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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-01

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek, Hungarian PMs discuss energy, transport, tourism cooperation prospects
  • [02] Papandreou to visit Fokida on Sun.
  • [03] WLA head: OPAP a leader in int'l lottery market

  • [01] Greek, Hungarian PMs discuss energy, transport, tourism cooperation prospects

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met here on Friday with his Hungarian counterpart Ferenc Gyurcsany for talks on bilateral relations and European Union developments.

    The two prime ministers discussed the establishment of committees to examine prospects for cooperation in the sectors of energy, transports and tourism.

    Karamanlis told reporters after the meeting that Hungary wanted cooperation with Athens in the energy sector, particularly in the transport of natural gas, as well as participation in ongoing Greek projects, given that the east Mediterranean country was proceeding with a major effort in the sector. He added that Hungary's interest was beneficial for the Greek side.

    Regarding the EU's Constitutional Treaty, Karamanlis said Greece had been one of the first member-states to ratify the Treaty, adding that this outstanding matter needed to be settled throughout the Union, while he stressed that any ratified Treaty must have the fewest possible changes -- with respect to the current text.

    Questioned on the timing of the next general elections in Greece -- the current government's term in office ends in March 2008 -- and whether a past statement of his that elections will be held in their "proper time" also includes the autumn of 2007, the prime minister merely replied "all will be done in their proper time".

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of PM Costas Karamanlis.

    [02] Papandreou to visit Fokida on Sun.

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou will visit Fokida prefecture, in south-central Greece, on Sunday. Papandreou is scheduled to address an open political event at the Amfissa cultural centre on Sunday morning.

    A day earlier, the main opposition leader renewed his call for early general elections "so as to rid the country of a prime minister who is a hostage and close a right-wing parenthesis (in government) as soon as possible", in an address to the parliament plenary.

    Intervening in a Parliament debate on a draft law tabled by PASOK on the public sector hiring process, Papandreou also referred to the structured bonds affair, accusing the government of holding back information in order to impede a judicial investigation.

    Turning to other matters, Papandreou accused the government of "365,000 (public sector) appointments over a three-year period, more than 200,000 of which were opaque appointments of 'friends'. Over the past three years, 33,000 public projects contracts were signed with physical entities," Papandreou said, inter alia, adding that 330 new committees and task groups, with paying positions, were created by the government, as well as 165 positions of consultants to ministers, "whereas when I would take on a consultant at the foreign ministry (under the preceding PASOK government), you would create a furore".

    Gov't reaction

    Responding to Papandreou's statements, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said the level of political discussion was discouraging, adding that the PASOK leader had not brought anything to the discussion other than rumours, speculation and press claims.

    "Even if the PASOK leader's numbers, concerning 365,000 appointments, are correct, during the last three years of the Simitis (PASOK) government, the approvals were many more, numbering 436,992," Pavlopoulos said.

    [03] WLA head: OPAP a leader in int'l lottery market

    Greece's state-run lottery and betting pools organisation, OPAP, has a leading role in the world market of lottery games, Arthur L. Gleason Jr., president and CEO of the World Lottery Association, said on Friday.

    Speaking to reporters in Athens, Gleason said OPAP accounted for 30 percent of total lottery turnover in Europe and 20 percent worldwide. He noted that the World Lottery Association was founded in 1999 and stressed that a total of 152 companies operated in all five continents.

    "Only in Antarctica will you not find a lottery," he said, adding that lottery turnover reached 202 billion US dollars last year worldwide, with Europe accounting for 46 pct of the market (93 billion US dollars), followed by North America (60 billion) and Asia (37 billion).

    The WLA will hold its annual meeting on the Dodecanese holiday island of Rhodes in October 2008.

    Caption: An ANA-MPA file photo shows an OPAP outlet in Athens on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2004. / A. VLAHOS.


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