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Greek report Greek report
by Euro Reporter
2009-04-26 09:51:45
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Greek PM Karamanlis in Nicosia

The European Union is the most effective guarantee for Cyprus's security and for this reason, the existing system of guarantees is superfluous and antiquated, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis said in Nicosia on Wednesday (22.4), after talks with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias. "The existing system of guarantees is not compatible with European principles," Karamanlis said, adding that Cyprus's accession to the European family is by itself the greatest security guarantee.

Karamanlis and President Christofias also discussed Turkey's EU accession course in view of the forthcoming evaluation of Turkey’s progress by the EU in December 2009. Premier Karamanlis said that "we support Turkey's accession course because we believe that a Turkey that will adopt European rules of conduct […] will be a Turkey much better for its citizens, the entire European Union and its neighbours."


Thessalonica metro route extended

Workers inspect the construction progress on a new metro network in Thessaloniki yesterday. According to Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias, who visited the site yesterday, the network will cover nearly 10 kilometres and 13 stations by 2012. The project is expected to cost some 1.5 billion Euros. Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias yesterday unveiled the first half kilometre of Thessaloniki’s metro system during a visit to the northern city and heralded the extension of the route to the suburbs and the airport by 2012.

Referring to the works as “the most significant public transport project currently under way in Greece,” Souflias inspected the tunnel borer – or metropontikas (literally “metro mouse”) – that is to open up nearly 10 kilometres of underground tunnels. Works are expected to progress at a rate of around 10 meters of track per day, the minister said. “The metro is progressing very quickly – we are moving forward with the construction of the basic route which will cover 9.6 kilometres and include 13 stations,” Souflias said. It is estimated that this basic metro route will enable at least 250,000 journeys per day.


Vatopedi intervention

In a move that prompted strong political reaction yesterday, Supreme Court prosecutor Giorgos Sanidas intervened to prevent the case file of the inquiry into the land exchange between the Vatopedi Monastery and the state being submitted to Parliament for a second time.

It was revealed that Sanidas, who is due to retire in two months, has decided there is not enough evidence to indicate that any ministers or serving MPs did anything wrong in the lengthy process to set up the property swap, which is alleged to have cost taxpayers millions of euros because the Mount Athos monastery obtained prime real estate in exchange for property of a much lower value. Sources close to Sanidas said that the country’s top prosecutor rejected the requests of the two appeals prosecutors investigating the case to refer the matter to Parliament because he felt that no new evidence had emerged since the file was last sent to the House last November.

Then, an investigative committee of MPs looked into claims that several conservative ministers and their deputies had been guilty of a breach of faith in setting up the deal. New Democracy and the opposition parties disagreed over whether a preliminary judicial investigation into the case should be held but the argument proved academic as conservative deputies abstained from the relevant vote in Parliament and the House’s involvement came to an end.

The government yesterday reacted angrily to claims by Yiannis Ragoussis, the general secretary of PASOK’s political council, that the prosecutors probing the case would resign over Sanidas’s decision, just as they did before he changed his mind last November and sent the file to Parliament. Justice Minister Nikos Dendias accused the Socialists of making a “serious institutional gaffe” and of trying to intervene in the judicial process. But the head of the Prosecutors’ Union, Sotiris Bayias, accused Sanidas of overstepping his powers by preventing the file from being forwarded to Parliament a second time.

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