Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-22
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 22/07/1998 (ANA)
- EU: Brighter development prospects now appear for Greece
- Second CSF funds to get boost by end-1999
- Pangalos concludes visit to Albania, talks with leadership
- Gov't calls Turkish provocations in Cyprus a sign of 'weakness'
- US State Dept. refers to Cyprus invasion anniversary
- Kaklamanis receives expatriate Greek politicians
- Testing for new Thessaloniki radar
- Massive tourism contract between monastery, British firm
- Irene Papas to direct her first play
- Ionian Investments posts increased profits
- State phone, transport workers to strike tomorrow
- Greek stocks surge again
- Gov't says rise in May unemployment figure expected
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
EU: Brighter development prospects now appear for Greece
EU Commissioner Monika Wulf-Mathies yesterday said a review of Greece's
funding through EU structural funds indicated that its development
prospects now looked brighter than a few years ago.
"The Interim Review ( of Structural Funds) allows me to have considerable
hopes for Greece's future development and its ability to join Economic and
Monetary Union sooner than could have been expected a few years ago," she
"The review also shows that we were right in supporting the Greek
government's policy of reform and privatisations. We shall continue in this
direction and in the period after 1999," Ms Wulf-Mathies, responsible for
regional policy, structural funds and cohesion funds, added.
The Interim Review examined the implementation and utilisation of EU
Structrural Fund programmes and resources before the end of the current,
1994-1999, economic support period. It shows that Greece's rate of
absorption of structural fund resources is now higher than in the average
among EU member-states.
The review, whose initial results were released yesterday, has found that
Greek performances, after a slow start, are improving spectacularly in most
sectors. More than 10 billion Ecu had been spent until the middle of 1998,
representing 70 per cent of the total of Community supports. This is
considered to have provided an appreciable boost to the country's general
long-term macroeconomic growth, whose current rate is 3.5 per cent -
considerably higher than the average - while unemployment, despite a rise,
remains below the Community average.
The review took into account the impact of the devaluation of the drachma
in mid-March, which will imply an increase in the total amount of drachmas,
with a corresponding amount of Community participation in certain
Second CSF funds to get boost by end-1999
Funds destined for Greece under the European Union's Second Community
Support Framework will rise by 374 billion drachmas as a result of the
drachma's devaluation last spring, National Economy Undersecretary Christos
Pachtas said yesterday.
The funds, due for release by the end of 1999, will be allocated to
projects in sectors including infrastructure, education, the environment,
public administration and employment, Mr. Pachtas said.
"The increase will be covered wholly by the Community's participation," he
The EU's participation in CSF projects rose to 69.2 percent in March from
66.2 percent, and will hold that level until the end of 1999.
He was speaking after a meeting with EU officials on monitoring the
absorption of monies in CSF-funded projects.
Pangalos concludes visit to Albania, talks with leadership
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos concluded his visit to Albania
yesterday, where he held talks with the neighbouring country's president,
government and opposition party leaders.
Mr. Pangalos also visited the Greek force in Albania at the Izberis
military camp yesterday. He made an address to Greek troops, congratulating
them on their work, and also participated in a ceremony for the delivery of
military equipment to Albania, accepted by Public Order Minister Perikli
Teta for Albania's police.
In the presence of Archbishop of Albania Anastasios, Mr. Pangalos was then
given a guided tour of the Orthodox Diagnostic Centre, which is being built
by the Archdiocese, with work expected to be completed in the coming
The Archbishop said that the free supply of pharmaceuticals to the Albanian
people by the Archdiocese exceeds 46 million drachmas, while a programme
for the free provision of infants' food to babies of up to one year has
already been started.
Mr. Pangalos and his Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo inaugurated the
Albanian foreign ministry's new computerised network on Monday, carried out
with aid from Athens.
Gov't calls Turkish provocations on Cyprus a sign of 'weakness'
Greece yesterday described the presence of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut
Yilmaz in the Turkish-occupied north of the divided island as "negative".
Replying to questions on statements and threats made by Mr. Yilmaz, who
arrived in the occupied territory yesterday morning to attend events
marking the 24th anniversary of the island's invasion by Turkish troops,
government spokesman Dimitris Reppas called on Ankara to contribute to
normalising Greek-Turkish relations.
"While Greece and Cyprus have made substantial progress, Turkey, despite
the boasts of its leaders, cannot with its impertinence and provocativenss
make up for ground lost because of its behaviour," Mr. Reppas said.
The spokesman said the presence of Turkish warplanes in the occupied
northern part of Cyprus was an "unprecedented provocation" on the part of
Ankara which at the same time showed up Ankara's weakness.
"It's as if Turkey's leaders are trying to prove something," Mr. Reppas
US State Dept. refers to Cyprus invasion anniversary
US State Department spokesman James Rubin said yesterday that according to
its sources, Washington believes that only Turkish propeller-driven
training aircraft and helicopters, not fighters, flew over Nicosia on July
20, during commemoration events for the 24th anniversary of the Turkish
invasion of Cyprus.
Mr. Rubin stressed, however, that "the display of weapons systems by either
side brings about an unnecessary rise in tensions on the island and makes
the finding of a solution more difficult".
The US official further underlined that the US administration believes that
the passing of 24 years since the invasion makes the need for a solution
Kaklamanis receives expatriate Greek politicians
Forty expatriate deputies who are members of the World Hellenic Interparliamentary
Union were received by Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday.
Mr. Kaklamanis appealed to the deputies to continue their efforts to
examine problems faced by expatriate Greeks and the promotion of national
targets. He added that actions and omissions of the past leading us to the
Cyprus tragedy must become lessons, while the positive elements of the
Greek people must be utilised.
Referring to Greece's relations with Turkey, Mr. Kaklamanis said that
Monday's appearance (in Cyprus) of Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was
provocative and spoke of an escalation in Turkish provocativeness.
Testing for new Thessaloniki radar
Testing on a new approach radar for Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport will
begin early next month, a Macedonian Press Agency (MPA) dispatch reported
According to airport officials, special technicians of the Italian company
"Alenia", in charge of the project, will be in Thessaloniki in the first 10
days of August.
According to the newspaper "Thessaloniki", construction work on the site
where the radar will be installed is proceeding as scheduled.
Massive tourism contract between monastery, British firm
A contract was signed last night between the Seitia-based Panayia
Akrotiriani Foundation and the London-based firm Loyaluard Ltd. aimed at
the tourism development of the property, belonging to the Toplou Monastery.
In a joint press conference, the president of the foundation, Metropolitan
Filotheos, the abbot of the monastery Philotheos Spanoudakis, and the
foundation's board said the investment, amounting to 500 million pound
sterling will change the entire region of 2,600 acres with the construction
of a 7,000-bed development.
Irene Papas to direct her first play
Greek actress Irene Papas will direct a play for the first time in her
career, in which she will be acting with a troupe composed of 25 female
actors and singers.
The musical and theatrical play "Apocalypse, the Voice of a Woman" by
Giorgos Heimonas will be performed at the ancient Roman theatre of Sagudo
in Valencia, Spain on July 23.
The play, in which a combination of Byzantine hymns, flamenco dance and
speech is made for the first time, is a joint effort by the Valencia local
government and the University of Valencia.
Ionian Investments posts increased profits
Ionian Investments, an Ionian Bank subsidiary, posted a clear profit of 792
million drachmas in the first half of the year, compared to the same period
in 1997 - an increase of 115 per cent.
The company's investments up to the end of June 1998 were 86.4 per cent in
domestic, and 13.6 per cent in foreign securities.
State phone, transport workers to strike tomorrow
State transport and telephone workers will stage nationwide strikes
tomorrow called by the Confederation of Greek Labour to protest against the
government's plan to restructure public services.
The stoppages are being held by the workers of organisations overseen by
the transport and communications ministry.
Employees at Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation and the Greek
Railways Organisation will strike for 24 hours.
Bus and trolley workers in Athens and Piraeus are to stay off the job from
the start of their shift at 5am until 8 am, and then from 10 pm until the
end of the shift.
Workers on the Athens-Piraeus railway are striking from 5am until 9 am and
from 9 pm until the end of the working day.
Olympic Airways personnel will hold a work stoppage from 12 noon to 3
Greek stocks surge again
Greek equities again hit a new all-time high yesterday, surging through 2,
800 points after recently breaking the 2,700-point barrier.
The Athens general share index ended 1.97 percent higher at 2,825.52 points,
and the FTSE/ASE 20 index gained 2.12 percent to finish at 1,727.13
Trade was moderate to active with turnover at 63.9 billion drachmas.
Strong buying interest was reported in National Bank of Greece, a blue chip
on the Athens bourse, especially among foreign institutional investors.
The stock finished at the eight percent upper volatility limit, closing at
Buying interest again was strong in construction stocks with the sector
index finishing 6.58 percent higher against gains of 5.96 percent in the
Other sectors rose across the board. Banks surged 2.20 percent, Leasing
rose 0.20 percent, Insurance jumped 3.86 percent, Investment increased 1.03
percent, Industrials rose by 1.58 percent, Holding gained 2.21 percent, and
Miscellaneous soared 2.33 per cent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies finished 0.46 percent
Of 270 stocks traded, advances led declines at 142 to 109 with 19 shares
The day's biggest percentage losers were Elfiko, General Trade (common),
Britania, Development Invest, Eskimo, Sato, Etma, Eltrak and Karelia.
National Bank of Greece ended at 54,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 33,690, Alpha
Credit Bank at 30,050, Ionian Bank at 17,605, Commercial Bank of Greece at
29,305, Delta Dairy (common) at 3,900, Intracom (common) at 13,500, Titan
Cement (common) at 24,245, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,660 and Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation at 8,576 drachmas.
Gov't says rise in May unemployment figure expected
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that the increase in
unemployment recorded by the Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) was
expected by the government.
He attributed the increase to the fact that the unemployed, primarily young
people and the long-term unemployed, rushed to register at OAED to take
advantage of benefits announced by the government in May.
Mr. Reppas said that in this way a false impression is given of an increase
in unemployment, while reality is the trend for indentification between
registered and real unemployment.
He further said that unemployment has remained stable at 10.3 per cent over
the past two years, while in past years it had showed a continuous
Mr. Reppas estimated that in 1998 unemployment will be maintained at the
10.3 per cent level.
The jobless rate surged to 9.8 per cent in June, or 2.86 percentage points
higher than the figure for the same month in 1997, hitting a record high in
the summer season when unemployment usually drops.
In June, the registered unemployed were 288,299, the highest seasonal
figure recorded by OAED, which collected the data.
Fine with strong northerly winds is forecast for today temperatures ranging
from 19-36C in the west, 18-34C in the mainland, and 22-32C on the islands.
Athens, sunny with strong to very strong winds, 22-34C. Same in Thessaloniki
with temperatures from 20-33C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 294.178
British pound 484.513 Japanese yen (100) 210.096
French franc 49.106 German mark 164.622
Italian lira (100) 16.686 Irish Punt 414.140
Belgian franc 7.982 Finnish mark 54.068
Dutch guilder 146.037 Danish kr. 43.192
Austrian sch. 23.372 Spanish peseta 1.938
Swedish kr. 36.936 Norwegian kr. 38.861
Swiss franc 194.650 Port. Escudo 1.607
Aus. dollar 184.720 Can. dollar 197.170
Cyprus pound 561.849