|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-03-31
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 LEADERS HOLD CIVILIZED DIALOGUE WITH COGENT REPLIESAthens, 31 March 2000 (10:47 UTC+2)
A nationally-televised, indirect debate held between Premier Costas Simitis and main opposition leader (New Democracy) Costas Karamanlis last night was widely viewed as "civilized" with both men providing cogent replies to the -at times- pressing questions posed by a panel of three journalists.
Broadcast live on the Macedonian Press Agency's Internet server at www.mpa.gr , the dialogue between the two leaders spanned all issues of national concern, ranging from the course of the stock exchange to the country's foreign policy.
Messrs. Simitis and Karamanlis, the two main contenders in the parliamentary elections of April 9, took turns at responding to 12 questions posed by journalists Elli Stai, Manolis Kapsis and Thodoris Rousopoulos, while the event was moderated by journalist Nikos Hatzinikolaou. With the Premier answering first, Messrs. Simitis and Karamanlis directed their answers to the representatives of the media instead of each other.
As the first question concerned the course of the stock market, the Premier responded that the success of an economy was not measured by short-term fluctuations in share prices, but by its growth rates, potential, investment and exports, which also provided good prospects for stocks in the longer term.
Responding on the same issue, Mr. Karamanlis stated that the stock market is a significant institution and stressed that his party supports a market economy. He added that interjections and efforts at political exploitation through the bourse should be avoided, accusing the ruling PASOK party of having encouraged the public to invest in the ASE prior to the European Parliament elections, with later political input leading the stock market into a crisis.
In regards to the burning issue of unemployment, the Premier disputed the claim that Greece was the only EU country where unemployment and income inequalities were on the rise and said the government's policy would lead to the creation of 300,000 new jobs.
In turn, the main opposition leader challenged the government's credibility, stating that the country's unemployment rate had increased by 200,000 during PASOK's term.
Concerning pensions, Mr. Karamanlis said an increase in the minimum pensions to 150,000 drachmas monthly was both imperative and feasible, citing an additional cost of 180 billion drachmas to the budget. However, the Premier responded that the true figure surpassed the 600-billion-drachma mark.
The Premier underlined that PASOK's record and program were the best guarantees for further upgrading the country's position in Europe, pointing to the country's falling inflation and higher than EU-average growth rates as indicators of real convergence.
In response, Mr. Karamanlis recognized that Greece's entry to the Economic and Monetary Union in 2001 was one of a number of positive achievements, but stressed that a change of guard, with fresh ideas and initiatives, is now required.
As for foreign policy, Mr. Karamanlis said that while he was in agreement with closer ties between Turkey and Europe, he stressed that PASOK had sent the wrong message to the neighboring country by its stance at the EU summit in Helsinki where it had not ensured Ankara's future respect for international law and treaties, and noted that Turkish intransigence was increasing.
The Premier disagreed, pointing out that Turkey was required to adjust to the acquis communautaire and resolve differences with its neighbors according to EU treaties, and was expected to make gestures of goodwill.
Messrs. Simitis and Karamanlis had two minutes to provide an answer to each question. A warning signal was given ten seconds before time ran out.
Following the one-hour, ten-minute long debate, both Mr. Simitis and Mr. Karamanlis thanked one another and expressed satisfaction that their differences remained of a political nature devoid of any personal animosity.
The MPA, which was the first Greek medium to enter cyberspace in 1993, will also have a minute-by-minute account on April 9's election day, featuring newscasts and ballot percentages in each district and nationwide.
 "MORGAN STANLEY" SUGGESTS ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE SHARESAthens, 31 March 2000 (18:26 UTC+2)
The stocks of 32 companies trading in the Athens Stock Exchange are included in the Greek index of "Morgan Stanley" (MSCI) which will be updated possibly next November, according to a front-page article on the newspaper "Naftemporiki".
The stocks come from most sectors represented in the Athens Stock Exchange with an emphasis on banks, constructions, metal and cement industries, the Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE), food industry, chemicals, tobacco companies and textiles.
 THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE WILL HAVE A GROWTH RATE OF 20-30%Athens, 31 March 2000 (18:19 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange will have an annual growth rate of 20-30% in the following years and the foreign institutional investors will put their money on select companies of European level. The companies that will be preferred will be large businesses that will be the result of mergers and buyouts.
The above were stated by the Greek president of the international investment bank Laidlaw, Mr. Tasos Karayiannis which made investments of over US$300 million on Greek companies trading in the Athens Stock Exchange and in the following months is expected to further increase its investments.
 ETE: GREECE'S GNP WILL BE AT 3.8% THIS YEARAthens, 31 March 2000 (18:19 UTC+2)
Greece's GNP is expected to reach 3.8% this year mainly due to the increase in the overall investments which are estimated to be 8% of the GNP in 2000 compared to 2.6% in 1999. Furthermore, the positive prospects for the Greek economy are being reinforced by the improvement of the economic indexes in the Euro-zone.
The above are expressed in the March issue of the economic and credit journal "Economic and Financial Bulletin", which is issued by the National Bank of Greece in the English language and is directed mainly to foreign customers. The bulletin refers to the developments in the Greek economy and the money market.
 GAINS OF 0.24% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 31 March 2000 (18:15 UTC+2)
The week closed for the Athens Stock Exchange with gains of 0.24% in spite of the losses recorded in the beginning of the session today. The general index closed at 4.793,47 points, while the volume of transactions was at 133 billion drachmas.
The market circles appear optimistic as the stabilizing tendencies of the past two days show that the Athens Stock Exchange will make a dynamic opening on Monday.
 OVER 250.000 ACCESSED THE MPA SITE ON THE INTERNET TO WATCH THE DEBATEThessaloniki, 31 March 2000 (18:09 UTC+2)
The Macedonian Press Agency site on the Internet broke all records with the live broadcast of the televised debate between prime minister and governing socialist party leader Kostas Simitis and right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, as from 9pm on Thursday evening, when the debate started, until 9 am on Friday it received over 250.000 calls which is an unprecedented record in Greece.
It should be noted that the debate continues to be broadcast taped on the popular address www.mpa.gr, which also includes a big presentation of all the party candidates, their resumes and photographs, the election law, the Constitution articles on the elections, the history of the 3rd Hellenic Republic and mainly the current political scene.
The Macedonian Press Agency will broadcast live on the cyberspace the main pre-election campaign rallies of the main political parties as well as the election results of the April 9 elections.
 GREEK-TURKISH BUSINESS MEETING IN WASHINGTONWashington, 31 March 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
Greek businessmen accompanying Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos in the United States met in Washington last night with their Turkish colleagues attending the proceedings of the US-Turkish Council.
According to sources cited by the Turkish news agency Anadolu, 6 Turkish and 4 Greek businessmen attended a dinner organized by the Western Policy Center.
In statements to the Turkish news agency, Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association president Erkut Yatzaoglu said that the Greek and Turkish businessmen discussed ways in which they could contribute to the further improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations.
According to information, the Greek and Turkish businessmen discussed the sectors on which they could develop bilateral cooperation as well as, the prospects for the construction of an energy production plant in a region near the borders of Greece with Turkey.
Mr. Yatzaolgu stated that it is the duty of every businessman to contribute to the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations.
 A NEW DEMOCRACY CANDIDATE WAS RUSHED TO A HOSPITALAthens, 31 March 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
Well-known lawyer and right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy candidate in the April 9 parliamentary elections, Alexandros Likourezos, was rushed to a hospital when he was suddenly overcome by dizziness during a pre-election campaign speech he delivered in Kesariani, Athens this morning.
As it was made known Mr. Likourezos is undergoing a number of medical tests and according to his doctors he will be released soon.
 THESSALONIKI HOSTS BALKAN AGRICULTURE CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 31 March 2000 (13:50 UTC+2)
A Balkan conference on agricultural research and development is to be held tomorrow and Sunday in Thessaloniki, on the initiative of the National Institute of Agricultural Research and under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The conference will feature the participation of Balkan undersecretaries and high-ranking officials from various sector-related organizations.
Among the issues to be discussed will be: market globalization, competitiveness in terms of the main and traditional agricultural products of the Balkan region, environmental protection in cultivated lands, development of mountainous mass and the reformation of the overall Balkan countryside, coordination and promotion of agricultural research and bio-technological methods, etc.
As a continuance of the Agrotica 2000 exhibition, held in Thessaloniki last January and which featured the participation of agriculture ministers from the Balkan countries, the National Institute decided to extend the established climate of cooperation, believing that coordinated agricultural research in the Balkans can be vital to the economic and social development of the wider region.
 NEW JERSEY FIRMS TO VISIT THESSALONIKI NEXT MONTHThessaloniki, 31 March 2000 (13:50 UTC+2)
A business delegation from New Jersey, comprising representatives from various U.S. firms, is to visit Thessaloniki's Trade and Industry Chamber (EVETH) on April 20
Among the firms to be represented are "Cemmaron International Corporation", "Energy Photo- Voctaics" and "NLM Environmental Group".
Those wishing to meet with the representatives of the aforementioned firms should contact EVETH's public relations department by April 7.
 LOCAL BUSINESS DELEGATION TO TRAVEL TO BRUSAThessaloniki, 31 March 2000 (13:42 UTC+2)
A business delegation organized by Thessaloniki's Trade and Industry Chamber (EVETH) is to be in Brusa, Turkey, between May 28 - June 6, for contacts with Turkish businessmen from various sectors.
The delegates are to examine investment opportunities in the neighboring country's market.
Those interested in participating should contact EVETH's public relations office by April 10.
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE MEMBERS VISITED LEILA ZANA IN PRISONAnkara, 31 March 2000 (18:16 UTC+2)
The Turkish government allowed yesterday two members of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly to visit jailed Turkish former parliament deputy of the banned Democratic Party (DEP), Leila Zana, who is held in a high security prison in Ankara, while a month ago the Turkish government had rejected a similar request made by other two European deputies.
After the meeting they had with Leila Zana and other inmates, who were former deputies of the same party, the two members of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly stated that she complained over certain health problems she has for the past six months but she did not want to use them as an excuse for her release.
The European deputies will prepare a report on the visit which they will present to the Turkish government.
 THE GREEK AMBASSADOR TOURED AN ALBANIAN PREFECTURETirana, 31 March 2000 (18:06 UTC+2)
The Albanian press referred extensively to Greek ambassador to Tirana, Alexandros Mallias' tour of the prefecture of Fieri, underlining that he announced that an agreement was reached between Greece and Albania on seasonal employment, while he also made an appeal to the Albanian immigrants working in Greece to invest their money in their country in order to contribute to its economic recovery.
According to the newspaper "Gazeta Skiptare", Mr. Mallias stressed that the Greek economic assistance to Albania was US$116 million in 1997-1998, while for the balance of payments in 1999 were allocated US$1,5 million. He also said that it must be realized that the future can not be based on economic assistance but on investments which will create new job positions.
 CoE PLANS TO REMIND TURKEY OF LOIZIDOU CASENicosia, 31 March 2000 (12:12 UTC+2)
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), responsible for the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, intends to send a second letter to Turkey calling on the government to comply with a ruling relating to human rights violations in Cyprus.
The Titina Loizidou case is set to be re-examined by the Committee at its next regular meeting in May, when Italy will hold the chair.
 FOURTH AMERICAN THESSALONIKI FESTIVAL IN N.YORKNew York, 31 March 2000 (12:13 UTC+2)
The Institute of Greek Culture in New York, in cooperation with the Greek Studies Center Spyros Vryonis, have organized an eight-day Film Festival in Manhattan, titled ´Fourth American Thessaloniki Festival´, from April 14 to 21.
The event will include a selection of the best Greek movies as well as films of Balkan production.