|Saturday, 17 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 06-01-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>January 25, 2006
 PM Karamanlis inaugurates SEECP foreign ministers' meeting in Athens
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)The Euro-Atlantic orientation of the countries of SE Europe was the common link and incentive leading to democratic and social development and economic progress, Greece's Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said Tuesday, in his inaugural address to an Athens meeting of SE Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) foreign ministers at the Zappeion Press Centre.
The common volition was to "liberate our societies from the weights of the past and to broaden their horizons," he said, adding that "terrorist, extremities, corruption and organized crime have no place in these societies".
On the prospects of SE Europe, Karamanlis said that the region needed to stop being an area of misunderstandings, violence and wars. "It deserves to become an area of cooperation and dialogue, creatively incorporated in broader international institutions, as a part of Europe, where it belongs," he said.
Karamanlis particularly focused on economic cooperation and the development of infrastructures, particularly in the sectors of energy and transports, which he said were necessary in order for SE Europe to be incorporated into the European Union.
"The SE Europe Energy Community, in the framework of the 'Athens Process', the Trans-European Corridors, and natural gas and oil pipelines, are essential elements of these actions. We also believe that a Single Free Trade Area could also give new impetus to the economies of the region," the Greek premier explained.
Items on the agenda of the SEECP meeting are strengthening the political dialogue among the countries of the region and boosting regional cooperation, cooperation for the development of regional infrastructures, the future readjustment of the Stability Pact for SE Europe activities, and the European prospect of the SEECP countries.
The foreign ministers attending the session will also discuss developments in current regional issues, with the main focus on Kosovo.
The SEECP comprises Albania, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Greece, Turkey, and Serbia-Montenegro. The SEECP countries are represented at the Athens meeting by their foreign ministers, with the exception of Turkey, Romania and Albania, which are represented by other government officials.
Also participating, as guests, are Austrian state secretary for foreign affairs (deputy foreign minister) Hans Winkler, representing the current Austrian presidency of the European Union, US ambassador to Greece Charles Ries, Russian ambassador to Greece Andrei Vdovin, director of the Central and South Eastern Europe division of the Japanese foreign ministry's European Affairs Bureau Akira Imamura, and SE Europe Stability Pact special coordinator Erhard Busek.
The EU and eight Balkan countries on Tuesday signed in Athens on Tuesday a land-mark treaty establishing a unified Energy Community in SE Europe in line with EU energy legislation.
 SEECP session concludes with joint communiqué on Kosovo
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)Foreign ministers from the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) on Tuesday agreed here on a joint communiqué that overcame initial differences between the Serbian and Albanian delegations regarding Kosovo.
Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, who presided over the Inter-Balkan conference, again reiterated Athens' standing support for the European prospects of all countries in SE Europe. He spoke during a press conference with his Romanian and Croatian counterparts (the conference' unofficial troika) after the session's end.
He added, however, that expansion is directly linked with the fulfillment of criteria by all candidate countries, regardless -- a reference to Turkey.
Referring to the "name issue" with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Greek foreign minister noted that the latter's recent qualification as an EU candidate-state should cause it to seek out a mutually acceptable solution to the only outstanding issue with Greece.
"...and we hope that the neighboring country will meet its obligations to the EU," Molyviatis said.
Regarding Kosovo, the Greek FM again reiterated the complexity surrounding the issue, while adding that yet another difficulty arose with the death of Ibrahim Rugova, for whom he expressed his condolences.
"We confirmed our support for the Security Council's resolutions and the recommendations of the UN Secretary General's special representative ... and we reiterated our conviction that a solution must come through peaceful means and without the use of any form of violence," he said.
"The creation of a democratic and multiethnic society is necessary for the European future of Kosovo," he said.
The Inter-Balkan Conference's foreign ministers also emphasized the primary goals of promoting good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation, underlining that "the use of violence or threat to use violence does not befit the region's European prospects."
Asked about the absence of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who missed his second Inter-Balkan session, Molyviatis dismissed any notion of Ankara downgrading the initiative, while adding that Turkey was represented by Minister of State Mehmet Aydin, a close aide to the Turkish premier.
He also said that Bulgaria's request to assume the Inter-Balkan presidency after Croatia is fair and will be discussed in a positive spirit.
Participating countries in the SEECP, besides Greece, include Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, Turkey and Moldova -- which may become a member in May -- as observer.
 President Papoulias begins official visit to Italy, received by Italian counterpart Ciampi
ROME, 25/1/2006 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias was received here on Tuesday by his Italian counterpart Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, as coordination and cooperation on issues of regional stability dominated talks. Papoulias arrived in Italy for a five-day official visit.
Other topics on the agenda were European and Balkan developments, as well as the Middle East and the Cyprus issue. Additionally, Greek-Turkish relations and Turkey's European prospects were also discussed.
Both men praised the excellent bilateral relations the two countries enjoy in every sector. On his part, Papoulias cited the fact that Italy is Greece's second biggest trade partner, before pointing to mutual support by each country for the other's candidacy in international fora.
Both heads of state also touched on the growing cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector with the signing of an agreement for the construction of a natural gas pipeline connecting the Caspian Sea region with Europe.
Ciampi said both countries should exploit opportunities to increase trade and cooperation in the hi-tech sector.
Finally, Papoulias repeated Athens' standing support for the European prospects of all the countries in the western Balkans.
Particular emphasis during the talks was given to cooperation in the cultural and educational sectors, especially with the long-sought creation of a Greek archaeological institute in Italy.
Papoulias is accompanied by Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsonis, Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis and Deputy FM Panayiotis Skandalakis.
President Papoulias meets Italian Senate president: Visiting President Karolos Papoulias held 45-minute talks with Italian Senate President Marcello Pera on Tuesday afternoon.
The meeting was also attended by Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou, Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Nicholas Tsiartsionis, Deputy Foreign Minister Panayiotis Skandalakis and Greek Ambassador to Rome Anastasios Mitsiolis.
President Papoulias said after the meeting that "we underlined the close relation between Italy and Greece in all sectors, economic, commercial and cultural."
The Italian Senate president said that problems facing the European Union were discussed, while the ties of friendship between the two peoples were confirmed.
Afterwards, President Papoulias visited Parliament President Pierferdinando Casini, who expressed his love to Greece and noted that relations between Italy and Greece can be upgraded even more.
President Papoulias is on a five-day official visit to Italy.
 Gov't, FM spokesman on upcoming Straw visit
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)The foreign ministry's spokesman on Tuesday was again queried by reporters on British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's scheduled contacts here Thursday, and especially if the visit comprises a new British initiative for the Cyprus issue.
"Mr. Straw is coming to Athens as part of a working visit. This visit is not part of any special mission or initiative for the Cyprus issue, as one can clearly ascertain from the agenda of the talks, which will deal with bilateral issues, developments and prospects in the European Union, developments in SE Europe, the Cyprus issue and issues affecting the UN Security Council, where Greece participates," spokesman George Koumoutsakos said.
On his part, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos noted that "what is of importance is for a solution to the Cyprus issue to be found, as defined by the prime minister and the president of Cyprus, and whatever actions should be substantive actions".
The spokesman was referring to the latest Turkish initiative, one involving the submission of a proposal for the Cyprus issue.
"Turkey may have every reason to escape from the position it finds itself (after the recent EU decisions). However, if it is searching for ways to avoid meeting its commitments, then we'll refer to moves aimed at making only impressions, given the fact that Turkey is obliged to meet the commitments it has vis-à-vis the EU," Roussopoulos said in answer to a question over Ankara's motives.
PASOK's Papoutsis remarks on Ankara's proposal on Cyprus issue: Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputy Christos Papoutsis, responsible for the Foreign Policy, Security and Defense Sector of the party's Political Council, on Tuesday remarked on Ankara's proposal on the Cyprus issue, announced by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
According to a PASOK press release, Papoutsis said:" The Turkish government presents its obligations to the European Union and to the Customs union with the Republic of Cyprus as a move of 'goodwill', seeking that they constitute an exchange for the de facto recognition of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state."
Papoutsis added:" We remind in all directions that the Cyprus issue is an international problem, a problem of invasion and illegal Turkish military occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.
"We remind that the Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and that Turkey as a candidate country for accession has undertaken specific obligations with the start of the accession talks which it is obliged to respect without deviations."
The PASOK deputy went on to say:" Turkey forgets these parameters in its proposal. For this reason, the Greek government must reject with decisiveness the Turkish proposal, insisting on the full implementation of Turkey's obligations towards the European Union."
 U.S. on Turkish proposal for Cyprus issue
WASHINGTON, 25/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)Responding to reporters' questions on the proposal submitted by Turkey for the Cyprus issue, a State Department spokesman said that "the U.S. supports the need for the international community to reach a solution which will be based on the Annan plan."
Spokesman Sean McCormack added:" We continue to remain open to cooperation with the UN Secretary General on this issue, and with what concerns the efforts for us to proceed towards some sort of settlement, this (the Turkish proposal) is certainly a step we welcome."
He added:" I cannot comment on its details." McCormack added, however, "for us to reach a solution to this long-term problem, what will be needed is the showing of goodwill by all the involved sides."
 Greek ambassador to Austria underlines excellent level of Greek-Austrian relations
VIENNA, 25/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)Greek Ambassador to Austria Theodoros Sotiropoulos underlined the excellent level of relations between Greece and Austria which, as he said, was confirmed during the visit to the Austrian capital by President Karolos Papoulias last June, while speaking here on Monday night at a traditional event of the Greek-Austrian Federation for the cutting of the New Year's cake.
Sotiropoulos said that relations between the two countries developed very well during the past year and their excellent level was confirmed during the three-day visit by President Papoulias.
President Papoulias himself had expressed satisfaction over the "extremely important" official and unofficial talks he had during the visit.
The Greek ambassador further noted that the official visit to Greece by Austrian President Heinz Fischer is expected this year.
Sotiropoulos also stressed the great contribution had on the very positive development of Greek-Austrian relations last year by the big Greek cultural events held in Vienna under the general title of "Greek autumn in Vienna."
 Archbishop of America arrives to CyprusLARNACA, 25/1/2006 Cyprus (ANA/A.Viketos/CNA)
Archbishop of America Demetrios arrived here on Tuesday on an official visit, at the invitation of Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, expressing his warmest and whole-hearted wishes for progress, blessing and success to the people of Cyprus.
In statements at Larnaca airport, Demetrios conveyed the love and whole-hearted greetings of the approximately two million Greeks living in America, adding that the Cyprus people, despite all calamities, managed to stand up.
Welcoming Demetrios on behalf of Cyprus President, Minister of Education and Culture Pefkios Georgiades said "we know your struggles for Cyprus and your great offer at this struggle. The Cyprus people feel particular joy and gratitude for your help and we look forward for you to continue these efforts because Cyprus needs you," he added.
On behalf of the Holy Synod, Demetrios was welcomed by Paphos Bishop Chrysostomos, who described the presence of Archbishop Demetrios to Cyprus of "particular importance".
"You are a distinguished prelate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate who serves a big country, the US, the only superpower, and your presence here has a particular importance because decisions are taken there for the entire world."
"We know your efforts for Cyprus," Paphos Bishop said, assuring that the Cyprus people "are grateful to you personally and to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for your services for the nation".
In his statement, Archbishop of America thanked President Papadopoulos, the Cyprus government and the Holy Synod of the Cyprus Church for this "honoring invitation."
He said that the Orthodox Greek people follows all these years with a lot of love, concern and care developments in a substantive and active way.
Demetrios said that his visit to Cyprus is a pilgrimage to Cyprus and its people, who stood up and survived in a way which was always peaceful and served the principles of peace, truth and justice.
 Greek deputies demonstrate in Strasbourg against CoE anti-communist memorandum
STRASBOURG, 25/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)Delegations of communist parties from various countries demonstrated in the streets of Strasbourg on Tuesday against an anti-communist memorandum and finally assembled in the courtyard of the building of the Council of Europe.
With placards which wrote:" Communism is not a crime but salvation of humanity", the demonstrators expressed their opposition to the memorandum, which is expected to be presented on Wednesday at the Plenum of the Parliamentary Assembly, and which proposes the international condemnation "of the crimes of communist and totalitarian regimes".
Among the demonstrators were delegations from Greece, France, Belgium, Russia, Cyprus and Turkey.
Speaking at a press conference, main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) deputy Theodoros Pangalos said "the presence of PASOK deputies is of particular importance, of importance beyond solidarity and our support to all the left-wing parties as well as to the representatives who are here."
Pangalos added:" Initially we support the institution of the Council of Europe. It is a political organization and has specific duties. To protect human rights and human freedoms. We are not an academy of scientists and we cannot write History. We are representatives of peoples and as representatives of peoples we are every type of people, working people, educated, less educated, less intelligent, intelligent, we are common people. History is written by experts with cool-headedness, evaluating all the facts which might have to be assessed. It is not the business of the Council of Europe to act as a Court or to write History."
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Liana Kanelli in the same press conference said that the members of the Greek delegation met with the president of the Parliamentary Assembly, Van Der Linden, and gave him a suitcase with documents signed by personalities of Greece who are against the report. "A witch-hunt is beginning with first the communists," Kanelli said.
 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly ratifies report by Greek vice president on water management
STRASBOURG, 25/1/2006 (ANA-MPA)The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly Plenum on Tuesday ratified with an overwhelming majority a report by the Assembly's Vice President and Deputy of the ruling New Democracy party Elsa Papadimitriou on the need for taking measures worldwide on appropriate water management.
The Assembly's deputies agreed with the Greek rapporteur that water management is linked directly to politics and that it is imperative, for the creation of a Water Management Regulation Framework, that the involvement of all interested parties, transparency, objectivity, responsibility, consistency and moral responsibility are secured.
"We must give priority to meeting the need for drinking water," Papadimitriou said, adding that "so that people will cease to be thirsty."
According to data invoked by the Greek deputy, about 1.1 billion people in the world lack access to adequate drinking water, while 2.4 billion people lack, as a result of being deprived of water, proper hygiene.
Papadimitriou further said that unless measures are taken immediately on the appropriate preservation of water, half the population of the planet will be faced by a chronic lack of drinking water by the year 2025 since, as it appears, the biggest part of this population will be living in urban regions, resulting in issues regarding water sources management, hygiene and refuse reaching a marginal point.
She pointed out that the situation is a cause for grave concern and for this reason the United Nations declared the 2005-2015 period as the international decade of "Water for Life."
 KKE parliamentarians hold meeting with clerics
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)The Parliamentary Group of the Communist Party of Greece, headed by Antonis Skyllakos and its Secretary, Achilleas Kantartzis, on Tuesday met with the Association of Clerics of Greece, at the party's offices in Parliament.
According to a KKE press release, following the meeting Skyllakos said:" Our meeting with the Association of Clerics of Greece was made in order for us to exchange views starting from the draft law which we tabled for the separation of the state and the church, or to put it in another way, for the distinct role of the church and the state."
 Greece committed in reducing fiscal deficit in 2006, FinMin says
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Tuesday reiterated the government's commitment to strictly adhere to 2006 budget provisions and to reduce the country's fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP by the end of the year.
Speaking to reporters, after a meeting of ECOFIN ministers in Brussels, Alogoskoufis said the council did not make any particular discussion on Greece and added that he briefed his counterparts in the EU-25 over government measures to promote reforms and to implementing a stability and growth program.
The Greek minister told reporters he also had a brief meeting with EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almnunia. He underlined that, according to his information, the Commission was positively evaluating fiscal efforts made by Greece in 2005 and 2006 and said the EU's executive would evaluate a Greek stability and growth programmed in February 22, before an approval was sought at an ECOFIN meeting in March 13.
Alogoskoufis said a Eurogroup meeting on Monday reaffirmed an improving climate and recovery signs in the European and global economies, although the meeting underlined some potential inflationary dangers, stemming mainly from rising international oil prices and foreign exchange rates.
 Parliamentary committee ratifies in principle bill on tax status of associated companies
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)A bill by the economy ministry regarding "arrangements on the tax status of associated companies" was ratified in principle by the relevant Parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
The deputies of the ruling New Democracy party and the main opposition PASOK party voted for the bill.
Both Deputy Economy Minister Antonis Bezas and majority rapporteur Ilias Kalioras said that with the bill we are harmonizing ourselves fully with European Union directives which, as they said, should have been done many years ago.
The discussion will be continued on Wednesday morning with relevant agencies expressing their positions.
 Ambassador Mallias expounds on priorities of the Greek economy, Greece's foreign policy
WASHINGTON, 25/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)Ambassador of Greece to the United States, Alexandros Mallias, described the post-Olympic Games image of Greece and the priorities of the economy and the country's foreign policy, during a luncheon hosted by the group of representatives of major businesses "Potomac Exchange" which is headquartered in Washington.
Ambassador Mallias spoke on the opportunities offered by Greece as a bridge of investments in the broader region of Southeast Europe which, including Turkey, represents a market of 120 million consumers.
Mallias expounded on Greece's Balkan policy which is based on the economic development of the region with investments of 10 billion dollars and its accession to the Euroatlantic institutions, as well as the heritage of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, particularly to the infrastructure works and to the increase of the tourism to a safe and modern country.
Attending the luncheon were representatives of the companies Bechtel, Boeing, General Electric, Halliburton, 3M, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Daimler Chrysler, Washington Convention & Tourism Corporation, Merrill Lynch and Mitsubishi.
 Greece, Israel forge closer business relations
25/1/2006 (ANA)A 14-member business delegation, under the auspices of Greek Industries Union and the Exporters' Association of Northern Greece (SEBE), on Tuesday completes a three-day visit to Israel with the signing of significant deal and completion of useful meetings aimed to further promote bilateral trade cooperation.
The program was organized by the Manufacturers' Association of Israel and the country's export institute.
During the visit, Greek Industries Union's vice-president Athanasios Lavidas signed a cooperation agreement with MAI's secretary-general Yoram Biliovski, while SEBE's vice-president Athanasios Arhontis signed an agreement with the Export Institute's secretary-general Helik Ashia. Both agreements aim to creating joint ventures and boost business transactions in sectors of mutual interest.
Representatives of 11 Greek enterprises (Lavipharm, Prisma, Mihaniki, etc) held a total of 84 meetings with Israeli businessmen.
Bilateral trade transactions jumped 40 percent in the last two years to 414 million US dollar. Israel is the main destination of Greek exports to the Middle East.
 Helexpo expects more Chinese visitors
25/1/2006 (ANA)Helexpo expects increased Chinese participation in this year's 71st Thessaloniki International Fair, its president Aristotelis Thomopoulos said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters, Thomopoulos said Chinese businessmen showed strong interest for the international fair during the Greek PM's recent official visit to China. He said Chinese businessman also showed interest for several sector fairs organized by Helexpo, such as Agrotica, Infacoma and Marmin.
Thomopoulos said both sides noted there were great prospects for business partnerships, while they agreed that Thessaloniki has the potential to further promote trade fair tourism and attracting Chinese tourists. A group of Chinese tour-operators and journalists will visit Thessaloniki and Athens soon.
Meanwhile, Helexpo plans to further promote a Fashion forward International Thessaloniki (Ffit), by deciding to actively participate in Rome's Fashion Week.
Thomopoulos said Helexpo would support the participation of Mi-Ro designers to the Italian capital's Fashion Week, January 28-31.
 Combating unemployment top priority for Greeks, Eurobarometer report says
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)A total of 61 per cent of Greeks consider the combating of unemployment as being the top priority (the average for the 25 EU nations is 43 percent), according to the latest report by the Eurobarometer service, presented on Tuesday at the EU delegation's offices in Athens by the Information Service's chief Ierotheos Papadopoulos.
Combating poverty and social exclusion is the second priority with 52 percent.
Concern is also expressed over the country's economic situation with 42 percent, compared to the EU's average of 26 percent, as well as over price increases and inflation with 36 percent as against 17 percent in the EU.
Crime is another concern for citizens with 15 percent, while one out of 10 is troubled about pensions, equaling the EU's average of 10 percent.
Lastly, in the sectors of pensions, taxes and the education system, most Greeks want decisions to be taken by the Greek government and not jointly with the EU.
As regards the public's opinion of the EU, 10 percent of Greek citizens have a categorically positive opinion of it and another 41 percent quite a positive one.
Most Greeks pessimistic about economic situation and employment, Eurobarometer report says: Greeks have low expectations of 2006, according to the latest report by the Eurobarometer service, since their views concerning the economic situation and employment in Greece are dominated by uncertainty and pessimism.
A total of 63 percent expect worse economic developments for the country in 2006. Greek citizens remain among the most pessimistic people in the European sample, after the Portuguese who top the pessimism list with 66 percent. The average for the EU's 25 nations is 39 percent.
In addition, 64 percent expect employment to worsen in Greece. This negative percentage is the second highest in the report, coming behind the Portuguese who have 67 percent, while the EU's average is 40 percent.
As regards issues concerning the financial state of their families over the next 12 months, 50 percent of Greeks expect financial stagnation for their households in the new year, also believing (58 percent) that the professional state of the Greek citizen will remain unchanged at a personal level.
However, 51 percent of Greeks state they are quite satisfied with their daily lives and 33 percent expect an improvement in their personal state, but 29 percent express concern that their personal state will worsen over the next five years.
 Seminar finding: Greece needs to promote recycling urgently
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)Recycling is an urgent need for Greece, as recycled products are used in many other activities, a seminar on "Recycling in modern Greece, problems and prospects", organized by the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry said on Tuesday.
The message of the seminar was that the country urgently needed to re-use and recycle, to make a more efficient use of waste for the production of other goods and to save non-renewable energy sources. This is an international trend, with recycling turnover in the EU totaling 100 billion euros annually.
G. Razis, representing the Greek Enterprise of Recycling (EEAA) said a total of 1.7 million people in Greece, currently had the infrastructure to participate in packaging recycling and that the figure could reach 4.3 million by the end of 2006. Razis stressed new techniques of collecting waste for recycling would be announced soon in the Attica region. EEAA's official said recycling costs were not covered by proceeds of recycled products.
G. Mavrias, from Ecoelastika, the only system of managing used tires in Greece, said his company managed around 27,000 tones of used tires in the period November 2004-December 2005, of which 52 percent was recycled and 26 percent was used as energy material by the cement industry.
K. Metsovitis, representing ELTEPE, the Greek Environment Technology, said lubricant oils used for vehicles were a very significant source of environment pollution and to public health in general. Metsovitis said ELTEPE collected lubricant oils from 30,000 locations around the country and noted that this number would be raised to 50,000 by the end of the year.
 Eurobarometer survey on energy issues in Greece
BRUSSELS 25/1/2006 (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)Greeks declare that decisions which are taken concerning energy issues should be taken more on a European rather than on a national level, while the use of solar energy for Greeks is the best solution for reducing dependence from the import of energy sources.
Furthermore, almost one in two Greeks would use their car less frequently if the price of fuel reached two euros per liter.
According to data released on Tuesday by the European Union's "Eurobarometer", 61 per cent of Greeks declare that the decisions on energy issues should be taken on a European level, 31 per cent that they should be taken on a national level and six per cent on a local level. The result of the European public opinion poll shows Greeks first, after the Cypriots, among the Europeans who want the decision on energy issues to be taken on a European level. In Europe, 47 per cent of Europeans declare that they desire the decisions on energy issues to be taken on a European level, 37 per cent on a national level and eight per cent on a local level.
Furthermore, Europeans (48 per cent) and more so Greeks (70 per cent) believe that solar energy is the best solution for reducing dependence from the import of energy sources.
In the event that the price of fuel reaches two euros per liter, 48 per cent of Greeks and 50 per cent of Europeans declare that they would use their car less frequently.
 PASOK's Diamantopoulou visits PPC's administration
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)A team from the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), headed by Anna Diamantopoulou, responsible for the Development Sector of the party's Political Council, on Tuesday visited the administration of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) and was briefed by the company's president, Costas Kyriakopoulos, and managing director, Dimitris Maniatakis, on the situation of the electricity supply network.
Following the meeting, Diamantopoulou said that "due to the extremely difficult conditions, what has surfaced are PPC's serious problems, such as the issue of the lack of technical personnel, but also the need for better cooperation with the state apparatus for the support of the crews."
She also reiterated the need for heating fuel subsidies, the need for the imposition of a ceiling on prices in specific regions and for a specific period of time, "because profiteering has broken every record at the expense of the citizens."
 ASE jumps 1.62 pct to end above 4,000 points
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)Greek stocks surged up 1.62 percent on Tuesday pushing the composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange markedly above the 4,000 level. The index ended at 4,019.92 points, reflecting strong buying interest for small and medium capitalization stocks.
Turnover was a heavy 454 million euros.
The Health index jumped 4.03 percent after Marfin FG announced it was buying a 49 percent stake in "Hygeia", while the media index rose 3.90 percent, travel and leisure rose 3.76 pct and industrial products were up 3.66 pct. The utility and telecommunications sectors were the only ones to suffer losses (1.76 pct and 0.20 pct, respectively).
The big cap index rose 1.50 percent, the medium cap index jumped 2.33 pct and the small cap index ended 2.54 pct higher.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 245 to 49 with another 33 issues unchanged.
Derivatives Market Close: Intracom top in stock futures trade
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Sellers outstrip buyers
Foreign Exchange Rates: Wednesday
Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.237
 Cold front hits most of Greece, closing schools; traffic problems
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)A harsh cold front accompanied by snow and freezing temperatures squarely hit most of mainland Greece on Tuesday, causing numerous traffic problems on the national and provincial highways, flight cancellations and keeping ferry boats in ports due to rough seas.
The worsening weather conditions, delayed roughly 24 hours from initial forecasts, were the subject of an emergency session at the prime minister's office in the early afternoon, where Premier Costas Karamanlis chaired a meeting attended by half a dozen relevant ministers. On the political front vis-à-vis the weather front, PASOK leader George Papandreou criticized the government for danger-mongering, as he said, and aiding profiteering.
Heavy snowfall in many parts of the country caused the cancellation of classes, while snow chains were ordered for vehicles throughout much of the country's road network. The lowest temperature was reported in the northeastern town of Nevrokopi, Drama prefecture, which registered -20 C in the early morning.
Athens' Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) and Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport were operating normally, although travelers were advised to call for information about their flights due to the closure of destination airports both in Greece and abroad due to heavy snowfall.
In western Macedonia temperatures plunged to -10C in Florina, -8C in Kozani and Kastoria, and -6C in Serres, while Thessaloniki was covered in more than 10 cm of snow early in the morning, with the temperature at -4C. Primary and secondary schools were closed in the region, but urban buses were running normally and Macedonia Airport was open to air traffic as usual.
Other subzero temperatures were recorded early in the morning in the border Evros region, with -11C in Orestiada and -7C in Alexandroupoli, while several villages were snowed in. Primary and secondary schools, as well as minority schools, were closed by order of the Evros prefect, while the prefectural authorities also transported 11 kidney sufferers in the area to Alexandroupoli and is hosting them at hotels in the city.
All levels of schools were also closed in Xanthi prefecture, while gale-force winds of up to 11-beaufort velocity made circulation difficult even for pedestrians, and heavy snowfall throughout the night required snow chains for all vehicles, although circulation along the provincial and national road network was normal, but slow.
Schools in the greater Thessaloniki area were to remain closed on Wednesday as well.
The rapid deterioration in weather conditions, by Greek standards, also resulted in a decision to close courts in most of the country on Wednesday.
Gridlock was reported at the Tempi Valley bottleneck in north-central Greece of highway near the Malliakos Gulf, in Fthiotida prefecture, where a number of cars were stranded since Monday night when a truck veered off course and got stuck in a ditch. Snow-clearing machines and a strong police contingent were on the spot in an effort to normalize the situation.
In Achaia prefecture, western Greece, more than 150 villages were snowbound in the area of Kalavryta and Egialeia, while the entire Achaia provincial road network was closed due to heavy. Traffic on the Patras-Athens and Patras-Pyrgos stretches of the national highway was slow but without problems, as road crews were constantly spreading salt on the highway.
Elsewhere in the Peloponnese, heavy snowfall, low temperatures and strong northerly winds made driving on the national and provincial road network in the Tripoli area difficult, necessitating snow chains, while primary and secondary schools throughout Arcadia prefecture were closed.
The main Athens-Lamia national highway was closed to trucks from the 52nd kilometer onwards on Tuesday, while vehicles were required to use snow chains. Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, in fact, drove his vehicle on the major north-south road axis accompanied by civil protection general secretary Panayiotis Fourlas as part of an on-the-spot inspection.
"We must all realize that these are extreme weather conditions for Greece, and all citizens who do not have a pressing reason to be on the road should remain at home," he told reporters, adding that many of the traffic-related problems were caused by drivers who failed to put snow chains on their tires.
Greater Athens area: It also snowed throughout Attica prefecture, the greater Athens area, while schools were also closed in most areas of eastern and northern Attica. Roads towards most of the mountains and foothills surrounding the Greek capital were also closed.
 Orfanos addresses event on 'better football for all'
ATHENS, 25/1/2006 (ANA)"Greek sport in the post-Olympic Games era: Better football for all", was the theme of an event held by the Hellenic-British Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the British Embassy and the British Council at a central Athens hotel on Tuesday.
Addressing the event, Deputy Culture Minister responsible for Sport, George Orfanos, noted the need for the immediate restructuring of Greek football, stating among other things:" The axes on which the Greek government is moving concern the economic improvement of the clubs and the attempt to restrict or eliminate the phenomenon of violence."
 Cyprus President: nothing new in Turkish proposal on Cyprus
LARNACA, 25/1/2006 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos said he did not see anything new in the Turkish proposal on Cyprus handed over to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and announced Tuesday during a press conference by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.
Speaking at Larnaca airport upon his arrival from Russia, Papadopoulos expressed the belief that this is an effort by Turkey to avoid her obligations towards Cyprus and the EU, according to her negotiating framework.
He added that this is not the first time that Turkey in order to fulfill her obligations asks for exchanges to do what she is obliged to do.
He said that "we will surely look into all those included in the statement but I do not think they consist any new position or can be considered as an initiative or as a new beginning."
"I don't see anything new. This is the proposal made by Gul on May 30, 2004, which I believe does not consist anything else but an effort by Turkey to avoid its obligations towards Cyprus and the EU, according to its negotiating framework", Papadopoulos said.
Invited to comment on the visit of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to the region and a statement by UN Secretary General's spokesman on it, Papadopoulos said "we had no information beforehand by Britain or by the UN that Straw's visit meant the assigning of any role to him by the UN."
He said that if Straw's visit can be considered an extension of the Secretary General's efforts "those who pursue to have such a role must have the proof of objectivity and be able to secure the trust of both sides, that they will be good mediators, promoting the interests of the sides and not their own interests."
Invited to say if the British or Straw have this proof of objectivity, Papadopoulos said it was not right for him to make assessments.
He noted however that despite the fact that the Cyprus government had expressed its concern, because the visit assaults the feelings and sensitivities of Cyprus Hellenism, these suggestions were not heard.
He also said that even when consultations were under way to reach a mutually accepted solution, the British announced the visit "as a fait accompli and our own reservations."
The Cyprus government objected to Straw's meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Tatat at the so-called presidential palace in Turkish occupied Cyprus. Britain insisted on the location of the meeting, saying it is the office of the leader of the T/C community. After that President Papadopoulos decided not to receive Straw during his visit to Cyprus.
As regards his visit to Russia, Papadopoulos said he was very happy with the results of his meeting there. He said that for once again Russia's great interest in developments on the Cyprus issue was confirmed as well as Russia's position of principles on Cyprus.
He noted that that it was confirmed that Russia's position and support has not and will not change.
Invited to say if the goal of Russia's more active engagement to the Cyprus question has been agreed, Papadopoulos said that "Russia always showed interest in all developments to international fora as well as in bilateral relations."
"I had asked President Putin to continue this great interest and I have the assurance that in any new initiative Secretary General Russia agrees with us that all five Permanent Members of the Security Russia, and certainly Cyprus, must actively be involved."
"And I think this is a more advanced position," he added.
Papadopoulos said that his discussions in Russia focused on bilateral issues and that he agreed with the Russian President Vladimir Putin the reenactment of the intergovernmental committee for the promotion of commercial and bilateral relations.