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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 02-01-25
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 NEWS IN ENGLISHERA.5 THE VOICE OF GREECE
25/1/2002 2:56:00 μμ
- European Commision report on unemployment in Greece
- Greek FM briefs parliament behind closed doors
- Developments in the social security issue
- Greek farmers plan protest actions
- Attack against a Jordanian Embassy car
 European Commision report on unemployment in GreeceAccording to a research of the European Commission, the unemployment rate in Greece has reached 11.1% among the economically active population.
However, 35.6% of non employed the highest percentage from other EU member states do not wish to work. The European Commission report on Greece based on data of the year 2000 also mentions that unemployment in men stands at 7.3% and in women at 16.7%.
With reference to the retirement age, Greece shows an average age of 56 years for women and 61 for men, while the corresponding average age in the EU is 59 and 60 years respectively.
Meanwhile, a meeting is held in the Finance Ministry today, on the issue of associating EU funds with employment, aiming at putting into effect immediate programs to combat unemployment.
In addition, Transport Minister Christos Verelis announced for the next three years 2 trillion drachmas worth of investments and the creation of 20.000 new jobs in the sector of telecommunications, while the cabinet unanimously approved the Ministry' s policy followed in the sectors of telecommunications and the Greek Post Office.
Mr. Verelis stated that for the first time after many years, the Greek Post Office showed profits and then announced that 850 new employees will be hired.
 Greek FM briefs parliament behind closed doorsYesterday, Foreign Minister George Papandreou briefed the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee at a meeting behind closed doors on the latest developments in the issues of national importance and the results of the recent visit of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis to the United States.
Mr. Papandreou announced the setting up of a Foreign Policy Council within 2002 and clarified that contacts with Ankara are at "reconnaissance level" and made it clear that if Turkey goes ahead with a possible recourse to the international court at the Hague, Greece will not accept that issues pertaining to security such as the demilitarization of the islands be brought up.
Meanwhile, New Democracy party deputy Dora Bakogianni, after Mr. Papandreous briefing said she is in favour of a Greek Turkish rapprochement on condition that the international laws are respected.
 Developments in the social security issueThe state radio NET 105.8 will dedicate a 2 hour program today on the issue of ESY the National Health System and the relative reforms. The minister of Health, various representatives from political parties and other bodies, university doctors and hospital directors will speak at the program.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry and university doctors are making efforts to ease the confrontation between them on ESY.
Although university doctors have signed a statement for their exclusion from clinical work, they went ahead with emergency operations in public hospitals.
The Minister of Health has requested the administrations of hospitals to be lenient until the recourse of university doctors to the State Council is discussed.
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis pointed out that the reforms in ESY meet reactions by those who loose their privileges and stressed that the parallel work of university doctors in the public and private sectors will not be accepted.
In a related development, internal tension within the ruling PASOK party was sparked by a text submitted to the Greek parliament by 45 PASOK deputies who are asking for a dialogue to start immediately on the social security issue.
Referring to the issue, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis said that emphasis should be given to the governments work, while the reply of the parliamentary group was negative as well.
PASOK secretary Kostas Laliotis pointed out that the ruling partys policy is clear on the issue, as this policy was ratified at the partys 6th congress.
Labor Minister Dimitris Reppas stressed that the social security is not an internal party issue and it should not be turned into a battlefield for winners and losers. A viable social security system must be created, he said.
 Greek farmers plan protest actionsA meeting between Agriculture Minister George Drys and farmers representatives of Macedonia-Thrace was fruitless last night.
As of Monday, farmers are expected to go ahead with protest actions, while the Management Crisis Committee held a meeting under Interior Minister on the farming issue yesterday and decided to try an avert roads from being blocked.
 Attack against a Jordanian Embassy carUnknown men tried to set on fire a car belonging to the Jordanian embassy early this morning in the suburb of Chalandri. As a result a nearby car suffered damages.