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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Simitis wants upcoming PASOK congress `united, profoundly ideological`
  • [02] Pangalos speaks at Columbia, pushes for Cyprus' EU accession
  • [03] G. Papandreou in Tirana today
  • [04] Kranidiotis in Libya
  • [05] State Dept.'s Miller meets with EU troika representatives
  • [06] Simitis-Yilmaz very likely next month, gov't says
  • [07] Sources cite Yilmaz-Mitsotakis in Istanbul
  • [08] Conference at International Olympic Academy on Sunday
  • [09] UNESCO cultural preservation award named after Mercouri
  • [10] Policeman charged with robbery
  • [11] Avdis unveils campaign ticket for Athens mayoral race
  • [12] Memorial at Serbian cemetery for Greek, allied soldiers fallen in WWI
  • [13] British chairman of Parthenon Marbles return committee brings campaign to Athens
  • [14] Physicians call for more organ donations
  • [15] EU transport chief says OA overhaul underway, airport on target
  • [16] Gov't wants parliamentary vote on state restructuring by end- 98
  • [17] EU commissioner says global money crisis hurting EU applicants
  • [18] Greek stocks finish slightly lower after early plunge
  • [19] Greek stocks finish slightly lower after early plunge
  • [20] Greece can use Spain as gateway to Latin American market
  • [21] Gov't to spend Dr 7.0 bln on football pitches
  • [22] Air Greece marks 4th birthday with treats
  • [23] Eurostat figures on EU employment

  • [01] Simitis wants upcoming PASOK congress `united, profoundly ideological`

    Athens, 19/9/1998

    Prime Minister and ruling PASOK President Costas Simitis yesterday stressed that he was looking forward to a "united and profoundly ideological as well as political party congress", adding that a united and strong PASOK will emerge from it.

    He added that the congress will be a prelude to the party's victory in the general elections in the year 2000.

    Addressing a meeting of PASOK's central committee, convened yesterday to proclaim the party's 5th congress, Mr. Simitis said that he will continue the implementation of government policy steadfastly and underlined the crucial nature of the present perio d of turmoil in the world economy, as well as of next month's municipal and prefectural elections.

    Mr. Simitis said that party cadres are obliged to shape PASOK as a "pioneering party" in society for which (party founder and former prime minister) Andreas Papandreou "had worked and struggled".

    He also criticised what he called the neo-liberal ideology which, as he said, is trying to overturn gains by society and break the social tissue, while at the same time criticising left opposition of insisting in immobility and following dogmas of past eras, as he noted.

    Insisting on differentiating his policy from that supported by the main opposition New Democracy party, he said he categorically rejected the proclamation of the market as an exclusive and absolute authority of social organisation.

    Mr. Simitis also criticised "va-rious commentators" who, as he said, interpreted the attention currently paid by the government to the country's economic course as an acceptance on the part of PASOK of the "absolute and inconsiderate domination of the m arket".

    Referring to next month's municipal and prefectural elections, Mr. Simitis said the government and its work were not being judged in these elections, adding that it was a confrontation between "conceptions and strategic programmes for decentralisation, reforming and modernisation of the state". He said that in this sense their character is profoundly political.

    Mr. Simitis said PASOK attributed great importance and would throw all its weight on the two major metropolitan centres of prefectural administration, to the enlarged prefectural administration of Athens-Piraeus and the corresponding one of Thessaloniki .

    Referring to the congress in particular, Mr. Simitis said that there should be a substantive pre-congress dialogue, and a draft programme should be shaped on guidelines in light of the next century and a modern charter should result which would express the structure and functioning of a modern socialist party.

    He also stressed the "risk of the logic of correlations, confrontation between groups and personal competition of reigning in the path towards the congress", adding that such a development would be particularly negative.

    Summing up, Mr. Simitis said that the "PASOK of tomorrow can only be the PASOK of the steadfast principles of socialism".

    Skandalidis: PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis proposed the timetable and content of processes for PASOK's 5th congress to the central committee. Specifically, he proposed that the 5th congress take place between March 18- 21, 1999.

    According to Mr. Skandalidis, documents should be prepared over the period from Oct. 20 until the end of November and should be ratified by the central committee which will convene on Dec. 4-5, 1998.

    He said that the pre-congress process should end with the election of representatives for the congress on Sunday, Feb. 28.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Pangalos speaks at Columbia, pushes for Cyprus' EU accession

    NEW YORK, 19/9/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday called on Europe and Washington to support Cyprus' European Union accession regardless of the political problem prevailing on the island republic.

    He was addressing a crowd at the Greek Studies Programme of Columbia University in New York.

    Expressing Athens' concern over certain views in some European capitals, as well as in Washington, which claim that Cyprus should not become a member of the European Union because it is a divided country, Mr. Pangalos said:

    "This seems as if we want to punish the victim instead of the criminal, (instead) of those who are responsible for the invasion and occupation of a portion of the island."

    Mr. Pangalos said that "Cyprus is a special case in this procedure. It is the only country which can tomorrow become a member of the Union and take part in its budget."

    The Greek minister also spoke on the strength of the Cypriot economy, which has practically no inflation and unemployment, while he added that the island republic is almost ready to fulfill Ecomomic Monetary Union (EMU) criteria.

    He also said that "in this process of expansion, every member-state has its preferences, for example, Italy favours Slovenia; Germany gives priority to Poland and HungaryIOur choice is Cyprus."

    Responding to a question on the Kosovo problem, the Greek foreign minister said that Athens has close bonds with both Albania and Serbia and has recently developed wide trade and economic relations with both countries.

    He added that Greece's stance is based on the inviolability of borders and respect for human rights.

    Mr. Pangalos also said that Kosovo could not become independent and ethnic Albanians in the Yugoslav province should change their stance and return to the negotiations table, while Serbia should respect human rights and the basic freedoms of Kosovo Alba nians with international guarantees and controls, because "respect for human rights is not an internal problem, but an international issue".

    Mr. Pangalos, in answer to a question on Turkish-Israeli joint military exercises, stressed that every country has the right to forge different military and other cooperations and agreements.

    He added, however, that "despite Israeli reassurances to Greece and those of Turkey to the Arab states that it was a simple cooperation, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said that the alliance between Turkey and Israel is a strategical axis on which the political situation in the region should be viewed."

    Athens News Agency

    [03] G. Papandreou in Tirana today

    TIRANA, 19/9/1998 (ANA - P.Haritos)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou is due to visit Tirana today in an effort to help in efforts to ease the latest political crisis in Albania, an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representati ve in Tirana said yesterday.

    OSCE representative Daan Everts added that a Western European Union (WEU) delegation was due to arrive in the Albanian capital in the coming days.

    Mr. Papandreou will visit Tirana in his capacity as president of the Council of Europe's (CoE) council of ministers. He will be accompanied by CoE Secretary General Daniel Tarschys.

    Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek, in his capacity as chairman of the OSCE, will also travel to Tirana today.

    Mr. Papandreou said on Thursday that Greece, which holds the current CoE rotating presidency, was pursuing the organisation's involvement in the Albanian issue and that it had received a mandate to undertake initiatives on Albania in cooperation with ot her international and European organisations such as the OSCE, the EU and the WEU.

    On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said after an inner cabinet and ruling PASOK political secretariat joint meeting that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had briefed the meeting's participants on his recent telephone conversations with Alban ian Prime Minister Fatos Nano and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi earlier this week, as had Mr. Papandreou on developments in Albania.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Kranidiotis in Libya

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis will visit Libya today and Sunday, it was announced yesterday.

    Mr. Kranidiotis, who will head a delegation of foreign and economy ministries officials, is expected to discuss bilateral relations with Libyan officials as well as regional problems.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] State Dept.'s Miller meets with EU troika representatives

    BRUSSELS, 19/9/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    US State Department special coordinator on the Cyprus issue Thomas Miller yesterday met with EU Council of Ministers troika representatives.

    Diplomats from Austria, Germany and Britain met and conferred with Mr. Miller.

    Austrian diplomatic sources said that issues discussed included the relations of the Union with Turkey and Cyprus

    The troika is comprised of the country holding the EU's rotating presidency, the previous holder and the next in line to hold the six-month term.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Simitis-Yilmaz very likely next month, gov't says

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will most likely have a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz on the sidelines of the summit of Balkan countries in Antalya, Turkey next month, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said that the model of the first Balkan summit on Crete, where regional leaders had bilateral meetings, would most probably be followed at the two-day summit at Antalya, set for Oct. 12.

    He noted, however, that there had been no formal approach by the Turkish premier's office for a one-on-one meeting.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Sources cite Yilmaz-Mitsotakis in Istanbul

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Former prime minister and honorary president of the New Democracy (ND) party Constantine Mitsotakis will hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz in Istanbul on Sunday night, sources said yesterday.

    The meeting is being held at Mr. Yilmaz's initiative. The same sources said that since the talks were expected to focus on Greek-Turkish relations and developments in the Cyprus problem. Prior to his departure, Mr. Mitsotakis had phone contacts with Pr ime Minister Costas Simitis and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and briefed them on the meeting.

    Mr. Mitsotakis has already left for Istanbul to attend the wedding of ND Deputy Manolis Kefalogiannis, to be held at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

    Mr. Mitsotakis will also meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos. The Patriarch will also receive ND leader Costas Karamanlis who will be attending the wedding as well.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Conference at International Olympic Academy on Sunday

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    The first conference of Olympic medal winners begins this Sunday at the International Olympic Academy in ancient Olympia.

    Organised by the Association of Greek Olympics medal winners, SEO, the conference has drawn the participation of 35 Greek and 120 foreign athletes who have won a total of 300 Olympic medals.

    Among the issues to be discussed at the conference are: the Olympic Movement and the Olympic Games; A historical approach to the Olympic Games; the challenge of the Olympic Games; the timeless spirit of Olympism; Olympic Games and the media; and Women a nd the Olympic Movement.

    Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras will be present at an official reception for the participants today evening at the Zappeion Hall. The conference ends on Sept. 23.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] UNESCO cultural preservation award named after Mercouri

    BRUSSELS, 19/9/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    UNESCO yesterday announced it has established the international "Melina Mercouri" award for the preservation and management of cultural landscapes.

    The award will be presented once every two years by UNESCO to private citizens or organisations who offer outstanding services to their countries for the preservation of cultural sites.

    An international committee along with the permanent Greek representative to UNESCO will propose the most suitable candidate for the US$30,000 award.

    For more information, call the Greek UNESCO committee at 01-36.20.736.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Policeman charged with robbery

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    A policeman turned himself in to a prosecutor after police ascertained his participation in a robbery.

    The policeman was identified as Georgios Ververakis, 24, who had been suspended from duty on May 21 for participation in fraud and accepting the products of a crime. According to a preliminary investigation conducted, Ververakis participated in an armed robbery at a branch office of the Agriculture Bank in Aharnon street on Sept. 15.

    At the time, an armed suspect had entered the bank and stole 5.8 drachmas from cashiers. He then made his getaway in a car driven by an accomplice. The car was found shortly afterwards and it was ascertained that it belonged to the policeman. Ververakis ' accomplice is still at large.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Avdis unveils campaign ticket for Athens mayoral race

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Athens mayoral candidate Leon Avdis yesterday presented his ticket, entitled "Struggling Left - Ecological Partnership for Athens" and containing all 61 candidates for city council.

    The ticket contains candidates from the wider political left and from all walks of life.

    Lawyers, university students, engineers, blue collar workers, painters, actors, journalists, office employees, educators, retired military officers and medical professionals are included.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Memorial at Serbian cemetery for Greek, allied soldiers fallen in WWI

    BRUSSELS, 19/9/1998 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    Greek and Yugoslav officials yesterday participated in a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I, at a common Serbian and Greek military cemetery in Pirot.

    Political and military representatives of the Balkan allies that fought against the Ottoman empire and Central Powers layed wreaths at the cemetery, which holds the remains of 358 Greek soldiers of the 3rd Brigade.

    Greek ambassador to Belgrade Panayiotis Vlassopoulos represented Greece, while Bishop of Nis Irineos presided over the memorial service.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] British chairman of Parthenon Marbles return committee brings campaign to Athens

    Athens, 19/9/1998

    The chairman of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles brought his campaign to "home ground" yesterday as he arrived in Greece for a series of meetings and lectures focusing on the London-based group's efforts to pursuade the B ritish Museum to repatriate the classical friezes.

    "The (Parthenon) marbles will definitely be returned to Greece in the long- term...and before the 2004 Olympics if the Acropolis Museum is built to house them," Graham Binns confidently predicted just after a press conference at the Centre of Acropolis S tudies, only a few hundred metres from the centre's heralded namesake.

    Mr. Binns, invited to Athens by the Committee for the Protection of Byron's Heritage, detailed his committee's recent activities to pressure British Museum trustees for the return of the famed marbles, especially after this year's revelation by British historian William St. Clair that the friezes were irreparably damaged during efforts in the late 1930s to scrub off the patina on their ancient surfaces.

    "I am now writing a letter to each (British Museum) trustee, sending them also a copy of a letter I wrote to the culture minister asking for an explanation of the (scrubbing damage) cover-up," he said, while terming the museum's arguments for retaining the marbles as mere "poppy-cock and rubbish by the establishment."

    The chairman of Britain's Parthenon Marbles restitution committee, established within the country that has housed the marbles for close to two centuries, called the British Museum's decision to create an international committee to investigate the damage done to the marbles as a mere "diversion," citing the postponement of its creation until next year, "so the controversy will die down," as well as the British Museum administration's demand that the body "investigate damage to other monuments as well."

    "The trustees must account for what happened to your marbles, under their care," Mr. Binns stres-sed. "When the international committee convenes next year, then with another campaign of pressure we will keep the British Museum on the hook."

    Along those lines, he also warned that no British government, no matter how sympathetic, can return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece without the approval of the British Museum.

    Mr. Binns added, however, that support for their return is now frequently surfacing in conservative British newspapers. In terms of public opinion in Britain, he noted: "The average taxi driver in London or Manchester has a view (on the issue of the mar bles' return), and it's 'give them back'."

    Finally, he announced the holding of a major event showcasing the cause for the return of the Parthenon Marbles in London at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts, expected next March.

    Before arriving at the press conference, Mr. Binns was received by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, shortly before attending a meeting with the president of the Melina Mercouri Foundation, veteran French film director and Mercouri's widower Jules D assin, as well as members of the foundation. On his part, Mr. Dassin said final designs for the long-awaited new Acropolis Museum will be submitted to the foundation P spearheading the campaign for construction of the museum and one of the primary f orces pushing for the return of the marbles P by Italian architects within September.

    In the evening he delivered a lecture on the subject of "Byron: The Moralist and his Opposition to Elgin" at the Kareas Community Centre.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Physicians call for more organ donations

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Leading physicians yesterday called on Greeks to consider organ donation, saying it was the "greatest act of humanity" that a person could extend, at an event organised by the Onassis Cardiology Centre to mark European Day for Organ Donors and Recipients.

    Speakers said Greece was in the paradoxical position of having the lowest percentage of organ donations in the European Union but the highest rate of road deaths.

    They said that in 1997, only 32 people donated organs, while the waiting list in the country numbered more than 100.

    In the four years of the Onassis Centre's operation, speakers said, there have been 12 heart transplants, with 10 of those patients still alive.

    The cost of an organ transplant is around 25 million drachmas, broken down into 15 million for the actual operation and 10 million for pre-surgical and post-surgical care. Abroad, the same operation would cost double that amount.

    Doctors were critical of the fact that Greek health funds fully imbursed costs incurred abroad but did not extend the same coverage to operations conducted in Greece.

    The Onassis Centre, they said, has spent some 450 million drachmas on its transplant unit and received just 40 million in income.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] EU transport chief says OA overhaul underway, airport on target

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    The European Union's Commissioner for Transport, Neil Kinnock, who ended a two-day official visit to Athens yesterday, met Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou for talks.

    Mr. Kinnock said that a restructuring plan for national carrier Olympic Airways was being implemented, allowing the airline to continue operations.

    "Olympic Airways is not at all a lost cause. On the contrary, it could become a successful, medium-sized and financially effective business that can, and will, be present in the single European market," he told a news conference later in the day.

    Mr. Kinnock also said he was satisfied with progress in construction of a new international airport being built for Athens by Hochtief of Germany.

    Dismissing reports about delays in construction of the airport at Spata as "nonsense", he said:

    "(The project) is a very successful collaboration between the state and the private sector, which the European Union has also contributed to with financing". The project would be completed on target, with 37 percent of works already finished and 50 pe rcent due for completion by the end of the year, the commissioner said.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Gov't wants parliamentary vote on state restructuring by end- 98

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    The government hopes that restructuring plans for three key state companies in the form of bills will be sealed with a parliamentary vote by the end of the year, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters yesterday.

    The first plan due to be given to parliament for debate and a vote is for Hellenic Post Offices, which already has the agreement of staff. Due to follow are schemes for Hellenic Railways Organisation and the Athens Urban Transport Organisation, Mr. Repp as said.

    The government was working to secure the agreement of workers to restructuring, which aimed at improving operations, he said.

    Mr. Reppas was speaking after a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis of the inner cabinet and the ruling PASOK party's political secretariat. The officials agreed that restructuring in transport and communications should move faster.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] EU commissioner says global money crisis hurting EU applicants

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    The Russian financial crisis will exacerbate problems in countries seeking to join the European Union and slow recovery but the impact on Europe's economy should not be overdramatised, EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis told a conference in Athens yesterd ay.

    Mr. Papoutsis, who is commissioner for energy, tourism and small and medium- sized enterprises, warned that a prolonged international financial crisis would have major repercussions on the real economy, leading to a review of macro-economic policy.

    He was addressing a conference on modern enterprises and the Athens Stock Exchange.

    "Monetary policy aimed at lowering interest rates is a key issue of concern to defend markets from the crisis," Mr. Papoutsis said.

    He said that EU member-states should implement tax and other incentives to encourage long-term investments in listed companies in order to help expand the stock market culture in Europe.

    Mr. Papoutsis also proposed the creation of a regional stock market in Thessaloniki, not in its present form, but as an autonomous institution based on institutional investors and regional enterprises cut off from direct access to the Athens bourse.

    He expressed his confidence that Greece would be a member of the EU's economic and monetary union in 2001, if the country met its convergence targets.

    The focus was on lowering inflation and bringing down long-term interest rates, Mr. Papoutsis said.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Greek stocks finish slightly lower after early plunge

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended the week moderately lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday following new turmoil in international markets.

    The general index closed 0.50 percent down at 2,173.58 points after showing losses of nearly 2.0 percent early in the session, finishing 0.76 percent higher in the week.

    The index has gained 46.90 percent since the beginning of the year. Today's turnover was bolstered to 67.5 billion drachmas by block trades. The week's turnover totalled 245.676 billion drachmas to post a daily average of 49.1 billion, up from 38.1 bil lion the previous week.

    Commercial Bank of Greece repurchased 1,200,000 of its shares at 19,850 drachmas each from Merrill Lynch. The transaction was part of an option agreement signed in 1993 when the US investment firm covered a 12 billion drachma shortfall in a share capita l increase held by Commercial Bank in return for stock.

    Traders said that the Greek market had reacted calmly to a highly volatile international environment.

    Merrill Lynch recently estimated that the Greek market had already hit rock bottom when it declined sharply in the previous month on mass sales by foreign investors seeking to recoup losses elsewhere.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Greek stocks finish slightly lower after early plunge

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Other analysts said that the market's prospects would depend not only on international developments, but also on whether the government succeeded in carrying out its privatisation drive.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 1.10 percent to show a week's loss of 0.88 pct, Insurance rose 0.37 percent, Investment eased 1.34 percent, Leasing ended 0.21 percent off but 10.97 pct up in the week, Industrials increased 0.68 percent, Constructi on fell 2.09 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.98 percent down and Holding rose 1.75 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.05 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue chip index ended 0.99 percent off at 1,311.32 points.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 141 to 88 with another 25 issues unchanged.

    Pouliadis, Keranis, Xylemporia, Athina, Mouriadis, Klaoudatos, Minerva and Boutaris scored the biggest percentage gains, while Ionian Invest, Yalko, Daring, Thessaliki, Remek, Ekter, Hellenic Mills and General Trading Co suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 39,795 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,100, Alpha Credit Bank at 22,400, Ionian Bank at 10,400, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,740, Delta Dairy at 3,150, Intracom at 11,580, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,645 and Titan Cement at 18,485 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Greece can use Spain as gateway to Latin American market

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Greece can use Spain as a springboard for exports to Latin American countries, according to the Institute for Exports Research and Studies.

    The institute, which belongs to the Association of Northern Greek Exporters, said that 6.0 percent of Spain's exports were destined for countries in central and south America, against an average 2.7 percent for European Union countries and 1.8 percent f or Greece.

    It urged Greek firms to take part in a Europartenariat trade and business forum due to be held in Valencia, Spain on November 12-13.

    Expected to take part are 518 Spanish firms, and another 2,500 companies from 80 countries.

    The sectors of greatest interest to Spanish firms are packaging, apparel, foodstuffs, beverages, furniture, furs, footwear, games, ceramics and tourism services.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Gov't to spend Dr 7.0 bln on football pitches

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    The government plans to spend seven billion drachmas on improving facilities at football pitches around the country, president Costas Alamanos of the Greek Federation of Professional Soccer Teams (EPAE) told reporters yesterday.

    Mr. Alamanos said Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras had told him that the funds were to be used to improve and upgrade facilities at football pitches used for national and other categories of league games.

    The money will not be used on installations slated for use in the 2004 Olympic Games, to be hosted by Athens.

    Mr. Fouras made the commitment during a meeting with Mr. Alamanos and representatives of the Greek Soccer Federation and the Greek football pools organisation.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Air Greece marks 4th birthday with treats

    Athens, 19/9/1998 (ANA)

    Air Greece, a private airline based in Iraklio, Crete, is planning festivities today to celebrate its fourth birthday.

    Passengers on today's flights will be offered champagne and cakes, and a lottery will be held on each flight with free travel for the winner.

    Air Greece, which has carried one million passengers since its launch, reported that passenger traffic in the first eight months of 1998 totalled 273,320, showing capacity of 80 percent, the company said in a statement yesterday.

    Air Greece owns three aircraft and carries out 26 daily flights between Athens, Thessaloniki, Iraklio, Rhodes, Hania (Crete) and Santorini, the statement said.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] Eurostat figures on EU employment

    BRUSSELS, 19/9/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    The services sector employs 65 per cent of the active population of European Union member-states, namely, about 97 million people, according to data publicised by the EU's statistical service Eurostat.

    Four EU member-states have employment percentages in the third stage sector that are higher than the EU average. They are Luxembourg with 74.1 per cent, the Netherlands (73.1 per cent), Sweden (70.9 per cent) and Britain (70.6 per cent).

    Greece and Portugal show the lowest percentages of employment in the services sector with 56.8 per cent and 56.5 per cent, respectively.

    Eurostat said that the data show the change in the composition of the EU's labour force over the past 30 years, during which the European economies passed from the industrial stage to that of services. According to the latest available data in the EU, i ts labour force is employed by 5.1 per cent in agriculture, 29.8 per cent in industry and 65.1 per cent in services.

    With the exception of Britain, where services are primarily provided for enterprises, in the other EU countries, retail trade holds first place in the number of jobs in the services sector. In addition, about 80 per cent of working women in the EU are e mployed in the services sector, while in Greece 62.4 per cent of working women are employed in the services sector.

    Also of interest is the percentage relation between the total population of a country and its labour force. This employment-population relation stood at 49.3 per cent all over the EU in 1996. However, differences between member-states are great. In Spai n only 36.7 per cent of the population works, in Italy 41.9 per cent and in Greece 44.9 per cent. The corresponding percentage in Denmark is 60.7 per cent, in Britain 56.5 per cent and the Netherlands 55.9 per cent.

    Athens News Agency

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