at 160.1 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 75 recorded gains and 239 had losses, while the value of 69 stocks remained unchanged.
 DROP OF 0.1% IN THE EURO-ZONE PRODUCER PRICES IN DECEMBERAthens, 3 February 2004 (16:43 UTC+2)
A marginal drop of 0.1% in the Euro-zone producer prices was recorded in December, compared to the previous month, while in the European Union they remained stable.
For the record, the producer prices index in the 12 countries was increased by 0.1% in November, while in the 15 states it was increased by 0.3%. In both cases, prices have increased by 1% compared to December 2002.
 SUPPORT TO SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSESAthens, 3 February 2004 (11:59 UTC+2)
Measures for further development of small and medium businesses were announced by PASOK candidate President and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, in a meeting of small and medium business owners in Athens. The measures include a decrease in taxes on small and medium businesses of 5% and in urban and rural partnerships, to be united by 10%, while he foresaw a simplification of the present tax regime for small and medium businesses and the bankruptcy procedure, with a simultaneous decrease in cost and time for the establishment of a business.
 CYPRIOT LEADERSHIP IN ATHENSAthens, 3 February 2004 (11:11 UTC+2)
The discussion on the ratification of the treaty for the enlargement of the EU will be held in the Greek Parliament next Tuesday, in the presence of Cyprus' entire political leadership. Nicosia's response to the proposal of Greek President of the Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis, was delivered to deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Magriotis from the President of the Cypriot Parliament, Dimitris Christofias, during Mr. Magriotis' visit to Cyprus. During that visit, Mr. Magriotis had meetings with all political parties, while full agreement was discerned between the two sides on the Cyprus issue.