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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-04-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Foreign minister in Sofia for NATO meeting
  • [02] Gov't determined to restructure public sector enterprises
  • [03] Greece votes against higher visa fee

  • [01] Foreign minister in Sofia for NATO meeting

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis is participating in the informal meeting of NATO member-state foreign ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria, which began on Thursday afternoon. The meeting will focus on the political agenda for the November summit in Riga, Latvia, while the issue of Iran's nuclear programme is also expected to be raised.

    The foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will be meeting under the chairmanship of NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer but they will not be adopting any official document despite the fact that the agenda includes top priority issues such as the crisis with Iran.

    Other issues will also be raised during the meeting such as the situation in the Balkans, particularly the Vienna talks on determining the final status quo in Kosovo, and progress achieved by countries in the region that wish to join the NATO alliance.

    Talks between NATO member-state ministers and their counterparts from Russia and Ukraine will also be held as part of the meeting.

    Bakoyannis might be meeting her U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice on the sidelines of the meeting.

    After the informal meeting, Sofia will be hosting a conference on "Reorganising NATO - The new borders of security", that will be organised by non-governmental organisations.

    Moreover, the Inter-Balkan summit will be held in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, on May 3-4.

    In another development, foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced that NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will be making a working visit to Greece on May 4-5.

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

    [02] Gov't determined to restructure public sector enterprises

    The Greek government will persist with the implementation of a new legislation on restructuring public sector enterprises, Employment and Social Protection Minister Savvas Tsitouridis said on Thursday. Speaking to reporters, Tsitouridis, however, left the door open for an extension of a deadline to change personnel regulations where necessary but in the context of the new law.

    The Greek minister underlined that loss-making public sector enterprises could not offer wage increases exceeding those paid in the public sector.

    A dialogue on the pension system is expected to begin in the next few days in parliament, probably in the Economic and Social Affairs Commission, while the ministry will send invitations to all social partners to present their representatives in a commission -to be set up with the task of evaluating the problem.

    The Greek minister organised the news conference ahead of Friday's world Health and Safety at Work day. Presenting the annual report by the Labour Inspectors' Agency for 2005, Tsitouridis said the agency completed around 30,000 inspections and imposed sanctions in 7,551 cases. A total of 111 fatal accidents at work were recorded in 2005, down from 127 in 2004 and 145 in 2003, with the construction sector topping the list with the most fatalities.

    Around 1.1 million workers die from accidents at work, according to International Labour Organisation's figures.

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

    [03] Greece votes against higher visa fee

    Greece was among three countries that voted against France's proposal to raise the uniform visa fee charged by EU countries to non-EU nationals from 35 to 60, during a meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers held in Luxembourg on Thursday. The proposal was also opposed by Sweden and Hungary but was finally adopted by the council through a majority vote.

    Greek Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras said that EU policy on this issue should be more flexible and allow exceptions for countries of "special interest" to the EU, such as candidate-countries, western Balkan states and strategic partners like Russia and the Ukraine. He also called for faster resolution of technical, legal and other problems related to the Schengen II information system.

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

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