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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-05-23

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1193), May 23, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece, Romania stress importance of further improving already close relations
  • [02] Pangalos-Severin meeting
  • [03] Karamanlis sharply criticizes Gov't over contacts with Ankara
  • [04] Pangalos-Ciller meeting in Portugal
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos visit to Yugoslavia focuses on securing peace, stability in region
  • [06] UN's Annan to meet with Kranidiotis next Tuesday
  • [07] Burns expected to be named US envoy to Greece
  • [08] Simitis meets with US ambassador Niles
  • [09] Greek, Turkish business conference
  • [10] Appeals court acquits Faikoglou
  • [11] Austria reiterates support for Cyprus accession talks 6 months after IGC
  • [12] Cultural Affairs
  • [13] ANA to organize seminar for Mediterranean news agencies
  • [14] NATO committee visits First Army headquarters
  • [15] Policeman implicated in shooting death of colleague at consulate charged
  • [16] EU laws stiffen on illegal imports of endangered species
  • [17] Fischler cites Commission revisions on wheat, milk, beef by July
  • [18] First National Bank branch in Sofia
  • [19] Labor ministry says OECD, IMF conclusions don't translate into Gov't policy
  • [20] GSEE on 'social dialogue'
  • [21] EIB to fund new 4.3 billion marine environment control system
  • [22] SMEs' union to offer new services
  • [23] Cosmote begins operation December 1
  • [24] Government begs to differ from IMF on economic policy
  • [25] SEB welcomes IMF report
  • [26] Finance ministry meeting on revenues, social dialogue
  • [27] Greek Romanian insurance company launched

  • [01] Greece, Romania stress importance of further improving already close relations

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    The presidents of Greece and Romania, Kostis Stephanopoulos and Emil Constantinescu, yesterday underlined the political will of the two countries to further broaden their already close relations, particularly in the economic sector. The aim, they said, is to promote the two countries' "strategic co-operation" in the Balkans and serve as "an axis of stability in our turbulent world".

    Mr. Constantinescu, who is on an official three-day visit to Greece, had talks yesterday with Mr. Stephanopoulos on bilateral relations and the situation in the Balkans.

    He later met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis at the premier's office during which bilateral relations, primarily in the economic sector, were discussed, along with developments in the Balkans and Romania's desire to be incorporated in Euro-Atlantic structures.

    Earlier, Mr. Stephanopoulos briefed his Romanian counterpart on Greece's national issues and reaffirmed Athens' support for Romania's efforts to join the European Union and NATO.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos, who visited Bucharest in November 1995, accepted a new invitation from Mr. Constantinescu to visit Romania.

    In statements to reporters in the presence of the Greek and Romanian foreign ministers of the two countries, Theodoros Pangalos and Adrian Severin, respectively, Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed that Athens attached great importance to its relations with Bucharest, noting also that there was room for further improvement.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos in particular referred to possibilities in the economic and cultural sectors, especially in view of Mr. Consantinescu's proposal for the establishment of cultural centers and university training centers.

    His proposal will be discussed by delegations of the two countries which will meet in Athens.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also noted the excellent co-operation between Greece and Romania on all occasions when their presence was required in the Balkans, referring in particular to Bosnia and Albania. Reaffirming Greece's support for Romania's bid to join NATO in the first phase of the alliance's expansion to the countries of central Europe, Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed that Bucharest "has every right and all the prerequisites" for membership.

    Greece, he added, will exercise all possible influence in this direction. Mr. Constantinescu underlined the traditional ties of friendship and co-operation between the two countries, adding that "it is our duty to find new ways and new solutions in order to give another dimension to these relations within the framework of the new European structure".

    In addition, Mr. Constantinescu said he had discussed with Mr. Stephanopoulos the need to find "new forms" of economic co-operation in order to "make optimum use of the dynamism" of the two countries' economies.

    Thanking Mr. Stephanopoulos for Greece's support for Romania's bid to join NATO and the EU, Mr. Constantinescu remarked that "a friend in need is a friend indeed".

    Mr. Constantinescu also spoke of the need for "strategic co-operation between the two countries in the Balkans", saying such co-operation could be based on the joint position for the safeguarding of democratic values and collaboration in the economic sector.

    In a related issue, Mr. Constantinescu extended an invitation to main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis for an official visit to Romania, during their meeting last night.

    Mr. Karamanlis accepted the invitation, and said he had "a very interesting discussion" with the Romanian president, which revealed "how close the two countries are, how many possibilities for co-operation there are on all levels and in the direction of stabilizing the difficult region of southeastern Europe."

    The ND leader also noted the possibilities for co-operation in the economic, commercial and political sectors. In the afternoon, the Romanian President attended a special ceremony held in his honor at the Athens Polytechnic.

    Mr. Constantinescu said co-operation between the Athens Polytechnic and Romanian universities should be further strengthened.

    The Romanian president was awarded the gold medal of the Athens Polytechnic by its rector, Nikos Markatos.

    [02] Pangalos-Severin meeting

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday met with his Romanian counterpart Andrei Severin, who was accompanying Romanian President Emil Constantinescu on his visit to Athens, and signed a co-operation memorandum between the two ministries.

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Pangalos said he discussed issues not broached in the meeting between the two presidents, such as development of the intergovernmental conference and reinforcement of co-operation between the two foreign ministries. Discussions included a proposed road axis due to be built in order to connect northern with southern Europe.

    Mr. Pangalos reiterated that Greece will support Romania's efforts to begin entry negotiations with the European Union. He added that a decision has been taken for closer co-operation between the two foreign ministries, which will include the regular briefing of Romanian officials regarding EU developments.

    On his part, Mr. Severin underlined the good relations between the two countries and stressed their responsibility towards safeguarding stability and peace in southeastern Europe and the Balkans.

    The Romanian foreign minister thanked Greece for its support regarding Romania's bid to enter NATO and European organizations, and noted his country's interest in the development of the road axis.

    [03] Karamanlis sharply criticizes Gov't over contacts with Ankara

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis lashed out against the government yesterday, saying it was ignoring some of the conditions that Greek governments had traditionally demanded for any type of dialogue with Ankara.

    The main opposition leader was addressing ND's Parliamentary group meeting.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that the dialogue with Ankara had not been properly prepared and that the conditions for it had not been defined.

    "We are faced with the danger of being led to decisions that will be against our country," he said.

    "This might incite tension between the two countries, possibly leading to crisis," he said, stressing the "major structural problems" which are currently facing the Turkish government.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that internal party developments in ruling PASOK had an impact on Greek-Turkish relations, adding that New Democracy, which he called a credible party, was in a position to intervene and give necessary solutions.

    Turning to domestic issues, Mr. Karamanlis said that in the past 16 years the economy had declined, with the exception of three years of ND's government between 1990-93.

    Urging structural changes, he said that the recent International Monetary Fund report on the Greek economy had vindicated his projections.

    Citing the findings of the IMF report, Mr. Karamanlis put forward a series of measures including cuts in taxation and public spending, reforms in the public sector and privatizations.

    "The government," he said, "does not have a cohesive economic policy. Instead, it has a good communications tactic."

    Mr. Karamanlis said his party both desired and supported social dialogue, "as long as it is constant, lasting and based on trust between the state and social partners. The state has a duty for social welfare," he said.

    Turning to the education system, he accused the government of making attempts over the past four years to cancel a series of reforms which had been introduced by ND.

    Commenting on other issues, Mr. Karamanlis said the government was lacking a cohesive policy in the issue of local government, adding that it would be inconceivable to proceed with a forced merger of local communities without taking into consideration the opinion of citizens.

    "As a party, we have shown timidity instead of supporting our ideas, proposals, positions and views regarding the local self-administration institution. Now it is time to do it," he said.

    Turning to internal party issues, Mr. Karamanlis announced his intention for party restructuring with the aim to show the difference between the ruling PASOK and the main opposition New Democracy parties.

    "It must be shown that we are not the same, that the course which the country is now following is due to fact that PASOK remains unchanged," he said.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that ND restructuring also aimed at attracting members who enjoy the wide approval of their local communities, while expressing hope that the current debt of 6.3 billion drachmas would soon be covered.

    In a related development, a new bylaw on the party's operation was passed, allowing the party's central committee to be convened if a third of its members make such a request.

    [04] Pangalos-Ciller meeting in Portugal

    Istanbul, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart Tansu Ciller on the sidelines of a NATO conference due to be held in Portugal next week.

    According to diplomatic sources, Ms Ciller is also due to meet with her Russian counterpart Yevgeni Primakov.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos visit to Yugoslavia focuses on securing peace, stability in region

    Belgrade, 23/5/1997 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday concluded a two-day working visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia focusing on the creation of preconditions for securing peace, stability and security in the region with coordinated efforts by Greece and Yugoslavia.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos visited the country at the invitation of his Yugoslav counterpart Pavle Bulatovic.

    The two men also discussed bilateral issues with emphasis on co-operation in the military, political and economic sectors.

    Besides talks with Mr. Bulatovic, the Greek minister met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic, among others.

    A framework was defined for future co-operation between the economic sectors of Yugoslavia and Greece which are engaged in the manufacture of weaponry systems, exchange of information in the scientific field, creation of preconditions for training Yugoslav military cadres and vice-versa, as well as participation of experts from both countries in planning and manufacturing new weaponry systems.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed the need for safeguarding equal terms for Yugoslavia's participation in European organizations without discriminations against this country.

    He also referred to his proposal for a meeting of Balkan country defense ministers, explaining that it will be aimed at coordinating Balkan countries in tackling problems currently faced in the region.

    Mr. Bulatovic said that with this visit and the creation of the future co-operation framework preconditions are being created for mutually beneficial co-operation.

    Replying to questions from Greek reporters, Mr. Bulatovic confirmed in public for the first time Yugoslavia's interest to join NATO in the future.

    "This issue is not a taboo issue for Yugoslavia," Mr. Bulatovic said, adding that the issue is not ranked among Yugoslavia's priorities since its priority is accession to other international organizations.

    He said that to this end debates should be held in the Parliaments of the two republics comprising the Yugoslav Federation and that both the positive and negative side of this accession should be analyzed.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also met with the Serb Patriarch Pavle before returning to Greece.

    [06] UN's Annan to meet with Kranidiotis next Tuesday

    United Nations, 23/5/1997 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan is to meet with Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis here next Tuesday, a secretary general's spokesman announced yesterday.

    Replying to questions, the spokesman said UN Assistant Secretary General Kieren Prendergast is expected to return to New York after his tour of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and will brief Mr. Annan on his meetings.

    [07] Burns expected to be named US envoy to Greece

    Washington, 23/5/1997 (Reuter/ANA/T. Ellis)

    State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns is expected to be named ambassador to Greece, administration officials said on Thursday.

    Mr. Burns, 41, was being considered for ambassador to the Czech Republic but that posting was not going to be open until 1998 while the Greece posting is available later this summer, the officials said.

    One source said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had pushed hard for Mr. Burns' appointment to Athens. She has said that trying to resolve the dispute between Greece and Turkey - two NATO allies - about Cyprus is among the regional problems she wants to focus on.

    If Mr. Burns' appointment is approved by the US Senate he will replace outgoing ambassador Thomas Niles.

    Mr. Burns has been State Department spokesman since January 1995. He was appointed by then Secretary of State Warren Christopher and has been serving Ms Albright temporarily until she names a permanent spokesman, expected to be James Rubin, one of her closest aides.

    Before his appointment as spokesman, Mr. Burns, a career diplomat, was senior adviser at the National Security Council on Russia and other ex-Soviet states.

    As a diplomat, Mr. Burns has served in Cairo and the American consulate in Jerusalem.

    He received a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a master's degree from the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He speaks French and Arabic. He is married and the father of three daughters.

    [08] Simitis meets with US ambassador Niles

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met yesterday with US Ambassador in Greece Thomas Niles as part of the premier's "routine contacts" with foreign envoys, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    Mr. Reppas, who is scheduled to meet with Mr. Niles today, meanwhile expressed the government's total disagreement with a recent State Department report which contained criticism of the Greek press.

    "In Greece, freedom of the press is respected and we must promote it," Mr. Reppas said, adding that the State Department report contained "false information".

    "Journalism in Greece is exercised in a responsible manner and any problems that may exist do not entitle anyone to make judgments of the type contained in the State Department report," the spokesman said.

    [09] Greek, Turkish business conference

    Istanbul, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    According to an Anatolian News Agency dispatch from Nicosia, Turkish, Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen are to meet here on Sunday at the initiative of entrepreneur and Greek-Turkish Co-operation Commission deputy chairman Sarik Tara.

    The meeting will be attended by the Chairman of the Chamber of Industry Eren Ertan, Chairman of the Union of Turkish Industrialists Yavuz Zeytinoglu and well-known Turkish industrialist Rahmi Koc.

    The tripartite meeting will be followed by the third conference of the Turkish committee for Greek-Turkish Business Co-operation with the Association of Young Greek Businessmen.

    Meanwhile, an ANA dispatch from the island of Lesvos yesterday reported that prominent personalities from Izmir and other western Turkish cities set up an Association of Greek-Turkish Friendship, with Izmir University professor Ekrem Akurgal being elected chairman.

    [10] Appeals court acquits Faikoglou

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    A Larisa appeals court yesterday overturned a 12-month sentence on former Xanthi deputy Ahmet Faikoglou, handed down in February for "spreading false information " during his election campaign in 1990.

    Mr. Faikoglou was alleged to have stated during a pre-election speech that "Thrace was Turkish", and that Greece's borders ended at the Nestos River, east of Kavala.

    He was acquitted on the grounds of reasonable doubt.

    [11] Austria reiterates support for Cyprus accession talks 6 months after IGC

    Vienna, 23/5/1997 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel and Under-secretary Benita Ferrero-Waldner yesterday assured visiting Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou of their country's continued support for a n EU decision to begin accession negotiations with Cyprus six months after the end of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    Mr. Papandreou briefed his Austrian interlocutors on the latest developments in Greek-Turkish affairs, reiterating the basic principles on which Greece bases its relations with Turkey, namely, the non-use or threat to use violence, recognition of international treaties and a mechanism for settling disputes through the International Court at The Hague.

    Discussions also included the basic conditions for a greater rapprochement between Turkey and the EU, which were set out in a common position last July 15.

    Austria's leadership also expressed its willingness to offer its good offices for a solution of the Cyprus problem, possibly by hosting direct talks between the leaders of the two communities on the island, President Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash.

    He said such a meeting in Vienna was very likely, if direct talks are agreed on.

    During discussion of the IGC, an extensive similarity of views was ascertained on many issues, such as the social protocol, employment, environment, human rights, equality of the sexes, etc.

    Mr. Papandreou noted that there are issues of particular interest to each of the two countries. Austria, he said, supports greater in-depth consideration of environmental and subsidiarity issues. Greece, on the other hand, he added, has its own special concerns, such as the islands, territorial integrity and its merchant navy. He said he tried to impress upon his interlocutors the problems which the islands have, so that they may be included in the IGC.

    Finally, he added his belief that Austria and Greece will work together, at experts level, on a number of issues, including EU enlargement.

    [12] Cultural Affairs

    Vienna, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Mr. Papandreou also met with the Minister for European, Cultural and Sports Affairs, Peter Witmann, where the discussion included the setting up of a branch of the Hellenic Culture Foundation in Vienna.

    Athens intends to utilize the opportunity of the Austrian presidency of the EU next year coinciding with the 200th anniversary of the execution, by Ottoman authorities, of Rigas Feraios, the visionary of a grand Balkan federation free of Ottoman rule, in order to organize special events on the historical personality. The Austrian side expressed a willingness to provide its assistance in that respect.

    Mr. Witmann also adopted a positive stand to Mr. Papandreou's proposal for the inclusion of a special article regarding the Olympic ideal in the revised treaty of Maastricht.

    [13] ANA to organize seminar for Mediterranean news agencies

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    The Athens News Agency (ANA) will organize a seminar on May 31 and June 1 entitled "National News Agencies in the New Communications Era" in the framework of the Mediterranean News Agencies Alliance.

    The seminar will be attended by presidents, general directors and other senior officials from the national news agencies of Mediterranean countries. Specifically, the national agencies of Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Albania, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

    Speakers include university communications professors, journalists, senior officials of international and European news agencies and telecommunications organization representatives.

    The seminar will be sponsored by the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and the subsidiary OTENET.

    [14] NATO committee visits First Army headquarters

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    A NATO military budget committee yesterday visited installations and infrastructure projects at the land forces headquarters of the alliance near Tyrnavos, as well as the First Army headquarters in Larisa, central Greece.

    [15] Policeman implicated in shooting death of colleague at consulate charged

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Twenty-six year old policeman Dimitris Tzavelas, who had reportedly admitted to accidentally shooting to death fellow officer Nikos Markakis, the chief of security at the Greek consulate of Gjirokaster, was charged with manslaughter and illegal weapons use.

    He was taken by helicopter from Ioannina to Athens yesterday, under strict security.

    Authorities who questioned the man for three-and-a-half hours before his transport made no statements, and neither did the Greek Consul at the Albanian town, Nikos Kanellos.

    According to reports, he has since denied all charges against him.

    Sources said, however, that Tzavelas claimed that he had fired the gun accidentally during horseplay on Tuesday. Nevertheless, an ANA dispatch from Gjirokaster said this possibility is not considered as the most likely, as witnesses said that shortly after the shooting the policeman ran out of the building, asking individuals waiting to obtain visas who had fired a gun. He then accompanied his fatally injured colleague to Ioannina Hospital.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday defended his statement on Tuesday during a press briefing that the death was the result of Markakis' own gun being accidentally fired.

    "We said what we had to say on the basis of the available evidence at the time," he said, adding that the investigation will clear up the matter.

    Tzavelas is scheduled to appear before an investigating magistrate today.

    [16] EU laws stiffen on illegal imports of endangered species

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    The illegal import of endangered species of animals and plants into European Union countries will be punishable even by imprisonment, since as of June 1 new EU legislation will take effect.

    According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announcement, the world wildlife trade yields billions of dollars every year. This trade, at a percentage of at least 25 per cent, is illegal because it primarily concerns products from endangered species such as rhino horns, furs from feline species, reptile skins, ivory and many species of animals and plants.

    The new legislation is taking effect only a few days before the 10th conference of the 136 countries participating in the agreement on the International Trade of Endangered Fauna and Flora Wildlife.

    [17] Fischler cites Commission revisions on wheat, milk, beef by July

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler revealed here yesterday that the Commission will have prepared a proposal by July for a revision of arrangements governing the wheat, milk and beef markets.

    Mr. Fischler was replying to reporters' questions at a press conference after talks with Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and representatives of agencies involved in the olive oil market.

    The Commissioner underlined that by the year 2000, the European Union would have huge stocks of beef, milk and butter.

    "If the issue is not resolved, the EU will find itself in an impasse," Mr. Fischler said.

    He added that the Commission's aim was not to give subsidies for a particular tree, in this case the olive tree, but to assist producers of olive oil, particularly high quality oil.

    Mr. Fischler clarified that any revision of arrangements governing olive oil would not harm the interests of small-scale Greek producers. "Olive oil production also has a cultural background which cannot be ignored," he said.

    Mr. Tzoumakas said Greece insisted on the five points it has set out concerning the rehabilitation of the olive oil sector while protecting product quality and the income of producers.

    "On two or three points," Mr. Tzoumakas said, "our positions coincide with those of the Commission."

    [18] First National Bank branch in Sofia

    Sofia, 23/5/1997 (ANA - N. Hios)

    The National Bank of Greece yesterday officially opened its first branch here.

    Speaking during the opening ceremony, the bank's governor Theodoros Karatzas said the conditions in Bulgaria are mature for significant changes.

    "Already, a favorable climate is developing, which will contribute to the attraction of investors, the development of the economy, the modernization of institutions and finally, the prosperity of the Bulgarian people," he said.

    National Bank, in co-operation with its subsidiary investment bank ETEBA and the specialized unit NBG International intend to contribute to the effort wherever needed, with domestic and international credit and financial institutions.

    "We will act in parallel with the economic decisions of the Bulgarian government at the time, based on the will of the Bulgarian people," Mr. Karatzas said during a press conference later.

    "We will contribute in order for the Bulgarian economy to obtain those characteristics which will help it become a member of the European Union," he added.

    He stressed the importance of the bank's presence in Sofia, Bucharest and Tirana, while he said new branches may be opened in Skopje or Belgrade.

    "With our presence in the large financial centers of the world, we believe we can contribute to the connection of the Balkan markets with the international markets," Mr. Karatzas noted.

    [19] Labor ministry says OECD, IMF conclusions don't translate into Gov't policy

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    The leadership of the labor and social insurance ministry reiterated its position yesterday that reports appearing as conclusions from OECD and IMF reports and made public on Wednesday do not reflect the government's intentions on the pensions issue and labor relations.

    Arriving at the conference on the European ADAPT program, Labor Minister Miltiades Papaioannou said reports are repeated every year but policy is judged at the level of decisions. He said the government is committed on certain issues and has started the dialogue process.

    Labor Under-secretary Christos Protopapas said measures such as increasing the pensioning age limit, deregulating dismissals and decreasing severance pay together with decreasing working hours are not in the government's intentions.

    Meanwhile, the Community's ADAPT program, an intervention in training programs for tackling industrial restructuring problems, began in Athens yesterday. In the framework of the ADAPT program, 1400 programs are being funded throughout the EU, 115 of which are in Greece, while 400 more funding proposals have been submitted for Greece.

    [20] GSEE on 'social dialogue'

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece's (GSEE) executive committee issued a resolution yesterday saying that "GSEE is turning up for (social) dialogue without illusions with the intention of setting out the trade union movement's proposals, seeking solutions to the major claims of working people and clashing with whatever policies are manifested against labor."

    GSEE has shaped a "readiness" program in view of the dialogue, while all administration members of Athens federations and unions will gather on May 31, GSEE's general council will convene in June and the executive committee is authorized to call a strike in autumn.

    Referring to Wednesday's "leaking" of OECD and IMF reports, GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos said the "bombardment of public opinion" should stop immediately with reports paving the ground for measures against working people. He said "social dialogue" must focus on the redistribution of income and an end to 10-year austerity, otherwise GSEE will be obliged to toughen its position.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos left the ADAPT conference yesterday, apparently annoyed because he was not included in a list of speakers.

    [21] EIB to fund new 4.3 billion marine environment control system

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas yesterday signed a draft agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a 4.3 billion drachma program providing for the installation of a marine environment control system. The "Poseidon" program is being 85 per cent funded by the Financing Mechanism of the European Financial Area countries (former European Free Trade Association). Under the program, a marine environment control system will be installed for the seas around Greece , namely the Aegean, Ionian and Libyan.

    The three seas have long served as natural crossroads for sea transport from the Black Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East (via the Suez Canal) and the Adriatic.

    It is hoped that the data collected during the implementation of the program will help avert ecological disasters in the marine environment.

    The program is also expected to result in significant benefits for the Greek economy, particularly for fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, marine transport and other sectors.

    [22] SMEs' union to offer new services

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek branch of the European Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) union, EMSU-HELLAS, yesterday publicized the new services offered to its members.

    Within the framework of its expansion, the union will brief SMEs on EU funding programs and on issues of Community law, technical descriptions for products and publication of state contracts in EU member-countries.

    It will also provide consultancy services for issues of investment, marketing and communications and will contribute to the development of co-operation on a European and international level. For more information, contact the EMSU-HELLAS offices in Athens , tel. 32.27.070 and 32.53.335.

    [23] Cosmote begins operation December 1

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Cosmote, a mobile phone subsidiary of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), will launch a pilot operation program on August 1 and start full operations on December 1, initially servicing 60 percent of the country.

    OTE chairman Demetrios Papoulias and chief executive Petros Lambrou said after signing a contract with Norwegian mobile telecommunications operator Telenor that the firm will outpace competition and impress Greek users with its services.

    The investment totaled 84 billion drachmas in fixed prices, or 96 billion drachmas at current rates. Telenor paid 26 billion drachmas to acquire 30 percent of Cosmote.

    OTE's chief executive said that the company had found an experienced partner in order to compete the two other mobile phone companies already operating in Greece (Telestet and Panafon). He added that Cosmote aimed at expanding its operations through partnerships in other countries.

    Telenor covers 70 percent of the mobile phone market in Norway.

    Transport and Communications Minister Haris Kastanidis told Parliament OTE would present its first mobile phone at Thessaloniki's international trade fair in September.

    [24] Government begs to differ from IMF on economic policy

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that a report by the International Monetary Fund on the Greek economy did not reflect the government's positions on the issue.

    Mr. Reppas added that the contents of the report released on Wednesday were not recommendations or suggestions but merely the expression of views that had no influence on the economic policy of the government.

    The IMF and the government had different views on the country's economic policy, he said, noting that the government's policies aimed at development, strengthening competitiveness and improving the income of Greek citizens in order to achieve better living standards.

    Mr. Reppas also said that the government's policy represented a middle way, and was moving in the right direction.

    [25] SEB welcomes IMF report

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    An International Monetary Fund report on the Greek economy stresses the need for the rationalization of the broader public sector and the liberalization of markets, Iason Stratos, chairman of the Union of Greek Industries (SEB), said.

    Mr. Stratos said that the report, released on Wednesday, coincides with debate on a more flexible labor market in Greece.

    He noted that changes urged by the IMF, statements by the government, and the line taken by the main opposition New Democracy party show that there are no objections to the implementation of such policies.

    [26] Finance ministry meeting on revenues, social dialogue

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou chaired a meeting of ministry officials and discussed tax inflows along with other operational and administrative issues. The meeting, attended by Finance Under-secretary George Drys, also reviewed a project for automation of the tax collection agency and operation of the financial crime squad.

    Mr. Papantoniou later chaired a meeting on the course of a social dialogue initiated by the government aiming at reform of social insurance and labor policies. Attending the meeting were Labor Minister Miltiades Papaioannou, Labor Under-secretary Christos Protopappas and the economic adviser to the prime minister, Tasos Yiannitsis.

    [27] Greek Romanian insurance company launched

    Athens, 23/5/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's National Insurance will launch a new insurance company in Romania with four Romanian firms and the World Bank.

    National Insurance will hold the majority stake in the Hellenic Romanian Insurance Company with local partners Bancpost, which is Romania's fourth largest bank, Romanian Telecommunications Organization, Romanian Post, and Romanian Radio.

    The World Bank will hold a 10 percent stake. Miltiadis Nektarios, managing director of National Insurance, will head the new company and expects the first insurance contracts to be issued before summer.

    End of English language section.


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