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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-20

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 1394), January 20, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Head of 2004 Olympics organizing committee named
  • [02] ... Gov't spokesman
  • [03] ... Stratigis
  • [04] PASOK backs Damanaki for Athens, Lazaridis in Thessaloniki
  • [05] ... G. Papandreou: No interest to run in Athens mayoral race
  • [06] Kinkel: Ankara should take continental shelf issue to The Hague
  • [07] ... European Conference
  • [08] Kruger visit to Turkey
  • [09] Athens says Ankara's position over Aegean exercises 'irrational'
  • [10] Turkey to oppose any extension of territorial waters
  • [11] Paper says Ankara changing policy vis-a-vis S-300 missiles
  • [12] Nezeritis: Imia changed public opinion towards Turkey
  • [13] Albania welcomes Greek offer to host Kosovo talks
  • [14] Greek ambassador Vlassopoulos meets with Montenegro's Djukanovic
  • [15] Commission delegation event
  • [16] Dutch navy chief in Greece
  • [17] G. Papandreou on Turkey's European orientation
  • [18] Plays by Turkey's State Theater
  • [19] Pangalos-Miller talks focus on Cyprus
  • [20] Karamanlis again points to 'tax raid' by Gov't
  • [21] Gov't reacts to Karamanlis comments on agriculture policy
  • [22] Geitonas says bioethics pact to be soon tabled in Parliament
  • [23] More bodies recovered from shipwreck off Sardinia
  • [24] NY event focuses on experiences of Greek Jews during WWII
  • [25] Greek officers evaluating Sukhoi-30
  • [26] Greek support for Italian entry into first phase of EMU
  • [27] Rome says on opposition to connecting Greek, Italian power grids
  • [28] V. Papandreou says Gov't policy targets infrastructure improvement
  • [29] Amendment on change in tobacco sector blocked
  • [30] Renewed confidence pushes stock prices higher
  • [31] Tourism authorities plan aggressive marketing campaign
  • [32] Israeli tourism conference in Athens
  • [33] Xiosbank mutual funds assets up 147 pct in 1997
  • [34] No Olympic flights on Thursday

  • [01] Head of 2004 Olympics organizing committee named

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday announced the establishment of two committees to organize and supervise the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    Mr. Simitis announced the decision after a meeting with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, under the aegis of whom a national Olympics committee will operate, while it will be chaired by Mr. Simitis. Under the plan, such a committee will monitor preparation and evaluate Olympics-related works carried out.

    The main responsibility for the organization and execution of the works will be undertaken by the "Athens 2004" organizing committee, which will operate as a sociiti anonyme. It will be headed by lawyer Stratis Stratigis, a former New Democracy and Democratic Renewal Party (DHANA) deputy. The other members of this committee will be announced later this week. Mr. Simitis said Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who headed Athens' Olympics 2004 bid committee, would be a member of the national committee, after her "personal request not to participate in the organizational committee, due to personal reasons".

    "It is the government's desire to set up an efficient and flexible scheme which will guarantee the preparation and execution of the games under a regime of absolute transparency and control," Mr. Simitis said, adding that "this set-up meets that aspiration, as Greece's goal is to prove that it is capable of successfully completing the task it has undertaken".

    [02] ... Gov't spokesman

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    On his part, government spokesman Demetris Reppas announced that in the next few days the draft law will be presented to opposition parties.

    Concerning the question of Mr. Stephanopoulos not chairing the national committee, Mr. Reppas said a constitutional impediment exists, and for this reason the committee will be under the auspices of the president.

    Mr. Reppas denied that there had not been suitable preparation on the part of the government, adding that Mr. Stratigis was chosen by the prime minister to head the committee because he has the knowledge and qualifications to fulfill the necessary duties.

    [03] ... Stratigis

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    The new president of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games committee, Stratis Stratigis, is 64 years old and was born in Athens.

    An attorney by profession, Mr. Stratigis also holds a doctorate in economics and maritime law, while he speaks German, English and French.

    He began practicing law in Athens in 1960 and left the next year to study maritime law and economics at the London School of Economics. He was appointed secretary general of the merchant marine ministry in 1974 by the then national unity government.

    In 1975, he was appointed a member of New Democracy's first organizing committee. In 1978 he was appointed president of the Piraeus Port Authority. In 1981 he was elected to ND's executive committee.

    Under the George Rallis government of 1980, he was appointed secretary general of the now-dissolved coordination ministry.

    In June 1985, he was elected to Parliament as a New Democracy deputy of state but left the party in September of the same year to join Kostis Stephanopoulos in founding the Democratic Renewal Party (DHANA). Mr. Stratigis subsequently left that party and rejoined New Democracy.

    In April 1995, he became a member of the board of the Athens Bar Association.

    Mr. Stratigis last night met with Mr. Simitis, who briefed him on the government's intentions.

    He told reporters afterwards that Mr. Simitis had proposed certain people for members of the organizing committee, but declined to reveal details, adding only that its composition would be announced next week.

    He said that he was not taken by surprise by the prime minister's decision, as he had been asked beforehand, and that they would meet again next week.

    [04] PASOK backs Damanaki for Athens, Lazaridis in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Ruling PASOK's executive bureau yesterday approved the Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus candidates for municipal elections slated for October.

    The PASOK-backed candidates for the three municipalities will be Maria Damanaki, the former leader of the Coalition of the Left and a current deputy for that party, current Kalamaria Mayor Thrasyvoulos Lazaridis and Christos Fotiou, respectively

    The announcement was made by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who said current Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos paid more attention to appearances rather than the problems of Athens citizens and that Piraeus residents was not happy under Stelios Logothetis over the last few years.

    He also said that Mr. Lazaridis is one of the most successful mayors in the Thessaloniki area, and that Mr. Fotiou knows Piraeus' problems well and can fully respond to expectations of citizens.

    In a traditional post-New Year's event at PASOK headquarters, the prime minister expressed a wish for new successes, stressing that in the two years since Andreas Papandreou's death the party has belied all those who believed that it had no future.

    "We have shown that we have a common will to proceed in order to apply in Greece a policy of social justice, a policy that will make Greece strong and give it a role in Europe," he said.

    [05] ... G. Papandreou: No interest to run in Athens mayoral race

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou clarified yesterday that he had never expressed a desire to run for the Athens municipality, assuring that he will abide by the ruling PASOK party's decisions, while he also expressed support for the candidacy of Maria Damanaki.

    Mr. Papandreou added that he will personally help Ms Damanaki, a one-time Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader and current Synaspismos deputy. He also said she can give the city an opportunity and prospect for the improvement of the average Athenian resident's living standard.

    [06] Kinkel: Ankara should take continental shelf issue to The Hague

    Bonn, 20/01/1998 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel called on Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz to take the first step in what he called the key problem of the Aegean islands' continental shelf and accept recourse to the International Court at The Hague.

    "Yilmaz, being the prime minister of the larger country, should now be in a position to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague for a decision to be taken over the Greek-Turkish dispute concerning the continental shelf of the islands of the Aegean," he said.

    In an interview published in a Frankfurt daily yesterday, Mr. Kinkel said restoration of relations between Turkey and the European Union passes through the easing of tension in relations between Greece and Turkey and the resolution of Greek-Turkish differences.

    Mr. Kinkel believes that tension between Turkey and Greece "constitutes the nucleus of the problem in relations between Turkey and the EU."

    At the same time he assesses that "the conjuncture is more favorable than ever", since the two countries are headed by Prime Ministers Costas Simitis and Mesut Yilmaz.

    "With Mesut Yilmaz as prime minister in Ankara and Costas Simitis in Athens the best possible conjuncture exists now for a solution to be achieved," he said.

    [07] ... European Conference

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Mr. Kinkel also appealed to the Turkish government "to reconsider and, if possible, to accept" an offer set out by the EU summit in Luxembourg, namely, a "package" concerning the invitation to participate in the European Conference - set for March 12 in London - and proposals set out as Turkey's "strategic rapprochement" with the EU.

    In his interview, Mr. Kinkel does not consider new proposals being made to Turkey during the British EU presidency probable, clarifying that "Turkey must accept that it cannot be placed at the same level with the other candidate countries for accession. "

    What is important now in his view is for "matters to cool down" and a "moderate climate" to prevail interrelations between the EU and Turkey.

    A clarification by diplomatic sources of the German foreign ministry said terms accompanying Turkey's invitation to participate in the European Conference have a "general character" and in no way constitute preconditions which must be met before the first meeting of the Conference.

    According to the same source, Mr. Kinkel had made this "interpretation" clear during the Luxembourg summit.

    These clarifications were made on the occasion of the recent statement by the French European Affairs Minister Pierre Moscovici who claimed that Turkey must be invited to participate in the European Conference without terms.

    It is reminded that, among others, the conclusions of the Luxembourg summit stress the following:

    "The common task of the Conference's members must be support for peace, security and good neighborly relations, respect for sovereignty, the principles on which the EU is based, the inviolability of external borders, as well as the principles of International Law and the obligation for a peaceful solution to territorial differences, particularly through the judicial course of the International Court at The Hague."

    "States adopting these principles and recognize that every European country fulfilling the corresponding criteria (...) has the right to join the EU and are called on to participate in the European Conference."

    [08] Kruger visit to Turkey

    Brussels, 20/01/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    Council of Europe (CoE) Alternate Secretary-General Hans Kristian Kruger is paying an official two-day visit to Turkey as of yesterday.

    Among others, Mr. Kruger will be meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem, among others.

    Their talks will focus on relations between Turkey and the Council of Europe.

    [09] Athens says Ankara's position over Aegean exercises 'irrational'

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday described the stance adopted by neighboring Turkey concerning the holding of military exercises in the Aegean as "irrational" and "much more than inconsistent".

    "Irregular military action contributes to the exacerbation of Greek-Turkish relations," government spokesman Demetris Reppas said when asked by reporters about the possibility of Ankara holding further military exercises in the Aegean.

    Mr. Reppas advised Ankara to refrain from using military forces as it had done up to now. Athens, the spokesman clarified, is not proposing some moratorium but wants respect for international law and international treaties and for Turkey to show good faith.

    Asked to comment on the banning of the Turkish main opposition Welfare Party, Mr. Reppas said it illustrated once again the lack of democracy in Turkey and confirmed that institutions were not functioning in the neighboring country.

    "This decision may cause further political instability in Turkey and consequently, worrying developments are on the horizon as far as Greek-Turkish relations are concerned," Mr. Reppas said.

    [10] Turkey to oppose any extension of territorial waters

    Istanbul, 20/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Necati Utkan said yesterday that Turkey would not agree to the extension of Greece's territorial waters beyond the current six-mile limit.

    He added that Turkey believed that such an extension would contravene international law as well as the spirit of the agreement reached in Madrid last summer between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.

    Nor does Ankara accept that Greece's air space is bound by the 10-mile limit, said the spokesman.

    Turkish newspapers gave broad coverage yesterday to various "scenarios" allegedly being promoted by Greece, based on reports in last Sunday's edition of the Greek weekly newspaper To Vima.

    [11] Paper says Ankara changing policy vis-a-vis S-300 missiles

    Istanbul, 20/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Ankara has changed its stance on the Russian-made S-300 missile issue, according to the "Turkish Daily News".

    The newspaper claims that "high level officials" said the study of the issue showed that the Greek side will never use the missiles against Turkey, since such an action "would signal a war between Greece and Turkey."

    Also, Ankara is not pleased with the planned opening of the Paphos airbase, but again according to the same press reports, Turkey estimates that the abilities provided by the base are such that could not create a serious issue for Turkey.

    The newspaper repeated the stated change of policy on the Cyprus issue, namely, abandoning of a "federal" solution, since the only issues remaining to be settled are minor territorial changes.

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that his government knows of, but does not consider the reports serious.

    Mr. Kasoulides said in a television interview that the missiles will not be used against any one except in the defense of the island republic.

    [12] Nezeritis: Imia changed public opinion towards Turkey

    Istanbul, 20/01/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Greek ambassador to Turkey Demetrios Nezeritis in an interview with the daily "Milliyet" said that the Imia crisis has changed the way Greece's public views Turkey.

    Mr. Nezeritis said that "after the crisis, Greece considers Turkey a much greater danger and threat than in comparison to the past."

    He wondered why Ankara does not accept the legal solution to the differences which Turkey believes exist over Imia's sovereignty.

    "The legal solution is much more acceptable... even from a political standpoint," Mr. Nezeritis said.

    [13] Albania welcomes Greek offer to host Kosovo talks

    Tirana, 20/01/1998 (Reuters/ANA)

    Albania yesterday welcomed an offer by Greece to host talks between Yugoslavia and Albania over Serbia's troubled region of Kosovo.

    "Initiatives contributing to the (solution) of the Kosovo issue are welcomed by the Albanian government," said Vladimir Prela, political advisor to Socialist Prime Minister Fatos Nano.

    "I think the Kosovo issue could be solved step by step and through dialogue."

    However, Mr. Prela said there was as yet no formal invitation from Greece, which on Friday offered to host talks on Kosovo, a southern province of Serbia where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs nine to one.

    The Greek offer came after US envoy Robert Gelbard on Thursday urged Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to open a dialogue between Serbs and Albanians to defuse rising tensions.

    A wave of violence over the past year has prompted fears among Western governments that Kosovo could become the next flashpoint in the Balkans after the devastating wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Greek Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Athens would be willing to bring together Mr. Milosevic, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Ibrahim Rugova, the leader of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

    Mr. Papandreou said Greece agreed with the European Union position on Kosovo -- that it should remain part of Yugoslavia but with wide-ranging autonomy, which Serbia revoked in 1989. Greece hosted a summit of regional leaders on the island of Crete last year at which Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Nano discussed Kosovo.

    [14] Greek ambassador Vlassopoulos meets with Montenegro's Djukanovic

    Belgrade, 20/01/1998 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Greece's ambassador to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia attended last week's swearing-in ceremony here of new Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic, holding a series of contacts with deputies, government officials and the opposition.

    At a meeting with Parliament President Svetozar Marovic, Greek ambassador Panayiotis Vlassopoulos noted that last week's violence by supporters of outgoing Montenegro president Momir Bulatovic had no political motive apart from a desire for the latter's "violent stay" in office.

    The Greek ambassador stressed that Montenegro was now required to play an important role to the benefit of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, saying that Greece will offer assistance in this direction.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos also met Montenegro's Foreign Minister Branko Perovic, whom he told that legal procedures for the opening of a Greek consulate in Podgorica will be completed soon.

    [15] Commission delegation event

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis cut the New Year's pie "pitta" of the European Commission's delegation in Greece at noon yesterday.

    The event was attended by the delegation's director Marios Kamhis, and members and employees of the Commission's delegation in Greece.

    The director of the European Parliament's office in Athens G. Papadopoulos was also present.

    Mr. Papoutsis said that 1998 is a crucial year for the European Union since the major decisions on the future of the EU will go into orbit this year, the unified currency, euro, and employment which is of direct interest to European citizens.

    [16] Dutch navy chief in Greece

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Navy General Staff announced yesterday that the chief of the Dutch Navy, Vice-Adm. Luuk Kroon, is paying an official visit to Greece as of yesterday and until Jan. 22. During his stay, Vice-Adm. Kroon will hold talks with his Greek counterpart and will meet the national defense general staff chief and the defense Under-secretary.

    [17] G. Papandreou on Turkey's European orientation

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said that "Turkey must conquer its European prospect with the acceptance of the values and rules, which make up the European identity and attitude."

    When Turkey accepts these rules, works to built relations of stability with Greece and toward a solution of the Cyprus issue, then Turkey can have a European prospect, Mr. Papandreou said during a discussion with a parliament committee on the results of the Luxembourg conference for the "Agenda 2000."

    [18] Plays by Turkey's State Theater

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    The National Theater of Greece will extend its hospitality to a theater troupe of Turkey's State Theater, which arrived in Athens yesterday to stage a couple of plays.

    What is more interesting is the fact that both plays have a Greek identity, one by Demetris Psathas "Zitite Pseftis" (Liar Required) and the other by Terence MacNally, "Master Class", a play about Greek soprano Maria Callas. This is the first official performance by the Turkish theater group in Greece, which takes place in return of a recent successful tour by Greece's National Theater in Turkey, performing "Medea".

    National Theater Managing Director Nikos Kourkoulos said "politicians do not get involved in culture", before introducing the managing director of Turkey's national theaters to reporters.

    Both plays were a success in Turkey.

    [19] Pangalos-Miller talks focus on Cyprus

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    US State Department special coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller yesterday held talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis on the Cyprus issue.

    Details of the talks were not disclosed, while sources said that Mr. Miller briefed the Greek officials on the results of his contacts in Ankara early last week.

    Washington's ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was also present at the meeting, as was Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Ambassador Alexandros Filon and the ministry's head of the Greek-Turkish affairs department, Ilias Klis.

    Mr. Miller departs today for Washington.

    [20] Karamanlis again points to 'tax raid' by Gov't

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Speaking to his party's Parliamentary group yesterday, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis referred to a lack of boldness and indecisiveness on the part of the government to promote a policy of structural changes in the economy.

    He said that the currency crisis is due to the lack of confidence in the Greek economy, and claimed that fiscal policy has already been overturned due to increases in interest rates. He spoke of a tax raid on the part of the government, which does not restrict public waste, but neither does it proceed to privatizations.

    Mr. Karamanlis stressed that in the last two years, there have been 60 new tax burdens which hit directly those needing breaks and need a different and humane social phase.

    He claimed that the policy of the government is contrary to development and leads to a further increase in unemployment, and called party members to show that the party is interested in the ordinary Greek citizen and has the necessary proposals for a better tomorrow.

    He accused the government of being unable and not willing to sever the umbilical cord with the forces that benefit from today's decadence, and said that the present tax system must be simplified with a parallel reduction in tax rates.

    He called on members to venture to the regions and brief the Greek people, stressing that everyone must intensify their efforts to make the party fully ready, not only for electoral victory, but also for an honest and efficient government.

    [21] Gov't reacts to Karamanlis comments on agriculture policy

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday criticized main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis over the latter's comments over the weekend regarding agricultural issues.

    Mr. Reppas said Mr. Karamanlis is interested only in exercising opposition and not of presenting his party's positions on issues. He also said the ND leader was overreacting.

    [22] Geitonas says bioethics pact to be soon tabled in Parliament

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Health and Welfare Minister Costas Geitonas said that an international bioethics pact, which was signed last April within the framework of the Council of Europe, will be tabled in Parliament soon.

    The minister's statement came in reply to main opposition New Democracy deputy Panayiotis Skandalakis' question over the prohibition of human cloning.

    Mr. Geitonas said that Greece co-signed the Paris protocol prohibiting human cloning earlier this month and added that the ethics and medical committee of the ministry will be transformed into a bioethics committee, which will propose measures against such clinical experiments.

    [23] More bodies recovered from shipwreck off Sardinia

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Merchant Marine Ministry announced yesterday that the bodies of the three missing Greek seamen have been recognized.

    They are captain Zannis Georgoulis, first mate Polychronis Psomas and cook Ioannis Venardis.

    Meanwhile, in an ANA dispatch from Rome, it was announced that two bodies recovered near Cagliari, Sardinia after the sinking of the Honduran-flagged cargo ship "Agios Panteleimon" on Saturday have been identified as those of Kotza Mehmet Suladin, of Komotini, and Pakistani national Mehmet Piaz.

    The ship was on its way from the Spanish port of Castelon de la Plana to the Adriatic port of Vasto, in Italy, with a cargo of ammonium sulfate.

    [24] NY event focuses on experiences of Greek Jews during WWII

    New York, 20/01/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    A three-day event dedicated to the history, culture and experiences of Greek Jews heard detailed accounts over the weekend on how dozens of ordinary Greek individuals, clergymen and officials sheltered their fellow Jewish citizens from occupying Nazis forces during World War II.

    The event was organized by the Sephardic House in New York City.

    University of Cincinnati Jewish studies professor Steve Bowman and writer Michael Matsas, both of whom visit Greece regularly and have kept in touch with the people or the descendants of those who sheltered their relatives during the war, attributed the fact that Greek Jews suffered the greatest mortality rate at the hands of Nazi forces and their satellites (96 per cent) among all occupied Europe to the stand of the allies, particularly Britain and to a lesser extent the US.

    They claimed that despite possessing reliable information that Hitler had already signed the Jews' persecution in 1941, they did not warn them, letting them hope that the "storm of persecutions" would abate.

    Mr. Matsas, born in Yiannena in 1930, and author of 'The Illusion of Safety' expressed anger at the fact that "the enemies of the Nazis refused to warn Greek Jews, and indeed, on many occasions impeded their salvation".

    On the contrary, Greek resistance groups, the National Liberation Front (EAM) and partisans of its army (ELAS), warned Greek Jews and offered them refuge, he added.

    The event was also attended by Israeli Vice-Consul Schmell Ben Schmell, who thanked Athens for its interest in the Jewish community and for the presence of President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis at the inauguration of a Holocaust Monument in Thessaloniki as well as for their support for the opening of Jewish museums in Athens and Rhodes.

    [25] Greek officers evaluating Sukhoi-30

    Moscow, 20/01/1998 (ANA - D. Konstantakopoulos)

    Several Greek pilots are testing the third generation Russian-built Sukhoi-30 warplane as of yesterday, after being briefed on the ground all last week.

    A group of Hellenic Air Force officers, including both technicians and pilots, are in Russia to evaluate the fighters.

    The Sukhoi-30 is one of the five warplanes being currently evaluated by the Hellenic Air Force.

    [26] Greek support for Italian entry into first phase of EMU

    Brussels, 20/01/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Athens announced its support for Italy's participation in the first phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), while it considers the broadest possible EMU participation of EU members desirable, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said after the EU's Economy and Finance Ministers' Council (ECOFIN) session yesterday.

    The basic issues examined during the session was the ratification of the convergence program of the Italian economy and the British presidency's action program.

    Regarding the latter, Mr. Papantoniou stressed that Greece agrees with the EMU implementation program but considers particularly important the proposed measures for bolstering employment which are among the basic priorities of the British presidency.

    The minister reported to the Council that the Greek government intends to table in Parliament "an ambitious program of offering employment opportunities to 200,000 young people between 20 and 27".

    He also said that Greece accepts fiscal discipline as one of the basic economic options of the EU, but on the other it wishes recognition of the fact EMU will result in the creation of increased needs in sectors of member-states' economic and social policy.

    "We say yes to restricting waste, but we wish increased financing of policies and the policy of cohesion in the Community," he noted.

    Referring to the discussion in the Council on the recent stock market crisis in Asia, he noted that the crisis will only have marginal effects on the European economy, and, consequently, on the process of instituting and operating the Euro, while, as regards the repercussions on Greece he stressed that they concerned mainly interest rates and not the real economy.

    Regarding the future, Mr. Papantoniou said it was still early to draw conclusions, but noted that if the crisis continues in Asia, this will have rather downward repercussions on the level of international interest rates given that European and US central banks will want to overcome the problem by reducing them.

    In general, Mr. Papantoniou attributed the Asian crisis to the reluctance of the Japanese government to proceed to a reform of its banking system, and that at this point the most important thing was what side-effects this crisis would have on the Chines e economy, given that a devaluation of the Chinese currency or a start to a process of competitive devaluation of Asian currencies could have repercussions on the world production and economy.

    Finally, the minister said that the Asian crisis was mainly located in the weaknesses of the banking systems of these countries, and is described by a lack of transparency, large deficits and considerable dependence on the state and the large economic units.

    [27] Rome says on opposition to connecting Greek, Italian power grids

    Brussels, 20/01/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Italy no longer objects to the connection of the electric power grids of Greece and Italy, Italian Finance Minister Carlos Chiampi said here yesterday.

    The Italian minister had a meeting here yesterday with European Union Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies on the sidelines of an EU Council.

    According to Italian sources, during the meeting with the EU Commissioner, Mr. Chiampi said that Rome regarded that it was necessary that the project go ahead at an accelerated pace and that Italy will place no obstacles.

    [28] V. Papandreou says Gov't policy targets infrastructure improvement

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said the government's development policy is focused on the improvement of infrastructures, strengthening private investments and the better utilization of human potential.

    Ms Papandreou was speaking yesterday during an event organized by the Greek-Italian Chamber of Commerce.

    On the question of economic co-operation between the two countries, she pointed out that they have common targets and common challenges before them, while the most important this period is their participation in the Unified European Currency.

    [29] Amendment on change in tobacco sector blocked

    Brussels, 20/01/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    During a regular European Commission weekly meeting here yesterday, Commissioner for Energy Christos Papoutsis blocked a proposed amendment by Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler concerning a change in the Common Market Organization for tobacco.

    Mr. Papoutsis said the text needed to be studied more carefully before he could endorse it.

    He also believes, as does the Greek government, that in the meantime there will be some correction in the proposed texts relating to retaining the current system of granting community subsidies to the tobacco sector.

    In the text it is also suggested that, owing to technical and practical reasons, certain areas be considered as "traditional cotton regions" at Greece's selection, and which will benefit from EU economic assistance.

    Athens has strongly rejected the suggestion, since the new arrangement will exclude certain areas from receiving assistance.

    [30] Renewed confidence pushes stock prices higher

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended substantially higher yesterday for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting the market's relief over a recovery in international markets and a further decline in domestic interbank interest rates.

    Bank of Greece sources reported capital inflows totaling 250 million ECUs at the drachma's fixing. The Greek currency strengthened against the DMark and the ECU but eased against the US dollar.

    The general index closed 1.73 percent higher at 1,435.71 points pushed higher by a 5.02 percent surge in construction shares.

    Most other sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.87 percent, Insurance ended 1.09 percent up, Leasing increased 1.79 percent, Investment jumped 2.62 percent, Industrials rose 1.95 percent, Holding ended 1.57 percent up, but Miscellaneous bucked the trend to end 0.05 percent off.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.06 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE index jumped 1.63 percent to end at 788.87 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 17.8 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 156 to 63 with another 21 issues unchanged.

    Macedonian Plastics, Rokas, General Trade and Desmos scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's upper limit, while Ideal, Development Funds and Demetriades suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece closed at 20,490 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,630, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,800, Delta Dairy at 14,295, Titan Cement at 13,750, Intracom at 14,940 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,580.

    [31] Tourism authorities plan aggressive marketing campaign

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) is seeking a more aggressive marketing and public relations campaign abroad this year with the aim of attracting increased tourist arrivals.

    Nikos Skoulas, EOT's general secretary, said yesterday that Greek tourism authorities were organizing workshops seminars in 13 cities in the US, attended by more than 5,000 travel agents, a figure 40 percent larger than the previous year. Mr. Skoulas expects increased tourist arrivals from the US this season. EOT will spend more than 10 billion drachmas on this year's publicity campaign abroad.

    [32] Israeli tourism conference in Athens

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    The Association of Israeli Travel Agents in co-operation with the Hellenic Tourism Organization is organizing its annual conference in Athens from January 19 to 23.

    The conference is being attended by more than 500 Israeli travel agents.

    Greece's Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday attended the opening ceremony of the conference aimed at promoting incoming tourism in Israel, developing bilateral tourism co-operation between the two countries and attracting more Israeli tourists in Greece.

    Israeli tourists in Greece totaled 150,000 in 1997, an increase of 10 percent from the previous year.

    [33] Xiosbank mutual funds assets up 147 pct in 1997

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    Xiosbank, a Greek listed private bank, reported a spectacular 147 percent rise in its 1997 cumulative mutual funds assets, totaling 190.440 billion drachmas. Xios equities fund showed the biggest annual arise by 1,106 percent to 8.133 billion drachma s, a bank's statement said.

    Xiosbank's market share rose to 2.60 percent at the end of 1997.

    [34] No Olympic flights on Thursday

    Athens, 20/01/1998 (ANA)

    All Olympic Airways flights on Thursday have been canceled due to the participation of the national carrier's employees in the 24-hour strike called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE).

    The OA workers are protesting the abolition of collective agreements and employment regulations and have threatened further labor action which would result in the cancellation of many flights.

    Meanwhile, labor unions representing employees of public corporations and enterprises (DEKO) begin efforts to force the government to withdraw a provision of the draft tax law with a four-hour work stoppage in public transport today.

    The provision in question allows amendments to be made to labor relations affecting DEKO workers. The work stoppage will begin at 11 am.

    End of English language section.


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