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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-01-24

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 1398), January 24, 1998

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] Commissioner de Silguy: Greek economy growing 'faster than forecast'
  • [02] Cabinet decides to abolish Article 19 of citizenship code
  • [03] ... Opposition reaction
  • [04] EU General Affairs Council to focus on illegal immigration
  • [05] The "Greece in Britain" festival
  • [06] Kinkel-Cem meeting expected in Bonn
  • [07] WEU's de Puig satisfied with Athens talks
  • [08] European Parliament president in Athens next week
  • [09] Kranidiotis meets with his Chilean counterpart Amunategui
  • [10] Gen. Tzoganis to present Greek position at OSCE conference
  • [11] Mitsotakis: Ankara showing nervousness, as military dominates
  • [12] ... Reactions
  • [13] Greek national released by Turkish occupation forces
  • [14] Simitis on 2004 Games' managing director's appointment
  • [15] ... US executive quits private sector for Athens 2004
  • [16] ... Stronger environmental laws urged in light of Olympics
  • [17] Kranidiotis tour of Africa
  • [18] Embassy car torched
  • [19] Gov't comments on violence by Turkish fans against Greek team
  • [20] ... Olympiakos' complaints
  • [21] Gov't says it won't budge on farmers' demand
  • [22] Inflation rate expected to slide this month
  • [23] Heightened interest for DIS firm's bourse listing
  • [24] Funding announced for airports, road works
  • [25] Economic News
  • [26] ... Greek stocks end lower on profit taking
  • [27] European transport conference to be held in Thessaloniki
  • [28] Tourism authority seeks tougher policy adherence
  • [29] Mortgage/Housing Bank shareholders receive new shares
  • [30] Unions call new strike for Tuesday
  • [31] Mobile cardphones on InterCity trains

  • [01] Commissioner de Silguy: Greek economy growing 'faster than forecast'

    Brussels, 24/1/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The Greek economy is on a positive course, with its rate of growth being "clearly faster than forecast", while public finances in general are developing according to set targets, European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Yves Thibault de Silguy stated yesterday.

    The EU Commissioner replied in writing to a question by Coalition of the Left Euro-MP Mihalis Papayiannakis.

    Mr. Papayiannakis' question asked the Commission how it judged the recent re-adjustment of Greece's convergence program, and whether after the recent stock exchange crisis further adjustments would be needed.

    After analysis and evaluation by the Commission, the finance ministers' council considered the re-adjusted program on Dec. 1, 1997.

    Mr. de Silguy said this re-adjustment was necessary because the evolution of the main economic indicators between 1994 and 1996 had partly diverged from the targets.

    "The rate of economic growth was clearly faster than forecast, while the process of slowing down inflation had a slower pace than expected. These new facts justify the re-adjustment of the convergence program forecasts for the 1997-1999 period," he says in his reply.

    "The re-adjustment in question has been favorably received. The Commission, more particularly, expresses its satisfaction with the fact that the central target of the convergence program of 1994 was maintained, that is, that all the criteria for the transition to the third stage of Economic and Monetary Union after 1999 were fulfilled," Mr. de Silguy continues.

    The Commission, he added, considered that the process of re-adjustment was a normal procedure for all member-states and very beneficial, saying he would like to stress Greece's commitment to continue the same strategy for fiscal rehabilitation.

    Finally, the Commissioner expressed the view that the recent upheaval in Asian money and bond markets would not have an impact on this re-adjustment.

    "In actual fact, the Commission considers that the Asian financial crisis will only have a marginal impact on European economic growth. On the contrary, the Asian crisis has made it clear that the money markets discount the birth of the Euro on Jan. 1, 1999, even before its creation. Thus, the Euro has already played the role of a protective shield for Europe," he concluded.

    [02] Cabinet decides to abolish Article 19 of citizenship code

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that it was abolishing Article 19 of the citizenship code enabling the state to strip members of ethnic minorities of their citizenship when they leave the country with the intention of not returning.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said the issue was on the agenda at yesterday's Cabinet meeting.

    "Greece has attained a high standard with respect to the safeguarding of human rights and equality before the law," Mr. Reppas said, adding that efforts to further improve the situation in these areas were continuing.

    Mr. Reppas said the provision had in effect become inoperative, with only 70 persons losing their citizenship in 1997, many of whom at their own request. Since 1993, he added, only a few hundred people had lost their citizenship through application of the provision.

    The spokesman said a draft law would soon be tabled in Parliament ratifying the Cabinet's decision. Replying to reporters' questions, however, Mr. Reppas said the provision was in effect abolished as of yesterday.

    Meanwhile, Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said abolition of Article 19 would not have a retroactive effect.

    The article, he said, had come into force by virtue of a legislative decree in 1955, on the basis of which approximately 60,000 people had since lost their Greek citizenship, most at their own request.

    Mr. Papadopoulos clarified that Article 20 of the same code, which enables the state to strip persons of Greek citizenship for espionage, causing harm to the nation etc., would remain in force.

    [03] ... Opposition reaction

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party said abolition of Article 19 was "impe-rative, for some time now".

    A Synaspismos press release added that "the content of Article 19 and its enforcement, was against the basic democratic values, creating a negative image for our country internationally and provided ground for the propaganda of the Turkish establishment."

    Political Spring (Pol.An) leader Antonis Samaras, however, expressed his opposition to the Cabinet decision. "I am astonished by the lack of seriousness by the Simitis government," he said.

    [04] EU General Affairs Council to focus on illegal immigration

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The EU General Affairs Council session in Brussels next week will focus on the adoption of a series of measures to deal with the problem of illegal immigration toward the Union and the European Conference, scheduled to include EU prospective members.

    The council will be attended by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Meanwhile, an ANA dispatch from Ankara reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem reportedly told the daily "Turkish Daily News" that Ankara would not take part in such a European Conference, as this "would mean that we accepted the candidacy an d membership of the Greek Cypriots as the sole representatives of the whole of Cyprus".

    He reiterated that Turkey "refuses political dialogue with the EU on issues such as the Aegean, Cyprus and its (Turkey) internal affairs".

    He also said there was "no issue" of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state being incorporated into Turkey, but stressed "the continuity of the Turkish Cypriot 'state' as a sovereign entity" was important.

    Only Ankara recognizes the breakaway Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, illegally declared in 1983 in the Turkish-occupied north of the island republic.

    [05] The "Greece in Britain" festival

    London, 24/1/1998 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    The "Greece in Britain" festival began in London on Thursday night with a reception given by Greek Ambassador in London Vassilis Zafiropoulos for British academics involved in the study of both modern and ancient Greece.

    The ambassador read out a message from Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who drew attention to the work of the British committee for the return of the Parthenon marbles in informing the British public on the issue.

    [06] Kinkel-Cem meeting expected in Bonn

    Bonn, 24/1/1998 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem will meet here next Tuesday, according to diplomatic sources.

    Mr. Cem will arrive in Bonn on Sunday to take part in the meeting of the 14 Turkish charge d'affaires officers in Germany on Monday, and to meet with representatives of Turkish immigrant organizations in Cologne on Tuesday.

    The fact that the two ministers will be seen together is viewed as an effort to lower tension between their two countries after the Luxembourg EU summit, and Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's accusations against German Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

    The subject of Turkey's participation at the European Conference will be discussed at the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday, while Mr. Cem will be informed "first hand" by his German counterpart.

    However, German foreign ministry sources insisted that a change in Ankara's stance is not apparent "for the time being".

    In any case, the same sources said Bonn "has not changed" its views on the issue of Turkish participation at the Conference or necessary conditions for that participation.

    [07] WEU's de Puig satisfied with Athens talks

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The visiting president of the Western European Union's (WEU) parliamentary assembly Luis-Maria de Puig yesterday expressed full satisfaction with his high-level talks in Athens.

    "We expect a lot from the (current) Greek presidency, first of all because we know Greece's commitment to building a European defense with the active role of WEU. And secondly because we are going through a particularly important period, following the serious discussions on the building of European defense and security that took place at the Amsterdam and Madrid summits," he said. Mr. de Puig was earlier received by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The WEU official noted that the Greek presidency began with the very best omens, referring to Prime Minister Costas Simitis' address to WEU parliamentary assembly in Paris last December, which was well received.

    The fact that Greece participated with a delegation at the highest possible level, including the prime minister, the foreign minister and the alternate foreign minister, was also an indication of the significance Athens attributed to the institution.

    In statements during Mr. de Puig's reception at the foreign ministry, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos stressed Greece's permanent emphasis on the significance of the European defense dimension in the overall process of European integration.

    He also said that Greece attributed considerable importance to the parliamentary assemblies of organizations such as the WEU, the European Union or the Council of Europe, because it believes that their functions should be as democratic and transparent a s possible.

    "Greece is too small a country to do things behind the backs of citizens," he said.

    He reminded that WEU's defense ministers' council, to be held in Rhodes on May 11 and 12, will be attended by the ministers of 28 countries, WEU members, associated and observer nations.

    Replying to questions, Mr. de Puig said the WEU's parliamentary assembly retained the proposal submitted during the German presidency for the convening of a WEU summit, adding that he had discussed the matter with his Greek guests, and they had agreed to re-examine the matter when the circumstances are more mature.

    Mr. Pangalos said Greece would be willing to organize such a summit if unanimity could be established among the other governments.

    He also said "we shall let this idea mature".

    [08] European Parliament president in Athens next week

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The President of the European Parliament, Jose Maria Gil-Robles, will visit Athens next Thursday for contacts with Greece's political leaders. Among the issues he is expected to discuss are Economic and Monetary Union, relations between the European Union and Turkey and Greek-Turkish relations.

    [09] Kranidiotis meets with his Chilean counterpart Amunategui

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis yesterday met with his visiting Chilean counterpart Mariano Gernadez Amunategui, discussing further development of bilateral co-operation in the economic and trade sectors.

    They also discussed developments on the Cyprus issue, Greek-Turkish relations and Balkan affairs.

    [10] Gen. Tzoganis to present Greek position at OSCE conference

    Vienna, 24/1/1998 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    National Defense General Staff Chief, Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis, will set out Athens' positions on security in southeastern Europe and on regional security as a main speaker at an international conference on defense policy and military doctrines.

    The conference will take place between Monday and Wednesday within the framework of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

    The address by Gen. Tzoganis, who will head a large delegation of senior Greek armed forces officers, will focus on "Security in southeastern Europe, challenges and pro-spects."

    Turkish General Staff Chief Gen. Ismail Karadayi and his US and Russian counterparts will be among the 34 general staff chiefs and senior officers from the OSCE's 54 member-states.

    The conference on defense policy and military doctrines, which is taking place following a proposal by Russia, desires to send a message on the organization's importance in European security policy.

    The OSCE is the sole European security organization in which Russia participates, which is opposed to NATO's upcoming enlargement to the east with the accession of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary as member-states.

    The Vienna Conference is the third consecutive summit meeting between military officers from OSCE member-states. The previous two had also taken place in Vienna in 1990 and 1991.

    [11] Mitsotakis: Ankara showing nervousness, as military dominates

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    In an interview with the New York - based Greek-language newspaper "Ethnikos Kyrix", former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis said that 1998 will be a turning point for national issues.

    He added that Turkey is showing symptoms of nervousness, with spasmodic moves which he doubts are part of a policy.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said the Yilmaz government in Ankara is particularly weak, adding that the influence of the military has taken on massive proportions, while sober forces are on the retreat.

    "Under the circumstances, it is certain that at this moment Turkey is not in a position to conduct negotiations with Greece with the purpose of resolving Greek-Turkish differences," he said.

    The main opposition ND honorary president criticized the government of being in danger of projecting an image of abandonment of Greek positions, at a phase where Athens must not back down from its position, not even by a millimeter, as he said.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said a possible withdrawal in foreign policy is inconceivable without negotiations and without something in return.

    "We give the image of withdrawing before even starting negotiations. What is necessary is calm resoluteness, clear and steadfast positions and primarily raising the Cyprus issue," he said.

    Commenting on statements by US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns regarding Greek airspace, Mr. Mitsotakis said that if he was in Mr. Simitis' position he would have replied that Greece was aware of what Mr. Burns said in the same way that Washington i s aware of Athens' position, which he said, he was certain that it respected.

    He went on to say that certainly the difference between six-mile territorial waters and 10-mile airspace is not the strongest possible position legally. However, Greece can resolve this problem either by reducing airspace or by increasing its territorial waters within the 12-mile limit, adding that the decision was an inalienable right stemming from international law.

    Mr. Mitsotakis believes that Turkey will not seek an armed conflict in the Aegean and that the continuation of this senseless game of infringements and violations taking place over the Aegean lacks any essence, while stressing that the Turks behaved responsibly during their latest exercise under US pressure, and in essence canceled it.

    [12] ... Reactions

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Commenting on Mr. Mitsotakis' interview, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said many of his views on Greek-Turkish relations are interesting, adding that this is so because Mr. Mitsotakis has handled these issues in the past.

    He said that the government agrees with some points in the statements and does not agree with others. He further disagreed with Mr. Mitsotakis' view on the lack of a unified government policy and added that Greece is stronger and can consolidate its interests.

    On the 12-mile question, Mr. Reppas said the government's position is clear.

    On his part, ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos "we remain unmoved on the extent of national airspace limits, while our country's right to extend territorial waters to 12 nautical miles when it deems necessary is inviolable."

    Speaking to "Antenna" radio, former ND party leader Miltiades Evert said the country's negotiating position is weakened by Mr. Mitsotakis' views on Greek national airspace.

    Mr. Evert said that if at a given moment Greece goes to the international court on the issue, the Turks will say that "you yourselves admit that your position is not strong,", adding that "it would be better for such statements to be avoided."

    [13] Greek national released by Turkish occupation forces

    Nicosia, 24/1/1998 (ANA - G. Leonidas)

    Greek national Georgios Kantarakis, 32, was released by Turkish occupation authorities yesterday.

    Mr. Kantarakis had been abducted 45 days ago.

    He was handed over to Cypriot authorities at the Ledra Palace Hotel in the Nicosia buffer zone at around 5 p.m.

    [14] Simitis on 2004 Games' managing director's appointment

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Addressing a cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said the appointment of Costas Bakouris as managing director of the 2004 Olympic Games organizing committee guarantees objectivity and transparency.

    Mr. Simitis said checks occurred beforehand to ensure that the head of the national effort will not be dependent or have relations that even hint at suspicions.

    "All of us must approve efforts to achieve targets, exceeding in many cases the inherent delays of the administration and cadres of enterprises such as control of environmental studies," he said.

    Mr. Simitis said Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki had expressed a wish not to be included in the organizing committee, while Petros Synodinos was proposed but did not accept.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said reports mentioning displeasure on the part of Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras due to the participation of Sports Secretary-General Yiannis Sgouros in the organizing committee are groundless, as Mr. Fouras w as the one who proposed Mr. Sgouros.

    Replying to other question, Mr. Reppas said Mr. Bakouris was not rejected during the process of selecting a managing director for the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) because he wasn't reliable or objective, but because he had no relation with the telecoms sector, as the successful short-list candidate did.

    He added that the appointment of Mr. Bakouris to the Olympic Games committee does not constitute a party choice, because Mr. Bakouris has nothing to do with PASOK, while he combines knowledge and adequacy.

    [15] ... US executive quits private sector for Athens 2004

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Costas Bakouris, the 62-year-old executive appointed managing director of the 15-member organizing committee for the 2004 Olympic Games "Athens 2004 S.A.", yesterday announced his retirement from the post of Chairman for Europe of Ralston Energy Systems Europe S.A., effective February 1, to take up his new post.

    A company spokesman told the ANA that Mr. Bakouris was "concluding a successful 28-year career with the company", which is the European arm of the St. Louis-based Eveready Battery Company. "Costas Bakouris has dedicated his life's work to Eveready Battery Company and made innumerable contributions to our business... We congratulate Costas and wish him continued success in his upcoming endeavor," the spokesman said.

    Mr. Bakouris, who was born in a village outside Tripoli in the Peloponnese and holds B.A. and MBA degrees from DePaul University in Chicago, began his career with Esso Papas in Greece before moving to Eveready in 1970 as finance manager, Greece.

    He held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in Europe, including Managing Director-Greece, Director of Marketing-Europe, Director of Operations-Europe, and Vice President, General Manager of Battery Products-Europe, before being named Chairman for Europe in 1986.

    Mr. Bakouris also served as President of the European Portable Battery Association from 1988-1992, and on several European business organizations and advisory boards.

    [16] ... Stronger environmental laws urged in light of Olympics

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    An international symposium entitled "Olympic Games - The city and environment" continued for a second day yesterday at Athens' Zappeion Hall with a presentation by architect Inge Aarchus on the experience of Lillehammer, Norway, site of the 1994 Winter Olympics.

    Mr. Aarchus commented on the close co-operation between the central and local government, the Olympic committee, non-govern-mental organizations and emphasis on a special program for the protection of the environment.

    He urged both Sydney and Athens to implement stricter laws than those already in force regarding environmental protection.

    Australian environmentalist Michael Bland, who is also a member of Greenpeace, described the organization's official co-operation with the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG). Measures to protect the environment in Sydney include a reduction in the use of PVC in the construction of the Olympic village and solar air conditioning units.

    All buildings in the Olympic village will be prefabricated in order to be able to be used elsewhere after the Games.

    [17] Kranidiotis tour of Africa

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis will tour four African countries - Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa - between Jan. 28 and Feb. 2. The aim of Mr. Kranidiotis' tour is the promotion of Greece's candidacy for the post of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 1999-2000, and the strengthening of its bilateral relations.

    [18] Embassy car torched

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    A car belonging to the Armenian Embassy was torched yesterday morning, causing extensive damage but no injuries, police said.

    They said the car, belonging to the Armenian consul, was doused with gasoline and set on fire as it was parked near the Consul's home in the Nea Smyrni residential district.

    A nearly-empty gas canister was found next to the burned car, police said.

    A man later claimed responsibility for the attack on behalf of an anarchist group calling itself "Arsonists of Conscience", in a telephone call to the radio and TV station "Skai".

    Police said on Thursday that a recent rash of car torchings and bomb attacks in the Athens area were random attacks by anarchists hoping to throw police off the trail of accomplices of a man arrested last week on suspicion of involvement in an urban guerrilla group.

    Five cars were torched and three bombs went off in a three hour period late Wednesday night. The three bombs caused damage to property in the immediate vicinity. Police said the sudden increase in the attacks were an attempt to derail police from making any further inroads into their investigation of urban guerrilla groups, following the arrest of Nikos Maziotis last week.

    Maziotis, 27, was charged with possession of weapons, explosive material and seditious printed material after a police swoop on a number of Athens homes. Police found a significant quantity of explosive material in the raids, including 9.5 kilos at Maziotis's Kamatero home.

    The finds, police say, link Maziotis with the urban guerrilla group Militant Guerrilla Formation (MAS), which has claimed responsibility for a number of bomb attacks since its appearance in 1996.

    [19] Gov't comments on violence by Turkish fans against Greek team

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Athens yesterday called the violent incidents after the RTT Ankara-Olympiakos basketball game in Ankara Thursday night "regrettable".

    After the game, which Olympiakos won 82-80, fans of the Turkish team pelted the Greek team's players with stones, bolts and radio batteries, among others.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said that a "few foolish people" had not helped their team or their country.

    In an unrelated development, commenting on a proposal by the Turkish Soccer Federation for Greece and Turkey to stage the 2002 European Soccer Championship together, Mr. Reppas said that while the time was still some time off, it was an issue for the respective federations and authorities to consider.

    However, he said it would be a positive move "to link culture and sports".

    [20] ... Olympiakos' complaints

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    On his part, Olympiakos basketball team owner Socrates Kokkalis yesterday expressed his club's complaints to Euroleague officials.

    "FIBA should not allow this new 'achievement' of the Turkish fans to go unpunished," said Georgios Vasilakopoulos, an influential Greek basketball personality and former official.

    Dozens of Turkish fans also attacked the Greek team's locker-room.

    [21] Gov't says it won't budge on farmers' demand

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that it would not allow any violation of European Community legislation or the Common Agricultural Policy in order to satisfy "a few farmers' groups".

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a Cabinet meeting yesterday morning that demands placed by farmers over olive oil and citrus fruits would not force the government to bend Community rules.

    On their part, protesting farmers from the Thessaly town of Farsala blocked the railway line at the Stavros community for an hour yesterday. The farmers, in a show of solidarity to about a dozen farmers standing trial in Larisa for obstructing communications during mobilizations last year, arrived at the location with tractors, although they ultimately decided to lie down on the tracks for about an hour, also blocking the local train's schedule.

    After an hour, the farmers withdrew. They announced that they will block the national motorway in the Farsala province at the Monastiri community on Wednesday. The development is part of the escalation of their struggle until Feb. 2 when a major mobilization will take place.

    [22] Inflation rate expected to slide this month

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Inflation is expected to fall to between 4.5 and 4.4 per cent this month, compared to 4.7 per cent at the end of last year.

    Government officials are optimistic that the decline will continue in February and that the inflation rate will stand at 3.8 per cent in May.

    The government's goal in 1998 is to lower inflation to 2.5 per cent.

    [23] Heightened interest for DIS firm's bourse listing

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The informatics firm DIS posted a significant success yesterday during registration at the Athens Stock Exchange following the introduction of its shares onto the parallel market of the Athens bourse.

    Capital obtained amounted to 83.7 billion drachmas, compared to 612 million drachmas sought by the company. The investing interest shown for DIS is interpreted by the expectations being created by hi-tech companies.

    DIS is the seventh consecutive informatics firm to register its shares at the bourse during a very good conjuncture for such companies.

    The company is expected to show sales totaling 1.4 billion drachmas in 1997, compared to 1.2 billion drachmas in 1996. Its revenues will amount to 444 million as against 389 million drachmas over the corresponding period last year.

    [24] Funding announced for airports, road works

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Credits totaling 11 billion drachmas have been earmarked for projects at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport, expansion of an air terminal in Mykonos, tendering for road works contracts in the Thessaloniki, Arcadia and Aitoloakarnania prefectures and for road and flood-protection works in Attica.

    Among others, the air terminal will be expanded and an environmentally friendly location will be shaped at Mykonos State Airport, budgeted at 4.85 billion drachmas.

    Works at Macedonia Airport were awarded to the ETETH S.A. company and are budgeted at 1.5 billion drachmas.

    [25] ECONOMIC NEWS

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Three Greek companies listed in Europe's top 500: Three Greek listed companies were included for the first time in a list of Europe's 500 top companies published by the Financial Times.

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) is listed in the 108th position based on the company's capitalization - measured in earnings multiplied by the number of issued stocks, followed by Alpha Credit Bank at 361 and National Bank of Greece at 45 4.

    OTE is the only Greek company to be included in the Global 500 list at the 359th position.

    Financial Times started publishing the Europe 500 list 16 years ago, while its Global 500 list is in its second year.

    General Electric, Royal Dutch/Shell and Microsoft were the first three companies in the world league, while Royal Dutch/Shell, Novartis and HSBC Holdings topped the European league.

    [26] ... Greek stocks end lower on profit taking

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended a five-day advance yesterday to end moderately lower in the last trading session of the week on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said investors preferred to liquidate gains ahead of the weekend.

    The general index closed 0.25 percent off at 1,448.04 points, to show a net gain of 2.60 percent in the week. Analysts said that the market would find it difficult to surpass the 1,450 resistance level without any new major incentives and as long as interbank rates remained at current high levels despite a further fall in relation to an expected 4.4 percent in January.

    Economists and government officials agree that further turbulence in the domestic money market was possible until spring when European Union leaders will decide on the founding members of a monetary union in 1999 and foreign exchange parities fixed for those participating in the euro currency.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 1.13 percent, Insurance fell 1.07 percent, Leasing were 0.33 percent down, Investments dropped 0.55 percent, Constructions increased 0.13 percent, Industrials were stable, Miscellaneous rose 1.70 percent and Holding ended 0.56 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.75 percent while the FTSE/ASE index dropped 0.65 percent to 793.88 points for a net gain of 2.27 percent in the week.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 14.7 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totaled 82.254 billion drachmas to a daily average of 16.5 billion, down from 20 billion the previous week.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 128 to 72 with another 31 issues unchanged.

    Agrinio Metalplastic, Athinea, Radio Athina and Alcar-Aemet scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's upper limit of 8.0 percent, while Nafpaktos Mills, Daring, Sarandopoulos and Macedonian Mills suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,470 drachmas, Ergobank at 13,950, Alpha Credit Bank at 14,940, Delta Dairy at 2,720, Titan Cement at 13,515, Intracom at 14,900 and OTE at 5,590.

    [27] European transport conference to be held in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The 15th European conference of transport ministers will be held in Thessaloniki in the spring of 2000.

    The conference will be organized by the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki on a proposal by Greece's transport ministry.

    A university statement said that organizing the conference was an initiative of international importance promoting the institution's educational role in Europe.

    [28] Tourism authority seeks tougher policy adherence

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek National Tourist Organization (EOT) is determined to impose maximum penalties on cases of tourism regulation infringements, the organization's secretary general Nikos Skoulas said yesterday.

    Presenting the annual results of the organization's agencies, Mr. Skoulas reported 2,645 inspections on tourism enterprises in the country.

    Inspections covered application of technical standards, quality of services, pricing, equipment, sanitary measures and behavior.

    EOT's agencies proposed improvement works in 764 hotels, imposed penalties on 157, pressed charges on another 24 and recalled permits in three cases.

    Mr. Skoulas said tourism authorities will work hard in order to upgrade Greece's tourism services.

    [29] Mortgage/Housing Bank shareholders receive new shares

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    Shareholders in Mortgage Bank and Housing Bank will receive free shares in the form of depositary receipts, resulting from the two banks merger last year and a consequent share capital increase.

    Housing Bank's shareholders will receive 0.04 of a new share for every old one, while Mortgage Bank's shareholders will receive 0.52 of a new share for every old one.

    Registration begins February 3.

    [30] Unions call new strike for Tuesday

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) yesterday decided at a meeting with union representatives of public sector organizations and banks to call a new 24-hour strike next Tuesday over a provision in the government's tax bill.

    Thursday's 24-hour strike was called for the same reason, namely a provision that allows a change in the status of workers at public sector organizations within the framework of their reform.

    Workers say that the provision directly undermines their status.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou Thursday told unionists presenting him with their demands that the provision applied only to loss-making or bankrupt public enterprises and corporations (DEKOs).

    At a press conference called for Monday, GSEE will rebut the government's view that employees of public sector organizations enjoy special privileges.

    It also intends to contact the International Labor Organization and the Confederation of European Trade Unions to condemn the Greek government for circumventing the International Labor Agreement.

    At the same time, GSEE said it was demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and strongly criticized National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos accused Mr. Papantoniou of "consciously choosing to weaken the public sector".

    [31] Mobile cardphones on InterCity trains

    Athens, 24/1/1998 (ANA)

    The installation of mobile telephony cardphones on InterCity trains has been completed, with passengers now able to make phone calls during their trip.

    Units operate with a special card which passengers can obtain from the snack bars on InterCity trains, at a cost of 600 drachmas for a conversation of up to four minutes.

    End of English language section.


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