Electronics transactions system for bourse approved
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis, Evert cross swords in Parliament over the economy
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party
leader Miltiades Evert crossed swords today in Parliament over observations
made by the European Commission on the Greek economy contained in its
recently published twice-yearly review of economic conditions in the
Describing a question tabled by Evert as ''alarmist'', Simitis said the
report constituted a routine review of the economies of all the countries
seeking to attain convergence, within the framework of which the course of
the Greek economy was also examined.
Simitis noted that the EU's monetary committee had ascertained significant
progress in the Greek economy but also numerous problems which still had to
He added that Greece's deficit would be 7.9 per cent of GDP at the end of
the year, against the target of 7.6 per cent.
Accusing ND of contradicting itself, Simitis said Evert was ''on the one
hand sounding the alarm about the economy while at the same time reacting
to the government's economic measures''.
''They should decide once and for all what they want,'' the premier
Evert responded by accusing the government of having become helpless in the
face of foreign initiatives and decisions.
''Mr. Simitis does not understand that with its report on the Greek economy,
the European Commission is exerting political pressure pertaining to our
national issues,'' Evert said.
It was inconceivable, Evert continued, for the Commission to threaten to
cut off Cohesion Fund finance to Greece solely because of ''a small
divergence of 0.3 per cent from the target set''.
''Your government is incapable of stopping such procedures and the only
thing you do is to run around after the event,'' Evert said.
Simitis retorted by saying Evert was not informed of matters.
''Studies on the course of the economies of all the countries are conducted
at many levels in the EU and certain observations are made in the report in
question. It is nothing in particular and under no circumstances can one
speak of pressure,'' Simitis said.
He added that Greece would attain the deficit target of 7.6 per cent set by
Evert, Constantopoulos agree on need for foreign policy coordination
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert and
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos
agreed today that a meeting of the country's political party leaders should
be held to discuss the entire spectrum of Greek foreign policy.
The two party leaders met today to discuss Greek-Turkish relations in light
of statements yesterday by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos. They also
discussed issues related to the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).
At the same time, Evert and Constantopoulos agreed on the need for a
regular parliamentary debate ''so that the Greek people may be informed
about the government's European policy''.
Constantopoulos accused the government of ''double-talk'' and a lack of
strategy on foreign affairs ''which weakens the country's international
ND spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos also criticised the government for what
he claimed was ''a lack of foreign policy''.
Constantopoulos will meet with President Costis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday
to set out his views on the need for a meeting of political party
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas has sent a
letter to Constantopoulos accepting only the parliamentary debate and not
the meeting, Constantopoulos said, adding that he was expecting a reply to
his proposal from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the government.
Spain's Juan Carlos to visit
A number of foreign leaders, including King Juan Carlos of Spain, will
visit Greece in the near future at dates yet to be fixed, presidential
office sources said today.
The sources added that President Kostis Stephanopoulos had extended
official invitations to visit Greece to the presidents of Tunisia and
Uzbekistan as well as to the kings of Belgium and Spain.
The dates for the visits will be fixed through diplomatic channels, the
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday categorically ruled out the
possibility of Greece accepting to enter into a dialogue with Turkey on
issues pertaining to the Aegean together with the Cyprus problem as a
Mr. Pangalos said Athens also ruled out any simultaneous recourse to the
International Court of Justice at the Hague over the issue of the Imia
islets and the Aegean continental shelf.
Greece and Turkey came to the brink of war in late January after Ankara
openly disputed Greek sovereignty of the uninhabited Aegean islets of
Mr. Pangalos was speaking at a press conference exclusively on the issue of
Greek-Turkish relations, in order, as he put it, "to clear up any confusion
about Greece's foreign policy".
The Greek government, he said, remains unswerving in its position that it
is not possible to discuss the Cyprus problem and the issues pertaining to
the Aegean simultaneously and together "as a single set of negotiations".
Greece expected to veto EU-Turkey Association Council
Mr. Pangalos, who later hosted a working lunch for the ambassadors of the
European Union member-states in Athens, also spoke about EU-Turkish
relations, in effect announcing a Greek veto at the next General Affairs
Council on Nov. 25. Greece, he said, had already made numerous concessions
and gestures of good will towards Turkey but was not willing to consent to
the convening of the EU-Turkey Association Council, which has been
persistently requested by many EU member-states, nor to a lunch invitation
to the Turkish premier from Irish premier John Bruton on the sidelines of
the forthcoming EU summit meeting in Dublin.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and leader of the Italian Party of the
Democratic Left, Massimo d'Alema, yesterday discussed ways of increasing
cooperation and initiatives on the part of European socialist parties to
face social problems and challenges in Europe.
"At the beginning of my discussion with comrade d'Alema, I said I sensed
that European countries are all in a 'bus' heading in a direction which is
not clear, and is driven in a way that has not been agreed upon by those
"European socialist parties should undertake initiatives so that it becomes
most clear that we are heading in a direction of fighting umemployment, of
social justice and other arrengements which will make Europe more endeared
and acceptable to European peoples...,Mr. Simitis said.
The two men also discussed a wide array of other issues, particularly
concerning the European Union.
"We also referred to the issue of the European Union`s external policy, the
need for the EU to have its own views and play a role, that European
unification, which we consider necessary, implies as a condition the
gradual delineation of a European iden tity through a joint handling of
external policy problems...
On his part, Mr. d'Alema said the two countries "are committed at a
government level to seek ways of approaching the targets of fiscal and
economic rationalisation set by the Treaty of Maastricht."
"This target of European convergence, which we see as a necessary prospect,
must, in my opinion, be accompanied by a turning of European policy in the
direction of balancing employment between the geographically stronger and
weaker countries, of social rights, harmonising tax policies and recreating
a popular consensus," he added.
The leader of the largest party in the Italian government coalition then
expressed his full support for Greece's stand that differences with Turkey
in the Aegean must be settled on the basis of international law and
"I expressed our understanding and solidarity with the need for a stronger
European ommitment, so that we may arrive at a peaceful settlement of
tensions in the Aegean...
"And most certainly, the Greek stand calling for settlement of these
problems in the light of international law and not through unilateral
initiatives and unjustifiable tensions is correct," he said.
Nine Turkish F-16 and F-4 "Phantom" jetfighter formations yesterday
violated air traffic regulations in the Athens Flight Information Region
(FIR) on 12 occasions and Greek national airspace 19 times in the central
In all cases, the Turkish fighters were intercepted by Hellenic Air Force
planes and escorted out of Greek national airspace, sources said.
No question of decriminalising hashish, Yiannopoulos says
Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos told Parliament yesterday that he
was opposed to the decriminalisation of drug use, saying he had no
intention of putting hashish on sale in kiosks and in schools.
Speaking during discussion of a question tabled by Coalition of the Left
and Progress deputy Maria Damanaki, Mr. Yiannopoulos said "we cannot be
lenient towards the scourge of narcotics".
Ms Damanaki said that decriminalisation would help combat the spread of
narcotics, to which Mr. Yiannopoulos replied that the measures to be taken
by the government will be harsher for dealers and not for users. "Newspaper
reports to the contrary are the result of vile distortion by certain
journalists," Mr. Yiannopoulos added.
The minister said special correctional institutions would be set up for
drug users in order to segregate them from imprisoned dealers.
A tender would soon be announced for the creation of the first such
institution, he added.
"Disagreements have been overcome...and we are proceeding to implementation
of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project," said Nikolai Grigorov,
Bulgaria's deputy minister for regional development and public works.
The Bulgarian official made the statements yesterday during the sidelines
of a Greek-Bulgarian meeting in Komotini.
He added that experts from Greece, Bulgaria and Russia would meet again
before the end of the year in order to discuss details of the final plans.
In addition, he said the Sofia government will soon present proposals for
establishment of a joint venture company to undertake the project.
The Athens Stock Exchange's (ASE) board of governors yesterday approved
the purchase of a two-billion drachma integrated electronic transactions
The board also approved a contract with a consortium of three auditing
firms, Ernst & Young, Delloitte & Touche, and Peat Marwick Kyriakou, which
have undertaken the task of auditing all stock brokerage firms that are
members of ASE.
Additionally, it assigned Ernst & Young with the task of recommending
specific improvements in the supervisory control of ASE transactions.
Sunny to partly cloudy with moderate northern winds in most parts of the
country. Temperatures will range from 14-19C in Athens and from 11-16C in
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 234.568 Can. dlr.175.326, Australian dlr. 190.196 Pound sterling
394.955, Irish punt 395.907, Cyprus pd 514.669, French franc 46.261, Swiss
franc 185.479 Belgian franc 7.596, German mark 156.562 Finnish mark 51.911,
Dutch guilder 139.550 Danish Kr. 40.755, Swedish Kr. 35.518, Norwegian Kr.
37.111, Austrian Sh. 22.250, Italian lira (100) 15.678 Yen (100) 210.145
Spanish Peseta 1.865, Portuguese Escudo 1.550.