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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, GREECE, 07/04/1998 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Poland assured of Greek support for EU, NATO accession
  • OA employees reject management's restructuring plan
  • Simitis to address European socialist PM's meeting today
  • Kaklamanis sharply criticises US ambassador
  • Santer on 3-day visit to Crete
  • Gov't spokesman on Holbrooke visit to Cyprus
  • Survey shows less racist attitudes among Greek youth
  • Simitis stresses women's potential role in upcoming elections
  • AHEPA presidium meets with Tsohatzopoulos
  • Map of expatriate Greek communities around the world
  • Karamanlis: No room for new party
  • Andreas Papandreou Harvard scholarship
  • Austrian bank to issue drachma FRN
  • Albanian trade delegation in Thessaloniki for talks
  • Tourism authorities to tackle rented room problems
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Poland assured of Greek support for EU, NATO accession

Visiting Polish President Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski was assured by Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday that Greece supported Poland's efforts to join the European Union and NATO.

The Polish president arrived in Athens yesterday on a three-day official visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart. In his address, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that accession procedures of prospective members to the European Union must be safeguarded against tactics of blackmail.

The Greek president also noted that both Athens and Warsaw share the values of freedom and independence, while Greece is also seeking a just solution to the Cyprus problem and the unobstructed accession of Cyprus into the EU.

Poland's desire to join the Euro-Atlantic structures, such as the European Union and NATO, were the focus of the two presidents' talks during their morning talks, while a meeting between the Polish and Greek delegations, which included the Greek foreign , economy, development and culture ministers, also took place.

Mr. Stephanopoulos added that there was room for improvement in bilateral relations, particularly in the economic sector.

Mr. Kwasniewski expressed his country's gratitude for Greece's support of its NATO and EU bids, adding he hoped that all countries that were candidates for EU membership would succeed, including Cyprus.

He, too, stressed the need for closer bilateral relations in the economic and cultural sectors.

During his stay, Mr. Kwasniewski will attend a Greek-Polish Business Conference on ways of expanding economic relations between the two countries to be held in Athens.

The conference is sponsored by the Hellenic Organisation for Small and Medium Size Enterprises and Handicrafts (EOMMEH) and prominent Greek and Polish companies. National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his Polish counterpart Janus Steinhof will also attend.

Discussions at the conference will focus on possible cooperation in the sectors of energy, telecommunications, defence, agriculture and food stuffs, metals, clothing, and tourism.

OA employees reject management's restructuring plan

Olympic Airways employees representatives yesterday evening rejected a five- point restructuring proposal submitted earlier by the national carrier's management.

The board of the Federation of Civil Aviation Associations (OSPA) took the decision during an extraodinary meeting.

OA Managing Director Theodoros Tsakiridis had presented OSPA with the proposal, related to the loss-making carrier's general regulations, establishing flexible working hours for ground staff, the freezing of wages between 1998-2000 period at 1997 levels and reduced meal bonuses. Management also said that Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis had agreed to the transfer to employees of a 6 per cent share in the company with another 4 per cent on Dec. 21, 2000, on condition that targets in the operational pla n have been reached.

However, the OSPA board voted 10 to 8 to reject the proposal and later decided to stage a 24-hour stike today.

OA flight attendants had already decised on 24-hour strike today and Thursday, while their Olympic Aviation counterparts said they would also hold a 24-hour strike today, throwing both international and domestic flight schedules into chaos.

Flight attendants claimed that the government's bill aimed at selling off OA. They also criticised the company's management for failing to outline strategic targets and commercial policies and said that reducing cabin crew levels raised a broader issue of flight safety.

Their news conference was attended by representatives of the flight attendant unions at Sabena, Alitalia and Lufthansa, as well as representatives of the international union of transport workers.

Simitis to address European socialist PM's meeting today

Prime Minister Costas Simitis will speak at a working lunch of the European Union's socialist prime ministers in London today.

He is expected to propose the reformulation of the European Socialist Party's (ESP) policies, which could take on the form of a broad centre-left alliance and an international organisation which will bring together all the political parties which share the same ideals.

According to the released text by the premier's press office yesterday, Mr. Simitis will make an evaluation of the course made so far by the European left and Europe and will note that "the sweeping changes in the world economy over the past 10 years were as creative as they were disastrous."

Focusing in particular on the latest economic crisis, Mr. Simitis will point out that " 'casino-capitalism' which attempted to replace the mixed economy, and partially achieved this, has already led to social decomposition, social privation, marginalisation and disaster."

Mr. Simitis will recognise the inability of economic policy means, as well as of Greece, to confront international pressures and crises and will support the view of British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the European socialists must set a "third path" between the "old-type socialism and savage capitalism."

Mr. Simitis will proposel the creation of a separate political authority in Europe, a political government which will proceed with longterm institutional reforms and will propose the immediate creation of a committee composed of Europe an socialist party members which will process proposals for the promotion of political and social democracy in Europe.

The nine socialist prime ministers, namely, the premiers of Greece, Britain, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Portugal, will convene in a hall at the Foreign Office this morning.

Kaklamanis sharply criticises US ambassador

During a debate yesterday, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis called on Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday to keep US ambassador Nicholas Burns " must be reined in", adding that Mr. Burns was behaving in Greece like a "proconsul".

He made his remarks at the end of a discussion on a question tabled by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Orestis Kolozov, regarding the US envoy's recent public activities. Mr. Kaklamanis said it was unacceptable for foreign ambassadors assigned to Greece to officially visit military and police officers, or public sector officials.

Mr. Papandreou replied that the foreign ministry had its own way of dealing with the issue.

However, in his reply to Mr. Kolozov, Mr. Papandreou stressed that the US ambassador's recent tours and contacts "lie within the usual practice of democratic and liberal countries, provided that the rules of diplomatic etiquette are observed".

Santer on 3-day visit to Crete

European Commission President Jacques Santer will pay a three-day visit to Crete, beginning on Friday.

Mr. Santer, who will be accompanied by the director of the Commission's Representation Office in Greece, Marios Kamhis, will also attend an open forum on the topic "The EU's New Regional Policy", organised at a downtown Irakleio hotel.

During his stay on the island, Mr. Santer will visit various historical and archaeological sites as well as university schools Irakleio, Rethymno and Hania.

Gov't spokesman on Holbrooke visit to Cyprus

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that Athens desires the contribution of the parties involved in the United Nations framework to resolve the Cyprus issue.

He added that special US presidential envoy on Cyprus Richard Mr. Holbrooke must realise that Cyprus cannot remain a hostage of Turkey.

Mr. Reppas said that the Greek Cypriot side desires the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in EU accession talks and has set the preconditions and the framework for this development to occur.

Referring to the Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles set to be deployed on Cyprus, Mr. Reppas said that Cyprus must face existing dangers.

Survey shows less racist attitudes among Greek youth

According to a recent survey carried out in schools throughout Italy, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Greece, Greek students reportedly hold less racist attitudes compared to their European counterparts.

The survey shows that most Greek students do not fear refugees or blacks, unlike students in the other four countries.

However, Greek and Italian students ranked first in racist attitudes towards homosexuals and AIDS sufferers.

The extensive survey was carried out in the form of an anonymous printed questionnaire handed out in 25 selected schools around Greece, as well as in the same number of schools in the other European schools.

Results were assessed by the Finnish education ministry, which also funded the project.

A further result that emerged from the survey is that younger Greeks held education in the highest esteem (70 per cent) as an important aspect of life, followed by work (62 per cent) and religion (54 per cent).

The Union of Secondary School Teachers (OLME) last night addressed an open letter to students around the country, calling on them to reject racist attitudes and xenophobia.

"In past years Greeks themselves had been in the same position that Albanians, Romanians and other immigrants are today in Greece, while European public opinion had been especially tough towards them, regarding Greece as 'a haunt of criminals'," the teachers' letter reads.

The association also demands an equal intergation of all foreigners into Greek society, consolidation of and respect for the right to life, work, education and culture for all, as well as abolition of distinctions on the basis sex, colour, religion and socio-economic position, and education for all children.

Simitis stresses women's potential role in upcoming elections

In a message to a conference of PASOK's local government and women's organisations, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed the importance of women's role in the forthcoming municipal and prefectural elections in the country.

"The emergence of a dynamic role for women in the forthcoming municipal and prefectural elections is of particular importance for the success of the new local government and decentralised institutions," the message read.

Referring to the institution of local government in his message, Mr. Simitis pointed out that it is a privileged sector for the achievement of the two genders' participation principle.

Commenting on the limited participation of women in public life, he said it "constitutes a democratic deficit" since women make up for half of human potential, knowledge, capabilities and creativity.

Lastly, he said the promotion of equality in opportunities, the release of women's potential and the strengthening of women's initiative in society and public life constitute the principal targets of the government and PASOK.

AHEPA presidium meets with Tsohatzopoulos

National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday received the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) presidium for talks on issues concerning Greek expatriates in Canada, the United States and Australia. AHEPA is a non-profit organisation promoting social policies for expatriate Greeks in cooperation with national governments, spending US$200 million on such programmes.

Map of expatriate Greek communities around the world

Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday unveiled a map of the world showing expatriate Greek communities in 124 countries around the world.

The minister noted that the number of expatriate Greeks is estimated at more than 5.8 million, while Greek communities have established 3,700 organisations in 92 countries. Greek studies programmes exist in 300 universities around the world. The design of the map is the work of the General Secretariat of Expatriate Hellenism and the National Map Depository, while material the two agencies collected will be available in CD-ROM format and on the Internet in the near future, both in Greek and English. Mr. Petsalinikos noted that the ministry supported the effort with 2.5 million drachmas. He added that the agreement includes creation of a Balkan centre of European cooperation on the issue, the promotion of chartography for the blind and the creation of a map preservation centre.

Karamanlis: No room for new party

Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday declared that there was no justifiable reason for a new political party, in an interview to Athens daily Eleftherotypia.

Mr. Karamanlis was responding to comments made by former premier Constantine Mitsotakis during an interview on Greek television last week.

"It is an indication of of immaturity in a democracy or even more, a sign or proof of instability when new parties are easily formed," Mr. Karamanlis said. According to the New Democracy leader, Mr. Mitsotakis by himself does not posses all the attribu tes necessary to found a new party since that would require the proper historical setting as well.

Mr. Karamanlis mentioned his longstanding friendship with his predecessor Miltiadis Evert and said that Mr. Evert's positions are well within party lines and views and do not constitute, at the moment, a cause for dismay to him personally.

Andreas Papandreou Harvard scholarship

The Andreas Papandreou Foundation has announced a Harvard University scholarship for the academic year 1998-99. The scholarship will be awarded for postgraduate studies in the fields of international and European relations, and related areas. All candidates must have a graduate degree or extensive expertise in the prescribed fields.

The deadline for submissions is April 10. For more information contact Nikos Kotzias at 339.4078 or Francis Tsakona at 339.4074.

Austrian bank to issue drachma FRN

Austria's PSK bank will issue a five-year, five-billion drachma floating rate note (FRN) with a yield of 8.625 percent in the first year and 7.125 percent until expiry, it said in a statement yesterday.

Heading the issue is state National Bank of Greece.

Despite the FRN's limited size, the move is a reflection of Greece's rising credibility following the drachma's entry into the European Union's exchange rate mechanism on March 14.

Albanian trade delegation in Thessaloniki for talks

An Albanian trade delegation, headed by Deputy Minister for Trade and Tourism, Alfred Pema, arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday for talks with officials of HELEXPO, the state trade fair organiser.

The Albanian delegation is seeking advice on a project to set up an exhibition centre in Tirana.

The two countries are discussing the prospect of cooperation in organising trade fairs. HELEXPO is organising a Greek product trade fair in Tirana in October.

Tourism authorities to tackle rented room problems

Greek tourism authorities will seek a gradual solution to problems faced by enterprises that run rented rooms through a programme to be implemented soon.

Greek Tourism Organisation's (EOT) secretary general Nikos Skoulas said yesterday that rented rooms accounted for almost 40 percent of Greece's total bed supply.

He urged owners of such enterprises to upgrade their services in an effort to offer higher quality to foreign tourists.

WEATHER

Mostly fair weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today with scattered clouds in the mainland and the Ionian Sea. Fog in the morning. Winds southerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Ionian Sea. Athens will partly cloudy with temperatures between. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 8-24C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 317.361 British pound 526.752 Japanese Yen(100) 235.620 French franc 51.439 German mark 172.509 Italian lira (100) 17.472 Irish Punt 434.298 Belgian franc 8.357 Finnish mark 56.792 Dutch guilder 153.041 Danish kr. 45.215 Austrian sch. 24.516 Spanish peseta 2.032 Swedish kr. 39.662 Norwegian kr. 41.565 Swiss franc 208.449 Port. Escudo 1.683 AUS dollar 209.987 Can. dollar 224.113 Cyprus pound 592.522

(C.E.)


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