|Wednesday, 20 February 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-02-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 HOUSE REJECTS CENSURE MOTION AGAINST MINISTERAthens, 2 February 2001 (10:22 UTC+2)
The Parliament rejected a censure motion against Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou, which was initiated by the conservative main opposition party of New Democracy over the Athens Stock Exchange's recent negative performance.
In a roll-call vote shortly after midnight, 154 deputies from the ruling PASOK party voted against the motion, 125 from ND and the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Syn) voted in favor, while eight deputies from the Communist Party and one independent declared themselves present. Twelve deputies were absent from the 300-member House where a minimum of 151 votes were required to pass the motion.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis hailed the result as "a vote of confidence" for the government and its economic policy.
In his address to the House prior to the vote, the Premier stated that ND has resorted to political exploitation and is cultivating a climate of confusion and fear whcih bear a negative impact on the bourse's course.
"We have condemned and we still condemn the mentality of easy wealth," Mr. Simitis stated, stressing that "the bourse is not a place of gambling, it is a tool for development. The mentality of development is not connected with the mentality of gains in stock exchanges. There are profits and losses."
 GRD1.3 TRILLION FOR ROADS, RAILWAYS, AIRPORTSAthens, 2 February 2001 (13:35 UTC+2)
The European Union has given the green light to a European Commission operational program named "Railways-urban communications and airports 2000-2006" which will allocate approximately GRD1.3 trillion in funds for relevant projects in Greece.
The program's strategic aim is the completion of high-speed railway lines with European specifications on the main Athens-Thessaloniki and Athens-Patras routes.
On completion of the projects, travel on the Athens-Thessaloniki route will last three hours and 50 minutes and on the Athens-Patras route two hours.
The European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund are to participate in the program with a 50-percent stake.
 BULGARIA-GREECE PIPELINE EYED BY RUSSIAS LUKOILMoscow, 2 February 2001 (13:36 UTC+2)
Russia's major oil company Lukoil has expressed its interest in the construction of a long-planned pipeline expected to transport Russian and Caspian crude from Bulgaria to Greece.
According to the BBC, Lukoil vice president Ralif Safin stated that "it is a political decision and the governments involved should take it", adding that, from the economic point of view, "it would be interesting for us to take part in the construction of such a pipeline. Lukoil has a lot of oil and production is growing."
The plan aims to link the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, by-passing the Turkish Bosphorus Straits.
 PROPOSAL FOR THE YEAR 2001 TO BE DECLARED YEAR OF THE GREEK WOMAN LIVING ABROADAthens, 2 February 2001 (18:33 UTC+2)
The special cross-party committee in the Greek parliament, dealing with issues concerning the Greeks living abroad, will submit a proposal to parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis according to which, a tribute to the Greek Woman Living Abroad will be paid on March 8 and the year 2001 will be declared to be her year.
The decision was reached unanimously today by the committee after a proposal tabled by World Council for Hellenes Abroad, SAE, Greek Women Living Abroad Network president Anna Kontoulis.
Committee president Vasilis Geranidis stressed that the goal is to promote the work of the Greek Women Abroad through special events in Greece and for this to happen responsible bodies such as, the general secretariat for the Greeks abroad, the equality secretariat, SAE and non-governmental women organizations must cooperate.
 THE COMMANDER OF THE GREEK FORCE IN KOSOVO PREDICTS THAT THE SITUATION WILL NORMALIZEThessaloniki, 2 February 2001 (18:06 UTC+2)
Commander of the Greek force in Kosovo brigadier Christos Vafiadis, speaking to the Athens radio station "Planet", expressed the belief that the situation in Kosovo will be normalized, adding that it is a good sign that things are calm in the last 24 hours.
Commenting on the incidents that the Albanian extremists attempted to cause in the past few days, brigadier Vafiadis maintained that these actions are aimed at the intimidation of the Serb population in order to be forced to leave the region and the especially, the Albanian dominated southern Mitrovica.
Responding to the question if there is a direct danger for the Greek and the rest forces in the region because of the extremists' actions, he said that he does not think that there is any direct danger, adding that they are trained to face any situation
 THE RECOGNIZED SOCIAL SECURITY RIGHTS WILL NOT BE HURTAthens, 2 February 2001 (18:00 UTC+2)
The reform of the social security system was discussed today in the meeting of prime minister Kostas Simitis with labor minister Tasos Yiannitsis.
After the meeting, Mr. Yiannitsis underlined that the recognized social security rights of the workers will not be affected and announced that the social dialogue will get underway by Easter. He also pointed out that the conclusions of a relevant study conducted by British analysts will be announced before the end of February.
Mr. Yiannitsis said that the social security system reform that will be adopted will create a viable and socially fair system that will not cause a constant concern and uncertainty to the people.
 GREEK PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT MEETING WITH THE ALGERIAN FOREIGN MINISTERAthens, 2 February 2001 (16:27 UTC+2)
The close friendship ties between the people of Greece and Algeria as well as, the very good cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries were confirmed by Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis and Algerian foreign minister Abdelaziz Belkadem within the framework of his formal visit to Greece.
Mr. Kaklamanis thanked the Algerian foreign minister for his country's firm support to Cyprus and expressed Greece's interest in the efforts made by the government and the people of Algeria for political stability, peace, unity and economic growth.
From his side, the Algerian official referred to the national reconciliation policy implemented by his government aimed at stamping out violence and to the consolidation of the democratic normality and security. He also spoke about the economic reforms implemented for the transition to the free market economy and the intense social problems, like unemployment, faced by the Algerian people, while he also thanked Mr. Kaklamanis for the support offered by Greece to Algeria within the framework of the partnership relation of the south Mediterranean countries with the European Union.
The Greek parliament president expressed the belief that there will be further cooperation between the two countries in view of the scheduled visit of the Algerian president to Greece, both with the exchange of visits by parliamentary friendship groups and within the framework of the imminent Euro-Mediterranean Conference of the Mediterranean and European Union parliament presidents that will take place in October.
 THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE PERFORMANCE WAS AGAIN DISAPPOINTINGAthens, 2 February 2001 (16:01 UTC+2)
The performance of the Athens Stock Exchange was again very disappointing today as the hopes for a recovery did not last long. The general index dropped by 2.80% at 3.156,98 points, while the volume of transactions was also disappointing at 105.58 million Euro or 35.97 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority namely, 331 followed a downward course and only 21 were able to record gains, while the value of 16 stocks remained unchanged.
 AVERAGE ANNUAL GROWTH RATE OF 7-8% IN THE GREEK COSMETICS MARKET UNTIL 2002Thessaloniki, 2 February 2001 (15:56 UTC+2)
The cosmetics market in Greece is expected to have an average annual growth rate of 7-8% in the 2001-2002 period. Already, the sector in question is one of the healthier of the Greek economy as its average annual growth rate was 15.5% in the period 1999-2000.
However, the Greek cosmetics market is being controlled by only a few "players". In essence, only a very limited number of companies enjoy a two-digit share in the market namely, the subsidiaries of multi-national groups.
According to figures included in the 4th edition of the sector's review "Kallintika", three company groups covered jointly 25% of the domestic cosmetics and tanning lotions market, while 40% of the market is being controlled by 6 companies with over 7 billion drachmas sales each (1999 figures).
The hair-care products were proven to be a "gold mine" as they corresponded to 39% of the overall domestic cosmetics market in 2000, followed by skin care products (35%), perfumes (15%) and make-up products (11%).
 EU SUBSIDIZES GREEK FARMERS WITH OVER 1 TRILLIONThessaloniki, 2 February 2001 (14:04 UTC+2)
The European Union will subsidize Greek farming products to the tune of over one trillion drachmas on an annual basis until 2006, according to Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis who also stated that these subsidies will be increased by six percent from last year's rate.
In an interview with the Thessaloniki daily "Aggelioforos", Mr. Anomeritis also stressed that the Greek farmers are to reap comparative advantages by the implementation of the common European currency, euro, adding that the overall subsidies to be granted to farmers by the year 2006 will amount to seven trillion drachmas.
Translating the advantages of the euro's adoption into reality, the Minister said the transition will mean that loan interest rates will fluctuate between 5-8%, considerably lower than the recent 15, 25, or even 30 percent rates.
Also, the "switch over" period enforced during the Common Agricultural Policy's enforcement will be abolished, while, perhaps most importantly, sector transparency will be facilitated through the use of a simplified trade system.
 GREEK LITERATURE READING FEATURED AT HARVARDCambridge, 2 February 2001 (12:19 UTC+2)
Four Greek award-winning novelists, spanning four generations, are to read from their recent works during a week-long event held at Harvard University commencing on February 5.
The first reading, sponsored by the Greek Consulate's Press office and Harvard University's George Seferis Chair, will feature Thanassis Valtinos and will be held on February 5.
The second reading, sponsored by the Foundation for Hellenic Culture, the Kokkalis Program, Harvard University and the Consulate's Press office, will feature Christos Chomenidis, Ioanna Karystiani and Ersi Sotiropoulou.
 GREEK-BULGARIAN JOINT FRONT IN TRANSPORTATION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONSSofia, 2 February 2001 (15:42 UTC+2)
The doors have opened for the speedier promotion of the projects in the road axis 9 and 10 after the lifting of the reservations that were expressed by the Bulgarian side. At the same time, the bilateral agreements between Greece and Bulgaria for the promotion of projects aimed at the upgrading of the Thessaloniki-Sofia-Bucharest and Alexandroupolis-Burgas railway links are being renewed.
The intentions of Bulgaria to cooperate with Greece in the field of transportation was made clear in a Sofia meeting that was held yesterday with the participation of Greek transportation and telecommunications minister Christos Verelis, his Bulgarian counterpart Antoni Slavinski and Bulgarian government vice-president Petar Zotev.
The contacts were made on the occasion of an event held in Sofia after the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, got the second mobile phone service provider license in Bulgaria.
 GREEKS LIVING ABROAD HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEMelbourne, 2 February 2001 (19:10 UTC+2)
The losses in the Athens Stock Exchange have affected many members of the Greek community in Australia. The Melbourne newspaper "Neos Kosmos" writes that based on statements made by its readers, many of them who bought stocks in Greece have lost large sums of money.
Meanwhile, according to Greek community press publications, an Australian joint venture appears to be interested in the purchase of the Greek airline Olympic Airways. The interested group is the Venture Capital Integrated Airlines in which participate Greek businessmen as well.