|Monday, 19 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 08-04-14
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 14 April 2008 Issue No: 2868
 PM:Greece won't turn back to the pastPrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Saturday reiterated his government's intent to proceed, unwaveringly, with its reforms policy, "referring to a responsible choice that we will not change or negotiate."
"Greece won't turn back to the past," he told members of his ruling New Democracy party central committee during an address in Athens.
In other comments, Karamanlis referred mostly to a second round of reforms for Greece's creaky social security sector as well as to the timely FYROM "name issue".
Karamanlis again called on the leadership of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to immediately resume negotiations over a mutually acceptable solution to the "name dispute". Referring to a NATO Summit in Bucharest last week, he said Athens is clearly interested in solving the long-standing issue - the only real difference between the two Balkan neighbours - while pointing to continued intransigence by the other side over the years as the primary reason preventing any breakthrough.
"We have made it clear that no solution means no invitation to NATO, however, FYROM's government did not believe us and remained adamant in their positions. Our position was adopted by the Alliance - the joint communiqué -- and is now a political clause for its (FYROM) accession."
Reviewing the government's work to date, Karamanlis said critical reforms in the economy and the state were being implemented, as promised.
"Results have shown that we are on the right course," he stressed, adding that he is determined to move on with other reforms and changes. "The hour of major decisions is now, together we are changing Greece, this era won't forgive inertia and immobility, we are the party that takes major decisions," he told party delegates.
Moreover, the prime minister attacked the opposition saying, "there is a battle going on amongst them over who will best counter-attack each other's initiatives we are not going to follow them".
"The state (Greece's extensive and cavernous public admini-stration) is the real sick man," Karamanlis said, adding that social security reforms were inevitable and fair, providing for a long-term solution to the social security problem and guaranteeing the system's viability for future generations.
Karamanlis also referring to this past week's college students elections, as he congratulated the New Democracy-affiliated grouping (DAP) for again coming in first in the polls.
Concluding his address, the prime minister referred to the links between the ruling party and the government, a point over which in the past, when he was main opposition leader, generated stinging criticism against then ruling PASOK.
"The party does not identify with the government and the state, it supports the government and is a communication link with society the doors of ministers' offices and public services must be always open to citizens," he said, in an indirect reference to previous criticism by several ND MPs.
PASOK spokesman replies to PM
A main opposition party spokesman, in a later reply, noted that the "government implements policies that are not reforms, only an arrangement of interests."
"Such motions don't help the country move on, or to face the major issues, they don't establish relations of confidence and security to the citizens," spokesman George Papaconstantinou said.
 FM: Athens' volition to solve 'name issue' strong"We will keep trying to reach our goal, which is none other than a composite name with a geographical determinant that will be applied in all cases," Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis reiterated on Saturday, in reference to the FYROM "name issue", this time in front of ruling New Democracy's central committee members.
"We are absolutely sincere when we say that we will gladly welcome our neighbours into Euro-Atlantic institutions when a mutually acceptable solution is found," she said, while once again echoing Athens' standing position of avoiding a compromise that will leave "winners and losers" or jeopardize, even in the slightest, security and stability in the region.
She also used Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' repeated statement towards FYROM to stop looking back to the past and end, but to instead consider Greece's overtures of friendship.
Referring to the NATO Summit in Bucharest, Bakoyannis underlined that Greece's position is now the Alliance's official position for FYROM's accession.
Finally, she said Athens had successfully carried out an international campaign in order to better brief foreign government and the wider public opinion on this often obscure, for third parties, issues, underlining that these efforts are instrumental in overcoming the other side's intransigence
 Handful of opinion poll results releasedThe latest round of opinion poll results were published over the weekend in several Athens dailies, with the trend apparently showing a rebound by the two major political parties at the expense of smaller Parliament-represented parties.
Specifically, one poll gives ruling New Democracy party (ND) 29.8 percent of respondents' preference to 25.8 percent for main opposition PASOK. A previous opinion poll by the same firm showed ND 29.1 with percent and PASOK with 23.2 percent.
The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party fell by 3.2 percentage points from the previous opinion poll.
The opinion poll was published by the firm Kapa Research and published in the Athens daily "Vima".
Meanwhile, another firm -- MRB for the paper "Eleftheros Typos" -- gave ND 30.8 percentage points to 27.2 for PASOK.
Finally, the Sunday weekly "Proto Thema" (Alco firm) published results showing 28.3 percentage points for ND; 24.6 for PASOK and 14.3 for Synaspismos.
 PASOK delegation tours Laconia prefectureMain opposition PASOK party secretary Yiannis Ragoussis toured southern Greece's Laconia prefecture over the weekend, where he spoke to party supporters in Sparta.
Ragoussis, who was accompanied by Laconia MP Leonidas Grigorakos and PASOK Parliament group secretary Dimitris Reppas, said a cycle of introversion for main opposition PASOK has ended, and that a "new relationship of trust" is being built with people.
"PASOK has changed and is trying to tidy up the party in order to be ready to do the same for the country, when the time comes," he said, adding that PASOK is proceeding with a serious and responsible opposition.
The PASOK secretary also charged that the government was responsible for low crop prices, namely, oranges and olive oil.
Finally, he stressed that "no policy is implemented for wildfire-stricken areas of southern Greece, calling on the government to fulfill to its promises and engagements.
 PASOK's Papadopoulos sees no prospects of 'grand coalition'Former minister and high-ranking PASOK cadre Alekos Papadopoulos, in an interview published by an Athens daily on Sunday, stressed that whatever scenarios regarding the party's pre-election cooperation simply do not exist.
Papadopoulos also said that cooperation between main opposition PASOK and ruling New Democracy would be a "catastrophe", because self-sufficiency is the only possible and feasible solution for Greece's political system.
Referring to an apparent surge in opinion poll results of late by the leftist Synaspismos party, Papadopoulos said efforts to recruit young generations to politics is underway, but unfortunately, this is plagued by an insistence on using doctrines of the past.
 KKE leader addresses event in PatrasCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Sunday spoke in the western port city of Patras, where she reiterated her party's total and uncompromising opposition with the government's policies, while noting that KKE will continue to have a class-based ideology as its core belief.
"During the counter-revolution's earthquake (late 1980s and early '90s) the shockwaves even reached us, just as all other communist parties, we held out, albeit with losses. Our opponents however, did not win out; they did not finish us off, as they believed in 1991. Shortly afterwards, they again found us in front of them, with renewed power and momentum," she told supporters in the city.
Papariga also said her party does aim to govern, "but this power must come from the working class and its allies".
 Dep. FM concludes tour of southern AlbaniaDeputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis on Sunday concluded a tour of southern Albania municipalities and villages that host ethnic Greek communities, and following his talks in Tirana with Albanian leadership.
In comments in the town of Korce, Kassimis called on representatives of ethnic Greek communities to work together and avoid divisions and splits.
"I believe that with assistance and cooperation by all, and of course, building on the foundations of good-neighbourly and friendly relations between the Greek and Albanian governments, we will be able to achieve the vision of allowing people who migrated to Greece for a better future to return to their homeland, the land of their forefathers, to work and prosper," the Greek minister said in Korce.
A day earlier, he visited villages in the Sarande region -- Livadia, Mesopotamos, Vouliarati and Dervitsani -- before also attending a memorial service at the Vouliarati cemetery hosting the graves of Greek servicemen that fell in action during the Greek-Italian war (1940-1941) in the area.
Kassimis and the Greek delegation also visited a Greek-language, appropriately named "Homer", in the coastal area of Himare, where75 local children are instructed in Albanian and Greek.
In Sarande, Kassimis and the Greek delegation toured a local military hospital whose construction in 2004 was financed by Greece's defence ministry, and which is today staffed by Greek military physicians and nursing personnel.
 Pavlopoulos on local gov't restructuringInterior & Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos was quoted on Sunday as saying that another round of local government restructuring will come via a draft bill to be tabled in Parliament by June, adding that the public administration organisation will not be linked with the election system (for general elections).
"Our goal is a new structure for local government to be ready before municipal and perfectorial elections," he was quoted as saying in a newspaper interview.
 FinMin: Romania's banking system healthy, margins for growth unaffectedBUCHAREST (ANA-MPA/A. Lidorikis)
Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Sunday continued an official two-day visit to Romania, where he emphasised that the country's bank system is healthy and offers significant margins for the growth of bank services.
Alogoskoufis said Romania's banking system - in which eight Greece-based banks are active -- has not apparently been drastically affected by the mortgage crisis in the United States.
The statements came during a meeting between Alogoskoufis and Mugur Isarescu, the governor of Romania's central bank.
Branches of Greek banks number more than 750 in Romania today, controlling roughly 15 percent of the market.
Speaking at an event by the Greek-Romanian Chamber of Commerce, the Greek minister said total investments in the large SE Europe country by Greek businesses exceed three billion euros.
Meanwhile, in an interview appearing in the Sunday edition of an Athens daily, Alogoskoufis was quoted as saying he favors the equalization of pay scales for employees of public sector-controlled firms that pass into the private sector.
He also said a second phase of the government's reforms policy.
 Lang reiterates support for repatriation of Parthenon MarblesWell-known French culture minister Jack Lang met on Sunday with Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, on the occasion of the European Theatre Awards' closing ceremony.
During the meeting, Lang again referred to the return of the Parthenon Marbles, stressing that "it's Britain's duty to hand over to Greece the marbles. The marbles belong to a monument that was looted in the past, during a period of colonialism."
Liapis expressed his pleasure with the meeting, calling Lang one of France's pre-eminent figures in the field of culture.
"The relationship between the two countries was and is excellent in all sectors and in culture in particular. I briefed him about Greece's major interest in the Parthenon Marbles and he expressed his understanding, voicing his support for our national efforts, even more now that the New Acropolis museum will open to public," Liapis said.
 Woman throws toddler off balconyA 27-year old Romanian woman was arrested over the weekend on charges that she threw a three-year-old boy off of a second floor balcony in central Athens on Friday. Luckily, the child survived, although he sustained fractures and head injuries.
The toddler's parents, also Romanian nationals, had left the child in the care of the suspect, according to reports.
Police said the woman reportedly claimed she threw the boy off the balcony because he wouldn't stop crying.
She is due to face a local prosecutor.
 Olympiakos, AEK remain first, second going into final week of playOlympiakos Piraeus continued to hold a 2-point lead in the Super League soccer championship over the weekend after thrashing Xanthi 4-1 away on Sunday during the next to last week of play. Meanwhile, AEK Athens demolished PAOK Thessaloniki 4-0 away, the same score it levelled on Olympiakos two weeks ago.
Panathinaikos Athens remained in third place by beating Aris Thessaloniki 1-0 at home.
In other action:
Veria-Atromitos Athens 1-1
Asteras Tripoli-Levadiakos 1-2
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Apollon Kalamaria 5-2
Larissa-Ergotelis Crete 3-2
OFI Crete-Panionios Athens 1-2
The standings after 29 games:
1. Olympiakos 67
2. AEK 65
3. Panathinaikos 63
4. Aris 47
5. Asteras Tripolis 44
6. Panionios 42
-- Larissa 42
8. Xanthi 36
9. PAOK 35
-- Iraklis 35
11. OFI 32
12. Levadiakos 30
13. Atromitos Athens 29
14. Ergotelis 27
15. Veria 23
16. Apollon Kalamaria 22*
 Rally held by Panathinaikos fansRoughly 10,000 supporters of the Panathinaikos Athens soccer team held a rally on Sunday afternoon in central Athens prior to the club's home match with Aris Thessaloniki to demand a change in ownership of the popular Greek team.
A protest march was stopped one block before Panathinaikos' home field on Alexandras Avenue. No incidents or vandalism was reported during the protest, which mostly featured slogans against the team's ownership.
 Cloudy, rain on MondayScattered showers are forecast for Monday around the country. Rain in the northern and western parts of Greece along with limited visibility; temperatures between 10C to 23C, and between 14C to 28C on the islands. Cloudy in Athens14C to 26C; rainy in Thessaloniki, 12C to 17C.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe furor revolving over a doping scandal, two new opinion polls and the business/football tussle involving the Panathinaikos Athens club mostly dominated the headlines in the Sunday edition of Athens' dailies.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Save our children from steroids!"
APOGEVMATINI: "Equal pay for public sector, private sector employees: Interview by FinMin George Alogoskoufis".
AVGI: "Attack collapses, society reacts as government encourages phenomena of the Vgenopoulos type," a reference to a stinging attack and threatened libel suit by high-profile businessman Andreas Vgenopoulos, the executive vice-president of Marfin Investment Group (MIG), against Alexis Tsipras, the recently elected leader of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos), the party that runs the specific paper.
AVRIANI: "(Former deputy culture minister Petros) Tatoulis' performance aimed to lead to his expulsion from ruling ND, but party didn't bite".
CHORA: "Derby outside the pitch. Crash-test rally for Vardinogiannis, Vgenopoulos (business groups)," a reference to a demonstration planned for Sunday afternoon in Athens by fans of Panathinaikos Athens to protest the football club's lackluster performance of late.
ELEFTHERI ORA: "Michalopoulos in intensive care," a reference to Grigoris Michalopoulos, the paper's ailing founder and publisher, who is presently serving a jail sentence for felony extortion convictions.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Opinion poll: Breath of optimism, fillip for two-party system; respondents' satisfaction after veto, with rebound for ND, PASOK."
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Mr. MIG Andreas Vgenopoulos' strong-arm tactics. Mystery entrepreneur invades public life, provoking everyone and everything".
EPOCHI: "General sell-off of public sector to private interests".
ETHNOS: "Political games with constitutional revision and early elections on the horizon".
KATHIMERINI: "US-Russia clash over energy in the Balkans. Europe's energy needs the reason - PM Karamanlis in Russia".
LOGOS: "Shocking changes to come with upcoming round of administrative reform".
NIKI: "Same promises, just like in 2004! Accomplishments by Karamanlis government since Athens Olympics".
PARON: "50 defendants in the docks for pension fund robberies".
PROTO THEMA: "Greeks the barons of doping - Shocking report by DEA. US considers us the center of steroid trade".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Action for strike on April 16," is the front-page headline bannered by the newspaper affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).
VIMA: "PASOK back to challenging for power, as Tsipras-Alavanos popularity recedes".
VRADYNI: "Banish the steroids. Bogus Olympic champs being cashiered from officers' corps: Interview by Deputy DM Costas Tassoulas".
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