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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-05
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM Karamanlis: Environment our generation's greatest challengePrime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday stressed that "the environment is the greatest challenge that our generation is called on to deal with, one for which we have no choice but to respond to seriously and responsibly, with tangible results for the planet, for ourselves, and for our children".
In a message marking World Environment Day, Karamanlis stressed that the environmental problem was complex and difficult to solve, and could not be used as an alibi by anyone, while he also noted that action on the environment was everyone's duty and required awareness and action.
The premier said that "the truth is that we are in a permanent global state of emergency, which requires specific targeted and coordinated actions in order to limit and eventually reverse the consequences of humanity's imprint on the planet".
In that effort, Greece was undertaking its share of the initiatives, in accordance with the obligations arising from its capacity as an EU member state and as a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, Karamanlis said, adding that his government was applying a comprehensive strategy for sustainable development, "a strategy whose axes focus on limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases and the promotion of 'green' energy, the institutional consolidation of environmental protection, the stipulation of specific rules of behaviour, and a guarantee of their strict and unwavering implementation by everyone".
The premier stressed that the government was implementing this comprehensive policy not only because of its international obligations, but, "much more so, because we perceive this as our self-evident duty to this and the coming generations".
Karamanlis said that "the road to protection of the environment is a long and difficult one", adding that "greater effort is required by all of us", and noting that his government was "proceeding with decisive steps for the protection of biodiversity, rational management of water resources, recycling and ecological management of waste, the promotion of environment-friendly forms of agricultural and industrial activities, and the substantial improvement of quality of life in the large cities and the periphery".
He said that the World Environment Day was, unfortunately, not a cause for celebration but, on the contrary, "underlines a threatening reality, the repercussions of which we are now witnessing increasingly and more intensely on a daily basis".
Caption: Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. ANA-MPA photo
 Papandreou visits pollution-ridden EchedorosMain opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou visited the pollution-ridden municipality of Echedoros in Thessaloniki on Tuesday morning, opting to spend World Environment Day in the region and to learn about its problems.
Local government officials set up a multimedia presentation with images from the villages of Kalohori and Sindos that demonstrated the environmental degradation caused by industrial activity and the illegal dumping of waste.
They informed Papandreou that Echedoros and the Thermaikos Gulf faced problems through inadequate processing of sewage sludge by the facilities of the sewage treatment plant.
PASOK's leader later visited the sewage treatment plant and a site along the coast of Kalohori that is extensively polluted by both rubbish and sewage.
Describing the area as an "environmental apartheid", Papandreou stressed that the environment was a right for all and criticised the government for failing to come through with a promise to create a national park at the Echedoros Municipality.
Caption: Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou visiting lagoon of Kalohori in the extensively polluted municipality of Echedoros in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, in order to mark World Environment Day on June 5, 2007. (ANA-MPA/Nikos Arvanitidis)
 Eurogroup eyes end of EDP for GreeceThe 12-member Eurogroup (Council of euro zone finance ministers) late Monday night adopted the European Commission's recommendation for abrogation of the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) for Greece and Germany, with Luxembourg Premier and Eurogroup chairman Jean Claude Juncker and EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia announcing that the Eurogroup would propose the end of EDP for the two countries to the EU' Council of Economy and Finance (ECOFIN) ministers on Tuesday.
Referring to the Eurogroup discussion, Juncker congratulated the Greek government "for its exceptionally significant efforts to lead to the streamlining of the Greek economy", noting at the same time how problematic the condition of the Greek economy had been three years ago.
Commissioner Almunia, in turn, stressed the "clear improvement in the Greek economy", noting however the need for the efforts to continue so as to achieve its full consolidation of the public finances.
He recalled the commitment of all the euro area countries to negate the deficits by 2010, and noted characteristically, with respect to Greece, that national economy and finance minister George Alogoskoufis was absolutely aware of the need for Greece to achieve this ambitious goal as well.
Almunia reiterated the Commission's positions on the Greek economy, emphasising the need for decreasing the structural deficit, following the decrease of the nominal fiscal deficit.
Regarding the data for the Greek economy, Almunia stressed that its credibility was now a given fact, attributing this to a great degree to the spirit of cooperation that has prevailed in recent years between the Greek and EU services.
Regarding the revision of the Greek GDP, Almunia forecast that, by autumn, the EU services would be in the position to ratify it.
He said that despite the fact that Greece must continue increase its contribution to the Community funds by a percentage estimated at 0.7 percent of GDP, its fiscal stabilisation would not been affected, and the country's deficit would continue to remain below the benchmark of 3 percentage points of GDP.
Juncker and Almunia also both noted that the Europe endorses the accession of Cyprus and Malta to the euro area (euro zone) as of 2008, and expressed their conviction that the relevant decision would be taken at the EU summit in late June.
Caption: Monetary Affairs Commissioner Spanish Joaquin Almunia speaks during a news conference on deficit procedures for Germany, Greece and Malta and convergence Reports on Cyprus and Malta at the EU headquarters in Brussels, 16 May 2007. ANA-MPA / EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
 Alavanos: Greece lacks eco-protection planningCoalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Alekos Alavanos will attend a rally organised by southeast coastal Athens' Helliniko Municipality on Tuesday to again express his solidarity for a local initiative demanding free public access to beaches.
Among others, the mayor of the small municipality is continuing a two-week-old hunger strike to showcase the municipality's demand for completely unhindered access to beachfronts.
"Greece has no planning aimed at limiting pollutant producing activities," he stressed, meanwhile, during a visit to industrial Thriasio Pedio district of western Attica prefecture (the greater Athens area).
Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Synaspismos leader Alekos Alavanos.
 Former US leader George Bush in GreeceFormer United States president George Bush arrived at the Megas Alexandros (Alexander the Great) interational airport of Chrysoupolis, near the coastal city of Kavala in northern Greece, on Monday, accompanied by his wife Barbara, their twin granddaughters and friends, to begin a vacation in the region.
The former president and his entourage flew by helicopter to a cruiser anchored at the port of Nea Peramos the previous day under tight security.
A smiling George Bush briefly walked on the vessel's deck with his wife and grandchildren before going inside the yacht, which sailed off into the northern Aegean Sea at noon, accompanied by a coast guard vessel.
Bush Sr. is expected to also visit the all-male Orthodox monastic community of Mount Athos, as he has done in numerous previous visits to Greece.
Caption: Former US president George Bush is shown in a file photo attending a reception hosted by former Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos for heads of states and governments on the occasion of the beginning of the 2004 Athens Olympics, on Friday, Aug. 13, 2004. ANA-MPA / M. MAROGIANNI.
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