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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] State Dept. official cites support for pipeline
  • [02] Minister optimistic over collective bargaining
  • [03] Papandreou with Italian PM candidate Prodi

  • [01] State Dept. official cites support for pipeline

    Visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza over the weekend reiterated Washington's support for the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline project connecting the respective Bulgarian Black Sea port city with the Greek port in the northeastern Aegean.

    Bryza, who attended a South East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) energy ministers' meeting in the northern city of Thessaloniki as an observer, said the project appears commercially viable and has generated heightened interest amongst the partners in the scheme.

    He also noted that Washington was interested in supporting the development of the energy sector in SE Europe, while noting that the strategic interests of the United States' allies in the region also comprise a guarantee for America's interests.

    Bryza, who holds the European and Eurasian Affairs portfolio, clarified that Washington's interests involve an overall strategy, one that is not linked to specific companies interested in investing in the region. Finally, he said the US side is particularly interested in the region increasing its use of renewable forms of energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

    ANA-MPA/Photo

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [02] Minister optimistic over collective bargaining

    Labour Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on Sunday expressed his optimism that employers' groups and trade unionists will agree on a new nationwide collective bargaining agreement during a scheduled meeting on Monday. "The level of responsibility is very high on both sides, and should bring about a positive result," Tsitouridis said from Thessaloniki, his electoral district.

    In a related question over the possibility of increasing retirement ages, the minister repeated that the government is not considering raising the age requirement or even slashes in the pension rates "during a period when we must approach the Community average".

    Employers' representatives, in a meeting on Thursday, offered a 9.8-percent pay hike for the two-year period 2006-07, while trade unions have demanded a 5.5-percent pay increase for 2006 alone, retroactively in effect from Jan. 1, 2006.

    ANA-MPA/Photo

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.

    [03] Papandreou with Italian PM candidate Prodi

    Main opposition PASOK leader and Socialist International (SI) president George Papandreou met in Rome on Saturday with prime ministerial candidate Romano Prodi, the leader of a centre-left coalition, while he also met with the national secretary of the Democrats of the Left (DS), Piero Fassino.

    "It is with particular joy that I am here in Italy to support my very good friend Romano Prodi, a personality which will again give a voice to Europe and the Mediterranean," Papandreou said after meeting Prodi.

    "We need this progressive voice for the Balkans, for the Mediterranean and Greece, for developments in Europe, for a socially just and peaceful Europe," Papandreou told reporters, adding that "I believe that the air of change which has started in Spain and Portugal is hopefully soon coming to Italy as well, and will also embrace the other countries of southern Europe and, of course, Greece."

    On his part, Prodi said that he discussed with Papandreou issues related to Europe and the Balkans, including immigration and how Europe will face international competition from the United States and the growing influence of China.

    Caption: Papandreou, right, appears with Prodi following their meeting in Rome on Saturday, April 1, 2006. ANA-MPA photo / STR

    ANA-MPA Copyright © 2004-2005 All rights reserved.


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