|Tuesday, 16 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 05-09-17
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>September 17, 2004
 PM addresses UN General Assembly, says impoverishment and starvation a disgrace for our century
NEW YORK, 17/9/2005 (ANA - P. Panagiotou)Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, addressing the United Nations Organisation's General Assembly on Friday, stressed that "impoverishment and starvation are a disgrace for our century", adding that "today we possess the means to eradicate them. We must insist on this target, as well as on all the Development Targets of the Millennium, so that we can implement them by 2015."
Focusing on the Millennium Proclamation, the prime minister pointed out that "in the framework of this global effort, Greece has considerably increased the development aid it is providing."
Karamanlis paid particular attention during his address to the Proclamation expected to be adopted later in the day by the heads of state and government participating in the summit.
"It constitutes, in our opinion, a good starting point on the long path of necessary reforms," he said, and added that it is also "an opportunity for us to reiterate our commitment to such basic principles as the obligation to avoid the threat or use of force in any way incompatible with the UN Charter, the peaceful resolving of disputes, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, the authority of the Security Council must take action to preserve and restore international peace and security and Security Council resolutions must be implemented in full."
Karamanlis further said that "five years ago, in adopting the Millennium Proclamation, the leaders of the world set ambitious but feasible targets, incorporating the hopes of the international community for the new century, for a world which shall be united and have common principles and which shall struggle with determination to achieve peace and to secure dignified living conditions for every man, woman and child."
Referring to the issue of terrorism, the prime minister went on to say that "following the adoption of the Millennium Proclamation, important events have changed our conception of peace and security dramatically. The terrorist attacks in New York and elsewhere have brought to the surface new global threats and challenges."
Karamanlis indicated that only through the commitments mentioned above "can we hope for an effective handling of terrorism, global epidemics, impoverishment, natural disasters, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international organised crime, mass violations of human rights and of every other scourge in our world."
He also said "this year we are honouring the 60th anniversary of our Organisation's creation which, constructed for a different era, must adjust itself in order to be effective in the new international environment. The United Nations, the only true global institution at the service of mankind, which possesses unique legalisation, must meet the new realities and chal-lenges."
Karamanlis concluded his address to the General Assembly by noting that the Proclamation "is a strong political appeal which incorporates most of the ideas proposed for development, the building of peace, human rights, the preservation of peace and the institutions of the United Nations."
 PM Karamanlis, FM Molyviatis receive Justice for Cyprus Award
NEW YORK, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greece's prime minister Costas Karamanlis and foreign minister Petros Molyviatis were presented with the "Justice for Cyprus" award by the Cyprus Federation of America, during the federation's annual Testimonial Dinner held Thursday night in New York.
Speaking during the ceremony, Cyprus president Tassos Papadopoulos described his relations with Karamanlis as "wonderful", and "based on trust and absolute frankness", adding that there has never been any disagreement vis-a-vis support of Cyprus' cause and vindication of the just rights of the Republic of Cyprus, and particularly those of the Greek Cypriots.
Referring to Molyviatis, the Cyprus president called him the "wise Nestor" of Greece, and warmly thanked him for his long-standing cooperation and invaluable advice.
Papadopoulos further congraulated the Cypriot community in the US on their decision to honour Karamanlis and Molyviatis, noting that with their initiative they also honoured themselves, as well as Cyprus itself.
Molyviatis thanked the organisers for the honour bestowed on him and said that all his efforts throughout the years had b een "nothing mopre than my duty".
"I have tried to do my duty, but there is still much more that must be done," he said.
"We shall succeed," he said, because "we are all here, together, and with a purpose...Greeks, Cypriots, overseas Greeks and Cypriots, we are one...We will carry on with this battle to the final victory".
Karamanlis thanked the Cyprus president for his heartfelt words, and reaffirmed that the Greek government was unwaveringly committed to a just, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem based on the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and completely in line with the European principles.
"We will spare no effort to achieve the reunification of the island, in a way that will benefit all the Cypriots," the Greek premier pledged.
Regarding future initiatives for resolving the Cyprus problem, Karamanlis stressed that any prospective initiative needed to guarantee the best possible prospects for success, and expressed hope that the appropriate conditions would be created so as to enable a resumption of negotiations.
"We are approaching the issue with responsibility and determination to move forward, and hope that the other side will display a similar attitude. We are approaching this issue in close cooperation with the Cypriot government," Karamanlis said, and also congratulated the Federation leadership and members for their "exemplary devotion to the goals of peace, justice and freedom in Cyprus" and their "commitment to the loftiest interests of wider Hellenism" and "better understanding and closer relations between the Greeks and the Americans".
US Senator Paul Sarbanes lauded the organisers on their lifelong dedication to the struggle for the reunification of Cyprus and, drawing a parallel between the refugees in Cyprus and the refugees from Hurricane Katrina, stressed "how unbearable it is for one to be a refugee in their own homeland".
Sarbanes said that the Republic of Cyprus and the Cypriot people should not be punished because the Greek Cypriot community decided, in a free and open referendum, that the Annan Plan had not been the right solution, and expressed hope that "oour principles and persistence will prevail over the petty political plans in Washington".
The ceremony was attended by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cyprus foreign minister George Iacovou, Archbishop Demetrios of America, and many leading members of the Greek and Cypriot community and organisations in the US.
The Cyprus Federation of America is the umbrella organization that represents the Cypriot-American community throughout the United States.
Past recipients of "The Justice for Cyprus Award" include Senators Olympia Snowe, Alfonse D'Amato, Paul Tsongas, Joseph Biden, Congressmen Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Robert Menendez and several other Members of the House of Representatives.
 FM Molyviatis calls British counterpart Straw on EU counter-declaration
NEW YORK, 17/9/2005 (ANA/A. Panagopoulos)Greece's foreign minister Petros Molyviatis telephoned British foreign secretary Jack Straw on Thursday afternoon (US time), in light of the extraordinary meeting of the EU's Committee of Permament Representatives (COREPER) called for Friday afternoon in Brussels to discuss the EU's counter-declaration on Turkey's unilateral statement that it continues to refuse to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, which is an EU member country.
According to sources, it is considered very difficult to bridge the differences among the EU member countries on the text of the European Counter-Declaration.
The COREPER emergency meeting was called for Friday (at 3:00 p.m. local time) by Britain's COREPER member, to resume discussions on the formulation of the EU's counter-declaration.
On July 29, Ankara signed the Association Agreement Protocol -- by virtue of which Turkey extended its Customs Union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus. In tandem, Ankara also submitted a separate, unilateral declaration stating that it refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.
 Gov't to table Parliament amendment aimed at sheltering OA assets
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Press questions regarding the fate of ailing national carrier Olympic Airway/Airlines (OA) continued to dominate much of the government spokesman's daily briefings, with the government on Friday emphasising that all measures will be taken to legally protect OA's assets from the company's creditors.
Spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos made the statement at the end of a week that witnessed a European Commission decision calling for the return of upwards of 500 million euros from debt-laden OA back to the state's coffers.
Only hours after he made the statement, the government was set to table an amendment in Parliament postponing the execution of certain legal actions - individual or collectively, both within and outside Greece -- against OA's assets until Feb. 28, 2006, such as orders of confiscation, restraining orders etc.
The amendment excludes the state from the amendment's provisions.
An addendum notes that the amendment's provisions aim at ensuring the operation and control of OA's assets until a decision is made on whether an ongoing effort to privatise the company can continue.
 Coalition party leader calls for creation of special Parliamentary committee to examine Olympic Airlines issue
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology party leader Alekos Alavanos on Friday called on the government to agree to the creation of a special Parliamentary committee "to examine the situation and to attribute political and other responsibilities, both today and yesterday, on the plight of Olympic Airlines."
Alavanos added that Olympic Airlines can be viable and state-run and effective and profit-making.
The Coalition party leader further said that he has had no reply from the government on his request to meet Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on the issue of the airline company, adding that next week he will be meeting main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou, while the response from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was negative.
 LA.OS party leader, Euro-MP tables question over EU Commissioner Barrot
BRUSSELS, 17/9/2005 (ANA - V. Demiris)The leader of the small Popular Orthodox Rally party (LA.OS), and the party's only representative in the European Parliament, George Karatzaferis, has tabled a question in the Euro-legislature regarding EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot, two days after the latter's recommendation -- that Olympic Airways return upwards of 500 million euros to the Greek state -- was accepted by the Commission.
In a relevant announcement, Karatzaferis, a former New Democracy deputy expelled from that party before founding LA.OS, cites press reports and Internet articles referring to Barrot's first instance conviction and alleged involvement in a financial scandal in France five years ago.
According to reports, the Greek Euro-deputy also asks whether Barrot was in Greece days before the Commission ruling, and whether such a visit was on official Commission business. He also requested a briefing on what, if any, contacts Barrot had in Greece.
 EU still has no answer for Turkey
BRUSSELS, 17/9/2005 (ANA/M.Spinthourakis)The European Union's Committee of Permanent Repre-sentatives (COREPER) failed again during an emergency meeting on Friday to finalise a reply to Turkey's refusal to recognise the Cyprus Republic, a member of the 25-nation bloc.
Most likely, the Committee will meet again early next week to resume discussions.
According to well-informed sources, the British EU Presidency, during Friday's meeting, presented a text that included some of the changes proposed by Cyprus, but also contained clauses the latter did not agree with.
Taking into consideration Cyprus' objections, as well as some compromises proposed by Greece, the British presidency promised to re-examine the issue and present new proposals as soon as possible, the same sources said.
Only Italy's representative expressed complete opposition to the Greek ambassador Vassilis Kaskarelis' proposal.
Based on Friday's meeting, Cyprus' demands, which Greece incorporated into its proposal, are that Turkey recognise the Republic of Cyprus before it joins the EU and that it be clearly stated that normalisation of Cypriot-Turkish relations is independent of a UN-sponsored solution to the Cyprus problem.
Greek diplomatic sources said that the British presidency's references that the EU will monitor the way in which Turkey implements its extended customs union agreement with Cyprus are deemed satisfactory.
On July 29, Turkey signed the Association Agreement Protocol -- by virtue of which Turkey extended its customs union agreement with the EU to the 10 new member states, including Cyprus. It submitted a separate declaration stating that it refused to recognise the Cyprus Republic and that its ports and airports would remain closed to Cypriot ships and planes.
 Papandreou itinerary for weekend TIF visit announced
THESSALLONIKI, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou will conclude the customary tours of Greek political party leaders at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this weekend, as 2005 marks the 70th holding of Greece's largest and most important trade exhibition.
Papandreou, the former foreign minister, is expected to arrive in the northern port city on Saturday afternoon.
Later in the evening he will give the keynote address at a reception held at TIF's main conference centre in the presence of representatives of business groups, professional sectors, political cadres and other dignitaries. Immediately afterwards, he will attend an event sponsored by PASOK's affiliated youth group in the Thessaloniki-area municipality of Neapolis.
A tour of TIF's fairgrounds and pavilions is scheduled for late Sunday morning, following the PASOK leader's earlier meetings with the leaderships of the two public entity companies managing the annual event and the TIF facilities, as well as with TIF employee groups.
A customary across-the-board press conference is set for 1 p.m., followed by Papandreou's working lunch with PASOK cadres at a downtown Thessaloniki hotel.
Papandreou will lead a high-level PASOK delegation during the weekend TIF visit, with 12 former ministers and current PASOK MPs accompanying him.
 FM and UN Special Envoy to resume talks on FYROM name
NEW YORK, 17/9/2005 (ANA/ A.Panagopoulos)Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis will be meeting with UN Special Envoy Matthew Nimetz at the United Nations on Monday to discuss the outstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the latter's use of the name of 'Macedonia'.
According to Greek diplomatic sources, there have not been any developments regarding the name issue.
Greece objects to the use of the name 'Macedonia' by its northern neighbour on the grounds that it might encourage expansionist policies against Greece.
 Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visits Florina
FLORINA, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, currently on a tour of northern Greece, received a warm welcome from inhabitants in the town of Florina on Friday as thousands took to the streets to see him and listen to what he had to say.
Vartholomeos and the members of his entourage were welcomed at the borders of the prefectures of Pella and Florina by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, the Metropolitan of Florina, Prespes and Eordea Theoklitos, Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Nikos Tsiartsionis and other officials.
The official welcoming ceremony took place in the town's central square, where the Patriarch was addressed by the Mayor of Florina Stefanos Papanastasiou. Vartholomeos and Archbishop Christodoulos then officiated at a church service held at the Saint Panteleimon Church.
 Tirana refers to Greek-Albanian com't for resolving pending issues, boosting ties
TIRANA, 17/9/2005 (ANA - I. Patso)Newly elected Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha's office announced here on Friday the creation of a special committee to resolve whatever pending issues between Athens and the Tirana government as well as to further improve bilateral relations.
The announcement comes a day after Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis met his Albanian counterpart on the sidelines of the United Nations' General Assembly in New York City.
According to a statement by Berisha's office, the proposal was made by Karamanlis, with diplomatic, education, security and defence experts from both countries making up the committee.
The same statement also refers to both leaders' commitment to work closely together in the energy sector.
 'Parmenion 2005' exercise to take place throughout the country between September 19-24
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The armed forces exercise codenamed "Parmenion 2005", planned by the National Defence General Staff, will take place throughout the country between September 19-24 this year.
The exercise will take place with the assistance of the general staffs and will include relevant ministry and political agency services. Units of all three branches of the armed forces will be participating, while the air force will also be carrying out a mobilisation exercise.
 Deputy DM visits naval station at Salamina
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The deputy defence minister visited the naval station on the island of Salamina on Friday and was briefed on its functions, possibilities and problems by its commander.
Addressing the naval station's military and civil staff, the deputy minister informed them of the defence ministry's decision to take all the necessary measures to achieve the excellent functioning of the country's naval stations.
He added that to this end all the necessary funds will be provided to improve mechanical, electrical and building facilities, while necessary staff hirings will also take place in accordance with existing legislation. He also noted that every effort is being made to improve the personnel's remuneration.
 New law successful in decongesting courts
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The government's new law aimed at speeding up the processing of cases through the court system has already resulted in dramatically decongesting courts around the country, Justice Minister Anastassios Papaligouras said on Friday.
According to Papaligouras, the number of pending cases has dropped dramatically by 45%.
"And this means 45% less inconvenience for citizens when dealing with the courts," he added.
The minister said the new court term is getting off to a good start compared with previous years, during his visit to the Athens Court of First Instance and the Prosecutor's Office.
 Govt announces 48 mln-euro project to upgrade Revithousa LNG terminal
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greek Development ministry's secretary-general Nikos Stephanou on Friday signed a project for the upgrading of Revithousa Liquid Natural Gas terminal, budgetted at 47.8 million euros.
The project will enable Revithousa terminal to more than triple its production capacity, ensuring a steady supply of natural gas to the National Transport System of up to 6.0 billion cubic metres annually.
Revithousa LNG station is one of 10 similar stations operating around Mediterranean and Europe. The station offers energy supply in the country, operational flexibility in transportation and distribution of natural gas and increased capability of covering consumer demand.
The project is expected to effectively contribute in further strengthening the country's electricity production grid by increasing supplies to new electricity production units using natural gas. The project is included in a "Competitivess" Business Programme of a Third Community Support Framework and is funded with 21,500,000 euros, or 45 percent of total budget.
Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said the project will transform Revithousa terminal into one of the biggest in Southeastern Europe, significantly raising DEPA's asset base.
 Gov't seeks to minimise loss of EU funds
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The government is seeking to minimise the loss of European Union funds under the Third Community Support Framework totalling 400 million euros for 2005, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias said on Friday.
"There is a visible danger of losing the funds," Folias told reporters on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki international trade fair.
"Nevertheless, the government aims at least to curb losses, if not remove the danger altogether, through action and initiatives, as well as renegotiation (with the EU)," he said.
Folias added that the government was considering shifting certain spending to other programmes that show a higher absorption rate so that full use was made of funds.
"Last year, the government succeeded in containing loss of EU funding to 300,000 euros," he noted.
 FT: Greece likely to reduce deficit
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greece appears set to confound sceptics and achieve a significant reduction in the budget deficit this year in spite of lower-than-projected growth in tax revenues in the first seven months, according to a news report in the Financial Times published on September 15.
Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis predicted the deficit would fall this year from about 6.1 to 3.6 per cent of gross domestic product, in line with the government's commitment to the European Commission.
"The main worry was that growth would stall immediately the Olympics were over, but that didn't happen. We've seen solid growth sustained in each quarter," the FT quoted Alogoskoufis as saying. "We are confident that the deficit target will be met, as a result of containing spending successfully and making some cuts in the public investment budget."
Greece has two years to reduce the deficit below the 3 per cent of GDP ceiling imposed on eurozone members, after the cost of the Athens Olympics and a spike in military payments pushed spending in 2004 to unprecedented levels.
The minister said his task was made easier by the resilience of the Greek economy, which is set to expand this year by 3.6 per cent, compared with 4.2 per cent in 2004. He said growth was being driven by domestic consumption, higher exports to Turkey and the Balkan countries and by a 13 per cent increase in foreign visitors, almost double the projection made at the start of the holiday season.
Greece raised valued-added tax by one percentage point in April, following a sharp first-quarter fall in revenues. The finance ministry has also launched a fresh crackdown on tax evasion, implementing suggestions made by the International Monetary Fund. Alogoskoufis said revenues picked up over the summer, after a re-organisation of regional tax offices, the FT reported
 Gov't announces cash bonus to families acquiring third child as of Jan. 1
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The government on Friday revisited its pre-election promise of commencing state support for families acquiring a third child, with an initial one-time bonus of 2,000 euros envisioned as of Jan. 1, 2006; the sum will rise to 2,500 a year later.
The measure was announced following a meeting here between Economy Minister George Alogoskoufis and Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis.
Currently, a family in Greece must have four or more children to qualify for a variety of state bonuses and supports, ranging from low-interest loans, to preference for civil servant spots to reduced mass transit fares, among others.
Additionally, families that acquire a third child will also be exempt from paying a vehicle license fee.
According to Kaklamanis, some 8,000 to 10,000 families stand to benefit from the measure in the coming two years.
On his part, Alogoskoufis said that additional state support of large families continues to be a primary goal of the Karamanlis government despite the fiscal difficulties inherited from the previous government, as he said. Additionally, he said the funds for the measure will come from cost-cutting in the public sector.
Greece continues to be plagued by a low population growth rate, according to the latest UN and EU statistics.
Opposition criticises gov't over measures regarding families with three children
Main opposition PASOK and the Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party criticised the government over its announced measures to provide cash bonuses to families acquiring a third child as of January 1, 2006.
In a joint statement, PASOK's Vasso Papandreou, responsible for the economic division of the party's political council and Evangelos Venizelos, responsible for healthcare, labour and social affairs, accused Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis of not delivering on his pre-election promises since families that already have three children will not qualify for the bonus.
SYN's Dimitris Stratoulis, member of the party's Political Bureau and responsible for labour policy, called the government measures "fragmented".
He said that they do not, in any way, meet the needs of families with three children of lower socio-economic class.
SYN expressed its support for families with three children to be eligible for the same bonuses and support as families with four or more children.
The government measures include a one-time bonus of ¬ 2,000 as of January 1, 2006. In 2007, the sum will be increased to ¬ 2,500.
In response to PASOK's criticism, Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis said that the main opposition party had obviously "not kept abreast of political developments," since the measures the ministry announced today had already been made public on September 6.
Alogoskoufis added that "PASOK cadres .... are criticising the government for the support it is providing families with three children without explaining why they [PASOK] hadn't done so themselves."
He also called on PASOK to provide the Greek people with explanations regarding the economic state in which it left the country.
Health and Social Solidarity Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis also responded to PASOK's criticism attributing Papandreou's and Venizelos' statements to their "awkwardness" and "state of political panic."
 Political leader calls for renaming of TIF into 'Macedonian International Fair'
THESSALLONIKI, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The founder of the small Popular Orthodox Rally party (LA.O.S), and the party's only representative in the European Parliament, George Karatzaferis, on Friday called for the renaming of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) into the "Macedonian International Fair", a name he said would encompass the wider province where Thessaloniki is located and would also preclude its use by circles in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Maceodonia (FYROM).
Karatzaferis made the statement while touring the 70th TIF, Greece's largest and most important trade exhibition.
Greece vigorously objects to the use of the name "Macedonia" by its northern land-locked neighbor FYROM, citing historical and political reasons.
In other statements, Karatzaferis also called for the transfer of Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport to the city's western outskirts from its current site, east of the metropolis.
Finally, the LA.OS leader on Friday toured the Athens News Agency - Macedonian Press Agency pavilion at TIF.
 EU-US wine trade accord will protect 'retsina' name on US market
BRUSSELS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The European Commission announced on Thursday in Brussels that the EU-US wine trade accord will protect EU wine names, including Greece's "retsina", and secure the EU's biggest and most valuable wine market.
According to the Commission announcement, the EU and the US have reached a "first phase agreement" on trade in wine which will "protect EU wine names and secure the EU's biggest and most valuable wine market".
Under the accord, the US administration will "make a proposal to Congress to change the status of EU wine names" such as Burgundy, Champagne, Chablis, Chianti, Madeira, Malaga, Port, Retsina, Sherry and Tokay "currently considered semi-generic terms in the US, and limit their use in the US".
"The US will also exempt the EU from its new certification requirements, accept the main principles of EU labelling rules and pledge to seek to resolve any bilateral issues concerning trade in wine through informal bilateral consultations rather than through dispute settlement mechanisms. The two sides have also undertaken to build on the agreement by starting to negotiate a more ambitious second-phase accord 90 days after the entry into force of this agreement," the announcement said.
Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, welcomed the agreement: "I am delighted we have managed to finalise this very important agreement, after 20 years of on-off negotiations. The US is our biggest market, importing EU wine worth about ¬ 2 billion in 2004. This deal will remove the legal uncertainty which has hung over this trade for several years and benefit producers on both sides of the Atlantic. The conclusion of this first-phase agreement will pave the way for future close cooperation with the US in the wine sector."
The main elements of the agreement are: - The US and EU explicitly recognise each others' wine names as "names of origin". - The US administration will propose to Congress to change the status and to limit of use of 17 European wine names which are currently considered as semi-generics in the US: Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, Claret, Haut-Sauterne, Hock, Madeira, Malaga, Marsala, Moselle, Port, Retsina, Rhine, Sauterne, Sherry and Tokay. - The US accepts the main principles of EU labelling rules and agrees to seek to resolve any bilateral issues concerning trade in wine through informal bilateral consultations rather than through dispute settlement mechanisms. - The US is allowed to use under certain conditions and for a limited period of time, 14 EU traditional expressions: Château, classic, clos, cream, crusted,/crusting, fine, late bottled vintage, noble, ruby, superior, sur lie, tawny, vintage and vintage character. - The EU recognises the US wine-making practices which are currently approved in the US. However, those practices which are not covered by existing EU derogations will only be accepted for wines exported to the EU once the US changes the status of the 17 EU wine names which are considered as semi generics in the US. - EU wine exports, including exports of wines below 7% of alcohol, are exempted from the US certification requirements adopted in late 2004. Once the US has changed the status of the 17 EU wine names currently considered as semi-generics in the US, it will benefit from very simplified certification requirements in the EU. - A second phase negotiation will start 90 days after the date of entry into force of the agreement and will, among other things, include a dialogue on geographical indications, a dialogue on the matter of names of origin including the future of the semi-generic terms, a dialogue on the use of traditional expressions, low alcohol wines, certification, wine-making practices and the creation of a joint committee on wine issues. - Both Parties also agree to exchange views on wine matters affecting international trade and on how international cooperation covering wine matters might be best structured.
 Gov't calls for foreign investment in Greece
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias on Friday called on foreign investors to place their funds in Greece.
"We are seeking open minds, and we, on our part, will guarantee an environment of cooperation that will constantly improve," Folias told a business forum on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki international trade fair.
"Greece could become a leading player in the Balkans, opening new channels of bilateral and multi-faceted cooperation. The outlook is favourable," he added.
 Greece to declare cotton output to EU
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greece is to declare to the European Union 1.1 million tonnes of cotton for the 2005-2006 output year, at the highest possible subsidy rate, Agricultural Development Minister Evangelos Basiakos said on Friday.
Speaking after a meeting with producers, Basiakos said that the output total would bring 727 million euros in subsidies.
 Greek farm prices up in July
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greece's composite outflow price index in the agricultural sector fell by 0.9 percent in July compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Service said on Friday.
NSS, in its monthly report, said the index was down 7.5 percent in July from June.
The composite inflow price index, however, rose by 4.9 percent in July (from July 2004), and was up 0.1 percent from June.
 Greek inflation fourth highest in EU-25 in August
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greek annual inflation fell to 3.6 percent in August from 3.9 percent in July, the fourth highest in the EU-25, Eurostat said on Friday.
The EU executive's statistics agency said Eurozone inflation was unchanged at 2.2 percent in August, although slightly down from 2.3 percent in August 2004. Inflation in the EU-25 rose to 2.2 percent in August from 2.1 percent in July, but down from 2.3 pct in August 2004.
Sweden and Finland (1.0 pct), the Czech Republic (1.3 pct) and Cyprus (1.5 pct) recorded the lowest inflation rates in August, with Latvia (6.3 pct), Luxembourg (4.3 pct), Estonia (4.2 pct) and Greece (3.6 pct) the highest rates.
The inflation rate fell in 15 member states in August, from July, it fell in five and was unchanged in another five EU countries.
 Greek, Turkish and Cypriots labour unions to meet in Istanbul
ISTANBUL, 17/9/2005 (ANA)A noteworthy conference of Greek, Turkish and Cypriot labour unions is scheduled to begin in Istanbul on Friday, a follow-up to a similar two-day conference held early last February in Athens.
Greece will be represented by the largest trade umbrella union in the country, GSEE, and the civil servants' union, ADEDY. Three Turkish labour unions will participate, KESK, DISK and HAK-IS, as well as the PEO, DEV-IS, SEK, TURK-SEN, PASYDY and KTAMS groups from Cyprus, with the latter country sending both predominately Greek Cypriot and predominately Turkish Cypriot unions.
Up for discussion is the condition of working people in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, as well as the role of unions in achieving peace and stability in the region.
 Greek current accounts deficit up 25.31 pct in Jan-July
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greece's current accounts deficit rose by 25.31 percent in the first seven months of 2005 to 8.139 billion euros, from 6.538 billion in the same period last year, the Bank of Greece said on Friday.
The central bank, in its report, attributed the negative development to a rising trade deficit and a biggert shortfall in the incomes balance.
The country's trade deficit worsened due to rising fuel prices. The trade shortfall rose to 15.434 billion euros in the January-July period from 14.391 billion euros last year, with the fuel balance's deficit rising by 35.6 percent over the same period.
The services balance's surplus rose by 11.1 percent or 565 million euros in the first seven months, reflecting a 400 million euros increase in transport service's net revenues (mainly shipping). Gross revenues from travel services rose by 476 million euros, or 9.9 percent, while gross payments rose by 16.3 percent of 197 million euros.
The capital transfer balance's surplus fell to 1.025 billion euros in the January-July period from 1.338 billion euros in the same period last year.
Direct investments, in the financial transactions balance, recorded a net outflow of 160 million euros (from a net inflow of 435 mln euros last year), while portfolio investments reported a net inflow of 8.149 billion euros reflecting increased buying in Greek state securities.
The other investments category recorded a net outflow of 891 million euros in the January-July period.
 Hellenic Petroleum forms SPV in London
LONDON, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Hellenic Petroleum Group on Friday announced a board decision to set up a special purpose venture company in the United Kingdom aimed at offering financial services to Group companies and to integrate all Group financial transactions with third financial institutions and markets under one legal entity.
The new company, with a five-member board, will be called Hellenic Petroleum Finance Plc and will be based in London.
 Greece, Poland post trade rise over last three years
THESSALLONIKI, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greece and Poland have shown a bilateral increase in trade over the last three years, doubling since 2000, but leeway for growth remains, a senior Polish official said on Friday.
"Transactions have not yet fulfilled all the potential," Bogdan Zagrobelny, director of Poland's finance and employment ministry, told a business forum on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki international trade fair.
Bilateral trade totalled 336.8 million euros in 2004 after showing a 51.5% rise in 2001 and 2002.
Greece's farm products remain the country's main export to Poland, with other products emerging over the last few years including electrical equipment, aluminium products, textiles and semi-finished plastic goods, Zagrobelny noted.
Greek indirect investments in Poland totalled more than 564 million US dollars out of total foreign investment of 84 billion, he added.
Another official noted that the most active Greek firm in Poland was Coca-Cola HBC (513 million US dollars), followed by Maillis (37 million euros), Germanos (6.5 million euros) and Chipita (5.1 million euros).
 Greek electrical appliance market stagnated in 2004
THESSALLONIKI, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The Greek home electrical appliance and electronics market stagnated in 2004 after recording a 6.7-percent growth rate in 2003, with some of the biggest enterprises in the sector reporting losses and an intense lack of liquidity during the year, a report by Hellastat said on Friday.
The report said the domestic market was rapidly changing with the entry of foreign companies, either directly (Media Markt) or indirectly (Dixons), a price war and an offer policy to attract consumers, along with shrinking incomes and increased household debt combined with an increased cost of living in the country.
Retail sales rose 0.7 percent in volume in the first six months of the year.
The report urged a radical restructuring of the retail network, the sale of non-operational assets, re-evaluating the supply chain, while company boards should realistically evaluate survival prospects or seek closer cooperation with other players in the market.
A recent acquisition of Kotsovolos by Dixons, the UK retail group, is accompanied by a programme to renovate retail shops and expand product portfolio. The company reported a loss of 11.52 mln euros over the last 15 months due to accounting changes.
An autonomous appearance of Media Markt in the Greek market, initially in Thessaloniki and later in Attica, also brings new dynamic in the market.
Radio Korasidis & Elephant are facing severe liquidity problems and are currently in talks with creditors and suppliers to continue operations.
Ikona-Ixos, meanwhile, agreed to a takeover by Expert and is currently operating under the latter's brand name.
 Greek govt seeks to promote use of bio-fuels
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Economies must reduce their dependence from oil, as a jump in international oil prices are hitting national economies, inflation and consumers' interests, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas told a seminar to promote bio-fuels in the transport sector of southeastern Europe.
Addressing the seminar, the Greek minister stressed that a more efficient use of the country's rich domestic wind, solar and geothermal capacity was the government's goal in the framework of a new energy policy and underlined efforts made to integrate community directives on the production, trade and distribution of bio-fuels into Greek legislation.
"It is a significant initiative as we will include energy cultivations to our farm balance, offering one more prospect to Greek farmers," Sioufas said. The Greek minister urged for a more rational use of transportation means and biggest use of bio-fuels in the sector.
Development Deputy Minister George Salagoudis, addressing the seminar, urged Greek farmers to see bio-fuels as a business opportunity and to expand beyond the country's borders. The use of bio-fuels has multiple benefits to the Greek society as it reduced the imports of fuel, lowered the country's energy dependence from oil and helps protecting the environment, the minister said.
 Greenpeace organisation satisfied with development ministry's initiative on energy needs of Lesvos
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Development ministry secretary general Nikos Stefanou, in a letter he addressed to the Greenpeace organisation, stressed that over the next three years the island of Lesvos will cover its energy needs with wind power by 30 percent from today's 11 percent.
He was responding to the Organisation's recent proposal on putting an end to the island's dependence on oil and its turning to clean forms of energy.
Greenpeace expressed satisfaction over the development ministry's initiative which, as mentioned in the letter by Stefanou, will provide extra incentives in this direction.
According to the Organisation's head of the campaign concerning climatic changes and energy, the ministry's letter to Greenpeace is a first step towards ridding Lesvos from dependence on fossil fuel.
 Thessaloniki retail workers in protest mobilizations
THESSALLONIKI, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Thessaloniki retail workers announced a series of protest mobilisations on Saturday, including the blockade of domestic and foreign supermarkets at the city centre.
The retail workers demand that the government promote legislation to ensure that retail shops will remain closed on Sunday, a new extended shopping hours will not surpass 48 hours weekly work, retail shops to remain closed in three afternoon days, to abolish all flexible forms of labour and a basic salary of 1,300 euros.
 Greek firms among Serbia's 15 top investors
THESSALLONIKI, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Three Greek companies rank among Serbia's top 15 investors from abroad, an official from the neighbouring country said on Friday.
Irena Posin, supervisor of Serbia's Investment and Exports Promotion Service named the firms and their investments as follows:
All three are quoted on the Athens Stock Exchange.
 Conference on int'l political economy begins in Athens
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The second annual national conference on international political economy began in Athens on Friday at the Harokopeio university.
The conference, sponsored by Athens-based Institute for International Economic Relations and the Development Ministry, lasts until Sunday.
Ministry general secretary Spyros Papadopoulos inaugurated the conference.
 Greek stocks move slightly higher
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Greek stocks ended the last trading session of the week slightly higher with the composite index rising 0.08 percent to end at 3,266.90 points.
Buying activity was limited and focused on selected small and high capitalization stocks.
Turnover was a heavy 538.8 million euros reflecting the transfer of Motor Oil's shares to Vardinoyiannis Group.
Sector indices moved higher with the Insurance (2.31 pct), Construction (0.91 pct), Holding (0.87 pct) and IT (0.68 pct) indices scoring the biggest percentage gains, while the IT Solutions (2.07 pct), Textiles (1.56 pct), Retail (0.82 pct) and Industrials (0.78 pct) suffered losses.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.31 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.23 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.57 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 151 to 112 with another 66 issues unchanged.
The composite index ended the week with a net gain of 0.23 percent.
The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, Cosmote, National Bank of Greece, PPC, and Motor Oil.
Equity Index Futures:
Bond Market Close: Buyers
Foreign Exchange Rates: Monday
Reference buying rates per euro released
by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.234
 'Euro-fighters' on display at air show this weekend
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)The German air force will participate at this weekend's "Archangel 2005" air show at the Tanagra air base, north of Athens, with one "Tornado" fighter and two fourth-generation Euro-fighter "Typhoon" warplanes.
All three aircraft will be on static display, while at least one of the two "Typhoons" will take-off for an exhibition flight on Sunday, Greek air force organisers said.
 Latest ATM scam lands 2 suspects in jail
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Another two foreign nationals were arrested by Athens police on Friday on charges related to the lifting of bank customers' PIN numbers at ATMs and the subsequent raiding of bank accounts, days after authorities broke up a ring that cracked users' on-line bank files.
Authorities said two Romanian nationals, 32 and 28, used a tiny device, replete with a microscopic camera, to copy ATM users' PIN numbers and other information on cash cards. The scam was centred on 27 ATMs belonging to a single private bank, with the total losses estimated at 105,000 euros.
 Rains cause damage in northern Evia
ATHENS, 17/9/2005 (ANA)Heavy rains in central Greece, especially the north of Evia island, caused damages to ground-floor level homes and businesses as well as crops, according to authorities.
Flash flooding in the greater Athens area was mostly confined to eastern Attica.
Continuous rain began in the early morning hours in Athens.
 Ioannina's authorities step up bird flu prevention
IOANNINA, 17/9/2005 (ANA)A conference held by Ioannina's Veterinary Agency on Friday focused on bird flu and the adoption of measures necessary for its prevention as the first migrating birds travelling from areas affected by the disease will start to arrive in the western Greek region.
Data presented during the conference helped identify the types of birds most susceptible to the disease as well as the region's wetlands that need to be closely monitored.
It was also decided that samples of migrating birds will be taken, with the help of the Ipiros-Kerkyra Hunters' Association, and sent to Ioannina's Veterinary Agency for analysis.
The Agency's President Achilleas Bistiolis stressed that the tests are being conducted for purely preventive purposes.
 Spokesman: Turkey continuously violates international law
NICOSIA, 17/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Turkey continues to violate international law and it even makes efforts to persuade the international community that the European Union is wrong by asking Turkey to comply with the international law, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides stressed on Friday.
Commenting on statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said that the European Union ''is rude towards Turkey," and that ''the Union's demand for Turkey to recognise the Republic of Cyprus is contrary to diplomatic ethics," Chrysostomides said ''it seems that Turkey has a very special way of assessing international facts."
The spokesman questioned whether Turkey's illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974, its occupation, use of violence, ethnic cleansing, and establishment of illegal settlers are tactics of diplomatic ethics.
''Turkey's policy is a Gebbelish propaganda policy. They (Turks) have persuaded themselves that their positions are correct, despite the fact that they violate international law. They try to persuade the international community that Europe is wrong, by asking Turkey to comply with the international law," he underlined.
Chrysostomides noted that Turkish Cypriot politicians assist Turkey's policy and he referred to Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and so called prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer who have stated that the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey will make the solution of the Cyprus problem impossible.
 Cyprus on agenda of Annan-Papadopoulos meeting
UNITED NATIONS, 17/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The question of Cyprus is on the agenda of a meeting here on Thursday between the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos, Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said.
Asked during his daily press briefing if there is an agenda for the meeting, he replied in one word ''Cyprus''.
At this stage, he could not specify who will be attending the Annan-Papadopoulos' meeting on the part of the UN, which was scheduled for 1650 to last approximately 20 minutes according to the Secreatary-General's programme of meetings.
CNA has learnt that one of the participants to this meeting is current Chief of Mission in Cyprus and Annan's Special Representative on the island Zbigniew Wlosowicz, who leaves Cyprus at the end of November after more than four years of service as the head of UNFICYP. He will be replaced by Dane Michael Moller.
 Cypriot FM discusses Cyprus and EU with counterparts in US
NEW YORK, 17/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou had a series of meetings here on Thursday with counterparts, during which he talked about the question of Cyprus and other matters of mutual interest relating to Cyprus' role as a member of the European Union.
The minister, in New York for the World Summit and the UN General Assembly, met a delegation of the American Jewish Committee, led by its president Robert Goodkind, and his counterparts from Armenia, Vartan Oskanian, and San Marino, Febio Berardi.
At the meeting with the Committee, issues relating to ties between Israel and Cyprus, Turkey and the US and Israel and the EU were on the agenda.
Iacovou said that in the past ten years ties between Israel and Cyprus had improved significantly but noted some problems such as the delineation of the economic zone between the two countries.
The Committee showed keen interest in the EU position about the Middle East peace process and a possible role Cyprus could play in this process. Nicosia, Iacovou said, would be willing to play a constructive role if called upon by both sides to do so.
On US-Cyprus relations, Iacovou said there is now a better understanding in the US Administration about the rejection by the Greek Cypriot community of a UN solution plan.
The Committee members expressed their will to work for a more positive approach to Cyprus on the part of Washington.
At the meeting with his Armenian counterpart, ties between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan and Cyprus were discussed and Iacovou explained that Azerbaijan, in spite of Cypriot requests, went ahead with a direct flight between Baku and Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas.
This, Iacovou said, had forced Cyprus to take certain measures to protect its sovereignty at the World Trade Organisation, Eurocontrol and the EU.
Later on, the Cypriot minister met his San Marino counterpart, who expressed the wish for closer ties with Cyprus, an EU member, and for agreements on investment and avoidance of double taxation.
 Cyprus and Athens bourses sign deal for common platform
NICOSIA, 17/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) on Friday signed an agreement to create a common trading platform for the two markets, which is due to start operation next year.
The presidents of CSE and ASE, Akis Cleanthous and Greek Spyros Kapralos respectively, signed the agreement.
In statements to the press Kleanthous said that the Cyprus Stock Exchange is committed to be ready by end of this year, so that the common platform could operate on January 1st, 2006.
''Today we mark the beginning of a new era, a new course for the Cyprus Stock Exchange'', he said.
Kleanthous added that the CSE will introduce the Euro, two years prior to its official introduction in Cyprus, thus bringing the European currency closer to the citizens of Cyprus and to boursetransactions.
The president of the Athens Stock Exchange expressed the conviction that the common platform would be to the benefit of both bourses adding that they would speed up preparations for a common platform based on an agreed timetable.
 Women's Socialist International to hold regional conference in Cyprus
NICOSIA, 17/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)Women's Socialist International will hold its regional conference in Cyprus on Sunday, September 18.
The conference entitled ''Women for Peace'' comprising representatives from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, from Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine Cameroon and Canada, will discuss the Cyprus problem, the situation in the Middle East and women's role in political, economic and social development.
Speaking during a press conference here on Friday, Pia Locateli, Women's Socialist International President and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) said that the solution of the Cyprus problem remains at the heart of Women's Socialist International, adding that she personally assisted efforts to reunify Cyprus before the April 2004 referendum on a UN plan for a Cyprus settlement.
''We must heed the concerns that drove 76% of the Greek Cypriot community to reject the Annan plan,'' Locateli noted, adding that she supports the continuation of negotiations aiming at reaching a settlement to the Cyprus problem.
 Maritime Cyprus 2005 Conference begins September 26
NICOSIA, 17/9/2005 (CNA/ANA)The problem created to the Cypriot registry by Turkey's blockade against ships under Cypriot flag, will be discussed during the 2005 Maritime Cyprus Conference to be held in the coastal of Limassol on September 26-28.
Speaking during a press conference, Communication and Works Ministry Permanent Secretary Makis Constantinides said that approximately 800 representatives from the Cypriot and international shipping industry will participate during the Conference entitled "Shipping: What lies ahead? A Three Piece Puzzle".
Maritime Cyprus, which is considered as one of the most important conferences in the world shipping industry, will focus on issues such as manning and industrial relations, ship safety and security and financing.
Among the participants will be EU Commission Vice President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot and International Maritime Organisation General Secretary Efthymios Mitropoulos.
Constantinides, who is also Chairman of the Conference, said that Cyprus, which has the 9th merchant shipping fleet in the world (2004) ''is playing a leading role in the formation of the European maritime policy,'' adding that the Cypriot registry has been removed from the Paris MOU ''black list''.