Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis had a telephone communication with his British counterpart Tony Blair yesterday to congratulate him on his victory in Thursday's parliamentary elections.
Mr. Simitis stated that he is looking forward to the continuation of their close cooperation for the further strengthening of the already excellent bilateral relations in the spirit of their last meeting in London in March.
The Greek prime minister wished success to Mr. Blair in his new term in office and expressed the certainty that the partnership relation between the two countries, within the framework of the EU, will be further developed and expanded.
Prime minister Simitis also sent a congratulatory telegram to the British prime minister.
Characteristics of an oligopoly, which tend to become stronger in view of Greece's total adjustment to the Euro-zone standards, dominate in ten sectors of the Greek economy with a total turnover of 6 trillion drachmas.
The market in the ten sectors among them, cement industry, banking, energy, telecommunications, dairy products and beverages, is almost monopolized by 23 business groups that do not leave room for other strong competitors.
For example, according to the Athens weekend newspaper "TA NEA", the Greek cement company TITAN and the British interest company AGET IRAKLIS control almost the whole Greek cement market with a turnover of about 270 billion drachmas.
The scene is the same in the liquid fuel market as well. In the oil refinery sector the regulators are the Hellenic Petroleum, Motor Oil and Petrola, while in the marketing sector the market share, jointly controlled by three giants namely, EKO-ELDA, BP OIL and Shell TEXACO, is estimated at 65%.
In telecommunications, the overall turnover of 1.8 trillion drachmas, is shared by Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, (domestic phones) and by the mobile phone companies of PANAFON-VODAFON, COSMOTE and TELESTET, even though the government wants more "players" in the specific market.
In the banking sector, over 70% of the market is controlled by the National Bank of Greece (30%), Alpha Bank (20%), EFG EUROBANK-ERGASIAS (11%) and Commercial Bank (11%).
In the dairy products' market, over 2/3 of the sector's overall turnover, estimated at over 100 billion drachmas, belongs to two dairy industries namely, DELTA and FAGE, followed from a long distance by the northern Greek dairy industries of MEVGAL and AGNO.
A game for the few is played and in the beverages' sector as well. Here, the ruler of the game is Coca-Cola, while a considerable share is owned by PEPSI. In the beer market, the "lion share" belongs to the Dutch owned Athinaiki Brewery.
Centralization tendencies dominate and in coastal shipping as well, with an overall turnover of 120 billion drachmas. Specifically, the shipping company MDF dominates in the Cyclades Islands coastal shipping lines in spite of the fact that in the same area the companies Stringis Lines and NEL are also active. However, today's market picture is expected to change after its liberalization in November 2002.
A one-day conference, on the Greek-Belgian economic relations within the framework of the European Union, will be held in Athens on June 20 in the presence of King Albert B' of Belgium.
The event that will be held in the Zappion Building is organized by the Association of Greek Industries and FEB/VBO in cooperation with the OBCE/BDBH and the Greek-Belgian Chamber of Commerce.
The conference proceedings will open with a message by Greek Industries Association president Mr. Lefteris Antonakopoulos and his Belgian counterpart Mr. Gui de Vaucleroy.
Greek undersecretary of national economy Ioannis Zafiropoulos will speak about the developments in the Greek economy and the course of the national plan for the reconstruction of southeastern Europe. "Athens 2004" Organizing Committee president Ms. Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis will also be among the speakers in the event and she will refer to the opportunities offered by the Athens Olympic Games to the European businesses.
The German Archaeological Institute and the Archaeological Museum decision to return to Greece parts of the Ancient Olympia Filippion in spite of the fact that they are in the possession of Germany legally since 1892, was praised by Greek culture minister Evangelos Venizelos characterizing it as a very significant political initiative.
Germany had the antiquities legally in its possession based on an agreement between the two countries according to which, the German side was free to take 50% of the antiquities unearthed during the German archaeological excavations in Ancient Olympia.
Thessaloniki will be the permanent seat of the newly established Earthquake Protection Agencies Association of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.
The association's founding charter was approved yesterday by the 11 member-states of the organization in a conference organized by the Technical Seismology and Anti-seismic Constructions Institute in Thessaloniki.
The main goal of the association will be the earthquake protection of population, buildings, infrastructure and cultural heritage of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation member-states.
The two-day proceedings of the 1st Balkan Regions' meeting will open in Kavala, northeastern Greece on Monday. The participants will decide on the establishment of a Balkan Committee within the framework of the Coastal Regions Association in Europe.
The goal of the committee will be to create the preconditions for the best possible cooperation among the Balkan regions and the promotion of their positions in the European Commission.
The US-British proposal aimed at lifting the obstacles raised by Turkey in the EU-NATO defense cooperation will be discussed in the General Affairs Council meeting that will be held in Luxembourg on Monday.
Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos reiterated from Brussels that Greece will never accept Turkey's participation in the Euro-defense.
He said that the Greek position is that the Nice decisions on the way each country will participate, whether it is a NATO, a non European or a candidate state, totally safeguard the cooperation and participation framework.
According to information, the proposal provides for Turkey's partial participation in the EU decisions concerning the military operations in Turkey's neighboring countries or in regions where it has vital security interests.
Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos, who is on a visit to the United States, was declared honorary doctor of Law in Philadelphia's Drexel University.
Meanwhile, Mr. Avramopoulos formally submitted the "Diplomacy of Cities" program to UN secretary-general Kofi Annan yesterday. The program is a municipality of Athens proposal. The Athens mayor invited Mr. Annan to visit the Greek capital next year on the occasion of the Mayors of the World Conference.