|Sunday, 19 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>October 22, 2004
 EU to report on Greek fiscal, budget data in November
BRUSSELS 22/10/2004 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis, A.Simatos)The European Union's executive Commission is to make recommendations in November on Greece's fiscal problems, and possibly the country's budget for 2005.
The Commission will state if and to what extent the country's fiscal situation since 1997 has been clarified, and whether the new budget safeguards fiscal revitalization within a year.
The deadline next month was confirmed at meetings in the Belgian capital on Wednesday and Thursday of EU and euro zone finance ministers, which included George Alogoskoufis representing Greece.
Alogoskoufis said that the government was at the disposal of EU authorities that will check the country's fiscal situation in past years, in order to clarify nebulous data.
The government, which came to power in March 2004, has welcomed acknowledgment by the Commission that it has made every effort to achieve economic transparency, but the matter should be resolved as Greece's image has been tarnished, according to ministry sources.
Alogoskoufis has said he believes that the country's economic credibility will shortly be restored.
Concerning fiscal 2001, government sources say that the government is willing to retrieve any data needed for the EU enquiry, but feels that a recalculation on the basis of another accounting method would be unreasonable.
In addition, an area of potential friction between Greek and EU authorities is the process of attaining fiscal equilibrium proposed by the government; whether improvements are based on over-optimistic forecasts, and whether tax relief offered next year is seen as counter-productive.
Finally, government sources said that Greece would have no problem in accepting any timescale the EU might set.
In a statement released on Thursday, EU finance ministers said that they had been briefed by the Commission on fiscal notification sent by Greece.
The full text of the statement is as follows:
"The Council conducted a thorough discussion on the revisions of Greek fiscal data. It recalled the concerns expressed by ministers during their informal meeting on 10 and 11 September. The Ecofin council of ministers took note of the Commission's information note on the fiscal notification data of Greece. The Council welcomed the Commission's initiative and looked forward to a detailed report on Greece's deficit and debt data back to 1997 to be presented after examination by the EFC as soon as possible. The Council acknowledged the willingness and efforts of the Greek authorities to work with the Commission to clarify issues and urged them to supply all necessary data to finalize the report before the next meeting of the Ecofin Council. On this basis, it will be possible for the Council and the Commission as well as the Greek Government to draw the necessary consequences each in its domain, to improve the quality of budgetary data as a matter of priority in order to avoid future problems. Revisions of budgetary data, similar to those that have now been detected in the case of Greece, must not occur again in the Community."
Greek gov't is working to restore economy's credibility, FinMin says: The EU's council of economy and finance ministers is expected to express its concern over Greek statistical data and to acknowledge efforts made by the current Greek government to restore fiscal transparency in the Greek economy, Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters in Luxembourg, ahead of an ECOFIN meeting this afternoon, the Greek minister stressed that transparency was a basic precondition to from an effective economic policy and underlined that reducing fiscal deficits and debt was a basic factor in restoring the credibility of Greek economy in the European Union.
 Karamanlis refers to Orthodoxy's increased presence in Europe's collective future
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Thursday stressed that Eastern Orthodoxy -- the largest religious denomination in eastern Europe and Russia -- will now enjoy a more vigorous presence in Europe's common future following the entry of 10 new EU member-states and the expected expansion of the bloc further east.
Karamanlis made the statement in Thessaloniki during the 8th Dialogue/meeting between the Orthodox Churches and the European Peoples Party (EPP-ED) group, which commenced in the northern Greek port city earlier in the morning.
"We politicians cannot overlook the role played by religion, nor can the church overlook the responsibility of politics to lead peoples … we do not ignore the beneficial force that citizens receive from their religion; we do not overlook the importance that ... faith has in achieving major goals towards the progress and prosperity of our society," Karamanlis told delegates at the event, noting that Orthodoxy's heightened presence on the common European edifice is an even greater incentive for increasing efforts at mutual understanding amongst peoples.
"Our faith in democracy, personal freedom, pluralism and social justice runs deep. We respect the right of every citizen to choose the dogma and religion that expresses him. We believe that, regardless of our personal religious beliefs, it is even more important to share the basic and ecumenical values on which Europe today is built," the Greek premier stressed.
Karamanlis also pointed to the significance of wording in the preamble of the draft European constitution, especially the reference to the cultural, religious and humanistic heritage of Europe, "from which universal values, the right of man, freedom, democracy, equality, and the civil state developed," he said, adding: "this heritage is our guide, our course for the future..."
8th Dialogue between the Orthodox Churches, EPP-ED grouping begins in Thessaloniki: The 8th Dialogue/meeting between the Orthodox Churches and the European Peoples Party (EPP-ED) group commenced in Thessaloniki on Thursday, focusing on the theme of "Building Europe Through Reconciliation and Cooperation".
EPP Wilfred Martens greeted delegates during the event's opening in the morning, whereas statements by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, among others, were read out by their respective representatives.
In his message, Vartholomeos noted that although the Patriarchate looks forward to, and is also working hard for the benefits that will arise from a united Europe, "unfortunately, it was not possible to connote the significance of a common Christian heritage in Europe within the treaty for a European constitution."
On his part, Christodoulos - who missed the event due to illness - stressed that the new European edifice must be based on solid values and foundations.
He identified such foundations as primarily linked to what he referred to as the "three pylons" of European civilization, namely, classical Greek literature; Roman and Byzantine law, as well as common Christian heritage. "Without, of course, excluding the evaluation and use of other cultural elements or other ideological trends," he added.
 PMs of Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia cite efforts to overcome past discord
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The prime ministers of Serbia-Montenegro and Croatia on Thursday emphasized both their countries' ongoing efforts to prevail over past discords and dissensions, as both addressed the 8th Dialogue between Orthodoxy and the European People's Party (EPP).
The event is being hosted in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, with Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressing delegates in the morning and EPP president Wilfred Martens opening the session.
Serbia-Montenegro Premier Vojislav Kostunica told participants that there are many religions and dogmas in his country, resulting in international links with other countries.
Kostunica also said that churches must employ their "spiritual light" to overcome past negative experiences -- a reference to the ethnic wars that plagued the former Yugoslavia during most of the 1990s.
Regarding the currently NATO-administered province of Kosovo, the Serbia-Montenegro premier stressed that the region's Serbs are being denied their fundamental rights and the freedom to enjoy their faith. Moreover, he called the situation in Kosovo unacceptable, saying European standards must be implemented.
On his part, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader stressed that he was in the process of preparing an official visit to Belgrade, while he extended an offer for Kostunica to visit Zagreb as part of efforts to normalize relations between the two one-time Yugoslav republics and current neighbors.
Sanader also underlined that Croatia's entry into the European Union will benefit all the countries of the region, while he expressed his confidence that the EU, during an upcoming summit in December, will give his country a specific date for accession talks to begin. He forecast that such a development will come in early 2005.
Finally, he said the significance of a dialogue between religions and the state can overcome divisions of the past.
Kostunica and Sanader meet Karamanlis:
Prime Minister of Serbia-Montenegro Vojislav Kostunica and Croatia's Prime Minister Ivo Sanader agreed that there is a need to meet more frequently in order to promote closer relations between their two countries and to overcome problems of the past. Additionally, during their meeting, which took place within the context of the 8th Dialogue between the Orthodox Churches and the European Peoples' Party (EPP-ED) which opened in Thessaloniki on Thursday, they announced that Sanader will most likely visit Belgrade next month, followed by a visit to Zagreb by Kostunica.
The two premiers agreed that the meetings between them need to become more frequent, noting that the people of both countries are ready to accept these exchanges which at this point have become a necessity.
Kostunica and Sanader also referred to the refugee problem, stressing that while finding a solution is very difficult, efforts must be made nonetheless.
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis also met with the two premiers and discussed Greece's relations with both countries, the situation currently prevailing in the Balkans, the European potential of both countries, and Thessaloniki's candidacy for EXPO 2008. Karamanlis emphasized that he supports efforts to improve Serbian-Croatian relations which deteriorated during the war in Yugoslavia.
Kostunica described the meetings he had in Thessaloniki with his Greek and Croatian counterparts as "very significant". He said that during his meeting with Karamanlis, he discussed issues related to the economic cooperation between the two countries and Greeks' commercial activities in Serbia-Montenegro. He also condemned the hard time FYROM authorities gave Bishop Irineos at the border checkpoint, saying that similar incidents have occurred before in the past.
Sanader, on his part, thanked Greece for its support of Croatia's EU accession.
Finally, Karamanlis also met with Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe Gerhard Busek, with whom he discussed the progress of implementing the pact.
 Washington denies press allegations of effort to purchase 'yes' votes for Annan plan prior to April referendum
Washington 22/10/2004 (ANA/T. Ellis)The US on Wednesday denied recent press allegations that it had contributed financially or actively participated in an effort to purchase 'yes' votes for the Annan plan prior to the April 24 referendum on the plan in Cyprus.
Replying to questions on the accusations during a regular press briefing, US state department spokesman Richard Boucher categorically stated that the US or UN had never acted in such a manner. He conceded that both Washington and the UN, and the international community in general -- which desired adoption of the plan -- had made efforts to boost inter-communal initiatives and project the positive aspects of the Annan plan through their statements, announcements and voter education efforts before the referendum. He also expressed certainty that the appropriate UN services were in a position to present the activities they financed in detail.
"And, you know, as all of us who were interested in seeing a good outcome to the effort the UN had put in and others had put in to try and get an agreement that was to benefit all of the people of Cyprus. We did go out and support it in our speeches, in our statements. And to what extent people spent money on things like voter education, I don't know, but I'm sure everybody can account for it transparently and openly. And the fundamental premise of the question that somehow money was being spread out to bribe people, I just don't accept," Boucher said.
Boucher acknowledged that "Yes, the United Nations, the United States and others made very clear their support for a 'yes' vote in Cyprus", adding "I'll let the UN account for how it spent its money in that regard, in terms of voter education or other activities they may have carried out".
As for Washington, he said that "U.S. funds (were) spent in Cyprus, spent for bicommunal activities, spent to support peace on the island, spent to support rapprochement and cooperation between the two communities in Cyprus".
"This is money that we are quite open about, that, as you know, it's all recorded in Congress, reported to Congress how we spend it. And that's the purpose of these activities," Boucher added, continuing that "what we spent and how we spent it can be accounted for, and I'm sure that material is available".
Asked to comment on the resignation of the so-called 'prime minister' of the self-styled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in the Turkish-occupied northern part of the island republic-- which is recognized only by Turkey -- and on how this could affect efforts to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community, Boucher said: "On the first question of the government, we respect the democratic process in northern Cyprus. We understand that Mr. Talat will stay on as caretaker until a new government is formed or early elections are held. As you know, the efforts that we have been making, we'll continue to make, to work more closely with Turkish Cypriots and to offer them chances and opportunities that they haven't had, is based on our desire to support the effort of the Turkish Cypriot community to be more involved in trade commerce and other aspects of the world. So it's not directed at a particular government. It's directed at the Turkish Cypriots as a community and our desire to try to help them and maintain their interest in reaching an agreement and becoming part of Europe and participating more broadly in the world than they have in the past"
Called on to clarify whether his use of the word "government" with respect to the Turkish Cypriot regime was used "in quotations" or meant recognition of the TRNC, Boucher replied that he was referring to "the government in the Turkish Cypriot community", and that "it doesn't change our recognition policy. We haven't changed recognition policy in any way, whatsoever".
 Deputy FM reiterates government's will for activation of FYROM name negotiations
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis reiterated the governments will for the activation of negotiations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), under the auspices of the UN, on the issue of the neighboring country's name in talks with UN special envoy Matthew Nimetz on Thursday.
According to diplomatic sources, Valinakis stressed Greece's adherence to the need for a substantive dialogue with FYROM's government for a mutually acceptable solution to be found to the name issue, in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council.
 Greek and Romanian FMs ascertain excellent relations between the two countries
BUCHAREST 22/10/2004 (ANA/N. Melissova)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, his Romanian counterpart Mirca Joana and Romanian President Ion Iliescu ascertained the excellent relations existing between Greece and Romania, as well as a complete identity of views between the two countries on the issue of Kosovo and the western Balkans in consecutive meetings held here on Thursday.
The meeting between the two foreign ministers was held in the "Titulescu" hall, named after the Romanian foreign minister who lived in the early 20th century, and who laid the foundations for Greek-Romanian friendship in close cooperation with Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos.
Joana termed relations between the two countries a "strategic partnership relation", a position which meets Greek expectations and called for closer cooperation at bilateral level and in the framework of NATO and the European Union.
Both sides ascertained an identity of views in the western Balkans, with emphasis on the issue of Kosovo.
"The European prospect of Balkan countries provides the basis for a further improvement in bilateral and regional cooperation," Greek diplomats said.
Romania thanked Greece for its support for its European course and sought closer cooperation for the training of public administration members to enable it to meet its new duties as an EU member-state as of January 1, 2007.
 FM receives congratulations from foreign counterparts for Greece's election as non-permanent member of UN Security Council
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis has received letters of congratulations on Greece's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2005-2006 periods from his counterparts of the U.S. Colin Powell, Britain Jack Straw, Russia Sergei Lavrov and Croatia M. Zuzul, which also referred to the country's constructive international role.
Letters of congratulations were also addressed on behalf of their countries by the ambassadors of Egypt and Algeria, the head of the Liaison Office of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the Palestinian Diplomatic Representative.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos also addressed a letter of congratulations, noting that the election of Greece after 52 years "signals the overall elevation of the democratic, diplomatic, cultural and humanitarian level of our country."
 Deputy defense minister orders investigation into contractor ship
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos ordered the General Navy Staff on Thursday to investigate the conditions under which a company was awarded the contract for the transport of heavy equipment to the Salamina naval base since there are substantial indications that the contract, worth ¬ 4.5 million, was awarded directly without a tender to a company which has been receiving naval contracts since 1997 until today.
"Our political will is, and will continue to be, imposing absolute transparency regarding procurements in order to defend public interests," Michaloliakos said.
"The days when organized interests dominated the armed forces are gone never to return," he added.
 Turkish warplanes violate Greek national air space
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Five formations of Turkish warplanes infiltrated the region of the Aegean on Thursday and in 11 cases they violated national air space in the regions of the northern and central Aegean.
In all cases the 12 Turkish warplanes were recognized and intercepted by Greek air force jets, while in three cases the interception process developed into mock dogfights.
Two of the Turkish formations were armed.
 Turkish coast guard vessel violates Greek territorial waters
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)A Turkish coast guard vessel violated Greek territorial waters again at 10.30 a.m. on Thursday and approached the eastern islet of Imia at a distance of 500 meters, press reports said.
The Turkish boat left the area seven minutes later without Greek Harbor Authorities having to intervene.
It is reminded that movements of the Turkish coast guard in the region are being monitored discreetly by Greek navy ships and by the armed forces in general.
According to authoritative sources, the latest events in the region of Imia are being examined and evaluated by relevant National Defense General Staff and defense and foreign ministry services.
 European Parliament's agenda for October 25-28 session
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)A European Parliament session next week (October 25-28) will discuss preparation of a European Council to be held in Brussels, November 4-5, the EU's draft budget plan for 2005 and Turkey's entry in the European Union.
A discussion over a draft budget plan for 2005 is of particular interest to the Euro parliament's agenda, since the body is raising money earmarked for payment credits, money that was drastically cut by a Council of Ministers, covering infrastructural projects. The European Parliament believes that related policies have been proved very successful in 2004 and that set targets must be achieved in full.
The European Parliament will also examine the European Central Bank's annual report for 2003 and the prospect of Turkey's entry in the EU.
The Dutch presidency is expected to report on preparations of an interim evaluation of the Lisbon strategy and approval of a new long-term agenda to promote freedom, security and justice in the European Union.
The Euro parliament will also discuss approval of a new European Commission.
 U.S. examines operation of airport in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus
WASHINGTON 22/10/2004 (ANA/T.Ellis)Within the framework of its announced policies for "restricting the isolation" of the Turkish Cypriot community after its acceptance of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan for a political settlement of the Cyprus issue, the United States is examining measures, which, among others, will concern the operation of an airport in the Turkish-occupied north of the island.
In answer to a relevant question, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated on Thursday:» As we have said, we are examining steps which could help restricting the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. One of the steps we are examining is the travel status and in relation with this, some members of the Transport Security Service were sent to Cyprus to examine the airport in the north."
Asked to clarify what exactly Washington was examining, Boucher answered that for the time being he has nothing to state on this, but he will do so when there are measures to be announced.
Karamanlis to visit Cyprus: The government spokesman on Thursday announced that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will visit the Republic of Cyprus on Nov. 12 and 13, following an invitation by Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
 Interior minister outlines government's work in local administration at conference in Crete
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, inaugurating the conference of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE) in the town of Hersonisos on the island of Crete on Thursday, outlined the government's work in the local administration sector, placing emphasis on the Thiseas development program.
Pavlopoulos said the target of the 'Thiseas' program is the harmonious, balanced and viable development of first stage local administration bodies through coordinated action and financing.
KEDKE President Koukoulopoulos referred to the need for a modern state, saying that the new municipalities and communities' code must be completed soon.
Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou in his address said that he would not yield in his target for achieving decentralization, while Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology leader Nikos Constantopoulos questioned whether the new government would dare make a first step towards implementing regional self-government, something which the previous PASOK governments refused systematically, as he said.
Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni said on her part "we must seek, both local administration and the government, new policies. Alternative solutions exist, modern policies exist, provided that we, the political leadership and local administration, have the political will."
Speaking on behalf of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Mr. Halvatzis analyzed his party's positions on local administration and raised the question whether a local administration conference will function positively and in the interests of working people.
 Parliament VP receives Chinese ambassador, media
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Parliament vice-president George Sourlas on Thursday met with Chinese ambassador to Athens Tang Zhenqi and 12 Chinese reporters from several major Beijing-based newspapers and television networks.
Sourlas referred to the excellent bi-lateral relations between the two countries and to a scholarship-exchange program, while noting his satisfaction with the establishment of a centre for Greek Studies at the University of Beijing some four years ago.
 Gov't to raise Air Force's operating budget by 175 million euros
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek government on Thursday announced it would raise the operating budget of the Greek Air Force's General Staff by 175 million euros, in a move aimed to boost investment to the human factor following the tragic accident with two F-16 aircraft and the death of four pilots last week.
Speaking in parliament, Defense Deputy Minister Ioannis Lambropoulos said that the operating budget of the Greek Air Force's General Staff was cut by 3.5 percent in the previous two years.
"Our aim is to have better training, better maintenance, greater availability of aircraft and better maintenance of our weapon systems," Lambropoulos said.
The Greek minister reassured that F-16 aircraft, "and in particular those based in Volos are with the Air Force for many years and do not present any technical problems".
 Gov't unveils program to boost renewable energy sources
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The Greek government plans to reform a regulatory framework covering Renewable Energy Sources, to improve planning conditions for the installation of such units and to strengthen electricity networks in the country, Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis said on Thursday.
Addressing a seminar held in Athens on "Financing Wind power Parks and Attracting Small- and Medium-sized Investors", organized by the Greek Scientific Union of Wind power Energy with the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (KAPE), Salagoudis stressed that the government "is aiming to create a steadily developing market for renewable energy sources that will boost entrepreneurship, regional development and attract new and foreign investments".
In his speech, the Greek minister noted that renewable energy sources were servicing a series of political aims "of crucial significance to the country", such as environmental protection in the framework of international agreed standards, regional growth and local employment, attract foreign investments.
"Our government has placed renewable energy sources equally alongside electricity, natural gas and liquid fuel in its energy program and plans to implement this political commitment," Salagoudis said.
The minister stressed that immediate action, including an integrated, rationalized energy policy, a policy of interventions and incentives with clear aims and priorities, was needed to achieve this targets.
"We face many problems, but we are fully aware of the problems. We want everyone involve in this business to stand by the government in its ambitious effort," Salagoudis said. He added that enterprises have acquired operating licenses to build wind power parks with a total power of 660 MW. These parks have been constructed yet.
 Unions say 24-hour strike "very successful"
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)A 24-hour pan-hellenic strike on Thursday had a significant success, union leaders said, with the strike felt more in education, hospitals, local authorities and the public sector.
ADEDY, Civil Servants' Union, said that workers' participation in the strike totaled 70 percent and noted that a protest rally held at the centre of Athens attracted biggest crowds. The rally ended outside the National Economy ministry's building in Syntagma square with a delegation of ADEDY's presidency and other public sector's trade unionists handing over a petition with their main demands, which included: wage rises of more than 3.0 percent and an entry salary of 1,100 euros, offering a 176-euro benefit to newcomers in the public sector, doubling of a family benefit and raising tax-exempt levels for workers.
ADEDY will hold a general meeting on Monday, 25 October to discuss its future stance ahead of a new meeting with Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis.
 Gov't to announce new tender for Olympic Airways sale
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The government will issue a new tender for the sale of a majority share of debt-ridden Olympic Airways, part of efforts to privatize the national carrier.
According to reports, a London-based investment bank, Lazard Freres, which specializes in company buy-outs, has been hired as the privatization consultant in the tender. Lazard Freres will work in parallel with the National Bank of Greece, Emporiki Bank and Alpha Bank.
Transport Minister Mihalis Liapis tersely noted on Thursday that the new tender would be unveiled by the end of the year.
 Development minister says lack of productive investment and business environment main cause of low business competitiveness
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas, speaking at an event organized by the Economic and Industrial Research Foundation on enterprise in Greece on Thursday, said the lack of a productive investment and business environment was the main cause of low business competitiveness in the country.
Sioufas indicated that the creation of an institutional and economic environment in which Greek enterprise can flourish, new businesses can be created, those already existing can develop and foreign investments can be attracted is a priority for the government.
The minister also said the government wants to check and reverse the downward trend of competitiveness without further delay.
 Euro barometer on EU's agricultural policy and European consumers
BRUSSELS 22/10/2004 (ANA/A. Simatos)Only 30 per cent of the citizens of the Europe of the "15" (34 per cent in Greece) agree with the view that the European Union's agricultural policy (Common Agricultural Policy) secures that the food they buy is healthy, according to the EU "Euro barometer" poll made public on Thursday by the EU's statistics service, Eurostat.
Particularly, 41 per cent of those questioned in The Netherlands, 37 per cent in Ireland and 34 per cent in Greece view that the CAP secures that the food they buy is healthy. Those who agree to a lesser degree among the "15" are the Swedes (16 per cent of those questioned), the Portuguese (18 per cent) and the Danes (21 per cent).
Regarding the view that the CAP secures that the food they buy is safe for consumption, the Dutch agree the most (58 per cent of those questioned), followed by the Irish and Finns (both 51 per cent). Those who agree to a lesser degree are the Swedes (25 per cent), the Portuguese (26 per cent) and the Greeks (30 per cent). The average of those who agree in the "15" is 39 per cent.
 European Court finds Greece guilty over Peloponnese ports
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The European Court of Justice on Thursday found Greece guilty of breaching European Union legislation on free movement of services in maritime transportation.
The court said that Greece had incorporated ports in the Peloponnese into an EU island area classification, and imposed national crewing requirements on larger cruise ships from EU countries, breaching EU rules.
Although separated from mainland Greece by a man-made canal, the Peloponnese is not an island, and crewing requirements for the cruise ships should fall under the country in which the vessels were flagged, the ruling said.
 Room for growth in Greek entrepreneurship, survey says
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Much room exists for growth in Greek entrepreneurship, and for improvement, according to a survey released on Thursday by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research.
Of Greeks aged between 18 and 64, 6.8% said that in 2003 they were either launching a business, including self-employment, for themselves or their employer; or they were already owners or financial sponsors of a new company that was less than 42 months old.
The survey was conducted for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, coordinated by Babson College in the US and the London Business School.
Under the global survey, Greece ranks 16th among the 31 countries that took part.
 Citigroup organizes "Greek Day" in London
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Citigroup organized "Greek Day" in London on Thursday, giving the opportunity to Greek companies of small and medium capitalization to present themselves to more than 150 foreign institutional investors.
Presentations were made by the National Bank of Greece, OPAP, Titan, Germanos, Hyatt, Intralot, Hellenic Stock Exchanges (EXAE), Maillis and Fourlis. The conclusion emerging from these presentations was that the specific companies are in the process of further growth, reducing operational costs, and developing new strategies, which to a great extent are outward-looking as regards the Balkans and major international markets.
EXAE's management presented the company's financial data and its strategy, both during the general presentation as well as in separate sessions. Foreign institutional investors currently hold more than 20% of EXAE's share capital.
National Bank of Greece confirmed its intention to buy back a 7.5% share from the state, if and when the government decides to do so. NBG also clarified that it is more interested in expanding its investments in Turkey rather than in Russia. The bank's strategic plan regarding its subsidiaries will not be announced before early 2005.
 Stocks up fuelled by positive National Bank market ratings
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Stocks finished higher, with sentiment boosted by favorable market ratings for National Bank of Greece given by international investment houses, traders said.
National closed with gains of 3.64%.
The Athens general share index closed at 2,463.33 points, showing a rise of 1.58 percent. Turnover was 166.6 million euros.
The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended 1.63 percent up; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 2.23 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.80 percent up.
Of stocks traded, advances led declines at 242 to 50 with 62 remaining unchanged.
 Ancient cemetery discovered near Olympia
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Significant antiquities have been dug up in a cemetery which was discovered by the 7th Department of Pre-historic and Classical Antiquities in the area of Ancient Ilia in the Peloponnese.
The cemetery is a very well-preserved prehistoric burial ground comprising 25 oval chamber graves, a roadway and an entrance, with funerary gifts and burial rites remaining intact. The abundant bones and other material found at the site will be able to provide archaeologists with information about ancient Ilia, located near Ancient Olympia.
Each grave contained three to five bodies or even more, which were buried successively, along with funerary gifts such as jars and jewelry. The graves are estimated to date from the later period of the Late Neolithic Age up to the Proto-Helladic Age.
The discovery of the cemetery was accidental and occurred on a plot of land where a temporary theatre was to be built.
A kiln with a huge amount of pottery was also discovered, believed to date from the Hellenistic period.
 All parts of crashed Chinook helicopter retrieved
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The Chinook helicopter which crashed in Northern Greece on September 11 near Mount Athos, claiming the lives of 17 people, among them Alexandria's Patriarch Petros, has been retrieved in its entirety, the Ministries of Defense and Development announced on Thursday.
 Crete joins EURIMED
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Crete on Thursday joined the Union of Euro-Mediterranean Islands (EURIMED) as an equal member following the signing of an agreement in the morning by the General Secretary of the Region, Serapheim Tsokas, and the representatives of Corsica, Sicily, the Balearic Islands and Sardinia.
The aim of EURIMED is the foundation of stable cooperation between the islands of the Mediterranean, the promotion of common interests of its members within the framework of the European Union as well as the development of every type of exchanges between their corresponding communities.
 Greek T.V. to be broadcast on Australian digital network
MELBOURNE 22/10/2004 (ANA/S. Chatzimanolis)A new subscription digital television package which promises to offer Greeks in Australia a choice of programs from four or five Greek channels will soon be available. The digital package will be offered by UBI WORLD TV which hopes to be the successor of TARBS TV, which folded several months ago due to financial problems.
The subscription network will broadcast programs from tens of channels from all over the world, but the marketing manager of UBI was unable to specify which Greek channels would be available. At present, only programs from ANT1 are shown in Australia as well as the NET news bulletin on the state-run SBS channel.
 Distribution of Olympic venue movable equipment begins
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)The procedures for distributing the movable equipment of Olympic venues, worth a total of ¬ 123 million, is already under way. The equipment will be used to cover needs in the public sector, in the field of sports as well as the needs of vulnerable social groups, according to comments made by Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia, Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas and Olympic Properties SA President Christos Hadjiemmanouil during a press conference on Thursday.
 Explosive device goes off outside bank
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)A makeshift explosive device which went off early Thursday morning at the entrance of a Citibank branch in Peristeri, caused serious damage.
The explosive device consisted of two gas canisters and a detonator.
 Hellenic Air Force named beneficiary in former Greek consul's will
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)Former Greek Consul to Ankara Aristotelis Viglas, who died in Paleo Faliro on June 25, 2004, has left real estate and other property to the Hellenic Air Force, totaling ¬ 1 million. The Hellenic Air Force learned of Viglas' bequest on Wednesday, when Panayiotis Koustenis, executor of the will, informed Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos.
According to news sources, Viglas had made donations to the Greek armed forces before, which exceeded 100 million drachmas.
 Serbian Orthodox Church decorates Greek diplomat
BELGRADE 22/10/2004 (ANA/N. Pelpas)The Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church bestowed the decoration of Saint Savva on Drossos Chatzitheodoulou, until recently the press attaché of the Greek Embassy in Belgrade, for his contribution to stronger ties between Serbs and Greeks.
The award is the highest decoration of the Serbian Orthodox Church and was presented by Patriarch Paul of Serbia in an official ceremony attended by Greek Ambassador to Serbia, Michalis Spinelis, politicians and media representatives.
During his speech, the Patriarch commended Chatzitheodoulou on his "significant contribution to relations between two nations of the same religion".
Chatzitheodoulou was the Greek press attaché in Belgrade for twenty years and was very popular with the Serbian media.
 Turkish man convicted for migrant smuggling
Athens 22/10/2004 (ANA)A 25-year old Turkish national who was arrested Wednesday on the island of Samos was sentenced to almost seven years in prison and fined 29,000 euros on Thursday for migrant smuggling.
Vural Yanuz Selim was arrested by the coast guard after smuggling 13 Afghan migrants onto Samos before attempting to flee back to the opposite Turkish coast.
He was ordered to serve the jail time while appealing the sentence.
 Foreign Minister Iacovou says Britain has no objection to Cypriot demands
NICOSIA 22/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Britain understands fully the issues which Cyprus has raised and which need to be sorted out before the European Union decides on whether to begin accession negotiations with Turkey, Cyprus Foreign Minister George Iacovou said here on Thursday.
Speaking after a meeting with British Minister of State for Europe Denis MacShane, Iacovou also said that they discussed various issues, including the situation in the Middle East, Iraq and Iran, but mainly European concerns.
In his remarks, MacShane said Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Iacovou have ''a very constructive relationship'' with all EU partners, something he said would help the Union develop a new future in the Eastern Mediterranean in which everybody will be a winner.
The British official said ''the very constructive relationship President Papadopoulos and the Foreign Minister have with all their partners in Europe will help to move us forward in that direction.''
He said Cyprus looks forward to a very bright future and Turkey to its accession to the EU, something he noted would allow for a new future in the Eastern Mediterranean in which everybody wins.
MacShane referred to the ''long and strong'' friendship between Britain and Cyprus, as a member of the Commonwealth and a country Britain does ''very serious business with.''
''We count on Cyprus as a partner for the UK in building new EU of peace and prosperity and social justice,'' he added.
Speaking to the press, the Cypriot foreign minister said it is generally appreciated that there cannot be a ''real initiative by December 17'' when the EU will decide whether to start membership talks with Ankara.
''Britain has shown full understanding towards our demands and has not found any of them unreasonable,'' he said, adding that London has promised to work in the direction of Turkey.
Iacovou said Britain recognizes the importance of the issues Cyprus has raised but wonders if it would be possible to sort them all out before mid December.
Cyprus demands that Ankara recognizes the Republic of Cyprus, it extends its customs union agreement with the EU to cover Cyprus as well, and it allows the national carrier (Cyprus Airways) to use its air space and Cyprus-flagged ships to dock at its ports.
Responding to questions, he said MacShane did not reject any of these demands and has no objection to seeing them resolved.
''Most of the issues we have raised are obligations Turkey has to meet and are not to be negotiated,'' Iacovou said.
The minister also said that this week Britain maintained a ''very positive approach'' at consultations at the UN Security Council, which is discussing the contents of a resolution on the restructuring of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus.
MacShane on Thursday also met with House President Demetris Christofias and was received by President Papadopoulos at the Presidential Palace.
 Cyprus President Papadopoulos: We want reliable Turkish Cypriot interlocutor
LARNACA 22/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has stated that the Greek Cypriot side would like to have a reliable Turkish Cypriot interlocutor, even if the other side's negotiator is basically Turkey and not the leadership of the Turkish Cypriots.
Invited to comment on Thursday on possible effects from Wednesday's resignation of the so-called government in the island's Turkish-occupied areas Papadopoulos said ''this does not affect us'' but ''because our constant efforts have been the resumption of talks to find a viable
and acceptable settlement, we want to have a reliable interlocutor of the Turkish Cypriot side, even though the other side's interlocutor is basically Turkey and not the Turkish Cypriot leadership.''
 Cyprus president: we are working to prevent illegal flights
NICOSIA 22/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus will work against any move that might be a blow to the Republic's sovereignty and legal status, President Tassos Papadopoulos said here on Thursday, commenting on a visit by US experts to inspect an illegal airport in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus.
''We had been informed about the visit and we also know of Washington's persistent efforts to open up the illegal airports in occupied Cyprus'' to the world, he added.
He said Nicosia had been in touch with the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and he believed Cyprus has a strong case to argue not to allow this illegal move.
''We shall continue our efforts to face this blow to the legality and the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus,'' Papadopoulos added.
The US has indicated that it would work in the direction of establishing direct flights with Cyprus' Turkish occupied areas as Washington's response to a UN call to end the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community.
Commenting on the same issue, Foreign Minister George Iacovou said already a ministry official has protested to a US embassy official the inspection of the illegal airport "Ercan" at Tymbou village.
''Today I shall decide whether a protest will be lodged at a higher level or at the US capital itself,'' he added.