|Tuesday, 20 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-11-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>November 22, 2004
 Premier Karamanlis says Epirus a 'crucial growth linchpin'
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis visited the port of Preveza, in western Greece, on Saturday at the end of his two-day tour of the northern region of Epirus.
The prime minister promised that from a state of "singular isolation" characterizing Epirus the region will enter a new era and attributed to Epirus the role of a "crucial growth linchpin."
Karamanlis pointed out that major projects such as the Rio-Antirrio cable bridge, the Egnatia motorway, the Ionia motorway and ports and airports will put Epirus into the orbit of economic growth and progress.
"The government's strategy is aimed at the target of speedier growth and infrastructure projects," the prime minister said, adding that "the Greek region is our central option. We are working so as to enable more infrastructure projects and more jobs for a better life for all citizens in regions."
Following the end of his visit to the port of Preveza, where extension work will soon be starting, Karamanlis through Aktio returned to Athens.
On Saturday morning the prime minister visited customs offices at Mavromatti, in the prefecture of Thesprotia, and at noon he chaired a meeting with the board of the Epirus technical institute. The meeting was attended by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos.
The technical institute's president, Sotiris Kandrelis, said in his address that more means are necessary to enable the implementation of a reliable evaluation system meeting European specifications.
Karamanlis, on his part, underlined the important educational work being carried out by the Epirus technical institute in producing specialized and modern educational potential.
He added that the government facilitated the operation of technical institutes with 14 million euros, through special subsidization, while increased credits in the region of 16 percent are anticipated in the 2005 budget for technical institutes' operational expenditures and a 49 percent increase is anticipated for the students' food supply.
Also reminding that he had proposed a final solution for the longstanding problem of professional rights in the framework of the National Education Council, the prime minister said that permanent staff jobs are expected to be announced because "the government invests in education and invests in the new generation."
Student representatives offered a pen to Karamanlis so that, as they said, he can "sign a solution to their problems", while the technical institute's board gave him a silver tray bearing the establishment's emblem.
PASOK party spokesman says PM confirmed the ease with which he makes announcements: Main opposition PASOK party spokesman Nikos Athanasakis, commenting on Saturday on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis's two-day tour of the northern region of Epirus that came to an end on the same day, said that with his visit to Epirus the prime minister "confirmed the ease with which he makes announcements in trying, however, to lower tones compared to his election commitments which he would like very much to be forgotten."
Athanasakis also raised a number of questions to which, as he said, the prime minister has not given a reply.
"How will regional development be promoted when the Public Investments program is being restricted dramatically, how will farmers' income be improved, which is currently being dealt a blow by the lowest prices in past years, how will the continuous decrease in the available income of working people be handled and how will new jobs be created when unemployment is soaring even higher with his government," the PASOK party's spokesman said.
"Regional development is yet another communicational option for the speeches of Mr. Karamanlis which, however, is moving in an absolute vacuum of policy and work and with the daily problems of citizens worsening continuously," Athanasakis added.
 Alogoskoufis: Stepped up diplomacy averted repercussions due to 'irresponsible behavior' of past gov'ts
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)National Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis on Sunday strenuously defended the government's recent high-profile fiscal audit, a development that produced higher budget deficit estimates for the country and closer scrutiny of Greece's economic figures by its 'euro-zone' partners.
"Via a diplomatic marathon we were able to ensure that the unacceptable and irresponsible behavior of past governments, namely, to present false economic figures, won't have repercussions for the country," Alogoskoufis was quoted as saying during an interview published by the Athens daily "Eleftheros Typos" on Sunday.
In other matters, the minister cited a policy aimed at privatizations in various parts of the economy, but with proper timing and with job positions guaranteed.
Finally, in an unrelated issue, Alogoskoufis said a possible presidential candidacy by Coalition of the Left president Nikos Constantopoulos would include "unifying (political) characteristics", while adding that other personalities have the necessary criteria for the post.
 ND Eurodeputy criticizes government's fiscal audit
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Ruling New Democracy (ND) party Eurodeputy Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper "Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia" and referring to the government's fiscal audit, said the reconsideration of Greek economy factors is permissible but it should have taken place ''with discretion and in national institutional bodies.''
Dimitrakopoulos also said Greece's effort to prove to our European partners that it will decrease a deficit in the region of 2.5 percent in a year was a "political and economic naivety."
The Eurodeputy, who expresses reservations as to whether the term "audit" was the most suitable, considers the reconsideration process permissible, but claims that "it should have taken place with a consensual and not a conflicting logic."
In a related development, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in an interview with the ET3 television channel that Dimitrakopoulos's views were "personal" and contained contra-dictions.
Government sources said on Sunday evening that the ND Eurodeputy's statements reflected only personal views.
Reports also said that the ruling ND parliamentary group's secretary Apostolos Stavrou had contacted Dimitrakopoulos asking for clarifications. The same sources added that the ND Eurodeputy reportedly said that his statements reflected personal views and were not destined to create any sort of problem to the government.
 PASOK leader Papandreou calls fiscal audit a 'major fiasco'
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Sunday criticized the government over its policies on the economic, foreign affairs and corruption fronts, speaking to supporters and PASOK cadres in Thessaloniki during a party conference there.
Among others, he called a recent high-profile fiscal audit of the country's finances a "major fiasco", while saying the Karamanlis government is attempting to establish its own system for controlling mass media.
He also charged that the government with being "dangerously inert" on foreign policy issues, pointing to the recent recognition by Washington of FYROM as merely "Republic of Macedonia", and over an upcoming EU summit meeting that is expected to focus, in part, on Turkey's European prospects.
Finally, he said the recently tabled draft budget for 2005 was detrimental to lower-income segments of society.
 Armed forces day celebrated in Athens
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Armed forces day was celebrated on Sunday with a church service held at the Athens Cathedral in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos, followed by the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
A special meeting in honor of the armed forces was held in the afternoon in the Old Parliament building. It was attended by President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Parliament President Anna Psarouda-Benaki, former prime ministers George Rallis and Constantine Mitsotakis, party representatives and the leaderships of the armed and security forces.
National Defense General Staff chief Georgios Antonakopoulos confirmed in his address that the armed forces are prepared to carry out their duty at any moment and referred to challenges facing the armed forces in the new era.
 Stephanopoulos speaks at Patra Commercial, Export Chamber event
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Saturday referred to the significant role that trade entails for the country's development as well as to its social and cultural parameters, speaking during an event to commemorate the 100 years of the establishment of Patra's Commercial and Export Chamber of Commerce.
In address to a crowd in his former election district, Stephanopoulos referred to the need for collective work in order to not fall behind other EU member-states.
 European Police Academy holding seminar on cross border drug trafficking
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)The European Police Academy (CEPOL) will be holding a seminar in Greece on Monday on cross border drug trafficking. It will be attended by drug department officers from various European Union countries.
Greek police and Greek Harbor Authority officers have been invited to attend, while the results of the seminar will be distributed to EU member-states for further evaluation.
The European Police Academy was created five years ago and is ruled by a council composed of the chiefs of EU member-state police academies.
 Major drug bust in greater Athens area
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Four men and two women were arrested in the greater Athens area over the weekend on various drug smuggling charges, as the alleged criminal ring was busted after some 740 grams of heroin were seized by authorities.
A small amount of cocaine, hashish as well as a pistol were also seized.
 Greek Foundation in Paris hosting exhibition on cultural projects
PARIS 22/11/2004 (ANA)The Greek Foundation in Paris will host the "Temporary Constructions" exhibition concerning architectural proposals on cultural projects which could be created in the framework of the Athens Cultural Olympiad.
The proposals were the result of an international contest proclaimed by the Greek Culture Promotion Organization as part of the Athens Cultural Olympiad.
The works to be displayed constitute proposals for temporary constructions providing for cultural activities in Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games.
The exhibition will last from November 22 to January 24.
 Civil servants union organizes conference on new forms of European governance
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)A conference on "New forms of European governance and the role of unionists" was organized on Sunday by the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council's (ADEDY) European Issues Department.
The event was addressed by ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros, Panteios University professor Costas Vergopoulos and party representatives.
Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos referred in his address to the European constitution and to the possibility of the trade union movement utilizing its clauses.
Pavlopoulos said the European constitution is a step towards European integration, without bringing about great changes in the European Union but leading to gradual reforms in the EU's structures.
Interior minister says PASOK leader's administrative reform proposals 'amateurish map exercises': Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Sunday termed proposals made by main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou on reforms for regional administrative structure "amateurish map exercises."
Pavlopoulos said Papandreou's proposals constitute a sample of PASOK's irresponsibility towards institutions, while also criticizing him for his position towards local administration.
"The main opposition party leader did not find, as he is accustomed to in any case, a word of apology for the state which governments, in which he participated, had brought regions and first and second stage local administration bodies," the minister said.
Pavlopoulos also said the proposals made by Papandreou "lead to the deification of concentration and bureaucracy and to the absolute dissolution of decentralization and self-administration institutions."
 Alexandros Giotopoulos stops hunger strike
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Alexandros Giotopoulos, convicted in the trial concerning the November 17 terrorist group, has stopped a hunger strike he began on October 15, protesting the special detention status applied for the defendants convicted in the case and the conditions by which the terrorist group's case was tried.
According to an announcement by Giotopoulos on Sunday, the decision taken by the prison's supervising prosecutor to have the dividing element in the yard of the women's prison where they are allowed to walk removed, is a positive step.
Giotopoulos also said he will continue his struggle to prove his innocence.
 Temperatures falling in northeastern Greece, sleet in mountainous regions
Athens 22/11/2004 (ANA)Temperatures were falling sharply in northeastern Greece on Saturday, while seas were rough and sleet was reported in mountainous areas.
Port authorities in the city of Kavala also said no sailings were taking place between the port and the nearby island of Thassos.
The Emergency and Civil Planning Service of the Kavala prefecture announced that at least 300 tons of salt have been obtained and its distribution to communities and settlements has already begun to help tackle difficult situations which might arise as a result of sudden snowfall or frost.
 Foreign Minister outlines Cyprus question aspects discussed with EU
NICOSIA 22/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)Foreign Minister George Iacovou has outlined five aspects of the Cyprus question that Nicosia puts forward to its European Union partners in connection with Ankara's obligations, as these emanate from the Copenhagen criteria Turkey needs to meet.
He has stressed that the Greek Cypriot side does not object to a fresh process leading to an agreed solution, following negotiations on the basis of a UN plan (the Annan plan), and ex-pressed the view that there will be some reference to future procedures with regard a political settlement in Cyprus, at next month's European Union summit.
''December 17, when EU leaders will decide whether to give Turkey a date for the start of accession negotiations, is a very important landmark date for us,'' he said, adding that nobody gets exactly what it seeks to secure within the Union and nobody has imposed on him things he cannot accept.
Speaking Sunday at Larnaca airport on his way to Brussels to participate in a General Affairs Council meeting, he said the five aspects relate to the need for Ankara to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state, the Turkish policy of vetoing Cyprus' participation in various international organizations, the need for the illegal Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus to return to Turkey, the protection of Greek Cypriot property in northern Cyprus (occupied by Turkey since 1974) and the need to see the occupation troops withdraw from the island.
He explained that all these issues have already been raised at previous EU meetings.
Responding to questions on a possible veto from Cyprus to the start of Turkey's membership talks, he said this would be difficult and recalled the veto France exercised in 1964 to block Britain's entry into the EU as the only such example in the EU's long history.
''However, it does look absurd for Turkey to recognize Cyprus' positive vote and the day after not to recognize the Republic of Cyprus,'' the minister added.
He said Turkey has in the recent past exercised its right of veto on 12 occasions to halt Cyprus' moves and participation in international fora.
On the issue of repatriating Turkish settlers, now in the northern occupied areas of the island, Iacovou noted that if Europe wishes to curtail the influx of Turkish migrants into the EU, then it will have to look at the problem of Turkish settlers in Cyprus too.
 US Congressman hopes Turkish side follows suit in de-mining process
NICOSIA 22/11/2004 (CNA/ANA)US Democrat Congressman Robert Andrews expressed hope that the Turkish side will proceed with the destruction of its minefields in the UN buffer zone in Cyprus and praised at the same time the Cypriot government's unilateral decision to lift its minefields, describing it ''a monumental step towards peace and reunification of the island.''
Speaking before the US House of Representatives late last week, Andrews said that the Cypriot government's decision also ''illustrates the government's broader commitment to the international community as it joins international fight against mine proliferation and supports the United Nations policy of Mine Action.''
Noting the Cypriot government was acting unilaterally, Andrews said that ''unfortunately the Turkish side has not yet agreed to the de-mining of the 27 minefields in the buffer zone laid by the Turkish occupation forces.''
''We can only hope that the Turkish side will someday join the government of Cyprus in taking this necessary step towards removing these dangerous explosives,'' Andrews added.
Andrews has described as ''encouraging'' the intention expressed by so-called prime minister of the occupation regime, Mehmet Ali Talat, to proceed with the destruction of its minefields.
''It is my strong wish that the Turkish occupation forces decide to go ahead with the de-mining process, as this would be a positive development that could contribute to further reducing the tension on the island,'' the Congressman noted.
Last Thursday, the government of the Republic of Cyprus began lifting its minefields in the buffer zone. The de-mining process is funded by the European Union and is supported by the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The process is expected to be completed in a year and an estimated 2,300 mines will be cleared.