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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Forum focuses on migration, both regional and int'l
  • [02] Gov't abolishes car scrapping plan
  • [03] Stocks end 1.49% down

  • [01] Forum focuses on migration, both regional and int'l

    A two-day "Forum of the Society of Citizens" opened Monday at an upscale Athens seaside resort within the framework of the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), set to take place in the Greek capital this week.

    The proceedings of the forum, chaired by veteran film director Costa Gavras, focused along the theme of"integrating migration policies into development strategies for the benefit of all", according to the event's itinerary.

    Addressing the forum, Deputy Citizen's Protection Minister Spyros Vougias underlined that the "dark corners" in Greece's migrant integration process include red tape, uninsured work, stereotypes, problems in the naturalisation process, a deficit in equality before the law and lack of places of worship and burial for certain categories of migrants.

    Along those lines, he also announced that the government was temporarily closing an illegal immigrant detention centre on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, and specifically at the Pagani site, until it is renovated to host a significantly lower amount of mostly Third World migrants ferried over from the Turkish coast.

    As regards illegal migrants, Vougias underlined the necessity of "special structures" for the protection of political asylum seekers, pointing out that an interior ministry experts' committee will be set up to work on this problem.

    Vougias stressed that Greece will also request the renegotiation of the Dublin Treaty, which, amongst others, refers to the obligations of EU border countries like Greece, an entry point for illegal immigrants.

    According to figures provided by the Gallup Organization following a study conducted on a sample of 250,000 people, the greatest interest in emigration is recorded among the people in sub-Saharan African countries (38 pct of the adult population) corresponding to roughly 165 million people, as opposed to the limited interest recorded amongst people in Asian countries (10 pct of the adult population).

    The United States is the most desired destination for would-be migrants (24 pct) followed by Canada, UK, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Australia. Roughly 210 million adults worldwide want to immigrate to an EU country.

    The forum proceedings attend 250 representatives of international migrant organizations and 50 UN and other international organizations' observers. Roundtable discussions will be held on migration and development, financial crisis and migration, migrant integration.

    Pavlopoulos' reaction

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) MP Prokopis Pavlopoulos, the up-until-recently interior minister, later responded to Vougias by stated that the "treaty on migration and asylum signed in the EU Summit on October 2008 establishes a common European migration policy and clearly states that the member-states' borders are also EU external borders."

    Pavlopoulos, who also attended the forum, also charged that "no comprehensive migration policy rules, particularly as regards illegal migration, were enacted by the governments of PASOK until 2004, while no illegal migrant reception centres were built ... The 'purgatories' mentioned by Mr. Vougias are past PASOK government creations."

    The forum was sponsored by the Alexander S. Onassis Benefit Foundation.

    [02] Gov't abolishes car scrapping plan

    (ANA-MPA) -- ‘he Greek government on Monday said it was abolishing a car scrapping scheme introduced by the previous government a few days before the Oct. 4 elections in the country.

    Speaking to reporters, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the "green vehicle rebate" scheme had no environmental meaning and it did not strengthened the Greek economy since there was no domestic auto industry in the country while entailing a "huge fiscal cost".

    The minister said the cost of the programme would total 400 million euros annually and stressed that citizens who have already participated in the "cash for clunkers" scheme would be fully compensated.

    Environment Minister Tina Birbili also announced a decision to amend ‚green‚ duties on vehicles, putting fewer burdens on smaller cars, and abolishing a ‚green road ring‚ scheduled to be introduced in Athens by 2011.

    [03] Stocks end 1.49% down

    Greek stocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, ignoring an upward trend prevailing in other European markets. The composite index fell 1.49 pct to end at 2,646.24 points, with turnover shrinking further to 199.8 million euros, of which 3.6 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved downwards, with the Media (5.19 pct), Commerce (3.82 pct), Banks (2.41 pct), Technology (2.17 pct) and Oil (2.13 pct) suffering the heaviest percentage losses of the day, while Travel (1.43 pct) and Utilities (1.07 pct) scored gains.

    The FTSE 20 index fell 1.67 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.91 pct down and the FTSE 80 index ended 1.95 pct lower. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 160 to 35 with another 41 issues unchanged.

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