Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-07
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 07/10/1998 (ANA)
- Greece to meet EMU entry targets in 2000, PM says
- Greek stocks rally in scant trade
- Rates on 6M T-bills rise 30 basis points to 12.6 pct
- Greece ranks top among EU money market mutual funds
- OA technicians to strike
- Greece's candidacy for non-permanent seat on UN Security Council
- Kosovo crisis must be resolved through political dialogue
- US offers AWACS to Greece
- 10th Defendory weapons systems exhibition opens in Piraeus
- Alexander Dubcek's youngest son appointed ambassador to Athens
- Greek Nat'l Olympics Committee picks water-skiing as 2004 event
- 'Traditional Orthodox Moscow' exhibition in Athens
- Greece ratifies convention on human rights, biomedicine
- New bill on organ transplants
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece to meet EMU entry targets in 2000, PM says
Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that the government's economic
and development policy was bringing tangible results, enabling the country
to meet entry targets for European economic and monetary union in
The government, which wants to join the EU's single currency by January 1,
2001 at the latest, was also successfully handling the repercussions of a
global financial crisis on the domestic economy, Mr. Simitis said.
In addition, progress by Greece also meant that the country now had a
strong presence in Europe, where it was in a position to influence
Mr. Simitis was speaking during a visit to the port of Lavrion on the east
coast of Attica accompanied by ministers and other government officials.
During his visit, the prime minister inaugurated a new electrical power
plant with Development Minister Vasso Papandreou that will operate on
Output at the new plant - together with that of the existing network - will
boost capacity and reduce the likelihood of power supply problems in
Energy policy was a strategic key to development, and the government had
taken steps to ensure the smooth operation of the energy market, Mr.
As examples, he cited Hellenic Petroleum's listing on the Athens Stock
Exchange, gradual liberalisation of the electrical energy market from
February 2001, reorganisation of the Public Power Corporation, and the
participation of experienced private inve stors in the natural gas supply
Mr. Simitis said works at Lavrion harbour, which is expected to be linked
to Athens' new airport now under construction at Spata, could turn the port
town into a supplementary junction for the movement of goods and passengers.
Unemployment in the Lavrion area had already dropped sharply from 24
percent in 1993 to approximately 11 percent, and a programme being
implemented by the government would further reduce joblessness.
Forty three investment plans worth a total of 27 billion drachmas were
being promoted that would create a further 663 jobs, Mr. Simitis said.
Greek stocks rally in scant trade
Greek equities rebounded on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, halting a
four-day decline that saw the market lose 12.5 percent of its value.
The general index retook the 1,900-point barrier to end 0.81 percent higher
at 1,905.06 points. Trading was extremely thin with turnover at 28.3
billion drachmas. Volume was 6,756,000 shares.
Sector indices mostly scored gains.
Banks rose 0.26 percent, Insurance ended 0.28 percent up, Investment
increased 0.39 percent, Leasing ended 0.08 percent higher, Industrials
surged 1.30 percent, Miscellaneous jumped 2.23 percent, Holding soared 2.87
percent but Construction fell 1.83 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.34 percent lower,
and the FTSE/ASE 20 blue chip index rose 0.65 percent to 1,142.88
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 114 to 112 with another 20 issues
Rates on 6M T-bills rise 30 basis points to 12.6 pct
The finance ministry yesterday held an auction of new six-month Treasury
bills that saw interest rates rise by 30 basis points to 12.6 percent from
12.3 percent in the previous tender.
Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis attributed the increase to the
impact of a deepening international financial crisis.
But the crisis had led to fewer repercussions on Greece than on other
emerging economies, Mr. Christodoulakis said.
A steady improvement in the domestic economy coupled with a minor exposure
to foreign markets by Greek banks and enterprises had shielded the
October's state borrowing needs totalled 400 billion drachmas, and the sum
would be covered by existing state reserves, Mr. Christodoulakis said.
Weekly auctions of state securities would continue along with a possible
resumption of auctions for long-term bonds, frozen in the aftermath of the
Mr. Christodoulakis said that the state was able to meet its monthly
borrowing requirements following an agreement signed with international
banks for a credit line totalling 1.25 billion US dollars, and another with
Greek banks worth 300 billion drachmas.
He also said that the government's Prometoha equity convertible bond issue
had been a success with institutional investors absorbing 90 billion
drachmas and private investors another 80 billion drachmas' worth of
The Balladur-type bond was launched in September and allows investors to
convert the paper into the shares of firms privatised through the Athens
Stock Exchange from January 1, 1999.
The issue means the government has access to the privatisation funds before
the companies' stock is sold.
Mr. Christodoulakis forecast that an overshooting of primary budget
spending this year could be reduced to a 6.3 percent increase from 9.1
Spending on interest would exceed targets by 50 billion drachmas in 1998,
Greece ranks top among EU money market mutual funds
Greece accounted for the lion's share of money market funds in the European
Union's mutual fund market on March 31, holding a 65.5 percent stake,
according to the European Federation of Investment Funds and Companies
It was followed by France with 32.9 percent of the market and Spain with
32.2 percent, said FEFSI in data published by the Union of Institutional
Greece ranked 11th in the 15-nation bloc on March 31 in Europe's total
mutual fund market, accounting for 1.3 percent of the total.
OA technicians to strike
Olympic Airways aircraft technicians (EPTAOA) yesterday announced a strike
for Oct. 13 and 15 to press demands for the immediate hiring of 102
apprentice mechanics and another 80 trainees.
Technicians said they will walk off the job between 6-9 a.m. and 5-8 p.m.
on both days.
EPTAOA representatives said that some 200 people had already left the
sector through early retirement plans and another 30 were due to retire
this year. Until 2000, another 85 specialised technicians will retire.
Greece's candidacy for non-permanent seat on UN Security Council
If the United Nations is to be reformed, becoming more representative,
democratic and transparent, these principles should be adhered to if the
impression is to be avoided that there is an informal group of semi-
permanent members of the Security Council, or that the Council is a closed
club, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis stressed at the UN
He made the statements during a press conference in view of the General
Assembly vote tomorrow morning for the election of the 10 non-permanent
members of the Council for the 1999-2000 period. Greece, along with The
Netherlands and Canada, is contesting one of the two seats reserved for the
so-called western group.
Referring to Greece's candidacy, Mr, Kranidiotis stressed the principle of
equality, emphasising that all member-states of the UN have the same rights
regarding their representation in the various organs, particularly in the
He pointed out that Greece has served as member of the Security Council
only once (1952-1953), compared to four and five times for The Netherlands
and Canada, respectively.
Mr. Kranidiotis also referred to Greece's good relations with so-called
Third World countries, adding that due to its geographical position in the
Balkans and southeastern Europe, Athens election would provide opportunity
for a more active presence of the organisation in this particularly
Replying to a question by CNN on the stand Greece would maintain on the
Kosovo issue if it were a member of the Security Council, Mr. Kranidiotis
said the positions Athens has adopted in various organisations, such as the
EU and NATO, have been similar to those of its partners.
"Our view is that problems are not always faced with the use of force, and
we maintain reservations on this idea, along with all the other countries
of the region that will be called upon to directly face the consequences,"
He referred to a strict message addressed to Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic by the tripartite Greek-Bulgarian-Romanian summit meeting in
Delphi over the weekend, and expressed a view that diplomatic means for de-
escalating the crisis have not yet been exhausted. Finally, responding to a
Turkish reporter's question on the current Turkish-Syrian dispute, Mr.
Kranidiotis noted that problems in the relations between the two countries
are many and do not come from only one direction.
He also referred to a military agreement between Turkey and Israel, which
he said, was not only of concern to Syria, but to all countries in the
region that hoped the agreement would not be to their detriment and would
not upset existing balances.
Mr. Kranidiotis expressed the hope a war between Turkey and Syria would be
averted and that the dispute would be overcome through negotiations.
Lastly, he pointed out that Greece and Turkey (which has stated its
candidacy for the Security Council in 2001) have entered into a "gentlemen's
agreement" not to undermine each other's candidacy.
Kosovo crisis must be resolved through political dialogue
Athens once again reiterated its standing position yesterday that the
Kosovo crisis should resolved through political dialogue, while admitting
that "the clouds of war appeared to be gathering".
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas also denied that the presence of NATO
officials in the northern city of Thessaloniki was linked in any way to a
possible NATO strike in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo.
The situation in Kosovo has no bearing on the presence of foreign officials
in Greece, he said.
US offers AWACS to Greece
The US Pentagon said on Monday it had approved the potential sale of six
airborne warning and control systems to Greece for $380 million.
The prime contractor for the proposed sale of the sophisticated "AWACS"
systems would be either Northrop Grumman Corp. or Lockheed Martin Corp.,
depending on whether Athens buys Northrop E-2C or Lockheed C-130J
The proposed package is part of a major upgrade in defence equipment by
10th Defendory weapons systems exhibition opens in Piraeus
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday inaugurated the
10th Defendory international exhibition of conventional weapons at the
Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) exhibition centre.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos first accompanied his visiting Russian counterpart Igor
Sergeyev around pavilions of the Greek defence industries, before
inspecting Russian weapons systems on display.
Afterwards, US ambassador Nicholas Burns guided Mr. Tsohatzopoulos around
the pavilions of the US defence industries.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also received visiting Senegalese Foreign Minister
Cheikh Harnidou Kane and Italian Deputy Defence Minister Gianni Rivera.
Defence Undersecretary Dimitrios Apostolakis yesterday had successive
meetings with his Hungarian and Italian counterparts, Janos Karasz and Mr.
Alexander Dubcek's youngest son appointed ambassador to Athens
Milan Dubcek, the youngest of Alexander Dubcek's three sons, was appointed
yesterday as Slovakia's ambassador to Athens.
Mr. Dubcek received his credentials from out-going Slovakin Prime Minister
Vladimir Meciar, according to the press agency Tasr.
The fourty-six-year-old Dubcek is a career diplomat.
His father, Alexander, led the 1968 reform movement (Prague Spring) in
Czechoslovakia. The elder Dubcek was fatally injured in a mysterious
November 1992 traffic accident.
Greek Nat'l Olympics Committee picks water-skiing as 2004 event
Greece's National Olympics Committee (EOA) yesterday chose water-skiing as
one of the two additional events at the 28th Olympiad - Athens 2004.
The selection will now be put to the Athens 2004 organising committee for
joint proposal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The city which hosts the Olympic Games has the right to propose two events
of its own choice, final approval then resting with the IOC.
According to EOA members, water-skiing was chosen as one of the events
because of its universal popularity and high-level of competition in
The second event will be discussed at the committee's next meeting after
proposals have been examined from the country's athletics federations.
These proposals must be submitted to EOA by Oct. 23.
'Traditional Orthodox Moscow' exhibition in Athens
The Vouros-Eftaxias Museum of Athens in cooperation with the Moscow History
Museum will organise an exhibition on "Traditional Orthodox Moscow" of the
last four centuries.
The exhibition will open in Athens on Oct. 12 and end on Nov. 15.
Exhibits will include various religious items from the 17th century to date
highlighting the cultural bonds of Russia and Greece throughout the
Rare books, oil paintings and priceless icons will be included, along with
a photographic collection of Crimean cities still recognised by their Greek
Both Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos and the Patriarch of Moscow Alexios
II hailed the exhibition in messages.
Greece ratifies convention on human rights, biomedicine
Greece yesterday ratified the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine.
Athens' permanent representative at the Council of Europe, Prof. Dimitri
Constas, handed the instrument of ratification to Council of Europe (CoE)
Secretary General Daniel Tarschys yesterday.
The convention is the first internationally binding legal text designed to
protect people against the misuse of biological and medical advances. It
aims at preserving human dignity and identity, rights and freedoms, through
a series of principles and rules.
New bill on organ transplants
The health ministry yesterday unveiled a new bill on transplant procedures.
The new bill provides, as an incentive, priority status to people who sign
up as organ donors in case they need a transplant in the future. It also
includes a requirement for consent from close family members of a deceased
individual in the absence of such consent or refusal by individual while
they were still alive.
In the absence of immediate family members or when authorities are unable
to contact them within a reasonable amount of time, organs' removal will be
decided by an ethics committee from the National Transplants Organisation,
which will also keep organ d onor and recipient files.
With the new bill, the populace will be offered the opportunity to state
their wish to become organ donors through special forms that will be
distributed to the public.
More than 1,500 people are currently on a waiting list to receive various
organ transplants in Greece.
Cloudy weather will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility of
rain in the northern Ionian, Epirus, western central Greece and western
Macedonia in the afternoon. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning
gale force in the Ionian. Overcast in Athens with temperatures between 16-
30C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 14-26C.
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 282.432
British pound 475.069 Japanese yen (100) 212.764
French franc 51.419 German mark 172.375
Italian lira (100) 17.440 Irish Punt 431.917
Belgian franc 8.357 Finnish mark 56.651
Dutch guilder 152.942 Danish kr. 45.348
Austrian sch. 24.503 Spanish peseta 2.029
Swedish kr. 35.311 Norwegian kr. 37.813
Swiss franc 209.590 Port. Escudo 1.682
Aus. dollar 164.603 Can. dollar 182.191
Cyprus pound 582.443