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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-03-21

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Verheugen adamant over Cyprus' EU accession course
  • [02] Social security reform is primarily a social issue, PM says
  • [03] Greek Deputy FM Loverdos addresses UN conference in Mexico on poverty
  • [04] GNTO marine tourism programme kicks off
  • [05] Athens bourse closed on March 29, April 1
  • [06] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday
  • [07] Transport ministry alleges bus pass scam by state-owned operator
  • [08] Weather Forecast: Cloud turning to rain, storms on Friday
  • [09] Greek stocks drift lower on Thursday

  • [01] Verheugen adamant over Cyprus' EU accession course

    21/03/2002 22:52:06

    EU Commissionner for enlargement Guenter Verheugen reiterated here on Thursday before a Greek Parliament committee that regardless of talks over a possible solution to the Cyprus problem, the Unions timetable for expansion ?cannot change?.

    He also emphasised that efforts for a political solution to the long-standing division on the island republic will remain under the United Nations auspices, and not the EUs.

    Cyprus is among the front-runners to join the EU in the upcoming wave of expansion despite the fact that roughly one-third of the island republics territory is occupied by Turkish forces.

    ?It must be made clear that the result of this solution must be Cyprus one and only international entity ... We want a sovereign Cyprus that has a voice in European organs,? he told members of Parliaments standing foreign relations committee, before adding that any agreement over the Cyprus issue ?should agree with Europe's acquis communautaire.?

    Meanwhile, the timetable for EU expansion and cooperation with the Commission in the run up to Greeces presidency in the first half of 2003 dominated a later meeting Verheugen had with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    [02] Social security reform is primarily a social issue, PM says

    21/03/2002 22:49:08

    The government is treating the social security issue primarily as a social problem and not a public finances problem, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Thursday.

    The need to reform the social insurance system had been noted by all European Union countries, Simitis said, and the Greek government's view was that the solution to the problem lay through a more deep-reaching social state.

    Speaking after a joint meeting of the cabinet and ruling PASOK's Executive Bureau to discuss planned reforms, Simitis said the government's measures would ensure that state insurance was universal, public and had three-way funding, while the government would provide the necessary funds.

    In addition, the measures created a single insurance regime for all classes of salaried workers without raising their contributions or the age of retirement, he added.

    [03] Greek Deputy FM Loverdos addresses UN conference in Mexico on poverty

    21/03/2002 22:47:55

    MONTERREY, Mexico (ANA - E. Boukaouri) - Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos addressed on Thursday the United Nations conference on poverty underlining the European Union's contribution to the World Development Assistance which reached 25.4 billion dollars in 2000.

    ''The European Unions contribution for the year 2000 reached 25.4 billion USD, that is more than 50% of all Official Development Assistance. Furthermore, the European Union seized todays historic opportunity and decided, during the European Summit in Barcelona, to further increase its annual aid volume by 7 billion USD by 2006. This is a significant step towards the 0.7% target, which strengthens our collective solidarity towards the developing countries,'' Loverdos said.

    ''In view of the above, Greece fully associates itself with the statement delivered by the Presidency of the European Union. Furthermore we would like to affirm our willingness to increase our Official Development Assistance from 0.2% to 0.33% of GNI until the year 2006. In the next four years, we will spare no efforts, to make substantial progress, so that collectively the European Union reaches an average of 0.39%, by the year 2006,'' the deputy minister added.

    [04] GNTO marine tourism programme kicks off

    21/03/2002 22:46:43

    A Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) programme to boost the marine tourism sector officially began on Friday with the arrival of the cruise liner ''Carthage'' bearing 800 tourists from Tunisia at the island of Corfu.

    The trip was arranged between Greece and Tunisia under the auspices of a programme entitled ''Following in Ulysses' footsteps''. Similar trips by other cruise operators are planned for the following months.

    The GNTO said it was preparing a book that retraced the route taken by the mythical hero in the present day and that it planned to organise similar trips with other countries, such as Jordan and Iran, in order to penetrate new tourism markets.

    [05] Athens bourse closed on March 29, April 1

    21/03/2002 21:18:25

    The Athens Stock Exchange will close on March 29 and April 1 due to Catholic and Protestant Easter, as European interbank clearing systems will be not be operating on the two public holidays.

    Greek banks will open on same the two dates, offering a limited range of services, in line with a decision by the European Central Bank.

    [06] Foreign Exchange Rates - Friday

    21/03/2002 18:06:01

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro

    U.S. dollar 0.888

    Pound sterling 0.622

    Danish kroner 7.493

    Swedish kroner 9.086

    Japanese yen 117.4

    Swiss franc 1.475

    Norwegian kroner 7.760

    Cyprus pound 0.579

    Canadian dollar 1.406

    Australian dollar 1.675

    [07] Transport ministry alleges bus pass scam by state-owned operator

    21/03/2002 17:58:27

    Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis on Thursday sent the findings of an internal enquiry into the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organisation to a public prosecutor that alleges the theft of proceeds from bus passes sold by staff of the state-owned firm.

    The inquiry was conducted by ministry inspectors, who reported that the people implicated in the racket had falsely declared that the monthly passes linked to the missing cash had been destroyed.

    After securing replacement passes from the bus company for those allegedly destroyed, the employees sold both sets, pocketing the proceeds from the orginal passes, which were still in existence, the report said.

    In addition, the number of people operating the seven-year racket was greater than originally thought; and internal controls in the bus company were slack and ineffectual, the report said.

    Verelis asked ministry inspectors to examine other financial data of the company from past fiscal years.

    [08] Weather Forecast: Cloud turning to rain, storms on Friday

    21/03/2002 17:27:53

    Scattered cloud turning to rain and storms will appear in the northwest, gradually moving down into the rest of the mainland and the northern and eastern Aegean by the end of the day. Snow will fall on high ground in the north from early evening. The Cyclades islands, Crete and Dodecanese islands will see light cloud, building up overnight. Winds variable, moderate to gale force. In the north, temperatures will range from 7C to 15C; on the rest of the mainland from 9C to 21C; and in the islands from 11C to 19C. Sunny in Athens turning to rain and maybe a storm in the evening, with temperatures between 11C and 21C. Scattered cloud in Thessaloniki turning to ran and storms, with temperatures from 8C to 15C.

    [09] Greek stocks drift lower on Thursday

    21/03/2002 16:43:26

    Equity prices ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, hit more by lack of buying interest than selling pressure.

    The general index fell 0.38 percent to 2,333.80 points, with turnover an improved 176.16 million euros, of which 109 million euros were block trades.

    The Holding sector was the only one to score gains (up 0.65 percent). The Publication, Textile, Insurance and Construction sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses (1.19 percent, 1.18 percent, 1.03 percent and 0.98 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks eased 0.55 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 0.17 percent lower and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index fell 0.60 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 226 to 79 with another 47 issues unchanged.

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