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A.N.A. Bulletin, 22/02/96

From: "Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada" <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

Athens News Agency Directory

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 820), February 22, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office

Ottawa, Canada

E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [1] Simitis expects 'clear rules' from IGC on European borders

  • [2] Santer calls on Turkey to respect commitments

  • [3] Dehaene

  • [4] Favorable climate awaits Simitis in Bonn

  • [5] Opposition

  • [6] Central bank's main target is getting inflation to EU standards

  • [7] Rifkind meets Arsenis, Evert on last day of Athens visit

  • [8] Evert in Cyprus: Hellenism will not rest until Turkish troops leave Cyprus

  • [9] Venizelos agrees with Albanian counterpart to repatriate Albanian inmates immediately

  • [10] Inquiry ordered into police raid on gypsy camp

  • [11] Political fallout

  • [12] GSEE expects good participation in 24-hour strike today

  • [13] Parliament approves OTE flotation bill

  • [14] Farmers in Kilkis protest against low milk prices

  • [15] Papandreou's condition continues to improve

  • [16] Italy's Bertolucci to visit Athens

  • [17] Commission discussion on Danish claim to 'feta' postponed

  • [18] Greek industry flagging in export activities, study says

  • [19] SEB president's statements

  • [20] Romanian delegation visits Athens

  • [21] Train blast a terrorist attack, Thessaloniki police say


  • [1] Simitis expects 'clear rules' from IGC on European borders

    Brussels, 22/02/1996 (ANA - S. Liarellis, F. Stangos)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday set out the Community dimension of the recent Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean and the consequences it may have on the common foreign policy of the European Union in talks with European Commission President Jacques Santer and his Belgian counterpart Jean-Luc Dehaene yesterday, the first day of the prime minister's three-city tour.

    Speaking to reporters after meeting with Mr. Santer last night, Mr. Simitis said he had raised the European dimension of the protection of Greek borders.

    "We did not raise the issue of Greek borders, but that of the borders of member-states, which could regard any country tomorrow," he said.

    For this reason, he added, the status quo of borders defined after World War II must not change, and "clear rules must be laid out for external borders and their protection" at next month's EU inter-governmental conference (IGC) in Turin.

    The prime minister said that he placed emphasis on Greece's "actively participating in shaping tomorrow's European image" and in this context proceeding with a more effective resolution of problems, primarily in its relations with neighboring Turkey.

    Mr. Simitis said his interlocutors' understanding was "a positive step", adding that "the distance which existed between Greece and the European Union cannot be overcome in 24 hours."

    "Our intention is to continue our contacts and continuous presence, because only if we are continuously present and are participants in a common tackling of the EU's problems will they (the EU) in turn be present at ours," Mr. Simitis said.

    "Up till now the main criteria for Greece has been what we get from the EU: this attitude must change and this change must be made clear to our partners," he said.

    He added that the lack of action by the EU during the recent stand-off with Turkey over the Imia islets was due in part to Greece's attitude. "But EU mechanisms (common foreign and security policy) are slow-moving ... the initiatives which were undertaken did not end in anything acceptable and effective," he added.

    Mr. Simitis pointed out to his interlocutors that the general stance presented by Ankara clearly influenced the full implementation of the customs union agreement between Turkey and the Community.

    "It is more or less self-evident that it will be difficult for Greece to co-operate in the further integration of the agreement on the basis of the general principle of good neighborly relations," he said, adding that Greece will await Turkey's position in the coming weeks before taking its final decisions.

    Referring to the position Greece will observe at Monday's Council of Ministers, Mr. Simitis said "it only constitutes a stage in the process we have started."

    "Our aim is to make it a rule that possible conflicts will be resolved on the basis of international law agreements and by relevant bodies, such as the International Court at The Hague," he added.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who along with Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas is accompanying Mr. Simitis, clarified that the guidelines for financial aid to Turkey was withdrawn from the Council's agenda.

    Replying to a question on whether the review of financial aid to Turkey could have adverse consequences on the course of Cyprus' entry into the EU, as implied by Commissioner Hans van den Broek, Mr. Pangalos said that the matter of Cyprus' entry to the EU was linked to Greece's lifting of its veto on the customs union in the March 6, 1995 agreement.

    "However, this is a secondary element in comparison to the customs union agreement itself, in which there are rights and responsibilities which are being violated by Turkey," Mr. Pangalos said.

    "It is unthinkable that Turkey can declare war on a member-state, can occupy its territory and still continue to be funded by the EU in order for Cyprus' entry into the EU not to encounter any obstacles. Consequently, Turkey's violation of the terms of the customs union is an independent fact," continued Mr. Pangalos.

    Referring to EU matters, Mr. Simitis said he outlined Greece's positions on the IGC, adding that on matters of common foreign policy Greece was in favor of maintaining the principle of unanimity and that it would examine expanding the use of special majority in decision-making in other sectors.

    He warned against the creation of a multi-speed Europe, especially in the economic and monetary sector.

    "The creation of economic and monetary union should be a starting point that others can join," he said.

    Mr. Simitis added that Mr. Santer would be visiting Athens in May.

    [2] Santer calls on Turkey to respect commitments

    Brussels, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    The European Union expects Turkey to respect its commitments under the customs union agreement, Mr. Santer said after his talks with Mr. Simitis.

    "We believe that the March 6 agreement is a comprehensive agreement and as such must be respected," he said.

    "Till now the European Union has respected the integrity of its commitments and we hope that our partners (Turkey) will do the same. The European Commission has expressed its solidarity with Greece (over the Imia issue) and we believe that the Council of Ministers, which will convene on Monday, will express the same opinion."

    A European Commission spokesman, referring to yesterday's meeting between Mr. van den Broek and Mr. Pangalos, reiterated that "since Ankara doubts the sovereignty of these islets, it can seek recourse to the International Court at The Hague".

    [3] Dehaene

    Brussels, 22/02/1996 (ANA - S. Liarellis, F. Stangos)

    Speaking after talks in Brussels earlier with his Belgian counterpart Jean-Luc Dehaene, Mr. Simitis said "problems exist in the relations between the EU and third countries ... which the member-states should confront jointly."

    Mr. Dehaene expressed "understanding" for Greece's stance in the recent Greek-Turkish crisis which was caused by Ankara's disputing Greece's sovereignty of the rocky islet of Imia.

    "In our times, problems pertaining to borders between neighbors ought to be resolved by peaceful means and through negotiations," Mr. Dehaene said.

    "If we assume that such problems exist," he added, "then they should be resolved on the basis of international treaties and international arbitration procedures."

    Mr. Dehaene agreed that the problem of border security should be dealt with within the framework of the common foreign policy at the IGC for the revision of the Maastricht Treaty.

    "From the moment we are talking about a common foreign policy and defense policy, then we must speak about borders also," he said.

    Expressing satisfaction over his meeting with Mr. Simitis, Mr. Dehaene said he had the opportunity "to ascertain that the positions of the two countries are very close on a wide range of issues concerning the development of the European Union."

    Speaking to reporters on his way to Brussels, Mr. Simitis described his visit as "a platform which will support Greece's further efforts."

    The prime minister said his visit aimed at "restoring and promoting close relations and contact between Greece and the European countries."

    Mr. Simitis, who is making his first visit abroad since he became prime minister a month ago, will also discuss bilateral relations and European Union matters with the leaders of the three countries.

    Mr. Simitis flies to Bonn today for talks with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and on to Paris to meet tomorrow with French President Jacques Chirac, before returning to Athens on Saturday.

    Diplomatic sources said the Athens government considers it the appropriate moment to set out its arguments and rally support in the European Union, since a number of EU partners were supportive of Greece during the Imia islets incident.

    Mr. Simitis will also make it clear that Greece "will not make concessions on its sovereign rights," the same sources said.

    [4] Favorable climate awaits Simitis in Bonn

    Bonn, 22/02/1996 (ANA- P. Stangos)

    Following Tuesday's favorable comments regarding Prime Minister Costas Simitis' visit here tomorrow and Greek positions during the recent crisis in the Aegean by Christian Democrat foreign policy 'pundit' Karl Lamers, the deputy chairman of the joint Greco-German parliamentary committee and member of the External Affairs Committee Friedbert Pflyger yesterday also came out in favor of Greek positions and called for support for the Greek premier.

    Mr. Pflyger praised Mr. Simitis, stressing that he will find "open doors" in Germany. "Premier Simitis deserves support over the Imia Greek-Turkish dispute," he said.

    He noted that the Greek premier tried to de-escalate the crisis, defending, at the same time, Greece's clear position, from the aspect of international law provisions.

    "In many binding international treaties it is certified that Imia belongs to Greece. And this position was confirmed by the European Parliament, in a resolution adopted by an overwhelming majority on February 15," he said.

    "Turkish actions did not only injure Greek sovereignty, but also the European Union's external borders," he stressed.

    It is expected that the prevailing positive climate regarding tomorrow's talks between the Greek premier and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl will facilitate the finding of a "common language" in dealing with Greek-Turkish problems, not as a bilateral issue, as previously, but as a European Union issue.

    Sources said yesterday that the German side "will not be pleased to see Greece blocking financial aid to Turkey, but it (Germany) has understanding for Greek positions".

    [5] Opposition

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Asked to comment on the prime minister's statements in Brussels, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Vassilis Manginas said that "as long as the prime minister is abroad we will not comment on any of his statements."

    Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras said yesterday there had been no discussion amongst political parties for the drafting of a unified national strategy to brief the international community over the recent standoff in the Aegean.

    [6] Central bank's main target is getting inflation to EU standards

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    The further de-escalation of inflation so as to approach the European Union average of 2-3 per cent in the next few years remains the main target of monetary policy for 1996, while the Bank of Greece will this year make efforts to contain credit expansion , central bank governor Lucas Papademos said yesterday.

    Presenting the Bank of Greece's monetary and credit programme for 1996, Mr. Papademos said that the main target was to get inflation down to 5 per cent by the end of the year or attain an annual average rate of 7 per cent.

    Describing this target as difficult but not unattainable, Mr. Papademos said two intermediary targets had been set in order to achieve the goal.

    The first was to keep the parity of the drachma with the ECU more or less stable, without ruling out minor fluctuations according to the overriding need to maintain stability, while the second intermediary target was to contain money supply and fluidity .

    The goal for M3 (money supply) was a 6-9 per cent rate of growth, compared to last year's target of 7-9 per cent and eventual figure of 10.4 per cent.

    With respect to M4 (fluidity), the goal would be a 9-12 per cent increase, compared to the 1995 target of 11-13 per cent and eventual result of 8.3 per cent.

    The target for total bank credits to the public and private sectors was a rate of increase of 5-7 per cent, compared to last year's target of 6-8 per cent and eventual result of 7.9 per cent.

    Mr. Papademos said that last year, the granting of credits by banks had increased by 23 per cent, mainly due to the upsurge in housing and consumer credit. The target for this year would be for the increase to be "at a logical level" below 20 per cent.

    In attaining this target, he added, efforts would be made to avoid the imposition of administrative measures, without however ruling out such steps.

    Mr. Papademos said that the slight divergence from last year's target for inflation (8.1 per cent at the end of December, compared to a forecast of 7 per cent) created the need for "additional efforts during the exercise of anti-inflationary policy."

    He stressed the attainment of the target of 5 per cent inflation this year would depend not only on the effective exercise of monetary policy but on two other factors: persistence in the "rehabilitation" of public finances and the speeding up of the necessary structural changes.

    With respect to the latter, Mr. Papademos added, particular emphasis should be placed on containing production costs (and consequently wages) in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the Greek economy.

    Referring to the forthcoming signing of the national collective labor agreement, Mr. Papademos said it should be borne in mind by all that wage increases higher than inflation would have adverse repercussions on the productivity and competitiveness of Greek companies and, as a consequence, on employment figures.

    He appealed for increases to be kept "at logical levels" so that the strict monetary and exchange policy would not be undermined.

    Mr. Papademos stressed that "the fight" should be given not only on the monetary front, but also in the area of public finances and productivity "so as to secure the consistency and cohesion of economic policy."

    The central bank governor said that if inflation was brought down to 5 per cent this year, interest rates would also drop by more than 3 percentage points.

    He expressed support however for "small and careful" interest rate cuts according to conditions in the economy.

    Mr. Papademos dismissed reports claiming signs of a slackening in the exercise of public finances policy at a governmental level and expressed satisfaction at the curbing of foreign exchange loans to Greek undertakings, which had resulted in the absorption to a great degree of surplus fluidity.

    Mr. Papademos acknowledged that the current accounts deficit "must be monitored with great attention" but stressed that there was no cause for alarm.

    He said that the inflows of Community funds in 1995 was 10 per cent higher than in the previous year, thus making up for previous shortfalls, and predicted that the absorption of EU funds would increase further this year, thereby narrowing the current accounts deficit.

    Mr. Papademos noted however that the increase in credit expansion had an albeit slight effect on the trade balance, caused by a rise in imports.

    On the central bank's aim of containing the increase in total credit expansion to the private and public sectors to between 5 and 7 per cent this year, Mr. Papademos underlined that since bank borrowing by the public sector was expected to be reduced, banks would have the capability to fund their private customers.

    Mr. Papademos said further steps would be taken this year to liberalize the domestic exchange market, with plans being drawn up to reduce the percentage of exchange which commercial banks must re-deposit with the Bank of Greece.

    He clarified however that Greeks should not expect the full liberalization of the exchange market this year which would enable them to freely open foreign exchange deposit accounts in Greece.

    [7] Rifkind meets Arsenis, Evert on last day of Athens visit

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind said yesterday that "any constructive view that promotes a settlement of Greek-Turkish differences through peaceful means is welcome." Mr. Rifkind made the statement after talks with main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert. He later held talks with National Defense Minister Gerassimos Arsenis with whom, sources said, he discussed the recent crisis in Greek-Turkish relations. The same sources said that Mr. Arsenis outlined to the British secretary the Greek positions and facts "so that he could have a more rounded perspective than previously."

    Mr. Rifkind told reporters that it was "useful to hear the Greek views on the recent crisis in the eastern Aegean, an issue which is of particular concern to Greece."

    Mr. Rifkind and Mr. Evert also discussed Greek-British relations, the future of the EU and the forthcoming inter-governmetal conference, as well as the problem in the Aegean and the Cyprus issue.

    After the talks, Mr. Rifkind left for Tirana on the last leg of his Balkan tour.

    [8] Evert in Cyprus: Hellenism will not rest until Turkish troops leave Cyprus

    Nicosia, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert arrived in Cyprus yesterday evening as a guest of Democratic Rally Party (DHSY) president Yiannakis Matsis. "Hellenism will not rest until the Turkish occupation forces leave Cyprus," Mr. Evert said upon arriving at Larnaca airport. He added that two words express his party's defense policy, namely, "casus belli" if Ankara attempts further expansion of its occupied territory in Cyprus.

    The ND president, who is heading a main opposition delegation, called for assumption of joint initiatives on all levels by Greece and Cyprus and development of a common strategy. Meanwhile, the Pan-Cypriot Cultural Association of Mainland Greeks organized a conference yesterday evening entitled "Human Rights as the basis of a solution to the Cyprus problem."

    The main speakers at the event were Coalition of the Left and Progress president Nikos Constantopoulos, PASOK deputy George Mangakis, ND deputy Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou, Political Spring Eurodeputy Katerina Daskalaki and Communist Party of Greece deputy Orestis Kolozov.

    [9] Venizelos agrees with Albanian counterpart to repatriate Albanian inmates immediately

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    During talks in Athens yesterday, Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his Albanian counterpart Hector Frasheri agreed to immediately activate the agreement between the two countries concerning the transfer of Albanian prisoners in Greece to Albania t o serve out the rest of their sentences.

    Welcoming his counterpart, Mr. Venizelos said there were tremendous prospects for improving relations between the two countries, because they possessed two solid bases, the political and the legal one. Greece was Albania's neighbor in the Balkans and could provide an immediate and tangible content in Albania's co-operation with the European Union, he noted.

    He said there were 740 Albanian detained in Greece (290 already convicted and 450 awaiting trial), including 130 juveniles. Seventy of them will be transferred to Albania initially, and the Greek government undertook the obligation to provide assistance regarding the organization of the penitentiary system, and provide financial aid towards that end.

    Concerning illegal immigration to Greece from Albania, he said an approach was being sought for a comprehensive legal arrangement regarding foreign seasonal workers in Greece.

    Mr. Frasheri said relations between the two countries had to improve and a legal framework was necessary for their normal development.

    The Greek government also agreed to provide opportunities for the further training of Albanian jurists in Greece, through the provision of scholarships, postgraduate seminars and the provision of legal know-how.

    Mr. Venizelos revealed that President Kostis Stephanopoulos would visit Albania on March 1. Mr. Frasheri later visited Mr. Stephanopoulos and conveyed a message from Albanian President Sali Berisha.

    [10] Inquiry ordered into police raid on gypsy camp

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    A police raid Tuesday afternoon on a gypsy camp in the Ayios Loukas site near Aspropyrgos in western Attica, broadcast by several television stations, created a firestorm of political controversy yesterday.

    Opposition parties and Justice Minister Evangelos Venizelos sharply criticized the operation, which included televised footage of special anti-terrorist and riot police units descending on the rundown camp, following the wounding of a police sergeant at the site earlier in the day. Police officer Nikos Georgopoulos was injured by shotgun pellets in the hand and face when he and two other policemen attempted to arrest a young gypsy man.

    The suspect, along with another group of youths, successfully fled in a Nissan jeep, reports stated.

    Recent raids at gypsy camps come on the heels of the fatal shooting of a Halkida man last week and a series of rapes and robberies in northern Athens, all attributed by police to a gang of gypsies.

    In response to press questions about the incident, Mr. Venizelos said the state's law enforcement representatives should respect citizens' human rights.

    The justice minister added that he is sure the public order ministry will investigate the incident, which showed masked police rounding up gypsy suspects and searching their shacks. He called the actions "unacceptable."

    "I am counting on the sensitivity and orders by the public order minister," he added.

    National police commander Manolis Hourdakis also criticized the raid yesterday at a press conference.

    "I felt what the rest of the Greek people felt viewing the footage of the police forces' raid on the gypsy camp," Lt.-Gen. Hourdakis said.

    He added that an investigation has been ordered by Public Order Minister Costas Geitonas to consider possible violations of police procedures. The police commander added that he agreed with an order that special units participate in the raid because of information that weapons are being hidden in many gypsy camps.

    Lt.-Gen. Hourdakis verified that two prosecutors accompanied police on the raid in case any of the suspects in the recent crime sprees were arrested. However, he said evidence was gathered at the scene that will assist in further investigations.

    [11] Political fallout

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy deputy Fani Palli-Petralia tabled a Parliament question yesterday on the incident as well as what she called the "wretched state of gypsy camps."

    Ms Palli-Petralia claimed that Tuesday's raid in Aspropyrgos "exposes, but also unjustly tarnishes the image of Greek police," adding however, that conditions in gypsy camps "produce and nurture criminality."

    She called for specific programmes by the government, which she added are funded by the European Union, to rectify these conditions, something Ms Palli-Petralia claimed the current government has not done.

    Meanwhile, Political Spring deputy Andreas Lentakis also tabled a question yesterday for the public order minister on the police raid at the Ayios Loukas camp.

    In his question, Mr. Lentakis requested to know which official ordered the operation, and if responsibilities will be attributed.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputies Dimos Koubouris and Stratis Korakas echoed sentiments in Parliament yesterday and also tabled a question on the controversial raid.

    The KKE deputies cited what they said was the government's tremendous responsibility over the affair and asked if it condemned the incident. They also called for government reimbursement for damage to the gypsies' dwellings.

    [12] GSEE expects good participation in 24-hour strike today

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) is to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis next week to discuss salaries and pensions, planned changes to public corporations (DEKO) and the protection of workers from the consequences of the restructuring in industry.

    President Christos Protopapas said yesterday he expected wide support for the 24-hour workers' strike scheduled to take place today.

    Athens and Thessaloniki buses are to join the strike, as are the rail network (OSE), Athens-Piraeus Trolleys (ILPAP) and Athens-Piraeus Trains (ISAP). Aircraft personnel will stage a work stoppage from 12:30 to 3:30pm, while the work stoppage for ships w ill be from 8am to noon.

    Banks, the Public Power Corporation (DEH), the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and Hellenic Post Offices (ELTA) will also be among the organizations to go on strike today.

    Mr. Protopapas yesterday called on employers to change the inflexible stance they have maintained to date in negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement. He noted that "governmental factors" must stop interventions aimed at trapping salary and pension increases at intolerable levels.

    GSEE also directed a letter to the prime minister yesterday, regarding measures for the protection of workers from restructuring in industry, such as in the Kassandra mines and the shipyards sector. The unions are suggesting a steady framework of measures, such as early retirement and special programmes for training or self-employment among others.

    A rally will be held today in central Athens by the Coordinating Committee, with the support of the ten elected representatives of ESAK, the Communist Party's representatives in GSEE.

    [13] Parliament approves OTE flotation bill

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Legislation allowing for the partial privatization of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) with 6 per cent of its shares floated on the Athens stock exchange was approved in principle last night.

    Discussion preceded the Parliament vote.

    All the opposition parties voted against the bill, with main opposition New Democracy as well as the Political Spring party calling on National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou to set a minimum share price for the sale. ND also maintains that the state-run and owned OTE should not be valued at less than 1.7 trillion drachmas.

    [14] Farmers in Kilkis protest against low milk prices

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    While the government is set to announce new measures of support for stockbreeders, farmers in the northern city of Kilkis yesterday staged new mobilizations and a march to the prefecture building, protesting against the reductions in the price of milk.

    The protest gathering, planned several days ago, began at 11am and ended peacefully shortly after 2pm, after the farmers had handed a petition with their demands.

    The approximately 300 farmers of the region who gathered outside the prefecture building, poured considerable quantities of milk onto the street, saying that it was now cheaper than water and no longer worth selling.

    A new rally to the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry has been scheduled in Thessaloniki tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, the New Democracy party's secretariat for agriculture said in a statement yesterday that the sector was facing its biggest ever crisis, and for this reason, it considered farmers' demands as just and of national importance. It accused the government of forgetting its promises to the farmers.

    [15] Papandreou's condition continues to improve

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Doctors treating PASOK leader and former premier Andreas Papandreou have described the results of a CAT-scan administered yesterday as being particularly positive. The scan revealed that fluid was no longer gathering in Mr. Papandreou's chest, and that no other problems had appeared.

    The latest medical bulletin said that the course of Mr. Papandreou's health was developing well, and that he continues to undergo respiratory physiotherapy and kinesiotherapy.

    Clinical and laboratory results will be discussed by the doctors next week, after which there is a possibility they will set a date for Mr. Papandreou's discharge from hospital.

    [16] Italy's Bertolucci to visit Athens

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Internationally renowned director Bernardo Bertolucci is due to arrive in Athens early next month to share his views with a Greek audience over the future of film-making towards the end of the century. The Italian director, known as the "last emperor" of Italian cinema, will visit Athens at the invitation of Marianna Latsi, daughter of the Greek shipping tycoon, Ioannis Latsis. His lecture is part of events organized by the Latsis Group.

    [17] Commission discussion on Danish claim to 'feta' postponed

    Brussels, 22/02/1996 (ANA - P.Pantelis)

    A discussion on protecting the name of Greek feta cheese, set for yesterday's weekly European Commission session, was postponed at Denmark's request.

    Denmark had raised the issue, questioning the exclusiveness of the name of Greek feta. Denmark does not produce "feta" cheese with sheep's milk, as is the case with the Greek product, but with cows' milk and bleaching additives.

    Greek arguments are backed by Commissioner Christos Papoutsis and Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler. The European Commission's legal department does not support Denmark's arguments and the majority of commissioners are expected to show support for Greek feta.

    With this prospect in sight, Danish Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard requested a postponement of the discussion for a future Commission session.

    Denmark, according to knowledgeable sources, is not expected to insist on questioning the name of Greek feta in Community markets, but will propose being allowed to use the name "Danish feta" or something similar for its exports to third countries.

    The Commission's legal department will examine Denmark's request, but the relevant decision will be taken by the Council of Ministers.

    [18] Greek industry flagging in export activities, study says

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Greek industry has maintained its traditional character but is flagging in export activities, according to the Export Research and Studies Center's (KEEM) new study entitled "The export yields of Greek industry".

    The study focuses on an examination of industrial exports at sector level over the 1961-1992 period, in conjunction with the principal defining factors such as competitiveness, investments and productivity.

    Exports in the processing sector show increase rates which are even lower than the average increase rate of Greek exports in their entirety.

    The exports of products belonging to traditional sectors-foodstuffs, tobacco industry, textiles, footwear and clothing-represent two-thirds of total exports.

    Traditional sectors in Greek industry are considered as being of a "high export yield" on the basis of the average export increase rate for the 1980-1992 period.

    [19] SEB president's statements

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Referring to the crisis in the Aegean, Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Jason Stratos said the market had kept its calm, adding that he hoped the problem would be resolved favorably for the country.

    On the question of a statement by the governor of the Bank of Greece on the need to strictly observe economic policy, Mr. Stratos said it was in the right direction since fiscal policy had not improved to such a degree as to allow a less stringent monetary policy.

    In another development, SEB announced that apart from internal restructuring and briefing its members on the challenges of the future, it had gone ahead with developing new services to cover the needs of its business members in relation to the above.

    [20] Romanian delegation visits Athens

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    A Romanian delegation composed of members of the Romanian Standardization Organization's administration Dan Viorel Petrov, Ovidiu Sever Popa and Gabriela Rontika Hrin arrived in Greece in the framework of co-operation with the Hellenic Organization for Standardization (ELOT).

    ELOT is cooperating with standardization organizations of such eastern countries as Bulgaria, Armenia and Albania and constitutes a link between these organizations and European standardization organizations.

    An Inter-Balkan Standardization Conference is expected to take place in the autumn of 1996 as part of this effort.

    [21] Train blast a terrorist attack, Thessaloniki police say

    Athens, 22/02/1996 (ANA)

    Thessaloniki's police chief said last night that a powerful explosion which destroyed an empty passenger coach yesterday afternoon in Thessaloniki's train station was a terrorist attack.

    No injuries were reported. The train was approximately 350 meters from the main passenger terminal when the blast occurred. The area was immediately sealed off by anti-terrorist police.

    Thessaloniki chief of police Ioannis Karakontinos told a press conference last night that the explosion was definitely caused by a bomb and that police and the anti-terrorist unit were checking the identity of the roughly 50 passengers who had been traveling on the train's four carriages.

    The help of Bulgarian authorities and of Interpol has also been requested.

    Initially, police had also investigated the possibility that the blast had been planned to divert attention from a possible drug delivery on the train.

    The 7633 train had left the northern Greek town of Serres at 11:30 yesterday morning with two carriages. Two more carriages, which had arrived from Bulgaria, were added at the Strymonas railway station at 12:55. The explosion occurred on one of these two carriages at 5:30pm in the area where they had been taken for cleaning after their arrival in Thessaloniki.

    A police statement issued last night stated the explosive device was placed in the carriage's toilet.

    End of English language section.

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