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A.N.A. Bulletin, 20/10/95

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 720), October 20, 1995

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] University crisis defused after premier meets with deans

  • [2] Teachers

  • [3] First shipment for FYROM docks in Thessaloniki, bilateral contacts in Athens continue

  • [4] Simitis calls for social policies to run in tandem with growth

  • [5] Pavlov, Romeos confident oil pipeline agreement will be finalized soon

  • [6] Athanassakis declines comment on president's statements

  • [7] Athanassakis says Gov't will complete term

  • [8] Farmers persist in mobilizations despite Gov't attempts to satisfy demands

  • [9] Drama demands troubled Kozloduy plant stay shut

  • [10] Super-telescope gets new home atop Crete's Mt. Psiloritis

  • [11] OTE workers opposed to share float, call for modernization

  • [12] Commission challenges Greece on implementing insurance rules


  • [1] University crisis defused after premier meets with deans

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou defused a simmering crisis in the country's higher education system yesterday after promising university deans that outstanding debts would be immediately covered.

    University deans said after the meeting they were satisfied with their 90-minute consultation with Mr. Papandreou.

    The premier promised that the universities' current operational costs would be met through immediate grants, while additional credits would be secured through the Second Delors Package.

    Six of the country's universities shut their doors on Monday to protest lack of funds.

    Mr. Papandreou also promised that 1,000 new academic posts would be created over the next two years, and that staff would receive increases in their salaries, which he described as unacceptably low.

    A new meeting has been scheduled for December 10, to discuss further details.

    New Democracy party spokesman Vassilis Manginas said later that the prime minister had "confirmed his well known diversionary tactics, postponing the tackling of problems," and that in order for the deans to meet the prime minister the universities had to first shut down.

    "Mr. Papandreou unfortunately sends this message also to working people, who must first mobilize and go on strike in order to hope in having their problems solved," he added.

    He called for five per cent of GDP to be spent on education annually, adding that his party would implement such a measure when it came to power.

    A statement by the Left Wing Youth student organization said that the apparent temporary solution for the reopening of universities, following the premier's meeting with the deans, did not constitute a serious and responsible intervention by the government, and that the "momentary" economic breath given to universities would not provide long-term solutions to new developments in the education sector.

    [2] Teachers

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Meanwhile, primary school teachers yesterday announced a series of new mobilizations, following a meeting with Education Undersecretary Philippos Petsalnikos, which they described as fruitless.

    The teachers staged a symbolic occupation of the ministry at noon, and announced that they would proceed to similar occupations of the national economy and finance ministries.

    [3] First shipment for FYROM docks in Thessaloniki, bilateral contacts in Athens continue

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    The first cargo destined for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia arrived in the northern port city of Thessaloniki yesterday, five days after trade sanctions on the neighboring republic were lifted.

    The Cypriot tanker 'Atlantis 1' is carrying zinc to the FYROM city of Tito-Veles.

    A second tanker conveying marble is expected to dock at the northern Greek port in the following days.

    The number of visitors from FYROM crossing the border into Greece continued to climb steadily with customs officials at the Evzones checkpoint saying they had issued entry visas to 150 people, most of them businessmen, yesterday.

    The number is expected to increase significantly as the weekend approaches.

    In Athens, meanwhile, government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said Greece would not be drawn into action regarding the withdrawal of the European Commission's case at the Court of Justice against Greece's imposition of trade sanctions on FYROM.

    "It is a Commission matter," Mr. Athanassakis said, reiterating statements last month by Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias that the Commission was obliged to "put an end to what it had started". "Greece cannot remained stigmatized as a violator," Mr. Papoulias had said then.

    On Monday, external relations commissioner Hans van den Broek told a Greek Eurodeputy that the Commission would drop its case as soon as Athens sent the Commission a letter officially announcing an end to the sanctions.

    Greece imposed the retorsion measures against FYROM 19 months ago to force it change its name, remove the ancient Greek symbol of the Vergina Star from its flag and delete expansionist language from its constitution.

    Referring to the on-going consultations between Greece and FYROM in Athens on outstanding technical details of the recently signed interim accord between the two neighbors, Mr. Athanassakis said "they are being conducted in a positive atmosphere."

    Branding the results of the talks so far "fully successful", he said the goals set by the Greek side had been fully met.

    [4] Simitis calls for social policies to run in tandem with growth

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Speaking at an event on social policy and development, organized by the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce at the Intercontinental Hotel yesterday, former trade and industry minister Costas Simitis stressed the need for a comprehensive and effective "web of social security" which would not be liable to cancellation for the achievement of high rates of economic growth.

    He said social protection was necessary in order to secure a society with greater cohesion and solidarity, and that the dilemma posed between stabilization and increases in low pensions was a false one.

    The speech by the former minister, a leading dissident inside the ruling party, was attended by newly-elected PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Skandalidis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, 45 ruling party deputies, other prominent part y and trade union officials, businessmen and technocrats.

    In his speech, Mr. Simitis was careful to avoid sharpening recent tension inside the party, by referring to the implementation of socialist ideas, and tried to bridge opposing party views on economic policy.

    [5] Pavlov, Romeos confident oil pipeline agreement will be finalized soon

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Bulgarian Defense Minister Dimitar Pavlov met with Alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos yesterday to discuss issues related to the peace process in the former Yugoslavia and security in the Balkans.

    The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline was also discussed, with both sides confident a final agreement will be signed shortly.

    Both Mr. Romeos and Mr. Pavlov reiterated that construction of the Egnatia Highway would strengthen communication between the Balkans and Europe, a prospect that interests both nations.

    The Greek alternate minister also assured Mr. Pavlov that Greece will continue to support Bulgaria's reinforcement through European Union programmes such as PHARE, INTERREG and others.

    [6] Athanassakis declines comment on president's statements

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis yesterday declined to comment on President Kostis Stephanopoulos' statements on Wednesday that he hoped for a compromise on the FYROM name issue.

    "The government does not comment on the president's statements," Mr. Athanassakis told reporters.

    President Stephanopoulos said that "discussions and negotiations for the name presuppose concessions on the part of the so-called 'Macedonia,' because otherwise there would be no room for discussion." He was speaking to reporters after arriving in New York p.m. Wednesday to address the United Nations General Assembly during ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of its founding.

    Asked whether the government agreed with Mr. Stephanopoulos' statements, Mr. Athanassakis said the government's positions were known. "(And) they are not just the government's positions," he added, "but the positions of all Greece."

    Greece and FYROM will begin discussions on the name issue at the end of the month in New York.

    [7] Athanassakis says Gov't will complete term

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said yesterday the government was determined to complete its work and confident it would receive another mandate at the completion of its term. "The government has been elected by an overwhelming majority vote for a four-year mandate," Mr. Athanassakis said. "It is in the middle of its mandate and has two more creative years (to fulfill its task before elections.)"

    "The government intends to seek, at the end of its four-year term, another (electoral) victory," he added.

    [8] Farmers persist in mobilizations despite Gov't attempts to satisfy demands

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Farmers will start widespread protests on November 6 over outstanding taxation and pension issues, the procurement of cheap fuel and the settlement of debts, despite the fact the three largest agricultural organizations supported different positions at a meeting yesterday on the question of farmers' grievances.

    The Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) and the General Confederation of Agricultural Associations (GESASE) decided on 48-hour mobilizations in all cities throughout the country.

    The move drew the wrath of Agriculture Minister Theodoros Stathis, who termed mobilizations "unjusti-fied", adding that he could not understand the operation of agricultural organizations. He said dialogue was underway and many of the farmers' claims had been satisfied.

    Gatherings and rallies will be held in central squares in cities on November 6, while on the next day farmers will block national motorways as well as regional and rural roads.

    The SYDASE organization decided that farmers' protests will start on November 6 and will continue indefinitely. The farmers will decide on every occasion how long their action will last.

    Mr. Stathis conceded that farmers and farming was faced with problems which the government was trying to resolve every day.

    Referring to the question of cheap fuel and the settlement announced, Mr. Stathis said he was aware it did not satisfy farmers in many cases, but said this was the country's capability at present.

    Agriculture Undersecretary Alekos Damianidis said mobilizations were contrary to a spirit of cooperation shown by the government in resolving their claims.

    [9] Drama demands troubled Kozloduy plant stay shut

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Local authorities in the northern Greek city of Drama yesterday asked for the immediate closure of the troubled Kozloduy nuclear plant in neighboring Bulgaria.

    Drama's Prefectural council unanimously requested the Soviet-era power plant - located a short distance from Greece's border - stay shut, saying a nuclear accident would have unforeseen consequences for the region.

    Western experts have voiced concern about the strength of the metal reactor which was built by Soviet engineers and came into operation in 1974. French experts say radioactive leaks in case of an accident at the plan would be of the same magnitude as t he disaster at Chernobyl in 1986.

    Bulgaria has come under increasing pressure over the past few months from the European Union to keep the plant shut down. The plant has been off-line for the past seven months for maintenance purposes, but Bulgarian officials maintain it is completely safe.

    The Drama vote will be sent to the Bulgarian and Greek governments, the Europarliament, the International Atomic Energy Commission, the European Union and the United Nations.

    Environment Undersecretary Elisabeth Papazoi, meanwhile, announced that 16 radiation measuring stations have been installed along the Greek-Bulgarian border.

    Ms Papazoi will also have a meeting next week with Bulgaria's environment minister on the issue.

    [10] Super-telescope gets new home atop Crete's Mt. Psiloritis

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Greece's most powerful telescope, housed in a new observatory at Skinakas on Crete's Mt. Psiloritis, will be inaugurated tomorrow.

    The observatory is a joint research project conducted by Crete University, the Technological Research Foundation, and the Max Planck Space Physics Institute of Germany. Located at the pinnacle of Skinakas, at an altitude of 1,750 meters, it comprises state-of-the-art computer-operated research equipment for high-quality astronomy observation.

    A high-definition spectrograph is also under construction for analysis of astral and galactic spectrums.

    An observatory spokesman said that, with a smaller telescope in operation on Skinakas since 1986, "important astronomy observations" have been made, including the discovery of new nebulas resulting from astral explosions of supernovas in the galaxy, the discovery of new planetary nebula, and better international observation of Comet Austin.

    The observatory will be inaugurated by Germany's deputy minister of research, technology and education and Nikos Christodoulakis, Greece's Secretary-General for research and technology.

    [11] OTE workers opposed to share float, call for modernization

    Athens, 20/10/1995 (ANA):

    Workers' representatives at the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) yesterday said they were opposed to the prospect of the organization issuing shares and that they were more concerned with the delay in the operational plan for OTE's modernization.

    Federation of OTE Employees (OME-OTE) President Mr. G. Maniatis termed a press conference held yesterday "a final warning" to OTE's administration and the government. "OTE has also been chosen as a sector for penalizing political life," he said, calling for initiatives from the government and parties to "free OTE from political and judicial feuds."

    Trade unionists propose the immediate completion of the operational plan anticipating investments amounting to 1,200 billion drachmas over the next five years. Other claims put forward are the immediate acquisition of OTE's operational license to enable it to have access to new technologies and mobile telecommunications without further delay and activation in the Balkans. OTE's profits amounted to 176 billion drachmas in 1994.

    [12] Commission challenges Greece on implementing insurance rules

    Brussels, 20/10/1995 (ANA - P. Pantelis/Reuter):

    The European Commission yesterday announced it was taking Greece to the Court of Justice for its failure to notify measures transposing into national law four directives in the insurance field.

    Those directives are: Directive 92/49/EEC, the third "non-life insurance" directive; Directive 92/96/EEC, the third "life assurance" directive; Directive 91/674/EEc on the annual accounts of insurance companies; and Directive 91/371/EEC on implementation of the Agreement between the EC and Switzerland concerning direct insurance other than life assurance.

    The first two directives, which liberalize the provision of life and non-life insurance services on the basis of a single license, were to have been transposed by January 1, 1994.

    Because they are vital to the establishment and proper functioning of the single market, the Commission attaches the utmost importance to their being correctly transposed on time by all member-states. As at September 30, 1995 only two member-state (Greece and Spain) had still not incorporated the third life and non-life insurance directives into their national law. The Commission had already decided to proceed against Spain in the Court of Justice for this omission.

    The deadline for implementing the directive on the EC-Switzerland agreement was July 4, 1993, the date on which the agreement came into force. The Commission had already decided to take Ireland, Luxembourg and Spain to the Court of Justice over their failure to transpose the directive.

    Lastly, the directive on the annual accounts of insurance companies was to have been transposed by January 1, 1994. To date, the Commission has already decided to institute proceedings against Belgium, Ireland and Italy for failure to transpose it into national law. In July, it decided to send a reasoned opinion to Spain.

    In the words of commissioner for the internal market and financial services, Mario Monti: "These decisions show how determined the Commission is to ensure that Community law is properly applied; not only must the ground rules for the single market be la id down but they must also be implemented. With this end in view, the Commission will take vigorous action against any member-state which is slow in putting single market legislation into effect."

    End of English language section.

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