|Monday, 18 November 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-23
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 Greek prime minister to attend EU summit in BerlinThe prime minister, Kostas Simitis, leaves for Berlin today to take part in the European Union summit on the Agenda 2000 which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday. The government spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, said the summit's decisions would determine Greece's course in the next few years.
In the meantime, the EU foreign ministers' council announced yesterday that the new European Commission should be appointed as soon as possible, in accordance with the procedures of the Amsterdam Treaty.
 Foreign minister urges peaceful solution to Kosovo crisisThe situation in Kosovo was also discussed at the EU foreign ministers' council, as well as at a meeting in Brussels yesterday between the Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, and the NATO secretary general, Javier Solana.
Mr Papandreou said all possible means of finding a peaceful solution to the crisis should be exhausted, adding that the Greek armed forces would not participate in any intervention in the region, unless such an intervention were called for both by the Serbian and Kosovar leadership.
 Cyprus denies reports of American plan to resolve disputeThe Cypriot government has denied reports of an American plan to resolve the Cyprus dispute, but did confirm the existence of certain scenarios, mainly on the part of the US. The newly-appointed government spokesman, Kostas Serezis, said the government did not have a specific plan in its hands.
There are, he said, scenarios on the part of the United States, which aims at the opening of a dialogue on all issues. He added that during a recent visit to Nicosia by the American envoy for Cyprus, Thomas Miller, it had been made clear that the solution sought was the establishment of a bi- zonal, bi-communal federation.
 PASOK to elect new secretary and executive bureauThe focus of interest for PASOK is now the election of a secretary and a new executive bureau, which will take place during next Monday's meeting of the new central committee.
After his meeting with the prime minister yesterday, the outgoing secretary, Kostas Skandalidis, described the congress as a major political event with exemplary democratic procedures. He added that the delegates had voted collectively and on the basis of merit, thereby proving the unity of the party.
The government spokesman said yesterday that the prime minister was satisfied with the outcome of the fifth PASOK congress, adding that there was no question of a government reshuffle.
The opposition parties have been harshly critical of the congress, each from a different point of view, claiming that the ruling party will be defeated in the forthcoming Euro-elections.
 New Democracy leader presents his party's economic policyPresenting his party' positions over the changes that should be made to the country's economic policy, the New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, accused the government of being wasteful and counter- productive. He said private investment and private initiative were essential for economic growth.
Mr Karamanlis was speaking at a special event organized by the Athens Trade and Industrial Chamber. He stressed his party, when returned to power, would streamline public finances, also criticizing the waste of trillions of drachmas for Olympic Airways, urban transports, the Greek railways, ailing enterprises and agricultural cooperatives. He said furthermore that state monopolies in energy, transports and telecommunications would be abolished.
 Meeting of parliamentary inquiry committee into Ocalan affairThe parliamentary committee of inquiry into the Ocalan affair was established as an official body yesterday. PASOK deputy Christos Rokofyllos was elected as its president, with Iannis Kalamakidis as vice-president and Nasos Alevras as secretary. The committee meets today to draw up a list of witnesses who will be called to testify.
 Banks refuse to implement 35-hour working weekRepresentatives of Greek banks have told the association of banking unions that they will refuse to implement the 35-hour working week as requested.