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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-02-12
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 EU-ECOFIN Council-Stability Programme-Greece-Papantoniou12/02/2001 22:05:30
BRUSSELS (ANA - V. Demiris/Y. Zitouniati) - The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) convened here on Monday and ratified Greece's first stability programme for the 2000-2004 period since joining Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), while the avis it issued says "the ECOFIN Council believes Greece's stability programme is consistent with the general orientations of economic policies."
A speedup in structural reforms in the economy with "a more determined approach" is requested, while mention is made of the need to reshape the pensioning system and the possibility of an escalation of inflationary pressures is noted.
The risk of the economy becoming overheated, the avis added, will be handled with cutbacks in current expenditures and limited salary increases.
The avis issued by the Council on Greece's stability programme for the above period says "the stability programme foresees speedy increase rates for the real GDP, which from 4.1 percent in 2000 will increase to 5.5 percent in 2004 due to intense investment activity, strong exports and maintaining private consumption at high levels."
"The Council warns that under conditions of high GDP rate increases, combined with a slackening of monetary conditions, inflationary pressures might be maintained," it said.
Speaking at a press conference afterwards, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said "if the Stability Programme succeeds, Greece will develop into the most dynamic and fastest developing economy in the EU", referring to the Programme's predictions for inflation amounting to 2.3 percent, a considerable surplus and a decrease in the public debt which constitute a "challenge", as he said, for Greek reality.
On the question of remarks made by eurozone partners concerning "the determination Greece should show in taming inflationary pressures, strict observance of fiscal targets and structural reforms", he said "queries and uncertainty always exist."
 Cyprus-Greece-Antiquities-Exhibition-Museum12/02/2001 21:08:12
The Pierides Ancient Cypriot Art Museum was inaugurated on Monday evening by President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
The antiquities from Cyprus, belong to the Greek-Cypriot antiquities collector Dimitris Pierides, who established the first Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art in Greece at the Athinais art centre in Votanikos, Athens. The exhibition includes 153 terracotta, stone and pottery pieces of Pierides' vast collection, showcasing the 9,000-year-history of Cyprus.
?I would be happier if Cyprus culture had a greater presence in the Greek National Archaeological Museum,? Clerides said, following the inauguration.
On his part, Stephanopoulos said that the antiquities exhibited are works of great artistic and historical value that prove the common civilisation, the common and parallel course of Greece and Cyprus.
He also thanked Clerides for his ?wise, cautious and tenacious efforts toward the resolution of the important issue of Cyprus?.
Pierides received a large portion of his collection from his great-grand father and added pieces to it himself, aiming ?as he (his great grandfather), almost 150 years later at protecting them from the conqueror, who is exporting them illegally?.
 Jordan-FM Papandreou-Meetings12/02/2001 19:11:34
AMMAN (ANA - M. Savva) Greece and Jordan enjoy excellent bilateral relations, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his counterpart Abdul Ilah al-Khatib ascertained here on Monday.
The two men discussed political, cultural, economic, educational, tourism and environmental issues.
In a statement later, Papandreou placed emphasis on the foreign policy applied by the governments of the late Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, as well as the historic ties between the two countries.
Papandreou briefed the Jordanian delegation on developments on the Cyprus issue and Greek-Turkish relations, while developments in the Middle East were also discussed. He said Greece supports the continuation of the peace process.
Papandreou also held talks with Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb, but his scheduled meeting with King Abdallah II did not take place due to a delay in his return from abroad.
On Tuesday, Papandreou will be making an official visit to Beirut.
 ND resolution - Election - Illegal naturalisations12/02/2001 18:43:32
Eighty-three main opposition New Democracy MPs have called for a committee of inquiry to investigate charges that the previous PASOK government attempted to ?influence? the April 2000 elections by illegally naturalising thousands of would-be voters from former Soviet states.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Tuesday12/02/2001 18:42:06
Tuesday's buying rates
U.S. dollar 363.932
German mark 172.829
French franc 051.531
Pound sterling 528.327
Irish punt 429.202
Belgian franc 008.379
Luxembourg franc 008.379
Dutch guilder 153.389
Italian lira (100) 017.457
Austrian schilling 024.565
Danish kroner 45.301
Swedish kroner 37.772
Finnish mark 056.852
Spanish peseta 002.032
Portuguese escudo 001.686
Japanese yen (100) 309.491
Swiss franc 219.938
Norwegian kroner 41.212
Cyprus pound 583.266
Canadian dollar 240.354
Australian dollar 195.563
 Weather Forecast-Tuesday12/02/2001 17:09:15
Cloud is forecast in most of the country on Tuesday, turning to rain or storms in the Cyclades, Crete and the Dodecanese islands, and showers elsewhere. The west will be mostly sunny. Winds north-northeasterly, light to strong, turning gale force in the Aegean. In the north, temperatures will range from -1C to 13C; in the west from 3C to 15C; and elsewhere from 6C to 13C. Partly cloudy in Athens, with temperatures between 8C and 13C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 4C to 13C.
 Reppas - new airport - March opening12/02/2001 17:08:54
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas confirmed on Monday that the government intended to open the new international airport at Spata in March.
Asked about relations between Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, whose ministry is overseeing the construction of supporting infrastructure for the new airport, and Transport Minister Christos Verelis, Reppas said he "would not accept the term argument" to describe these.
There is concern and cooperation, he said, in order for the new airport to operate in very high safety conditions.
He concluded by saying that the new airport was the biggest developmental project in Greece and that the biggest project of its kind in Europe was being concluded.
 Laliotis - new airport - March opening12/02/2001 16:28:06
The new international airport at Spata will be ready on time, complete with supporting infrastructure, Public Works minister Costas Laliotis said categorically on Monday, during a press conference in which he presented detailed plans of road access to the new airport.
"We have an airport and roads. The Cassandras will be proved wrong," he said emphatically.
Laliotis, whose ministry is also in charge of environment and town planning policy, said there were no problems and no weaknesses, and invited the "danger-mongers" to see this for themselves by the middle of next month.
He continued the press conference at his ministry by presenting details of a traffic survey for road access to the new airport and the summary conclusions and maps drafted by a team of experts.
The statements follow hard upon the heels of an IATA warning last Friday that the new airport's scheduled March opening might be premature and that several important factors had been overlooked or were simply not ready, ranging from primary and secondary road access to important support facilities such as catering, cargo and aircraft maintenance.
IATA's report recommended delaying the opening and keeping airline operations at the old Hellenikon airport, rather than risk a problem-ridden start at Spata.
 ASE-close12/02/2001 15:22:40
Selective buying in smaller capitalisation stocks pushed the general index higher on Monday despite some selling pressure in bank shares on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index ended 0.83 percent up at 3,195.89 points, near the day's highs of 3,198.24, with turnover 144.20 million euros, or 49.14 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.27 percent to 1,850.28 points, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 3.52 percent to 348.35 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended 3.84 percent higher at 265.19 points.
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