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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-06-30

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] EFG Eurobank submits highest bid for Cretabank
  • [02] Tsohatzopoulos cautions against attempts at destabilisation
  • [03] EU: Rugova the formal interlocutor for Kosovo's Albanians
  • [04] Greek consulate denies Turkish press reports of espionage
  • [05] Athens cites offer of assistance towards Adana quake victims
  • [06] ABNA elects MPA's Kouzinopoulos as general director
  • [07] President receives Spanish crown prince
  • [08] Plaque unveiled in at poet Kalvos' home in London
  • [09] Prosecutors' union,gov't confiscation of police files
  • [10] Tabled question to Commission regarding video games
  • [11] Ethnic festival in Hania
  • [12] Acharnes at Epidavros
  • [13] Vasso Papandreou admits gov't errors, rejects talk of policy clash
  • [14] Gov't seeks ways of boosting competitiveness to cut inflation
  • [15] Greek stocks rise in edgy trade
  • [16] Trade board to arrange Greek participation in Dubai fair
  • [17] Greece, Peru to sign tourism cooperation agreement
  • [18] Greece's Xiosbank boosts share capital by Dr 12.7 billion
  • [19] Commission again ponders OA restructuring programme
  • [20] EU committee ratifies natural gas projects in Greece, Italy
  • [21] Greek, German postal cooperation agreement
  • [22] BB 3 00022 Bulletin - Correction

  • [01] EFG Eurobank submits highest bid for Cretabank

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    EFG Eurobank, a member of the Latsis group, yesterday offered the highest bid but with the longest payment period, during an international tender for the sale of state-owned Cretabank.

    The sale is part of the government's wide-ranging privatisation programme aimed at shrinking the sprawling public sector and cutting spending.

    Cretabank said in a statement that a Latsis group company, representing Eurobank, had offered 93 billion drachmas with payments to be spread over four years.

    Three bids were submitted in the tender, all complying with the tender's rules. The bidders were Bank of Piraeus and Macedonia-Thrace Bank jointly, Ergobank and finally, EFG Eurobank.

    Yesterday was the deadline for bids in the tender, called on May 14, while there was no starting price in the latest attempt to sell the bank.

    On the auction block are 97 per cent of Cretabank's common shares and 100 per cent of preference shares.

    The government committed itself to wholly or partly privatising a wide range of state enterprises when the drachma joined the European Union's Exchange Rate Mechanism in March, as a prelude to Economic and Monetary Union by Jan. 1, 2001.

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged the government to privatise its banks more aggressively.

    Details of the bids given by Cretabank were as follows:

    - Luxembourg-based Consolidated Eurofinance Holdings SA bid on behalf of the Latsis group, owners of EFG Eurobank. The bid was 93 billion drachmas, of which 30 per cent is payable within a month: 10 per cent annually for the first three years; and the remaining 40 per cent in the final year

    - Ergobank, a blue chip on the Athens Stock Exchange, bid 48.1 billion drachmas, payable in a lump sum in a month.

    - A joint bid by Bank of Piraeus (75 per cent) and Macedonia-Thrace Bank (25 per cent), both listed on the Athens bourse. The bid was just a little more than 52.37 billion drachmas, of which a little more than 16.977 billion drachmas will be paid in a month; 12.7 billion drachmas in the first year; 11.8 billion drachmas in the second year; and 10.9 billion drachmas in the third year.

    The bid dossiers will be taken to the Bank of Greece today, which will pronounce whether the bidders are suitable. An evaluation committee will then study the three bids and choose the winner on an unspecified date.

    Two earlier sale attempts since 1996 were unsuccessful. In the first, the bid floor was 40 billion drachmas, and in the second, 30 billion drachmas.

    Under the terms of any sale contract to be signed in the latest tender, payment has to be made either in a lump sum within a month; or in instalments over four years with a minimum 30 per cent downpayment payable within a month.

    Cretabank has 71 branches and 16 other outlets in Greece, as well as a staff of 1,485 people. Its share capital was 41.9 billion drachmas at the end of 1997.

    The bank has a loans portfolio of 199.6 billion drachmas, deposits of 331.7 billion drachmas and assets totalling 406.8 billion drachmas. Its subsidiaries are active in insurance, portfolio investments and mutual funds.

    Eurobank announcement : On its part, EFG Eurobank announced that its bid was another major step in the context of the bank's strategy for an accelerated and effective expansion in the Greek banking market.

    It also stresses the Latsis group's "trust in the Greek banking systemYs future, the Greek economy's potential and the country's entry in EMU".

    Cretabank will be the fourth bank to be bought by Eurobank, if the bid succeeds, following a merger with Interbank and the buyout of the Credit Lyonnais network and Bank of Athens, which will give Eurobank a significantly upgraded position in the Greek market with about 180 branches by the end of the year.

    24-hour Ionian Bank strike : In a related banking sector development, the Ionian Bank employees' union called a 24-hour strike on Friday following a court ruling yesterday regarding the presence of striking employees at the bank's recent shareholders' assembly.

    The union had initially called a four-hour work stoppage today and a gathering at the Hilton Hotel, where a general assembly of Ionian Bank shareholders was to take place.

    However, after the court ruling, which substantively restricts the presence of employees and of representatives of their insurance fund at the assembly of Ionian Bank shareholders, the union suspended today's work stoppage and turned it into a 24-hour s trike on Friday.

    Ionian Bank union leaders said that yesterday's offers which were disclosed concerning Cretabank confirm warnings that the sale of the Ionian, a bank which is considerably larger than Cretabank, cannot be carried out at price levels such as those appear ing in the press so far.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Tsohatzopoulos cautions against attempts at destabilisation

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday cautioned against what he called destabilising behaviours amid Europe's efforts toward collective security systems, cooperation and stability.

    He was addressing a 7th international seminar on Hydra, organised by Pantion University's International Institute and focusing on European security and crises management.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos added that international treaties, agreements and law should not be undermined and warned that the rebirth of nationalism and the re-emergence of minority problems, "frozen" during the Cold War, could once again turn into bloody conflicts in Europe as well as the cause of future conflagrations.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos noted that the intergration of eastern Europe in the European Union can become the key factor for regional stability.

    This building of peace, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos concluded, is based on the present status quo of countries' borders, on the avoidance of "confron- tational axes" and on the collective guarantees of the region's countries, so they will not use violence or the threat of violence to solve differences.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] EU: Rugova the formal interlocutor for Kosovo's Albanians

    LUXEMBOURG 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The recent meetings between US special envoys Robert Gelbard and Richard Holbrooke with members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) have put the EU's "15" in a predicament, giving rise to a clarification yesterday their privileged inter locutor was the leader of the Kosovo Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova.

    The contacts between the US officials and UCK members were described as a mistake by European diplomats on the sidelines of the last General Affairs Council under the British Presidency in Brussels yesterday.

    Additionally, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou was more specific in detailing the EU member-states' position, saying that "we should not give UCK the impression that we are backing their claim for Kosovo's independence".

    He added that borders could not change by force, as the entire Balkans region was made up of minorities.

    In a statement regarding Kosovo, the union's "15" reiterated that they were strongly opposed to the independence of the Serbian province, which holds a majority of Albanian-speakers.

    They said they will continue to promote the establishment of greater autonomy under a special regime but within the boundaries of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, whose country held the Union's rotating presidency in the first half of the year before handing it over to Austria, said that as far as he was concerned, "Rugova was the Kosovo Albanians' legally elected leader, while the election had been boycotted by the UCK".

    Discussion at General Affairs Council : Mr. Papandreou also said that the General Affairs Council confirmed a position demanding an immediate ceasefire, a truce between the sides involved in the Kosovo conflict and an immediate start to a dialogue for a solution to be found in the framework of Yugoslavia.

    The Foreign Ministers of the "15" member-states will meet again in Brussels on July 13 for the first Council of the Austrian EU presidency.

    Yesterday's meeting focused primarily on developments in the Kosovo crisis, relations with third countries (the LOME agreement) as well as the priorities of the Austrian presidency. The Austrian FM said that he will visit Greece on July 9 in the framework of a "round of capitals."

    Mr. Papandreou noted that whatever contacts taking place with the UCK should not weaken Mr. Rugova and cannot legitimise whatever secessionist logic.

    "This would have tragic consequences both symbolically and politically for the neighbouring countries, because all the Balkan countries each have one or more minorities within their boundaries, or a minority in neighbouring countries with which they are linked," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou also said that Greece is opposed to boycotting sports events, first of all in principle, backing the position of the International Olympic Committee that sports must be kept away from politics and help in cooperation and communication bet ween peoples.

    Secondly, Greece has already taken an initiative to utilise the concept of the Olympic truce which is linked directly to the Olympic Games and sports events in general.

    He also said that Greece is promoting an event on the idea of the Olympic truce, in cooperation with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and the Olympic Games Committee with the hope that athletes from various Balkan countries will partici pate who will give this message of peace.

    "The first is a ceasefire, the second dialogue, the third is an agreement in the framework of Yugoslavia and fourthly it is that force exercised by the state of Yugoslavia, as well as on the part of rebels in Kosovo is condemned," he said.

    Other comments : "Greece has repeatedly stressed the need to examine all diplomatic means and has claimed that first of all there is a need for (military) forces to be sent to the borders of Albania and Yugoslavia, something Mr. (Fatos) Nano has asked for...but also in FYRO M," Mr. Papandreou told the private MEGA television station in separate statements.

    "We think that these measures are necessary, so the conflict may be contained and from that point on the diplomatic actions necessary may continue for a cease-fire..." he said.

    Pangalos: Holbrooke 'jumping the gun' : LARNARCA (MPA/ANA) - In a related development, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, commenting on recent statements by newly appointed US ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke, who warned of a full-scale war in Kosovo involving Balkan countries, said ye sterday that the US diplomat was "jumping the gun".

    "Maybe he thinks that he's exerting pressure in order to find a solution," Mr. Pangalos said.

    Mr. Pangalos said that there could be a problem for Greece if 200,000 ethnic Albanians move from Kosovo towards Albania and 50,000 of them end up in Greece.

    Mr. Pangalos expressed the hope that if military intervention does take place in Kosovo it is conducted carefully.

    He said that Greece maintains excellent ties with Serbia, adding however, that Belgrade sometimes "does not listen in time."

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek consulate denies Turkish press reports of espionage

    ISTANBUL 30/06/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas/A. Abatzis)

    The Greek consulate in Izmir said yesterday it had no knowledge of any incident in the Izmir area concerning alleged arrests of Greek nationals or other individuals connected with Greece.

    The consulate was referring to Turkish press reports regarding an alleged case of espionage by Greece.

    Consul Andreas Fryganas said Greek authorities know nothing about the supposed "red-handed" arrest of "Turkish officers who gave information to Greek spies."

    In addition, the director of the "Sabah" daily's Ankara office, which usually conveys the views of the newspaper's leadership, reported over the weekend that individuals belonging to "Greek intelligence approached three officers and became linked to them", claiming that the defendants were arrested "red-handed."

    Sabah reported that three Turkish air force officers were arrested in Izmir and will be court martialled on charges of espionage in favour of Greece.

    Sabah reporter Fatih Cekirge, whose byline was on Sunday's article, claimed yesterday that "the Greeks wanted to find out, firstly, the low-flight plans of Turkish fighter planes and, secondly, flight plans in the event of an alert."

    He added that "all this does not mean that Turkey does not also develop intelligence activities, but the activities revealed are those of Greece."

    The newspapers "Hurriyet" and "Milliyet" also referred to the issue.

    According to reports, one officer is identified as "Mehmet Barut" and is allegedly stationed at the Cigli airbase in Izmir.

    Milliyet, in contrast to Hurriyet and Sabah, spoke of five officers being arrested. According to Milliyet, the officers are being held at the Mamak prison in Ankara.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Athens cites offer of assistance towards Adana quake victims

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Athens said yesterday that it had expressed a desire to offer assistance to the quake victims of Adana and Ceyhan, in southern Turkey.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also expressed the government's regrets and its condolences to the people of Adana.

    Saturday's quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, left at least 112 dead and more than 1,000 injured.

    Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) Eurodeputy Alekos Alavanos yesterday sent a letter to European Commission President Jacques Santer calling for the European Union to provide humanitarian aid and support for the rebuilding of Adana.

    Mr. Alavanos underlined "the need for the EU to show solidarity with the residents of the region..."

    PASOK Eurodeputy Anna Karamanou also called on the European Union to send immediate humanitarian aid to the region. She also noted that this was the area Turkish authorities have chosen as a site for construction of a new nuclear power plant.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] ABNA elects MPA's Kouzinopoulos as general director

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) unanimously elected Macedonian Press Agency director Spyros Kouzinopoulos to the post of its general secretary last Saturday during the organisation's 6th general assembly.

    The three-member committee of ABNA will consist of Mr. Kouzinopoulos, former ABNA president Milovan Stefanovski and ABNA president-elect Panayot Denev.

    The ABNA press release noted the need for Balkan news agencies, journalists and the mass media to carry out their activities in accordance with the criteria of pluralism, objectivity and truth.

    It added that the aforementioned values are important for the development of peaceful and fruitful cooperation in the region, especially with the crisis in Kosovo at such a difficult stage.

    The press release, issued from Ohrid in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, noted the undivided support for the "Diavlos" programme, which is designed to bring together all Balkan news agencies through new technology and for the Balkan News Bank,which began its pilot-programme operation.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] President receives Spanish crown prince

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday received Spain's Crown Prince Felipe who captained the fourth-placed "Aifos" sailboat in the World COREL 45 Championship held in Piraeus.

    After the informal meeting which lasted 30 minutes, Stephanopoulos hosted a lunch for Felipe, attended also by the Spanish Ambassador in Athens.

    According to informed sources, Felipe expressed the satisfaction of the Spanish royal couple at their recent official visit to Greece.

    The four-day COREL 45 Championship ended on Sunday.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Plaque unveiled in at poet Kalvos' home in London

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greek ambassador to London Vassilis Zafiropoulos yesterday unveiled a plaque commemorating Greek poet Andreas Kalvos, the English Heritage Foundation announced.

    The plaque marks the poet's home and school for young ladies, which he operated with his wife between 1857 and 1865 in Maida Vale, London.

    The ceremony was part of the "Greece in Britain" events, which coincided with the British European Union presidency.

    Kalvos was born on the Venetian-held island of Zakynthos in 1792, becoming one of the most ardent supporters of Greek independence.

    English Heritage launched the first National Blue Plaque Scheme pilot project in Liverpool and Merseyside. Members of the public are invited to nominate famous Liverpulians and 10 blue plaques will be put up over the next few years.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Prosecutors' union,gov't confiscation of police files

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The prosecutors' union yesterday issued a statement bucking the actions of prosecutor Georgios Gerakis,uho last week confiscated 17 police files regading residency permits of foreigners in Greece.

    Meanwhile,government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said such investigations must be conducted in a courteous manner so as not cause the wrong impression,since police have nothing to hide.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Tabled question to Commission regarding video games

    BRUSSELS 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The European Commission has not committed itself to immediate measures to deal with the negative effects video games may have on children's health.

    A tabled question by Greek Eurodeputy Anna Karamanou requests that the Commission intervene by taking measures against what she called the effects on children's health through 'addiction' to violent video games.

    In reply, EU Commissioner Martin Bangemann acknowledged that the Commission had not taken any relevant measures to protect children from video game exposure.

    "The Commission will study the validity of French legal arrangements and will consult other member-states..." Mr. Bangemann said.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Ethnic festival in Hania

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    An ethnic festival opened yesterday in Hania, Crete, organised for the second consecutive year by the municipality, with messages against racism and xenophobia as the main themes.

    During the celebration, members of ethnic communities living in Hania will present their traditions and customs, along with musical performances.

    The event includes a children's programme, presented by a group of Finnish artists, an Austrian music and song night, while a tavern at the town's Municipal Gardens will serve foods from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Acharnes at Epidavros

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Aristophanes' classic comedy "Acharnes" will be staged at the ancient Epidavros theatre on July 3 and 4, with noted Greek comedian Thanassis Vengos in the leading role of Dikeopolis.

    The comedy is set during the Peloponnesian War.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Vasso Papandreou admits gov't errors, rejects talk of policy clash

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday acknowledged that the government had made mistakes it was trying to correct but maintained that differences of opinion were over management, not policy. "We acknowledge our mistakes. We are moving ahead and trying not to repeat them," Ms Papandreou told the the daily Ta Nea newspaper in an interview. She rejected anonymous leaks to the media reportedly stemming from national economy ministry officials that she and other ministers opposed government policy as lacking seriousness.

    "We must all realise that we are in the middle of a very critical four-year term. A number of policies are unfolding at the moment, but the public has so far only seen the cost, not the benefit, which is a medium-term aspect. We are therefore at the most difficult point in our four-year term," Ms Papandreou said.

    This helped to explain public displeasure and unfavourable opinion polls, a climate that she believed was reversible.

    At the same time, the government had not done as much as it could to explain its wide-ranging privatisation plan to working people, Ms Papandreou said.

    "Of course, this does not mean that there haven't been any mistakes on our part, but we're talking about mistakes in handling issues, not policy," she said.

    "In my opinion, uninformed workers are the worst defenders of their own interests. And they alone are not to blame. Mainly we, the government, are at fault here".

    Ms Papandreou recalled a visit she made last week with Prime Minister Costas Simitis to Skaramangas and Elefsina shipyards, and to Hellenic Petroleum's refineries.

    The visit aimed to show that the three wholly or partly privatised firms were successful due to efforts by management and workers.

    "Let me recall that about a year ago it was Elefsina Shipyard employees who were protesting on the streets (just as Ionian Bank personnel were doing recently over privatisation)," the minister said.

    "But today Elefsina employees are reacting differently because their jobs have been made secure through the development and potential of the enterprise," she said. Ms Papandreou also accused opposition parties of being liberal with their criticism but f ailing to offer alternative policies.

    Asked to comment on Ms Papandreou's interview, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also acknowledged that the government had made errors. He said the point was to avoid repeating mistakes.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Gov't seeks ways of boosting competitiveness to cut inflation

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The government is seeking ways of boosting competitiveness in the domestic market in order to further contain inflation, government sources said yesterday.

    Meeting to debate the issue were Finance Undersecretary George Drys, Development Undersecretary Mihalis Chrysohoidis, the prime minister's economic adviser, Tassos Yiannitsis, and the chairman of the national economy ministry's board of economic experts , George Stournaras. No decisions were taken.

    The sources said that although the officials did not discuss a plan to reduce indirect taxes, including that on fuel, the matter remained an option if inflation remained above the year's target in the next few months.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Greek stocks rise in edgy trade

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Banks led Greek equities moderately higher on the Athens Stock Exchange in nervous trading yesterday on the deadline of an international tender to sell state-owned Cretabank.

    The general index ended 0.60 percent higher at 2,408 points. Trading was heavy with turnover at 104.9 billion drachmas, including a block trade of 8.5 million shares in Hellenic Sugar worth 51 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices finished mixed. Banks rose 1.08 percent, Insurance fell 1.03 percent, Investment ended 0.67 percent up, Leasing soared 8.0 percent, Industrials eased 0.26 percent, Construction dropped 1.55 percent, Miscellaneous ended 1.32 percent off, Holding was 1.10 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.14 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 index rose 0.75 percent to 1,438.26.

    Decliners led advancers by 142 to 96 with another 16 issues unchanged. Ergodata, Tzirakian, Alpha Leasing, ETBA Leasing, Sysware, Bank of Athens, Altec, Piraeus Leasing, Epilektos and Duty Free Shops scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the dai ly 8.0 percent limit up.

    Bank of Central Greece, Development Invest, Macedonian Mills, Vis, Alysida, Eskimo, Mohlos and Kalpinis suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 39,240 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,210, Alpha Credit Bank at 26,100, Ionian Bank at 13,290, Delta Dairy at 3,605, Titan Cement at 19,940, Intracom at 10,500 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 7,690 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Trade board to arrange Greek participation in Dubai fair

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic External Trade Organisation (HEPO), a government-sponsored export promotion agency, will organise Greece's participation in an international furniture trade fair entitled Index '98 to be held in Dubai on October 7-11.

    Items on display at the trade fair include furniture for households, offices, hotels, restaurants, and hospitals, HEPO said in a statement.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Greece, Peru to sign tourism cooperation agreement

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Peru will sign a cooperation agreement in Athens today aimed at boosting tourism between the two countries.

    The accord is to be signed by the Peruvian Ambassador in Greece, Martin Yrigoyen, and by Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) president Ioannis Stephanidis.

    "Peru and Greece have many agreements in the commercial, economic, cultural and education sectors," Peru's civil and commercial attache Judith Roitman De Sabas told the Athens News Agency.

    "This new cooperation agreement will open a new perspective in the area of tourism, a field in which both countries have much experience and knowledge to interchange," she said.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Greece's Xiosbank boosts share capital by Dr 12.7 billion

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's Xiosbank, a private bank listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, successfully raised its share capital by 12.7 billion drachmas through a cash payment, it said in a statement yesterday.

    The bank offered five new shares for 10 old to existing shareholders at 3, 200 drachmas each, the statement said.

    Xiosbank's equity capital now totals 27.3 billion drachmas.

    The bank also announced a cut of half a percentage point in its Xios Alma deposit rate, effective today.

    The reduction brings this week's rate to an annual 10.47 percent for amounts over two million drachma, at a nominal rate of 10 percent.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Commission again ponders OA restructuring programme

    BRUSSELS 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Negotiations concerning Olympic Airways' restructuring programme, frozen by the European Commission since 1996, were concluded here yesterday.

    Athens' positions were supported at the European Union's services of the general transport department by Olympic Airways President Theodoros Tsakiridis, among others.

    The European Commission's services are examining Greek arguments and they do not appear to have taken finalised decisions so far. The Greek side is making efforts for a political decision to be taken by the European Commission before the summer recess.

    Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis is expected to meet EU Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock in Brussels next week or the week after to discuss the OA issue.

    Whether the European Commission will take a decision before the summer recess or will postpone its decision for the autumn is expected to depend on this meeting.

    Hellenic Petroleum SAYs board of directors has decided to assign construction of a polypropylene plant in Thessaloniki to the firm TCM/Montell. The contract is expected to be signed in the next few days.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] EU committee ratifies natural gas projects in Greece, Italy

    BRUSSELS 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    The Committee of Inter-European Energy Networks ratified a project concerning the linkage of natural gas networks for Greece and Italy during its meeting yesterday on the revision of a list of EU projects.

    The project includes support for the Italian network, an undersea pipeline and a network in Greece.

    The Greek side maintains that the network's implementation will widen natural gas supply sources for Greece and Balkan countries. At the same time energy supply safety is strengthened considerably, while preconditions are created for the competitive pro curement of natural gas. The project is also supported by Italy.

    Ratification was also provided for the strengthening of the Greek power grid on the east-west and north-south axes in the framework of developing the Greek network's international connections. This project constitutes the extension of a project already included in the list.

    The list will be submitted to the Council and the European Parliament for a final decision to be taken. Its approval by the Committee was unanimous, meaning that its final ratification should be quick and without problems.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Greek, German postal cooperation agreement

    Athens 30/06/1998 (ANA)

    A draft agreement on cooperation between the Greek and German post offices is to be signed shortly, resulting in the establishment of a joint enterprise that will undertake the mailing of packages, the Macedonian Press Agency reported yesterday.

    Officials from Greece's Post Offices and Germany's Deutsche Post, met last week in Athens, MPA said.

    The Greek-German post company will also have a board of directors which will comprise three members from each country and one mutually-appointed member.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] BB 3 00022 Bulletin - Correction

    Athens,Greece,30/06/1998 (ANA)

    Please correct the title of our news item on ABNA.

    The title should read: "ABNA elects MPA's Kouzinopoulos as general secretary" (..)

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