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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-02-14

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Europarliament's Schulz: EU will help Greece fight tax evasion, if prioritised
  • [02] Alt. Foreign Minister Chountis welcomes German European Affairs Minister Roth to Athens
  • [03] Minister visits site of Pakistani national's suicide at detention centre, expresses 'shame' at conditions
  • [04] 'National duty to support new gov't in negotiations,' former ND minister Dendias says in interview

  • [01] Europarliament's Schulz: EU will help Greece fight tax evasion, if prioritised

    ANA-MPA - European Union member-states will take part in the Greek government's efforts to recover its fiscal assets that have been taken out of the country, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in an interview to "Parapolitika" newspaper published Saturday.

    "Greece will have both the EU and governments by its side if it gets to work and fights tax evasion and tax fraud as its absolute priority," Schulz was quoted as saying. He added, "Rich Greeks must assume a greater burden not just for ethical reasons, but also because this will contribute to the increase of tax revenues. This would be an excellent way to put money in the economy and social services without putting an end to efforts for fiscal health."

    [02] Alt. Foreign Minister Chountis welcomes German European Affairs Minister Roth to Athens

    ANA - MPA -- Greek and German relations may be going through a difficult phase right now but the countries remain friends and collaborate as EU member-states, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Chountis said in statements welcoming visiting German European Affairs Minister Michael Roth in Athens on Friday.

    "You are all aware that lately, especially in the era of austerity and memorandums Greece is in, relations between Greece and Germany are going through a rough phase," Chountis said. "There are unresolved issues such as that of the World War II loan and the German reparations, which we believe can be resolved. We believe - and I think that Mr. Roth himself has expressed this also - that Germany and Greece will remain friends and allies within the European framework."

    Chountis referred to the EU summit and the agreement on Thursday to hold talks on political and technical levels between Greece and its creditors, and said he "appreciates Mr. Roth's statements and those of Germany's and other member-state leaders that in this effort and these negotiations the right of the Greek people's electoral choice should be respected."

    The minister expressed optimism and said that "there are many issues and sectors where Greek-German relations can be expanded and I hope we shall have constructive talks." Greece's intention is to strengthen the traditional ties of friendship between the two countries and expand collaboration to benefit both countries' peoples, he added.

    [03] Minister visits site of Pakistani national's suicide at detention centre, expresses 'shame' at conditions

    ANA-MPA - Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Yiannis Panousis said on Saturday he was "ashamed as a human being" after seeing the foreigners' detention centre in Amygdaleza, north of Athens, where a Pakistani national, 28, hanged himself late on Friday night in the container used as temporary housing.

    "I came to express the sadness and grief of the ministry and the government," he said, "but now I express my shame, not as a minister, but as a human being, as a representative of a civilisation."

    He said that the detention conditions for undocumented migrants were unbelievable, and clarified that this had nothing to do with the behaviour and attitude of the police, which was correct, but with the idea of creating such centres. "It is not the image of a European country and of a country that respects human beings," he said, and stressed that the detention centres would be replaced by "open hospitality centres." The whole system would be overhauled in cooperation with Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Tasia Christodouloupoulou, he added, to guarantee acceptable conditions for detainees.

    Anti-racism organisation members had been rallying at Amygdaleza since early on Saturday, leaving only after the minister's visit. Deputies and representatives of parties and agencies also arrived at the controversial centre, where conditions for both adults and children have been the focus of protests several times in the past.

    "We are all here - parties, agencies, all of Greece - and Greece cannot sustain such an image. We will change everything," Panousis said.

    The 28-year-old Pakistani was found in a container serving as a holding cell on the first day of his tranfer to the centre; he was discovered by fellow detainees at 02:00 on Saturday. He was arrested on December 12, 2014 in Rethymno, Crete, for illegal entry and residence and transferred to Athens two days ago, kept overnight at the foreigners' directorate of Attica on Petrou Rallis Street before being taken to Amygdaleza.

    Police attributed the death to suicide but an autopsy is scheduled for Sunday. Detainees protested over the incident, the second one of a young person in the last few days, following initial information that he killed himself over the length of his detention.

    [04] 'National duty to support new gov't in negotiations,' former ND minister Dendias says in interview

    ANA-MPA - Supporting the new government in its negotiations is a national duty, former minister and New Democracy deputy Nikos Dendias said in an interview to Saturday newspaper "Agora".

    "It is our national duty to support the government in its negotiation efforts, as in the implementation of reforms, if it dares carry them out," Dendias was quoted as saying, adding however that "we ought to recognise that the [previous] government of Antonis Samaras also negotiated, and toughly so."

    Asked to comment on the possibility that the current government might achieve a better result in negotiations, Dendias said, "Let us not hide behind our fingers, we ought to recognise that in that case there will truly be an issue over how (things) were handled - especially the last few months before the fall of the former government - by those who had assumed the specific responsibility of negotiating."

    Dendias said "New Democracy suffered a great strategic defeat," attributing it partly to the party's distancing from its ideological core, social liberalism.


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