|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-04
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 4, 2003
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
The heavy atmosphere is due to the dispute over the merger of ELPE (Greek Petroleum) with PETROLA, and was further charged with the "shots fired" between the Minister of the Press and Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas, and ND's Parliamentary Sp okesperson Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Press Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, regarding ND's proposal for the formation of an Auditing Committee of the Parliament in relation to the Malesios case and the stock market.
Mr. Protopapas characterized Mr. Pavlopoulos' statements on the Auditing Committee as "indescribable and unprecedented tightrope walking", while he responded by calling Mr. Protopapas a "politically indescribable government spokesperson" whose statements
cannot be taken seriously.
Mr. Pavlopoulos knows plenty about not being taken seriously, commented the Government Spokesperson, while ND Press Spokesperson Th. Roussopoulos accused the government of wanting to cover up the truth about the stock market. He observed that 1.5 million
investors will not stop asking why they lost their savings.
The transfer will take place through the National Bank of the Stock Market, on the condition that all technical details are in order. In any case, today has been set as the date for the "transformation", i.e. the beginning of the merger procedure, markin g, at the same time, the legal expiration of Petrola.
It should be noted that yesterday the two companies' boards of directors gave the green light for the agreement, in the midst of intense reactions from the employees and workers at Hellenic Petroleum. Specifically, the workers took over the company's off ices on Amalias st. forcing the Board to meet in the Athens Tower.
Meanwhile, in yesterday's meeting of the boards, a decision was made to set a financial and legal auditor and an independent valuator, who will look into the issue of exchanging old stocks with the new stocks to be issued with an increase of capital by t he unified company.
In fact, in statements to the Financial Times, the Directing Consultant of ELPE, Athanassios Karachalios, stressed that the merger will allow ELPE to develop into a major player in the SE European market, with four refineries and an output of 17 million tons annually, and a combined turnover of approximately 4 billion euro.
November. The evaluation was read in today's proceedings of the trial of the 17N terrorist organization suspect-members, however the defense asked that the evaluation not be taken into account, as the keys were examined without DA authorization.
Suspected leader of the organization Alexandros Giotopoulos denied that the keys were in his possession, and his attorney, Mr. Giannis Rachiotis, did not accept the specialist view, as it was given 8 months after the fact. He also wondered how it was pos sible for the three keys to have been returned to Mrs. Peinot on April 4, as they were part of the case brief.
Meanwhile there was tension in the courtroom when the President of the Court Michalis Margaritis read a document concerning a forgery of a French drivers' license found in Giotopoulos' possession. The license belongs to French citizen Hons Cristian, who has been working in Athens since 1971 as a French teacher. Giotopoulos stated that he does not know the person in question.
The bench DA also asked if Mr. Giotopoulos had a different identity card prior to 1996, since the forged papers with the name Michalis Economou were issued on that date. Alexandros Giotopoulos claimed that he has had his ID card since 1976 and not 1996.
The alternate foreign minister referred to four major entities in which developments were registered during the Greek EU Presidency.
In the sector of enlargement with the signing of the Accession Treaty in Athens on April 16, the 10 new acceding countries have already started expressing their positions, he said.
On political developments, Mr. Yiannitsis stated that the Iraq issue prevailed during the Greek EU Presidency, noting that although at first there were differences of views, Europe proceeded in joint statements in February and March. At the end of the wa r in Iraq, Yiannitsis observed, "we are seeing the efforts for bridging the differences of the member countries but also the development of a broader consideration for joint foreign and defence policy."
The Middle East was another major issue during the Greek EU Presidency. "The Road Map is a development for which the Union made a great effort in order for it to become a reality and now it is exerting pressure for its implimentation", Mr. Yiannitsis sai d.
He also referred to other political fields where the EU's presence is stronger, such as the Euro-Mediterranean Conference, relations with Russia, the western Balkans and third countries.
On institutional reforms, the minister remarked that the Convention for the Future of Europe will soon conclude its sessions and submit its proposals at the EU summit in Thessaloniki.
In the sector of "ad hoc" individual issues, Mr. Yiannitsis referred to a series of reforms and decisions, such as the funding of the enlargement, the status of EU employees, the issue of security in maritime transport, the Stability Pact and the Common Agricultural Policy.
Of the stocks trading today, 290 recorded gains and 43 had losses, while the value of 45 stocks remained unchanged.
The European Commission will present a package on immigration in the Thessaloniki Summit which will include the common policy on asylum, the protection of borders and the electronic control system, the repatriation of immigrants, their social integration
and programs for the financial support of their countries.
The Greek European Commissioner also referred to the inability of the EU Labor Ministers' Council that met in Luxembourg yesterday to reach an agreement on a directive regulating temporary employment.
She also stated that labor market inspection is necessary, adding that very often the laws are being violated even though there is a specific institutional framework at a European level.
Commenting on the turn made by certain businesses to countries with a lower labor cost, like the EU candidate states or the former Soviet Union states, she pointed out that the phenomenon cannot be reversed. She added that Greece cannot compete with thos e countries but it can turn to other sectors of the economy, like high technology and services.
Called to comment on the statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul that there are no violations of the airspace because Greece should restrict itself within 6 miles, Mr. Protopapas reiterated that Turkey follows its typical tactic. Namely,
it creates secondary issues to keep away the publicity lights and pressure resulting from the primary issue which is the solution of the Cyprus problem.
In the meeting will be discussed issues concerning the GALILEO system, air transportation, road and tunnel safety.
The Greek EU Presidency will brief the European partners on the progress made on the specific issues and will seek to complete negotiations among the member states on most of those issues to reach decisions as soon as possible.
Mr. Papantoniou will meet with FYROM Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, President Boris Trajkovsk, government Vice-President Musa Jaferi and Defense Minister Vlado Buckovski.
He will be accompanied by EU High Representative for CFSP Javier Solana, and the permanent representatives of the EU member states to be briefed on the EUFOR operations and the EU political actions in FYROM.
For the record, the operational readiness of the European Military Force in 2003 was a major target for the Greek EU Presidency.
stated Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis addressing the European Parliament Plenary Session today.
He underlined that the basic priorities for a partnership relation are the Cyprus issue and the Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Yiannitsis also called for Turkey's attention on a number of pending issues such as, the numerous reports on torture practices throughout Turkey, the reports of arbitrary arrests and the practice of incomunicado detention in the South East. The contr adictory court decisions as regards the determination to punish perpetrators of torture, several court cases indicating that there is not yet a uniform interpretation and application of the provisions related to freedom of expression. The still restrictiv e regime applicable to religious institutions and communities and the full enjoyment of cultural rights by all Turks irrespective of their ethnic origin which is still not ensured.
Mr. Yiannitsis referred to five major chapters on which the Thessaloniki Summit is expected to focus:
Advancement of the necessary institutional changes that have been the main object of the Convention on the Future of Europe since March 2002.
Foreign policy and defence, with special emphasis on transatlantic relations, the shaping of a strategic concept for EU security and the issue of weapons of mass destruction.
Immigration, asylum and external borders, an area of particular concern to the Greek Presidency and of constantly growing significance for the European Union.
Issues concerning employment and the Lisbon Strategy, in general, that must be discussed at European Council level.
EU policy with regard to Western Balkans, a fifth chapter to be discussed on the Council's second day, i.e. on Saturday, June 21.
Regarding the issue of institutional reforms, Mr. Yiannitsis said that the President of the Convention will present in Thessaloniki the conclusions of its 15-month proceedings. "The role of the Council, naturally, does not consist in making decisions as to the substance of the Convention's mission, but in determining how to proceed with the next phase and giving the Intergovernmental Conference the mandate to begin its work, so that we could achieve results acceptable by all", said Mr. Yiannitsis.
On transatlantic relations, Mr. Yiannitsis stressed that the picture of the EU relations with the US should improve and reflect reality. A great effort is being made to secure that the next EU-US Summit meeting, to be held a few days after the European C ouncil, will become an important step for the further development of this strategic relation.
In Thessaloniki, the European Council is expected to endorse the Presidency's report on the progress achieved over the past six months in the development of ESDP and also the annual progress report on the Implementation of the EU Programme for the Preven tion of Violent Conflicts, which is the cornerstone of the security mechanism of the Union.
The issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction is an important topic of the agenda and will probably remain there for some time to come. Their proliferation is a huge challenge for the international system. The critical question is how to increase and intens ify efforts to prevent further WMD proliferation which endangers not only our security, but also international peace and stability. The immediate goal of the EU Presidency is the drafting of a Comprehensive Strategy and Plan of Action, to be adopted in Th essaloniki, said Mr. Yiannitsis.
On the immigration issue, the EU Presidency intends to seek a political agreement to include immigration as a necessary parameter in the assessment of the cooperation of third countries with the EU. Mr. Yiannitsis expressed the hope that a political agre ement will be reached on a directive concerning the long-time immigrants and the definition of the term "refugee".
Regarding external borders, the EU Presidency intends to issue a statement on burden sharing.
On the chapter of the Lisbon Strategy, the main issue will be the approval of directions regarding the general orientations of the economic policies and the revised European strategy on employment.
The European Council in Thessaloniki is expected to signal a turning point in the EU relations with western Balkans with the adoption of a text of conclusions expressing the political will to support the European prospect of the countries in the region a s a follow up to the Feira, Nice and Copenhagen decisions.
The Thessaloniki European Council decisions will be reflected in the Declaration of Thessaloniki signed by all interested parties in the EU-Western Balkans Meeting on June 21, held after the European Council with the participation of the EU acceding and candidate states.
In the Council will be discussed, among others, issues concerning the EU-US negotiations on extradition and justice courts' cooperation and the framework-decision on the implementation of the "ne bis in idem" principle. Also, the Council's Regulations Dr aft on jurisdiction, the execution of court decisions on disputes between former spouses concerning parental care and the Schengen negotiations with Switzerland.
Also, Mr. Petsalnikos will propose the adoption of common rules for the protection of personal data.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS