|Tuesday, 12 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-03-16
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, March 16, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK PREMIER CURRENTLY AT PRAGUE, TO MEET WITH CZECH PM
Prague, March16 (MPA)Greece’s Prime Minister Kostas Simitis is currently on an official three-day visit to the Czech Republic, heading a government delegation.
Mr. Simitis, who arrive on Sunday afternoon, is to meet with Czech political leaders with whom he will discuss the strengthening of diplomatic ties, improving economic cooperation and increasing Greek exports.
The Greek Premier is to meet today with his Czech counterpart and tomorrow will be received by the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel.
The Czech Republic belongs to the first batch of countries that are up for accession to the European Union and is counting on Greece’s support during the accession negotiations that are to start on March 31.
 CONSUMER GOODS TO BECOME DEARER AS DRACHMA DEVALUATES BY 14%
Athens, March 16 (MPA)The Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou announced a package of drastic economic measures yesterday, which are to send upwards prices of fuel, cars and imports.
The package, which has already sparked considerable unrest among the Greeks, provides for the partial privatization of 11 public utilities and three or four state-controlled banks in 1998 and 1999, with the state retaining minimum 51 per cent stakes. It also foresees the streamlining of other loss-making utilities, such as the national carrier Olympic Airways, railways, urban transport and the post-office.
Mr. Papantoniou also announced that he will soon table a draft bill on changes in the social security system, and revealed measures for trimming public deficits, as well as changes in labor market regulations affecting both the private and public sectors.
The Minister stated that the fiscal adjustment measures aim at reducing public sector deficits to 2.4 and 2.1 per cent of GDP in 1998 and 1999 respectively. He stressed that the target of further bringing down inflation to 2.5 per cent by the end of the year still stands, and urged employers and unions to adopt the figure as a guideline in negotiations for collective labor agreements.
 FINANCE UNDERSECRETARY IS CONFIDENT:AFTERSHOCKS WILL BE ABSORBED
Athens, March 16 (MPA)The undersecretary of Finance George Drys has expressed his confidence that the aftershocks resulting from the national currency’s devaluation are to be absorbed by the dynamism of the country’s economy.
Mr. Drys stressed that the Greek government’s main target is to contain inflation at the 2.5% level by the end of 1998 and added that there will be a sharp decrease of interest rates and a growth of Greek exports as the domestic products are to become more competitive.
Moreover, he added that Greek farmers are to gain from subsidies resulting from the drachma-ECU parity, while positive effects will be borne on the tourism sector.
Referring to the possibility of a further devaluation, Mr. Drys stated that the margin for the drachma’s fluctuation is finally very limited and the national currency now possesses new international value.
 IRS BRANCHES AND POST OFFICES TO STAY OPEN UNTIL THE NIGHT
Thessaloniki, March 16 (MPA)The country’s Internal Revenue Service branches and post offices are to remain open until eight p.m. today and tomorrow in order to receive the last minute tax reports.
Meanwhile, rumors abound that the Finance Ministry will grant an extension for filing tax reports until Friday, March 20.
 CYPRUS ‘ ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE EU TO START ON MARCH 31
Brussels, March 16 (MPA)Negotiations for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union are to start as planned on March 31, even if the Turkish- Cypriots refuse to participate in the talks, according to the “15” Foreign Ministers .
The decision to proceed with the talks was facilitated once the French government retracted its demand to “shelf” the talks if the Turkish-Cypriots did not participate.
Greece’s Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has expressed his satisfaction, but Rauf Denktash, the self-called leader of the Turkish-Cypriots, accused the EU of having succumbed to Athens’s “blackmail”.
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER IN BRUSSELS TO CELEBRATE WEU’S 50TH YEAR
Brussels, March 16 (MPA)Festivities commemorating the fiftieth year since the Western European Union’s founding are to be held in Brussels tomorrow.
The Greek government, which is currently holding the WEU’s rotating presidium, is to be represented by the Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos and the Secretary-General for European Affairs, professor Stelios Perakis.
 TOURISM INDUSTRY IS SURE TO GAIN FROM DRACHMA’S DEVALUATION
Thessaloniki, March 16 (MPA)Greek tourism industry officials are rubbing their hands with glee as the drachma’s devaluation is to result in a boost of tourism, even beyond this year’s projected increase of 15-20%.
The Secretary-General of the Tourism Agencies Association of Macedonia-Thrace Dimitris Mantousis told the Macedonian Press Agency that this devaluation has its good and bad points.
“it’s expected to notably boost incoming tourism, while agents and hotels are to especially benefit,” he said, albeit he added that Greeks who wish to travel abroad are not going to be in such a favorable position.
The greatest increases in arrivals are expected from Britain and Germany.
 GENERAL PRICE INDEX AT ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE RISES BY 6.98%
Athens, March 16 (MPA)The general price index at the Athens Stock Exchange presented a sharp increase of 6.98% this afternoon while bourse activity reached the 26-million-drachma mark.
Meanwhile, interest rates for periods exceeding six months have fallen to 11%, this being the first time since October they have reached this level.
 GREECE’S PASOK AND GERMANY’S SOCIAL DEMOCRATS MEET IN BONN
Bonn, March 16 (MPA)A delegation of Greece’s ruling socialist PASOK party officials is currently in Bonn, where they will meet with officials from Germany's Social Democrat Party (SPD) with whom they will discuss bilateral relations, issues concerning Greek immigrants living in Germany, Greek-Turkish relations, and the Cyprus issue.
The Greek delegation is headed by National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, PASOK Central Committee Secretary Kostas Skandalidis and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.
At the end of today's talks, the members of the Greek delegation are expected to have a brief meeting with SPD President Oskar Lafontaine, the candidate for the Chancellery Gerhard Schroeder and other SPD officials.
 GSEE ELECTS NEW ADMINISTRATION AT 2OTH CONFERENCE HELD IN KAVALA
Kavala, March 16 (MPA)The 29th conference of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) concluded in Kavala yesterday with the election of a new administration.
The socialist PASOK-affiliated PASKE labor group came first, albeit without managing an absolute majority, and the conservative New Democracy party-affiliated DAKE group came second, winning the same number of seats as the communist ESAK group. DAKE gained more votes than ESAK and consequently will seek the post of GSEE's Secretary-General.
The outgoing GSEE President and PASKE Secretary Christos Polyzogopoulos said working people, with their votes at the conference, are sending their own message of unity and determination on tackling the situation being created with the measures announced by the government.
 TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER TO TRAVEL TO EGYPT ON FRIDAY
Cairo, March 16 (MPA)Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ismael Cem is to embark on an official, three-day visit to Egypt on Friday, where he will discuss the peace process in the Middle East and bilateral relations, according to Cairo’s Turkish Embassy
Mr. Cem will travel to Egypt on the invitation of his Egyptian counterpart Amr Musa.
 US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE TRAVELS TO TIRANA TODAY
Tirana, March 16 (MPA)The United States assistant Secretary of State Strobe Talbot is expected in Tirana today, for a brief, one-afternoon visit.
Mr. Talbot will meet with Albania’s Premier Fatos Nano and Foreign Minister Paschal Milo at the Tirana Airport and they will discuss the situation in Kossovo.
 BELGRADE GIVES ANOTHER INVITATION TO KOSSOVO’S ALBANIANS FOR TALKS
Belgrade, March 16 (MPA)Belgrade has given another written invitation for dialogue to the Albanian leaders of Kossovo, who last week had refused for the second time to attend talks with the Serb government’s representatives.
In the letter, the Serb government expresses its wish for talks without conditions, as well as its decisiveness to negotiate, through political means, all the issues that concern the exercise of human and political rights of all the citizens of Kossovo, as well as matters that concern the quicker economic and cultural development, within the framework of the Serb Republic’s constitution, the European and international models, the OSCE’s principles, and the Charters of Paris, the United Nations and the principles of the Council of Europe for the protection of ethnic minorities.
The letter was forwarded to Ibrahim Rugova, whom it addresses as leader of the Democratic Alliance of Kossovo and not as president of the “Republic of Kossovo”. It was also forwarded to the other party leaders of Kossovo.
 BRITISH TRADE MISSIONS IN ATHENS TOMORROW AND WEDNESDAY
Athens, March 16 (MPA)Two trade missions from Great Britain are to visit Athens tomorrow and Wednesday.
One delegation of over 26 companies plans to demonstrate specialist equipment for airport services and equipment produced in the UK, while the second will arrive from Iraklion, Crete, bringing a mini-exhibition of products and services in contract furnishings for hotels and tourist resorts.
 TAIWAN TO SEND TRADE MISSION TO GREECE ON WEDNESDAY
Athens, March 16 (MPA)Taiwan's Council for External Trade and Development (CETPA) is sending a trade mission to Greece on March 18 to boost economic ties between the two countries.
The delegation sent by CETPA, a non-profit organization, comprises 31 Taiwanese companies from a wide range of sectors. The group will stay until March 22 while an exhibition of their products will be held on March 10 at the Athens Hilton.
Trade between Greece and Taiwan fell by 4.2 percent in 1997 to 187 million dollars from 195.1 million in 1996, according to CETPA statistics. Greek imports from Taiwan dropped by 39.3 percent to 17 million dollars last year from 28 million in 1996, while Greek exports to Taiwan rose by 1.7 percent to 170 million dollars from 167.1 million in 1996.
 ALBANIAN WOMEN RALLY FROM PRISHTINA TO DRENICA
Prishtina, March 16 (MPA)In a sign of solidarity to the locals, approximately one thousand Albanian women from Prishtina embarked on a rally to Drenica today where, according to Albanian reports, many villages remain seized by the Serb police. . The women are holding loaves of bread and banners that read “Stop the violence”, “Drenica, we’re coming”, “We are a nation in danger” and are walking the distance of 50 kilometers.
 GREEK ATHLETES WIN GOLD AND SILVER MEDALS AT BALKAN MARATHONS
Skopje, March 16 (MPA)Greek marathon runner Nikos Pollias won the gold medal at the Balkan Marathon Championships held in Skopje, having run 42 kilometers and 195 meters in two hours, 17 minutes and two seconds.
In the women’s race, Katerina Fotopoulou won the silver medal with a time of two hours and 48 minutes, coming second to Bulgaria’s Gerbina Voyionova.
Aside from Greece and Bulgaria, competing in the Balkan championships were FYROM, Moldavia, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/