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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-11-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Droutsas on Turkey, FYROM
  • [02] Katseli at Cambridge symposium
  • [03] SYRIZA Panhellenic Conference
  • [04] Pierre Cardin in Athens

  • [01] Droutsas on Turkey, FYROM

    The decision for the commencement of accession negotiations with FYROM belongs to all the EU member states, and consequently Greece as well, and one thing is certain: a prerequisite for the opening of accession talks is prior solution of the name issue, alternate foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas explained in an interview with journalist Michael Martins in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    On Greek prime minister and foreign minister George Papandreou's recent discussion with FYROM premier Nikola Gruevski, during a trilateral meeting organised by Papandreou on conservation of the Prespes Lakes ecosystem, Droutsas said that it was an important step that such contacts are taking place again after so many years during which formal meetings were avoided.

    As for Turkey's EU accession course, Droutsas reiterated the Greek position that: "We fully back Turkey's accession to the EU. However, as a candidate country, Turkey has obligations to the EU and the Union's member states. These include the obligation of maintaining good relations with its neighbors. This also means implementation of the Ankara Protocol, and consequently the extension of the Customs Union with all the EU member states, including the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey is obliged to accept Cypriot ships and airplanes at its ports and airports."

    On the new PASOK government's foreign policy, Droutsas said the government is following a dynamic foreign policy that will be characterised by initiatives, not just reactions.

    To a comment by Martins that Papandreou's meeting in Istanbul with Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan (during the Southeast European Cooperation Process-SEECP- foreign ministers' meeting in October) and his visit to the grave of Turkish former foreign minister Ismail Cem (Papandreou and Cem were foreign ministers concurrently in their countries in the late '90s) had created an affinity in the Turkish people towards Papandreou, but that, beyond the symbolism, certain issues remained between Athens and Ankara that required clarification, and particularly that of the delimitation of the Aegean continental shelf, Droutsas replied: "This is a purely legal matter, which should have been resolved by the authoritative international body set up by the United Nations, namely the International Court of Justice at The Hague".

    [02] Katseli at Cambridge symposium

    Economy, competitiveness and shipping minister Louka Katseli stressed the importance placed on the Greek government, through a network of actions, on rendering Greece an attraction for investments and on strengthening the country's presence on the SE European markets and also the extroversion of Greek enterprises in the midst of the crisis, during a symposium on the economic crisis in SE Europe held Saturday at Cambridge University's Center for International Business and Management.

    Katseli noted that Greece is an important trade partner for most of the countries of SE Europe, as an estimated one-fifth of the volume of Greek exports are channeled to that region.

    According to figures from Greece's national statistics service (ESYE) and Greece's local commercial and economic offices in the region, transactions were rising steadily over the past three years (2006-2008), exceeding 8 billion euros in 2008. Greece's most significant trade partners in the area are Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania, which account for 76 percent of the overall volume of Greece's trade with the SE European countries. In addition, Greece is an important destination for products from the region. For FYROM, for example, it is estimated that Greece is the third largest trade destination.

    In 2008, Greece topped the list of foreign investors in Albania, FYROM and Serbia, while it was the third largest foreign investor in Romania and the fourth in Bulgaria and, according to the Turkish ministry of finance, Greece was the third largest foreign investor in the country in the years 2006 and 2007.

    "It is important to note that even during the crisis, when there was an outflow of foreign businesses that have invested in the region, the Greek enterprises and banks stayed put in those countries, reinforcing their domestic economies," Katseli stressed, adding that Greece has for many years also been an ally of the SE Europe countries in the European bodies, in the process of their integration.

    Katseli further noted the initiatives to which the new government will place emphasis on for the development of the region, noting the importance of the Greek plan for the economic reconstruction of the Balkans (HiPERB), and also the importance of the initiatives being undertaken by the private sector to make use of the funds earmarked for the Black Sea and Caspian Sea areas.

    "In this spirit, we plan to work towards the establishment of a Greek developmental financing body, including aid," the minister said, adding that reinforcement financing is a useful tool that is used by nearly all the member states of the EU, as the third pillar of developmental cooperation, which provides the proper tools for European businesses to invest with flexible and well-grounded strategies, such as the European investment capital for the western Balkans.

    She further noted the need to "restart" and "re-propel" the Greek economy and the activities of the Greek enterprises through boosting their exports and their international orientation.

    [03] SYRIZA Panhellenic Conference

    The two-day First Panhellenic Conference of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) ended shortly after midnight on Saturday with the adoption of a seven-point resolution introduced by SYRIZA rapporteur A. Davanelos.

    According to the resolution, a SYRIZA member card will be introduced, while a register of members will be created in every local or prefectural committee. Further, SYRIZA's top executive will be the Panhellenic Conference, while the SYRIZA Secretariat will have the responsibility for the alliance's political activity and function between the Panhellenic Conferences.

    The resolution calls for immediate materialisation of the First Panhellenic Conference, with a SYRIZA press office and press spokesman, the publication of a periodical and operation of an internet page by a SYRIZA editorial team, and the establishment of a SYRIZA Panhellenic Coordinating Committee.

    Second, the basic nuclei of SYRIZA's organisational structure will be the Local, Prefectural and Branch Committees based on an Assembly of the members, which will have the right to decide, by consensus or vote, on the local, prefectural or branch political matters and vote for the Committees' coordinating secretariats.

    Third, the term of SYRIZA "member" is established, in direct link with the Local or Prefectural (or/and Thematic, where they exist) Committees. A Uniform Member Register" will be set up in every Committee, while the SYRIZA members will be provided with a "member" card by the corresponding Committee.

    Fourth, a Panhellenic Coordinating Committee will be set up as an "in-between" body, comprising the members of the Secretariat, Parliamentary Group and Coordinators of the local committees, with the responsibility of coordinating political action or discussion of important policy matters.

    Fifth, the Panhellenic Conference is SYRIZA's to executive body, which will be convened regularly once a year and extraordinarily, by decision of the Secretariat, when a serious issue arises. The delegates are designated by decision of the Local, Prefectural and Branch Committees via consensus or vote, on the basis of pluralistic representation, so that the composition of the delegates will be strong and undisputable.

    Sixth, the SYRIZA Secretariat will be responsible for the function of the alliance between the Panhellenic Conferences. The members will be designated by consensus, with the participation of at least one representative from each component faction or group of the alliance.

    Seventh, the SYRIZA Fund will be decisively reinforced so as to ensure its central and local operation.

    Caption: SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras (ANA-MPA/E. Fylaktou)

    [04] Pierre Cardin in Athens

    Īn the occasion of World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), the Greek Action in Africa foundation has organised a charity evening in support of HIV-positive AIDS orphans, to be held on Monday at the French embassy.

    Legendary French fashion designer and Institute of France member Pierre Cardin will attend the event and present his latest collection for men and women, featuring international models.

    The event is being held under the auspices of the French embassy in Athens (Amb. Christophe Farnaud), the City of Athens (Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis) and the Ivory Coast general consulate in Greece (Foundation chairman Mero Kesesioglou).

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