|Friday, 13 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-03-19
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, March 19, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PREMIER FACES OPPOSITION’S HARSH CRITICISM OVER DEVALUATION
Athens, March 19 (MPA)Prime Minister Kostas Simitis addressed the Hellenic Parliament yesterday evening where he defended the incorporation of the drachma into the European Union’s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), by stating that this development "fulfills a crucial and necessary precondition for participation in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)".
Moreover, Mr. Simitis added that it also showed increasing confidence in the country's economy, securing solidarity and support by Greece's EU partners for the national currency.
“Greece's success in the recent developments, he said, was evidenced by the positive market response, as well as the inflow of foreign exchange, the bourse's rise, security markets' recovery, a decrease in long-term interest rates and the international demand for Greek securities,” he stressed.
However, opposition deputies severely attacked the Premier’s policies, with main opposition New Democracy deputy Dimitris Sioufas calling Mr. Simitis the "Prime Minister of unemployment, taxes and devaluation," and demanding his resignation.
Mr. Sioufas said Mr. Simitis had gone back on his previous assurances that the drachma would not be incorporated into the ERM now, but in the year 2001.
Coalition of the left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos also criticized the premier for what he called the equalizing of the drachma's ERM incorporation with the Greek people's "poverty and degradation."
Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas demanded that the Premier apologize to the Greek people, and that the government resign. He underlined that while tabling the 1998 state budget just a few months ago, the Prime Minister firmly advocated that the drachma's stability was a precondition for a stable economy.
 REVITALIZATION TO START WITH OLYMPIC AIRLINES
Athens, March 19 (MPA)The national carrier, Olympic Airways, is to undergo a revitalization process that will involve a reduction on overtime, a freeze on new hires, a more flexible working schedule, an increase in working hours and an end to free tickets for the staff.
The government aims to reduce the operational costs of Olympic Airways by 50 billion drachmas.
According to reports, these changes are to be decided upon today, when the Ministerial Committee convenes.
 PRICES SOAR ON A SCORE OF CONSUMER GOODS
Thessaloniki, March 19 (MPA)Prices have soared on a score of consumer goods, this being the first visible effect of the drachma devaluation. The increases concern car prices, fuel, electrical appliances, clothing and almost all imported food products. At many electrical retail outlets, goods such as television sets, hi-fi systems and computer products displayed new increased prices that were 14 to 20 percent higher, while clothing prices on new stock are forecast to jump by between 12 and 15 percent.
Supermarkets are already warning consumers of upcoming price increases on imported food and household products such as canned goods, milk, cheese, alcohol, coffee, vegetables, fish and cosmetics.
Average-sized Greek households will have to foot an extra 218,000 drachma bill on their annual expenses, according to the Consumers' Institute (INKA).
 BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON AN OFFICAL VISIT TO GREECE
Athens, March 19 (MPA)Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev has embarked on a three-day visit to Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos, and the two are expected to sign two defense Ministerial accords, one concerning cooperation in the military-technical field and another for participation of a Bulgarian transport platoon in the Greek forces within SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mr. Ananiev will also discuss European and Euro-Atlantic integration, regional security and the development of bilateral military relations with his Greek counterpart.
The Bulgarian official will be received by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.
 GREEK FM TO MEET WITH US SECRETARY OF STATE TOMORROW
Washington, March 19 (MPA)Greece’s Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to meet with the U.S. Secretary of state Madeleine Albright in Washington tomorrow.
According to State Department spokesperson James Rubin, the two officials are to discuss Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus’s accession course to the European Union and the latest developments in Kossovo.
"Cyprus' accession into the EU is possibly a positive factor in resolving the (Cyprus) problem, and the likelihood of this happening would contribute to creating a favorable climate for the solution of such issues..." said Mr. Rubin, referring to the Cyprus problem.
 FOREIGN MINISTERS OF FRANCE AND GERMANY ARRIVE IN BELGRADE TODAY
Belgrade, March 19 (MPA)The Foreign Ministers of France and Germany are to arrive in Belgrade today in an effort to defuse the increasing tension in Kossovo.
New episodes erupted n the city of Pec yesterday when Serb policemen opened fire against Albanian protesters, killing one and wounding five others.
 ANOTHER 10% OF OTE’S EQUITY CAPITAL TO BE FLOATED ON ATHENS BOURSE
Athens, March 19 (MPA)The Greek government is to float 19% of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s (OTE) equity by December of 1998, entering at least ten percent of the company’s equity capital on the Athens bourse within the next two months.
The move is part of the government’s plan to expedite the state-owned enterprises privatization process and its target is to raise OTE's total stake for sale to 49 percent.
 CYPRIOT MINISTER OF DEFENSE TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TODAY
Athens, March 19 (MPA)Cyprus’s Minister of Defense Yiannakis Omerou is expected to arrive in Athens today where he will have talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos and the general staff of the Greek armed forces.
Prior to his departure from Athens, Mr. Omerou stated that those countries interested in peace and stability in the region, should address Turkey since that is the country that continues with a expansionist policy.
Referring to his talks in Athens, Mr. Omerou stated that “it will be talks spanning all subjects and will focus on the common defense track of Greece and Cyprus, aiming at the formulation and upgrading of a deterring policy before the Turkish expansionism.”
Moreover, the Cypriot official stated that “the aim is to establish peace on Cyprus and the greater region, peace which will be based on respecting international law and the principles of independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Cypriot Republic.”
 MILOSEVIC OPEN TO GRANTING AUTONOMY TO KOSSOVO’S ALBANIANS
Belgrade, March 19 (MPA)The President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic has left open the possibility of granting autonomy to the ethnic Albanians of Kossovo.
In an announcement he issued last evening, Mr. Milosevic called on Kossovo’s Albanian leaders to engage in dialogue with the Serb authorities and added that he personally, as president of Serbia, is to vouch for these talks which must be based on the principle of safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and whose agenda will include the issue of granting autonomy to Kossovo within the framework of Serbia.
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/