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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-09-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New police commander announced in wake of bungled raid
  • [02] Opinion poll: Majority of Britons favour return of Parthenon Marbles
  • [03] Black Sea Int'l Studies Centre to open Monday
  • [04] Pangalos: US still favours Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions
  • [05] Excellent level of Greek-Russian relations noted
  • [06] Euro-Mediterranean culture ministers' conference begins on Rhodes
  • [07] Int'l Union of Olympic Cities unveiled by Samaranch, Avramopoulos
  • [08] Four Lebanese sailors get 10-year prison terms for smuggling of illegals
  • [09] Greece pleased with ECOFIN stance on drachma integration into second ERM
  • [10] ICAO flight security inspector to be picked from Greece
  • [11] Visiting British labour leader conveys Blair proposals
  • [12] Late Metropolitan of Volos Ioakeim honoured as 'Righteous Among Nations'
  • [13] Simitis receives Cyprus' chief EU negotiator Vassiliou
  • [14] Greek st ocks hit by worries of int'l financial contagion
  • [15] Mytilineos buys Romanian firm for 20 mln US dollars
  • [16] Greek products exhibition in Belgrade
  • [17] Papoutsis message on World Tourism Day
  • [18] Majority of Greeks happy with their banks
  • [19] OEEK-sponsored conference on Crete focuses on tourism sector
  • [20] Athens News Agency on the Internet

  • [01] New police commander announced in wake of bungled raid

    One of the high-ranking police officers injured in Wednesday night's bungled raid on a fugitive holding three hostages will take over as the new overall commander of Greek Police (EL.AS), the government decided yesterday.

    Ioannis Georgakopoulos' promotion was announced by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), which met immediately after the end of a Cabinet meeting to decide on a successor to resigned chief Athanassios Vassilopoulos, whose resig nation was accepted by the prime minister on Thursday.

    Mr. Georgakopoulos was previously first deputy chief to Mr. Vassilopoulos. This position will now be filled by his deputy, Georgios Plakas.

    During the earlier four-hour Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Costas Simitis slammed the handling of Wednesday night's raid, saying it proved police's inability to effectively combat criminal activity.

    Mr. Simitis said that the failure of the raid P which resulted in the serious injury of two people, including a hostage, and injured another 10 police officers, had created serious concerns in Greek society about security and the role of police.

    However, he defended his decision to decline the resignations of Public Order Minister George Romeos and ministry secretary-general Yiannis Papadogiannakis, saying the entire operation had been planned and executed by police without the participation of the ministry's political leadership.

    It was on his initiative, the PM added, that the inquiry underway had been expanded to examine the role of a prosecutor in the bungled operation as well as the role of the media, saying that many police mistakes could be traced to the intervention of th e media.

    Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the operation had been planned and executed by police in an inadequate manner, and that the political leadership had been briefed only before the final unsuccessful assault on the apartment. Asked if the government was considering an increase in funds to police and changes in training, Mr. Reppas said the law enforcement agencies should be trained to operate in new conditions arising as a result of the influx of many economic refugees, who may be led to crime if they do not obtain satisfactory living standards.

    A Greek Police appointments council will meet over the next few days to decide on successors to the heads of Greek state security and Attica police, both of whom are to be replaced in the aftermath of the bungled raid. Injured hostage's condition stable:- Meanwhile, Amalia Ginaki, the 25-year- old hostage seriously injured in the raid when escaped convict Sorin Matei detonated a grenade, was listed yesterday as being in a critical but stable condition.

    Doctors said they had been encouraged by the fact that they had been able to control her internal bleeding somewhat overnight.

    Ms Ginaki's spleen was partially removed on Thursday and doctors said that her hip and abdominal cavity had been all but destroyed by the blast. Her right leg was also amputated. Reactions: - Commenting on the incident yesterday, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis charged it was clear that "the state was disintegrating," while "the government bares the heaviest of responsibilities for the situation in police is characterise d by a lack of meritocracy and the prevalence of political party criteria".

    The responsibility is always primarily political, he added, but the government had unloaded it onto the shoulders of police.

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos also launched a stringent attack on the prime minister for not accepting the public order minister's resignation.

    Mr. Constantopouos castigated what he called the political leadership's "tendency to hide behind lower officials when they should assume their own responsibilities", while Democratic Social Movement Dimitris Tsovolas described the government "as incapab le of dealing with emergency situations and incidents appearing daily and creating insecurity among the Greek people".

    Political Spring leader Antonis Samaras said he had been astounded by the prime minister's statement that there was no political responsibility.

    "The repetitive phenomenon of the exhibition of governmental innocence, even in cases of nationwide indignation, crudely describes the kind of political authority which the country has," he said. Prosecutor denies: - responsibility On his part, first instance court prosecutor Ioannis Sakkas, who supervised the initial operation to arrest Matei in a ground-floor hideout, denied police commandos' claim that he had ordered them not to shoot the criminal when storming the ground-floor a partment - before he fled through a skylight to the Ginakis family's first-floor apartment.

    In a report to his superiors and the justice minister, Mr. Sakkas also denied a claim that he had initially rung the bell of the apartment.

    In another development, 34-year-old Penelope Athanasopoulou, who hid Matei in her apartment, clai-med in statements to reporters after a deposition to an investigating magistrate that she had never told police that the Greek- Romanian criminal's grenade was a fake, adding that police had forced her to say so in her initial statement to them after the incident.

    Matei was transferred to Korydallos prison hospital under draconian security measures yesterday afternoon, after doctors at the State Hospital of Nikaia ruled that his condition was not critical.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Opinion poll: Majority of Britons favour return of Parthenon Marbles

    LONDON (ANA)- If there were a referendum on whether or not the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece or remain at the British Museum, the British public would vote for return, by a margin of more than two to one, according to a new MORI poll ca rried our for Regent Productions.

    The poll is part of preliminary work being carried out by journalist William G. Stewart for yet another television programme on the return of the Parthenon Marbles, to be screened next year. Among Labour supporters, the margin was more than three to one and even among Tories, three to two.

    Among members of Britain's Parliament interviewed in July by MORI, by nearly two to one Labour MPs said that in the event of a free vote in the House of Commons on whether or not the so-called Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece, they would vote to return them.

    The detailed figures are as follows:

    Among the general public, when asked "If there was a referendum on whether or not the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece, how would you vote?", 39 per cent said they would vote to return them to Greece, 15 per cent that they should remain in the

    British Museum and 18 per cent said they would not vote. More than one person in four (28 per cent) said they did now know what they would vote. Support for their return was strongest among women (40 per cent to 13 per cent), middle-aged people (44 per c ent to 12 per cent) and among Labour Party supporters (42 per cent to 13 per cent).

    A plurality of MPs polled favoured their return to Greece by 47 per cent to 44 per cent. Among Labour members of Parliament, 57 per cent to 33 per cent, among Tories 9 per cent to 83 per cent.

    Fifteen per cent of the British adult population recall having seen the marbles in the British Museum. Among adults with a degree or post-graduate qualification, a majority, 52 per cent, said they would vote to return them to Greece and only one in five (20 per cent) said they should remain in the British Museum.

    The surveys were conducted exclusively for Regent Productions among the general public, 1,823 of adults aged over 15 were interviewed on the MORI Omnibus between Sept. 4-7, 1998 in 151 constituency sampling points nationwide. Interviews were carried out face-to-face. Among members of Parliament, 91 MPs were interviewed between June 1, 1998 and August 3, 1998, face-to-face in their offices.

    The thrust of the Regent Productions programme is that the Labour Party in opposition and the Labour government in power have got themselves in a mess on the question of the return of the Elgin Marbles to Athens.

    In 1994 in the House of Commons (Hansard 14th February 1994) and in a Channel 4 programme in 1996, Mark Fisher, then shadow arts minister, committed a Labour government to re-joining UNESCO and working out "the orderly return of the Elgin Marbles."

    Following a statement from Tony Blair's office to the effect that the marbles would stay in Britain, Mr. Stewart wrote to three former shadow heritage secretaries, Jack Cunningham, Mo Mowlam and Chris Smith, asking for details of when the official polic y changed. And who changed it. Were meetings held? Are there any minutes? No answers have been forthcoming.

    Since Chris Smith became Culture Secretary he has told Mr. Stewart that he cannot comment on anything decided while Jack Cunningham was shadowing Heritage; but he has said that while in opposition the Labour Party considered the matter of the return of the marbles. It did so without involving the shadow arts minister.

    Mr. Smith has also told Mr. Stewart that "discussions on the issue of the Parthenon sculptures will take place when appropriate and in the appropriate place." Regent's programme will seek to discover when and where is appropriate.

    Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos was encouraged on hearing of the results of the poll conducted by the MORI company on the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece.

    "The results are impressive and vindicate to claim for the return formulated by Greece in the name of the world cultural heritage. I am certain that this clear message will be understood by the Blair government, since we are on the dawn of the 3rd mille nium and we are approaching 2004.

    "I also believe that the option is being vindicated of focusing our interest inside British public life, with the main lever being the British committee for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. British society appears to be understanding simple historic truths and basic cultural necessities," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Black Sea Int'l Studies Centre to open Monday

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis will on Monday inaugurate the Black Sea International Studies Centre (DIKEMEP).

    The creation of the centre is anticipated by the charter of the Black Sea Cooperation Pact organisation. Its mission is to prepare research and studies focusing on the achievement of the organisation's targets, primarily in the economic, industrial and technology sectors.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Pangalos: US still favours Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions

    NEW YORK (ANA - M. Georgiadou) - Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that Washington was still in favour of a Cyprus solution based on UN resolutions for the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the island republic.

    Speaking at a press briefing for Greek reporters focusing on his contacts on the sidelines of the 53rd UN General Assembly, Mr. Pangalos said that US special presidential envoy for Cyprus, Richard Holbrooke, told him that he will continue efforts to pro mote possible negotiations on the Cyprus issue until his appointment as Washington's permanent representative to the United Nations next March.

    "Another two points that we raised, and the US agreed to work on, are the efforts to find ways to de-escalate the arms race (on Cyprus), including proposals for the implementation of a 'no-fly zone' and a reduction of heavy weaponsI as well as possibili ties and chances for greater communication between the two communities (on Cyprus)," Mr. Pangalos said.

    The minister said that a list, based on information believed to be credible, of US weapons systems being illegally used on Cyprus by Turkish opposition forces, even after a 1990 US Congressional ban, was handed to US administration officials.

    "The US must, first of all, implement the laws and find out who are the ones violating them, as they have been violated for a long time without measures having been taken or sanctions having been imposed to quash this unacceptable situation," he added.

    Referring to pressures exercised by Washington and EU on Ankara, Mr. Pangalos noted that a point for consideration was that Turkey enjoyed a special treatment internationally, while managing to get its own way not only as far as its relations with Greec e and the Cyprus problem were concerned, but also regarding the Kurdish issue.

    Certain attitudes that were punishable for other countries were allowed for Turkey without it facing the consequences, he stressed.

    Further, Mr. Pangalos criticised Rome and Paris' position that Cyprus' EU accession should not go ahead before the island republic's problem is settled. Such a position is "politically unacceptable and unethical", he said, stressing that it "undermined (Cyprus') admission" in general.

    Speaking on a separate issue, that of Greece's candidacy for a non- permanent position on the UN Security Council, and after a series of contacts and meetings with counterparts and various heads of state, Mr. Pangalos said he believed a good environment prevailed at the UN, as "Greece has a good name".

    "Greece, as a country, observes UN decisions, believes in the UN, works on the body's development and adjustment to modern conditions as well as fulfills all of its obligations," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Excellent level of Greek-Russian relations noted

    The excellent level of Greek-Russian relations was confirmed by the contents of letters exchanged between Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and his newly appointed Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the establish ment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

    In his letter, Mr. Pangalos referred to historic events contributing decisively in strengthening relations between the two countries and stresses the very good cooperation existing between Greece and Russia in the Balkans, the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

    Mr. Pangalos also said that Greece has made extensive use of its influence in the European Union to bring the EU closer to Russia. He concluded his letter by expressing certainty that during his visit to Moscow next month relations between the two count ries will be consolidated and strengthened even further.

    In his letter, Mr. Ivanov expresses his full satisfaction over the excellent level of bilateral relations, adding that Greece and Russia are jointly participating in the effort to build the new architecture in Europe, as well as in shaping regional coop eration mechanisms which supplement each other in the Balkan and Black Sea region.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Euro-Mediterranean culture ministers' conference begins on Rhodes

    The first day of discussion at a Euro-Mediterranean culture ministers' conference, which opened on Rhodes yesterday, focused on cultural cooperation in Europe and the Mediterranean basin, with special emphasis on cultural heritage.

    Culture ministers from 27 countries are attending the meeting.

    "We are mainly interested in promoting culture, rather than simply preserving it," Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said after the session yesterday, adding that proposals had already started being submitted with the EU, so that participants in the Euro-Mediterranean conference jointly form a television and cinema market.

    Methods to celebrate the coming of the new century and the "cultural Olympiad" were also examined during the conference's first day.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Int'l Union of Olympic Cities unveiled by Samaranch, Avramopoulos

    International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos yesterday unveiled a new Olympic institution, the International Union of Olympic Cities, designed to strengthen the ties between host cities of Olympic Games.

    "As mayor of Athens, I undertook to create a new independent agency, the Union of Olympic Cities which aims at exchange of information related to the organising of the Games, supporting the IOC in disseminating the principles of the Olympics to the citi es' residents and the strengthening of the cultural aspect of the Games," Mr. Avramopoulos told a news conference. Mr. Samaranch would be lifelong president of the association, the mayor said. The IOC president, who noted he had visited Athens, the host o f the 2004 Games, four times over the past three months, said that the IOC had studied Mr. Avramopoulos' proposal and considers it a good idea. "With this Union, the knowledge of cities which have organised games will be a decisive contribution for new ci ties undertaking the games in the future," he said. The first meeting of the new union will be held in Lausanne.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Four Lebanese sailors get 10-year prison terms for smuggling of illegals

    The skipper and three crew members of a Lebanese-flagged fishing boat were sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday for transporting aliens for illegal profit and endangering lives, after their vessel was found crammed with 167 illegal immigrants of Kurd ish origin aboard.

    A court in Irakleio, Crete, sentenced Lebanese skipper Hani Hadad Farid, 54, and two other crew members to 10 years in prison. A fourth was handed nine years and nine and a half months.

    The coastguard had arrested the men at dawn on Wednesday as their vessel sailed south of Crete and just prior to disembarking the illegal immigrants on an isolated bay.

    The illegal immigrants consisted of 56 men, 31 women and 80 children, all Iraqi nationals.

    They had been at sea for almost a week since the vessel sailed from the Lebanese port of Abta on Sept. 18.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Greece pleased with ECOFIN stance on drachma integration into second ERM

    VIENNA (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis) P National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday described a joint communique of the EU's informal council of economic ministers (ECOFIN) as "particularly positive".

    The joint communique, to be released today, envisages the drachma's integration into the Second Exchange Rate Mechanism.

    As he stated, after a meeting of the 11-member "euro zone" group of nations with Greece and three other EU members not yet participating in the first phase of the Union's common currency, the terms of the drachma's participation do no change, but on the contrary, are improved.

    He noted that Greece will retain its own forecast regarding the Gross Domestic Product in 1999, namely, a growth rate similar to this year's 3.5 per cent figure, benefiting from the maintenance of a significantly high rate in Europe.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] ICAO flight security inspector to be picked from Greece

    MONTREAL (ANA- I. Frangouli) - One of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) flight security inspectors will be picked from Greece, according to a proposal by ICAO's leadership.

    Such a development would upgrade Greece's Civil Aviation Authority and its presence on the international level, reports state.

    Greece's Civil Aviation Authority director, Dionysis Kalofonos, who is in Montreal to attend sessions of the 32nd ICAO general assembly, said Greek airports have a very high level of security with hi-tech detection equipment and trained security officer s. However, there is room for improvement on the issue of flight security, which will be achieved through implementation of the ICAO programme, he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Visiting British labour leader conveys Blair proposals

    A British labour leader currently on a visit to Greece has brought a proposal by British Prime Minister Tony Blair on measures to control the movement of speculative capital and to increase stability in globalised markets.

    Bill Jordan, the secretary general of the Free Trade Union International, brought the proposals to the attention of Greek trade unions.

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mr. Jordan said the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) was one of the most important and active member-organisations of the international and labour movement.

    Mr. Jordan appeared particularly concerned over the latest economic developments and global instability which can, as he said, trigger world recession.

    The Free Trade Union International is an organisation in which 141 national organisations and 127 million members are represented.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Late Metropolitan of Volos Ioakeim honoured as 'Righteous Among Nations'

    Israel will include the late Metropolitan of Volos Ioakeim among its "Righteous Among Nations" tomorrow, honouring the high-ranking clergyman's role in saving 762 Greek Jews from the Nazis.

    Israeli ambassador to Greece Ran Curiel will present the award to the family of the late metropolitan, during a ceremony to unveil a Holocaust memorial in the central Greek port city.

    Ioakeim was instrumental in saving Volos' Jewry, when the rabbi of the city was instructed by Nazi occupiers to provide them with a list of the city's Jews, Ioakeim interceded with the German consul, who advised him to help the Jews flee. Ioakeim w arned the rabbi that the Jewish community had to flee immediately but also ordered priests in the region to help in any way they could.

    Many Jews entrusted their valuables with the metropolitan before leaving, all of which were returned to the survivors after the war.

    He also urged residents of Volos to return to the survivors any property that had been taken from the Jewish community.

    Of the 882 Jews living in Volos before the occupation, 762 survived. An estimated 70,000 Greek Jews died during the Nazi occupation of Greece, the bulk of them Sephardic Jews from Thessaloniki.

    Some 160 Greeks have been honoured with the Yad Vashem "Righteous Among Nations" award for providing sanctuary and assisting the Jews of Greece during World War II.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Simitis receives Cyprus' chief EU negotiator Vassiliou

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met yesterday with the former president of Cyprus and current chief negotiator in the island republic's EU accession talks, George Vassiliou, to discuss developments over the Cyprus issue.

    Mr. Vassiliou told reporters afterwards that a bicommunal dialogue on the basis of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash's proposal for a confederation on Cyprus could not be held, given that it would presuppose a recognition of the occupation of the nor thern third of Cyprus by Turkish troops.

    He said a clear message needed to be sent by the United States and Europe that there would be no recognition of the Denktash regime, adding that talk over the deployment of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles was an attempt by Turkey to refocus the problem from one of continuing occupation to missiles.

    Main opposition New Democracy honorary president and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis also held talks with Mr. Vassiliou, briefing him on talks he had with Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz in Istanbul last Sunday.

    At noon, Mr. Vassiliou visited ND leader Costas Karamanlis at the ND's headquarters and exchanged views with him on the course of the Cyprus issue.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Greek st ocks hit by worries of int'l financial contagion

    Greek equities ended the week lower, hit by worries over a financial contagion spreading in western markets following the collapse of one of the biggest US hedge funds.

    Traders said that news of the US Federal Reserve's initiative to bail out Long-Term Capital Management, facing collapse due to losses from investments in emerging markets, discouraged investors worldwide.

    International markets quickly abandoned the optimism brought about by prospects of lower interest rates in the US.

    The Greek market in particular, was extremely cautious, waiting on news on developments in the government's privatisation programme and the drachma's entry to the ERM 2 currency grid this weekend.

    However, international financial institutions like Merrill Lynch, HSBC and Morgan Stanley, remained positive on the Greek market's outlook.

    The general index ended 1.61 percent lower to 2,153.63 points for a 0.92 percent loss in the week. The index remained 45.55 percent up from January although 22.78 pct off its historic peaks in July.

    Turnover fell to 20.6 billion drachmas, the lowest level in six months. The week's turnover totalled 190.3 billion drachmas to a daily average of 38.1 billion, down from 49.1 bln the previous week.

    Sector indices suffered losses. Banks dropped 2.05 percent, Insurance fell 1.62 percent, Investment ended 1.90 percent off, Leasing ended 2.04 percent lower, Industrials fell 0.66 percent to show a 0.18 pct gain in the week, Construction eased 1.98 perc ent, Miscellaneous ended 0.68 percent off and Holding dropped 2.16 percent for a 5.72 percent weekly loss.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.67 percent off, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 1.87 percent down to 1,298.32. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 182 to 51 with another 16 issues unchanged.

    Thessaliki, Mytilineos, Boutaris and 3E were heavily traded. Radio Athina, Fourlis, Bitros, Mouzakis, Metka, Thessaliki, Nafpaktos Mills, Papoutsanis and Remek scored the biggest percentage gains.

    Hellenic Spin Mills, Etma, Keranis, Daring, Mosholios Chemicals, Endysi, Ergodata, Elve, Ideal and Parnassos suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 39,810 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 22,000, Ionian Bank at 10,325, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,620, Delta Dairy at 3,150, Intracom at 11,200, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,500 and Titan Cement at 18,100.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Mytilineos buys Romanian firm for 20 mln US dollars

    Greece's Mytilineos Group, a listed metals company, announced yesterday the takeover of a 60.04 percent majority stake in Romanian trade company Sometra Copsa Mica, worth more than 20 million US dollars, from the Romanian Organisation of State Property (F PS).

    Bank of America and Central Europe Trust acted as consultants to the deal.

    Mytilineos said that the takeover price was 67 percent higher than Sometra's market value on the Bucharest stock market.

    A company statement said that the takeover of Sometra would significantly strengthen Mytilineos international position in refining heavy non-iron ores. Mytilineos offered guarantees of financial support to Sometra on raw material supplies and ensuring e xports.

    The deal also includes repayment of all company's debts to the Romanian state and guaranteed investments to upgrade and modernise Sometra's facilities. An environmental protection plan was also included.

    Mytilineos said it was interested in more investments in Romania as part of a 10 million US dollar investment plan.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greek products exhibition in Belgrade

    More than 80 Greek companies will participate in a Greek products trade fair to be held in Belgrade, October 6-9.

    The three-day event is organised by Helexpo and the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Center and will include companies from the clothing, foodstuffs, beverages, construction material and pump machinery sectors.

    The trade fair will be held at Belgrade's exhibition centre.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Papoutsis message on World Tourism Day

    Tourism is one of Europe's biggest financial assets, European Union Commissioner for Tourism, Christos Papoutsis, said yesterday in a message to celebrate World Tourism Day.

    He said that the tourism industry accounted for an average 5.5 percent of the EU's gross domestic product and for a third of the EU's export services.

    The industry employes directly nine million people - almost six percent of EU's total employment - and is indirectly creating two million more jobs.

    Mr. Papoutsis said that EU's efforts focused in sustaining prosperity through the creation of more jobs in the tourism sector, protecting and improving tourism quality and encouraging a "morally responsible" tourism - inside and outside Europe - through support of measures combating sexual tourism.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Majority of Greeks happy with their banks

    The majority of Greeks have a positive opinion about their banks, according to a recent survey on attitudes to banking by ICAP, revealed yesterday by the secretary general of the Union of Greek Banks Ioannis Manos.

    The survey on Greece's banking system, conducted in March, was based on responses given by 2,000 people, aged 18-75, from the general public and 700 businessmen.

    Seventy-five percent of respondents said they were happy to very happy with the service provided by their main bank, with only 13 percent saying they were not at all happy.

    The primary reasons given for dissatisfaction with banks were high lending rates, low interest on deposit accounts and long queues in banks.

    Mr. Manos said that as of January 1, 1999, Greek banks will offer a new service, that of a bank mediator, to improve relations with their clients.

    Sixty-three percent of Greeks said that they were satisfied with the operation of the country's banking system, while 19 percent had a negative opinion.

    The survey revealed that 37 percent of Greeks were in favour of a single European currency with 17 percent against but that 46 percent could not answer.

    The survey concluded that Greeks lacked information on the euro and only five in ten knew about the single currency.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] OEEK-sponsored conference on Crete focuses on tourism sector

    Former Greek Tourist Organisation (EOT) secretary general Nikos Skoulas said the holiday model of "sun, sea and folklore" for Greece belongs to the past.

    He was speaking yesterday on the globalisation of economic activity in the tourism sector at the three-day European conference of the vocational Education and Training Organisation (OEEK), being held in Crete with the cooperation of UNESCO. The conferen ce is focusing on the issue of vocational education and training at the dawn of the 21st century.

    Mr. Skoulas said that what is necessary for the competitiveness of Greek tourism is training, professionalism and the consolidation of the tourist conscience not only with those involved in tourism but with Greek society as a whole.

    He further said that to this end 267 activities will be developed for the training of those involved or interested in tourism by EOT costing 2.8 billion drachmas and another 194 by the National Public Administration Centre costing 900 million drachmas.

    Speaking on the same issue, the President of the Federation of British Travel Agents, S. Fraudman, stressed the need to train travel agents. He said that research conducted by his organisation three years ago revealed that 70 per cent of travel agents c onsidered training to be essential but only 28 per cent had received it in practice.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Athens News Agency on the Internet

    You can now find the Athens News Agency's news service on the Internet with a brief review of the main news items, in Greek or English, twice a day (at 11:00am and updated at 4:30pm approximately). Log in to our Internet address: and keep abreast with the latest news from Greece.
    Athens News Agency

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