Hardship on April 16, but not for civil servants

Hoping to alleviate congestion in central Athens during the April 16 European Union summit, when the accession agreements of 10 new members – including Cyprus – are to be signed, the government said it might declare the day a public holiday for the city’s civil servants. Following an interministerial meeting on the summit yesterday chaired by Premier Costas Simitis, government spokesman Christos Protopappas added that security would be intense, and asked Athenians to be forbearing. «Of necessity, they will experience hardship,» he said. «We must bear in mind that it will be a great day, a day of celebration for Europe and Greece in particular, due to the accession of Cyprus.» Following an informal EU summit at the Zappeion Hall, the accession agreements will be signed at the Ancient Agora, in the reconstructed second-century-BC Stoa of Attalos.