Conference on women's role in Balkan development
NEWS IN DETAIL
Formation of Greek contingent for Albania underway
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos clarified yesterday that the
Greek contingent of the multinational police force to be sent to Albania
would not be formed on a voluntary basis.
Asked by reporters in Thessaloniki whether the contingent would be made up
of volunteers, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos replied in the negative, adding that
"there is a specific unit of the armed forces which, as soon as the
relevant decisions have been taken and we have determined the size of the
force to participate, will undertake its task as a constituent section of
the armed forces."
The United Nations on Friday gave the green light for the formation of a 5,
000-strong force, half of whom will be deployed and half of whom will be
held in reserve to protect humanitarian relief operations in Albania.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that Greece would
participate in the multinational force with about 700 troops.
The president of the Albanian Democratic Alliance party, Miritan Ceka,
yesterday visited Albanian nationals being treated in Ioannina hospital for
bullet and shrapnel wounds.
Mr. Ceka expressed thanks on behalf of the Albanian people for the Greek
help and hospitalisation of the wounded, and his sorrow over the sinking of
an Albanian ship by an Italian military vessel in the Adriatic.
Athens backs joint Greek and Cypriot business ventures
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday
underlined the government's intention to back joint ventures between Greek
and Cypriot business activities in the Middle East and the Black Sea
He said a Greek-Cypriot joint economic zone is promoted by both governments
and is expected to be concluded by the year 2000.
"We will harmonise the institutional regime and we will expand the
activities of the Exporting Credit Insurance Organisation to Cyprus in a
bid to help the creation of joint ventures in the Balkans," Mr. Papantoniou
said in his address to the "Greek-Cypriot Business Symposium," held in
Athens under the auspices the national economy ministry.
Cypriot Finance Minister Christodoulos Christodoulou said that business
cooperation between Greece and Cyprus was an "inevitable choice."
He said cooperation between the two countries could focus in the service
sector, in tourism and banking, constructions, through the establishment of
joint ventures for the construction of insfrastructural works in the
Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Arab countries, as well as in the
sector of industrial output and industrial applications of renewable energy
Stressing the need to find venture capital to finance such cooperation, Mr.
Christodoulou said both governments should turn to the banking sector in
both countries, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and EU Community
Van Mierlo in Athens on Thursday
Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van Mierlo will visit Athens on Thursday and
will meet with his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Discussions are expected to cover a wide range of subjects, including
European Union issues - in view of the meeting of EU foreign ministers in
Amsterdam this weekend - as well as EU-Turkey and Greek-Turkish relations.
The Netherlands currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
According to sources, Mr. van Mierlo has said he is prepared to contribute
to the resolution of Greek-Turkish differences and to provide his
An EU-Turkey Association Council is due to take place on April 29.
Uzbek President Karimov begins talks in Athens
Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov arrived in Athens yesterday for an
official two-day visit, which will witness the signing of a friendship and
cooperation protocol between the two countries.
Mr. Karimov is to meet privately with President Kostis Stephanopoulos early
today and later with Prime Minister Costas Simitis for the signing of the
He is also scheduled to meet with Greek businessmen and Parliament
President Apostolos Kaklamanis.
Defence minister on official French visit
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is scheduled to leave on a
two-day visit to France tomorrow, following an invitation extended by his
French counterpart Charles Millon.
Talks will be held on the same day, while he will also visit the Le Clerk
tank factory. On Thursday, he is scheduled to visit an airbase, where he
will observe a Mirage 2000/5 air display.
Santer in Athens in early May
European Commission President Jacques Santer will arrive in Athens on May 8
, on the occasion of celebrations for "Europe Day" on May 9 as well as the
40-year commemoration of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.
Mr. Santer is scheduled to meet President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos,
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the leadership of the foreign ministry, and
main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.
Discussions are expected to centre on foreign policy issues and the role of
the EU in the broader region.
Papaioannou: Immediate measures needed for social security system
Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou told the 14th
Conference of the Panhellenic Federation of Social Policy Organisations'
employees that necessary action should be taken now in order to ensure the
future viability of the nation's s ocial security system.
Mr. Papaioannou said social dialogue was due to start in the next few days,
and called on participants to submit proposals.
At the same time he warned that the government would not wait for the
conclusion of such dialogue in order to solve pending problems, such as
fighting tax evasion.
"Internationally, social security systems have been undergoing a deep
crisis which resulted in huge deficits and limited their sources," Mr.
He said this crisis was triggered from demographic changes and the aging of
the general population, prolonged recession in the world economy, as well
as increasing budget deficits and public debts.
By the year 2050, Mr. Papaioannou said, half of Greece's economically
active population will consist of over 65-year-old citizens.
"The imminent problem we are faced with in Greece," the minister said, "is
the settling of our social security funds. This will be overcome through
the combatting of tax evasion, the establishment of a special mechanism to
receive contributions, the merging of social security funds as well as the
participation of the state."
FYROM-Greece border post to be upgraded
Finance Undersecretary George Drys yesterday announced the government's
intention to upgrade the customs post at Evzones on the border with the
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Mr. Drys visited the Evzones post early yesterday and spoke to customs
officers about the problems they faced.
Later, speaking to reporters at the Macedonia-Thrace Ministry in Thessaloniki,
Mr. Drys said the government would take all the necessary measures for the
upgrading of the customs post, traffic through which was continuously
increasing following the impr ovement of relations between the two
The measures, he added, would include increasing the number of staff,
improving equipment and the carrying out of a special study by the finance
ministry in cooperation with Kilkis prefecture.
Shoe manufacturing sector faces tough foreign competition
One in two Greek shoe manufacturing units have shut down in the last five
years as imports, mainly from Italy, have reportedly increased, accounting
for 60 per cent of current sales.
Those figures were released yesterday by the Association of Thessaloniki
Shoe Manufacturers during a press conference on the occasion of the
exhibition scheduled at HELEXPO's facilities between April 4-6.
The domestic shoe manufacturing sector today comprises 3,000 units, which
produce 12 million pairs of shoes annually (of which 5 million are exported
to Europe, North America, Australia and the Far East), with a turnover of
50 to 60 billion drachmas.
Greece's best customer is Russia, followed by Serbia.
Citibank reduces lending rates
Citibank yesterday announced that effective today and for one week it will
decrease by 1.25 per cent its base lending rates for working capital loans
and for freely investible funds, by 0.75 per cent its base lending rate for
business and professional loans and by 3 per cent its base lending rate for
personal installment loans with invoices, while maintaining unchanged its
rest base lending rates.
The basic lending rates of the working capital in foreign exchange for the
same period are: US dollars 8.31 per cent; yen 3.06 per cent; deutschmarks
5.81 per cent; Ecu 6.75 per cent; Dutch guilders 5.85 per cent; French
francs 5.87 per cent; Brit ish pounds 8.87 per cent; Swiss francs 4.44 per
cent and Belgian francs 5.94 per cent.
Tourism promotion in the US
Seminars promoting Greece and organised by the Greek Tourist Organisation's
(EOT) bureau in the United States will start in several major cities as of
today in order to support this year's projected increase in the tourist
flow from the United States.
An integrated presentation of tourist destinations will be featured at the
seminars, to be held in Atlanta, Boston, Washington, Coral Gables, Fort
Lauderdale, Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia.
EOT's director in the US, Alexandros Mourkoyiannis, will be the main
speaker, while representatives of airline companies and travel organisations
will also participate.
Breast cancer rates increase in Greece
Breast cancer has increased dangerously over the past five years in Greece,
medical researchers revealed.
Specialists who held a press conference yesterday in view of the sixth
Panhellenic Conference of Clinical Oncology said the five-year increase is
estimated at around 10 per cent.
The increase is not due to better methods of diagnosis, although no one
particular cause can be pinpointed for this upturn. However, researchers
said a change in lifestyle is almost certainly a factor, such as less
attention being paid to nutrition, smo king, greater exposure to radiation
and bearing children at an advanced age.
Researchers noted that according to latest studies, women who have few
children and become pregnant after the age of 30 are at much higher risk of
developing breast cancer.
Conference on women's role in Balkan development scheduled
A conference entitled "The Role of Women in Regional Areas in the
Development of the Balkans" will begin in Thessaloniki on Thursday with the
participation of some 30 ministers from Balkan countries.
It is the fifth international conference organised by the Federation of
Inter-Balkan Cooperation Societies of Women of Thessaloniki.
The conference is aimed at promoting the rights of women living in regional
areas, their equal participation in decision-making, the undertaking of
responsibilities and the enjoyment of economic and social results.
According to initial official figures provided by organisers, women in the
Balkans account for 60 per cent of agricultural labour and carry out more
than two thirds of agricultural work.
The conference, in which all Balkan states will participate, will be held
in the Aristotelion University of Thessaloniki's ceremonial hall until
April 7, and will be under the aegis of President of the Republic Kostis
Unstable weather will continue throughout Greece today with local
cloudiness, rainfall and rainstorms, but also spells of sunshine. Rain and
snowfall in the mountainous regions of the country. Winds will be moderate.
Sunny spells in Athens with local rain and temperatures between 5-15C.
Overcast and rainy in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 3-10C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 263.743
Pound sterling 432.512 Cyprus pd 526.752
French franc 46.775 Swiss franc 182.176
German mark 157.440 Italian lira (100) 15.788
Yen (100) 212.933 Canadian dlr. 191.357
Australian dlr. 207.353 Irish Punt 416.640
Belgian franc 7.641 Finnish mark 53.106
Dutch guilder 140.194 Danish kr. 41.406
Swedish kr. 34.996 Norwegian kr. 39.775
Austrian sch. 22.405 Spanish peseta 1.869
Portuguese escudo 1.577