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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-11-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 19/11/1996 (ANA)


  • Simitis says `97 budget will lead Greece to EMU
  • Tsohatzopoulos, Papandreou attend W.E.U. ministerial summit
  • Greek technical chamber delegation to visit Romania
  • Chinese silkworm specialists to pay visit to Evros
  • Drachma appreciates against all foreign currencies
  • British film wins fist place at Thessaloniki film festival
  • Athens competition commemorates centenary of birth of Dimitris Mitropoulos


    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday urged ruling party PASOK deputies and the party's central committee to give their fullest support to the government's economic policies and the 1997 budget.

    Speaking at a joint meeting of the party's Parliamentary group and central committee, which began yesterday morning, Mr. Simitis stressed that there was no other path than the one the government was currently following.

    Mr. Simitis stressed the dangers of marginalisation facing Greece if it failed to meet Maastricht Treaty criteria, which would allow its participation in the EU economic and monetary union (EMU), stressing that responsibility lay with all the members of the party and that implementation of government policy was not only an issue for the finance ministry but for all, warning that "if it is not achieved, there will be wide-ranging repercussions".

    The budget also foresees establishment of a new body to manage health spending as well as new forms of social support for large families.

    Jobs are projected to increase by 1.3 per cent in the new budget, while spending on education, health and welfare will total 12 per cent.


    Speaking after the prime minister, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said the budget was "austere, but fair" and that it attempted to introduce structural changes, such as the establishment of a wage scale for public servants.

    Wage increases will be "restrained but above inflation", he said.

    The government's aim in macro-economic terms, the minister added, was to increase GDP to 4.5-5.0 per cent by the year 2000. He noted that PASOK's past three years at the helm had brought GDP growth from -0.1 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

    This achievement, Mr. Papantoniou said, is an indication in real terms that Greece's economy is growing at a faster rate than the EU average.

    Petsalnikos outlines Greece's Balkan role to Canadian audience

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister, Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday presented the Greek government's strategic options in becoming a source of stability in the Balkans to the Greek community of Toronto.

    Addressing an event on Sunday night, Mr. Petsalnikos, who began his visit to Canada on Saturday, said the government's aims were directed at empowering national defence and reinforcing development in the economic, social and cultural fields.

    Focusing on Turkey as the threat facing Greece, the minister said the political, military and diplomatic establishment governing the neighbouring country was likely to "continue creating problems for us."

    Regarding Thrace, Mr. Petsalnikos said the government aimed at presenting the Moslems in the region with "equal opportunities, equal rights and equal participation in the productive and economic making".

    Yesterday Mr. Petsalnikos inaugurated the Cultural Centre of the Ontario Pan-Macedonian Union and announced that two awards will be established within 1997 - the "Alexander the Great Award," for politicians and the "Aristotelis Award" for scientists, be stowed, he said, on "Greece's friends in Canada."

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday attended the first session of a ministerial summit of Western European Union (WEU) member-states.

    After the session, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed his satisfaction over the fact that general orientations as well as terms and conditions for establishment of a European Armaments Organisation, which is expected tomorrow, will be determined by WEU member -states. The decision is considered as the first step towards creating the European Armaments Agency, which is envisaged by the Maastricht Treaty.

    The organisation is essentially a continuation of the Armaments Group of western Europe, where, besides the 10 members of the WEU, Denmark, Norway and Turkey also participate.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos had the opportunity to meet with his counterparts from Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy, as well as with WEU Secretary General Jose Cutilheiro. Today, he will meet with his counterparts from Spain, Portugal and France.

    On his part, Mr. Papandreou said Greece had already forwarded its positions regarding the gradual integration of the WEU within the EU as a tool for common defence policy.

    Civil defence forces fire on Turkish illegal immigrant smugglers

    Civil defence forces on Sunday fired on a Turkish fishing vessel fleeing towards the Turkish coast after landing 10 illegal immigrants on the eastern Aegean islet of Farmakonisi, according to sources in the foreign and defence ministries.

    The same sources expressed displeasure at the lack of adequate policing on the Turkish coast, as well as the lack of guilty sentences for the few illegal immigrant smugglers arrested in the neighbouring country.

    On its part, the semi-official Anadolu agency reported that a Hellenic coastguard vessel on Sunday fired on the Turkish boat, adding that one crewmember had been killed and another injured.

    Anadolu reported that the fishing boat had landed seven Iraqi illegal immigrants on the Greek islet for US$300 each.

    He was detained by Turkish authorities and questioned on charges of violating the border and smuggling individuals out of Turkey, the same sources added.

    the initiative of the central Macedonia chapter of the Technical Chamber of Commerce.

    During the visit, the Greek delegation is scheduled to discuss issues of commercial, scientific and trade union interest.

    The visit had originally been scheduled for Nov. 19-24, but was postponed in order to allow a new government in Bucharest to take office following the Nov. 3 elections.

    Diamantopoulou refers to privatisations as tools of gov't's economic policy

    Development Undersecretary Anna Diamantopoulou said yesterday that "privatisations are one of the tools of our (government) economic policy. The basic one is the 'Industry Business Programme' which, complemented by privatisations, will contribute to the c rucial efforts of modernisation of Greek industry."

    Ms Diamantopoulou was speaking during a conference organised by the "Naftemboriki" financial daily, held within the framework of the "Money Show '96" on the subject of "Privatisations - A Question of Survival and Reliability".

    The undersecretary noted that privatisation procedures have been accelerated, and mentioned the organisation of the development ministry's special privatisation secretariat and the establishment of a schedule for each concern being privatised.

    She added that procedures for the immediate privatisation of four companies in the Organisation for the Rehabilitation of Ailing Enterprises have already been scheduled.

    Drys cites need to quickly implement 'TAXIS' programme

    Speaking at a conference organised by the finance ministry's training academy yesterday, Finance Undersecretary George Drys stressed the need for accelerating procedures for implementation of the comprehensive data processing system "TAXIS".

    Mr. Drys said the main goals of the programme are modernising the ministry's tax services, improving services rendered to taxpayers, widening the tax base and combating tax evasion.

    He also announced that 10,000 tax bureau employees will be given training in light of the new informatics system's implementation.

    A group of Chinese specialists on the raising of silkworms will pay a two- day visit to Soufli, Evros from Nov. 27-28.

    According to an announcement, the visit by the Chinese delegation will take place within the framework of cooperation between the National Agricultural Research Foundation (ETHIAGE) and the state-run Chinese Research and Technology Committee.

    The two foundations have signed an agreement on common research programmes in the sector of silkworm cultivation being applied in Thrace on new varieties of cotton and cultivation as well as production of mushrooms.

    ETHIAGE is developing strong research activities with Bulgaria, Cyprus and China. In this framework, a cooperation protocol is expected to be signed soon with Bulgaria on developing three research programmes concerning silkworm cultivation, cheese and cattle production.

    The drachma appreciated against all foreign currencies in October, according to weighted parity indicators followed by the Centre for Export Studies and Research (KEEM).

    Specifically, the weighted parity indicator for all foreign currencies fell by 0.57 per cent, and that of European currencies by 0.56 per cent - on the basis of the weightings of the countries total foreign trade (imports- exports).

    In relation to all other currencies, except the US dollar, the weighted parity indicator fell by 1.45 per cent on the basis of their participation in the country's external trade.

    From developments in the first 10 months of 1996, it can be deduced that if the change in the drachma's parity continues at the same average rate until the end of the year, its cumulative appreciation will reach 2 per cent against all currencies, and 1. 6 per cent in relation to European currencies.

    Thessaloniki hosts business conference

    A business conference, entitled "the strategic options of a company facing the year 2000," is due to be held on Friday in Thessaloniki.

    The conference, organised by the Thessaloniki Trade Association and the Thessaloniki Economists Society, aims at elaborating on the dilemmas facing companies on the threshold of the 21st century.

    Professor and Director of Research at the Economics Department of the University of Birmingham, Andrew Cox, will elaborate on the issues.

    The conference will be held at the Thessaloniki Trade and Industry Chamber.

    A British film, Udayan Prasad's "Brothers in Trouble" won the first prize at the 37th International Thessaloniki Film Festival's foreign film category on Sunday night.

    "Brothers" marked the Indian-born director's first film, and tells the story of a Bengali illegal immigrant who settles in a deprived north London suburb.

    Presided over by Belgian director Chantal Akerman, the international jury awarded the silver prize to Spanish director Isabel Coixet for "Cosas que nunca te dije" (All that I never told you), while actress Lilli Taylor won the best actress award.

    The best director award went to Taiwanese director Tso Chi Chang for his film "Ah-Chung", while the best script award was divided between Americans Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for "Citizen Ruth" and by Frenchmen Lucas Belvaux and Jean-Pierre Leaud fo r "Pour rire" (To laugh).

    Cypriot director Andreas Pantzis' "The Slaughter of the Rooster" and Greek director Nikos Grammatikos' "Absentees" shared the best film award in the Greek-language category.

    George Corraface and Valeria Golino were also awarded the best actor and actress honours for their roles in "The Slaughter of the Rooster".

    "Slaughter" took six years to film and is an international co-pro-duction between Cyprus, Greece and Italy, as well as participation from Swedish, German, Bulgarian and Syrian interests, not to mention support by the Council of Europe's "Eurimages".

    More than 35,000 film fans, compared to last year's total audience count of 20,000, visited the festival and watched the Greek films.

    Another noteworthy film was Aliki Danezi-Knutsen's "Roads and Oranges", which has received an offer to participate in the Brussels Film Festival.

    Ms Danezi-Knutsen, a 23-year-old Greek Cypriot, describes in her film the travels of two girls in Turkey on the trail of their father,missing during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

    She told the ANA that "I have no idea of politics...I did not make a political film."

    "I made a road movie,where the issue of the missing is directly projected without heroics or hate, without melodrama. The issue for me is the road of self-knowledge, a journey with which the viewer can empathise," the director said.

    The first international competition dedicated to the memory of renowned Greek conductor and composer Dimitris Mitropoulos opens in Athens next week, marking the 100th anniversary since his birth.

    The five-day competition, which is set to become an annual event, is open to orchestra conductors of all nationalities up to the age of 40. The competition, organised by the Orchestra of Colours in close collaboration with the Athens Concert Hall, and under the aegis of the ministry of culture, will take place November 24-28 before a jury comprising distinguished musicians from the international world of music under the chairmanship of conductor Claudio Scimone.

    Out of approximately 300 entries, the jury has selected 32 candidates in a preliminary round to take part in the finals in a November 28 concert at the Athens Concert Hall that will be open to the public.

    According to Traute Lutz, administrator of the competition, there has been considerable interest from Britain in the competition, and a Briton was among the finalists.

    Three prizes will be awarded. The first prize is accompanied by an eight million drachma (approx. $30,000) cash award, the second prize five million drachmas ($18,000) and the third prize three million drachmas ($10, 000).


    Sunny to partly cloudy in most parts of the country with possible rainfall in the afternoon. Temperatures ranging from 11-18C in Athens and from 7-14C in Thessaloniki.


    U.S. dlr 236.036 Can. dlr.176.497, Australian dlr. 186.516 Pound sterling 392.951, Irish punt 393.427, Cyprus pd 515.046, French franc 46.356, Swiss franc 185.405 Belgian franc 7.604, German mark 156.686 Finnish mark 52.074, Dutch guilder 139.733 Danish Kr. 40.819, Swedish Kr. 35.714, Norwegian Kr. 37.289, Austrian Sh. 22.267, Italian lira (100) 15.564 Yen (100) 212.288 Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.550.


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