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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PASOK leader meets with Swedish deputy FM
  • [02] Gov't announces measures to improve coastal shipping services
  • [03] PASOK leader briefed on worker demands in meetings with trade union groups

  • [01] PASOK leader meets with Swedish deputy FM

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou met Wednesday with visiting Swedish state sectretary to foreign affairs minister Laila Freivalds, Hans Dahlgren, who was a close associate of the country's slain leader Olof Palme.

    During the meeting, the two men discussed the issue of reform of the United Nations, a discussion that has already commenced, given that Sweden is to assume the rotating presidency of the UN General Assembly this month for the 60th annual session.

    They also discussed EU-Turkey relations, on which Papandreou outlined the PASOK party's positions, and the role of the EU in the Cyprus issue.

    [02] Gov't announces measures to improve coastal shipping services

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis on Wednesday announced a package of 10 measures aimed to improve services in the domestic coastal shipping sector.

    The measures include stricter penalties to coastal shipping companies or shipping brokers for failure to timely inform passengers over changes in their departure and arrival schedules, stricter inspections on vessels and in particular the vesselsā hotel services and introduction of ISM Code (International Safety Management).

    The measures also include a partial deregulation of shipping services in the ports of Kymi, Lavrio, Rafina, Elefsina and Piraeus, introducing a free fare programme for the population of remote islands and signing of five-year contracts to service remote islands with new-built vessels.

    Kefaloyiannis also announced measures to improve harbour infrastructure facilities in Piraeus, Lavrio, Rafina, Kymi and Irakleio through a three-billion-euro loan signed with the European Investment Bank.

    The Greek minister also said coastal shipping companies should have a charter of rights and obligation for passengers and updating a record of mechanical damages on each vessel. He said the ministry planned to introduce permanent positions of medical doctors aboard vessels.

    [03] PASOK leader briefed on worker demands in meetings with trade union groups

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou was briefed on the demands and problems of the workforce during successive meetings with trade unions and farmer associations on Wednesday.

    According to the president of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos, who heads Greece's largest umbrella trade union organisation, GSEE's talks with Papandreou had focused on recent government measures that had, in effect, abolished the results of collective agreements, such as recent laws for the bank employees pension system, the law extending shop opening hours and another altering rules for overtime.

    He stressed this had encouraged industry and employers to press for even more concessions, such as recent demands that foreign workers be allowed to work freely in northern Greece for just 75 euros a month and return home every evening.

    Polyzogopoulos said the unions would seek to create a "social-political front to deal with fight against these views", while GSEE deputy president Alekos Kalyvis noted that a rally to be held in Thessaloniki would express the union's opposition to neoliberal policies by both the present and previous governments.

    Papandreou also met the head of the civil servants union ADEDY, Spyros Papaspyrou, who again briefed him on the union's demands in view of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), calling for a radical policy that would release the workforce from unrelenting austerity and public administration from domination by the political parties.

    This was followed by meetings with the farmer unions PASEGES and GESASE, which focused chiefly on farmer incomes and the low prices paid for agricultural produce, compared with prices paid by consumers, and the revised Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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