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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou meets with Piraeus mayor
  • [02] Vietnam president at business forum
  • [03] Turkey flouting accords
  • [04] SAE appeals to Greeks abroad

  • [01] Papandreou meets with Piraeus mayor

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Tuesday promised Piraeus mayor Panagiotis Fassoulas that his party will bring the issue of the city's massive financial woes to Parliament, during a meeting between the two men ahead of controversial mobilisations called by the port city's mayor for Friday.

    Papandreou also took the opportunity to criticise the New Democracy (ND) government's policy on local administration, "the more so towards the local governments that are not under ND control".

    Fassoulas, a former star basketball player in Greece and at the European national team level, is a member of PASOK and a one-time candidate for Parliament.

    Serving his first term in the mayor's chair in Piraeus, he has called on supporters and municipal workers to block the port of Piraeus on Friday, ahead of a three-day weekend linked to a Monday holiday, a threatened move that has generated a flurry of criticism.

    The municipality of Piraeus has been plagued by serious financial problems dating back almost 15 years.

    [02] Vietnam president at business forum

    Visiting Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet addressed on Tuesday a business forum on the promotion of economic and business relations between Greece and Vietnam, calling on Greek businessmen to include Vietnam in their future plans in Asian markets.

    The forum was organised in Athens by the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) in the framework of the Vietnamese president's official visit to Greece.

    SEB signed a cooperation protocol with the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry to contribute to a rapprochement between the two business communities and to the development of beneficial cooperation, laying the foundations for more extensive information regarding opportunities in Vietnam and on joining networks with big and extroversive Vietnamese companies.

    Welcoming the Vietnamese president, SEB's board vice president and international activity chief Thanassis Lavidas said that Vietnam's inexplorable market can constitute a considerable alternative solution for Greek companies expanding in the Far East, since it presents a high degree of development and it is opening and deregulating its economy with reforms that create a friendly ground of activity for foreign investors.

    Sectors of special interest for Greek-Vietnamese cooperation are construction, energy project infrastructures, high technology, pharmaceutical products, health services, agricultural industry and fisheries, shipping and shipbuilding, tourism, infrastructures, etc.

    The Vietnamese president said that his government is looking forward to new investments moves of European origin and assured Greek businessmen that they will enjoy all the support and facilitating possible in whatever initiatives they take. The forum was attended by 60 businessmen and senior company members from various sectors in Vietnam.

    [03] Turkey flouting accords

    Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Tuesday accused Turkey of failing to honour agreements for the readmission of illegal immigrants that passed through its borders into Greece.

    "Turkey is refusing to implement, even barely, the accords for the readmission of illegal immigrants that it signed with Greece. It is also refusing to sign such agreements with the European Union. This stance is one of the basic factors that must be evaluated in terms of whether Turkey is observing Community rules," Pavlopoulos said.

    The minister made the statements during a joint session of five Parliamentary committees on the guarding of the EU's external borders.

    He also presented figures showing that the number of illegal immigrants being caught by Greek authorities had increased steadily over the past years, with the problem showing a 93 percent increase between 2002 and 2007.

    A similar increase had also been seen in the number of people seeking asylum, which had soared by 461 percent between 2004 and 2007.

    "Our country provides a hospitable shelter to those in need, with special provision for minors and particularly unaccompanied minors. It also reminds Europe at every opportunity that it has an obligation arising from history, its culture and its democracy to set the issue of migration on a different basis. For, as long as there is poverty, wars and dictatorships, as long as there is great inequality between rich states and poor states, the phenomenon of migration will not stop," the minister stressed.

    Pavlopoulos said that Europe should support poor countries so that they were able to keep their people at home, alert these countries to the terms for migration to the EU so that its nationals could come legally and also urge third countries to sign readmission accords with the EU and stick to them.

    The minister further claimed that Greece was currently at the forefront of EU policy against illegal immigration and that in recent years had build model reception centres for immigrants within its borders.

    Merchant Marine and Island Policy Minister George Voulgarakis echoed the call for action on a global level, stressing that this had to target the trafficking systems that were currently being fuelled by billions of dollars.

    Main opposition PASOK MP Michalis Chrysohoidis also agreed that the EU must call Turkey to order, since it was currently acting to push illegal immigrants into Greece.

    [04] SAE appeals to Greeks abroad

    The board of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) on Tuesday appealed to Greek expatriates throughout the world to aid and support earthquake victims in southwestern Greece that lost their homes and property during Sunday's 6.5 Richter earthquake.

    Members of the board offered the symbolic sum of 5,000 euros, bringing the total collected by the Sydney-based Hellenic Emergency Relief Fund to 35,000 euros.

    In a related development, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, chaired by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, on Tuesday announced that the Greek Church will give 500,000 euros for the relief of victims of last Sunday's destructive earthquake in Ileia and Achaia.

    The Synod's press spokesman, Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos, said the Church had mobilised its non-government organisation Allilegi (Solidarity) and had already delivered large quantities of humanitarian aid, such as tents and bedding, clothing, food and drinking water to be distributed to the victims of the quake.

    A team of technicians had also been sent to examine and list damage to churches in the region, he added.

    In addition to the above, the Synod issued a statement that homosexuality violated the will of God and the teachings of the Bible, Anthimos said.

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