1997 Europartenariat to be held in Piraeus
NEWS IN DETAIL
Cabinet meets on tax measures
Prime Minister Costas Simitis today chaired a five-hour Cabinet meeting
which focused on the government's proposed tax measures.
During the meeting, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos
Papantoniou presented the two ministries' final recommendations, in the
form of a draft tax law, covering not only the abolition of a series of tax
allowances and the imposition of new taxes, but also issues such as
increases in certain categories of living expenses used to calculate
According to the draft legislation, new taxes are expected to be imposed on
real estate, state securities and various financial products.
No statements were made after the meeting since Papantoniou will make an
official announcement later today at the General Accounts Office.
Workers strike over gov't economic measures
General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) president Christos Polyzogopoulos
today warned of a wave of strikes organised to coincide with the parliamentary
debate on the state budget for 1997 which should be held by the end of the
''There is will for an escalation of labour action and I believe that there
will be such an escalation,'' Polyzogopoulos told a press conference.
A 24-hour general strike has already been organised for Thursday in which
all major trade union federations will be participating.
Public utilities such as the Public Power Corporation (DEH), the Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), the Athens and Piraeus Water Company
(EYDAP) and the Greek Postal Service (ELTA) will be operating with skeleton
The strike is expected to hit public transport in particular, with the
national carrier Olympic Airways (OA) aircraft being grounded and
considerable disruption to ferry-boat, train and bus services.
Ships' pilots went on strike yesterday to press their demand for an
additional pay allowance based on length of service to be paid out of the
Seamen's Pension Fund (NAT).
Secondary school and kindergarten teachers will hold a 24-hour strike
tomorrow to protest a new salary scale and proposed government spending on
The administrative board of the Union of Public Secondary School Teachers
(OLME) also warned yesterday of the possibility of a two- and three-day
strike in December and an indefinite work stoppage in January.
One of the main demands of the unions is that the government index-link tax
brackets to inflation. Its failure to do so for the past five years, they
say, will in effect result in a drop in real income in 1997.
Opposition leader calls for meeting on foreign policy
Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos
today met with President Kostis Stephanopoulos to put forward his party's
request for a meeting of the political party leaders to discuss the
Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and Greek foreign policy particularly
with regard to Turkey.
If agreement was reached among the parties, such a meeting would be chaired
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Constantopoulos said that
president had listened to his party's views with interest.
Constantopoulos accused the government of ''double talk, the lack of a
steadfast position and the absence of a national strategy''.
''As far as national issues are concerned, one of two things is happening.
Either the government does not understand the critical nature of the
present period in time or there are different views within the government
itself,'' Constantopoulos said.
Replying to press questions, Constantopoulos said that in the view of his
party there could be no question of a single ''package'' lumping together
the issue of Turkey's disputing of the Aegean islet of Imia and the issue
of the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf.
He noted however that both issues should be referred to the International
Court at the Hague, adding that in the case of Imia, the initiative for
referring the issue must be taken by Turkey.
Albanian illegal immigrants arrested
Police today arrested five illegal Albanian immigrants and the Greek driver
of the car in which they were travelling at the Malgara toll post near
The driver of the car, Pavlos Vassiliadis, 31, a resident of Volos, was
also found in possession of 9.5 grams of hashish and a small quantity of
He had picked up the Albanians at a border post near Kastoria, northern
Greece and was to have driven them to Peraia, Thessaloniki for 30,000
drachmas per head.
EU-Turkey Association Council meeting bumped to next year
Athens' reaction yesterday prevented any changes to a unanimous July 15
decision by the EU Council of Ministers concerning Greek-Turkish relations
and further advancement of EU-Turkish ties.
The July 15 decision calls for respect by Turkey of human rights, adherence
to international agreements and resolution of Greek-Turkish differences. An
official reply by Ankara is still pending.
Additionally, the current Irish European Union presidency decided not to
convene a Dec. 6 EU-Turkey Association Council meeting, as strenuously
requested by Ankara and several EU member-states.
Both developments became obvious after the end of long discussions
concerning prospects for furthering the 15-member Union's relations with
Turkey and during working dinner by the Union's 15 foreign ministers.
On its part, the Irish Presidency said during the council of foreign
ministers session that "an exchange of views took place based on the
presidency's report ", and that it was decided that "contacts with Turkey
will continue with a view to preparing the Association council at the
beginning of next year."
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos told a press conference afterwards that
two unofficial documents were at his disposal which, to the best of his
knowledge, have been referred to in press reports. He said the one is a
report and the other a plan containing conclusions.
Mr. Pangalos said the documents were not discussed during the dinner and,
consequently, no decision was taken on them. He said a long discussion took
place on whether the EU-Turkey Association Council should convene on the
Dec. 6 date.
He added it was agreed that in the common position to be presented at the
next Association Council, the document concerning relations between Greece
and Turkey will be the July 15 document.
He said the threat of force, mobilisation of military means and efforts to
impose "hegemonic behaviour" over neighbouring countries cannot be accepted
by the international community in modern times.
Pangalos comments on Ciller meetings
Furthermore, Mr. Pangalos noted that Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller,
despite meeting EU Council of Foreign Ministers president and Irish Foreign
Minister Dick Spring four times recently, refused to present Ankara's
positions on its relations with Athens, as well as if Turkey intends to
resort to the The Hague over its territorial differences with Greece - as
in the case of the Imia islets for example - or whether in general Ankara
intends to build good neighbourliness relations with Greece based on the
principles of international law, international agreements and practice.
Mr. Pangalos further said a note Ms Ciller sent to the EU Council stresses
that Greek-Turkish relations constitute a bilateral issue and that the EU
should not get involved in them.
He said this Turkish position is unacceptable and cannot be accepted by the
EU, adding that Turkey must realise that it cannot use the threat of force
and put forward claims against an EU member-state.
Mr. Pangalos also announced that the Irish EU presidency intends to invite,
at its own initiative, Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan to a dinner
shortly after the end of the summit, due to take place in Dublin in mid-
Replying to another question, he expressed his regret over the freezing of
Malta's entry into the EU, but said "this cannot concern Cyprus.
" Cyprus is a 'Maastricht country', which is to say that at this time,
along with Luxembourg, if we were to implement Maastricht tomorrow morning,
they would be the only two countries which meet the requirement s, if we
read the commitments in a very formal manner.
"I believe that negotiations with Cyprus will last only a few months, and
will be the easiest entry negotiations the European Union has conducted,"
Pangalos visits Uzbekistan today
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos begins a two-day official visit to
Uzbekistan today, followed immediately by an official visit to Japan, it
was announced yesterday.
Mr. Pangalos was to leave for Tashkent shortly before midnight last night
from Brussels after attending the Council of EU Foreign Ministers
Ankara attempt to convert cathedral into mosque
An attempt by the Turkey's directorate of charitable foundations to
convert the Byzantine cathedral of Agia Sophia in the Black Sea port city
of Trabzon into a mosque is causing the reaction of the Turkish ministry of
cult ure, press reports noted yesterday.
The same reports say the ministry is claiming property rights over the
church, after the directorate issued instructions for its conversion.
The ruling Refah party has made it clear that "does not consider this
Complaints from foreign investors
Representatives of foreign multi-nationals expressed serious complaints
regarding the prevailing climate for foreign investment in Greece, while
Greek businessmen were also critical of what they called the lack of "clear
solutions in the development sector".
Alexandros Andriopoulos, the managing director of Levi Strauss Hellas,
accused the state of not providing effective protection for industrial and
intellectual copyrights, reporting that the annual turnover of imitation
brands and products in Greece amounted to 50 billion drachmas, seven
billion of which was only for bogus Levi's jeans.
Giorgos Galanakis, the president of Hayatt Regency Hotel and Tourist A.E.,
which recently implemented a large casino investment in Thessaloniki,
protested that "at a time when prime ministers of the country visited
America in search of investors, legislation regarding the sector has been
changed three times and new changes are being prepared."
1997 Europartenariat scheduled to be held in Piraeus
EU Commissioner for Small-to-Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Christos
Papoutsis said yesterday that the 1997 Europartenariat will be held in
Piraeus next June.
According to Mr. Papoutsis, the Europartenariat will contribute to the
further globalisation of Greek SMEs that comprise the backbone of the Greek
National Bank branch in Tirana
The National Bank of Greece opened its first branch office in Tirana
yesterday while another branch is expected to soon open in Bucharest.
The new bank branch will accept deposits in major currencies and in
drachmas, as well as offering import and export financial services, loans
and letters of guarantee, purchase as well as facilitating exchange and
capital movement abroad.
An announcement by the National Bank said the Tirana branch office will
have an advantage of providing security for important and high-amount
transactions and services.
In a similar development, a new National Bank branch office opened in
Stuttgart on Nov. 18. The new branch office, the fourth in Germany,
provides all banking services and is equipped with the latest banking
Sunny to partly cloudy with rain later at night. Temperatures in Athens
will range from 9-15C and in Thessaloniki from 6-13C.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 236.175, Can. dlr.176.040, Australian dlr. 191.466, Pound sterling
397.375, Irish punt 398.189, Cyprus pd 515.840, French franc 46.134, Swiss
franc 185.187 Belgian franc 7.573, German mark 156.081, Finnish mark 51.854,
Dutch guilder 139.118, Danish Kr. 40.664, Swedish Kr. 35.672, Norwegian Kr.
37.041, Austrian Sh. 22.178, Italian lira (100) 15.714, Yen (100) 210.215,
Spanish Peseta 1.856, Portuguese Escudo 1.546.