Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-10-21
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 21/10/1998 (ANA)
- Athens calls for intervention regarding EU funding to Turkey
- Pangalos to visit Moldova, Russia
- BSEC parliamentary committee meeting in Athens
- Turkish warplanes violate Greek airspace
- Three new border corridors on Greek-Albanian border expected
- Time change on Sunday
- Russian-made "OSA-AK" anti-aircraft enters Greek arsenal
- First part of feasibility study on Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline
- OTE employees' union strike in protest of further share flotations
- Equities rise
- Bill capital markets ratified
- Greek jewellery market in stagnation
- Titan announces intent to buy shares of Bulgarian cement company
- 'Reverse auction' for state securities
- Gov't, insurance company reps meet
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Athens calls for intervention regarding EU funding to Turkey
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday sent a letter to his Austrian
counterpart and current president of the EU council of ministers, Wolfgang
Schuessel, asking him to intervene to prevent the adoption of European
Commission proposals for the release of Community funds towards Turkey,
which Athens considers to be legally unfounded.
According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Pangalos strongly criticises the
Commission's attempt to release funds allocated to Turkey under the fourth
financial protocol, which have up to now been blocked by a Greek veto.
Noting that the attempt is contrary to decisions taken at the EU summit in
Cardiff, the sources said, Mr. Pangalos warns that if the Commission sticks
to its proposals, Greece will be forced to have recourse to the European
Court of Justice.
In the letter, the sources added, Mr. Pangalos speaks of "a mistaken
approach" on the part of the Commission, which will in the future create
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said last week that any attempt to
release EU funds to Turkey "by a different path" would be legally
groundless and politically unorthodox.
He was replying to questions on reports that European Foreign Affairs
Commissioner Hans van den Broek was considering releasing EU funds to
Turkey, presently blocked by Greece, through some different channel.
Despite efforts by its EU partners to persuade Greece to lift its veto,
Athens has insisted on adherence to decisions taken at the last EU summits
in Luxembourg and Cardiff, when Turkey was told that its EU candidacy would
depend on whether it improved its human rights record and relations with
Pangalos to visit Moldova, Russia
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos begins visits to Moldova and Russia
today for talks with the two countries' leaderships.
It will be the first visit by a Greek minister to Moldova since its
During his trip to Moldova today, he will meet with President Petru
Lucinschi, Prime Minister Ion Ciubuc, Foreign Minister Nicolae Tabacaru and
Parliament President Dumitru Diakov. He will also visit the Greek section
at Chisinau University and meet with members of the ethnic Greek community
and with Greek businesspeople active in the country.
He heads for Russia tomorrow where he will have talks with Prime Minister
Yevgeny Primakov, his counterpart Igor Ivanov and with other government and
national assembly (Duma) senior officials.
During his stay, he will sign a protocol of cooperation between the two
countries' departments of historical archives and an agreement for the
upgrading of the consular authorities in the Greek and Russian capitals.
On the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic
relations between the two countries, Mr. Pangalos will inaugurate an
exhibition at the Moscow Music Hall dedicated to the life and works of late
Greek composer Dimitris Mitropoulos.
BSEC parliamentary committee meeting in Athens
The 12th meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact (BSEC) legal
and political affairs parliamentary committee began in Athens yesterday.
At issue is the "formulation of a legal framework for the double taxation
The parliaments of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, Russia,
Turkey, the Ukraine and Greece are represented.
Turkish warplanes violate Greek airspace
Turkish warplanes violated Greek airspace and infringed on Athens FIR
regulations on 13 instances yesterday.
According to reports, 20 Turkish F-16 and six F-4 fighters flew two to
seven nautical miles off the coasts of Psara, Hios, Agios Efstratios, Symi
All Turkish aircraft were armed, reports stated.
The Hellenic Air Force intercepted the Turkish planes in all instances,
while in six interceptions led to engagements.
In a related development, a Turkish fighter flew near a Hellenic Air Force
C-130 within the Athens-Paphos air corridor during a scheduled flight. The
transport plane at the time was within the Nicosia FIR.
Three new border corridors on Greek-Albanian border expected
An agreement concluded between Albania and Greece for the opening of three
new border corridors was ratified by a majority vote by the relevant
Parliamentary committee yesterday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said that the opening of the
two corridors was a request by ethnic Greeks in the region, while only the
corridor at Sayiades was a request by Tirana.
Mr. Kranidiotis said that work required to open the corridors will be
completed in 2001 and will be funded by European Union programmes.
Referring to the military agreement signed between Albania and Turkey, Mr.
Kranidiotis said that the agreement concerns technical aid for rebuilding
the port of Vlore, adding that it has not been ratified by the Albanian
Time change on Sunday
In line with other European Union countries daylight saving time in Greece
ends on Sunday. Consequently, at 4 a.m. on Sunday clocks must be set one
hour back to show 3 a.m.
Russian-made "OSA-AK" anti-aircraft enters Greek arsenal
The Russian-made "OSA-AK" anti-aircraft and anti-missile system was
officially incorporated in the Greek army yesterday.
At ceremony attended by of National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris
Apostolakis and the army's top leadership at an artillery unit in Komotini,
northern Greece, Mr. Apostolakis said:
"The system joining the defence mechanism is part of the ministry's overall
pursuit of strengthening the country's anti-aircraft defence".
He said that the order for the OSA-AK system was placed in April 1998 and
was incorporated in the armed forces in a short period of time. He added
that decisions for the procurement of new weaponry systems are taken
swiftly to benefit the economy and strengthen Greece's defence.
The OSA-AK system is composed of a search radar, an administration vehicle,
four missile launchers, two missile loaders and assistance vehicles.
Sixteen such anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems were officially
incorporated in the land-based army on Monday.
An OSA-AK unit has existed in Komotini since 1992, being of east German
origin, and has conducted successful firing tests.
Mr. Apostolakis said new procurements include multiple rocket launcher
systems (MLRS), missiles, 12 new self-propelled 155 mm guns from the US in
the early months of 1999, 50 slightly used 155 mm guns from Germany in 1998,
12 new self-propelled guns of the Zuzana type from Slovakia, two anti-
artillery radars from the US in March 1999, a number of battlefield
surveillance systems and various other armaments programmes such as the
development and joint production of hi-tech ammunition.
First part of feasibility study on Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline
The first phase of a feasibility study for the oft-proposed oil pipeline
from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis will have been
completed by February 1999, an announcement by the DEP-Thraki SA consortium
The consortium, formed by Hellenic Pertoleum, the Latsis group and the
Kopelouzos group, has come to an agreement with the ILF and Brown & Root
firms for the study.
OTE employees' union strike in protest of further share flotations
The administrative board of the federation of Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation (OTE) employees yesterday said its members would strike on
Oct. 26-27 and 29-30.
According to federation representatives, the action is in support of
demands to stop the further sale of OTE shares as well as for financial
assistance for employees' pension fund.
After October, the representatives said, the fund would be unable to pay
pensions to beneficiaries.
The federation is also demanding a new salary scale and system for
determining employees' remuneration. National economy ministry sources said
last week that the government was expected within days to give the go-ahead
for a third OTE float as part of its privatisation plan.
The float is to sell around 10 percent of share capital, which would bring
the amount privatised to 35 percent of stock.
Under the original sale plan, 70 percent of stock would be sold to
investors in Europe and the United States through book building, and 30
percent in Greece through book building and a public offer.
Greek equities resumed their upward trend to end higher yesterday led by
strong buying interest in Leasing stocks and other small and medium-sized
The general index ended 1.15 percent up to 2,051.19 points with turnover at
34.6 billion drachmas.
Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 1.15 percent, Insurance ended 0.48
percent up, Investment jumped 2.46 percent, Leasing soared 8.0 percent,
Industrials were 1.0 percent higher, Construction increased 2.57 percent,
Miscellaneous ended 1.23 percent higher and Holding rose 1.31 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.67 percent
Bill capital markets ratified
Parliament has passed a new bill on capital markets signalling the start of
a new era for the Athens Stock Exchange.
The new bill calls for a satisfactory assets structure as the only
precondition for companies seeking entry on the Athens bourse.
Analysts expect a wave of foreign multinational companies operating in
Greece, Greek shipping firms and other companies with great growth
potential to seek listing on the market.
Panafon, the country's largest mobile telephone operator, and Interamerican,
one of the biggest insurance firms in Greece, are expected to lead the way
ASE's board has already approved 10 new listings including Lambrakis Press
Organisation, Druckfarben Hellas, Infoguest, Despek Hellas, Pantechniki,
Karamolegos and Kyriakidis Marbles-Granites.
Other candidates, including International Insurance, Keterin, Sigma
Stockbrokers, Tegopoulos, Active Invest and Mevaco, have submitted entry
applications. According to ASE's figures, in the year 1990 the total value
of public offerings and capital increases in the Athens Stock Exchange was
190 billion drachmas. That figure fell to 142 billion in 1991 and to 40 bln
A year later, the total reached 101 billion drachmas. In 1994 new capital
totalled 258 billion drachmas and next year it fell to 83 bln.
The figure soared to 841 billion in 1996. New capital totalled 586 billion
drachmas in the first seven months of 1998.
Greek jewellery market in stagnation
The Greek jewellery market's decade of stagnation was due to the lack of
infrastructure in the sector, lack of competitiveness and low production,
industry representatives told a news conference in Thessaloniki yesterday.
They attributed their problems to domestic economic hardship, a crisis in
the small and medium-sized enterprises' sector and the government's policy
towards the industry.
The news conference was held ahead of a jewellery trade fair, "Kosmima '98",
beginning in Thessaloniki Friday.
Stavros Zaharelis, vice-president of the Greek Jewellers' Union, said that
domestic gold demand fell to 13.2 tonnes in 1996 from 15.5 tonnes in 1995
but was expected to return to 15.5 tonnes in 1997 due to domestic
Greek jewellery production shrank 50 percent in the period 1986-96 compared
to European production, halving its European share from 4.0 to 2.0
The country's global share in gold and silver jewellery production fell to
0.5 percent from 1.0 percent.
Greece's two major competitors, Italy and Turkey, doubled their production
in the same period.
Greek jewellery exports remained stagnant in the same period, while imports
increase by 30-35 percent annually.
Almost 7,500 jewellery shops and 2,200 workshops operate in Greece,
employing 40,000 people. Annual turnover, although yet to be recorded,
exceeds 100 billion drachmas.
A total of 397 exhibitors from Greece and foreign countries will participate
in the trade fair.
Titan announces intent to buy shares of Bulgarian cement company
The Titan cement company has informed the Athens Stock Exchange of its
intention to buy-out shares of the Bulgarian cement company Plevenski.
The Greece-based Titan, already possessing 48.75 per cent of the Bulgarian
cement company and participating in the privatisation process proclaimed by
the Bulgarian government, submitted a bid for the purchase of shares
representing 34 per cent of all of Plevenski's shares.
Draft agreements were also signed with the Bulgarian company's employees
and pensioners for the sale to Titan on their behalf of the shares they are
entitled to receive from the Bulgarian state, and which amount to 5-6 per
cent of the total figure.
'Reverse auction' for state securities
A reverse auction for state securities of a seven-year duration and a
fluctuating interest rate was held yesterday in a series of 1997 and 1995
issues. Bids amounting to 194.9 billion drachmas were submitted for all
issues, while bids for 80 billion drach mas were accepted (equalling the
amount being auctioned).
The highest prices acceptable for the bonds were 98.40 for the Sept. 30
1997 issue (the total amount accepted was 27 billion drachmas), 98.75 for
the January 28 1997 issue (33 billion drachmas) and 100.83 for the Dec. 27
1995 issue (20 billion drachmas) .
Gov't, insurance company reps meet
A number of proposals submitted by private insurance companies to the
government were the focus of a meeting last night between Development
Undersecretaty Mihalis Chrysohoidis with insurance company representatives.
According to sources, companies would not object to freezing premiums in
1999, as part of the government's anti-inflation policy, however, this
would have to be in return of certain other proposals, which the development
ministry sees favourably.
Specifically, some of these include changes to the way car insurance
damages are paid, namely, that a driver's own insurance pays for an
accident instead of the driver responsible for the accident; an increase in
the tax deductible of life insurance premiums and accelerated procedures to
link transport ministry and insurance company computer systems.
Scattered cloud will prevail throughout Greece today with the possibility
of showers in the northern Ionian, Epirus, western central Greece,
Macedonia and Thrace. Winds variable, light to moderate, turning to strong
in the Aegean Sea. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 16-
25C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 15-20C.
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.316
British pound 475.168 Japanese yen (100) 237.872
French franc 50.846 German mark 170.480
Italian lira (100) 17.236 Irish Punt 425.568
Belgian franc 8.263 Finnish mark 56.076
Dutch guilder 151.161 Danish kr. 44.832
Austrian sch. 24.229 Spanish peseta 2.007
Swedish kr. 35.627 Norwegian kr. 37.295
Swiss franc 208.985 Port. Escudo 1.662
Aus. dollar 175.227 Can. dollar 179.572
Cyprus pound 578.019