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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-09-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 'Full compliance with the criteria, full membership in the EU', foreign ministry spokesman Koumoutsakos sums up Greek position on
  • [02] Recreational scuba-diving bill
  • [03] Italian war correspondent Sgrena in Athens
  • [04] Five deer released in bid to revive extinct Greek deer population

  • [01] 'Full compliance with the criteria, full membership in the EU', foreign ministry spokesman Koumoutsakos sums up Greek position on Turkey's EU course

    Greece's position on Turkey's European course is summed up in a few words: "Full compliance with the criteria, full membership in the EU", foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Thursday.

    He was replying to questions, during a regular press briefing, regarding the negotiations mandate setting out the framework within which the Turkey-EU accession talks -- which are slated to begin on Monday -- would be conducted. Koumoutsakos added that its content, with respect to Greece and Cyprus, was considered "locked-in".

    Koumoutsakos explained that the fact that the committee of permanent representatives (COREPER) of the 25 EU member countries had yet to reach agreement (on the negotiations mandate) was due to the desire of a specific member country for the text to explicitly state that the end of the negotiation must lead to a 'Privileged Partnership' (as an alternative to membership). He was referring to Austria's demand that Turkey be offered an explicit alternative to full membership.

    The draft negotiations mandate acknowledges that the shared objective was Turkish entry into the EU, but states that the negotiations are an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand.

    The draft EU political declaration, or negotiations mandate, is due to be presented by the EU's British presidency to Turkey on October 3 (Monday), at the formal commencement of the EU-Turkey accession talks.

    [02] Recreational scuba-diving bill

    A merchant marine ministry draft bill lifting restrictions on recreational scuba-diving was passed in principle by both main parties on Wednesday, during discussion in a parliamentary committee.

    MPs stressed that the new laws would help make Greece one of the most popular worldwide destinations for scuba-diving holidays and bring in significant revenue.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party expressed reservations about whether the new laws adequately protected submerged archaeological remains, however.

    In past years, recreational diving was strictly restricted in Greece in order to deter antiquities smugglers, with diving only permitted in specific, closely-watched locations.

    Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis stressed that all measures in the bill were fully harmonised with Community law and aimed to allow full exploitation of the favourable weather conditions prevailing in Greece for the greater part of the year, as well as its natural, historic and cultural attractions, to draw the recreational diving sector.

    The minister also announced that he intended to table an amendment for the subsidisation of insurance contributions paid by staff on cruise ships and another obliging ships to have a doctor on board.

    [03] Italian war correspondent Sgrena in Athens

    The Goethe Institut of Athens will host a round-table discussion on the issue of "Journalism and War" at its downtown campus on Thursday afternoon.

    Among the participants will be Rome-based "il manifesto" newspaper war correspondent Giuliana Sgrena, who herself was abducted by insurgents while on assignment in Baghdad early last February only to be freed a month later.

    Sgrena arrives in Athens as the guest of the Italian society of Greece, Prospettive, and the Nikos Poulantzas Institute.

    The event, set for 6:30 p.m., is also sponsored by the Municipality of Venice.

    ANA Managing Director Nicolas Voulelis will moderate the discussion.

    Giuliana Sgrema was kidnapped in Baghdad, Iraq, on February 4 and freed on March 4 during an operation in which Italian service agent Nicola Calipari was killed by controversial "friendly fire" of US troops.

    [04] Five deer released in bid to revive extinct Greek deer population

    A family of five deer, one male and four females, were released into the Nature and Outdoor Park at Nymphaio in Trikala on Wednesday in hopes of reviving Greece's extinct deer population.

    The initiative belongs to the Nymphaio Community, which imported the five deer from Finland through a special breeding farm in Trikala. The first fawns are expected to arrive in July next year.

    Other plans for the park include the construction of an artificial lake at an altitude of 1,500 metres. The park covers an expanse of 180 hectares of forest and alpine meadows and belongs to the Nymphaio community. It was created with a budget of 416,500 and received funding from the 3rd Regional Operational Programme for Western Macedonia, with 75 per cent of funds from the EU and 25 per cent from national funds.

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