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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PASOK leader election campaign speeds up
  • [02] Budget to be tabled on November 20
  • [03] FM outlines Greek foreign policy at LSE

  • [01] PASOK leader election campaign speeds up

    Main opposition PASOK's intra-party campaign for the election of a new leader on Sunday Nov. 11, continued on Monday with current president and candidate George Papandreou addressing in the evening a meeting of intellectuals and artists who support his candidacy, at a central Athens hotel.

    "This meeting should have taken place long ago as, looking beyond human contact, I need your presence, your thoughts, your criticism, creativeness and imagination," Papndreou told his audience.

    Describing Greek society's "longstanding weaknesses" the main opposition leader said that there existed another path for the country "which deserves and can do better, on condition that it makes its revolution soon, otherwise it will be marginalised."

    He said the battle he was waging at present and within PASOK "is a battle of ideas and not of persons, as the time has come to liberate ourselves from fatalism and lamentation."

    He also assured his audience that it existed on his part a political will for cooperation and called on them to table their proposals "for the necessary organisational patterns".

    Party officials Evangelos Venizelos and Costas Skandalidis are also candidates in this much expected election.

    [02] Budget to be tabled on November 20

    The government will table next year's budget to parliament on November 20, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Monday.

    Spearking to reporters, the minister said the economy was moving according to the government's program, including growth rates and employment rates. Alogoskoufis noted that growth outlook was ensured for the next two-three years, both from activity in the private sector and large public sector projects. Commenting on a fiscal consolidation effort, the Greek minister said things are always difficult but the consolidation effort will continue. He reminded that it was Greece's legal commitment to continue efforts towards reducing its fiscal deficit by 0.5 percent of GDP annually. Alogoskoufis said next year's budget was drafted aiming to continue fiscal consolidation and strong growth rates. He aso said the 2008 budget will include implementation of a second phase of tax factors cut, completion of a Third Community Support Framework program and beginning of the Fourth Community Support Framework program.

    The minister said the government will table to parliament two draft legislations this month, one on the National Social Cohesion Fund and another on promoting the third phase of tax reform.

    [03] FM outlines Greek foreign policy at LSE

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis outlined Greek foreign policy positions on a wide range of issues during the annual address at the 'Eleftherios Venizelos' Chair of Contemporary Greek Studies Observatory of the London School of Economics (LSE) on Monday.

    Bakoyannis, who is on a two-day working visit to London, said on the issue of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) name that Greece went to the negotiating table under the auspices of the UN with a clear aim, a mutually acceptable, composite, solution.

    The minister added that this reflects the letter and the spirit of the resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the 1995 Interim Agreement.

    "We showed our good intention. Now, our friends in Skopje must also cover some distance," she further said.

    No military alliance and no partnership relation, Bakoyannis stressed, can exist without mutual trust and relations of good neighbourliness.

    "Skopje has one path to NATO and the European Union: the path of the mutually acceptable solution," she noted.

    Speaking before an audience of professors and students, the British and Greek press and representatives of the Financial Times that jointly organised the event, the head of the Greek diplomacy underlined that the name issue is not one of a psychological or a sentimental nature, but an issue of relations of good neighbourliness.

    "Macedonia is a broader geographical region of which more than 50 per cent belongs to Greece. Two-and-a-half millions Greeks , among them Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, feel proud of being Macedonians," Bakoyannis noted.

    "The pan-macedonian theory, she added, which Skopje is attempting to fabricate in order to support its identity and its provocative acts constitutes an anachronism." She pointed out that FYROM is using the language of the 19th century and it wants to be understood in the 21st.

    She also said that Greece has shown its good disposition repeatedly, with political and economic support for the neighbouring country, saying that Greek investments there exceed one billion euros.

    Referring to Kosovo, Bakoyannis said that the region's stability concerns all. It is a European problem that must have a European solution. She added that a viable solution must not be put at risk for the sake of an arbitrarily predetermined timetable and warned that the game is being played in a multipartite fashion and every unilateral initiative could threaten longterm stability.

    On the question of Serbia, she said that it is a country of vital importance for stability in the Balkans and that European prospects are the only vehicle with which this country will overcome the burdens of the past, expressing support for the signing of the Stability and Association Agreement with the EU.

    As regards relations with Turkey, Bakoyannis reiterated Greece's support for its European orientation on condition that it will adjust to the EU's institutional, political and economic realities, saying that "there is no Europe a la carte."

    Commenting on Turkey's military activity in the Aegean, she said that it remains a serious concern for Greece, while insisting on the implementation of religious freedoms as part of the EU acquis communautaire and expressed "disappointment" over Ankara's refusal to recognise the title of the Ecumenical Patriarch and to permit the reopening of the Halki School of Theology.

    Referring to the issue of Cyprus, the minister said that Greece wants a just and viable solution, adding that partition is no option. On the finding of a solution, she said that what must be taken into joint consideration is the work accomplished by the UN, International Law, Security Council resolutions and the EU acquis communautaire.

    Focusing next on the Middle East issue, Bakoyannis said that she looks forward with confidence to the present process of direct talks for the promotion of a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and to the upcoming Annapolis conference in the United States.

    As regards Iran, she called on the EU to make mediation efforts to cover the rift separating the country from the international community, saying that "we cannot afford to fail."

    Lastly, Bakoyannis spoke of the significance of climatic changes and their repercussions on the more sensitive regions and on categories of populations on the planet, stressing that it is an issue lying at the centre of Greek development policy and the Greek presidency, this year, of the Human Security Network.

    The foreign minister's speech was delivered in honour of veteran Greek diplomat Vyron Theodoropoulos.

    After meeting her British counterpart David Miliband on Tuesday and the joint statements that are expected to follow, Bakoyannis will be meeting with the British Committee for the Return of the Perthenon Marbles, while afterwards she will be leaving for Oxford to make an address at St. Antony's College on "Europe's message to the world."


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