|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-10-04
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ROUSOPOULOS ON THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN INQUIRY COMMITTEEAthens, 4 October 2004 (16:49 UTC+2)
Government spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos commented on the likelihood to form an inquiry committee to examine the irregularities traced in the Ministry of Merchant Marine.
Mr. Rousopoulos responded that the government will meet its election campaign commitment and bring to justice every case involving mismanagement. Justice will hold investigations and decide whether to send to Parliament its findings. Then it is up to the Parliament to decide if it is necessary to form an inquiry committee, said Mr. Rousopoulos.
 IMPROVED CLIMATEWashington, 4 October 2004 (14:12 UTC+2)
Minister of Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis had important contacts in Washington with representatives of foreign banks and credit organizations and was established that the climate has improved regarding the prospects of the Greek economy.
Mr. Alogoskoufis is in the US capital representing Greece in the annual General Assembly of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and had a number of contacts aimed at promoting the fiscal adjustment effort made by the government.
He pointed out that the first positive conclusions are reflected in the recent report issued by Moody's.
In addition, he underlined that the bonds market moves in a good pace and does not show that Greece's credit ability will be downgraded in the future.
 THE BLACK SEA 3RD ENERGY CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 4 October 2004 (17:46 UTC+2)
Deputy Minister of Development Giorgos Salagoudis will be the main speaker in the 3rd Energy Conference of the Black Sea to be held in Thessaloniki on October 5-6.
The conference is held under the auspices of Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase and organized by the Regional and Interregional Development Forum and the Romanian Consulate in Thessaloniki.
In the conference will participate over 200 government officials and business executives from 11 countries (Greece, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldavia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey), the European Union and the United States.
The main topic of the conference will be government planning to meet the challenges presented by the overall restructuring of the region's energy markets, the abolition of monopolies, the entry of private producers in the energy market and the attraction of foreign investors who want to be active in the energy market which is gradually liberated.
 SPILIOTOPOULOS: THE EFFORTS FOR REFORMS IN DEFENSE SUPPLIES WILL CONTINUEAthens, 4 October 2004 (19:23 UTC+2)
The government's determination to strictly observe the laws and the terms for transparency in the defense programs' supplies, as well as the protection of the orderly operation of the free market by safeguarding the terms of healthy competition and equality before the law, were stressed by Minister of Defense Spilios Spiliotopoulos opening the 4th International Conference of the Association of Greek Defense Material Manufacturers taking place in Athens.
Mr. Spiliotopoulos said that the strategic goal of the Ministry of Defense policy will be the total exploitation of domestic defense industry, both state-run and private, allowing for a dynamic presence and substantial participation in the European and international co-productions while increasing the competitiveness of the Greek products.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 4 October 2004 (17:33 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.31% at 2383.49 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 112,1 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 199 had gains and 84 had losses, while the value of 120 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE GOV'T IS LEADING IN THE OPINION POLLSAthens, 4 October 2004 (16:36 UTC+2)
The government of New Democracy is leading in the opinion polls unaffected by the Chinook crash, the transfer of former Minister of Agriculture Savvas Tsitouridis' son to another university and the bloody car crash at Maliakos Horseshoe, according to an opinion poll conducted by the GPO polling company on behalf of the Athens newspapers Eleftheros Tipos and Tipos tis Kiriakis for the period of September 27-30.
According to the opinion poll results, New Democracy is leading main opposition party of PASOK by 7.5 percentage points with 40.5% compared to 33%. The Communist Party follows with 5.9%, Coalition of the Left 3% and LAOS 2.8%.
More fit for the post of the Prime Minister is Kostas Karamanlis (54.4%), while PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou has 31.1%. Of those asked, 74.9% have positive or rather positive impression of Prime Minister Karamanlis, while 23.2% have a negative or rather negative impression of him. The percentages for Mr. Papandreou are 53.5% and 40.6% respectively.
Also, 45.2% have a positive or rather positive impression of the government, while 21.8% have a negative or rather negative impression. Meanwhile, 42.7% have a negative or rather negative impression of the opposition and 18.3% have a positive or rather positive impression.
 EXTINCTION THREATENS 20% OF ANIMAL SPECIESAthens, 4 October 2004 (14:49 UTC+2)
World Animal Day today and scientists warn that by 2025 about 1/5 of the animal species alive today will be extinct.
For the record, the average life expectancy for a stray dog on the streets of Athens is currently 3 years.
Daniel Mills is Britain's first specialist in veterinary behavioral science appointed at Lincoln University.
The British scientist will study the behavioral patterns of dogs, cats and horses examining ways to improve cohabitation with their owners.
 TURKEY TO BECOME AN EU MEMBER IN 15 YEARSBerlin, 4 October 2004 (14:27 UTC+2)
Turkey has met all political criteria necessary for the opening of EU accession negotiations, stated Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey has done its homework and now it is the turn of those who gave Turkey the homework to do what they ought to, Mr. Erdogan stated characteristically speaking in the German network N-TV.
The Turkish Prime Minister expressed the belief that his country will receive the green light for EU accession negotiations. However, he warned that Turkey is unlikely to become a European Union member before 2019.
 PAPASTAMKOS TO FYROM: ABANDON THE HISTORICAL-CULTURAL BURDENSSkopje, 4 October 2004 (14:00 UTC+2)
Greek Euro-deputy, elected with the governing party of New Democracy, Prof. Giorgos Papastamkos, Chairman of the Interparliamentary Delegation to the EU- FYROM Joint Parliamentary Committee, stressed in an interview to FYROM daily Dnevnik published on today's issue that FYROM should overcome its historical-cultural burdens if it really wants to approach the EU.
The newspaper published the interview under the front-page title Leave the past to see reality. It welcomes Mr. Papastamkos' election to the post of the chairman, underlining that he comes from the neighborhood and is very well aware of the problems, while he realizes the existing difficulties.
The interview to the newspaper correspondent to Brussels Svetlana Milevska Jovanovska:
DNEVNIK: What are your priorities as Chairman of the Delegation for cooperation between EU and FYROM, which issues will be tackled within the Delegation and what do you hope to achieve during the next period of time?
PAPASTAMKOS: As the Chairman of the Interparliamentary Delegation to the EU- FYROM Joint Parliamentary Committee, I intend to contribute, on behalf of the European Parliament, to the strengthening and broadening of EU-FYROM cooperation. The Stabilization and Association Agreement between the two parties constitutes a solid basis for the achievement of this objective. Institutional security, democracy and the rule of law, political stability - both internally as well as in terms of external policy - and a viable macroeconomic framework, constitute essential criteria for the further consolidation of FYROM's progress towards Europe. These are objective criteria that all European states have met, having themselves born their own burden of adjustment in order to become full members of the common European edifice.
I am familiar with the situation in the region; in fact when I was deputy foreign minister I worked for closer cooperation of all the countries in the region with the EU. It is a region, which must advance at a different speed; it must endeavour to forge ahead in a true spirit of cooperation, political stability and security. This is the only way it will overcome its historical-cultural burdens of the past. Those who remain stuck there are the forces, which fear they have no role to play in a new international reality.
As far as the agenda is concerned, it will be drawn up by common accord. It includes subjects, which will require careful work, understanding and dialogue.
DNEVNIK: How could the Delegation have a positive influence with regard to the preparation of the country for the EU?
PAPASTAMKOS: Our Delegation does not impose goals, standards or action. Our position is linked to the positions of the other European institutions. Europe's principles and values are well known, as is the European acquis. Whether they are fully understood is a matter for FYROM's institutions. The level of priority you attach to European affairs will set the tone for our work together. Our Delegation will address the adjustments FYROM needs to make from the angle of political and economic conditionality.
DNEVNIK: President of the European Commission Romano Prodi will give next week the EU questionnaire to the FYROM government. Do you see any role for this Delegation in the process of answering the questionnaire?
PAPASTAMKOS: The parliamentary dimension is present at all stages of a European country's relations with the EU, directly or indirectly. We want to contribute constructively at every phase of our interparliamentary cooperation. The intensity and depth of this cooperation will mainly depend on how committed FYROM is to speeding up its progress towards the EU by making substantial adjustments.
DNEVNIK: What do you expect from your FYROM colleagues, members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee?
PAPASTAMKOS: Without wishing to interfere in their work, I feel FYROM's members of parliament are now called upon to match the pace of the members of the European Parliament and to be fully committed to the principles, values and standards of Europe. It is my deepest conviction that, as part of a continuous dialogue, your parliamentary representatives will also contribute their own proposals to FYROM's progress towards Europe as this choice is given top priority in your foreign policy.
DNEVNIK: Do you expect that the Delegation will discuss at some point, the name dispute between Greece and FYROM?
PAPASTAMKOS: The word 'European' conjures up a cultural identity shaped by history. A modern view sees Europe as having a multi-cultural foundation. Out of the clash of a multitude of national stereotypes, Europe was forged into a union of peoples and states. If the EU now embodies unity in an unprecedented form, it is due to overcoming or at the very least reducing historical and cultural differences. In my view, if a European state truly wishes to join the EU it must first free itself of any historical-cultural burdens. EU membership presupposes overcoming these burdens. The German-French cooperation, within the process of European integration, constitutes an illustrative example. My hope is that the institutional actors of FYROM look ahead and are not influenced by such historical-cultural adherences.
I also hope they are interested in the unrestricted participation of their country in the process of European integration. I personally see this prospect of participation as a positive challenge, and I will certainly make my own contribution to it. I therefore consider as very important the way the European Parliament's Interparliamentary Delegation to the EU-FYROM Joint Parliamentary Committee would contribute to "exporting" the European way of (collective) functional culture; a culture, which has at its heart the dialogue, the mutual understanding and the consensus.
DNEVNIK: We can read think tank's estimations that FYROM will be member of the EU after 2010. Do you agree?
PAPASTAMKOS: My personal view is that the faster the adjustment to Europe's acquis, the closer you will come to being a member state. In any case the efforts and results of adjustment must be clear before the Commission gives its opinion (avis) on your application. This means there must be serious and credible preparatory action taken first.
DNEVNIK: To what extent the entry of FYROM in the EU depends on the success of the last enlargement?
PAPASTAMKOS: Absorbing the repercussions of the last enlargement to ten new member states bears no comparison with your application. The cost of FYROM joining the EU is not a matter for concern. It is quantifiable. What FYROM must demonstrate is primarily a qualitative, structural adjustment and the image of being a factor for peace, stability and security in the region.
DNEVNIK: The President of the next European Commission decided to include the Balkan states in the new DG enlargement. Is this a firm guarantee of their entry in the EU?
PAPASTAMKOS: As you know, the guarantee for any new membership is the fulfillment of the Copenhagen criteria. The points you raised are therefore a positive step.
DNEVNIK: EU is preparing its new budget for the period until 2013. Do you think that FYROM will receive its part and do you see a role for the Delegation in this process?
PAPASTAMKOS: Our visible goal must be FYROM's participation in a clear pre-accession strategy. It is precisely this, which will influence the extent of EU-FYROM relations.
DNEVNIK: Visa regime isolates the citizens from the rest of Europe. Don't you think that some kind of lightening of this regime could be a concrete confirmation that FYROM has an EU perspective and how this Delegation could eventually influence the liberalization of the visa regime?
PAPASTAMKOS: The matter you raise is related to the EU's Home Affairs and Justice 'pillar'. Let me speak sincerely. In this area FYROM must take many steps forward. Unstinting political will and decisive measures on the part of its government are needed. The EU's aim is to assist in strengthening the judicial system, to fight against organized crime and to consolidate domestic and regional security by developing an efficient Integrated Border Management strategy.