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Athens News Agency Bulletin, February 16, 1995


(Apo to Ellnviko Grafeio Tupou kai Plnroforiwv, Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca)


CONTENTS

  • [1] PASOK to support Stephanopoulos for president

  • [2] Albanian warns of insurrection in FYROM

  • [3] Gathering called to support Greek character of Macedonia

  • [4] Arsenis in Romania to sign defence agreement

  • [5] Coalition rejects Stephanopoulos candidacy

  • [6] France seeks meeting on Greek veto of Turkey pact

  • [7] Venizelos

  • [8] French EU presidency welcomes Albania's decision to release ethnic Greek four

  • [9] Santer outlines Commission's programme


  • [1] PASOK to support Stephanopoulos for president

    Athens, 16/02/1995 (ANA):

    The ruling PASOK party yesterday named Kostis Stephanopoulos as its candidate for President of the Republic following the unanimous decision of its Executive Bureau chaired by Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.

    Former Democratic Renewal party leader Stephanopoulos was proposed as candidate for president on Sunday by the opposition Political Spring party, which has 11 seats in Parliament.

    Yesterday's decision by the ruling PASOK party, which has 170 seats in the 300-member House, was announced by Premier Andreas Papandreou. The term of the current president, Constantine Karamanlis, ends on May 4. If no candidate for the post secures 180 votes, national elections must be held. The main opposition New Democracy party has proposed former Parliament president Athanasios Tsaldaris as its candidate for president.

    On Monday, Mr. Stephanopoulos told reporters that he accepted his candidacy for the presidency by Political Spring but called on other parties to support him before the actual election process got under way. "Otherwise, my proposed candidacy will be unsuccessful and I will be unable to accept it," Mr. Stephanopoulos said.

    In a written statement issued following his nomination by PASOK, Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed satisfaction over being proposed by a party whose political positions had in the past differed from his. This satisfaction, he said, would have been greater if New Democracy and the Communist Party of Greece had also backed his candidacy.

    Announcing the unanimous decision of the Executive Bureau, Mr. Papandreou said that the present Parliament "can and must" elect a president. He described Mr. Stephanopoulos as a man of high moral standards and prestige who was well able to represent Greece internationally.

    "The candidacy of Kostis Stephanopoulos," he continued, "would ensure the efficient operation of the institutions and the Constitution and responds to the people's verdict in October 1993 (national elections) for four years of steady government rule."

    Mr. Papandreou said it was also a "positive reply" to the demand that "the present period of economic and political stability should not be upset". The premier stressed that the ruling party had within its ranks "worthy cadres" who had contributed much to the nation, democracy and Greek society.

    "But we believe that it is historically and politically necessary today to propose a candidate for president of the republic who transcends party boundaries and secures the broadest possible parliamentary consensus and popular acceptance," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Kostis Stephanopoulos was born in Patras on August 15, 1926. He studied law at Athens University. He speaks English and French and has two sons and a daughter. He joined ND in 1974 and made two unsuccessful bids to become its leader in December 1981 and September 1984. He quit ND in 1985 and on September 6 founded the Democratic Renewal (DHANA) party with nine deputies who also quit ND.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos has served as Minister to the Prime Minister's Office, Social Services Minister, Interior Minister and Commerce Under-Secretary in ND governments. He has been elected to Parliament seven times, the first time in 1964 with ERE and the last time in 1989 with DH.ANA.

    [2] Albanian warns of insurrection in FYROM

    Skopje, 16/02/1995 (Reuter/ANA):

    An ethnic Albanian academic leader in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) warned President Kiro Gligorov yesterday he would face armed insurrection if he tried to prevent a new Albanian university from opening.

    [3] Gathering called to support Greek character of Macedonia

    Athens, 16/02/1995 (ANA):

    Two years after the imposing rally held in Thessaloniki in support of the Greek character of Macedonia, the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Panteleimon yesterday called on the people of the city to attend a holy gathering at Saint Dimitrios Cathedral at 5 p. m. yesterday. An announcement by the Holy Metropolis of Thessaloniki said the gathering would take place in support of "major national issues and the Greek character of Macedonia."

    [4] Arsenis in Romania to sign defence agreement

    Athens, 16/02/1995 (ANA):

    National Defence Minister Gerasimos Arsenis leaves for Bucharest, Romania today on a three-day official visit. During his visit, Mr. Arsenis will meet with Romanian President Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Affairs Minister Theodor Melescanou and his Romanian counterpart Georgi Tiga.

    Mr. Arsenis is also scheduled to meet with Romanian Patriarch Theoktistos and Archbishop of Constanta Lousian Tametanoul as well as representatives of the Greek community. He will also visit military installations and factories accompanied by military officials, ministry experts and representatives of Greek defence industries.

    A defence co-operation agreement between Greece and Romania is expected to be signed during the meeting between Mr. Arsenis and Mr. Tiga, which aims at the further strengthening of relations between the two countries.

    [5] Coalition rejects Stephanopoulos candidacy

    Athens, 16/02/1995 (ANA):

    Coalition of the Left and Progress party leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday expressed his total opposition to PASOK's proposal of Kostis Stephanopoulos for President of the Republic. Mr. Constantopoulos said the decision was a "crucial political choice of a conservative nature", underlining that it represented a settlement of matters other than the election of a President, which the country sorely needs. He accused the leadership of PASOK of not daring to undertake the required political initiatives despite having the ability to do so.

    [6] France seeks meeting on Greek veto of Turkey pact

    Brussels, 16/02/1995 (ANA/Reuter):

    France wants European Union foreign ministers to hold a special meeting after Greece vetoed a customs union linking the EU and Turkey, the Belgian Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The move is seen as an attempt to harmonise French and German positions on the issue of the Brussels agreement and the Greek request for amendments after French European Affairs Minister Alain Lamassoure addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg and a fruitless meeting of permanent representatives (COREPER) in Brussels.

    Replying to a questioner on whether "there is a contradiction between Mr. Lamassoure's views and those expressed at COREPER", French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Catrine Collona said: "It is not certain that what Mr. Lamassoure said was reported correctly or what was supported by the German side in Brussels. We must not interpret the French position as 'so open' or the German one as 'so rigid'. Mr. Lamassoure confirmed the Council of General Affairs decision formula taken by the '15' in Brussels on February 6. As part of this decision the '15' are examining how we will be able to resolve the problem created for us by the Greek position with certain settlements."

    However, she mentioned that there was always the hope of EU-Turkey Association Council convening on March 6 in anticipation of some progress being achieved by then in handling the problem.

    Commenting on Tuesday's developments, she said: "The general feeling is that it will be difficult to amend the agreement reached in Brussels on February 6. Some amendments might take place but the issue must certainly be discussed by the '15' again at permanent representatives level and maybe as of to morrow when the COREPER will convene."

    [7] Venizelos

    Athens, 16/02/1995 (ANA):

    Meanwhile, Press and Media Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday expressed reserved optimism that claims made by the Greek government concerning the customs union between the EU and Turkey and setting a date for a start to negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the EU could be satisfied.

    Replying to questioners, Mr. Venizelos said these issues could not be handled easily at permanent representatives level and referred to the letter Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou addressed to EU member-state leaders. "We cannot back down on our positions," he said.

    Mr. Venizelos said that in no other EU country were reports so pessimistic and aggressive as those appearing in Greek newspapers on the country's position on this issue. In parallel, he expressed regret over the "theoretical version" promoted by certain people that the government was awaiting the outcome of the presidential election to succumb on the issue of customs union and the issue of Cyprus.

    [8] French EU presidency welcomes Albania's decision to release ethnic Greek four

    Brussels, 16/02/1995 (ANA - F. Stangos):

    The French presidency of the EU Council of Ministers has expressed satisfaction over the recent release of the four ethnic Greek members of the Omonia party in Albania, convicted on charges of espionage and firearms possession last September.

    The French presidency welcomed the release, in light of the Council of Ministers statement dated November 28, 1994, expressing confidence that leniency towards the four would contribute to an improvement of Greek Albanian relations. "The European Union hopes that the speedy application of the new penal code will constitute a new step in Albania's efforts to fully comply with democratic rules applying in Europe," it said.

    The European Parliament, meanwhile, has announced the convening of the Third EU-Albania Inter-parliamentary Convention here on February 23 and 24. Topics of discussion will include issues of democratisation and minorities, the application of EU programmes such as PHARE, and the ongoing war in the former Yugoslavia.

    [9] Santer outlines Commission's programme

    Strasbourg, 16/02/1995 (ANA - M. Savva):

    European Commission President Jacques Santer yesterday outlined four factors which define the Commission's work programme for 1995 at a European Parliament plenary session. He ranked the "strategic preliminary association of central and eastern European countries" among foreign policy priorities but did not refer to Cyprus.

    However, the Commission's text on targets set for 1995 said "work should continue on the prospect of the accession of Malta and Cyprus to the European Union." In parallel, Mr. Santer placed special importance on the completion of customs union between the EU and Turkey. Priorities, he said, should have specific targets while an appropriate balance should be found between the claims of the European Parliament, the Council and political options.

    He said the four factors were the EU elaborating new legislative bills, completing projects decided, developing novel approaches which must give an impetus to the Commission's future work and implementing EU policies. Mr. Santer said the primary sector requiring legislative initiatives was that of technological development and the society of information.

    Referring to prolonged discussions expected during the year, Mr. Santer pointed to "the improvement of industrial competitiveness" and announced the creation of an advisory group on competitiveness.

    On the question of employment, he said he intended to establish "a system of multilateral supervision of employment systems" in member-states corresponding to that applying to economic issues. Mr. Santer recalled the right of initiative recognised by the Treaty for the Commission in countering drug trafficking and organised crime but did not announce any specific measures.

    The new Commission's positions apparently failed to satisfy Eurodeputies. Representatives of European Parliament political groupings taking the floor underlined inadequate or selective reference to important social issues (inequality and racism), employment, public health, the environment, the lack of initiatives on foreign policy issues and the lack of transparency in Community activities.

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