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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM does not rule out public expenditure cutbacks in 1999 state budget
  • [02] Int'l peace conference begins in Athens
  • [03] Greece's policy in the Balkans discussed at Cabinet meeting
  • [04] Greek, Albanian presidents discuss bilateral relations
  • [05] PM urges ministers to be more discreet, sources say
  • [06] Kaklamanis meets Yugoslav FM
  • [07] Papandreou refers to initiatives taken by Greek presidency of European Council
  • [08] Greece's new ambassador to Washington presents credentials
  • [09] Simitis-Peres meeting
  • [10] FYROM defence minister speaks of military cooperation with Greece
  • [11] Venizelos calls for more funds for cultural activities
  • [12] Coast guard arrests nine Greenpeace activists
  • [13] Patriarchate-Church talks in Athens end
  • [14] ND leader calls on gov't to provide funds for reforestation in Thessaloniki
  • [15] Albanian prime minister speaks to ANA
  • [16] Wanted Romanian again escapes police net, reports say
  • [17] Father pays ransom for kidnapped daughter
  • [18] Greek market defies European falls, ends up in the week
  • [19] Greek investments steadily rising in the Balkans
  • [20] Mytilineos in 2 billion drachma share capital increase scheme
  • [21] Black Sea Bank conference in Halkidiki
  • [22] Balkan chambers convene in Skopje
  • [23] Drachma parities
  • [24] Greek SMEs eye emerging markets
  • [25] Finnish trade delegation due in Greece next week

  • [01] PM does not rule out public expenditure cutbacks in 1999 state budget

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis did not rule out the possibility of certain special measures being taken concerning public expenditure cutbacks, a move expected to appear in the 1999 state budget, if the situation of the world economy continues to remain un stable.

    Referring to the guidelines of the new budget during yesterday's cabinet meeting, Mr. Simitis said that the situation on the international scene was unpredictable and was characterised by great uncertainty in many parts of the world (Russia, Japan and s outheast Asia).

    "There will be turbulence and for this reason we must be particularly careful," he said.

    Mr. Simitis said that such an unfavourable development can lead to increased state expenditures for interest rates (which will have to remain relatively high for "defensive" reasons and in this way burdening the servicing of the public debt).

    In this context, he said the possibility exists of taking certain measures in the expenditures sector, but definitely not in that of revenues.

    "In no way will new taxes be imposed," he said.

    Mr. Simitis reiterated that under the current international conditions, there is no ground for changes in fiscal policy, namely for giving benefits. Targets set in the convergence programme will be strictly adhered to.

    On the question of inflation, the great "obstacle" in the path towards Economic and Monetary Union, Mr. Simitis sent the message contained in the struggle against inflation to all cabinet members.

    "I wish to point out to all that inflation is a difficult target and requires special care for us to achieve it. And our political aim depends to a great degree on how much we will achieve this target. For this reason, whatever we propose is unbreakably linked to that target concerning both deficits and inflation," he said.

    Mr. Simitis accused the main opposition New Democracy party of preoccupying itself with fireworks over economic issues and of "deliberately choosing the easy course of talking about benefits being given" due to its lack of a specific and comprehensive p roposal on the economy and due to the exploitation of the pre-election period before next month's municipal and prefectural elections.

    At the end of the cabinet meeting, Mr. Simitis called on the government's economic ministers to stay behind to discuss developments in the economy in the light of international economic turbulence. The meeting was indicative of both the government's anx iety and determination to keep Greek economic indicators under control in the framework of the convergence course towards EMU.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Int'l peace conference begins in Athens

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns both referred to the issue of Cyprus in addresses they made yesterday during the international conference called the Athens Summit '98 Peace Conference being organise d in Athens for the fourth consecutive year.

    At the opening of the conference, always held at the Pnyx, Mr. Burns clarified his view that no diplomatic problem is unsolvable and that for the issue of Cyprus to be resolved leaders in Athens, Ankara and Nicosia must copy the actions of former South African president F.W. De Clerk and former Israeli pri me minister Shimon Peres, both of whom were present at the event, who contributed towards the normalisation of difficult problems in their countries.

    Mr. Burns said that the problem in this region will not last forever, peace will come to Cyprus soon and Greece and Turkey will find solutions to their problems.

    On his part, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos referred to the regions which, while wanting to, cannot resolve their problems in a peaceful way such as countries in Africa, Asia, Cyprus and the Balkans.

    He said that crises in these regions will not be resolved with actions by the international community and supported the creation of cooperation institutions in the Balkans and the Middle East.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos insisted on the importance of the crucial, as he called it, meaning of deterrence, adding that 40 per cent of occupied Cyprus necessitates the defensive shielding of Cyprus and Greece.

    The conference was inaugurated earlier by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos who, referring to the European Union, said that Greece's full accession to it will not automatically resolve all its problems, while all peoples must safeguard t heir national identity and language.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou addressed the conference on the issue of world peace and development.

    The event was also addressed by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, Transport and Communications Minister Anastasios Mantelis and the former President of the Republic of South Africa Frederick De Klerk. Film director Theodoros Angelopoulos was also give n an award but as he was unable to attend his award was received by music composer Ms. E. Karaindrou.

    The conference will be continued at the Asteras Hotel in Vouliagmeni today.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Greece's policy in the Balkans discussed at Cabinet meeting

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday chaired a Cabinet meeting on Greece's policy in the Balkans.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told the meeting there had been great progress over the past two years and that Greece was one of the leading trading partners for Balkan countries and held a strategic position in the investment of foreign capital.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said indicators so far showed Greece's progress in the economic and commercial cooperation field and that efforts would continue in the same direction.

    Northern Greece in particular holds a strong position in becoming a centre for regional growth, Mr. Pangalos said.

    Greece has developed strong ties with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, becoming the country's second largest trading partner and leading foreign investor, Mr. Reppas said.

    The issue of FYROM's name was "not as tense as in the past", Mr. Reppas said, adding the hope that UN-sponsored talks on the issue would be concluded soon.

    Mr. Pangalos also announced that a total of six new customs posts would open on the Greek border, three towards Bulgaria and three towards Albania.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek, Albanian presidents discuss bilateral relations

    Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday received his Albanian counterpart Rexhep Mejdani, visiting Athens to take part in an international conference over the weekend. The two presidents discussed bilateral relations and the situation in the wider region.
    Athens News Agency

    [05] PM urges ministers to be more discreet, sources say

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis urged his ministers yesterday to be a little more discreet in their public statements, according to reliable sources.

    The sources said Mr. Simitis urged his ministers to avoid making unguarded comments that could create a false impression that the government was preoccupied with "secondary issues".

    Mr. Simitis's comments came a day after the government denied it was considering appointing a deputy prime minister, following comments by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos to journalists.

    A day after Mr. Pangalos's comments, newspapers speculated that the appointment of a deputy prime minister could mean a government reshuffle, a rumour that has been repeatedly denied by the government.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Kaklamanis meets Yugoslav FM

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday reiterated the standing Greek position that a peaceful resolution must be found to the problem of Kosovo.

    Mr. Kaklamanis was speaking after meeting with visiting Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said this resolution must have complete respect for the territorial integrity of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and provide a special status for the Albanian minority.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Papandreou refers to initiatives taken by Greek presidency of European Council

    LISBON (ANA - E. Vergitis) - Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who is visiting the Portuguese capital in his capacity as president of the European Organisation Ministerial Council, during a press conference yesterday referred to initiatives ta ken by the Greek presidency of the European Council. Mr. Papandreou said that "the Greek presidency attempted to give as strong a push as possible within the first four months of its term, to the work performed by previous incumbent countries and to it s own initiatives".

    "The work on the human rights arena was very significant" added the minister and said that soon the European Council will have a Human Rights Court to be inaugurated on November 3, a "unique significant institution for the present and the future of Eur ope".

    Mr. Papandreou had an unofficial meeting with visiting Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano in Lisbon Thursday during which the two men exchanged a "few but important words about the crisis in Kosovo".

    "We discussed recent developments. It was an unofficial meeting and therefore, there is nothing specific to be announced. However, I would like to say that there seems to be some light in the efforts made by the mediators dealing with ceasefire and the beginning of dialogue issues, so that, if not a final, at least a transitionary solution may be found, allowing for expanded self-administration to Kosovo residents. We are still far from a decision, although recent developments in the negotiations seem t o take us to the right direction", concluded Mr. Papandreou.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greece's new ambassador to Washington presents credentials

    WASHINGTON (ANA - A. Ellis) - Greece's new Ambassador to Washington Alexandros Filonas delivered his credential to US President Bill Clinton in the White House on Thursday who found the opportunity to stress Greece's role as a NATO ally and in regional st ability.

    "Our alliance in NATO, joint efforts in the Balkans and our mutual interest in greater security in southeastern Europe will shape the relations of the United States with Greece over the new millenium, while we must not forget our cooperation in resolvin g the continuing dispute in Cyprus and the Aegean," President Clinton said.

    On his part, Mr. Filonas said that "Greece constitutes a stabilising factor in the sensitive region of southeastern Europe. It is proud of its democratic institutions, its participation in NATO and the European Union and its economic and social progress ."

    In an ensuing discussion, President Clinton expressed his disappointment over the lack of progress on the Cyprus issue. He also spoke of his sincere interest in the continuation of American efforts for a solution to be found to this problem as well as i n Greek-Turkish relations. He further praised the strategic importance of Greece in southeastern Europe and its role in stabilisation in the region.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Simitis-Peres meeting

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks yesterday with former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, with whom he discussed issues concerning the peace process in the Middle East, as well as international developments.
    Athens News Agency

    [10] FYROM defence minister speaks of military cooperation with Greece

    SKOPJE (ANA - M. Vichou) - Lazar Kitanovski, Defence Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), said he considers a NATO exercise starting at the Krivolak army camp today as constituting solidarity for his country's policy, as well as support for the role played by FYROM as a factor of peace in the region. Twenty-five NATO (including Greece) and Partnership for Peace countries will be participating in the exercise.

    In a statement to the Greek media, Mr. Kitanovski spoke of wide cooperation with Greece in the military sector and securing mutual trust.

    Mr. Kitanovski expressed the hope to be able to hold private talks with Greek National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos in Skopje on September 26, during the meeting of defence ministers from Balkan countries where, as he believes, a finalised agree ment will be signed for the creation of the multinational Balkan force, provided that its headquarters is determined at a meeting of experts taking place in Rome these days.

    Referring to the situation in Kosovo and the new plan of the US, he said that what is important is for talks to start, things to calm down and the refugees to be able to return to their homes and appeared reserved over whatever plans for military interv ention.

    He said that if the crisis spreads, FYROM will request help from NATO and the US for the safeguarding of its integrity as a member of the UN.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Venizelos calls for more funds for cultural activities

    LINZ (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis) - Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed support for a unified funding mechanism for cultural activities in the framework of the "Culture 2000" programme, as well as for a significant increase in the budget of t he European Union's cultural sector.

    Mr. Venizelos, who was speaking on the second day of the informal Council of EU Culture Ministers in Linz yesterday, said that the EU cultural budget is dramatically low, adding that this is also the case with the budget on cultural policy in most membe r-states.

    He said that to this end, funds must be obtained from other policies and other sectors in the EU having a supplementary cultural dimension.

    At today's last day of the session, the Council of Culture Ministers will preoccupy itself with the role of public radio and TV and the issue of strengthening audiovisual production.

    In a statement last night, Mr. Venizelos said that all countries recognise the position of public radio and TV without there being any question of competition. He said that they recognise the special public institutional role of state radio and TV organ isations and this has not changed even after the Amsterdam Treaty.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Coast guard arrests nine Greenpeace activists

    Greek coast guard officials yesterday arrested nine Greenpeace activists who had tied themselves to a barge in a protest against the dumping of toxic waste in the sea.

    Greenpeace has prevented Larco, a state-run ferronickel producer, from dumping allegedly toxic waste in the sea near the port of Volos for the past two days.

    Larco's president Constantine Daskalakis, who said on Wednesday that the protest was costing the company 100 million drachmas a day, warned that he may have to close the plant down until Sunday.

    Twelve Greenpeace activists were released by the coast guard on Tuesday after being detained for taking over Larco's loading facilities near Volos but the activists again boarded the Greenpeace ship MV Sirius, to resume their protest on Wednesday.

    Mr. Daskalakis and the plant's union president have claimed that the waste is not toxic. The Athens Labour Centre and the General Confederation of Workers of Greece have both called upon Greenpeace to end the protest, citing the risk to workers and the danger of closure of the company. The nine activists are to stand trial on Monday.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Patriarchate-Church talks in Athens end

    The talks between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece concluded yesterday in Athens after reaching landmark decisions for their future relations.

    The two delegations decided that the director of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's office in Athens will be appointed by the Patriarch's office, while the Brussels office of the Church of Greece will be operating autonomously from the Patriarchate.

    These decisions have brought to a close decades-long disagreements between the mother and daughter churches.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is due to visit Greece next year.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] ND leader calls on gov't to provide funds for reforestation in Thessaloniki

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday visited the parts of the Seich Sou forest in Thessaloniki burnt in last year's big forest fire and called on the government to provide funds immediately for reforestation and flood-pre vention work to be carried out.

    Mr. Karamanlis was briefed on the course of reforestation and on anti- erosion and flood-prevention work being done. A relevant forestry official said that the work must be completed by the end of the year, or by the middle of next year at the latest, ot herwise there will be great danger both for the forest and Thessaloniki from rains.

    On his part, Mr. Karamanlis said that "ecological destruction caused to Seich Sou is huge, but the government's reponsibility is even greater, not only due to negligence it showed at the time with the complete lack of preparation on the part of the stat e mechanism to react, but also due to its present neglect."

    Mr. Karamanlis visited facilities of the sewage treatment plant at Kalohori at 11 a.m. yesterday, accompanied by his party's two candidates for the prefecture and municipality of Thessaloniki in next month's elections Christos Koskinas and Vassilis Papa georgopoulos.

    After being briefed on the development of the project, Mr. Karamanlis told reporters "government incompetence on this project has led it to a crucial situation" since "delays are provocative and such that EU funds are in danger of being lost."

    "On the occasion, I would like to point out the responsibilities of the Simitis government, which are huge because words and promises have been more than enough, while we must see tangible results for such vital projects, such vital interventions such a s sewage treatment is," he said.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that yesterday's statements by Mr. Karamanlis, on government policy on issues concerning Thessaloniki, were "the product of a stressful effort to prove that he has the ability of becoming prime minister."

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Albanian prime minister speaks to ANA

    LISBON (ANA - E. Vergitsis) - Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano yesterday said that there will be peace in the Balkans when there will be prosperity in the regions that are hard hit by conflict today. In an exclusive interview with the Athens News Agency (ANA) Mr. Nano said that "prosperity can come only through wideranging democratic reforms. It is the means to put an end to conflicts, which are exploited by the 'primitive' politicians."

    "The misery of peoples is the best weapon in the hands of dictators. The Serbs are learning this, today, in Kosovo. We learned it during the communist dictatorship," he added. Mr. Nano also said that there was a need for mutual understanding and European orientation, which will guarantee freedom of movement of both goods and people. He added that "between Albania and the other two countries (Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - FYROM), today there is free cross-border movement, guarante ed by bilateral agreements."

    Mr. Nano, answering a question on the Kosovo refugee problem, said "the problem of the refugees is the result of massive ethnic cleansing, taking place in Kosovo at this moment". He added the problem shou-ld be "confronted by the Atlantic Treaty by hitt ing at the cause of evil. And the cause is the Serbian war machine."

    Finally, Mr. Nano stressed that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) is not the only representative of the Kosovo Albanians, while he added that the majority of the people there wanted peaceful co-existence.

    Mr. Nano, who was on an official visit here, headed a delegation of Albanian businessmen and journalists to participate in the events of EXPO '98 dedicated to his country, while he also met with several Portuguese dignitaries and held a press conference for Portuguese and foreign journalists.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Wanted Romanian again escapes police net, reports say

    A Romanian man now the focus of a nationwide manhunt appears to be becoming a serious headache for the Greek police, with reports that he managed to slip their net for the second time in a week.

    Police in Attica launched a manhunt for Soren Matei, a Romanian national who has spent time in Greek jails, when he hailed a taxi and disappeared after taking a policeman hostage late on Saturday night. Matei's hostage was released unharmed in

    Piraeus, after an hours-long siege in which the Romanian man threatened to blow up the car and its occupants with a hand grenade.

    After negotiations with police officials, Matei was allowed to drive his car in the direction of Piraeus, freeing the policeman, abandoning his car and taking a taxi.

    Considered extremely dangerous, Matei managed to avoid detection and was sighted on Wednesday by a farmer in a village near Larissa, central Greece, who duly reported it to police.

    According to reports - as the police have made no official statement - Matei was driving a presumably stolen car and exchanged a few words with the farmer. Some 20 policemen and five patrol cars rushed to the scene. Matei and the police exchan ged gunfire - resulting in the death of three sheep - and the police then gave chase to Matei, who managed to shake the police cars and disappear again.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Father pays ransom for kidnapped daughter

    Thessaloniki police are investigating the kidnapping of an 18-year-old woman by three unknown assailants on Wednesday night.

    Eleonora Sanida was abducted while on her way from Kalamaria to Galini, Oreokastro region and when the father of the woman called her mobile phone one of the assailants answered demanding 100 million drachmas.

    According to police, after a series of calls the men lowered their demands to two million, which the father of the woman paid to them on Thursday night and his daughter was eventually released.

    According to reports police are looking for a 40-year-old man and his two 25-year-old accomplices.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Greek market defies European falls, ends up in the week

    Greek equities ended lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday hit by renewed turmoil in international markets.

    Traders warned that a new wave of external pressures was emerging on worries over the political future of US president Bill Clinton, threatened by an impeachment procedure in Congress.

    The general index ended 2.40 percent off at 2,157.21 points to show a 2.90 percent gain in the week - the only European stock market to end higher.

    Credit Suisse First Boston, a Swiss investment firm, suggested long-term investments in Greek equities and called the Athens stock market a "paradise" among emerging markets.

    Turnover was thin at 36.7 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totalled 190.67 billion drachmas to a daily average of 38.1 billion, down from 55.5 billion the previous week.

    Sector indices suffered losses. Banks fell 2.44 percent, Insurance eased 2.49 percent, Investment was 1.61 percent down, Industrials dropped 2.45 percent, Construction fell 2.05 percent for a 0.63 pct loss in the week, Miscellaneous ended 4.19 percent o ff but 7.55 pct up in the week, Holding eased 3.37 percent but Leasing bucked the trend to end 0.95 percent higher.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 1.19 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 188 to 50 with another 10 issues unchanged.

    Remek, Hellenic Mills, Epiphania, Ideal, Lanakam, Dis, Doudos and Barba Stathis scored the biggest percentage gains. General Warehouses, Keranis, Development Invest, Betros, Mesohoritis, Daring, Aspis Invest, Sarandis and Boutaris suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 40,100 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,900, Alpha Credit Bank at 23,390, Ionian Bank at 10,525, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,750, Delta Dairy at 3,030, Intracom at 10,920, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,650 and Titan Cement at 18,500.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Greek investments steadily rising in the Balkans

    Greek investment value in the Balkans totalled 300 million US dollars, a national economy ministry statement said.

    Investments covered all sectors of economic activity including consumer and industrial goods, and raw materials.

    Greek investment projects in the Balkan region exceeded 3,500, of which 1, 000 were considered significant.

    Greek exports in the Balkans (excluding Turkey) increased by 2.3 times in the period 1992-96, while imports rose 1.3 times.

    The country's trade surplus rose 6 times in the same period to 546.2 million US dollars in 1996, sharply up from 71.1 million in 1992.

    Based on 1997 figures, there were 200 Greek businesses operating in Albania with invested capital totalling 52 million US dollars.

    Greece ranked second, behind Italy, in foreign capital investments in the country. Investments focused in manufacturing, industry and services. Three Greek banks operate branches in Albania: Tirana Bank, a subsidiary of Bank of Piraeus, National Bank of

    Greece-Tirana Branch and Alpha Credit Bank. Commercial Bank of Greece was expected to open a branch soon.

    In 1993 the two countries signed a drachma-zone treaty giving a big push in bilateral trade which totalled 218.3 million dollars in the first nine months of 1997. Greek exports totalled 87.44 million.

    Greek investments in Bulgaria accounted for 10 percent of foreign investments in the country. Some 450 Greek businesses have invested 120 million US dollars in various sectors of the economy.

    Bilateral trade totalled 512.9 million dollars in the first nine months of 1997, down from 931.1 mln in 1995 and 692 mln in 1996. Greek exports totalled 41.39 million dollars. Among biggest investors were 3E, Intracom, Delta Dairy, Chipita, Vardinoyiann is Group, Thrace Paper mill, Nikas, Fanco, Goody's and Best Foods.

    Three Greek banks operate branches in Bulgaria (Xiosbank, Ionian Bank and National Bank). Commercial Bank holds a majority stake in Bulgarian Investment Bank, while EFG Eurobank recently bought PostBank in cooperation with US insurance group AIG.

    Greek companies in Bulgaria employ 22,000 workers.

    In Romania, Greek business interests totalled 1,679 with a combined value of 58.06 million US dollars, holding the 12th place among foreign investors in the country excluding, however, investments in the shipping sector.

    Bilateral trade totalled 255.2 million dollars in the first nine months of 1997, down from 317.2 mln the same period in 1996. Greek exports accounted for 53.3 percent of total trade.

    Alpha Credit Bank operates 14 branches through Banca Bucuresti. Other Greek banks included Commercial Bank, National Bank and Macedonia-Thrace Bank.

    Greek-Yugoslav trade volume totalled 234.1 million US dollars in the first nine months of 1997,with Greek exports accounting for 60.49 percent of the total.

    Greece's major investment project in Yugoslavia was the purchase of a 49 percent stake in Serbia Telecom by a Hellenic Telecom and Italy's STET for 675,000 DMarks. The deal offered to buyers monopoly rights on fixed telephone for eight years and a 20-ye ar operation of a mobile phone network.

    Mytilineos, a Greek listed metals group, signed two deals worth 517 million and 1.0 billion dollars with Trepca and RTB BOR metals companies, respectively. Other Greek businesses in Yugoslavia included Gener, Atemke, Attikat in the construction sec tor, 3E, Delta Dairy in foods, Intracom in telecommunications, Elvo and Hyundai Hellas in cars and Evroil, BPoil and Mamidakis in oil products.

    Due to legal obstacles Greek banks have not yet entered the Yugoslav market.

    Greek investments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) were rapidly increasing following an intermediate agreement signed in 1995 in New York.

    Greece ranked third among foreign investors in FYROM after Yugoslavia and Germany. Bilateral trade totalled 241.7 million dollars, with Greek exports accounting for 81.68 percent.

    Greek investments included a takeover of Strumica Tabak by Mihailides Tobacco Co for 3 million DMarks.

    Mytilineos signed a 10 million dollar partnership protocol with Zletovo- Sasa mines.

    In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greek contractors have undertaken construction of two school buildings and a hospital in Sarajevo. Hellascom, a Hellenic Telecoms subsidiary, seeks a mobile network agreement in the Serbian part of the country and Public Power Co rporation plans a 10 million dollar credit facility for energy projects in the same region.

    Bilateral trade totalled 3.4 million dollars in the first nine months of 1997, up from 1.9 million in 1996, with Greek exports accounting for 88.23 percent of the total.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Mytilineos in 2 billion drachma share capital increase scheme

    Mytilineos SA, a Greek listed metals group, announced a two billion drachma share capital increase scheme through a capitalisation of reserves and cash payment.

    The company will issue 4,052,034 new common shares worth 100 drachmas each to be distributed to old shareholders in a ratio of two new for 10 old ones.

    Mytilineos will also issue 16,208,136 new common shares worth 100 drachmas each with an offer price of 1,000 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Black Sea Bank conference in Halkidiki

    The directors' council of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank is holding a three-day conference in the northern Greek peninsula of Halkidiki, in order to map out the details concerning the financial institution's start of operation in the upcoming ye ar, according to the Macedonian Press Agency.

    The main topic on the agenda is the location of the Bank's headquarters, which will serve as the "key" in starting its operation.

    Reportedly, the participants are aiming at achieving the Greek Parliament's ratification of the relevant agreement and, according to the existing plans, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank's permanent headquarters will be in Thessaloniki.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Balkan chambers convene in Skopje

    The Association of Balkan Chambers (ABC) will convene in Skopje, the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to examine, among other matters, means of establishing business collaboration in southeastern Europe.

    Eight countries are being represented at the conference, namely Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, FYROM and Turkey. The participants are to also discuss matters concerning transportation, visas and strengthening cooperation between the ABC and the SECI.

    The Central Association of Greece's Chambers is to propose the expansion of electronic Trade (EDI) to the Balkan and Black Sea countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Drachma parities

    The drachma showed trends of devaluation in the exchange market towards the ECU and the mark yesterday while, on the contrary, its increase against the dollar continued, which appears weak in international markets due to the problems faced by President Cl inton.

    The drachma's fixing rate closed at 339.68 drachmas per ECU yesterday (compared to 337.09 on Thursday), 172.80 drachmas per mark (as against 171.45 drachmas on Thursday) and 292.08 drachmas per dollar (as against 292.51 on Thursday).

    Local market analysts believe that the drachma still has some ground to recede even further against the mark and the ECU, but not a great deal, since the Bank of Greece is insisting on maintaining interest rates high in the framework of its counter-inflationary policy.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Greek SMEs eye emerging markets

    The utilisation of all funding possibilities provided by the European Union for the access of Greek small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to the emerging markets of central and eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia constitutes one of the strategic axes of the Greek Overseas Trade Organisation's (OPE) policy.

    According to an informative bulletin by OPE, the organisation has secured funding in the framework of measure 4.3 of the crossborder Interreg II programme on cooperation between agencies supporting SMEs, while the National Economy Ministry has approved subsidisation of OPE's proposal with a budget amounting to 100 million drachmas.

    In addition, in the framework of the EU Jop/Tacis programme, the European Commission has approved a proposal by OPE amounting to 25 million drachmas for cooperation between the organisation and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Krasnodar, Russia, with the purpose of probing possibilities of establishing joint enterprises on the part of their member-enterprises.

    OPE is also planning its accession to the EU programmes ASIA-INVEST, INTERPRISE, IBEX and SYNERGY and is preparing its strategy on participation in funding by the third Community Support Framework.

    Athens News Agency

    [25] Finnish trade delegation due in Greece next week

    A delegation of 14 Finnish companies and representatives of the Federation of Finnish Industries and Employers, as well as of the Federation of Overseas Trade, will visit Greece next week.

    The visit will be combined with the official visit to Greece by the President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari, as well as of the Overseas Trade and European Affairs Minister Ole Norbak, who will hold talks with National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis.

    Commercial relations between the two countries have increased in past years. The trade balance has a surplus in favour of Finland and is balanced by the tourist exchange brought by Finns visiting Greece.

    Finnish exports amounted to 1.2 billion marks last year and Greek exports to 0.4 billion marks. Finnish exports increased considerably over the first five months this year, exceeding 1.5 billion marks, while Greek exports remained at last year's levels.

    Athens News Agency

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