Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-09-28
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 28/09/1998 (ANA)
- ECOFIN council pleased with course of EU economy
- Simitis ends tour of Aetoloakarnania, region's projects
- Karamanlis says gov't in `state of dissolution`
- SE European countries agree on regional peacekeeping force
- Europarliament's Spencer confident Cyprus will join EU
- Medical examiners: Matei choked on his own vomit
- Polish army's chief of staff in Greece
- Greek runner wins 16th annual "Spartathlon '98"
- Balkan bilateral, multilateral cooperation to be discussed
- Greek first division soccer results
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
ECOFIN council pleased with course of EU economy
The three-day council of European Union finance and economy ministers
(ECOFIN) concluded in Vienna yesterday with the overall ascertainment that
Europe's economy has turned into an "oasis of stability and development"
following the euro's introduction.
Greece was represented by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos
Papantoniou as well as the governor of the Bank of Greece, Loukas
Mr. Papantoniou said the result of this development is that over the next
few years the prospect will be shaped for the continuation of the present
recovery and of relatively high rates of economic growth, at least in most
European Union member-states.
He said that Greece is certainly included in this respect, as its economy
has an even higher development rate, reaching 3.5-3.7 per cent in
Mr. Papantoniou mentioned during the discussion on the "Agenda 2000"
programme, which preoccupied the last session of ECOFIN, that Greece mostly
agrees with the content as set out by the European Commission but considers
that the 1.27 per cent limit concerning the EU's own resources does not
appear capable of corresponding to the needs existing for the promotion of
EU policies, particularly in relation with cohesion.
He stressed the danger of the inadequacy of resources while referring in
particular to uncertainties existing on the cost of enlargement and also
possible savings from the reshaping of common agricultural policy.
The communique issued by the ECOFIN council in Vienna hails the joining of
the drachma to the second Exchange Rate Mechanism which, as stressed, was
agreed by all and is based on the satisfactory functioning of the drachma
in the framework of the existing mechanism, as well as on the major
progress achieved in the Greek economy's convergence with those of EU
member-states. It was added that the fluctuation margin remains 15 per
Simitis ends tour of Aetoloakarnania, region's projects
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday ended a two-day tour of the
Aetoloakarnania prefecture by saying that projects taking place in the
region are remedying injustice, namely, the delay of the region's
Speaking in the town of Messolongi, he said that Aetoloakarnania is
entering a period of development and optimism, since many projects are
either underway or have been scheduled and whose duration will last for
many years, as well as creating new jobs in the region.
Mr. Simitis visited a detour road project in the town of Agrinio and said
that this section constitutes the beginning of the country's western road
axis which will restore a balance between eastern and western Greece.
He also referred to foreign policy saying that Greece has shown the course
towards peace and stability in the Balkans. He said that his government
also has a policy for the Balkan region, a position that he supported on
two occasions: the summit of Balk an nation prime ministers which started
in Crete last year and will be repeated in Antalya, Turkey, on October 11
and 12, and the meeting between the prime ministers of Greece, Romania and
Bulgaria which will take place in Delphi.
Mr. Simitis referred in particular to the handling of European issues,
saying that thanks to negotiations being carried out by the government more
than 10 trillion drachmas will flow into the country from the third
Community Support Framework which, tog ether with national funds, will
amount to 16 trillion drachmas. He said that so much money has never come
into the country in the past.
Karamanlis says gov't in `state of dissolution`
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday
stressed that Greece currently projects an image of "sadness, disappointment,
stagnation and decline," while he said unemployment is being felt by every
Addressing a rally at the ND-affiliated youth group's (ONNED) festival
outside the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Faliro yesterday evening, Mr.
Karamanlis strongly criticised the Simitis government over its handling of
major issues, saying that the government lacked boldness and that there was
a worsening in all sectors instead of an improvement.
Referring to economic issues, he said the cases of Olympic Airways,
Greece's debt-ridden national carrier, and of Ionian Bank were fiascos,
adding that there must be respect for the tax-paying citizen, "who is
constantly paying, without his money having any impact."
Commenting on national issues, Mr. Karamanlis said that Greece must defend
its national rights, and not experience humiliations such as that during
the crisis over the Imia islets (in January 1996), as he noted.
"The struggle for tomorrow will not be made with dividing lines but will be
a struggle between the past and decline with the forces of tomorrow and of
progress," he said.
SE European countries agree on regional peacekeeping force
An agreement on the creation of a peacekeeping force by southeastern Europe
countries was signed in Skopje on Saturday, although several issues
remained undecided, such as the headquarters for the new force.
The agreement was signed during a meeting of defence ministers from Greece,
Turkey, Italy, the US, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Slovenia and the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Commenting on the creation of the multinational peacekeeping force,
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said it was a good step
towards strengthening security and stability in a region which has
He added that "an instrument was created to implement a collective security
The multinational peacekeeping force is expected to be activated in the
second half of 1999. Greece also made a proposal, which was initially
accepted, for the creation of a centre for managing crises in the
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also briefed his counterparts that at the end of the
year a centre will begin operating in Kilkis, northern Greece, to train
officers and soldiers from countries participating in the Partnership for
Peace (PfP) programme with the purp ose of backing peacekeeping operations.
Europarliament's Spencer confident Cyprus will join EU
Cyprus will become a member of the European Union regardless of developments
over the Cyprus problem, the president of the Europarliament's foreign
affairs committee, Tom Spencer, told reporters in Thessaloniki yesterday.
Mr. Spencer was in Thessaloniki to take part in a European Peoples' Party
and New Democracy Eurodeputies' conference on the topic of "Urban
Environment and the Quality of Life: Thessaloniki and the European
Also present at the meeting was the vice-president of the European
Parliament, Nicole Fontaine.
Mr. Spencer said Cyprus' EU accession would reduce the possibility of any
Turkish offensive on the island.
Turkey's own prospects for joining the EU, he added, were tied in with
other issues, such as the human rights situation.
Medical examiners: Matei choked on his own vomit
Three medical examiners ruled yesterday that Greek-Romanian fugitive Sorin
Matei died by choking on his own vomit, according to preliminary autopsy
Matei, who died suddenly late Saturday morning while being treated at the
Korydallos prison's hospital, was at the centre of Wednesday's botched
police raid in central Athens, which left one hostage and a police officer
Four coroners assigned to conduct the autopsy on Matei said the 25-year-old
escaped convict had choked to death, as a result of being heavily sedated
and bound. They also stated that he should not have been moved to the
prison hospital. Matei had been under sedation and heavy police guard since
late on Wednesday.
He had held police at bay for hours and threatened to detonate a hand
grenade in a central Athens apartment in which he was holding three
On the day he died, he was scheduled to give a statement to a prosecutor
assigned the inquiry into the details of the raid, which left a total of 12
people, including the head and deputy chief of Greek police, injured. The
head of the Greek Police resigned and two other senior police officials
were replaced in the wake of severe criticism of police's handling of the
A report on the definitive cause of Matei's death will be issued on
completion of all toxicology and other tests.
Polish army's chief of staff in Greece
Polish Army General Staff Chief Lt.-Gen. Zvignieu Zalewski will begin an
official three-day visit to Greece today at the invitation of his Greek
counterpart Lt.-Gen. Manousos Paragioudakis.
During his stay, the Polish army's commander will visit Greece's military
headquarters, a training centre, the Third Army Corps, as well as
archaeological sites in Athens and Thessaloniki. Lt.-Gen. Zalewski will
depart Greece on Oct. 1.
Greek runner wins 16th annual "Spartathlon '98"
A Greek runner won the 16th international ultra-distance race "Spartathlon
'98" on Saturday. Costas Reppos, who won the race for the second consecutive
year, covered the distance in 25 hours, 11 minutes, 41 seconds. He led the
race from start to finish.
Also taking part in the race, which began on Friday at the foot of the
Acropolis, were 196 athletes from 23 countries.
Runners covered the 246 kilometres to Sparta, tracing the steps of the
ancient Athenian courier Pheidippides. A Japanese and a Briton took second
and third place, respectively.
Balkan bilateral, multilateral cooperation to be discussed
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Greece, Bulgaria and Romania
as well as the situation in the region will be the main issues for
discussion between Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Bulgarian President Petar
Stoyanov and Romanian President Emil Constantinescu in Delphi on Oct. 3-4,
according to a Bulgarian presidency press release on Saturday.
An ANA dispatch from Sofia quoted the press release as saying that the
tripartite meeting will contribute in balancing inter-state relations
between the Balkan countries for the promotion of economic cooperation and
for stability in the Balkans.
Other issues to be discussed by the three leaders will be the combatting of
organised crime and plans for the enlargement of the European Union and
Greek first division soccer results
Panionios Athens-Panelefsiniakos 3-0 Kavala-Aris Thessaloniki 3-1
Veria-Apollon Athens 1-1 Panathinaikos-Ionikos Piraeus 2-1
OFI Heraklion-AEK Athens 0-1 Ethnikos Piraeus-PAOK Thessaloniki 1-
1 Paniliakos Pyrgos-Olympiakos Piraeus 1-0
Iraklis Thessaloniki-Ethnikos Astir Athens 1-1 Proodeftiki Piraeus-Xanthi 1-
2 Standings/points: AEK 13, Panathinaikos 12, Olympiakos, Aris,
Ionikos, Xanthi 10, Paniliakos 9, Iraklis, Kavala, Ethnikos 7.
Cloud will increase in the Ionian and on the mainland today, spreading to
the rest of the country, with storms expected in the west. Winds southerly
moderate to strong. Scattered cloud in Athens increasing in the afternoon
with temperatures from 18-30C. Thessaloniki will be overcast with possible
rain and temperatures from 16-26C.
Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 287.402
British pound 489.116 Japanese yen (100) 213.449
French franc 51.417 German mark 172.420
Italian lira (100) 17.435 Irish Punt 431.222
Belgian franc 8.357 Finnish mark 56.633
Dutch guilder 152.887 Danish kr. 45.291
Austrian sch. 24.497 Spanish peseta 2.030
Swedish kr. 36.525 Norwegian kr. 38.823
Swiss franc 208.439 Port. Escudo 1.679
Aus. dollar 169.344 Can. dollar 190.047
Cyprus pound 581.848