Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-04-08
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 08/04/1998 (ANA)
- Pangalos: Decisions on Aegean CBMs "must be taken now"
- WEU military chiefs' conference ends
- Turkish military chief calls for dialogue with Athens
- Elder Karamanlis hospitalised
- Premier lauds Britain's stance on Greece, Cyprus
- New Foreign Ministry Internet pages
- Gov't softens provisions on OA restructuring bill
- WWF calls for protection of Strophadia islets
- Gov't endorses Dr 351 bln public procurements plan for 1998
- Greeks back food boycott, consumer watchdog says
- 20 percent of Hellenic Petroleum on the bourse
- Tourist Panorama '98 begins today
- IOBE study sees recession in Greek fur industry
- Greece outlines economy to US investors
- Greek stocks slip on profit-making
- Peloponnese Bank launches operation
- Greece's black economy accounts for a third of GDP-EU
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Pangalos: Decisions on Aegean CBMs "must be taken now"
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said yesterday that talks within the
framework of NATO on the adoption of confidence-building measures (CBMs) in
the Aegean had progressed to the point that "decisions must now be
"If the Turkish side does not try to create faits accomplis on other
matters pertaining to national sovereignty, we shall be able to adopt
favourable measures which will improve the climate in relations between the
two countries," Mr. Pangalos said, citing as an example of such measures
the extension of a summer moratorium on military exercises in the Aegean
from two to four months
Mr. Pangalos, when asked to comment on special US presidential envoy
Richard Holbooke's use of the term "Cyprus" instead of "The Republic of
Cyprus," he said that he has also used the term often.
Furthermore, Mr. Pangalos said the important point is Mr. Holbrooke's
reassurance that the US government recognises only the Republic of
The minister stated that the US view, of giving up the effort to reach a
solution of the Cyrpus problem, is only natural, in case that there will be
no progress. He called, however, on the US to pressure Ankara on the
Mr. Pangalos noted that it is not important what Mr. Holbrooke meant on the
issue of the Cyrpus-EU relations, since this is a matter involving the
European Union and the European countries.
He added that it would be good that such allusions were fewer and the US
should activate the independent arguments they have so as to bend Ankara's
Mr. Pangalos, commenting on the proposed warplanes fight moratorioum over
Cyprus, said he never spoke of such a moratorioum, rather he proposed a non-
flight zone as it exists over Iraq with provision of who will have the
responsibility of enforcement and control.
Mr. Pangalos said that his proposal was misunderstood and he repeated that
US State Department spokesman James Rubin's comment was not connected to
He added his belief that his idea has not lost every possibility of being
WEU military chiefs' conference ends
A meeting of national defence general staff shiefs from Western European
Union (WEU) member-states, associate members and observer nations came to a
conclusion yesterday afternoon, held under the chairmanship of Greek
military chief Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis.
Greece holds the organisation's rotating six-month presidency.
The meeting, at an Athens seaside hotel, focused on issues concerning the
upgrading of the WEU's operational capabilities and the strengthening of
relations between the WEU, NATO and the European Union.
In parallel, the presence of the WEU group in Albania was decided for an
extra year, until April 12, 1999. The group is responsible for training
Albania's police forces.
The advantages were also presented from the possible participation of the
WEU's Military Committee President in NATO's Military Committee. It was
considered that this would contribute to and strengthen cooperation between
the WEU and NATO in common opera tional and military issues. Participation
must be guided by the object and not by processes. The 18 military chiefs
were briefed on the development of a series of issues such as the
harmonisation of mechanisms and crises management processes.
Other issues were the principles and clauses for the creation of headquarters,
for an operational and regular force, which will implement the WEU's
The preconditions for the participation of candidate countries in NATO,
namely the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, in the WEU's work concerning
cooperation with NATO.
Proposals made by military chiefs will be raised for approval at the
conference of foreign affairs and defence ministers, to be held on Rhodes
on May 11-12.
Turkish military chief calls for dialogue with Athens
Turkish military chief Gen. Ismail Hakki Karadayi said yesterday that all
problems between Athens and Ankara could and should be resolved through
bilateral meetings and well-intentioned dialogue.
Gen. Karadayi was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the WEU
meeting. The Turkish general had a meeting on Monday with his Greek
counterpart, Gen. Tzoganis, which provided an opportunity for an exchange
of views on bilateral and military issues.
Referring yesterday to what he called his "informal" meeting with Gen.
Tzoganis, Gen. Karadayi said they had both expressed their "positive
stance" regarding possible future meetings.
On the results of the WEU meeting, Gen. Karadayi said Turkey would be
taking part in exercises scheduled by the organisation's headquarters on
equal terms with the other WEU states.
Turkey is an associate member of the WEU. Only EU countries can become full
The meeting also focused on the WEU's role as the potential defence arm of
the EU, its involvement in NATO planning and the use of NATO equipment in
peac ekeeping and humanitarian missions.
Elder Karamanlis hospitalised
Former president of the republic and main opposition New Democracy founder
Constantine Karamanlis was admitted yesterday into an Athens hospital with
a respiratory infection at 4:30 p.m.
According to reports, the decision to hospitalise Mr. Karamanlis, 91, was
taken after a cold last week developed into a slight chest pain and
ND leader and nephew of the statesman, Costas Karamanlis, said "all will go
well" after his visit at the Hygeia Hospital. Former ND leader Miltiades
Evert, after visiting the former president said that he is in good spirits
and the fever has subsided.
Premier lauds Britain's stance on Greece, Cyprus
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday stressed what he called Britain's
support of Cyprus' European Union accession, adding that in general terms,
London follows a pro-Greece and pro-Cyprus policy.
The premier's statements came at the end of a European Union socialist
prime ministers' conference here, where Mr. Simitis met and discussed the
Cyprus issue, among others, with his British counterpart Tony Blair.
In comments regarding the conference, he said that it examined socialist
PMs' possibilities on affecting EU policy. He added that there was a common
consensus on combatting unemployment.
Mr. Simitis said that the conference agenda included the possibility of
increasing employment in the EU.
He noted that there were disagreements on both issues and noted that those
focused on the difference of opinion between the EU's north and south, as
well as between those who favoured harsher fiscal policies and those who
where not willing to take furth er measures in that direction.
The Greek prime minister also noted that neither the EU as a group, or
Greece by itself, can survive without international cooperation against the
international speculative capital.
New Foreign Ministry Internet pages
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday unveiled his ministry's new
Internet 'bulletin', entitled "Cyber thesis." Mr. Pangalos also congratulated
foreign ministry spokesman Costas Bikas for his initiative and for
overseeing the creation of the site.
The page is written in English and is directed mainly at politicians,
businesspeople and opinion-makers overseas. Additionally, there is also a
special page listing the stock markets of southeastern Europe.
Gov't softens provisions on OA restructuring bill
Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis last night introduced milder provisions
to a controversial draft bill on restructuring Olympic Airways, during a
debate in Parliament.
According to the provisions, all previous collective bargaining agreements
and labour regulations are abolished upon publication of the law in the
government gazette, rather than by decision of the company's board, thereby
extending the life of provisions currently in force.
He also withdrew a stipulation that OA employees have to state within five
days whether they accept the new labour regulations.
Meanwhile, the airline's employees are staging a 24-hour strike tomorrow to
protest against the restructuring bill along with civil servants and
workers covered by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece
Parliament will vote on the bill the same day.
Covered in the proposals are general provisions in the airline's regulations;
flexible working hours for ground staff; a wage freeze for 1998-2000 at
1997 levels; a cut in a staff meals allowance backdated to April 1; and a
commitment by ground staff to provide 40-64 hours of free labour annually
According to reports, the representatives of the Flight Attendants Union
were set to sign a draft agreement with the airline today, after agreeing
on proposals regarding the composition of aircraft crews and accepting the
curbing of meal benefits.
Meanwhile, the 24-hour strike of employees of the Civil Aviation Unions
Federation (OSPA) ended at midnight yesterday, while at the same time a 24-
hour strike was due to start for Olympic Aviation stewards.
According to Olympic Airways planning, 64 domestic and 34 international
flights will be carried out today. Twenty-one domestic and two international
flights will be cancelled. Passengers scheduled to travel today must
communicate with the offices of Olympic Airways first.
According to data provided by the airline, over the period between Easter
Wednesday and Easter Sunday 36,000 seats have been booked for international
flights and 39,000 seats for domestic flights so far.
WWF calls for protection of Strophadia islets
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hellas yesterday cited the need for
protection of the natural and cultural environment of the Strophadia islets,
located south of the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
WWF's statement came in the wake of church organisations' complaints of
illegal hunting on the islets, which are part of the European Union
programme "Nature Network 2000."
Gov't endorses Dr 351 bln public procurements plan for 1998
Greece has adopted a public procurements programme totalling 351 billion
drachmas for 1998.
This year's programme, which was announced three months earlier than last
year in order to hold tenders by the end of 1998, was formally endorsed by
a development ministry committee.
A ministry statement yesterday said that measures had been taken to ensure
greater transparency in all contracts exceeding one billion drachmas and a
unified process of procurement had been adopted for certain products.
Greeks back food boycott, consumer watchdog says
More than 17 percent of Greeks around the country refused to buy fresh food
on the first day of a nationwide boycott to protest against price rises
stemming from a drachma devaluation and adverse weather, the Consumer
Institute (INKA) said yesterday.
INKA, which called the five-day boycott that began on Monday, reported that
in some areas nearly 38 percent of consumers took part in the protest
covering meat and farm produce.
"The positive response by consumers to INKA's call for the boycott exceeded
even the most optimistic forecast," the watchdog group said in a statement.
A survey showed that nine out of ten consumers agreed with the boycott and
seven out of ten thought the results would have a positive effect on
INKA called the boycott in order to force prices down through lower
The sharp price hikes stem from the drachma's devaluation on March 14 and
wintery weather conditions in the same month, which also led to profiteering.
20 percent of Hellenic Petroleum on the bourse
Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday announced the listing of 20
per cent of the Hellenic Petroleum S.A. company on the Athens Stock
She was speaking during a parliamentary committee meeting on public
Replying to deputies of the main opposition New Democracy party, who called
for a 40 per cent participation in the bourse, Ms Papandreou said that
relevant legislation sets 25 per cent as the maximum percentage.
Tourist Panorama '98 begins today
The "Tourist Panorama '98" will start at Peace and Friendship indoor
stadium in Faliron for the third consecutive year today.
The event is the largest exhibition for domestic tourism.
Exhibitors are estimated to number about 600 - hotels, tourist offices,
cruise ships, yachts, etc - while Crete will be the honoured region this
year, and will be promoted in a special space.
The exhibition, organised by the Organisation D&G Kalofolias, will be held
under the sponsorship of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) and
will be supported by practically all of the country's tourist agencies.
The purpose of the exhibition is to bring tourist enterprises and local
tourist destinations into immediate contact with the public. To this end,
there will be several offers and special prices for visitors.
The "Tourist Panorama" exhibition was visited by 56,000 people and 4,500
commercial representatives last year. It will last until Sunday and will be
open to the public from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. today; 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow
and on Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
IOBE study sees recession in Greek fur industry
Greece's fur industry is currently in a recessionary phase, plagued by
pressures on prices and increased international competition, primarily from
South Korea and Argentina, according to a recent sector study by the
Economic and Industrial Research Instit ute (IOBE).
IOBE adds that the sector's significance is decisive for the economic,
social and demographic development of western Macedonia.
According to the study, most domestic fur-producing units (about 5,000,
with the majority being small handicraft manufacturers and home-based
businesses) are concentrated in the wider region of Kastoria and Siatista.
About 15,000 people are employed eit her directly or indirectly in the
trade, accounting for almost 70 per cent of total employment in the
The sector produces about two million pieces of readymade fur clothing and
accessories, while 90 per cent of this quantity is exported and the
remaining 10 per cent is sold in Greece - 8 per cent to tourists and only 2
per cent to Greek nationals.
Total exchange revenues in the sector exceeded 218 million Ecu, according
to 1996 figures. The main export markets are Russia, Germany and the United
Greece outlines economy to US investors
The Greek stock market is a vehicle for investment opportunities in the
Balkans, Athens Stock Exchange president Manolis Xanthakis told an
international forum in New York yesterday.
American businessmen and investors have shown growing interest in the Greek
economy, particularly after the drachma's entry into the European Union's
exchange rate mechanism and a 13.8 percent devaluation linked to entry,
both on March 14.
Mr. Xanthakis said that more than 3,000 Greek firms were active in
southeastern Europe, many of which were subsidiaries of companies listed on
the Athens bourse.
National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas outlined major progress made
by the economy since 1996, particularly in regional development and in the
role played by Thessaloniki in promoting economic relations with neighbouring
He also detailed investment opportunities that have arisen since the
country's entry into the ERM.
"Greece offers more opportunities because of its strategic position in
southeast Europe and its increasingly profitable relations with its Balkan
neighbours," Mr. Baltas told the forum.
Former US ambassador to Greece, Thomas Niles, briefed participants on the
economic and political factors influencing the investment climate in
State Ionian Bank of Greece was one of the forum's sponsors.
The bank's governor, Haris Stamatopoulos, underlined the progress made in a
modernisation and restructuring process for the country's banking
The Union of Greek Industry's chairman, Iason Stratos, spoke of a new
favourable climate in the country for foreign investments after the
government's decision to participate in the single European currency by
2001. The managing director of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation
(OTE), George Chrissolouris, presented the company's programme to upgrade
the national telecoms network and introduce new services.
He also outlined OTE's prospects in the fully liberalised telecoms market
by 2001, and its role as a major player in the Balkans.
American economists and analysts praised the country's economic performance
and expressed optimism that Greece would participate in European economic
and monetary union by 2001, as planned.
Greek stocks slip on profit-taking
Greek equities ended slightly lower on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday
as profit-taking halted Monday's fresh record-breaking rise on the general
Traders said market sentiment remained positive and that investors were
turning to smaller capitalisation stocks.
The general index ended 0.29 percent off at 2,129.08 points. Sector indices
Banks fell 0.53 percent, Insurance rose 1.16 percent, Investment was 0.15
percent up, Leasing dropped 1.41 percent, Industrials eased 0.46 percent,
Construction rose 2.95 percent, Miscellaneous fell 1.88 percent and Holding
was 3.21 percent higher.
The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 1.28 percent while
the FTSE/ASE-20 index dropped 0.33 percent to 1,262.74.
Trading was active with turnover at 62.5 billion drachmas. Broadly,
decliners led advancers by 124 to 113 with another 31 issues unchanged.
Sarandopoulos Mills, Hellenic Biscuits, Halcor, Varyte, Alte, Delta
Informatics, Hellenic Sugar and Attica Aluminium scored the biggest
percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.
Daring, Bank of Athens, Aspis Invest and Papoutsanis suffered the heaviest
National Bank of Greece ended at 38,400 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,050, Alpha
Credit Bank at 25,940, Delta Dairy at 3,700, Titan Cement at 23,475,
Intracom at 19,995 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 8,
Peloponnese Bank launches operations
Newly-established Peloponnese Bank opened its doors to the public for the
first time, it said in a statement yesterday.
The Tripolis-based bank, set up as a company with a broad share base, aims
to focus on investment programmes for development in the Peloponnese.
It also offers a wide range of retail banking products.
Greece's black economy accounts for a third of GDP-EU
Greece's black economy accounts for one third of the country's gross
domestic product (GDP), placing the country at the top of the European
Union's league, a European Commission statement said yesterday.
The statement said that undeclared financial activity in Greece was
estimated at between 29-35 percent of the country's GDP, substantially
higher than an EU average of 7-16 percent.
Italy was in second place with a black economy percentage ranging between
20-26 percent of GDP, followed by Spain with a 10-23 percent rate.
The Commission said that the black economy flourished in sectors in which
many people worked like tourism, hotels and restaurants, self-employed
professions, services, transport and textiles.
Immigrants, pensioners, women and youth were the major categories of the
population that were mainly employed in the black economy.
Fine weather is forecast for most parts of the country today with scattered
clouds in western, central and northern Greece. Fog in the morning. Winds
southerly, light to moderate, turning strong in the Ionian Sea. Partly
cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 12-25C. Similar weather in
Thessaloniki with temperatures from 10-23C.
Tuesday's closing rates (buying): U.S. dollar 318.293
British pound 529.847 Japanese Yen(100) 237.683
French franc 51.608 German mark 173.005
Italian lira (100) 17.528 Irish Punt 436.480
Belgian franc 8.379 Finnish mark 56.990
Dutch guilder 153.601 Danish kr. 45.380
Austrian sch. 24.592 Spanish peseta 2.040
Swedish kr. 39.805 Norwegian kr. 41.616
Swiss franc 207.859 Port. Escudo 1.689
AUS dollar 209.014 Can. dollar 224.529
Cyprus pound 594.208