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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-18

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ANA,Athens,18/11/1996 (Greece)


  • Polytechnic uprising commemorated in relative calm
  • Macedonia-Thrace minister on official visit to Canada
  • Defence Minister Tsohatzopoulos reiterates Turkey's destabilising role through its policies in Cyprus, Aegean
  • Greece's trade relations with Germany, Austria and Switzerland reviewed at "Money Show '96" conference
  • Athens' candidacy file for 2004 Olympic Games garners widespread praise


    The 23rd anniversary of a 1973 student uprising in the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta then ruling Greece took place yesterday with the traditional march to the US embassy. Only minor incidents had been reported by presstime.

    The incidents took place in the vicinity of the Polytechnic after groups of youths attempted to break through the gates of the institution at about 5 p.m. They were pushed back by students guarding the premises.

    Police who had cordoned-off the area dispersed several of stone-throwing youths about one hour later.

    Meanwhile, the anniversary march was attended by a few thousand people, although it was generally subdued compared to past years. It was estimated that increased vigilance on the part of authorities and students contributed to the peaceful march.

    Some 5,000 police officers were on duty and another 10,000 on stand-by to prevent a re-occurrence of violence, which has marred anniversary events over the past years. According to reports, all roads surrounding the march route were cordoned off by police.

    After the end of the march, a considerable number of students returned to the Polytechnic to reinforce the groups still guarding the central Athens institution.

    People of all ages flocked to the cite for the third consecutive day yesterday to pay tribute to those who struggled against the military junta.


    After laying a wreath at the Polytechnic on Saturday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said democracy must be broadened and become the property of each and every citizen.

    "This is why the struggle of the students on Nov. 17, 1973 is a struggle which must be waged continuously. Only if we try, shall we have a state which respects the citizen and a society of citizens with social sensitivity and social responsibility. Thes e are our targets," Mr. Simitis said.

    Speaking in Kavala, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga noted that the "Polytechnic is threatened by propaganda aimed at abandoning it as a memory and as a current struggle by those not benefitting from people rememberingIan d for youth to be taught."

    In its announcement, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party said that "despite the passage of time and the attempts to exploit it, the Polytechnic always maintains its liberating, fighting and radical message."

    In its message, the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) said the Polytechnic's messages of unity and struggle inspire and lead workers today in a critical period in Greece's political history.

    Public Order Minister George Romeos in a message to police forces, thanked them for their efforts at keeping order during events.

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos travelled to Canada on Saturday night, with his first stop in Ontario's capital.

    Toronto is home to roughly 120,000 Greek expatriates, half of whom hail from Macedonia and Thrace.

    Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Petsalnikos officially opened the Cultural Union of the Pan-Macedonian Union of Ontario, while he was due to make a speech there last night.

    The minister is scheduled to meet with Ontario Province Finance Minister David Johnson and expatriate Greek deputies today, while he is to leave for Montreal in the early afternoon.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said on Saturday that Anka ra's attempts to unilaterally annul the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne - the basis of the status quo between the two countries today - through its policy in Cyprus and provocations in the Aegean, posed a problem not only for Greece but for all of Europe, as Turk ey is acting as a destabilising force in the region. He made the statement during his address at a seminar organised by the Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies and the Athens bureau of the Friedrich Ebert Institute.

    According to the minister, the European Union's Mediterranean policy faces two serious issues - the Palestinian and Cyprus problems.

    Concerning Cyprus, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos reiterated that the problem was one of invasion and occupation by the Turkish army, and that the EU had set the start to negotiations for entry of Cyprus and Malta as members six months after the end of the Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC).

    Regarding Ankara's accession, he referred to that country's well-documented problems in the realm of human rights, which the EU had to deal with, noting that there were many countries in Europe which did not want Ankara's entry.

    "The European Union must adopt a stand on this matter also, because Greece has been used as the naughty child for too long," he said.

    Foreign Undersecretary Christos Rozakis, who subsequently addressed the seminar, said there has never been an issue of half of Cyprus being admitted into the EU, but as a single entity whose part is under occupation.

    Budget expected to be tabled soon

    The PASOK government's economic policy is expected to be unveiled within the next few days by Prime Minister Costas Simitis with his administration's tabling in Parliament of the 1997 budget.

    Compilation of the 1997 budget was estimated as especially difficult for National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, given the dual considerations of meeting Maastricht Treaty criteria for European Monetary Union (EMU) and preserving the governing socialist party's "social profile."

    On Tuesday, the Cabinet is expected to convene in order to approve the budget, with the premier to out line its basic points afterwards.

    Conference focuses on human rights policies in EU

    A two-day conference on the subject of "The European Union and External Views of Human Rights Policies" organised after an initiative by PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannis Roubatis, ended yesterday afternoon in Athens.

    The conference's conclusions, presented by the rector of the Academy of Lyon III, Christian Philip, included the need to broaden the existing legal basis for promotion of human rights in the EU.

    However, he added, this legal basis allows the community to act so long as there is necessary political will, such as an insistence of human rights charters in agreements between the EU and third countries being followed. Mr. Philip expressed the hope that these legal loopholes will be covered by the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who also spoke at the conference on Saturday, stressed the need for equal criteria with which the EU functions and noted weaknesses in the protection of human rights within the EU or in countries which blatantly viol ate these rights, such as Turkey.

    British Tory Eurodeputy Edward Macmillan Scott said conditions for the EU to act are an ability of prevention and analysis, an ability to intervene, promotion of financial reforms and ability to undertake the Community's military role.

    Cathrine Lalumiere, a French Eurodeputy and president of the European Radical Alliance, spoke of a need of basic cooperation between the United Nations, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the EU, concerning the issue of human rights.

    Greece's economic and trade ties with Germany, Austria and Switzerland were the subject of a one-day seminar yesterday on the sidelines of the weekend "Money Show '96" conference in Athens.

    The event was organised by the German-language weekly "Athener Zeitung," which is published in Athens and circulated throughout Greece and abroad.

    The national economy minstry's general director for foreign economic and trade relations, Theodoros Vlassopoulos, summarised Greece's economic relations with each of the three countries, stressing also the advantages Greece has as a trading partner with Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

    He said Greece's geographic location - in the crossroads of the Balkans, eastern Europe and the Middle East - is an ideal location from where joint enterprises can expand their activities in various regions.

    In a short address to kickoff the event, Athener Zeitung publisher and editor Costas Tsatsaronis discussed the significance of trade relations with the three central European nations, noting that more than one-fourth of Greece's foreign trade is conduct ed with Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He added that roughly 250 firms from those three countries operate in Greece, employing approximately 25,000 individuals.

    Additionally, Mr. Tsatsaronis said Greece is a tourist destination for some 2.5 million vacationers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland every year - about 30 per cent of the total number of tourist arrivals.

    Gov`t economic measures will be definately implemented,interior undersecretary notes

    The government is determined to implement economic measures without consideration of political cost, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Undersecretary Tassos Mantelis said on Saturday.

    He added that the government's 1997 measures for the public sector and the so-called privileged economic strata will be harsh.

    Replying to a question as to which taxpayers are considered as belonging to a "privileged category", Mr. Mantelis said he considers taxpayers whose income exceeds the average salary and pension levels to belong to such a category.

    The undersecretary said there is no possibility for the government to back down from the measures it has announced because of the pressures it is under. He said this programme was known before the elections and was approved by a vote of the Greek people.

    Christodoulakis cites attainment of Maastricht criteria as basic aim of 1997 burget

    Attainment of Maastricht Treaty criteria, modernisation of the economy, effective functioning of the state as well as continuation of the Greek economy's developmental course constitute the basic goals of the new 1997 budget, Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis said on Saturday at the "Money Show '96" multi-conference.

    Mr. Christodoulakis underlined that a series of institutional interventions, designed to rationalise expenses and save resources for productive investments, were required to attain convergence targets.

    SEB president Iason Stratos said in his address that Greece's equal participation in the European Union was an utmost national priority - shared by the vast majority of Greek businesses - and stressed that the budget currently being drafted had to provi de answers in fulfilling this pursuit.

    Mr. Stratos reiterated his support for the gradual privatisation of state- controlled banks, or at least, reduction of state control in their operation, calling for tax credits to firms achieving their financing through other sources and without resortin g to borrowing. He also insisted that for reasons of fairness, state securities, such as treasury bills, should be taxed on an equal basis, with privately issued bonds. He added that the government should not artificially prop up ailing enterprises, which increases the burden on banks, forcing them in turn to maintain lending rates at high levels.

    On his part, Bank of Greece deputy governor Panayiotis Thomopoulos said there were outdated provisions preventing the central monetary authority from exercising the necessary control over the banking system. He stressed that state banks had expanded into sectors of high credit risk due to their inadequacy in an appropriate system of internal auditing and risk management.

    Bundesbank vice-president Johann Wilhelm Gaddum, who spoke at the conference and gave a press conference on the topic of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), was mostly reassuring in his comments about Greece's prospects of participation, saying that the question of when a country would be integrated in EMU was not significant and that there would not be a lessening of Community solidarity for those countries left in a "second speed".

    Observers at the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) general assembly session here have described Athens' candidacy for the 2004 Olympic Games as the best of all 11 cities contesting the world's largest sporting event, followed by those of Istanbul and Seville.

    The Lille candidacy was described as a pleasant surprise, as was that of Buenos Aires, while those of Rio de Janeiro and Stockholm were described as "without mistakes".

    By contrast, the presentations of St. Petersburg, San Juan, and especially Rome, which is considered one of the favourites, were viewed as disappointing, while that of Cape Town was considered to have excessively relied on the personality of South African President Nelson Mandela.

    It was also announced that the 11 cities will have a second chance to present their candidacies at an IOC hearing in Lausanne on March 5 and 6.


    Cloudy in most parts of the country with possible drizzle and temperatures ranging from 11-18C in Athens and from 7-14C in Thessaloniki.


    Only three Greek First division soccer matches were played over the weekend. They were: Olympiakos of Piraeus which beat Edessaikos in Edessa 3- 2 and Panachaiki-AEK 1-1 in Patras. Veria beat Ionikos 1-0 in an Athens match on Saturday.


    U.S. dlr 236.036 Can. dlr.176.497, Australian dlr. 186.516 Pound sterling 392.951, Irish punt 393.427, Cyprus pd 515.046, French franc 46.356, Swiss franc 185.405 Belgian franc 7.604, German mark 156.686 Finnish mark 52.074, Dutch guilder 139.733 Danish Kr. 40.819, Swedish Kr. 35.714, Norwegian Kr. 37.289, Austrian Sh. 22.267, Italian lira (100) 15.564 Yen (100) 212.288 Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.550.


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