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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 97-06-21

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1217), June 21, 1997

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Simitis says Greece shouldn't ease efforts for European unification
  • [02] V. Papandreou
  • [03] Opposition
  • [04] Gov't comments on Pentagon statement referring to Imia
  • [05] Ankara pleased with Bacon retraction
  • [06] Tsohatzopoulos: Imia issue non-negotiable
  • [07] Cabinet briefed on Amsterdam summit
  • [08] Mitsotakis welcomes result of Amsterdam
  • [09] New Greek judge at European Court
  • [10] Papandreou to be remembered at Athens Concert Hall function
  • [11] Elefsina Shipyards sold to Tavoularis group
  • [12] 'Treasures of Mount Athos' opens today in Thessaloniki
  • [13] Avramopoulos in Moscow for mayors' summit
  • [14] Patriarch of Alexandria to arrive in Greece next week
  • [15] New armored vehicles for Greek troops in Albania
  • [16] New Consul General in Albania
  • [17] Mass murderer given five life sentences
  • [18] Sixth Panhellenic journalists' conference opens on Samothrace
  • [19] Olympic Catering to begin procedures for entrance into bourse
  • [20] Greek March retail sales slip 0.3 pct in volume yr/yr
  • [21] Equities slump 2.78 pct in brisk sell-off
  • [22] Greek Aktor engineering contractor sees Dr 3 bln profit in 97
  • [23] World forum for smaller firms starts in Piraeus next week
  • [24] Greek Petzetakis plastic pipes maker sees sales up 25 pct
  • [25] Commercial Bank of Greece signs sale pact for Attica Bank
  • [26] Thessaloniki hosts regional meeting on social dialogue

  • [01] Simitis says Greece shouldn't ease efforts for European unification

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's equal participation in European unification is its unique great opportunity, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said during the ruling PASOK party's central committee conference on development yesterday.

    He warned, however, that the "encouraging" changes in Europe, which he referred to as "a new socialist spring", must not create the illusion of a relaxation in economic policy, but on the contrary, there must be a new impetus for the attainment of Greece's permanent national objectives.

    "Greece will be judged on this count, and must achieve its aims on its own" because no one else will do it for the country. He stressed that the issue is not of a narrow economic character, but also concerns our national front due to Turkey's aggressive policy.

    Referring to European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the prime minister said it should not be viewed as a supreme and indisputable goal, stressing that there is a cost of adjustment, but also that non-participation in EMU within a fixed deadline will mean monetary instability, higher interest rates, restriction of EU subsidies and ultimately, a drop in living standards.

    "Our efforts until 1999 must be expressed on two major policy levels: First, on fiscal recovery, whose attainment necessitates an intensification of the fight against tax evasion and social security contributions evasion, as well as waste by the state; and secondly, on the incomes and prices policies," he said.

    "The basic direction of this effort must be development at state level, but also at the level of investment and productive restructuring. The state must function as a headquarters and a mechanism which sets and controls arrangements, the social organization of the economy so that the benefits of growth are not only distributed through the market," he added.

    Mr. Simitis focused structural policy on three main axes: First, the restructuring of a very broad field of services, such as the financial and credit system, transport, energy, telecommunication, education etc.

    Secondly, a reorganization of the agricultural sector, and thirdly, issues concerning the labor market and the social insurance system. In all countries, efforts have been initiated in these sectors to set new rules, he said.

    Referring to the case of 6,000 employees of the Public Power Corp. (DEH) which he had layed-off as surplus manpower while industry minister, but the courts reinstated, he said the judges were accountable, "a whole mentality is accountable".

    The prime minister described the government-initiated social dialogue on economic and labor issues as a decisive development lever for the country. Citing as examples the relevant agreement reached in Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Ireland, he said that social dialogue constitutes the culmination of the process of integration of political institutions, a culmination of consensus procedures and the securing of development and social cohesion.

    [02] V. Papandreou

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    On her part, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou defended the government's economic policy as being the sole realistic solution under the existing circumstances in her speech at the conference.

    Ms Papandreou, who was the main speaker at the development conference, criticized those individuals who propose "antiquated policies" as being progressive, giving as an example the operation of ineffective public organizations, the maintenance of the present inelastic status in the labor market, opposition to an increase in the competitiveness of Greek enterprises, etc.

    She said a modern party of democratic socialism such as PASOK must, instead of relying on the role of a mere administrator of crises, pursue the strategic target of "development with social justice for a strong Greece."

    Ms Papandreou said a basic political tool to this end is social dialogue, with the government's target being to conclude a "new social contract", which will mutually commit all of the country's healthy productive forces and political forces. She said the dialogue process "must be concluded in an absolutely democratic and effective way."

    She called on PASOK and the government to grapple with the so-called inter-related interests, economic, political and mass media. She further said efforts made by her party in this direction so far are inadequate and called for further skepticism and the taking of decisions at a special central committee session after the issue is discussed at length.

    Ms Papandreou called on Greek businessmen "to intensify rates of increasing investments and to sacrifice part of their short-term profits", on working people "to abandon the logic of maintaining union-vested interests at all costs, which merely contribute towards the maintenance of social injustices and discriminations" and on the state "to abandon once and for all the role of administrator of clientele relations."

    She said the issue of development is a "problem of policy and ideology" and not technocratic and insisted that "the sole path to consolidate the incomes of citizens is to what degree the economy is competitive" and with whatever this entails from the point of view of measures which must be taken afterwards.

    Any proposal, she added, which does not focus on "an increase in productivity per capita" is "histori-cally antiquated and deadlocked" since, as she said, "only a competitive economy, both in the private and public sectors, serves the target of social justice."

    "Combating deficits and inflation, as well as a decrease in the public debt, are the sole options of economic policy which support the interests of the underprivileged and, therefore, even if Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was not on the horizon our policy would again have to lead to the same results," she said.

    Ms Papandreou said "those who benefit from the big deficits is ultimately big capital" and that "such a policy (of deficits) cannot be proposed as being progressive. It is exactly the opposite."

    In her speech, she also strongly criticized neo-conservative developmental logic, terming it "socially and morally unacceptable" and adding that it is a "model by which the powerful prevails and the weak is wiped out" and which is also "economically counter-productive."

    Referring to the state intervention model, she said "it has been rejected in practice now" and nurses "corruption and negative productivity."

    In this context, she criticized civil servants, who "having secured permanent status for remuneration and employment are indifferent about the object of their work and the citizen."

    Ms Papandreou expressed support for the larger participation of private capital in public enterprises (through privatization or the creation of mixed subsidiaries) as well as for a turn of a part of major defense expenditures towards local industry.

    [03] Opposition

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Commenting on the prime minister's reference to his attempt to dismiss the DEH employees, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said "the first and most basic rule of a rightful administration is respect for the decisions of justice. What Mr. Simitis said constitutes an affront to justice".

    The Communist Party of Greece commented that "the popular resistance to the reactionary policy of the government and the European Union will grow whatever they do. The popular counter-attack will become a reality". Political Spring party leader Antonis Samaras said "Mr. Simitis' government must at last realize that its policy of merciless austerity has destroyed the Greek economy".

    [04] Gov't comments on Pentagon statement referring to Imia

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    The government yesterday described as "quite significant" a statement by a US Pentagon spokesman that Washington considered the Imia islets as being within Greece's sovereignty.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas noted, however, that since 1996, when Turkey first began disputing the sovereignty of the islets, the US had issued maps designating Imia also by its Turkish name, Kardak - although at one time Ankara had also proposed the name Ikince.

    Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon on Thursday verified the existence of an official nautical map issued by a US federal cartographic service showing the Imia islets as Greek territory.

    "It's a fact that there was a new map issued at the end of 1996 clearly showing the island within Greece's sovereignty, as it always was. It's a nautical map for mariners and it's available to the public," he said, stressing that anyone can check and verify that the islet is depicted as under Greek sovereignty.

    A few hours later, however, Mr. Bacon seemed to retract his statements, reverting to a stance according to which the sovereignty of the Imia islets is supposedly "in dispute".

    "During yesterday's briefing I mistakenly said that the Aegean islet of Imia is under Greek sovereignty," Mr. Bacon said in a written statement.

    "In reality, the sovereignty of the island is under dispute between Greece and Turkey. It is a standing position of the United States to take no position on conflicting claims of sovereignty or border disputes between other countries" Mr. Bacon added.

    "If a problem was created," Mr. Reppas said, "it was certainly not created for the Greek government." He added that Athens had already proposed the utilization of international procedures (i.e. International Court at The Hague), through which "anyone can put forward their arguments about whether Imia is Greek or not".

    "But they will not achieve anything," the spokesman added.

    Washington's position, he continued, appears to be that when there is a dispute, the US government does not wish to make its position known, even if it has a position. Mr. Reppas said that while Greece did not expect third parties to solve its problems, it did expect from the US, other governments and international organizations assistance and support in making use of international procedures.

    "To a great extent Greece does have this support, since many governments are pointing to the use of the International Court at The Hague," Mr. Reppas added.

    [05] Ankara pleased with Bacon retraction

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Turkey greeted the retraction with "satisfaction" yesterday, with the Turkish foreign ministry saying "it was impossible for us to accept the Bacon statements, which were in contradiction with the official stance of the US administration on the issue of t he Kardak (Imia) islets", an ANA dispatch from Istanbul reported.

    "We greet with satisfaction this second announcement and hope that in the future US officials will act with more caution and care on this issue, which is extremely important and sensitive for us," the Turkish announcement read.

    [06] Tsohatzopoulos: Imia issue non-negotiable

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    On his part, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the Imia islets issue was not subject to negotiation.

    The minister reiterated that the tiny, uninhabited Imia islets were Greek territory in a short statement on the sidelines of a PASOK central committee conference.

    Responding to a question regarding the US Pentagon spokesman's contradictory statements over the islets' sovereignty yesterday, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said this was not a problem that should concern Greece, but the US officials themselves.

    [07] Cabinet briefed on Amsterdam summit

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday briefed the Cabinet on the results of the intergovernmental summit in Amsterdam at a four-hour meeting which also focused on the new civil servants' code.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the discussion of the new code eventually extended to public administration problems in general, which means that the issue will be taken up and final decisions taken by the inner cabinet which is due to meet so on.

    In addition to the recommendations of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and the report of the competent committee of the Public Administration secretariat, the inner cabinet would also take into considerations the views expressed at yesterday's Cabinet meeting, Mr. Reppas said.

    Talks on a new code of conduct for civil servants will be concluded at a forthcoming inner cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said yesterday after the Cabinet meeting.

    [08] Mitsotakis welcomes result of Amsterdam

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Former prime minister and honorary president of the opposition New Democracy party Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday issued a statement on the recent conclusions of the Amsterdam summit.

    The summit at Amsterdam, Mr. Mitsotakis said, "was another step on the stable course towards European unification as the time schedule for a single currency remained the same and the talk on a 'left' Maastricht went nowhere...".

    He said the summit confirmed the principles of fiscal discipline and the rejection of the policy of large deficits.

    The social sensitivity particularly to combating unemployment was rightly given priority by the Union but the decision has no practical value since it was not accompanied by economic measures, he said.

    For Greece, the result was as expected and that "nobody can speak either of success or failure", he said.

    On Wednesday, ND leader Costas Karamanlis told unionists that the Amsterdam summit had made no inroads or moves forward and had condemned the government for celebrating the achievement of provisions to safeguard external EU borders - and, by extension, Greek - without there having been any progress.

    [09] New Greek judge at European Court

    Brussels, 21/06/1997 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Krateros Ioannou, a distinguished Greek legal figure, will become a member of the bench of the European Court, according to an announcement yesterday.

    Mr. Ioannou is one of three new members on the bench and replaces Constantine Kakouris who has been a European Court justice since 1983.

    Mr. Ioannou was born in 1935 and became a member of the Thessaloniki Bar Association in 1963 and achieved his doctorate in international law in 1971. He is a professor of international and Community law at the University of Thrace and has acted as legal advisor on an international and national level.

    [10] Papandreou to be remembered at Athens Concert Hall function

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos will attend an event in memory of late premier Andreas Papandreou at the Athens Concert Hall on Sunday evening on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of the ruling PASOK party's founder.

    The political and music event is to be addressed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and French former culture minister Jack Lang.

    [11] Elefsina Shipyards sold to Tavoularis group

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    After negotiations lasting several months, a deal was signed at the development ministry yesterday for the transfer of the Elefsina Shipyards to the N. Tavoularis group.

    The price of the sale was set at 30 billion drachmas, to be paid over 15 years, and with a three-year grace period, during which shareholders will receive no dividends. The discounted price, taking into account the present level of treasury bill rates, is estimated at 14.5 billion drachmas.

    A short while before the sale was finalized, an agreement was reached between the workers' union at the shipyard and the buyers on labor relations and the number of jobs.

    On his part, Labor Under-secretary Christos Protopapas expressed satisfaction with the agreement, referring to a new start for the concern which has been troubled for some time due to the uncertainty over its ownership status.

    The Tavoularis group entered into a commitment to retain all of the 630 remaining employees, even promising to soon increase the number of jobs to 750.

    However, the group's seeming intention to sell land surrounding the shipyard installations may prove to be a source of friction in the future, as the employees' union warned that in such an event, the sale must be considered null.

    On its part, the Communist Party of Greece was critical of the deal, saying that the "sell-out of the shipyard completes one more government crime against the working class".

    The troubled Elefsina Shipyards have dominated the headlines on several occasions over the past few years, beginning with the purchase of the once state-owned yards by the Peratikos group in 1992, followed by their sudden closure in August 1995 by the London-based Greek shipping family. The Peratikos group cited crushing debts and unfair competition by the state-run Skaramanga Shipyards as leading to the closure.

    Two years later, the infamous terrorist group "November 17" assassinated 42-year-old Costas Peratikos, who managed the shipyards between 1992-95, in a downtown Piraeus street late last month.

    [12] 'Treasures of Mount Athos' opens today in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos said the exhibition of "Treasures of Mount Athos" is an event of major importance for all Greece.

    The president is due to inaugurate the exhibition this morning at Thessaloniki's Byzantine Museum in the presence of Prime Minister Costas Simitis and many high-ranking government officials.

    In a statement upon arrival at Macedonia Airport in Thessaloniki, he said "the exhibition is not only cultural and religious but also a national event", adding that "it is the most important manifestation organized by the Cultural Capital of Europe Organization."

    "It is a very big opportunity for all of us to admire these treasures and all the exhibits, which the community of Mount Athos is offering for common knowledge, admiration and view," he said.

    President Stephanopoulos further said "culture and Greece are identical concepts" and that Greece's contribution to culture is far greater than that of other European countries.

    He was due to meet the members of Mount Athos last night and attend an official dinner given in their honor by the Thessaloniki 1997 Cultural Capital of Europe organization.

    The exhibition, in which 16 of the 20 of Mount Athos' monasteries are taking part, features icons by famous hagiographers, such as Panselinos and Theophanis, relics of everyday life and worship as well as a video presentation of the natural environment and the peninsula's architecture.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday said in reply to a question on whether the relics would also be exhibited in Athens, that it would take several decades before the they would leave the monastic community again.

    [13] Avramopoulos in Moscow for mayors' summit

    Moscow, 21/06/1997 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    The mayors of the 27 largest cities in the world have gathered in Moscow for their 5th summit to discuss problems affecting large urban centers.

    The mayors called on governments to allow local government more of a say in pressing issues affecting their cities.

    Athens is also represented at the summit, for the first time, by Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    The Athens mayor met his Moscow counterpart to discuss bilateral relations, the Greek contribution to the Russian capital's 850th anniversary celebrations and the possibility of a non-governmental international initiative on the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Avramopoulos is reportedly considering donating a 3.5m statue of the ancient goddess Athena to the Russian city.

    [14] Patriarch of Alexandria to arrive in Greece next week

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Petros is to pay an unofficial visit to Athens on Tuesday.

    During his stay in the Greek capital, Patriarch Petros will meet a number of government officials, including President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim.

    [15] New armored vehicles for Greek troops in Albania

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    The Greek army yesterday took delivery of six French technology amphibious armored vehicles at a special ceremony at Aghioi Anargyroi attended by army chief Lieutenant-General Manoussos Paragioudakis.

    The vehicles, each with a three-man crew, will be used by the Greek contingent serving with the multinational protection force in neighboring Albania.

    The "PAN HARD VBL" is a three-tonne 4 x 4 vehicle which can travel in water at 1.5 meters per second and reach speeds of up to 100 kph on land.

    With a fuel tank enabling it to cover a distance of 600 kilometers on one fill-up, the vehicle is armed with "Milan" anti-tank missiles and a 7.62 mm machine gun.

    Twelve volunteers on five-year contracts with the army have already been trained to operate the vehicles.

    [16] New Consul General in Albania

    Gjirokaster, 21/06/1997 (ANA - P. Barka)

    Costas Kahiousis, Greece's new consul general at the Gjirokaster consulate yesterday took up his post.

    Mr. Kahiousis succeeds Nikos Kanellos.

    He is a graduate of the Panteion School of Political Sciences and has been a diplomat since 1984.

    [17] Mass murderer given five life sentences

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    A 24-year-old Thassos man was sentenced to five life sentences late yesterday by a Drama criminal court after being convicted of murdering five family members in May 1996.

    "I am fully aware of all the charges against myself and I don't deny my acts," Theophilos Sehidis replied to the charges earlier in the day.

    The court had heard the testimonies of two psychiatrists who said Sehidis was fully aware of his actions when he committed the grisly murders, which included the dismemberment of their bodies and their placement in several trash bags. At one time, he had confessed and cynically described his actions by saying: "I killed them before they killed me".

    The two psychiatrists who examined Sehidis for three months said he was not insane but suffered from a schizoid disorder.

    He was convicted of murdering his father, his mother, his sister, his uncle and his grandmother.

    Sehidis appealed the verdict.

    [18] Sixth Panhellenic journalists' conference opens on Samothrace

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    The sixth Panhellenic journalists' conference opened yesterday morning on the island of Samothrace, with addresses by political and local authorities.

    The conference is attended by some 350 journalists and reporters from Greece and abroad.

    Declaring sessions open, the secretary general of the press and media ministry, Yiannis Nikolaou, underlined that the conference should include in its topics references to formulating a code of ethics for the mass media.

    In a message read to participants on behalf of government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, it was stressed that the conclusions of the conference will decisively contribute to the challenges of the present times. Another message by the leader of the main opposition New Democracy party, Costas Karamanlis stated that the mass media were a factor for the establishment of democracy.

    In his address to the congress, Evros prefect Georgios Dolios said the region hosting the congress was a bridge connecting Greece with the Balkans and that the mass media should contribute to the effort to change the image of Evros, which only gets the chance to be referred to in the news in cases of drug smuggling and problems with Turkey.

    Journalists, irrespective of their personal beliefs, should provide objective information to the public; convey the views of all sides; refrain from cultivating ethnic hatred; avoid using fiery terminology and avoid disorientating the public, but should let them make their own judgment on the basis of facts, a session on "Developments in the Balkans and the Mass Media" concluded

    The conference will wind up today.

    [19] Olympic Catering to begin procedures for entrance into bourse

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Procedures for the introduction of Olympic Catering, a subsidiary of Olympic Airways, into the Athens Stock Exchange are expected to begin at the end of the year, the company stated yesterday.

    Olympic Catering president M. Kontonikolis reported that profits for 1997 are expected to reach 1.4 billion drachmas, compared to 1 billion in 1996.

    The state-run company's main sources of revenue are the catering facilities at the country's airports (38.27 per cent), and catering for other airlines (38.55 per cent).

    Mr. Kontonikolis said a 55.9 per cent reduction in the company's wage bill is within the aims of the company, and for this reason early retirement and reorganization schemes are being introduced.

    [20] Greek March retail sales slip 0.3 pct in volume yr/yr

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Greek retail sales in volume slipped by 0.3 percent year-on-year in March against the same month in 1996, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said. The volume of retail sales in January-March rose by 1.1 percent against the same period a year earlier.

    [21] Equities slump 2.78 pct in brisk sell-off

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Greek stocks came under heavy selling pressure to finish 2.78 percent lower in moderate trade, only just holding the 1,500-point psychological level. The bourse lost 7.71 percent over the week.

    The Athens general share index finished at 1,500.37 points with turnover at 20.6 billion drachmas, slightly up on the previous session. The parallel market for smaller cap stocks ended fractionally lower by 0.07 percent.

    The insurance sector bucked the downward trend, ending 0.03 percent higher. Banks slid 3.48 percent, Leasing plunged 4.35 percent, Investments dropped 2.78 percent, Industrials slumped 3.19 percent, Construction fell 2.20 percent, Holding dropped 2.26 percent, and Miscellaneous slipped 2.62 percent. Decliners led advancers at 160 and 59 with 22 shares remaining unchanged.

    The day's biggest percentage gainers were Biokarpet (preferred), Macedonia Textiles, Inon, and Bank of Athens.

    The losers of the day were Rokas (preferred), Papoutsanis (common), Alpha Investments (registered) and Aluminium de Grece (preferred with no vote).

    [22] Greek Aktor engineering contractor sees Dr 3 bln profit in 97

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Greek engineering contractor Aktor sees earnings rising to three billion drachmas in 1997 from 2.522 billion a year earlier, company executives told an annual general shareholders' meeting.

    Turnover is expected to increase to 17 billion drachmas from 13.012 billion in 1996, the officials said. The firm's balance of projects to be executed is currently at 70 billion drachmas. Forty eight billion drachmas of the total derive from construction of a major state project to link Elefsina near the port city of Piraeus to Stavros in northern Athens.

    Construction of the highway, which will eventually link up with a new international airport being built at Spata by Germany's Hochtief, has already begun and financing agreements are due for completion this year.

    Aktor, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, also is due to raise its share capital through a capitalization of reserves. It will distribute 10 free shares for 20 existing ones.

    A dividend of 120 drachmas per share will be paid from distributed profits in 1996 of 976 million drachmas.

    [23] World forum for smaller firms starts in Piraeus next week

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Representatives of more than 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) worldwide will meet on June 23-24 in Piraeus to attend Europartenariat-Hellas 1997, a forum set up to promote business co-operation.

    Europartenariat, which helps firms to develop their business strategy on an international and European level, has become a pillar of the European Union's policy of trying to assist SMEs, hard hit by competition from larger firms.

    Greek Commissioner for SMEs, energy and tourism Christos Papoutsis will open the forum, in which more than 400 Greek firms have been chosen to take part.

    Attending are representatives from EU countries, central and eastern Europe, southeast Asia, Latin America and the US. Around 12,000 meetings will be held during the event.

    [24] Greek Petzetakis plastic pipes maker sees sales up 25 pct

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Greece's Petzetakis, a plastic pipes manufacturer, expects to see a 25 percent rise in 1997 sales following a corresponding rise in January to May, company officials told an annual general shareholders meeting. The officials attributed the rise to higher sales in integrated pipe systems used in major water supply, drainage, telecoms and natural gas projects in Greece and abroad.

    Also higher were sales of new high technology flexible piping, which boosted the firm's presence in Europe.

    Petzetakis, which is listed on the Athens bourse, posted net consolidated earnings of 507.3 million drachmas in 1996 on turnover of 24.3 billion drachmas.

    The parent company recorded net profits of 313.9 million drachmas on sales of 16.7 billion drachmas. It cut general expenses to 14.8 percent of total sales, down from 22.3 percent a year earlier.

    Profit before interest and depreciation was 1.9 billion drachmas, up 72 percent on 1995.

    Borrowing, which was used to boost capacity and productivity at the firm's Thebes plant, slipped to 9.9 billion drachmas.

    [25] Commercial Bank of Greece signs sale pact for Attica Bank

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    Commercial Bank of Greece signed an agreement for sale of part of its holding in Attica Bank to the Public Works Contractors Pension Fund and Loans and Deposits Fund.

    The state bank, which is to retain management for five years, welcomed the widening of Attica Bank's share base as an aid to development.

    [26] Thessaloniki hosts regional meeting on social dialogue

    Athens, 21/06/1997 (ANA)

    A two-day meeting on the issue of social dialogue in the countries of southeast Europe will be held in Thessaloniki on June 24-25.

    Taking part in the meeting, organized by the Economic and Social Committee (ESC), will be 60 delegates representing 15 trade union organizations, eleven employers' associations and two farmers' unions from countries of southeast Europe.

    The delegates also include representatives from the corresponding ESC of Croatia and FYROM.

    Speaking at a press conference in Thessaloniki yesterday, the President of the Greek ESC, Professor Ioannis Koukiadis, described the committee as an advisory body for bills which are to be tabled in Parliament.

    He said the objective was for similar committees to be set up in other countries of southeast Europe, in order to promote the process of social dialogue.

    End of English language section.

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