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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-29

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Local communities' interests a priority, PM says
  • [02] Main opposition leader to be named SI president
  • [03] President Papoulias satisfied with visit to Italy

  • [01] Local communities' interests a priority, PM says

    Local communities' interests are the priority, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said presenting ruling New Democracy's local election strategy during the party's Central Committee meeting on Sunday.

    "Local government elections are undoubtedly of a political content," he said, adding that "we support distinguished [cadres], we promote and support not only cadres from our political arena, but also candidates who are strongly supported by local communities, who express constituents' demands."

    Karamanlis also said that the ND government will not sacrifice benefits to local communities by engaging in divisive practices and irrational fanaticism.

    Referring to the constitutional revision being promoted by the government, the premier referred to the main points of the revision which include: permitting the founding and operation of private, non-state and non-profit universities; reinforcing the judiciary's independence; strengthening transparency in the political system, the public sector and the mass media; ensuring transparency in MPs' campaign spending, taking measures that will not permit the state budget to be affected by past years' figures and others.

    Karamanlis also referred to the issue of Church-State relations, saying that each has a distinct role and if there are issues that need to be settled they can be addressed through existing law.

    As for changing the procedure regarding the appointment of the President of the Republic, Karamanlis said that experience to date has proven that the existing system "is beneficial to our political system."

    "We want a broad and essential dialogue with all political forces, with the scientific community, with social and professional organisations. We are looking for understanding, consensus from all political forces," he said.

    This year will be definitive for the economy, for fiscal reform, for securing sustainable development, and increasing employment, he continued.

    Furthermore, he said that the government is placing particular emphasis on reforms aimed at cleaning up the broader public sector by fully implementing the law regarding state utilities (DEKO), facilitating entrepreneurship and liberalising the energy sector.

    Karamanlis reiterated that he will not back down in the face of attacks and difficulties engineered by all those afraid of change and the future.

    The premier also wished main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou success as he assumes the leadership of Socialist International, to be announced on Monday.

    As for the problems created after this week's snowstorm, Karamanlis expressed support to those individuals facing difficulties because of the inclement weather and expressed satisfaction with state agencies' response to the ensuing problems.

    "It is well known that the more significant problems arose in regions that do not frequently experience similar weather phenomena, which leads to useful conclusions, allows us to identify causes and to promote necessary measures," he said.

    [02] Main opposition leader to be named SI president

    Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou is to be elected President of Socialist International on Monday.

    Papandreou is the only candidate for the position, following his nomination by an SI work group headed by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

    Socialist International will kick off its working session with a ceremony at the Athens Concert Hall on Sunday evening. The event will include a musical performance titled "Music from around the World" and a brief address by Papandreou.

    [03] President Papoulias satisfied with visit to Italy

    President Karolos Papoulias returned over the weekend after a five-day visit to Italy, satisfied with the results of his meetings with political leaders there.

    During his visit, Papoulias confirmed the political desire of both countries to further promote bilateral economic, commercial, cultural and educational relations.

    According to Greece, further emphasis must be placed on promoting Greek culture abroad. Within this context, the two countries agreed on expanding Greek language courses taught in Italian schools.

    On a political level, the two sides agreed that closer bilateral cooperation is needed in regions such as the Balkans, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.


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