NEWS

Olympics plan to be set out in meeting today

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to chair a meeting today of ministers and officials involved in organizing the Athens 2004 Olympics to decide on the structure of the Games’ organization. The meeting will also deal with outstanding issues concerning ministries involved as well as set out the responsibilities of the seven deputy ministers who have been appointed to coordinate the Olympic preparations. Simitis met yesterday with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Deputy Culture Minister Nassos Alevras and Deputy Press Minister Telemachos Hytiris, all of whom are to deal with Olympic issues, to discuss the agenda of today’s meeting. Also present were the Culture Ministry’s general secretary for the Olympics, Costas Kartalis, and the prime minister’s aide for technical issues, Dimitris Makyriniotis. Venizelos said that there have been changes in the interministerial coordinating committee which will remain the basic decision-making mechanism. The committee will be supported by two others, the Task Administrative Group and the Projects Supervision Group, according to Venizelos. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the Athens 2004 committee, yesterday made her first official comment on last week’s Cabinet reshuffle. The changes made, she said, prove that the success of the Games is a priority for the government. All of us, every one of us, has a responsibility to work quickly and effectively to organize the 2004 Games with absolute success, she told a meeting of 2004 general managers and managers. We on the organizing committee have to contribute in every way to the state’s efforts and to cooperate closely and effectively with it. The key issue now is the responsibilities that the deputy ministers will be given. The prime minister’s idea, sources say, is to determine these responsibilities after being given proposals by the ministers. If this creates a system that is rational and functional, there will be no reason for him to intervene. But at today’s meeting, ministers will also have to present what they have done so far in light of the next visit to Athens, on November 21, of the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission. These issues include the Public Works Ministry’s road projects, some projects of the Sports General Secretariat (especially the equestrian center), housing for athletes and journalists, other transport projects (the tender for the tram), and the operational program for security in cooperation with the ministries of Public Order and Defense.