|Thursday, 22 August 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-05-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PM: REFORMS NEEDED FOR NEXT GENERATIONS' SAKEAthens, 2 May 2001 (13:31 UTC+2)
Urgently appealing for efforts to build a better future for Greece, Prime Minister Costas Simitis addressed the ruling PASOK party's parliamentary group today and stressed that better days will emerge only through sacrifices.
Specifically referring to the volatile issue of social security reforms, which has sparked enormous and unprecedented protests, the Premier stressed that the time has come for the government to clearly face its mission and called on all parties and union leaders to submit their completed proposals.
Greece mustn't return to where it came from he stated, adding that 'good-intention' policies are actually anti-social when they fail to correspond to reality.
The government's mission, according to the Premier, is to ensure economic stability and growth, to advance reforms and projects and to achieve social cohesion, in all, to lead Greece into the 21st century, a mission that calls for heightened political responsibility.
Stressing that he understands and empathizes with those who fear the planned reforms, Mr. Simitis stressed that the demographic shift, specifically an aging population, necessitates these measures.
"The reforming of the social security system will be the subject of a substantial political dialogue," he stressed, adding "during this dialogue we are open to receiving all proposals and a combination of measures that will be tabled".
In reference to the proposed measures, the Premier stated that state expenditures for pensions are to be increased to a tune of seven trillion drachmas between 2010-2020, and will subsequently multiply to 40 trillion drachmas during 2020-2030.
The Premier said social insurance systems throughout the European Union are undergoing reforms and Greece has the opportunity to achieve a smoother transition.
He further underlined that the reforms must be based on the principles of social justice, solidarity of generations and security and certainty that every citizen should have for his present and his future in a social state.
We embarked on this four-year term with a focus on Health, Education and Employment, he stated, pointing out that funds allocated for these sectors amounted to 3.5 times greater than the inflation rate.
The Premier stressed the need for fulfilling all restructuring reforms and proceeding to the necessary innovations in order to achieve cohesion with the EU's developed societies, which would only bolster Greece's position with the European Union.
Greece is called on to face a challenge of historic proportions, he stated, adding no one will achieve our targets for us. We have to attain them on our own right and worth.
 IOC'S ROGGE IN ATHENS, TO MEET WITH CITY'S MAYORAthens, 2 May 2001 (12:20 UTC+2)
A delegation of International Olympic Committee (IOC) officials, led by IOC Coordinating Committee chief Jacques Rogge, is presently in Athens to check on the city's progress in preparing for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Mr. Rogge is to have successive meetings with the Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Ministers of Development Nikos Christodoulakis and Transportation Christos Verelis and Undersecretary of Labor Christos Protopapas.
Tomorrow, Mr. Rogge will be received by the Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos, Environment, City Planning and Public Works Costas Laliotis and Public Order Michalis Chrysochoides.
The IOC officals will hold a series of meetings with the Athens Olympics organizers with whom they will review the pace of preparations, especially at the indoor stadiums of Nikaia, Liosia and Galatsi, as well the Olympic Village and press facilities.
During his previous visits to Athens, Mr. Rogge had stressed that the next six months will be crucial in the country's course in preparing for the Games.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH ARRIVES IN N. GREECEThessaloniki, 2 May 2001 (12:49 UTC+2)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos embarked today on an official visit to northern Greece's Bishopries of Xanthi, Serres and Nigrita, which fall under the patriarchate's jurisdiction.
At the Bishopry of Xanthi, the Patriarch will attend events commemorating Saint Theofanis, while at the Bishopries of Serres and Nigrita he will inaugurate a new cathedral.
The visit will last until May 7, when the Patriarch will be returning to Istanbul. He is visiting at the invitation of the Metropolitans Panteleimon and Maximos.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos will not be meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch, due to his scheduled preparations over the Pope's imminent arrival to Athens.
Ties between the Patriarchate and the Church of Greece are presently poor, given disputes over the two bodies' areas of jurisdiction. The Patriarch has spoken harshly recently of Mr. Christodoulos' efforts to gain control over bishoprics that fall under Mr. Vartholomeos because they were under Turkish control when the Church of Greece was granted autocephalous status in 1833.
 MOUNT ATHOS DISAGREES WITH THE JOINT STATEMENT BY ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS AND THE POPEKaries, 2 May 2001 (19:05 UTC+2)
The Holy Community of Mount Athos, in a letter to the archdiocese in Athens, expressed its total disagreement and indignation regarding the joint statement that will be issued by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece and Pope John-Paul B', and called for the reversal of the specific decision.
In the letter the monastic community mentions that it is unthinkable for an Orthodox Bishop and a heretic to issue a joint formal statement and cosign it as well.
It is also mentioned that the content of the joint statement is unacceptable from a theological point of view.
 ROUSOPOULOS: THE PASOK GOVERNMENTS HAVE HUGE RESPONSIBILITIESAthens, 2 May 2001 (18:14 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy press spokesman Thodoros Rousopoulos, commenting on prime minister Kostas Simitis speech that was delivered before the governing socialist party of PASOK parliamentary group, stated that Mr. Simitis confirmed the huge responsibilities the PASOK governments and himself personally have for the current situation in the social security system.
Mr. Rousopoulos stressed that Mr. Simitis tried to persuade the PASOK parliament deputies to back his choices but once again he ignored the Greek society and the insecurity the government has caused with its proposals.
Mr. Rousopoulos stated that the dialogue, the usefulness of which was discovered only today by the prime minister, demands above all honesty and clear-cut positions.
 THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH EXPRESSED DISCONTENTAthens, 2 May 2001 (17:31 UTC+2)
The representatives of the Greek Catholic Church expressed their discontent in a press conference they gave today on the measures imposed to be in effect during the Pope's visit to Greece on May 4-5.
Greek Catholic Church press office representative Nikos Gasparakis stressed that the rejection of their request to be allowed to use the open-air Olympic Stadium for the mass that will be officiated by the Pontiff on Saturday, constitutes a rejection of the most basic human right namely, the right of the people to go to church.
He also stressed that the Holy Seat has realized the sensitivities of the Greek Orthodox Church and for this reason the Vatican's diplomatic delegation has decided that the Pope will not be offered soil at the airport, as it traditionally happens when he visits foreign countries, to avoid any misinterpretation of the gesture.
 THE GREEK AGRICULTURE MINISTER IS ON A VISIT TO SOFIAAthens, 2 May 2001 (16:58 UTC+2)
Greek minister of agriculture Giorgos Anomeritis and undersecretary Evangelos Argiris left for Sofia today for bilateral contacts with Bulgarian agriculture ministry officials and minister Ventislav Varbanov. They will also attend the Agribusiness Forum 2001 on agriculture, the nature and food safety.
In the forum, that will be attended by Bulgarian prime minister Ivan Kostov, Mr. Anomeritis will speak about the challenges faced in the creation of a new joint agricultural policy. Among those attending will be EU agriculture ministers council president Margarita Winberg as well as the agriculture ministers of the 14 countries under EU accession.
For the record, Greece and Bulgaria have developed close and creative relations in the farm sector, while a strong effort is being made by Greece to assist Bulgaria in its EU accession procedure. Also, an effort is being made for the development of trade and investment activities in the neighboring country by Greek companies.
 LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 2 May 2001 (16:41 UTC+2)
Small losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.59% at 3.267,30 points, while the volume of transactions was relatively high at 180.67 million Euro or 61.56 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 115 recorded gains and 195 had losses, while the value of 60 stocks remained stable.
 SHELDON'S CONTACTS IN ATHENSAthens, 2 May 2001 (16:39 UTC+2)
US armed forces chief Henry Sheldon, who is on a formal visit to Greece, met with defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Athens today.
In the meeting that was held in the Pentagon, were discussed the developments in the Balkans, bilateral military relations, the Greek-Turkish relations and the new structure of NATO.
Mr. Sheldon also met with right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis.
According to information, Mr. Sheldon appeared satisfied with the improvement in the Greek-Turkish relations, while Mr. Karamanlis pointed out that there have been no meaningful steps showing a change in Turkey's stance.
 BEGLITIS ON THE INCIDENTS IN FYROMAthens, 2 May 2001 (16:34 UTC+2)
Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis condemned the incidents that took place in the city of Bitola, FYROM.
Mr. Beglitis stated that the attacks on Albanian property in Bitola are strongly condemned, adding that such actions can undermine the climate of coexistence among ethnic groups and work in a way that can destabilize the domestic political normality. Mr. Beglitis also pointed out that every political power in FYROM has to condemn those incidents and at the same time launch an effort aimed at completing the political dialogue and consolidate political and social stability in the country.
 THE POPE'S STATEMENT ON HIS VISIT TO GREECE AND SYRIARome, 2 May 2001 (17:07 UTC+2)
In a statement he made from the Vatican today, Pope John-Paul B' called on the Catholics to pray for his trip to Greece which is very important to him. He also expressed the wish that the outcome of his trip will be positive in order to increase understanding between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches intensifying the progress toward total unity among the Christians.
The Pope also referred to his visit to Syria and expressed the wish that it will strengthen the religious dialogue with the faithful of Islam and promote a fruitful and peaceful coexistence.
 DOUKAKIS: THE SITUATION IN EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN IS CRITICALNew York, 2 May 2001 (17:22 UTC+2)
The Association of Greek-Americans from Mitilini honored former Massachusetts governor and US presidency nominee Michael Doukakis in a special event that was held in Crystal Palace, Astoria, in New York.
In his speech, Mr. Doukakis characterized as critical the situation in eastern Mediterranean, while he underlined that thanks to the Helsinki Agreement, Cyprus will join the European Union. He also added that many changes must be made for Turkey's wish to be fulfilled and become an EU member.
Mr. Doukakis pointed out that one cannot be a Greek and not be involved in public life, stressing that the same goes for the Greek-Americans.
The president of the association announced that a campaign will be launched aimed at founding a library in Greece named after Michael Doukakis.