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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek Parliament ratifies Lisbon Treaty
  • [02] US Sen. urges Rice on FYROM
  • [03] Earthquake jolts Crete

  • [01] Greek Parliament ratifies Lisbon Treaty

    Parliament concluded discussion late Wednesday evening on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, with the landmark agreement passing by a margin of 250 to 42, as deputies from both ruling New Democracy (ND) and main opposition PASOK voted in favor. Eight deputies were absent from the vote.

    The latenight session was attended by all political leaders, led by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, and almost the entire Cabinet.

    Earlier, during the debate, Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said a proposal for a referendum by main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou was caused by "internal dissention within his party", although the latter said he would for in favor.

    "Colleagues, two melons cannot fit under one arm. Two different policies cannot be followed at the same time. I heard Mr. Papandreou with great attention, but much of what he said surprised me. He tried to persuade us that Greece is in Europe because of PASOK; that PASOK's principles and values demand a referendum, although in eight years while in power you didn't hold even one. Today you tell us that you agree with the Treaty but a referendum must first be held. Legality comes from the very recent popular vote. Do you ask for a referendum to cover your vote? The treaty cannot cover up your petty political problems. Europe is turning a new page, the Treaty is the product of compromise, that is how Europe moved forward, we put down the weapons and started talking," Bakoyannis said.

    She also dismissed Papandreou's criticism regarding deficient briefing on the Treaty's provisions, charging that the former foreign minister in previous PASOK government's was merely using the Treaty's ratification as a "firework" vis-a-vis his internal party opposition.

    Earlier, from Parliament's podium, Papandreou demanded a referendum for the Treaty for the "greatest possible democratic and conscious participation of active citizens."

    "The deepening of democracy in Greece is also a political wager for us I do not believe in the old leadership models. The 21st century demands leaders who fight for and support the greatest possible democracy participation of informed citizens. This is our democratic tradition. This is who I am and who I will remain..."

    He also said he has consistently back a demand for a referendum, even when he was foreign minister in 2003.

    Finally, he criticised the government for "fearing the people", as he said, and the opposition to his left for their support of a "no" vote, saying the latter are consigning Europe to marching on with only the monetary treaty of Maastricht and without the "more social and democratic Europe of Lisbon".

    On her part, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga said the latest Euro-treaty was "merely an effort by the European Union to accelerate the two-pole race so that as a second world superpower it (Europe) will become the world's second policeman."

    Papariga reiterated her communist party's opposition to the Treaty and a demand for a referendum.

    Outside Parliament, members of the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) held a protest march against the Lisbon Treaty and in demand of a referendum.

    Debate on an opposition (PASOK, KKE and the Coalition of the Left) request for a referendum begins on Tuesday.(source:

    [02] US Sen. urges Rice on FYROM

    US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice calling on her to exercise her influence so that a solution to the FYROM name issue that is also acceptable to Greece may be found as soon as possible.

    Menendez, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, warned in his letter that so long as a name solution remains outstanding, problems could prospectively arise with the ratification of bilateral or multilateral agreements and treaties.

    He further noted that the members of NATO, including the US, at their summit meeting in Bucharest in April, agreed on a Joint Declaration which, in Paragraph 20, stipulates:


    [03] Earthquake jolts Crete

    A moderate earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale jolted the island of Crete in the early morning hours of Thursday.

    According to the Athens National Observatory's Geodynamic Institute and the Thessaloniki University's Geophysics Laboratory, the earthquake was recorded at 3:20 a.m., at a distance of 385 kilometers southeast of Athens, with its epicentre at Zakros.

    The town of Zakros is situated near the eastern coast site containing ruins from the Minoan civilization. The site is often known to archaeologists as Zakros or Kato Zakros. It is believed to have been one of the four main administrative centers of the Minoans, and its protected harbour and strategic location made it an important commercial hub for trade to the east. The ancient town was was dominated by the Palace of Zakros, originally built around 1900 BC, rebuilt around 1600 BC, and destroyed by a major earthquake around 1450 BC along with the other major centers of Minoan civilization, effectively marking the end of the Minoan era.

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