NEWS

In Brief

NAME DISPUTE

Milososki claims Athens is damaging the EU’s credibility Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki yesterday accused Greece of damaging the credibility of the European Union because of its stance on the name dispute between the two countries. This name issue has been «misused by one EU member country,» and is «to a certain extent taking hostage the credibility of the EU» when it comes to establishing and promoting objective membership criteria, Milososki told the EU Observer website. «I am not convinced that’s [the name dispute] the only reason why Macedonia was not given a chance to open accession negotiations. Maybe there is something that is beyond the reports,» Milososki said. His comments are contrary to the position of France, which currently holds the EU presidency. «The problem of Macedonia is the name,» French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said this week. «Frankly, you can ask me about visas and about progress [toward the EU], as long as the name issue is not solved, you are knocking on the wrong door. This problem must be solved,» he added. ALEXY II FUNERAL Vartholomaios attends Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios attended the funeral in Moscow yesterday of Russian Patriarch Alexy II, who died on Friday aged 79. He was the first Orthodox patriarch of the post-Soviet era, assuming his post in 1990. His funeral was attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, along with at least 11 Cabinet members and other Kremlin officials. The Russian Orthodox Church’s interim head, Metropolitan Kirill, said Alexy had left a strong Russian Church, after inheriting one that had been weakened by decades of repression. The Church has seen a resurgence since the fall of the Soviet regime, and Alexy became known to millions of Russians through a weekly television program on religion. Kirill is seen as Alexy’s most likely successor. Eco-Greens protest The Green Ecologists are staging a sit-in demonstration outside the Interior Ministry on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue at 1 p.m. today to demand that the government assume its political responsiblity for the events of the past few days. They are also demanding that the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos by a special police guard last Saturday be recognized as an act of terrorism. The party is calling for the resignation of the ministry’s political leadership and the chiefs of police. In an announcement, it blamed the government for letting the situation get out of control. The killing of Grigoropoulos, it said, was just the spark that ignited what was an existing climate of rage against the ongoing political scandals, the marginalization of youth and the political and social crisis. Bus cards The Athens Urban Transport Association (OASA) has announced that its yearly transport cards for 2009 are now on sale. Cards for all forms of public transport (with some exceptions, such as the airport route) are 350 euros; for buses, trolley buses and the tram 150 euros; for the metro 300 euros; and for the Kifissia-Piraeus (ISAP) electric railway line 250 euros. The transport cards are on sale at 25 Metsovou Street from 8 a.m. to 2.15 p.m. on weekdays.