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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-11-29

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

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

November 29, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Gov't pleased with ECHR ruling over so-called 'royal properties'
  • [02] Cyprus' hour has arrived, PM Simitis says
  • [03] FM Papandreou to meet UN envoy for Cyprus de Soto on Friday
  • [04] FM Papandreou speaks on Cyprus solution efforts and Iraq on CNN, US television
  • [05] ND leader supports Cyprus' EU accession in talks with Prodi
  • [06] Committees from Greek and European Parliaments in talks
  • [07] Fourth election victory in 2004 within PASOK's grasp, PM says
  • [08] Interior minister addresses conference on electronic government
  • [09] Deputy FM attends Euro-Africa dialogue meeting
  • [10] Emblem for Greece's EU presidency unveiled
  • [11] Bosnia-Herzegovina accepts initiative for regional summit in Sarajevo in 2003
  • [12] Simitis expresses confidence in Greek economy
  • [13] Greek closed-end investment funds' assets rise 3.25 pct
  • [14] Smaller Greek firms more optimistic on results than other Europeans
  • [15] ND deputies back auditing council report, attack gov't
  • [16] Deputy FM mediates dispute over telecoms with Armenian gov't
  • [17] Greece gets EU okay for subsidies to cotton producers
  • [18] Greenpeace calls for energy-saving measures by public sector
  • [19] Hellenic Stock Exchanges shows Q3 loss
  • [20] Greece may undergo review of 2002 debt by Eurostat
  • [21] Greenhouse gas emissions increase in Greece by 5.7 points
  • [22] Civil servants' union calls nationwide strike for Dec. 5
  • [23] Deputy interior minister on improvement of public services
  • [24] Greek stocks move in positive territory on Thursday
  • [25] IOC lauds program and ticket prices for Athens 2004 Games
  • [26] Greek officials abroad continuously updated on Olympic Games preparations
  • [27] Deputy press minister visits Luxembourg in light of Athens 2004 Games
  • [28] Conference on Greece and globalization at Harvard University
  • [29] Seminar on European security and defense policies in Athens
  • [30] Local man charged with running migrant trafficking ring; 64 illegals detained
  • [31] ''European Prospect of Balkan Countries'' conference to open in Athens on Friday
  • [32] Referral to trial of '19' N17 suspects pending
  • [33] President Clerides: We are heading towards accession

  • [01] Gov't pleased with ECHR ruling over so-called 'royal properties'

    STRASBOURG 29/11/2002 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    Greece was ordered to pay 13.7 million euros on Thursday by the European Court of Human Rights as compensation to the country's former monarch and two of his relatives for property seized under a 1994 law, a judgment substantially lower than what the plaintiffs originally demanded and one that satisfied Athens.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis hailed the level of compensation adjudicated by the Court shortly after the decision was announced in Strasbourg, citing what he called a “major gap” between the ex-monarch’s “arrogant and insolent demands” and the announced damages.

    “The one who is morally and legally responsible for the 1967 (military) coup does not have the right to compensation, and he should be aware of the immeasurable damage he brought to Greece and Greeks. Greece, however, will pay the compensation because we want decisions by the European Court of Human Rights to be respected,” Simitis said in a brief nationally televised appearance on Thursday afternoon.

    Additionally, the Greek premier stressed that the ruling resolves, “conclusively and irreversibly”, the last outstanding issue involving the monarchy in Greece.

    A referendum in December 1974 abolished the monarchy by a 2 to 1 margin, paving the way for the establishment of a Parliamentary republic.

    Finally, Simitis charged that ''some hoped for the vindication of the ex-king's demands, condemning the government for its handling; these arbitrary charges were completely discredited.''

    The Greek government had repeatedly stressed in the past that it would not negotiate “with those that turn against it,” a direct reference to Constantine.

    Two years ago, the 62-year-old Constantine claimed that an international firm had assessed the value of the contested properties at 180 billion drachmas ($450 million).

    In its initial ruling two years ago the ECHR court of justices ruled by a 15-2 margin that Athens had violated Article I of the first protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the right of property.

    Constantine and two relatives at one point demanded 168 billion drachmas (493 million euros) in compensation for the three contested properties, namely, the Tatoi country estate north of Athens; the Mon Repos summer resort on the Ionian island of Corfu and the Polidendri forest estate in the foothills south of Mount Olympus, central Greece.

    The Greek government had seized these properties on the grounds that they were obtained under ''dubious circumstances'' by Constantine's royal ancestors and had never really been private property, but public property set aside for the use of the royal family.

    The ex-monarch, his sister Irene and his aunt Ekaterini, had taken their case before a European human rights tribunal in Strasbourg in 1994, claiming that the Greek state had violated their rights to family life, dignified treatment, access to the courts and their property.

    The properties were first seized by during a military dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974). In 1979, the expropriation of the land was overturned and then seized again in 1994 by the then newly elected PASOK government.

    Alternate FM says political chapter with ex-king closes: Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis, referring on Thursday to the European Human Rights Court's verdict on the property of ex-king Constantine, said that with the verdict a major political chapter is closing for the country, adding that the issue of royal property was primarily a political and moral one and then an economic one.

    Yiannitsis said it was the third biggest victory for Greek democracy. The court determined that fair compensation was not 168 billion drachmas, as requested by the ex-king, but 4.7 billion drachmas.

    The court awarded compensation to Greece's ex royal family totalling 13.7 million euros (about 4.7 billion drachmas). The amount is analyzed as follows: 12 million euros for the ex-king, 900,000 euros for his sister Irene, 300,000 euros for his aunt Catherine and 500,000 euros for court expenses incurred by all.

    Main opposition party: Referring to the development, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said ''PASOK's government, when it ratified the relevant law, had undertaken a double commitment: Firstly, not to have the country's prestige defamed abroad. Secondly, Greece should not pay even a drachma to the ex royal family'', adding that ''neither of the two is taking place after today's condemnatory verdict by the European Court.''

    Roussopoulos said Prime Minister Costas Simitis claimed that the amount awarded is small and pointed out that "if this is the prime minister's view of the value of the Greek taxpayers' money, then the total amount of extravagance in state finances is justified in this way, and who all are now aware of, following the latest remarks by the European Union".

    Communist party opposes payment of compensation to ex-king: The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) opposes the payment of compensation to ex-king Constantine, according to a statement made by its deputy and Central Committee member Antonis Skyllakos on Thursday, who added that a ''moral, symbolic and political issue'' arises concerning demands for the former royal property.

    Skyllakos invokes the discussion of the relative law in Parliament in 1994 when, as he said, it had been said that ''tax checks had been carried out at Greek tax offices and they had reached the conclusion that the Glucksburgs owe huge amounts of money to the Hellenic state.''

    He added that ''the government is not invoking this now and wants to close the issue, being satisfied by the 4.6 billion drachmas. Our view is that it should not give a drachma.''

    [02] Cyprus' hour has arrived, PM Simitis says

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Cyprus' hour has arrived, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a joint meeting of his ruling PASOK party's central committee and parliamentary group on Thursday, noting that resolving the Cyprus problem has comprised a top goal of Greece for the past 28 years.

    Simitis said that two years after Greece's membership in the EMU and just two years before the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, ''today is Cyprus' hour'', adding that these three landmarks indicated that the four-year term the current government was in ''is not a customary term''.

    Noting that resolving the Cyprus issue has been a top goal of Greece for the past 28 years, he said that the current conjuncture differed from all the previous years in the fact that Greece and Cyprus had managed to rally the entire international community in order to give a solution to the Cyprus issue that overturned the firm view of ''the other side'' that the solution in Cyprus was given in 1974 (with the Turkish military invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island republic).

    The premier said that the view of the other side had started to be disputed effectively and in action only after 1994, when the new national strategy for Cyprus' accession of the European Union was consolidated. This strategy, ''which is ripe today'', had already created substantial difficulties for the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, which he said was now seeking a solution that would pave its way to the European prospect, he added.

    He said the national strategy for Cyprus' EU accession had been sealed at the EU summit in Helsinki in 1999 and would be ratified in two weeks at the Copenhagen summit, and stressed that Greece was determined to achieve the ''clear solution'' of accession.

    The premier also stressed that the national strategy for Cyprus' EU accession had been supported not only by the PASOK government but by all the political forces across the board in Greece and Cyprus.

    Reiterating Greece's firm and unwavering stance for a just, viable and functional solution for Cyprus, Simitis said that the draft plan recently submitted by UN secretary general Kofi Annan provided an opportunity for a ''constructive negotiation'' and was not itself a solution.

    He said the Annan plan had not come ''unexpectedly'' or ''without warning'', but was the result of the efforts of the Greek and Greek Cypriot side in the direction of having the UN put forward specific proposals aimed at overcoming the continuous refusal of the Turkish Cypriot side to discuss the issue and for dialogue to begin. 'And the Turkish Cypriot side, despite its displeasure, was unable to reject this plan,'' he continued.

    Greece, he said, ''is not negotiating in order to lead the negotiation to an impasse, but to improve the plan'' and achieve a resolution of the Cyprus issue.

    He criticized those who favored rejecting the Annan plan, as well as those who propounded maintaining the present status quo on Cyprus, including some PASOK cadres, and noted that negation or rejection of the plan would give the international community the impression that it was the Greek and Greek Turkish side that rejected dialogue, thus undermining the national strategy.

    He acknowledged that there were reservations on specific aspects of the Annan plan both among the governments of Greece and Cyprus and their respective opposition parties, and reiterated that the plan was not itself the solution, but a basis for dialogue.

    Simitis also said that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side were those under pressure following the release of the Annan plan and the prospect of Cyprus' EU membership, which he said would be finalized at the EU summit in Copenhagen on December 12 without being conditional on a prior solution of Cyprus' political problem.

    Turkey, he explained, was facing the "strategic quandary" of deciding whether to join the international community and the European prospect, respecting the rules of International Law and the function of the International System, or whether to persist on outdated geostrategic expediencies that kept the northern sector of Cyprus entrapped.

    Turkey, he continued, was facing the pressure of the European Union, which was particularly intense following the Helsinki decision and the EU's partnership relationship with Turkey.

    "The green line in Nicosia separates Ankara from Brussels," he continued, adding that the green line (which divides occupied sector of Cyprus from the free territories) no longer served Turkey's interests.

    Cyprus' EU accession and the resolution of the island's political problem would change the lives of the Turkish Cypriots too, whose democratic and human rights would be totally respected with the accession, he added, and expressed certainty that the Turkish Cypriots would also prosper, since they would be given the opportunity to exit from their underdevelopment and rid themselves of an authoritarian regime.

    Other speakers: The set of proposals put forward by the United Nations for a settlement of the Cyprus problem dominated Thursday's joint session of ruling PASOK's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group, with MPs and members of government arguing its respective drawbacks and merits.

    Among those most vehemently opposed to the blueprint for a solution presented by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was former minister Stelios Papathemelis, who said it ''downgraded the Cyprus Republic to a protectorate and contained the seeds of self-destruction since it made the minority not only equal but dominant.''

    Cyclades MP Elisavet Papazoi, a former deputy foreign minister, said the plan would allow Turkey to control all of Cyprus and EU-Cyprus relations via the Turkish-Cypriot component state, while it also legalized the results of Turkey's invasion of the island.

    Other speakers noted that Greece would be forced to accept Annan's mandatory arbitration if it signed the plan on December 12, while Piraeus MP Yiannis Kapsis asked why Greece should go ahead and sign a plan that it knew could not work.

    Defense Minister Yiannis Papantoniou said the armed forces were on alert at this time and that Cyprus would join the EU regardless of Turkey's answer to Annan's plan.

    Should Turkey realize ''where it’s true interests lay'' and accept the plan, he added, it was possible that Cyprus accession would be combined with a solution to unite the island republic.

    Press and Media Minister Christos Protopapas again stressed that EU enlargement without Cyprus was not conceivable. He also noted that Greece had to keep the solution of the Cyprus problem, Turkey's European course and the Euroforce issue 'alive' and on the negotiating table up until the Copenhagen Summit.

    Protopapas noted that the intervention of the international community in the Cyprus issue had first and foremost been sought by Greece, which therefore should be the first to agree to negotiations.

    He also pointed out that non-solution of the Cyprus problem would automatically lead to the island's 'de facto' division and possible a 'de jure' division by several countries in the future.

    A solution would result in an improved climate with Turkey that could have a knock-on effect for a series of issues, such as the dispute over the Aegean continental shelf, he added.

    Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, responding to statements by Kapsis, denied that the government's strategy was one of ''managing defeat'' and stressed that it was the culmination of a strategy first initiated by the late Andreas Papandreou and something that Greece had both sought and imposed.

    Greece was acting from a position of strength that arose from its boosted arms program, its stronger economy and its international position, he said.

    Several MPs and party officials expressed support for the prime minister's positions on the issue, while PASOK Central Committee Secretary Costas Laliotis said that confidence in those handling the affair in Greece and Cyprus should be ''given and expressed at all times''.

    [03] FM Papandreou to meet UN envoy for Cyprus de Soto on Friday

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will meet on Friday with the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto.

    The meeting will take place at 15:00 at the Divani Apollon Palace hotel in Athens' coastal district of Kavouri.

    They will make statements to the press after the meeting.

    [04] FM Papandreou speaks on Cyprus solution efforts and Iraq on CNN, US television

    WASHINGTON 29/11/2002 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The prospects for a Cyprus solution and Greece's stance on the prospective US military intervention on Iraq were the focus of an interview by Greece's foreign minister George Papandreou with CNN International.

    Papandreou, who gave the interview shortly before leaving Washington at the end of a two-day visit and talks with US government officials, said that Greece accepted positively the 'historic' initiative of UN secretary general Kofi Annan.

    He expressed his conviction that the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots could co-exist peacefully in a unified Cyprus, which was divided in 1974 with Turkey's military intervention in and occupation of the northern sector of the island republic.

    Papandreou noted that increased support for a solution of the Cyprus issue was evident also among the Turkish Cypriots, and cited a huge rally held recently in the occupied sector that sent a message in favor of a Cyprus solution and Europe. In that context, he pointed out that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash was purposely delaying and not proceeding with the due speed.

    Greece, he continued, desired a solution as quickly as possible, by December 12, when the EU summit that would decide on Cyprus' accession was scheduled. But if that did not prove feasible, he added, the momentum for a solution must be maintained, and Turkey must be kept on a European course, which he said was important to Greece, Cyprus and the EU as well.

    On the issue of Iraq, Papandreou said that Greece backed the UN Security Council decisions and considered as ''very constructive and effective'' US secretary of state Colin Powell's personal contribution to the Security Council's unanimous approval of the resolution on Iraq, which he said sent a clear message on the weapons of mass destruction with which Saddam Hussein must conform.

    ''We must await (Chief U.N. inspector) Hans Blix's report, and the hope is that military action will not be required and that a diplomatic solution will prevail,'' the Greek foreign minister continued.

    "We shall examine our options when the time comes," Papandreou said.

    He further said that Greece, as a US ally and the next president of the EU, would be in close contact with Washington, in cooperation with its EU partners, on the important decisions that needed to be taken.

    In another interview with the television network C-SPAN, replying to questions by viewers from all over the US, Papandreou stressed the importance of EU expansion and the opportunity provided to the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots by Cyprus' imminent EU accession.

    He also spoke on Turkey's European prospects and the need for Turkey to implement the Copenhagen criteria.

    Papandreou further expressed hope for a peaceful solution to the Iraq problem, and noted the EU's contribution to the Middle East peace process.

    He also spoke on the future of European unification and the need to condemn anti-semitism, as well as on the disbanding of the elusive 'November 17' terrorist group in Greece, preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the priority placed by Greece on the Games' security, and advancement of the Olympic Truce.

    [05] ND leader supports Cyprus' EU accession in talks with Prodi

    BRUSSELS 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis expressed support for Cyprus' accession to the European Union and Turkey's European course in talks with European Commission President Romano Prodi here on Thursday.

    Speaking to Greek reporters afterwards, Karamanlis said his conversation with Prodi was ''useful.''

    Referring to the EU's upcoming enlargement, Karamanlis told Prodi ''on the occasion of Europe's reunification, the EU should also be strengthened'', adding that what was a priority was Cyprus' accession to the EU "without asterisks, footnotes and last-minute packaging".

    ''The EU should provide the same feeling of security for all European citizens, the Greek citizens, and after the Copenhagen summit for the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus as well,'' Karamanlis said.

    Commenting on Turkey's European course, Karamanlis said ND supports the process of encouraging Turkey which will strengthen its European attitude both on its home front and in its relations with its neighbors.

    However, he stressed that this issue concerns Turkey exclusively and its European pace.

    [06] Committees from Greek and European Parliaments in talks

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Greek Parliament European Affairs Committee and the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met in Athens on Thursday for talks on the Cyprus issue, the start of EU accession negotiations for Turkey and a planned European military force.

    Several of gathered MPs and MEPs noted that a solution to the Cyprus problem would have to take place parallel to and independently of the island republic joining the EU.

    A number of the foreign deputies, meanwhile, pointed out that Turkey was still a long way from EU accession on the basis of the Helsinki Summit criteria, under which it was required to withdraw troops from Cyprus, respect minority rights within its own borders, particularly those of Kurds, and scale down the involvement of its military in Turkey's domestic affairs.

    [07] Fourth election victory in 2004 within PASOK's grasp, PM says

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    A fourth consecutive victory in the next elections was within PASOK's grasp provided it was able to inspire the progressive majority regarding its ability to lead the country beyond 2004, Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a joint meeting of the party's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group on Thursday.

    Simitis said the party had succeeded in parrying main opposition New Democracy's 'send a message' campaign in the last local government elections and had secured a favorable outcome, in which the 'message' was returned to its sender.

    One of the key lessons of the last encounter at the polls was the weakness of conservative politics built on populism, slogans and opportunism, without a specific program to back them up, the premier said. A party operating in this way might benefit from passing dissatisfaction but could not build a stable electoral base or consistently vie for power, he added.

    At the same time, the prime minister warned that the inadequacy and mistakes of the opposition could not be seen an excuse to slack off and that the local elections result was not enough to carry PASOK through to victory in the next elections unless it took steps to make the most of it.

    Simitis stressed that the ruling party retained the initiative, however, and called for alliances with progressive and social forces in the months leading up to the next general election.

    [08] Interior minister addresses conference on electronic government

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Attempts to reform Greece's public administration system could only work if they succeeded in gaining the support of the public and staff working in the civil services rather than just reflecting the goals of respective governments, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis said on Thursday.

    Speaking during a conference on electronic government organized by the European Centre of Public Law, attended by academics from Greece and abroad, Skandalidis admitted that attempts to reform the Greek system had not so far yielded the expected results and that it continued to be inflexible, obsessed with forms and bureaucratic.

    Modern information and telecoms technology could play an important role in breaking through these attitudes and make public services available to the general public 24 hours a day, through the Internet, through phone centers, via wireless access and two-way communication for carrying out electronic transactions, such as submitting applications, issuing certificates and making payments.

    The minister said the government intended to use all the developmental resources available to introduce the above services, such as the 3rd Community Support Framework.

    Reforming public administration so that it could predict, prepare for and meet the needs of all social groups was one of the government's priorities, he added.

    He said that Athens considered this to be the starting point of the dialogue taking place in the past few years on EU administrative convergence and harmonizing national public administration systems.

    [09] Deputy FM attends Euro-Africa dialogue meeting

    OYAGADOYGOY, Burkina Faso 29/11/2002 (ANA – E. Boukaouri)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis on Thursday represented the country in ongoing sessions here to promote Euro-African dialogue, where he said Athens believes in the constant and mutually beneficially cooperation between Europe and Africa.

    Other topics on the agenda of talks included environmental issues, the repatriation of cultural treasures, economic cooperation and especially African countries’ massive foreign debt.

    On his part, Magriotis said Greece’s contribution to helping prevent conflicts is promotion of the “Olympic Truce” initiative during the holding of the Olympic Games. He also forecast that the next Euro-Africa summit – expected during the upcoming Greek EU presidency – would expand dialogue.

    The Greek deputy FM participated with his EU troika members in talks with the representatives of 16 West African countries.

    [10] Emblem for Greece's EU presidency unveiled

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The government on Thursday unveiled the emblem for the upcoming Greek European Union presidency in the first half of 2003, during a ceremony at the Athens Concert Hall attended by numerous ministers, ambassadors and government officials.

    The emblem, a white swallow inspired by an ancient fresco discovered on the island of Santoniri (Thera) flying above six stars on a blue background with the legend “Hellas 2003” underneath (with “Hellas” written in Greek), was unveiled by Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis.

    In brief comments afterwards, the alternate FM cited several priorities by the Greek presidency, including a promotion of the EU’s presence on the international stage; a strengthening of democracy, individual rights and the rule of law; developing a model of high economic performance as a source of increased prosperity and an effort at transforming economic success into social success with the guaranteeing of social cohesion and the principles of redistribution of wealth.

    Yiannitsis also said the EU must achieve its goals in terms of expansion and through monetary union promote a more competitive Europe, “a Europe of employment”.

    [11] Bosnia-Herzegovina accepts initiative for regional summit in Sarajevo in 2003

    ZAGREB 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The presidium of Bosnia-Herzegovina has accepted the initiative by the presidents of Greece, Austria and Italy for a regional summit to be held in Sarajevo next year.

    A Press and Mass Media Ministry announcement said on Thursday that the three presidents proposed that the heads of the six countries which resulted in the region of former Yugoslavia (with the exception of Albania and Slovenia) hold an informal summit to discuss the future of the region and its accession in the procedure of the Euro-Atlantic integration.

    Possible dates for the summit in Sarajevo are either March 11 or March 12.

    [12] Simitis expresses confidence in Greek economy

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The government is accelerating policies to achieve its economic and social targets, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday.

    Addressing a PASOK party joint Parliamentary Group and Central Committee meeting, Mr Simitis noted that next year's budget was drafted in a period of high uncertainty due to conditions prevailing in European and international economies and stressed that these conditions could further worsen if there were negative developments in the Middle East.

    "Despite this negative climate, Greek growth rate will be 3.8 percent in 2003, the second highest rate in Europe and almost double the EU average," the Greek premier said. He added that private investments were expected to increase more than 9.0 percent next year and public investments to rise more than 10 percent over the same period. Mr Simitis said that real wages would rise by 2.1 percent, three times more than the increase of real wages in the European Union.

    Mr Simitis stressed that 2003 budget would continue fiscal adjustment in the country and rejected main political opposition's criticism over the country's fiscal conditions.

    Greece would present a budget deficit of 0.9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product in 2003, significantly lower compared with other Eurozone member-states' deficits, the premier told the meeting. Mr Simitis said that the government's aim was to cut the country's public debt to around 5.0 percent of GDP next year.

    The prime minister noted that next year's budget would also envisage a tax reform to benefit wage earners, pensioners and small- and medium-size enterprises. State funds for the agriculture sector would rise by 13 percent in 2003, Mr Simitis said and added that the government has achieved an extension of EU subsidies to Greek farmers by 2013.

    [13] Greek closed-end investment funds' assets rise 3.25 pct

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's 23 listed closed-end investment funds' assets totalled 1.78 billion euros on November 15, up 3.25 percent from the end of October, official figures showed on Thursday.

    A fortnight report by the Union of Institutional Investors showed that both the general index of the Athens Stock Exchange and the Investment sector index limited their losses to -29.37 percent and -28.69 percent from -31.11 percent and -32.83 percent, respectively over the two-week period, with both indices recording rises of 2.54 percent and 6.16 percent, respectively.

    The report said that all companies in the sector were trading at a discount, ranging from 5.46 percent to 32.95 percent, with the exception of Domus and Exelixi which were trading at a premium of 155.61 percent and 7.59 percent, respectively.

    [14] Smaller Greek firms more optimistic on results than other Europeans

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's small and medium-sized enterprises were more optimistic about the outlook for turnover and earnings in comparison with firms in the rest of Europe, according to a survey released on Thursday.

    Conducted by Grant Thornton and Business Strategies Ltd in autumn 2001, the survey also showed that 27 percent of Greek firms believed that creation of the European Union's single market had eased expansion.

    In addition, Greek companies said that domestic laws and taxation were the main short-term factors to inhibit growth, followed by the cost of financing, a lack of orders, and a lack of skilled workers.

    The biggest long-term growth inhibitor was access to new markets, followed by limited market demand and domestic laws and taxation; the Greek companies were quoted as saying in the survey.

    The firms also noted that the greatest obstacle to Athens bourse listing was the small size of companies and a time-consuming entry process.

    [15] ND deputies back auditing council report, attack gov't

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy continued its attack against the government’s 2001 budget on Thursday following a less than favorable report issued this week on the same topic by the state auditing council.

    The auditing council’s report and its authors were sharply criticized by Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Wednesday, whereas two top ND cadres focused their attack on the minister and government a day later.

    In a joint statement, deputies Dimitris Sioufas and Prokopis Pavlopoulos called Christodoulakis’ criticism “unprecedented and politically unusual”.

    They also supported the auditing council’s report, stressing that “it (report) didn’t add anything more than what Eurostat has been charging all along about ‘creative accounting’, assailing the country before the relevant European Union fora.”

    [16] Deputy FM mediates dispute over telecoms with Armenian gov't

    EREVAN 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos on Thursday resolved the problems of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) in Armenia, where it invested some 300 million dollars.

    OTE purchased 90 percent of Armentel - the sole telecommunications enterprise in the landlocked country of the lower Caucasus, a monopoly that was attacked repeatedly by Armenian politicians.

    Loverdos achieved the maintenance of the monopoly status for OTE, while in statements to officials of the country he said ''if you do not want us here say so. If OTE is unwanted say so''.

    During his stay here, Loverdos met with Armenian Prime Minister Andranik Markaryan, Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan and Justice Minister, David Harutyunian.

    During his meetings, Loverdos also discussed the capability of Greece to allocate 20 million dollars in development aid to countries of the Southern Caucasus through the Balkan development plan of the Greek government.

    [17] Greece gets EU okay for subsidies to cotton producers

    BRUSSELS 29/11/2002 (ANA/G.Zitouniati)

    Agriculture Minister George Drys said on Thursday that the European Union would allow the government to give state subsidies to cotton producers.

    The Greek proposal to help its cotton farmers was unanimously endorsed by the 15-nation bloc's agriculture ministers.

    ''The move is entirely compatible with Community legislation and does not overturn rules of fair competition,'' Drys said.

    The monies from national funds are to help offset a loss of income incurred by cotton producers stemming from new, tighter regulations on product subsidies.

    [18] Greenpeace calls for energy-saving measures by public sector

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The local chapter of the environmental advocacy group “Greenpeace” this week unveiled a report on what it terms as the Greek public sector’s “wasteful” energy consumption.

    The report comes within the framework of the group’s ongoing campaign to promote energy-saving measures by the public sector as well as consumers, according to a relevant press release.

    Greenpeace also claimed that Greece remains in last place amongst EU member-states in terms of applying energy-saving measures, while charging that state services hardly ever implement the measures they themselves formulate.

    To reverse the situation, the group called for specific targets – both in terms of quality and quantity – to be set and met by the public sector.

    [19] Hellenic Stock Exchanges shows Q3 loss

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Hellenic Stock Exchanges, which is quoted on the Athens bourse and is also the market's holding company, on Thursday reported consolidated losses of 13.8 million euros at the end of the third quarter of 2002 from net earnings before tax of 14.6 million euros in the same period a year earlier.

    Consolidated turnover totalled 38.0 million euros against 55.0 million euros in the third quarter of 2001, the company said in a statement.

    The 31.0 percent decline in turnover stemmed from a slump in the market with transactions declining by 42 percent and a drop in average capitalization of quoted firms by 17 percent, the statement added.

    [20] Greece may undergo review of 2002 debt by Eurostat

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greece may undergo a review of its 2002 debt along with other members of the European Union, finance ministry sources said on Thursday.

    The officials did not rule out a routine check conducted by Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency.

    Checks on Greece's 2001 figures produced revised figures for 2001 debt.

    [21] Greenhouse gas emissions increase in Greece by 5.7 points

    BRUSSELS 29/11/2002 (ANA - M. Spintourakis)

    European Commissioner Margot Wallstrom on Thursday said that Greece was overstepping by 5.7 points on the target-scale set by the European Union on emission of greenhouse gases in response to the Kyoto Protocol, according to a press release issued by Greek Eurodeputy Antonis Trakatellis (New Democracy party).

    Responding to a relevant question by Trakatellis, Wallstrom said that ''Greece overstepped by a large margin the course-target concerning the carbon dioxide and despite the fact that emissions were reduced from 1998 to 1999, the general tendency is one of increase compared to the 1990 levels''.

    The EU signed the Kyoto Protocol committing to maintain the 1990 levels of emissions and by enlarge it has achieved that aim.

    [22] Civil servants' union calls nationwide strike for Dec. 5

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) on Friday called on public sector employees to participate en masse in the nationwide strike called for Dec. 5, following a meeting between ADEDY's board and representatives from several affiliated public sector employees' federations.

    The course of the trade union movement in the public sector next year was discussed during the meeting, as were interventions during the European Union's Greek presidency in the first half of 2003.

    ADEDY President Spyros Papaspyros said the union's strategy for next year will centre, among others, on efforts to safeguard income, stressing that increases of around 2.5 percent are not satisfactory.

    ADEDY will also continue its effort on the social security issue with the purpose of handling the side-effects of the government's recent reforms.

    On the question of tax exemptions, Papaspyros said the government's announcements unreliable, while he expressed fears that the deviation of revenues registered in the state budget will require new methods of tax collection.

    He further said the strategy of privatization of public enterprises has produced only meager economic results to date.

    [23] Deputy interior minister on improvement of public services

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Stavros Benos, addressing an event organized by the Greek Business Administration Society on Thursday on ''Improving the citizens' quality of life'', said the government's target is to remove bureaucracy from public services as soon as possible.

    He also referred to optional service for university and technical institute graduates in Citizens Service Centers (KEP) as of 2004.

    Benos said the government's effort has already started with the operation of a network of 400 such centers which handle cases concerning 420 ''administrative products'', while the short-term target is to have 500 centers by the end of 2002.

    Outlining the ministry's targets further, Benos said the effort is focusing on the existence of a single electronic ''publication'' for each administrative case which, together with the application and necessary supporting documents, will be conveyed to the ministry's portal.

    [24] Greek stocks move in positive territory on Thursday

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended Thursday's session slightly higher on the Athens Stock Exchange with a rebound in Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s share price (+3.02 percent), partly offset by a decline in National Bank's share price (-1.10 percent), limiting the market's advance.

    The general index ended 0.59 percent higher at 1,880.31 points, with turnover an improved 136.4 million euros.

    The Publication, Telecommunication and Base Metals sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day (3.25 percent, 1.25 percent and 0.93 percent, respectively), while the Holdings, IT Solution and Retail sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (0.50 percent, 0.43 percent and 0.24 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.46 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 1.18 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.23 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 193 to 117 with another 57 issues unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks in value were Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, Football Pools Organization, Olympic Catering, Panafon, and Cosmote.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 59.3 mln euros Thursday

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: +0.46 percent

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): Close to fair value

  • Underlying Index: -0.23 percent

    Stock Futures:

  • Most Active Contract (volume): Alpha Bank (442)

    Day's Market Turnover: 59.3 mln euros

    Bond Market Close: Buyers outstrip sellers on Thursday

    Greek Benchmark 10-Year Bond

  • Yield: 4.74 pct

  • Spread over German bund: 24 bps

  • Day's Market Turnover: 2.4 bln euros

  • Most Active Bond: 10-year, expiring May 2012 (609.5 mln euros)

    [25] IOC lauds program and ticket prices for Athens 2004 Games

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    International Olympic Committee members and Grand Olympic Games Sponsors on Thursday lauded the program and prices of tickets set for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    IOC Coordinating Committee President Denis Oswald expressed his satisfaction over the prices of the tickets, which allow easier access to the Games by spectators. The IOC Executive Committee on Thursday approved the proposed program for Athens 2004 ticketing.

    The average ticket price is 34 per cent lower than that of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

    [26] Greek officials abroad continuously updated on Olympic Games preparations

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's embassies, consulates and press offices abroad have welcomed favorably the fortnightly publication by the Culture Ministry's Olympic Games General Secretariat and the Press Ministry concerning progress being made in preparation for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    The computer-generated publication includes information on the progress of Olympic projects and on archaeological finds at Olympic sites.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos has said that through this initiative, Greek officials abroad are continuously being updated on developments.

    [27] Deputy press minister visits Luxembourg in light of Athens 2004 Games

    LUXEMBOURG 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Deputy Press and Media Minister Telemachos Hytiris on Thursday concluded a successful visit here in his capacity as coordinator of the communications sector for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    The Greek deputy minister met with high-ranking officials of Luxembourg and mass media representatives.

    During a dinner hosted in his honor, Hytiris spoke of the difficulties of organizing the Games in Athens, saying ''no other city met with the obstacles and difficulties confronted by Athens, since wherever one digs one finds antiquities. The past is present everywhere''.

    [28] Conference on Greece and globalization at Harvard University

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    An international conference entitled "Beyond the Greek paradox: Greece in the Age of Globalization" is to take place in Boston at Harvard University's John Kennedy School on December 6-7.

    It has been organized jointly by the Greek General Consulate's press office in Boston, the Cambridge Peace Foundation and the John Kennedy School’s Kokkalis Program, while it is sponsored by the Greek Press and Media Ministry.

    Among speakers scheduled to address the conference at the school's Littauer Building are academics, politicians and journalists from Greece, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Keynote speaker at an official dinner on Saturday afternoon will be Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

    [29] Seminar on European security and defense policies in Athens

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    A seminar on "European Security and Defense Policy and the New Strategic Environment" will be held in Athens on Friday, with Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou opening the proceedings at the Athens Plaza at 9:00 in the morning.

    The seminar was organized jointly by the Institute of Defense Analyses and the Institute of International Politics and Security Policy of Germany's Universitat der Bundeswehr.

    [30] Local man charged with running migrant trafficking ring; 64 illegals detained

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    Evia Island on Wednesday apparently led to the arrest of a 42-year-old local man on migrant smuggling charges a day later.

    According to authorities, the 64 migrants – from Iraq, Pakistan and India – were found inside the abandoned tractor-trailer truck. The vehicle’s driver reportedly fled the scene.

    The suspect was identified as Eleftherios Panayiotopoulos, whom authorities accuse of chartering the unknown vessel used to ferry the would-be immigrants to Greek territory, and of masterminding a ring trafficking in illegal immigrants.

    A sailboat, meanwhile, skippered by two Polish nationals was intercepted late Tuesday evening, with both men arrested in connection with the same migrant smuggling ring. The only information released identified the vessel as the “Maestros”. No registry was listed.

    The first suspect was arrested outside his residence in northern Attica and subsequently brought before a prosecutor in Halkida, Evia’s capital.

    [31] ''European Prospect of Balkan Countries'' conference to open in Athens on Friday

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    The Balkan Political Club (BPC) in cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation of Defense and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) are organizing a two-day international conference on ''The European Prospect of the Balkan Countries'', in Athens.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou will inaugurate the conference on Friday, initiating discussions on the EU policy in relation to the Balkans and the hopes of the region's countries, the challenges stemming from enlargement and the prospects of cooperation.

    Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, former Turkish President Suleiman Demirel, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) former president Kiro Gligorov, Romania's former president Emil Constantinescu will be among the many notable guests from throughout the region.

    [32] Referral to trial of '19' N17 suspects pending

    Athens, 29/11/2002 (ANA)

    An appellate level prosecutor is reportedly on the verge of formally requesting a referral to trial of 19 suspected “November 17” urban terrorists, with a relevant indictment nearing 1,000 pages.

    According to reports in the Greek capital on Thursday, prosecutor Kyriakos Karoutsos has already filed his request with the head of a relevant prosecutor’s office affiliated with the council of appellate judges – a course usually followed in serious and multi-felony cases. The proposal is expected to be conveyed to the council in 10 days for its decision, reports state.

    [33] President Clerides: We are heading towards accession

    NICOSIA 29/11/2002 (CNA/ANA)

    ''We are heading towards accession to the European Union,'' President Glafcos Clerides said here on Thursday, when asked by the press whether there is enough time until the December EU summit to negotiate a Cyprus settlement.

    President Clerides was speaking after Thursday's meeting of the National Council (top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem) which discussed a letter the UN Secretary General sent to the President and Turkish Cypriot Rauf Denktash, asking them to inform him by Saturday about changes they wish to see in a proposal he put forward on a comprehensive settlement.

    The Council also discussed the reply given on Wednesday to Kofi Annan by the Turkish Cypriot leader, who said he was prepared to negotiate on the basis of the UN proposal. The Council will continue its deliberations on Monday.

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said after the meeting that the members of the Council expressed their views and gave the president a free hand in the handling of the whole issue.

    Papapetrou noted that the time remaining until December 12 for substantial negotiations has become very tight and recalled the decision of the National Council on November 18 that the timetable proposed by the UN is very tight and consequently the recommended dates with regard to an agreement should not be considered as binding.

    Annan has proposed that a foundation agreement be signed before the EU summit, to be followed by negotiations and a referendum on March 30, before the treaty of accession is signed.

    Papapetrou said the tight timeframe is an issue to be discussed during the meeting President Clerides will have on Friday with the UN Secretary General's special advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who arrives here from Ankara.

    Meanwhile Greek Ambassador to Cyprus Christos Panagopoulos said on Thursday after meeting President Clerides that as the timeframe until the Copenhagen Summit is becoming much tighter ''we are focusing on (Cyprus') accession.''

    Panagopoulos also said that this was the message Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou conveyed on Wednesday in Washington to his US counterpart Colin Powell.

    Replying to questions, Papapetrou said the Council is examining all issues and all scenarios in depth.

    Invited to say whether President Clerides is scheduled to visit New York, Papapetrou replied negatively.

    Invited to comment on Denktash' letter to Annan, Papapetrou said the government had no information about its contents.

    ''We have to see what the letter says. There is some information but it is conflicting,'' he noted.

    Invited to say whether a discussion on the issues which need to be negotiated has started, Papapetrou replied affirmatively noting that this discussion will be intensified Monday.

    Answering another question, the government spokesman said the subcommittee of the National Council continues to analyze Annan's plan. He said he did not know when the subcommittee would conclude its task.


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