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14 January, 1999
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his wife Daphnia were honored at an official reception here yesterday by Spain's royal couple, King Juan Carlos I and his wife Sophia. The Greek PM was on the second day of an official three-day visit to Spain. The Spanish couple visited Greece last year.
Juan Carlos asked Mr. Simitis about his contacts in Madrid.
Earlier, Mr. Simitis had a series of meetings with Spain's political party leaders in Madrid, including Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Joaquin Almunia and the party's candidate for the premiership Jose Boril.
Mr. Simitis also met former Prime Minister Filipe Gonzales, who in general appeared pessimistic on the course of the European Union.
A mere majority of socialists in Europe is not enough, there have to be concrete programs and planning, Mr. Gonzales said in statement after meeting Mr. Simitis.
Talks were also held between Mr. Simitis and the mayor of Madrid Jose Maria Alvares del Manzano.
Before sitting at the luncheon, Mrs. Simitis and the Spanish premier's wife visited a retirement home.
Meanwhile, accompanying Press Minister Dimitris Reppas met with his counterpart Jose Antonio Martin Marin, briefing him on how the PASOK government deals with issues related to broadcast media.
The two ministers agreed that the new technologies offered tremendous potential.
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with Spanish Education and Culture Minister Agire, with whom he discussed in detail cooperation for the "Cultural Olympiad". Mr. Venizelos expressed support for the idea of a "world culture forum" in Barcelona in 2004.
The two ministers also discussed the details of the exhibition on the work and personality of 17th century Cretan artist El Greco.
National Economy Deputy Minister Alekos Baltas also held contacts with Spanish officials on bilateral trade and economic relations after the meeting of the two countries' Prime Ministers. Discussions dealt with speeding up the signing of an agreement for the prevention of double taxation and the exchange of visits by business delegations.
Mr. Baltas also discussed joint investment ventures in Greece, aiming to tap the emerging markets in the Balkans.
A Spanish delegation is expected in Athens in March.
Source: Athens News Agency