ECONOMY

Tighter security measures for all airports in Greece

Greece’s intolerance of international terrorism is set to extend to airports, where tighter security measures will be implemented to ensure passengers’ safety, Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis said yesterday. The new measures come on top of procedures already put in place in the wake of the unprecedented terrorist attacks on the USA last week, he said at a press conference. The minister said the higher level of security is the result of the government’s initiative and not due to pressure exerted by other countries. Greece’s sensitivity on the issue is the result of constant criticism from other countries, notably the USA, on its inability to eliminate the November 17 terrorist group. With the Olympic Games coming in three years’ time, Greece will need to show that it is taking concrete steps to boost security. One measure announced by the minister, which merely enforces an existing requirement frequently flaunted by airline passengers, will restrict carry-on luggage to one piece of baggage of set dimensions. Luggage will be given a thorough examination at both the check-in counter and exit doors at the airport. Mindful of how hijackers gained control of the planes that eventually crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Verelis said that cockpit doors will now be locked from the inside during a flight and entry only permitted to authorized personnel. Security teams will also intensify night patrols of idle planes parked at the airport. Airport and airline personnel will go through more thorough checks. The new measures will be fully implemented at major Greek airports and gradually enforced at smaller facilities. The ministry plans to propose three security measures at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 33rd assembly session in Montreal on September 25. We will suggest that hand luggage be restricted to one piece and that all baggage and planes be thoroughly checked. Another proposal is to install closed-circuit television in all planes, he said. In many ways, Greek agriculture is already well prepared to benefit from a further development of the CAP. Its warm climate naturally favors a diverse agricultural system, and its farming practices continue to promote the production of high-quality, specialized local goods, both of which are already advocated by Agenda 2000. Greece is also particularly well positioned for trade with countries beyond the EU, such as those of Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.