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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-09-05
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
Last Update: 23:27 GMT+2
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IS CERTAIN THAT GREECE WILL JOIN THE EMU
Web Posted: 18:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) Prime minister Kostas Simitis, in the speech he delivered this evening in the formal dinner that was given on the occasion of the opening of the 63rd International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki, expressed the certainty that Greece will join the EMU and reiterated that the government will continue to implement the same policy, while he also referred to the problems created in the Greek economy as a result of the crisis in the international stock markets.
Mr. Simitis said that the Greek economy felt strongly the impact of the international developments and the pressures exerted are being faced with the smallest cost possible. The normalization of the international markets will mark the end of the problems, said the prime minister, adding that the Greek economy reacted in a similar manner with that of the rest economies of the European Union.
The prime minister said that the Greek government is certain that it will meet 4 of the 5 preconditions necessary for Greece to join the EMU by the end of the year namely, to bring the public deficit under the 3% limit of the GDP, to limit public debt in relation to the GDP, to achieve the stability of the foreign exchange parities as well as, the convergence of the long-term interest rates.
In order to curb inflation, Mr. Simitis suggested that price hikes should be limited and said that investments, both private and state, have increased with a rate of 10.7%, adding that in the period of 1997-1998 have been achieved the highest rates of the past 25 years. Mr. Simitis said that a significant number of Greek businesses among them large state-run companies such as, OTE promote investment initiatives in the Balkans and elsewhere.
Mr. Simitis also referred to the sale of the Ionian Bank and said that it will be achieved always having in mind the protection of the interests of society as a whole. He said that efforts have been made to support production, investments and employment and in the next 3 years agreements of 1 trillion drachmas will materialize. Mr. Simitis also mentioned the measures that have been taken by the government in order to support the Greek farmers.
He said that after 1994 the government gave true wage increases which reached 12.5%, while at the same period the wage increases in the European Union were just 2.5%. In the period 1998-2000 will be created all the necessary pre-conditions for the employment or the economic support of 260.000 unemployed, said the prime minister, adding that the government's priority is the employment of the young.
In conclusion, prime minister Kostas Simitis stated that there are no easy solutions, adding that at a time like this any small mistake can have great consequences and therefore, great caution is needed in order to deal with the fantasies of those who even though they lack experience, they do not hesitate to suggest the implementation of untested and miracle solutions.
 REPPAS: THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS STILL OPEN
Web Posted: 17:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) The fact that the United Nations try to resolve the Cyprus problem for over 20 years and international organizations as well as the European Union continue the efforts for its solution, means that the Cyprus issue is an issue that remains unsolved. The above were stressed by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responding to questions made by reporters in order to comment on the statements of the vice-president of the Turkish government Bulent Etsevit according to which, the Cyprus issue is an issue that has been closed.
Mr. Reppas stated that the international community should take under consideration the statements made by Mr. Etsevit and other Turkish officials and intensify its efforts to actively prove its interest in the solution of the Cyprus issue which remains stagnant for years.
He said that the Cyprus issue remains open and for this reason the UN, the EU and the big countries that have shown interest should contribute to the efforts aimed at finding a solution.
 ANKARA HOLDS THE KEY TO THE SOLUTION OF THE CYPRUS PROBLEM
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Halki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) The international seminar organized in Halki by the Greek Institute for European and Foreign Policy focused on the issue of Cyprus' accession into the European Union and the imminent expansion of the EU.
All the speakers agreed that the key for the solution of the Cyprus is in Ankara adding that no one exerts pressures to the right direction namely, Turkey.
Former foreign minister of Cyprus Alekos Michailides criticized the EU for not showing political will and stressed that Cyprus' accession into the EU should not be linked to the solution of the Cyprus issue, adding that similar statements do not help the efforts for the solution of the problem. He said that the recent plan by Denktash suggesting the establishment of a confederation in Cyprus is "a joke of bad taste".
French ambassador Eric Ruleau said that unfortunately no significant pressures targeting Turkey can be expected by the international community as from a geo-strategic and geo-economic point of view this country is important to the European and the US interests.
 PAPANTONIOU: THE SPEEDY ACCESSION OF GREECE INTO THE EMU IS NECESSARY
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) Minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou characterized as necessary the acceleration of the procedure for Greece's accession into the European economic and monetary union, adding that the developments of the past days have proved that it is very important for Greece to join the EMU in time.
Speaking in the Center for International and European Law he underlined that the effort for the reform of the economy was successful if Greece's unfavorable starting point compared to the rest European countries is taken under consideration. Mr. Papantoniou said that the development growth has tripled reaching 3.5% compared to 1.3% of the previous decade, while he added that the results of this success are not visible yet.
Mr. Papantoniou stated that the acceleration of the structural changes is the basic goal of the government, pointing out that the immediate plans of the government include the reform of the city bus transportation and railways, the privatization of the Greek Tele-Communications Organization (OTE) and the repeat of the bidding for the sale of the Ionian Bank.
Commenting on the international economic developments, he maintained that due to the close interaction of the stock markets there is a risk for the crisis to be recycled while in the emerging markets there is a crisis of long duration. He reiterated that the austere economic policy will not change and gave the assurance that the citizens will not be burdened with new taxes.
Speaking in the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Thessaloniki, Mr. Papantoniou stated that it is necessary for businessmen to implement a long term policy even if this affects their immediate profits, stressing that 1999 will be mentioned in history as the most crucial year in the period 1980-2000.
Mr. Papantoniou reiterated that the government believes that by the end of 1999 Greece will meet four of the five criteria of the Maastricht treaty, while in order to be able to join the EMU Greece will have to put inflation under control, adding that this is the biggest challenge the Greek economic policy will have to face next year.
 OTE'S MODERNIZATION WILL AFFECT THE EVERYDAY LIFE OF THE AVERAGE CITIZEN IN GREECE
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) The modernization of the Greek Tele- Communications Organization (OTE) will have a positive effect on the everyday life of the average citizen as well as, on the individual transactions with the organization, said OTE executive adviser Giorgos Chrisolouris in an exclusive interview to MPA.
On OTE's modernization program, he pointed out that the organization enters the sector of information in a dynamic way by using new technologies that increase the capacity of the network and give new capabilities to its clients, while improving the quality of communications.
He also referred to the introduction of the "Smart Network" that offers various capabilities to companies and individual citizens. According to Mr. Chrisolouris, among the great achievements for OTE are tele-education and tele-medicine which are based on ISDN and digital technologies.
He expressed satisfaction over the course of OTE's mobile phone network COSMOTE, while referring to the expansion of the organization to Balkan countries and the prospects that are being opened, he pointed out that OTE's investment policy abroad is clear namely, it will invest in the Balkans and will cooperate with the Balkan tele-communications organizations.
 TWENTY CHILEAN COMPANIES PARTICIPATE IN THE 63RD INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR OF THESSALONIKI
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) Twenty companies from Chile participate in the 63rd International Trade fair of Thessaloniki confirming for a 2nd year in a row the strong interest of this Latin-American country in this event.
The presence of Chile will not be limited just to the presentation of its products, as the country's chamber of commerce will sign cooperation agreements with the chamber of commerce of Athens and Thessaloniki. Also, there will be meetings with representatives of the main business organizations in Greece.
 MEETING ON THE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS IN THESSALONIKI
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) The development projects in Thessaloniki were at the center of the meeting that was held today under prime minister Kostas Simitis.
In the meeting participated local administration officials and university staff. Mr. Simitis called for better coordination, more effort and understanding.
The local administration officials requested the immediate start of the projects already announced, the development of infrastructure and the acceleration of the projects already underway. In the meeting were present minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou, development Vaso Papandreou, culture Evangelos Venizelos, public works Kostas Laliotis and Macedonia-Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos.
 THESSALONIKI'S 63RD INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR OPENED TODAY
Web Posted: 16:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) Thessaloniki's 63rd International Trade Fair opened its gates today covering an exhibition area of 180.000 square meters. Its management expects that the number of visitors will double this year, while the trade agreements will be more compared to previous years.
This time the International Trade Fair will have a rich program of cultural events that will attract the interest of those who are not interested in economic transactions. China will be this year's special guest-country.
 STATEMENTS BY NEW DEMOCRACY AND THE COMMUNIST PARTY ON THE SPEECH OF MR. SIMITIS
Web Posted: 16:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis criticized the government for its economic policy in statements he made from Peloponese, southern Greece. Referring to the speech Mr. Simitis will deliver this evening, Mr. Karamanlis expressed the hope that the prime minister will not limit himself to just making announcements.
Commenting on Mr. Simitis' speech delivered last night, the Greek Communist Party stressed that it is natural for the prime minister to express satisfaction over the economy as the criteria on which he and the PASOK government base success are the course of the profits and the so-called structural changes.
 THE PRIME MINISTER VISITED THE MONASTERY OF LAZARISTON
Web Posted: 16:27 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 05/09/1998 (MPA) The agreement granting the management of the Monastery of Lazariston, a significant cultural complex in Thessaloniki, to a non profit company was signed at noon today in the presence of the prime minister. Mr. Simitis visited the "Western Arc" Exhibition held in the municipality of Stavroupolis which concerns the development of the municipalities of the region of western Thessaloniki.
Earlier, he had visited the biological purification plant in Kalochori and was briefed on its operation. Prime minister Kostas Simitis met this morning with production sector representatives, who requested the immediate start of the already announced projects, the development of infrastructures and the acceleration of the projects which are underway.
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