Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-11-17
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 17/11/1998 (ANA)
- Events commemorating 1973 Polytechnic uprising culminate today
- Greek stocks surge on hopes of interest rate, inflation decline
- Greece has 65 pct chance of meeting EMU target - Morgan Stanley
- Bank of Piraeus to hold shareholders' meeting Nov 30
- Higher taxes for self-employed professionals, businesses
- Thessaloniki metro reportedly awarded to Bouigues
- EOT: More British tourists visited Greece in '98
- Bonn again rejects Athens' demand for return of occupation loan
- Karamanlis: PM Simitis oblivious to citizens' problems
- European week against drugs opens in Athens
- Roussel perjury, slander trial adjourns
- Consuls tout western Macedonia's development prospects
- Greek Parliament President confers with Clerides
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Events commemorating 1973 Polytechnic uprising culminate today
Celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of a students' uprising at
the Athens Polytechnic against the military junta that ruled Greece (1967-
1974) culminate today with a protest march to the US embassy.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis
yesterday laid wreaths at the university's monument, although scuffles and
jeers greeted their arrival. Groups of students threw eggs, plastic bottles
and other items at the prime minister's entourage and shouted slogans
against the government's policies and the education ministry's reforms.
Other student groups charged with maintaining the peace during the three
days of events scuffled with the protesters.
Speaking afterwards, Mr. Simitis referred to the significance of the
anniversary, saying it brought home the message that democracy, freedom and
social justice were ideals worth protecting.
Additional police units have been deployed in the Polytechnic's vicinity
and other university and public buildings in an attempt to avert any
Violent protests and widespread vandalism have plagued November 17
anniversaries in recent years.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas later said that "small groups should
not be able to appropriate the celebration of the Polytechnic with anti-
democratic actions and acts of violence."
The government has taken all the measures necessary for celebrations to
remain peaceful, Mr. Reppas added.
Greek stocks surge on hopes of interest rate, inflation decline
Greek equities ended sharply higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday
helped by optimism that interest rates and inflation will fall further.
The general index soared 3.66 percent to sprint through the 2,300 barrier,
ending at 2,316.08 points.
Trading was active with turnover at 54.6 billion drachmas. Volume was 12,
Brokers said a positive report by US investment bank Morgan Stanley on the
Greek economy also brought euphoria to the market.
The report forecast that inflation would drop to 2.5 percent at the end of
1999 and that Greece may achieve entry into European economic and monetary
union on target by January 1, 2001.
The Athens bourse was also encouraged by a rally at the opening in European
stock markets where investors discounted a new cut in US interest
Sector indices scored gains.
Banks jumped 4.36 percent, Leasing hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up,
Insurance rose 2.12 percent, Investment ended 2.92 percent higher,
Construction soared 5.30 percent, Industrials rose 3.51 percent, Miscellaneous
ended 2.48 percent up and Holding in creased 4.49 percent.
National Bank of Greece ended at 44,795 drachmas, Ergobank at 27,150, Alpha
Credit Bank at 24,400, Ionian Bank at 12,080, Hellenic Telecommunications
Organisation at 6,400, Delta Dairy at 3,690, Intracom at 13,540, Titan
Cement at 17,890, Hellenic Petro leum at 2,370 and Minoan Lines at 6,400
Greece has 65 pct chance of meeting EMU target - Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley yesterday expressed guarded optimism over Greece's entry
into European economic and monetary union by the target date of January 1,
2001, rating its chances at 65 percent.
In a report on the domestic economy, the international investment house was
less bullish than the government on the rise in growth of gross domestic
product and budgetary targets.
But it said the government's intention was feasible of lowering 1999
consumer price inflation in line with the most recent economic convergence
plan it has submitted to the European Union.
Inflation could drop to 2.4 percent in 1999, which would meet alignment
targets as the average among the EU's EMU countries was predicted at 2.5
percent, the report said.
The government's reduction of indirect tax on cars and a drop in Value
Added Tax on electricity consumption to 8.0 percent from 18 percent would
help to pare one percentage point off the consumer price index, according
to Morgan Stanley. expected, it said.
Morgan Stanley explained that its GDP growth rate forecasts were cautious
due to the fallout from an international financial crisis that had hit
third quarter figures in Europe, leading to lower rates of growth
Bank of Piraeus to hold shareholders' meeting Nov 30
Bank of Piraeus will hold a repeat shareholders meeting on November 30 to
endorse a share capital rise of 100 billion drachmas after yesterday's
meeting failed to muster a quorum.
The operational absorption of Bank of Macedonia-Thrace is expected to
proceed rapidly after a decision to start the process was taken in
Thessaloniki on Saturday by executives of both banks.
After the absorption of Thessaloniki-based Bank of Macedonia-Thrace, the
Bank of Piraeus Group's assets will total 2.0 trillion drachmas in 1999 and
2.7 trillion drachmas in 2000.
Deposits in 1999 are seen totalling 1.3 trillion drachmas in 1999, jumping
to 8.0 trillion in 2000.
Loans in 1999 are forecast at 0.9 trillion drachmas in 1999, rising to 1.3
trillion in 2000.
Higher taxes for self-employed professionals, businesses
Self-employed professionals and businesses taxed with the objective
criteria system for determining their income will have to pay a higher tax
in 1999 for income obtained this year.
According to Deputy Finance Minister George Drys, the commercial and
business fee used correspondingly to determine the minimum amount of income
declared to tax authorities by businesses and self-employed professionals
The commercial fee for determining the minimum net income of commercial
businesses will increase from 2.4 million drachmas in 1997 to 2.5 million
drachmas in 1998.
The commercial fee for businesses providing services will increase from 3,
120,000 drachmas in 1997 to 3,250,000 drachmas in 1998.
An increase of 2.5 per cent will also take place in connection with the
determination of the minimum net income for self-employed professionals.
Thessaloniki metro reportedly awarded to Bouigues
The final awarding of the Thessaloniki metro project to the French
consortium Bouigues has been reportedly given by a committee responsible
for the project.
The committee's relevant opinion will be forwarded to Public Works Minister
Costas Laliotis tomorrow, who will request approval by the inner Cabinet
next week in order for the contract to be signed.
The ministry's leadership believes that the contract for the construction
of the Thessaloniki metro will be tabled in Parliament for ratification in
According to reports from the national economy ministry, if the contract is
not signed by Dec. 31 there is a possibility of problems being created
EOT: More British tourists visited Greece in '98
More than two million tourists from Britain will visit Greece by the end of
1998, an increase of about 16 per cent, while an additional increase of 5-
12 per cent is expected for 1999.
National Tourism Organisation (EOT) officials inaugurating Greece's
pavilion yesterday at the London international tourism exhibition "World
Travel Market" noted that the figure met expectations.
Greece's pavilion this year features 25 participants, including the under-
construction international Athens airport at Spata, state-run Olympic
Airways, the regional administrations of Crete, Thessaly, the Peloponnese,
the Ionian Islands, as well as private firms.
Bonn again rejects Athens' demand for return of occupation loan
Bonn once again rejected Athens' claim for the return of a forced "loan"
that the ce ntral bank of Greece handed over to German occupation forces
during World War II.
However, although the issue appears closed for Bonn, Athens reportedly
doesn't share the view.
The issue was again taken up by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos last
week, when he said the issue of the forced occupation loan remains open for
A German foreign ministry spokesman replied to Mr. Pangalos on Saturday in
a statement made to Bavarian Radio's Greek programme, namely, that war
reparations to Greece had come to an end with a 1960 agreement. He added
that Germany had also aided Greece economically through European Union
The Greek foreign ministry responded yesterday, expressing regret in a
relevant announcement, and stressing that the German spokesman's statement
contained inaccuracies. Athens noted that war reparations are one thing,
while the forced occupation loan is another.
The foreign ministry added that the wartime "loan" was not a remedy for
criminal or illegal acts perpetrated by Nazi forces during the occupation.
"It was a specific amount taken from the Greek economy at gunpoint and was
used by the German state for its own purposes. According to every rule of
law, its return is imperative," the announcement read.
Karamanlis: PM Simitis oblivious to citizens' problems
Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday lashed out
against government policy, accusing Prime Minister Costas Simitis of being
outside the realm of social reality and oblivious to citizens' problems.
Addressing a meeting of ND's central committee, the ND leader launched a
stinging attack against the ruling PASOK party, describing it as being
"politically weaker than ever before, uncoordinated, tired, confused and
lacking a political identity."
This goes to show that PASOK is coming to the end of its historic cycle,
which necessitates ND to assume responsibilities, as more and more voters
are turning to ND for a lifeline, Mr. Karamanlis said.
Referring to the 1999 state budget, which the government submitted, he said
it was indicative that the government had failed to grasp the social
messages in light of PASOK's poor showing in the recent municipal
On Greece's course towards Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Mr.
Karamanlis said ND supported the national objective. However, he added,
"the matter which arises is what kind of Greece will we place in EMU?"
He also announced that the ND's national congress will take place Dec. 5-
European week against drugs opens in Athens
The "European Week for Drug Prevention" opened in Athens yesterday, as the
simultaneous event took place in all EU member-states.
At a press conference given at the health ministry, experts stressed that
prevention is probably the most effective way to fight drug abuse.
The meeting, which is to last until Sunday, bears the message: "The first
step is to talk".
Addressing the first day of the event, Health Deputy Minister Theodoros
Kotsonis pointed out that European nations' targets were to increase
awareness of the public on the specific problem, to boost European
cooperation and promote extensive campaigns, targeted mainly at the younger
Similar events are organised during the week by Greece's Organisation
Against Drugs in the 32 information centres operating around the country.
Roussel perjury, slander trial adjourns
An Athens court hearing perjury and slander charges filed against Thierry
Roussel, the father of 14-year-old Athina - heir to the vast fortune of
late shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis - will adjourn to allow members of
the Onassis family to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Athina's
Mr. Roussel, Athina and their family will mark the anniversary on the
Onassis private island of Skorpios.
Mr. Roussel has been in Athens since early November to stand trial on the
charges, arising from a complaint filed by the French national two years
ago, accusing the Onassis Foundation board of mismanagement.
A court dismissed Mr. Roussel's complaint early in the year.
In the hearing yesterday, counsel for the defence told the court that Mr.
Roussel did not desire to control the Onassis Foundation's finances, but
neither did he want the present board to do so.
Onassis Foundation deputy president Apostolos Zambelis told the court that
the management of the foundation was overseen by chartered accountants and
a financial report was forwarded to Mr. Roussel personally.
Shortly, Swiss courts will also supervise the balance sheets, at Mr.
Roussel's request, he said.
Consuls tout western Macedonia's development prospects
Greece provides a very attractive setting for investments which is
continuing to improve, according to the general consuls of the US and
Germany in Thessaloniki, who added that there are businesses from their
respective countries that are interested in ma king investments in the
The two officials were among 16 other diplomats who participated in a three-
day tour of western Macedonia at the initiative of the Association of
Northern Greece Industries.
The envoys spoke favourably of what they described as the region's
"incredible" development, saying they were impressed at changes in the
country's investment sector, among others.
Greek Parliament President confers with Clerides
Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis yesterday expressed
certainty that any problems in Cyprus' accession to the European Union will
be overcome as the enlargement process can only be completed with the
Cyprus Republic's entry.
Speaking after a 90-minute meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, Mr.
Kaklamanis also said he has brought a message of solidarity from Greek
Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
The Greek Parliament President said he discussed with President Clerides
the present situation in the Cyprus problem, latest developments and
Cyprus' EU course.
"Our assessment is that any problems will be overcome because Cyprus'
accession is a precondition for the EU enlargement procedure", he
Mr. Kaklamanis underlined that Cyprus is well ahead of the other five
former eastern bloc countries in conforming with the European acquis
communautaire. "Cyprus fulfills nearly all conditions for its accession",
Mr. Kaklamanis has stressed that Cyprus must be reunited for the benefit of
all its citizens.
Overcast weather with rain and storms is forecast throughout Greece today.
Snow in the mountainous regions of central and northern Greece. Winds
variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with possibility of
rain in the afternoon and temperatures ranging from 12-19C. Rain in
Thessaloniki with temperatures be from 8-15C.
Tuesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 278.504
British pound 465.843 Japanese yen (100) 229.797
French franc 49.818 German mark 166.954
Italian lira (100) 16.876 Irish Punt 415.450
Belgian franc 8.094 Finnish mark 54.957
Dutch guilder 148.106 Danish kr. 43.928
Austrian sch. 23.729 Spanish peseta 1.965
Swedish kr. 34.416 Norwegian kr. 37.468
Swiss franc 202.765 Port. Escudo 1.630
Aus. dollar 177.801 Can. dollar 180.068
Cyprus pound 564.527