Speaker denies MPs set for Euro excursion

Parliamentary speaker Dimitris Sioufas issued a written statement yesterday denying reports that there are plans to fly Greek MPs at the expense of the state to Austria and Switzerland so they can watch the Euro 2008 soccer championship as Greece prepare to make their debut today. Sioufas said that no such proposal existed and the idea had never been discussed. An earlier statement by PASOK’s parliamentary group had suggested it was wrong for deputies to be considering such trips at a time when Greeks are suffering from rising prices. PASOK claims that Deputy Culture Minister Yiannis Ioannidis, who is responsible for sports, had last week asked any MPs who wanted to catch charter flights to Austria to watch Greece’s games to declare their interest so he could make the necessary arrangements. Ioannidis did not comment.