MONDAY – Parliament opens its debate on the 2002 State budget. – Greek MPs travel to Brussels for talks with their EU counterparts on finalizing a decision on the common European arrest warrant, as outlined at the weekend’s EU summit in Laeken. – Employees at state-run hospitals stage a 24-hour strike demanding the hiring of 6,000 permanent personnel and more funds for the primary health sector. A protest march is also planned for 1 p.m. from the old Athens University building to the National Economy Ministry. – The civil servants’ umbrella union (ADEDY) stages a work stoppage from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. protesting against the new state budget, especially its provisions for health and education. – The Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OLME) has called a three-hour work stoppage and protest rally at the Education Ministry, calling for more spending on education. – Left Coalition Party MP Maria Damanaki organizes a meeting of 40 women MPs from Balkan countries. At the Athenaeum Inter-Continental Hotel. TUESDAY Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou attends a meeting of NATO defense ministers, in Brussels. To Wednesday. – Foreign Minister George Papandreou pays an official visit to Damascus for meetings with the Syrian government. Talks are expected to focus on the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East and on bilateral affairs. To Wednesday. Journalists working for Lambrakis Press (DOL) stage a two-hour work stoppage protesting at recent mass dismissals of DOL employees. – The Educational Foundation of the Greek Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) hosts a lecture on War in the Century of Mass Media. Constantine Tsoukalas will be the keynote speaker. At the union’s building on 20, Academias Street. WEDNESDAY Agriculture Minister Giorgos Drys travels to Brussels for a meeting of EU agriculture ministers. To Thursday. – Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios is to attend an Inter-Religious Assembly with other Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders in Brussels. To Thursday. THURSDAY The European Union is expected to announce its decision regarding the return of community funds misspent on the troubled National Land Register project. – Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou travels to Antalya, Turkey, for a meeting of southeastern European defense ministers. – The Athens Journalists’ Union (ESIEA) stages a three-hour work stoppage protesting at the mass dismissal of media employees. At the same time, media employees hold a demonstration in downtown Athens. – The Christmas bonus for taxi drivers comes into effect. The extra charge is 265 drachmas (0.78 euros) for every trip and will apply until January 7. FRIDAY Parliament to vote on the 2002 state budget. – Deadline for drivers to buy their 2002 road tax stickers, after the week’s extension given by the Economy Ministry. The stickers are only available at tax offices. – The new Eleftherios Venizelos airport organizes Christmas festivities including carol-singing and pantomimes to celebrate its first Christmas in operation.