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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM confers with Athens mayoral candidate, ruling party sec't
  • [02] Bakoyannis and Iacovou discuss Cyprus issue, Turkey
  • [03] Gov't on pay rises in loss-making state enterprises

  • [01] PM confers with Athens mayoral candidate, ruling party sec't

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met on Wednesday with the ruling New Democracy-backed candidate for Athens mayor, Nikitas Kaklamanis, as well as the ND party secretary Lefteris Zagoritis.

    Kaklamanis, the former health minister, told reporters after the meeting that it had been his first meeting with the premier following the announcement of his mayoral candidacy, and they discussed organisational matters as well as his vision for the centre and neighbourhoods of Athens -- the largest municipality among several dozen in the greater Athens area.

    As a candidate, Kaklamanis said he would seek to meet with the government's ministers responsible for local government issues.

    Zagoritis, on his part, added that Athens has only to gain with Kaklamanis' candidacy.

    Caption: Kaklamanis attends Shrove Monday events organised by Athens' municipality on Philopapou Hill, opposite the Acropolis, on March 6, 2006. ANA-MPA / K. Mavrona.

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

    [02] Bakoyannis and Iacovou discuss Cyprus issue, Turkey

    NICOSIA (ANA/MPA - F. Karaviti) The latest round of Greek airspace violations by Turkish fighter aircraft was criticised by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Wednesday after talks with her Cypriot counterpart George Iacovou in Nicosia that were dominated by Turkey's European prospects and the Cyprus issue.

    "This sort of behaviour is not consistent with Turkey's expressed desire to enter the European family," Bakoyannis told reporters in a reference to the airspace violations on Tuesday. "I maintain my optimism that the forces desiring a European, democratic future for the country will prevail in Turkey," she added.

    The Greek minister said that her talks with Iacovou had also focused on European enlargement and developments in southeastern Europe.

    "We have agreed on everything," Iacovou stressed, while predicting that the Greek minister's visit would be beneficial for the goals of Greece and Cyprus both within the EU and in other areas.

    He said that Nicosia's interest was now focused on the upcoming meeting where the EU would assess whether and to what extent Turkey had fulfilled its commitments and obligations toward the European Community.

    Iacovou underlined, meanwhile, that the Cyprus Republic was not prepared to accept any form of "discount" to Turkey concerning the fulfilment of these terms and conditions and said it was too early to draw any conclusions concerning Turkey's future progress toward EU entry.

    Bakoyannis, on her part, said that the "European choice" would prove beneficial for the Turkish people.

    The two ministers were also asked to comment on the results of a recent opinion poll which showed that the vast majority of younger Greek-Cypriots, especially, did not desire co-existence with Turkish-Cypriots.

    Iacovou said he was convinced that this situation would change if there was a good plan and favourable prospects for a solution:

    "A good plan will be supported by all strata of the Cypriot people," he said.

    Bakoyannis, meanwhile, reiterated that the Annan plan in the form that was presented and rejected by Greek-Cypriots was now "history".

    Meeting with Christofias

    The Cyprus issue was also the main topic during Bakoyannis' talks later on Wednesday with Cyprus House of Representatives president Demetris Christofias, leader of Cyprus' AKEL party.

    "The Cyprus issue cannot withstand another failure," she stressed in statements afterwards, while underlining that Greece and the Cyprus Republic had elected to use every opportunity for an agreed solution.

    She also expressed hope that "this new effort that we have signs is beginning," would produce results.

    Christofias noted that there was a "joint desire to work in order that recent developments in the Cyprus issue should continue and bring results."

    He stressed the need to bridge the gap between the positions of Nicosia and Ankara as soon as possible in order to arrive at an agreed solution that would be accepted by both communities on the island.

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

    [03] Gov't on pay rises in loss-making state enterprises

    Wage increases in loss-making public sector enterprises will not exceed 3.0 percent this year and 4.0 percent in 2007, an inter-ministerial commission agreed on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said the government would offer pay increases not more than 3.0 percent in 2006 and 4.0 percent in 2007, raising the total payroll cost up to 6.0 percent for the two-year period.

    The Greek minister said the inter-ministerial commission meeting invited representatives of the four loss-making largest public sector enterprises to discuss ways to ensure their financial restructuring and operation to the benefit of workers and citizens. Alogoskoufis said in case of disagreements between employers and workers over wage increases, then a legislation would be applied. He noted that a legislation on restructuring public sector enterprises was a landmark for the government, the society and the economy.

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said "changes and reforms in public sector enterprises are progressing carefully and with determination. A restructuring of loss-making enterprises will be to the benefit of all and will go all the way. The adoption of a two-year wage pay increase deal is indicative of the government's intentions and sensibility".

    Transport and Communications Minister Mihalis Liapis said some public sector enterprises have accumulated deficits from the past and added that public transport was a social benefit and was subsidised. He said that a restructuring programme in loss-making public transport enterprises would help cut deficits by 10 percent annually.

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


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