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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] UK foreign secretary and Molyviatis discuss EU counter-statement to Turkey
  • [02] Gov't defends decision to rule out heating oil subsidy
  • [03] Papandreou visits Polish community school of Athens

  • [01] UK foreign secretary and Molyviatis discuss EU counter-statement to Turkey

    UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who heads the EU foreign ministers' council while his country holds the rotating European Union presidency, contacted Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis to discuss the EU's counter-statement to Turkey. The two men conversed over the phone on Sunday afternoon, following a call made by Straw.

    The counter-statement will be made in response to Ankara's unilateral declaration on July 29 that it refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic, an EU member-state, and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.

    According to Ankara, its signature of the Association Agreement Protocol -- by virtue of which Turkey extended its customs union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus -- did not mean recognition of the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus.

    An ongoing discussion is currently underway at the EU's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) in Brussels aimed at formulating a reply.

    Last week, Athens had criticised the British EU presidency's stance on the issue, saying it was not acting objectively on the issue.

    "It is self-evident that no E.U. presidency should take advantage of its abilities for the projection of purely national political choices," foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos had told reporters on Friday.

    On Sunday, meanwhile, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had warned Turkey that Greece's support for its European course was not unconditional and that Ankara must respect its commitments to the EU.

    [02] Gov't defends decision to rule out heating oil subsidy

    The government on Monday sternly defended its decision, announced by the prime minister over the weekend during his across-the-board press conference in Thessaloniki, to rule out a heating oil subsidy for the coming winter season because of the strain it would inflict on the state's coffers.

    Moreover, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos clearly laid the blame for the tight economic policy in force on what he called the miscalculations of previous PASOK governments, especially in terms of budget deficits.

    "The government's social sensitivity is continuous; a country's future is, however, absolutely linked with the decisions of today, decisions which are defined by past ones. If decisions taken in the past raised the (budget) deficit over 6 percent, forcing the current government to take measures to deal with a problem it inherited from our predecessors, then you can understand that the country's problems preclude the granting of a heating oil subsidy," Roussopoulos said, in response to a bevy of reporters' questions during his regular press briefing.

    [03] Papandreou visits Polish community school of Athens

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Monday visited the Polish community's school in the Holargos district of east Athens, as Monday marked the first day of the 2005-6 school year.

    In a brief statement, Papandreou, a former education and foreign affairs minister, referred to book shortages for the new school year as well as problems, while noting that PASOK cadres will meet with teachers in the coming period to detail whatever problems plague the public system.

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