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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Karamanlis briefed over farm issues; address in Thessaloniki in evening
  • [02] Papandreou slams underfunding of education
  • [03] Greece, Egypt eye boost in bilateral trade ties
  • [04] Recycling plant opens in west Athens landfill

  • [01] PM Karamanlis briefed over farm issues; address in Thessaloniki in evening

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will on Monday evening address the formal dinner of the 11th Thessaloniki Forum, which opened in the morning in the northern Greek capital, attended by leading figures in politics and international investments from the EU and elsewhere.

    The two-day economic forum on Global Markets: Positioning of Thessaloniki and Northern Greece, is co-organized by the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING), and the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (AHCC).

    The forum will focus on the areas of industry, commerce, energy, tourism and innovation.

    Earlier on Monday, Karamanlis was briefed by Rural Development and Food Minister Evangelos Basiakos over farm subsidies' issues, compensation payments, the government's programme for the ongoing 3rd CSF (Community Support Framework) absorption rate and the overall effort to promote quality farm products.

    Basiakos stated that a conference for the promotion of farm products will be held at the Zappion Hall, Athens, on Tuesday, pointing out that he discussed with the prime minister measures aimed at boosting the agricultural sector and the countryside in general. On the farmers' compensation timetable, he clarified that ELGA (Hellenic Agricultural Insurance Organization) is responsible for compensation of damages in the three-month period after harvest, adding that compensation for certain farm sector damages needs the approval of the competent EU bodies.

    The rural development minister stated that compensation payments from national resources are made in two years compared to four years in the past, resulting to compensation payments of up to 400-500 million euros annually, while the farmers' annual contributions are roughly 80-90 million euros.

    Basiakos stressed that there will be no problems in the payment of compensations as a result of this year's drought, adding that the damages caused to fruit trees by hailstorms are being recorded.

    [02] Papandreou slams underfunding of education

    Main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou on Monday roundly attacked the government for starving education of funds while at the same out granting questionable tax exemptions.

    He was speaking to the parents' associations of two extended-day primary schools in the Thessaloniki district of Neapolis, during a two-day visit to the city, in response to complaints by the local mayor Nathanail Ladopoulos that contracts and other programmes for the area's schools could not be carried out because funding had been cut.

    According to Papandreou, education was a top priority throughout the world and was an issue on which countries and people would be judged. He stressed that education could not be an economic burden for families, promising that PASOK would create extended-day schools throughout the country within its first four-year term if elected, in addition to radical reforms of the educational system.

    The current school year ended in the midst of problems as pupils had to contend with the government's inconsistent and chaotic education policies, which had also lumbered Greek families with additional costs and burdens, he added.

    He pledged that PASOK would make education its top priority, with the state picking up the full cost so as to reinstate free education.

    On Monday afternoon, Papandreou is scheduled to visit the Thessaloniki Labour Centre and meet representatives of the staff at the Thessaloniki water and sewage company and the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO), following by meetings with local MPs in the evening.

    On World Environment Day on Tuesday, Papandreou is to visit Echedoros, a municipality facing acute environmental pollution problems and a serious sewage sludge problem. On Tuesday afternoon at 15:30, he is due to deliver the opening speech at the 11th Thessaloniki Forum organised by the Association of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE).

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou.

    [03] Greece, Egypt eye boost in bilateral trade ties

    Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas on Monday met with visiting Egyptian Investments Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin for talks on ways to boost economic cooperation between the two countries, and in particular, investment opportunities in Egypt.

    The two ministers discussed ways to implement a bilateral cooperation in energy within the framework of a bilateral agreement signed in Cairo early last month. They also discussed plans to forge closer cooperation in energy and technology.

    [04] Recycling plant opens in west Athens landfill

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday attended the inauguration of a much-needed recycling and waste composting plant in the Ano Liosia municipality of west Athens, the same area that hosts the Greek capital's only legal landfill site.

    Authorities noted that plants of this type ensure the management and processing of 50 percent of all garbage produced in the country, while limiting the total weight of waste by 75 percent. More importantly, the volume of waste in decreased by 90 percent, thus significantly reducing spare requirements and the amount of land occupied by landfill sites.

    Pavlopoulos stressed that the solid waste management in Greece is among the most complex environmental issues in major urban centers, adding that the long-awaited project initially got underway in 1997 but its progress was hampered by a lack of political will and transparent procedures.

    Other speakers said that the plant would be able to accept 1,000 tonnes of mixed waste a day, from which it would produce 350 tonnes of alternative solid fuel, 200 tonnes of compost, 25 tonnes of recyclable metals 800 kilos of aluminium and 250 tonnes of bundled waste to be disposed of at a landfill site.

    The recycling plant will turn the site of the Ano Liosia landfill into a green area while the state finally meets its old debt to the people of the region of Attiki, particularly the neighboring Thriasio municipality and Western Attica, by materializing a project that respects the region and its people, stressed Pavlopoulos.

    The minister also announced that a complete programme for the restoration of the uncontrolled garbage dumping sites will be ready by the end of 2008.

    Gov't spokesman

    Alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros noted that construction of the waste processing plant was launched in 1997 but had not gone into operation by 2004, in spite of huge sums spent in conditions marked by a lack of transparency.

    After long delays, the project's construction was finally completed within just three years and would begin operation with a processing capacity of about 1,000 tonnes of garbage daily, with the prospect that this would increase to up to 2,000 tons on a daily basis, added Antonaros.

    Caption: A view of the new composting plant in Ano Liossia, west Athens, on Monday, June 4, 2007. ANA-MPA / M. Kiaou.

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