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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 09-05-26

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

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

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 Issue No: 3203

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece to cut fiscal deficit by end 2010, FinMin says
  • [02] Gov't on IMF report
  • [03] PM: The interest of the country, the interest of all Greeks only goal
  • [04] Bakoyannis addresses Economist conference
  • [05] Foreign minister meets Serb counterpart
  • [06] Defence minister at Economist conference
  • [07] Papandreou stresses need for new growth model
  • [08] Samaras calls for 'cultural shift' in dealing with crisis
  • [09] Moussa links Middle East peace with end of global crisis
  • [10] PASOK leader visits senior citizens center in Argyroupolis
  • [11] PASOK spokesman on Euroelections
  • [12] KKE leader on Euro-polls, party leader debate
  • [13] SYRIZA can reverse predictions, Tsipras says
  • [14] ND Central Committee convenes
  • [15] FM voices 'deep concern' over N. Korea's declared nuclear test
  • [16] Kyprianou meets Greek Foreign Ministry secretary general
  • [17] Deputy FM Kassimis arrives in southern Albania
  • [18] 50th anniversary of European Court of Human Rights marked at foreign ministry event
  • [19] Parliament president receives Legal Council of State annual report
  • [20] Programmes agreement signed for European Social Fund amounts
  • [21] Hellenic Postbank says pre-tax profits 56.15 million euros in Q1
  • [22] Local fast food sector steadily growing, report
  • [23] Elinoil reports improved Q1 results
  • [24] Trikala farmers report extensive hail damage
  • [25] Greek stocks end flat on Mon.
  • [26] ADEX closing report
  • [27] Greek bond market closing report
  • [28] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday
  • [29] Justice minister inaugurates drug rehab centre for women inmates
  • [30] Bomb threat at Omonia station
  • [31] EYDAP to stop pumping at Lake Yliki
  • [32] Vgenopoulos steps down from Panathinaikos, relegates voting rights to Pateras
  • [33] Cloudy, rainy on Tuesday
  • [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greece to cut fiscal deficit by end 2010, FinMin says

    Greece will not seek any time extension in bringing its fiscal deficit below 3.0 pct beyond 2010, Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanasiou said on Monday.

    Addressing an Economist conference in Athens, the finance minister said the next two years will be a period of intense reform activity and stressed that the growth model that helped Greece enjoy strong growth rates so far, must be adjusted to modern demands.

    "We must move with determination to improving competitiveness in the country and we will do it," Papathanasiou said, adding that this goal would be achieved with measures supporting innovation, reducing bureaucracy, promoting alternative energy sources, attracting big foreign investments and improving the country's productive balance.

    He reiterated that the government was determined to promote all necessary policies and reforms, while he noted that in this crucial turn there was a need for consensus.

    The minister said the government would not seek any time extension for bringing its fiscal deficit below 3.0 pct "because we are confident that reducing deficits maximizes national and social benefits". Papathanasiou said the country was sending a message of determination and credibility to international markets, necessary to cutting high borrowing costs and at the same time saving funds to use for the benefit of the real economy and social cohesion.

    He said, however, that the government would evaluate the course of the budget in the first half of the year and would make any necessary adjustments to achieve set goals.

    Papathanasiou said tax evasion was a national embarrassment and a theft, while he noted that the government was taking specific actions to combat this phenomenon.

    [02] Gov't on IMF report

    "The Greek government is closely studying and evaluating all reports published by international organizations regarding our country, even when we do no agree with certain forecasts and predictions," Economy and Finance Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou told reporters on Monday, commenting on the release of the annual report of conclusions made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the Greek economy.

    "In any case, it is clear that the next two years will be crucial for the present and the future of Greece," Papathanasiou said.

    The minister stressed that decisions belong to Greeks.

    "Either we will move forward with major changes and reforms to win the future confidently, or we will turn back to inactivity, uncertainty and misery," he said. Papathanasiou said the government was determined to move forward, putting national interest above all.

    [03] PM: The interest of the country, the interest of all Greeks only goal

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed a rally in the Attica town of Aspropirgos on Monday evening, stressing that "our criterion is one alone, the interest of the country. The interest of all the Greeks, we gave this promise and we are keeping our promise."

    Karamanlis said that "I chose to serve my country with responsibility, this is how I realise my duty. This is the path that I have been following throughout my entire political course. I am continuing on this path. The path of responsibility, the path of perspective, the path of the struggle for the country."

    The prime minister stressed that handling the consequences of the international economic crisis is a national goal and his main priority.

    "All of us in the government are focusing our efforts on our country's most painless exit from the international economic crisis, all of us in the government are coordinating our actions to promote a second wave of changes and reforms," he added.

    Karamanlis also criticised the main opposition PASOK party and its leader George Papandreou. He said the main opposition party "has refused and is refusing whatever understanding and whatever assumption of responsibility and is refusing to state a position on the country's crucial issues, while remaining pinned down on refusal even before the biggest postwar challenge, that is confronting the international economic crisis."

    [04] Bakoyannis addresses Economist conference

    Greece's foreign policy was one of self-confidence and open horizons, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said on Monday while addressing an Economist conference in Athens.

    "We have an opportunity in the framework of re-ordering the international environment to replace outdated policies and views. But in order to exercise such a policy one needs political courage and political will by all governments. We call friends, partners and allies to act in this direction," she said.

    She was speaking at a round-table discussion on "Transatlantic ties, EU, US, Russia and stabilisation in the Balkans" that also included Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, U.S. Ambassador to Athens Daniel Speckhard, the Russian envoy to the EU Vladimir Chisov and Lord Howell of Guildford, head of the opposition in the House of Lords in Britain.

    Bakoyannis repeated Greece's positions regarding the EuroAtlantic prospects of Balkan countries, saying that Athens was a steadfast supporter of her neighbours' accession prospects and backed them with specific steps, "such as in the liberalisation of visa requirements for the EU".

    She also emphasised the Greek position in favour of "full compliance, full accession" in terms of the accession prospects for both the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and of Turkey, adding that the Greek government supported Cyprus' leadership in seeking a solution to the Cyprus issue.

    Bakoyannis called for a restructuring of the UN Security Council, noting that this should now include Germany, India and Brazil, the emerging powers that had changed the powers of the planet from a G8 to a G20 overnight.

    "This is not a numerical increase but an important turning point in world history," she stressed.

    On the EU, she said that the Greek government wanted Europe to be more participatory, more democratic, more social, with a single voice in foreign policy that was able to ensure employment, prosperity and security for its citizens.

    Regarding the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in which Greece currently holds the rotating chair, Bakoyannis referred to the higher profile it acquired during the crisis in Georgia last August and reminded that the big players Washington and Moscow but also the others of the 56 OSCE member-states, would have an opportunity for further discussion during the informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers' taking place on Corfu on June 27-28.

    In his own address to the discussion, the U.S. ambassador said that pragmatism, dialogue and international cooperation were the key words in the new approach adopted by U.S. President Barack Obama for international problems, within organisations like the OSCE and NATO.

    He also repeated Obama's position that relations between the U.S. and Russia should "begin again from scratch", adding that Washington's policy priorities were the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a new and a new stance toward the Muslim world.

    The new direction in U.S. policy was one of no nuclear weapons in the world, Speckhard added.

    Chisov expressed support for trilateral cooperation on energy security between the U.S., Russia and the EU, focusing also on the role of NATO.

    He noted that NATO's goal to include energy security in its agenda would only be viable if it included Russia, otherwise it would be against Russia.

    The envoy also noted the need to renew trust and avoid dividing lines: "We must get rid of the residues of the Cold War and focus on the joint efforts to deal with international and regional crises," he said.

    Serbia's Jeremic said that his country, under President Boris Tadic, was steadfastly and peacefully oriented toward the EU. On the subject of Kosovo, he said that his country's Constitution precluded recognition of Kosovo's independence and that Serbia had therefore referred the matter to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, adding that the court's decision should not be judged in advance.

    Lord Howell referred to restructuring weakened international organisations and seeking new platforms for cooperation against a background of revolutionary Internet communication, a world in which the U.S. was no longer the undisputed leader and where even the hegemony of the U.S. dollar was in question.

    [05] Foreign minister meets Serb counterpart

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Monday discussed issues related to European Union enlargement and Serbia's European accession prospects, as well as bilateral economic issues, with visiting Serb Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.

    In joint statements afterwards, the Serb minister emphasised the need to relax visa entry requirements for Serbs visiting EU countries and thanked Bakoyannis for the efforts made by Greece for his country in this direction, expressing hope that the matter would resolved by the end of the year.

    In view of this, Bakoyannis said that Greece expected more Serb tourists to visit the country during the summer.

    The Greek minister also expressed Greece's steadfast support for the economies of Balkan countries, in spite of the economic crisis, saying that their economic development was a top priority.

    "We want an environment of stability and development in our neighbourhood," she noted, repeating Greece's support for the EuroAtlantic prospects of Balkan countries, providing the fully met the necessary criteria.

    [06] Defence minister at Economist conference

    Defence Minister Evangelos Meimarakis stressed Greece's efforts to establish conditions of peace, security and stability in southeastern Europe, as well as its efforts to weather the global economic crisis, while addressing the 13th annual Economist round-table meeting with the Greek government held in Athens on Monday.

    According to the minister, coping with the crisis demanded that everyone, states and institutions, work together.

    He also stressed that the Greek government was waging daily battles against the effects of the economic crisis, so it was not transformed into a social crisis.

    Meimarakis repeated Greece's support for the efforts of Balkan countries, including Turkey, to join EuroAtlantic structures, provided they met the requirements for entry.

    Referring to the problems with illegal immigrants, the minister said that the overwhelming majority came to Greece from Turkey, which meant that Greece's neighbour was either not doing its job properly or through its tolerance allowing them to pass through into Europe.

    [07] Papandreou stresses need for new growth model

    Main opposition PASOK party leader George Papandreou addressed a dinner given in his honour on Monday evening by the Conference of the Economist magazine and underlined the need for the implementation of a new growth model in Greece, Europe and the world.

    "Once, the European Union used to say 'never again war', but today it could say 'never again barbarism which is brought by inequality, poverty, climatic change, the trade of human beings, refugee status, illiteracy and the trade of weapons of mass destruction' and constitute a reply to the handling of globalisation," he said.

    Papandreou also referred to his party's programme which "includes immediate measures to support the economy and big reforms to overcome the crisis."

    The PASOK leader further said that the national strategy for developing the Greek economy are the priorities related to the implementation of "green development", referring to investments in renewable energy sources and new technologies that are environmentally friendly.

    Lastly, Papandreou said that the precondition for all this is "a lawabiding state that will be at the service of the citizen with institutions that will respect him and protect him and will function with transparency and accountability."

    [08] Samaras calls for 'cultural shift' in dealing with crisis

    Greek Culture Minister Antonis Samaras stressed the need to change dominant attitudes in order to deal with the global economic crisis and its repercussions, while addressing an Economist conference held in Athens on Monday. This would require cultural changes, ideological shifts and a new psychology, he pointed out.

    According to Samaras, the crisis had political and cultural aspects in addition to economic ones, since it had led to a collapse of values, principles and models in which behaviours previously idealised were now devalued and dominant symbols had been shattered, leaving a cultural and moral vacuum in their wake.

    "This will be filled, sooner or later, because nature, society and history hate a vacuum," he said, adding that the problem now facing the world was how to fix what was wrong without "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" and doing away with the world's drive along with the flaws through an excessive dose of "medicine".

    The minister said that the current crisis had caused people to doubt the standards of the international agenda in the last two decades, including the dominant model for human behaviour and a business ethos that had replaced profits with profiteering and productive wealth with profits on paper.

    "The Americans must stop behaving like the 'undisputed rulers' of the world, in the role of the 'powerhouse' of the world economy, the Chinese must stop relying on unfair trade competition, destroying the other economies that they expect to absorb their products and the Europeans must stop caring only about accumulated balance in banks and not about the viable development of their economies," he stressed.

    Other prevailing views toppled by the crisis included the idea that nation-states had been marginalised on the world scene or that privatisation were always good for economies, Samaras added.

    He stressed that these new ideas were exciting but also dangerous, because they might lead to overcompensating and a whole new set of mistakes, only in the opposite direction.

    "Perhaps we should return to the Aristotelian concept, which teaches that virtue lies somewhere between excess and lack, in the middle way," he concluded, calling for a synthesis that would result in a balanced 'middle' course.

    [09] Moussa links Middle East peace with end of global crisis

    The Middle East peace process was directly linked to a recovery of the global economy, according to the Arab League's Secretary-General Amr Moussa, in statements at the Economist conference held in Athens on Monday.

    "Recovery in the Middle East means, on the one hand, achieving stability and peace and, on the other hand, a return to prosperity," he stressed.

    According to Moussa, the agenda for the Middle East included several issues apart from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as the future of Iraq, the future of Lebanon, the situation in Sudan and Somalia, the problems in the seas surrounding the region and the security situation in terms of nuclear weapons.

    He said that Arab countries were prepared to accept Israel as a part of the family of Middle Eastern countries, on condition that Israel was ready to meet the expectations of the Palestinian people.

    The head of the Arab League appeared opposed to a step-by-step approach to the peace process, however, saying that "we don't want to repeat the experience of 2008, at the end of which we had the massacre in Gaza".

    He isolated the expansion of Israeli settlements as the most important obstacle to a solution, stressing that the end of this process was a starting condition for any kind of peace talks, while noting that the prospects for a solution appeared brighter under the new U.S. administration.

    Moussa additionally noted that Israel's security needed to be examined in the framework of the overall security of the region. "We do not want arms programmes in the region. I am not talking about Iran, I am talking about Israel or I am talking about both countries," he stressed, pointing out that it was unjust to demand that Iran give up a programme that might lead to a nuclear arms programme and not demand the same from a country that already had such an arms programme.

    [10] PASOK leader visits senior citizens center in Argyroupolis

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou accused the New Democracy government of abandoning the welfare structures as well as the weaker strata and the pensioners, in statements on Monday during a visit to an Argyroupolis senior citizens center.

    Papandreou charged that the social security funds were collapsing and going bankrupt due to their management by ND, while he also accused the government of freezing pensions.

    "This policy must stop. We need to turn the page and create the necessary support structures for the weaker," Papandreou said, adding that his party's commitment was to "build a more human society".

    PASOK, he said, was not promising "the moon and the stars", but was demanding dignity and respect for the elderly.

    [11] PASOK spokesman on Euroelections

    Main opposition PASOK party spokesman George Papaconstantinou said on Monday that PASOK will continue over the two remaining weeks until the Euroelections to raise their main dilemmas, despite the fact that there is a government opposite "which is attempting to polarise and aggravate the climate in every way."

    The spokesman said that the main dilemma of these elections is "whether we shall reward those who are responsible, those who are responsible for all that we are experiencing or whether we shall set a new course."

    Papaconstantinou accused the government of "not knowing and not understanding problems" and criticised Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that with his address in the central Peloponnese city of Tripoli, Sunday evening, "he did not appear as a prime minister who has been ruling for five years but as the leader of an opposition party."

    He further accused the premier of "presenting false data concerning the public debt and provided data according to which the (ruling) New Democracy (ND) party received a debt amounting to 167 billion euros, which has already reached 251 billion, and which means thta every Greek citizen has been burdened with 8,000 euros over the past five years."

    [12] KKE leader on Euro-polls, party leader debate

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Aleka Papariga on Monday urged voters to back KKE in the June 7 elections, saying that the party deserved to once again send three Euro-MPs to the European Parliament precisely because it was "an irreconciliable opponent of the EU".

    Speaking during a press conference, she strongly criticised the other parties running for election and was again dismissive about the importance of a planned televised debate between the party leaders, noting that it even the best debate was unlikely to influence voters, while a debate with the structure proposed was ideal day-time television material.

    Papariga started off the press conference by condemning Monday's meeting between employers and the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) trade union organisation, saying that an agreement between the two sides would be "shameful" and "submission" by GSEE.

    [13] SYRIZA can reverse predictions, Tsipras says

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (Synaspismos) party President Alexis Tsipras addressed employees of the Informatics Systems General Secretariat on Monday, saying that the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) "can reverse predictions and lay the foundations in the coming elections for a new momentum of the radical left."

    Tsipras said that "what is important is not so much SYRIZA preserving its percentages, but creating the preconditions for a big change in the country's political affairs, because this has to do with the needs of the many and with the needs of society."

    He also claimed that as of June 8 the government "will be preparing a new tax raid on those who do not have and on those who are not privileged."

    [14] ND Central Committee convenes

    Ruling New Democracy (ND) party Central Committee Secretary Lefteris Zagoritis chaired a meeting of this body on Monday, focusing on organisational issues and the distribution of work for party cadres and secretariats.

    Speaking after the meeting, Political Planning Secretary Fevronia Patrianakou said that the party was continuing its course towards the Euroelections "with responsibility and optimism for the future."

    "We are continuing unfolding our work with adherrence on changes and reforms that the country is in need of, now in particular," she said and criticised the main opposition PASOK party of "continuing without positions, without a specific programme, with vagueness and wellwishing and divisive and polarising dilemmas, dividing the Greeks into supporters of PASOK and barbarians."

    Patrianakou stressed that PASOK has lost all contact with reality and added that in the June 7 Euroelections the citizens "will select the policy of responsibility that seeks and produces results and that the ND government is implementing."

    [15] FM voices 'deep concern' over N. Korea's declared nuclear test

    Foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on Monday expressed "deep concern" over North Korea's declared nuclear test and called for "a resolute and measured response from the international community".

    "I strongly condemn North Korea's declared nuclear test. I am deeply concerned by this threat to regional and global stability," Bakoyannis said.

    "Rather than enhancing its nuclear capabilities, North Korea should return immediately to the six-party talks and avoid any actions that would further heighten tensions," she added.

    Bakoyannis noted the six-party talks, which aim to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, involve two OSCE participating States, the United States and Russia, and two OSCE Partners for Co-operation, South Korea and Japan.

    "The 56-state OSCE, as part of the international community, should contribute to a resolute and measured response to this test," the Chairperson-in-Office said, noting that "our Organization directly borders North Korea, as Russia is a participating State."

    The Minister stressed that co-operation and dialogue were vital to improve security in the region.

    [16] Kyprianou meets Greek Foreign Ministry secretary general

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)

    Cyprus Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou received on Monday the Greek Foreign Ministry's Secretary General Ambassador Aristidis Agathoklis, saying afterwards that the Foreign Ministries of Cyprus and Greece always have close cooperation, both at political and service level.

    He said that during the latest visit to Cyprus by Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, closer and more intensive coordination between the two ministries was decided and this is precisley what is being implemented.

    He further said that Cypriot diplomats have already gone to Greece and similar visits are taking place by officials of the Greek Foreign Ministry.

    All issues and the issue of Cyprus and Euro-Turkish relations in particular are discussed at these meetings, he added.

    "Provided that Turkey fulfills all its commitments both in domestic reforms and towards the European Union, with regard to Cyprus, in the way that it is obliged to, then it will be able to join the European Union," Kyprianou said.

    Asked whether there is any indication that Turkey will implement the additional protocol by the end of the year, Kyprianou said "as matters stand now no. But we are still in May."

    Ambassador Agathoklis held separate meetings with Kyprianou's general director, Ambassador Nikos Emiliou and President Christofias's adviser on the issue of Cyprus, George Iakovou.

    [17] Deputy FM Kassimis arrives in southern Albania

    TIRANA (ANA-MPA/S. Aravopoulou)

    Deputy foreign minister Theodoros Kassimis arrived in southern Albania on Monday for a two-day visit, for the inauguration of several developmental projects that have been financed by Greece's foreign ministry.

    Kassimis arrived in Albania by road on Monday from Ioannina, and will tour several areas before arriving in Sarande on Monday night.

    Kassimis told journalists that the inaugurations concerned a series of projects such as bridges, school maintenance works, childcare stations, roads and squares which are part of the program of works being carried out by Greece to assist the neighboring country, and particularly areas in which the ethnic Greek minority live.

    Last year, he explained, Greece had invested 48 million euros for infrastructures in Albania, while the amount for the last six years amounts to 210 millin euros.

    [18] 50th anniversary of European Court of Human Rights marked at foreign ministry event

    An event marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Court of Human Rights and its massive work of some 10,000 decisions issued to date, was organised on Monday by the foreign ministry.

    Addresses were made by foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, former prime minister Costas Simitis, the Court's vice-president Christos Rozakis, professor Nikos Alivizatos and former Areios Paghos (Greek supreme court) president St. Matthias.

    Speaking on the Court's history and role, Bakoyannis noted that the institution had presented an important innovation: "it homogenised the national regulations, modernising them and encouraging the states that were gehind to adapt to the new, higher level of protection of rights".

    Bakoyannis attributed the Court's 'great appeal' among the European citizens to that role, adding that, for the citizens, it was a "reference institution, an institution of the collective conscience for human rights".

    The European Court of Human Rights was a support for those who are left unprotected due to voids, deficiencies or errors in national legislations, the foreign minister said, adding that its rulings "heal the wounds" while at the same time "raising the standard for the national legislator".

    [19] Parliament president receives Legal Council of State annual report

    Parliament president Dimitris Sioufas on Monday met the head of the Legal Council of State Alexandros Tzeferakos, who presented him with the Council's annual report for 2008.

    Financial News

    [20] Programmes agreement signed for European Social Fund amounts

    The programme agreement by which 2 percent of funds managed by the Employment Ministry from the European Social Fund for the 2007-2013 period will be provided for the social partners, meaning employers organisations and trade unions, was signed on Monday.

    It concerns an amount of about 52 million euros that will be provided for actions regarding lifelong training and boosting the social partners possibilities for consulting and negotiating.

    Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia termed the agreement "a great reform that will strengthen social partners" and stressed that with these funds the possibility of professional perigrams becoming specific is being promoted.

    General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) President Yiannis Panagopoulos said that the institutional possibility of trade unions to intervene in the fields of training and unemployment is being strengthened with the agreement.

    [21] Hellenic Postbank says pre-tax profits 56.15 million euros in Q1

    Hellenic Postbank on Monday reported pre-tax profits of 56.15 million euros in the first quarter of 2009, after losses of 49.92 million euros in the corresponding period last year, while after tax and minorities earnings totaled 44.18 million euros, from a loss of 37.70 million euros in 2008.

    Interest revenue grew 3.13 pct, commissions grew 57.16 pct and investment portfolio was up 30.64 pct.

    Commenting on the results, Aggelos Philippidis, chairman of the board, said that Hellenic Postbank remained one of the main funding sources of the Greek banking system. "Our aim is to establish Hellenic Postbank as the main support pylon of the Greek economy and the Greek citizens, particularly during the current adverse economic conditions, to the benefit of its shareholders and its workers".

    Lending portfolio totaled 7.29 billion euros, up 2.36 pct from the start of the year, net interest revenue fell 9.33 pct, while the loans to savings rate eased to 60.83 pct, from 63.56 pct at the end of 2008 and 54.77 pct in December 31, 2007.

    Saving deposits grew 6.95 pct to 11.9 billion euros at the end of March 2009, from 11.21 billion euros on December 31, 2008.

    [22] Local fast food sector steadily growing, report

    The local fast food sector enjoys a high gross profit margin, but suffers from significant distribution spending, leaving businesses in the sector with a low net and operating profit margin, a report by Hellastat SA stated on Monday.

    A survey, conducted with companies in the category, showed that fast food enterprises enjoyed a 60-pct profit margin, although spending totaled 46.4 pct of sales, capital leverage was 1.4 to 1 in the last three years and return on equity totaled 21 pct.

    Short-term bank debt was around 11 pct of sales. Companies in the sector reported a 3.0-pct increase in revenues and an 18-pct decline in net profits.

    Industry representatives said the sector suffered from lack of suitable real estate properties to open new units, high rental prices, high labour costs and a high turnover rate in its workforce.

    [23] Elinoil reports improved Q1 results

    Elinoil on Monday said its consolidated turnover totaled 177 million euros in the first quarter of 2009, down from 195.3 million euros in the corresponding period last year, reflecting a significant drop in fuel prices.

    Fuel sales, in quantative terms, grew 4.0 pct in the January-March period, while the company raised its sales network by adding 27 new petrol stations around the country, to a total 560 units.

    Gross profit grew 4.3 pct to 12.2 million euros in the first three months of the year, from 11.7 million euros last year, while pre-tax, interest and amortisation earnings (EBITDA) fell 5.4 pct to 2.0 million euros.

    Pre-tax profits totaled 396,000 euros in the first quarter, after a loss of 172,000 euros last eyar, while consolidated earnings after tax and minorities totaled 310,000 euros this year, after a loss of 129,000 euros in 2008.

    [24] Trikala farmers report extensive hail damage

    Farmers in the prefecture of Trikala have reported major damage to crops, livestock units, warehouses and greenhouses from a strong hail storm in the region. The Trikala prefecture on Monday sent out a team to inspect the affected areas, which according to initial estimates covers some 300 hectares of farm land.

    [25] Greek stocks end flat on Mon.

    Greek stocks ended flat at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, with the composite index losing 0.06 pct to end at 2,278.78 points. Turnover was a low 163.7 million euros, of which 11.4 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved higher, with the Chemicals (7.11 pct), Media (4.17 pct) and Telecommunications (4.01 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Constructions (2.65 pct), Oils (1.64 pct) and Banks (1.04 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index eased 0.58 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.73 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index jumped 3.33 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 177 to 60 with another 37 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.80%

    Industrials: +0.43%

    Commercial: +2.30%

    Construction: -2.65%

    Media: +4.17%

    Oil & Gas: -1.64%

    Personal & Household: +1.21%

    Raw Materials: +0.90%

    Travel & Leisure: +0.71%

    Technology: +2.60%

    Telecoms: +4.01%

    Banks: -1.04%

    Food & Beverages: -0.37%

    Health: +1.80%

    Utilities: +1.01%

    Chemicals: +7.11%

    Financial Services: -0.96%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were Marfin Popular Bank, Bank of Cyprus, National Bank, and OTE.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 8.50

    ATEbank: 1.71

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 15.59

    HBC Coca Cola: 14.60

    Hellenic Petroleum: 7.88

    National Bank of Greece: 18.20

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.58

    Intralot: 5.40

    OPAP: 22.40

    OTE: 11.68

    Bank of Piraeus: 8.28

    Titan Cement Company: 19.01

    [26] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at -1.08 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 41.951 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,806 contracts worth 27.898 million euros with 29,265 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,907 contracts worth 14.053 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Marfin Popular Bank's contracts (2,011), followed by Marfin Investment Group (781), OTE (1,579), PPC (960), Piraeus Bank (451), National Bank (1,990), Alpha Bank (783), Intracom (749) and ATEbank (931).

    [27] Greek bond market closing report

    Turnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market shrank to 455 million euros on Monday, of which 220 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 235 million euros were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 275 million euros. The yield spread eased slightly to 165 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 5.26 pct and the German Bund 1.65 pct.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving higher. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.63 pct, the six-month rate 1.46 pct, the three-month rate 1.26 pct and the one-month rate 0.92 pct.

    [28] Foreign Exchange rates - Tuesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.412

    Pound sterling 0.887

    Danish kroner 7.505

    Swedish kroner 10.555

    Japanese yen 134.29

    Swiss franc 1.529

    Norwegian kroner 8.932

    Canadian dollar 1.590

    Australian dollar 1.806

    General News

    [29] Justice minister inaugurates drug rehab centre for women inmates

    Justice Minister Nikos Dendias on Monday inaugurated a drug rehabilitation centre for women prison inmates, the first of its kind for women, at the correctional facility in Eleona, Viotia.

    "This is an important initiative that comes to be added to a similar initiative for male prisoners and I hope it will act as a start for dealing with the huge problem of drugs that concerns us all," Dendias said.

    The minister earlier visited the prison itself and toured the facilities, where he declared himself satisfied with conditions, while stressing that the target of modernising and improving living conditions in the Greek correctional system remained.

    Six women are participating in the rehabilitation programme, with more due to join in the near future.

    [30] Bomb threat at Omonia station

    A phone call warning of a bomb in Omonia station in central Athens brought metro and ISAP railway trains to a standstill on Monday after 15:30.

    The unidentified caller alerted the Greek emergency response police at 15:27, warning of a bomb set to go off an hour later. This was followed by a second call to the Alter television station, making the same claims.

    Bomb disposal experts and police with specially trained dogs have been sent to search the station after the deadline expires.

    [31] EYDAP to stop pumping at Lake Yliki

    The Athens water board EYDAP on Monday announced that it would stop pumping water from Lake Yliki in order to protect dwindling reserves and to save electricity needed by the country in view of the summer season.

    It said the capital would be supplied exclusively from the reservoirs in Mornos and Evinos, both of which had satisfactory reserves.

    EYDAP noted that the company would also make significant savings in its power bills, since pumping waters from Yliki required vast amounts of energy that made it the Public Power Corporation's (PPC) second-largest customer. It added that, should the need arise, EYDAP would be able to resume pumping water from Yliki at a moment's notice.

    Soccer

    [32] Vgenopoulos steps down from Panathinaikos, relegates voting rights to Pateras

    High-profile Panathinaikos FC shareholder and board member Andreas Vgenopoulos on Monday announced his resignation from the Greek Super League football club's Board, adding, however, that his 11 percent stake in the club would remain in his family, while he was also relegating his voting rights initially to club president Nikos Pateras for as long as Pateras wished to remain in the presidency.

    According to a press announcement released by Vgenopoulos, deputy CEO of Marfin Investment Group (MIG), "in the relatively short time that I involved myself in Panathinaikos' administrative affairs, significant changes and steps of progress have been made through collective efforts and with the assistance of the team supporters.

    "As of last week, a major cycle has closed and Panathinaikos FC has now overcome most of the problems of the past, has a capable and powerful President with the necessary authorities, an exceptional administrative and technical staff, and great financial robustness. I consider that my struggle to contribute, too, to today's developments have been vindicated, but also have been completed," the release said.

    "Today, I announce my permanent departure from the field of 'factors', which is not compatible either with my character or with my principles, and in which I took part temporarily with my only motive being my great love for Panathinaikos and with the aim of our team finally entering a new course worthy of our history," Vgenopoulos continued.

    He thanked the Panathinaikos supporters for their confidence in him, "which I tried to honor, at a great personal cost".

    "As a simple fan from here on, I will always be at Panathinakos' side and will attend the matches, whenever I can, in order to share the joy or sorrow together with the rest of the 'green' family," the press release added.

    Vgenopoulos specified that the shares in Panathinaikos FC in his possession (11 percent) "will remain in my family forever and their rights will be exercised via plenipotentiary and by people I trust who want to and are able to contribute to the progress of Panathinaikos".

    Vgenopoulos further specified that "I relegate my voting rights initially to Mr. Nikos Pateras for as long as he desires to be President of Panathinaikos, and I thank him for the great personal sacrifices he is making in the pursuit of our shared visions".

    Weather Forecast

    [33] Cloudy, rainy on Tuesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather, and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 2-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 12C and 34C. Cloudy in Athens, with northeasterly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 18C to 33C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 18C to 31C.

    [34] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Parties' leaders' speeches ahead of European Parliament elections , the SIEMENS case and the IMF report to be delivered on Monday to FinMin Yannis Papathanassiou, dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis: "He is unknowledgeable on European issues".

    APOGEVMATINI: "The people belying the opinion polls - ND's massive rally in Larissa - PASOK's rally in Lamia was disappointing".

    AVRIANI: "Polls and small and pulseless rallies indicate that the two mainstream parties are sinking".

    CHORA: "8 percent of Siemens' revenues from sales went to bribes".

    ELEFTHEROS: "Provocation by extremist Muslim groups- Muslim leaders in Greece: 'Those who want to make trouble must leave Greece'."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Absolution of sins for 100,000 unlicenced buildings".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "20,000 political favours divide 3 ministers".

    ESTIA: "The day after the Euroelections - The polarisation climate is disastrous for the country".

    ETHNOS: "Secret poll results are nightmarish for the two major parties - Rallying of ND voters at the nadir".

    TA NEA: "Fewer candidates scored below the base passing grade, as indicated by the results of the first 9,000 university entry examination papers indicate".

    VRADYNI: "IMF: Freeze salaries , hirings and taxes".

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