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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-07-22

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


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
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


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 stated.

"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 cases.

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 said.

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 months.

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 said.

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 more imperative.

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 yesterday.

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 pm.

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 points.

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 54,000 drachmas.

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 previous session.

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 up.

Of 270 stocks traded, advances led declines at 142 to 109 with 19 shares remaining unchanged.

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 increase.

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


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