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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-03-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>

March 17, 2005


  • [01] Greece supports European Commission's proposal for Fourth Community Support Framework
  • [02] EU General Affairs Council postpones Croatia's EU accession talks
  • [03] FM Molyviatis meets with US ambassador Ries
  • [04] FM Petros Molyviatis to make working visit to Ankara
  • [05] Turkey harshly criticized by US on stance towards Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • [06] Commissioners postpone discussion on 'primary shareholder' law, Greek constitution article
  • [07] PASOK leader addresses party's National Council, says government unaware of country's problems
  • [08] PM briefed on plans to exploit Olympic properties, facilities
  • [09] Public order minister to visit Warsaw on Thursday to attend Council of Europe counterparts' meeting
  • [10] Parliament plenum ratifies in principle bill on National Health System
  • [11] Souflias terms unfair stance of environmental organizations towards him
  • [12] SYN organizes int'l meeting on the European Constitution
  • [13] FYROM premier visits Ecumenical Patriarch in Phanar
  • [14] SAE president addresses letter to Georgian president in wake of murder of Greek community member
  • [15] Gov't tables draft legislation on capital market protection
  • [16] Greek inflation fell to 3.2 pct in February, Eurostat figures
  • [17] Energy consumption charges on actual time in Greece
  • [18] Commission launches legal proceedings against four members
  • [19] EU takes action against 11 members over "Open Skies" breach
  • [20] EU gives extension for talks with gov't on projects
  • [21] Commission asks Greece to respect European legislation on aviation security
  • [22] Intracom, Alcatel and Raytheon in satellite defense communications project
  • [23] Gov't grants Competition Commission wider powers
  • [24] Tourist enterprises federation welcomes gov't measures
  • [25] Journalists to participate in two-hour work stoppage during Thursday's nationwide strike
  • [26] Papathanasiou addresses event on 'Advertisement and Consumer'
  • [27] Stocks drop in across-the-board selling
  • [28] Education Minister Yiannakou represents Athens at inauguration of new Holocaust Museum
  • [29] Parliament president visits Alexandria's New Library
  • [30] Meeting held on 'the combatting of the trafficking of people'
  • [31] Cyprus spokesman says Luxembourg's positions reflect Cyprus'
  • [32] Australian premier expresses interest in Cyprus settlement

  • [01] Greece supports European Commission's proposal for Fourth Community Support Framework

    BRUSSELS 17/3/2005 (ANA/A.Panagopoulos)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis voiced Greece's support of the European Commission proposal that funds made available through the Fourth Community Support Framework (2007-2013) should equal 1.24% of the EU's GDP, during his meeting with European Commission President Jose Barroso here on Wednesday.

    "Greece supports the Commission's proposal. It is a balanced solution since the proposed budget is the minimum that can ensure achievement of the EU's common goals, success of EU enlargement, and can promote European cohesion and competitiveness and effectively address the problems and challenges which arise as a result of the varying levels of development among the 25 EU member-states," Karamanlis said.

    The Greek prime minister emphasized the good level of cooperation between Greece and the European Commission in utilizing the Community Support Framework. Regarding the possibility of funds being withheld from the Third Community Support Framework, Karamanlis noted that "we are addressing issues which arose in the past and we have restructured the public works system."

    Karamanlis and Barroso also discussed the Lisbon Strategy and according to the prime minister, confirmed that "progress in achieving the goals set out by the Lisbon Strategy, both on a European and on a national level, is not satisfactory. Our position is that, from here on, efforts must focus on promoting a common market, increasing employment, and strengthening the European economy's competitiveness, but without diminishing the social aspect, and not at the expense of the environment and sustainable development."

    The Greek premier briefed Barroso on the initiatives his government has taken in order to achieve the Lisbon Strategy goals and the measures that have been adopted so that the Greek economy can be in line with EU requirements. The measures, according to Karamanlis, are based on "fiscal stability, economic development, mild reform and emphasis on improving education."

    The two officials also discussed the revision of the Stability Pact, in light of the upcoming EU Summit which will be held on March 22-23, since EU finance ministers have yet to decide whether they will make the criteria more flexible.

    In reference to Turkey, Karamanlis stressed that Greece supported its neighbor's EU prospects, but added that "it goes without saying that Turkey, as well as all candidate countries, must fulfill all the criteria and the specific requirements set out each time for every stage of their progress. Within this context, Turkey will have to sign the Ankara Protocol for the Extension of the Customs Union, promptly."

    As for the 'primary shareholder' law, which Greece recently passed in an effort to disentangle interests between the media and public sector and for which the EU had voiced some concern, Karamanlis said that he informed Barroso that all relevant government officials are at the Commission's disposal for any further discussion.

    [02] EU General Affairs Council postpones Croatia's EU accession talks

    BRUSSELS 17/3/2005 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Revision of the Stability Pact, the Lisbon Strategy and Croatia's EU accession prospects were the main topics of focus during the EU General Affairs Council held here on Wednesday, ahead of the EU Summit which will be held March 22-23.

    The EU General Affairs Council decided to postpone Croatia's EU accession talks, which were scheduled to begin Thursday, since the country has failed to comply with the International Court's decision to arrest fugitive General Ante Gotovina. Croatia has cooperated with the international court in 625 cases, while only Gotovina's case remains pending.

    Commenting on the issue, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis, who represented Greece at the Council, said that "This is a harsh slap for a country which has respected deadlines and has complied with all other criteria."

    The Greek deputy minister noted that Greece supports Croatia's EU prospects, as well as the prospects of all countries in Southeast Europe, provided they meet all the necessary criteria, especially in terms of preserving international justice. "We don't want any discounts made on accession criteria," Valinakis said.

    Regarding the EU's fiscal prospects, Valinakis emphasized that Greece desires that a political agreement be reached during Luxembourg's EU presidency "but, [we don't want] just any agreement," he said. Valinakis stressed that enlargement must weigh equally on all the previous 15 member-states, saying that cohesion must be strengthened, especially as new members join the Union.

    [03] FM Molyviatis meets with US ambassador Ries

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Foreign minister Petros Molyviatis on Wednesday received US ambassador in Athens Charles Ries.

    According to diplomatic sources, the meeting was to prepare Molyviatis' official visit to the US on March 24.

    [04] FM Petros Molyviatis to make working visit to Ankara

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Diplomatic sources of the foreign ministry confirmed on Wednesday, replying to a question from the press, that a working visit to Ankara by Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis is being planned.

    As is customary, the specific date for the visit will be set through diplomatic channels.

    According to reports, April 12 and 13 are considered the most probable dates for the visit.

    However, the foreign ministry did not confirm information that a visit to Turkey by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is also being planned.

    [05] Turkey harshly criticized by US on stance towards Ecumenical Patriarchate

    WASHINGTON 17/3/2005 (ANA/T.Ellis/CNA)

    The Turkish government was harshly criticized for undermining the activity of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Phanar and for violating the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church, in testimony provided during a hearing of the US Congress' Helsinki Commission on Wednesday.

    Co-President of the Commission, Republican Representative Christopher Smith, criticized Ankara for refusing to recognize the Patriarchate's ecumenical status. Smith, as well as other speakers during the hearing, among them Archbishop of America Dimitrios, Catholic and Jewish religious leaders, described the confiscation of Greek property as 'unacceptable.'

    Rabbi Arthur Schneier and President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, noted that instead of creating problems with the Patriarchate, Turkey should be supporting and promoting its activities, which would enable it to promote an image of a culturally-diverse democracy that respects all religions.

    Speakers at the hearing also pointed out that Turkey's conduct regarding the patriarchate is not compatible with its EU aspirations. They also stated that the timing for discussion of this matter was not random, but rather is meant to apply pressure on Turkey shortly before the EU is to engage in accession talks with Turkey.

    A report of the Law School at Yale was also presented during the hearing, which presented numerous legal arguments which highlight Turkey's violations of the Lausanne Treaty and other international treaties and agreements, which deal with the rights of the Greek Orthodox minority and the operation of the patriarchate.

    [06] Commissioners postpone discussion on 'primary shareholder' law, Greek constitution article

    BRUSSELS 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    A spokeswoman for Commission President José Manuel Barroso on Wednesday confirmed that Commissioners did not discuss the issue of whether a specific paragraph in the Greek constitution referring to press ownership transparency, as well as two related laws aimed at curbing broadcast media owners' involvement with state contracts, is compatible with EU law.

    According to a terse response by spokeswoman Françoise Le Bail during a press briefing here, the Greek government has provided additional information for review by the Commissioners. The result, she added, was for discussion on the issue to be postponed for their next plenum meeting.

    The Karamanlis government has remained adamant that its so-called "primary shareholder" law -- a pre-election promised transformed into a high-profile law passed in late January -- does not contravene Community law and regulations concerning state tenders, contracts and procurements. Additionally, Athens insists the legislation is shielded by the Greek constitution.

    [07] PASOK leader addresses party's National Council, says government unaware of country's problems

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, addressing the party's National Council on Wednesday, said the government was unaware of the country's problems, adding that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is part of the problem and is mainly responsible for the country's downhill course during the 12 months of governance by the New Democracy party.

    Papandreou further criticized the issue of the main shareholder and referred to the rumored decision to be taken by the Election Court by which Achilleas Karamanlis will enter Parliament, speaking of a "judicial coup d'etat" and of a "major political issue concerning Mr. Karamanlis himself personally."

    The PASOK leader commented on the party's organizational structure and on the stance its cadres and members must observe, noting that he expects "positions and attitudes which will live up to what the Greek people want."

    Making his proposal on the post of National Council secretary and the Political Council members, Papandreou said the two basic principles of continuation and renewal are secured and that the current period is a transitional one, indicating that his examining the possibility of reorganizing the body after some time cannot be ruled out.

    ND officials respond to PASOK criticism: "The President of the party which denigrated the Greek economy in the eyes of the European Union with cheap, third-world type tricks, the President of the party which cheated generations of Greeks and destroyed the state, the President of the party which cheated contract employees and pensioners, must - before providing lessons in morality - apologize to all Greeks," State Minister and Government Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on Wednesday in response to main opposition PASOK President George Papandreou.

    Papandreou, addressing his party's National Council earlier on Wednesday evening, accused the ND government of not understanding the country's problems and said that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis himself was part of the problem. Papandreou also said that Karamanlis was responsible for the country's downhill course in the past year, since ND took office.

    Evangelos Meimarakis, Secretary of ND's Central Committee also commented on Papandreou's statements, saying the following: "G. Papandreou's inability to articulate a speech on political programs and to provide solutions to problems which for years PASOK has allowed to accumulate, lead him to throw around accusations and specifically at the Prime Minister. However, citizens know who created the problems and they know who is trying hard to solve them."

    Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, also struck back at Papandreou's criticism. "With the comments he made today, Mr. Papandreou once again confirms that both he and his party, are pathologically stuck in their past and are unable - for reasons everyone knows - to contribute to such a significant effort to upgrade our democracy."

    Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou elected PASOK party's National Council secretary: Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou was elected secretary of the main opposition PASOK party's National Council on Wednesday, garnering the highest percentage ever to be received by a PASOK secretary.

    Xenoyiannakopoulou received 81.4 percent of votes, losing only 18.6 percent of the votes, while the losses of previous secretaries were in the region of 25-35 percent.

    Votes were cast by 280 National Council members in Wednesday's election, out of a total of 288 members comprising the Council. Forty-eight votes were blank and four void.

    Earlier, PASOK leader George Papandreou addressed the National Council which convened for the first time since it was elected to vote for a secretary and the members of the Political Council.

    Papandreou said the citizens are expecting a great deal from PASOK, while he himself expects "positions and attitudes which will live up to what the Greek people want."

    He added that he will place great importance on issues of transparency and placed emphasis on the functioning of the Ethics and Economic Monitoring Committees.

    Papandreou included in his proposal on the Political Council all the coordinators, with the exception of Alekos Papadopoulos who is destined to assume the responsibility of the Election Procedure Committee, for which Papandreou will be making a proposal at the next National Council meeting.

    No changes will be made in the Parliamentary group of the European Parliament since Xenoyiannakopoulou, as Papandreou said, will keep her post in the European Parliament but she will not keep the position of head of the Parliamentary group.

    The announcement of Xenoyiannakopoulou's candidacy for National Council secretary was greeted warmly by its members and no negative comment was made.

    [08] PM briefed on plans to exploit Olympic properties, facilities

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Wednesday morning received Alternate Culture Minister Fani Palli-Petralia for a meeting focusing on efforts to best exploit Olympic facilities and infrastructure.

    Afterwards, Palli-Petralia said a relevant bill will be tabled in Parliament in the near future, whereas the government will also announce a series of international tenders for certain concessions.

    The alternate minister -- Karamanlis retains the culture ministry portfolio -- said the government wants to create job positions, guarantee citizens' free access to facilities and safeguard the environment in any plans for exploiting such infrastructure.

    [09] Public order minister to visit Warsaw on Thursday to attend Council of Europe counterparts' meeting

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis will visit Warsaw on Thursday to attend a meeting of Council of Europe interior and public order ministers on combatting terrorism and organized crime.

    Voulgarakis accepted an invitation by Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis and will participate in the meeting as a main speaker on the issue of "Measures for the effective combatting of terrorism and organized crime."

    It is the first time that a Greek public order minister is invited to a Council of Europe meeting as a main rapporteur.

    [10] Parliament plenum ratifies in principle bill on National Health System

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    A Parliament plenum on Wednesday ratified in principle the health ministry's bill on the National Health system (ESY), while the opposition accused the government and Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis personally, of not keeping its promises and commitments.

    Main opposition PASOK party deputies criticized the health ministry for, in essence, renaming the Regional Health Systems Regional Health Administrations.

    They further said that a qualitative upgrading of their services would not be achieved and, on the contrary, they would entail bureaucratic problems.

    Replying to criticism, Kaklamanis said that "this government did not come to power to stay for a year, but for one, two, three four-year terms. Therefore, be sure that what the program writes for the first four-year term will be implemented in full."

    [11] Souflias terms unfair stance of environmental organizations towards him

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister George Souflias on Wednesday termed as unfair the stance of environmental organizations towards him and their criticism of him in the first year since the New Democracy (ND) party came to power.

    "We want to believe that their stance does not hide any expediency and we will naturally continue to seek cooperation with all the environmental organizations," Souflias said.

    The minister referred to the review he presented last week of the first 12 months, and noted that "every well-intentioned person can seek the review and see that in these 12 months many things happened. Naturally, in this space of time problems cannot be solved which the country faces for five, ten or for many years. As for example the problem of town planning or to the non-incorporation to the national law of the EU directives on the environment. However, steps of progress are at last being made."

    [12] SYN organizes int'l meeting on the European Constitution

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYNASPISMOS) leader Alekos Alavanos on Wednesday accused the ruling New Democracy (ND) party and the main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) because through their position in support of the European Constitution "they give a new, in-depth of time, supra-national dimension to the known phenomenon of Greek bipartisanship."

    He made the statements in a speech at a meeting organized by SYNASPISMOS along with the "European Left" on the European Constitution at the National Research Foundation.

    Alavanos added that the two major parties do not want a referendum "because they know that if a big debate opens, where the citizens will finally judge on the basis of their needs for employment, social justice, freedoms and peace, all we be amazed from the percentage of 'No' despite the compact position of bipartisanship in favor of 'Yes'."

    Specifically on Greece, Alavanos claimed that the European Treaty determines policies which will intensify the decline of the growth rate and increase unemployment and social disorganization.

    Alavanos meets with Germany's PDS chairman: Alekos Alavanos, President of the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party met with Lothar Bisky, Chairman of Germany's Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) on Wednesday at SYN headquarters. The two officials agreed to work towards further strengthening relations between their two parties and to work together in reinforcing the role of the European Left in European developments, during a period, which they characterized as being burdened with social problems and situations that pose a threat to peace.

    In the morning, Bisky laid a wreath at the monument in Kaisariani where thousands of Greek resistance fighters were executed by the Nazis during World War II.

    [13] FYROM premier visits Ecumenical Patriarch in Phanar

    ISTANBUL 17/3/2005 (ANA/A.Kourkoulas)

    Vlado Buckovski, Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), requested the help of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in addressing the problem FYROM has with the Church of Serbia, during his meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos in Phanar on Wednesday. Buckovski said that solving the religious matter is even more important now that FYROM is entering a period of stabilization.

    Buckovski said he was satisfied with his meeting with Vartholomeos.

    On his part, the ecumenical patriarch said that "As Ecumenical Patriarchate we will help solve the half-century old problem," adding that "we've decided to continue joint efforts in this direction."

    "I hope these efforts will be effective and that the Orthodox Church there will normalize relations with our Patriarchate and with the other Orthodox churches," Vartholomeos said.

    Finally, the patriarch also wished Buckovski success as FYROM's new prime minister and that the country will soon become an EU member.

    [14] SAE president addresses letter to Georgian president in wake of murder of Greek community member

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) President Andreas A. Athens has addressed a letter to the President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili on security and human rights issues concerning Greek community members living in Chalka, Georgia, on account of the murder of Greek community member Mihalis Tsamourliev, 60, by armed men who broke into his home on February 23, 2005.

    Athens mentions in his letter that "what is happening is not compatible with the good relations existing between Greek community members and Georgians."

    Despite this, he added, the state of terrorism under which Greeks in Chalka have been living over the past seven years, as a result of the action of gangs which murder them, rob them and trespass their homes and property, continues to exist.

    The SAE president will be visiting Georgia in mid-April and the villages of Chalka in particular, where Greeks live.

    [15] Gov't tables draft legislation on capital market protection

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Greece's Economy and Finance ministry on Wednesday tabled a draft law to parliament aimed to protect the country's capital market from manipulation acts and use of privileged information.

    The draft legislation aims to offer a more effective protection of investors to phenomena of market abuse and to boost the capital market's integrity and transparency.

    It also aims to introduce a new framework of legal penalties against the abuse of privileged information and market manipulation actions.

    The new law envisages penalties ranging from 10,000 to 2,000,000 euros for breaching of market abuse or use of insider information regulations.

    [16] Greek inflation fell to 3.2 pct in February, Eurostat figures

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Greek annual inflation fell to 3.2 percent in February from 4.2 percent in January, Eurostat said on Wednesday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in its monthly report on the consumer price index, said that Eurozone inflation rose to 2.1 percent in February from 1.9 percent in the previous month and up from 1.6 percent in February 2004. The inflation rate in the EU-25 rose to 2.1 percent from 2.0 percent, over the same period respectively.

    Finland (0.0 pct), Denmark (1.0 pct), Sweden (1.2 pct) and Czech Republic (1.4 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates in February, while Latvia (7.0 pct), Estonia (4.6 pct), Poland (3.5 pct) and Hungary (3.4 pct) recorded the highest inflation rates in the EU-25.

    Inflation rose in 15 EU member-states, it fell in eight and was unchanged in Italy in February.

    [17] Energy consumption charges on actual time in Greece

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Greece's Energy Regulatory Authority on Wednesday announced it was launching a pilot program on charging consumption of electricity on actual time this year.

    The pilot program will be tested with private consumers, the Authority's president Mihalis Karamanlis told reporters.

    Public Power Corporation is currently in talks with an Italian company, implementing a similar project in Italy, to replace electricity consumption meters. The cost of the program, to be included in a Third Community Support Framework, is estimated at around 50 euros per meter.

    Under the new system, electricity power suppliers will be able to use a variable charging policy throughout the day. The pilot system will be tested initially with customers showing big energy consumption.

    The country's Energy Regulatory Authority also presented a new code on electricity transactions regulating the operations of a free energy market in Greece. A dialogue on the new code will be completed in the next few days and will be followed by a tender for the construction of private energy production units.

    [18] Commission launches legal proceedings against four members

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Following condemnation of Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom by the Court of Justice in October 2004, the European Commission on Wednesday launched further legal proceedings against these four member states for failure to comply with the judgment of the Court and to communicate national measures for implementing the three directives of the 2001 rail infrastructure package.

    The aim of this legislation is to enable the opening of the market for international rail freight and to have more efficient and reliable cross-border operations. The Commission will continue to strive for a European level playing field in this area, the EU's executive said in a statement.

    Jacques Barrot, vice-president in charge of transport policy, stated: "Railways must be able to compete more effectively with road transport. Equal access to railway infrastructure is essential, as well as transparent allocation of infrastructure charges".

    The Commission has now started the first stage of the infringement procedure under Article 228 of the Treaty by sending a letter of formal notice to the four member states. These will be given the opportunity to submit their observations to the Commission. On the basis of these observations, the Commission may decide to start the second stage of the procedure by sending them a reasoned opinion. During the third stage of this procedure, the Commission may bring its case before the Court of Justice, which may impose financial sanctions, if it considers that a member state has not complied with the judgment it rendered in 2004.

    The 2001 rail infrastructure package requires member states to guarantee access rights to the Trans-European Rail Freight Network for international rail freight services, set charges for the use of infrastructure according to common principles, and define transparent and fair rules and procedures for the allocation of train paths.

    [19] EU takes action against 11 members over "Open Skies" breach

    BRUSSELS 17/3/2005 (ANA/V Demiris)

    The European Union's executive Commission said on Wednesday that it had taken action against 11 member states, including Greece, for breach of European Open Skies law.

    The eleven countries have bilateral air service agreements with the United States containing nationality clauses whereby only national companies in the signatory countries can benefit from the pacts, a flagrant breach of European law, the Commission said in a statement.

    At the same time the Commission is preparing to re-launch negotiations with the United States to conclude an overall agreement, the statement said. The Commission is to send reasoned opinions to Greece, France, Italy and Portugal.

    The member states have violated the exclusive power of the Union to deal with areas of aviation policy with third countries, including slots and computerized booking systems, the statement added.

    Jacques Barrot, vice-president of the Commission in charge of transport policy, is to visit Washington on March 21-22 to discuss re-launching negotiations for a common air space.

    [20] EU gives extension for talks with gov't on projects

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    The European Union has extended the deadline for talks with the government on finding a mutually acceptable line on management and controls for co-financed projects.

    The finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the two sides could now negotiate until the end of April on the projects that fall under the Third Community Support Framework, and other works that the Commission has queried.

    The next meeting with the Commission is scheduled for early April, the statement said.

    [21] Commission asks Greece to respect European legislation on aviation security

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    The European Commission sent today a reasoned opinion - the last step before a formal complaint to the Court of Justice is lodged - to Greece for failure to respect European legislation on aviation security. The aim of this legislation is to improve civil aviation security through reinforced measures including national quality control programs.

    While Greece was required to do so since 19 July 2003, no national quality control program has yet been formally approved.

    The legislation concerned requires that the national authority responsible for aviation security develops and implements a national civil aviation security quality control program. This quality control should monitor the effectiveness of national civil aviation security programs as well as compliance.

    Quality control programs involve regular monitoring activities on airports and air carriers operating in the European Union. National monitoring activities also require the availability of national inspectors to conduct inspections at national airports.

    [22] Intracom, Alcatel and Raytheon in satellite defense communications project

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Intracom, Alcatel and Raytheon have forged an alliance in the satellite defense communications industry.

    Launch of Greece's Hellas Sat has opened the way for major investment in new sector infrastructure in Greece, a statement said on Wednesday.

    "This opportunity is of special benefit for the Greek telecoms industry, allowing a long-term presence in the satellite communications sector," the statement said.

    "As part of this framework, the three companies have agreed to co-operate to meet the needs of the Greek armed forces," it noted.

    [23] Gov't grants Competition Commission wider powers

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    The government on Wednesday released a bill that will grant the country's Competition Commission wider powers.

    Expected to become law within three months, the bill will allow the commission to take direct action in the market, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas told a news conference.

    In line with practice in the European Union, the trade watchdog will also be empowered to issue regulatory rulings under the bill, which is destined for parliament next week. Legally, the commission is to gain statutory status, and staffing levels will be raised to 150 from the current 80, the minister said.

    [24] Tourist enterprises federation welcomes gov't measures

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Federation of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) on Wednesday expressed its satisfaction over the government's initiatives to support the tourism industry.

    In an announcement to the press, SETE stressed that a long-delayed initiative to promote new land use regulations for tourism projects was expected to encourage investments in the sector, and urged it was necessary to support cooperation between the government's tourism and town planning ministries with the private sector.

    SETE also urged for speedier implementation of government plans to support infrastructure projects, marinas, golf courses etc, and a speedy withdrawal of outdated hotels from the market.

    [25] Journalists to participate in two-hour work stoppage during Thursday's nationwide strike

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    The Union of Journalists of Daily Newspapers of Athens and Macedonia-Thrace will hold a two-hour work stoppage during Thursday's nationwide strike.

    The work stoppage will last between 12:30 pm. until 2:30 p.m. and concerns all the journalists working in Greek Radio and Television, the Athens News Agency and the Macedonian News Agency, in the private radio and television stations, in the newspapers as well as in the public and broader public sector.

    In an announcement on Wednesday, the board of the Athens Journalists Union (ESHEA) called on all journalists to participate in the work stoppage, demanding the securing of the right to work, the stopping of dismissals, for contract workers to be given work for an indefinite period of time, for the securing of the self-sufficiency and independence of insurance funds and for there to be a qualitative upgrading of information.

    [26] Papathanasiou addresses event on 'Advertisement and Consumer'

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    "The advertising ethics is an issue of the market and does not constitute an object of laws of the state. Nevertheless, the state is present for the protection of consumers from misleading advertisements," Deputy Development Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Wednesday at an event in Athens entitled "Advertisement and Consumer".

    The event was organized by the General Secretariat for Consumers and the Communications Monitoring Council.

    During the event, subjects raised included European and national policies for the safeguarding of the rights of the consumer, the role of advertising in the shaping of the conduct of the consumer and the history, development and necessity for rules of ethics in Greece.

    [27] Stocks drop in across-the-board selling

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Stocks finished lower across the board, spurred by an early round of selling in banks in a market correction continuing from the previous day, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 3,047.90 points, marking a decline of 1.77%. Turnover was 162.9 million euros.

    The FTSE/ASE-20 index for high capitalization shares ended -2.03% down; the FTSE/ASE-40 for medium cap stocks closed 2.53% lower; and the FTSE/ASE-80 for small cap shares finished 1.16% down.

    Of stocks traded, declines led advances at 233 to 59 with 55 remaining unchanged.

    [28] Education Minister Yiannakou represents Athens at inauguration of new Holocaust Museum

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Education Minister Marietta Yiannakou referred to Greek Parliament's unanimous declaration of Jan. 27 as a day of remembrance for Greek Jews and the heroes of the Holocaust, in a brief address before dozens of heads of states and international dignitaries attending the inauguration of Yad Vashem's new Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem this week.

    She added that education material on the subject of the Holocaust was distributed to schools around the country for the first time this year.

    "Hellenism and the Greek state are actively contributing to the purpose of peace, solidarity and mutual respect between peoples," she noted.

    The new museum was inaugurated on Tuesday in Jerusalem. Yad Vashem is the Israeli state's Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.

    [29] Parliament president visits Alexandria's New Library

    ALEXANDRIA 17/3/2005 (ANA/P. Dimitropoulos)

    Parliament President Anna Benaki-Psarouda visited the New Library here on Wednesday, concluding her stay in Egypt where she participated in Cairo's 1st Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly.

    "It is really a modern miracle," she said after being given a guided tour of the premises, which contain exhibits from ancient to modern times.

    "It helped us to obtain a picture of a modern cultural centre. I hope we can come again with greater leisure, with more time, to be able to help as Greece this great institution and, mainly, to be able to utilize it in the best way," she added.

    Benaki also visited Greece's General Consulate here, which was the first consular authority of the modern Greek state.

    [30] Meeting held on 'the combatting of the trafficking of people'

    Athens, 17/3/2005 (ANA)

    Representatives of the special committee which has been set up by the relevant ministries aimed at the coordination on a political level on work for the implementation of the provisions of the law 3064/2002 which concerns "the combatting of the trafficking of people" had a meeting on Wednesday with 18 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are active on the specific issue.

    On the agenda of the meeting was the detection of the actions and the coordination of the agencies at peak points on the trafficking of people, the sending of data by NGOs to the national data bank, as well as the mechanism for the confrontation of victims of trafficking.

    [31] Cyprus spokesman says Luxembourg's positions reflect Cyprus'

    NICOSIA 17/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said on Wednesday that remarks made on Tuesday by Luxembourg's prime minister, who is presiding over the European Council, Jean Claude Juncker reflected the positions of the Greek Cypriot side and efforts to create the right context for the recommencement of talks to solve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island.

    Juncker had said that efforts should be made to create the circumstances for a Cyprus settlement and that the dialogue should be held between Cypriots and Turks.

    The spokesman said that ''due to the presence of occupation troops, due to the control Turkey has over its local administration in the occupied part of Cyprus, the real interlocutor, the real partner in efforts to find a settlement is Turkey.''

    He added that talks should be held in the context of the UN between the leaders of the two communities, with the involvement of other powers on issues regarding international relations.

    Commenting on information that Turkey would be signing the protocol extending its customs union to the ten new members of the EU, Chrysostomides said the government only knew that the protocol ''has been neither signed nor initialed.''

    The European Commission has repeatedly called on Ankara to sign the protocol the soonest possible, so as to give time for preparations in view on the commencement of Turkey's EU accession negotiations on October 3.

    Referring to the reasons behind the delay in signing the protocol, Chrysostomides said it was obvious Turkey was seeking ways to continue its policy on Cyprus.

    [32] Australian premier expresses interest in Cyprus settlement

    NICOSIA 17/3/2005 (CNA/ANA)

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard has expressed his country's interest in a Cyprus settlement during a meeting in Canberra with Cyprus House of Representatives President

    Demetris Christofias, who is paying an official visit to Australia.

    The Australian premier assured the Cypriot official that Australia would continue contributing to the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

    A House press release issued here on Wednesday said Christofias on Wednesday had meetings in Canberra with Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Justice Minister Chris Ellison, Citizenship Minister Peter McGauran, leader of the opposition Kim Beazley, shadow Foreign Minister Kevin

    Rudd and President of the Australian-Cyprus parliamentary Group George Brandis.

    The Cyprus problem and relations between Australia and Cyprus were at the epicenter of Christofias' meetings.

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