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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-02-26

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, February 26, 2002

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PAPANTONIOU MEETS SPANISH COUNTERPART
  • [02] 1 OUT OF 4 IN LABORFORCE UNINSURED
  • [03] THEODORAKIS POLITICAL INTERVENTION
  • [04] FISHING BOAT WITH 100 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
  • [05] ATHENS HOTELS MODERNIZING
  • [06] ALBANIAN LOCAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS IN KOZANI
  • [07] THE MAYOR OF TARKOVICE IN KOZANI
  • [08] THE NEW ELECTION LAW DISCUSSION IN OCTOBER
  • [09] SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN THE ASE
  • [10] THE DISCUSSION ON THE BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION DRAFT LAW GOT UNDERWAY
  • [11] KAKLAMANIS-OMIROU MEETING
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] LITHUANIA IN FAVOR OF OLYMPIC TRUCE
  • [13] CARS CHEAPER IN GREECE
  • [14] CHRISTODOULAKIS: SIX INITIATIVES AND EIGHT KEY-SECTORS NEWS IN DETAILS

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PAPANTONIOU MEETS SPANISH COUNTERPART A common defense and security policy and the creation of a European immediate response force, were the main issues of discussion at the meeting of Defense Minister Giannos Papantoniou with his Spanish counterpart Federico Trillo.

    Mr. Papantoniou and Mr. Trillio pointed out the need for this European force to be materialized as soon as possible, so that it is ready by the deadline decided on, specifically, by 2003.

    Mr. Papantoniou stressed that "Greece will not accept the EU being brought under NATO, as far as military exercises and operations are concerned independently of NATO facilities.

    He also underlined that "Greece will not accept the transfer of its problems with Turkey, as far as the Aegean is concerned, within the Euroarmy".

    "NATO, a body in which Turkey participates as an equal member, and in which of course it has its opinion and the right to veto, is completely different from the Euroarmy, the European defense force, in which Turkey does not participate. Thus we cannot "t ransplant" NATO problems into the Euroarmy, because we would be risking immobilizing the Euroarmy in a large geographic area it should cover", he said.

    On his side, the Spanish Defense Minister thanked Mr. Papantoniou for the clarity of his positions, as well as for the Greek government's willingness to find a solution between the 15 countries of the Union.

  • [02] 1 OUT OF 4 IN LABORFORCE UNINSURED 1 out of 4 employees is working without insurance, according to the report of the Labor Inspection Body of IKA.

    According to the report - 943 businesses in Thessaloniki and Patra were inspected - the percentage of "black market" labor is as high as 25.1%.

    Further violations were discovered during the investigations, such as exceeding working hours and not observing the employees' weekly time off. Specifically, 111 businesses violated regulations concerning maximum labor hours and minimum weekly personnel time off.

  • [03] THEODORAKIS POLITICAL INTERVENTION Composer Mikis Theodorakis intervened in the latest political developments, with statements to the press before presenting four groups of his songs at the Athens "Megaron" Music Hall.

    Mr. Theodorakis made mention of reeking and festering in Greek society and added: "We are witnessing a complete absence of the State, the police, as well as the MPs, who should, by area, be fully informed of what is happening, and ignorance is not excuse d". "Ignorance of scheming in each district is unacceptable for an MP", he noted.

    Furthermore, he characterized the Prime Minister's statements on political deviation as exaggerated, stressing that his generation lived through political deviation, and there are no similar conditions today.

  • [04] FISHING BOAT WITH 100 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS A fishing boat carrying 100 illegal immigrants was spotted early this morning by the Coast Guard off the coast of Evia.

    The fishing boat, "Eleftheria III" was towed to the Karystos harbor due to engine problems, escorted by Coast Guard patrol boats. The fishing boat's crew comprised of three Greeks.

  • [05] ATHENS HOTELS MODERNIZING Modernization programmes, of a total budget of more that 501 million euro, have been materialized by 96 of the 175 hotel units participating in Athens 2004.

    This was underlined by the President of the Hotel Owners Association of Athens (EXA), Mr. Sp. Divanis, stressing that hotel businessmen responded to the preparation planning in view of the 2004 Olympics, in contrast to the State and the Athens 2004 Organ izing Committee, which are delaying important works and initiatives they had announced, for the utilization of the Olympics in tourism, in Athens and all of Greece.

    Hotel infrastructure in Athens, according to Mr. Sp. Divani, is adequate to cover the needs of the Olympics, while concerning new investments in hotels, the EXA President underlined that if tourism infrastructure in the Attica region does not improve, a nd the "pie does not have more pieces", many businesses will not survive the post-Olympic period.

    The delays in infrastructure works, affect general recovery in - especially after the September 11 events - tourism in the broader Attica region, which is expected to decrease by 20% in 2002, compared to 2001.

    Apart from delays in initiatives, advertisement and infrastructure works, stressed the EXA President, the crises in the US market, flight cutbacks made by many airlines, as well as the cancellation of significant conferences and exhibitions, due to many venues closing for modernizing and renovations, have also contributed to this decrease in tourism.

  • [06] ALBANIAN LOCAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS IN KOZANI A large delegation of Albanian local administration officials visited the Development Company of Western Macedonia (DCWM) in the city of Kozani today.

    The visit took place within the framework of the two-day seminar on the Training of Local Administration officials on Local Development issues organized by the DCWM with the support of the Inter-Balkan Cooperation Center.

  • [07] THE MAYOR OF TARKOVICE IN KOZANI A delegation of Tarkovice municipality in Bulgaria will be on a two-day visit to the prefecture of Kozani in northwestern Greece starting tomorrow.

    The members of the delegation headed by Mayor Krasimir Mitev will have contacts with local officials during which the common characteristics of the two regions will be presented and cross-border cooperation will be promoted in the social, economic and cu ltural sector.

  • [08] THE NEW ELECTION LAW DISCUSSION IN OCTOBER The discussion on the change of the election law will start in October without preconditions, stated Interior Minister Kostas Skandalidis, who denied press reports according to which, he has already examined a specific plan.

    The dialogue procedure is planned to get underway after the municipal elections this fall.

  • [09] SIGNIFICANT GAINS IN THE ASE Significant gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +2.11% at 2.406,80 points, while the volume of transactions was 105.13 million Euro or 35.82 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority namely, 317 recorded gains and 27 had losses, while the value of 13 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] THE DISCUSSION ON THE BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION DRAFT LAW GOT UNDERWAY The discussion on the draft law concerning the Greek program for the economic reconstruction of the Balkans opened in the responsible parliamentary committee today. Based on the draft law, the sum of 550 million Euro will be allocated to fund the reconst ruction program in Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania and FYROM. The recipients will be the public sector, private of public agencies, non profit institutions and non governmental organizations active in those countries.

    Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos stressed that the three targets of the draft law will be peace, stability and the European orientation of the recipient countries.

  • [11] KAKLAMANIS-OMIROU MEETING Cyprus' EU accession course and the progress of negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem, were the issues discussed in the meeting of Greek Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis with the visiting Cypriot Parliament Defense Committee delega tion.

    Mr. Kaklamanis and Cypriot Parliament Defense Committee President Yiannakis Omirou referred to the close cooperation of the two parliaments especially, in the final phase for the successful completion of Cyprus' EU accession course.

    Mr. Omirou expressed optimism that the European collective bodies will ratify the EU enlargement in the following months to include the ten candidate states, among them Cyprus, stressing that the Helsinki decisions must be implemented regardless of wheth er the Cyprus issue is resolved.

  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] LITHUANIA IN FAVOR OF OLYMPIC TRUCE Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou had discussions with the political leadership of Lithuania, during which the Prime Minister of Lithuania, Mr. Arvidas Brazauskas signed for the Olympic Truce.

    The main issue of the Foreign Minister's meeting, were the EU prospects of Lithuania.

    After the dinner Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis held for the Greek delegation and Mr. Papandreou, he stated that his country must not miss this train to the new era.

    The basic axis of Lithuania's foreign policy, is its accession to NATO and the EU, but also good cooperation with Russia. Greece supports Lithuania's accession into these Euroatlantic institutions. Bilateral political relations are very good, however the re is still room for improvement in economic relations.

  • [13] CARS CHEAPER IN GREECE Factory prices, the price of cars before taxes, for new cars in Greece, are amongst the lowest in all of the European Union, according to research of the European Commission on the prices of new cars, which was published in Brussels on Monday.

    According the research results, Great Britain is the most expensive car market of the "15", regarding 52 of the 80 car models in question, while in the Eurozone, the highest prices are observed in Austria and Germany.

    The lowest prices for new cars are observed in Greece, Spain, Finland and Denmark. Specifically for Greece, Spain and Finland, there is a 20% price difference for more 90% the car models in question. The European Commission pointed out that the "generall y low prices in cars prior to taxes observed in Greece, Finland and Denmark, are mainly due to the pricing policies of the manufacturers". And it explained that because taxes are high while buying a new car in these countries, most manufacturers set lower

    prices, before taxes, at lower levels, so that they are more approachable after taxes.

    The European Commission supported that in countries where there are no such taxes, prices prior to taxes are either the same, as in Spain, or much higher, as in Germany. 17 European and 7 Japanese manufacturers participated with more than 80 of their mos t popular models. In Germany, the prices of 41 car models are the highest in the Eurozone, while 40 of those car models are 20% more expensive than in other Eurozone markets.

  • [14] CHRISTODOULAKIS: SIX INITIATIVES AND EIGHT KEY-SECTORS Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis announced six initiatives that will be implemented in the Greek economy through which the government will attempt to reverse the negative climate of the past few days. The announcement was made in Germany yesterd ay where Mr. Christodoulakis is currently on a visit.

    Addressing German investors in an event organized by the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Christodoulakis gave assurances that every possible effort will be made for the Greek economy to avoid becoming a scapegoat in the case of a political dispute.

    To meet this goal the government will activate six initiatives already announced in the past aimed at the improvement of the business climate, the strengthening of the private sector and the attraction of direct foreign investments.

    The six initiatives concern tax reform, adoption of a new legal framework for next fall's investments, social security system review, introduction of more open economic procedures, speeding-up of the privatization procedures and broader use of the privat e economic funding systems in medium and large investment infrastructure programs.

    Also, Mr. Christodoulakis presented eight sectors to German investors which offer notable investment opportunities in Greece. They are, telecommunications, energy market (electricity, natural gas, Hellenic Petroleum), tourist industry, New Economy, priva tization of state-run public service companies, private investment programs, the 2004 Olympic Games and the exploitation of the Balkan market.


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