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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government to seek off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy issues
  • [02] Greeks consume up to five kilos of food additives a year, scientists warn
  • [03] Papandreou says unemployment the foremost problem for Greek society

  • [01] Government to seek off-the-agenda debate on foreign policy issues

    Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis on Tuesday confirmed that the government will seek an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament on major issues of foreign policy, following a same-day inner Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

    Molyviatis, who briefed the inner Cabinet on several foreign policy fronts, added that the national council for foreign policy will also be convened in the next few days.

    Additionally, he reiterated previous statements by high-ranking government officials who noted that the EU's accession talks with Turkey will - barring any unforeseen development -- begin on Oct. 3.

    "Greece and Cyprus' positions have been absolutely cemented in both texts, the negotiating framework and the EU's counter-statement," he told reporters after the meeting.

    Moreover, he said the beginning of EU-Turkey accession negotiations will gradually -- a word he emphasised -- open the way for a new era in Greek-Turkish relations, "an era of peace and cooperation for the benefit of both peoples and the region".

    "If Turkey, at the conclusion of lengthy negotiations, fulfils all the criteria and conditions then it will deserve full European Union membership," Molyviatis stressed.

    Additionally, the Greek foreign minister referred to certain pending issues involving the negotiation framework for the upcoming EU-Turkey talks, such as a preamble by the EU Presidency at the start of negotiations, although he clarified that such issues are not related to Greek or Cypriot requests.

    Finally, he declined to comment on opposition statements criticising the fact that a timetable for resolving Ankara's differences with Athens has not been implemented, noting that such criticism will be answered in Parliament.

    [02] Greeks consume up to five kilos of food additives a year, scientists warn

    Greeks consume up to five kilos of additives through the food they eat every year, Greek scientists warned in an announcement on Tuesday.

    They stressed that even the most innocent-looking family meal might contain dozens of artificial chemicals in the form of flavourings, preservatives and colourings, whose long-term effects on human health were largely unknown.

    The president of the Hellenic Paediatric Society Andreas Constantopoulos urged parents to be particularly careful in choosing what to feed their children, pointing out that children were particularly susceptible to advertising pressures and loved to eat foods that were high in colours, flavourings and low-quality saturated fats but low in nutritious value.

    He also pointed to repeated cases where food additives that had been in use for years were later implicated as a cause of cancer and withdrawn.

    He said the trend toward an unhealthy diet was reflected in the deteriorating biochemical indicators among Greek children, with three in five recorded as obese and one in four having high levels of cholesterol and blood sugar for their age.

    Scientists also urged parents to be particularly careful about the use of dietary supplements taken by teenage children to achieve a "balanced" diet and to enhance performance in sport, noting that 11 million dietary supplements are consumed in Greece every year.

    Another source of worry are the plant hormones used to boost agricultural yields, which are toxic to a lesser or greater extent and are consumed on a daily basis.

    [03] Papandreou says unemployment the foremost problem for Greek society

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday reiterated that unemployment and jobs are the foremost problem currently plaguing Greek society, an issue he said will be the focus of his party's upcoming initiative.

    He made the statement during an opening address at a coordination council of PASOK's Parliamentary group.

    Moreover, the PASOK leader and former foreign minister, referred to "bad news" out of Brussels for the Greek economy -- i.e. revised budget deficit projections for 2004 reaching the 6.6-percent mark -- a development he blamed on the government's mistakes. He also charged that ND was manipulating unemployment figures.

    Finally, Papandreou pointed to his recent proposals for "investing in quality" and better exploiting 3rd Community Support Framework funds as ideas for jumpstarting the economy.

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