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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-08-21
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIMITIS MESSAGE FOR THESSALONIKI FAIRAthens, 21 August 2001 (12:41 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis sent out the following message in view of the 66th Thessaloniki International Fair:
"Every September Greece turns its eyes to the Thessaloniki International Fair and appreciates how much the past year has moved forward, making an account of the progress made in commerce, industry and economy in general.
In the TIF, economic happenings, not just of Greece but worldwide, are suffused. The Fair with its events brings into contact and contributes to the cooperation of productive powers from different regions of the planet. Powers that are not afraid of competition, but through which they pursue to better themselves. The TIF promotes multinational cooperation and creation, it cultivates and educates in values and principals of peaceful coexistence, respect towards what is different, common effort for a better tomorrow for everyone.
The 66th Fair, finds the Greece a member of the Eurozone. In less than 4 months the drachma will begin to be gradually withdrawn and give its place to the Euro, the common currency of the 12 countries. In this new environment Greek economy will face some of its most important challenges. The aim for real convergence promotes the content and the priorities of economic policy in the years to come.
The extrovert orientation of Greek economy and the constant and greater interconnection with globalized economy are conscious choices. The creation of a favorable climate for more investments is , also, a conscious choice. That requires stable conditions, but also further deepening of structural changes, the release of the country's productive potential and the strengthening competitive conditions.
The vivification of enterpreneurship, with motivation for enterpreneural initiatives will allow Greece to realize the developmental leap which will bring her to the same level with the other European countries. In the new international conditions which are being formed, the roles of state and private bodies become counterpart. The state intervenes to secure competition, the eurhythmic function of the markets, but also equal chances for all citizens. At the same time, it limits the inequities created by the market and promoted by social cohesion.
Today, Greece is carefully laying the foundation for a self sustaining development. From one end of the country to the other projects are under way that make distances smaller, make communication easier, improve the quality of life, upgrade the environment, and strengthen the equal development of the center and the periphery.
Northern Greece has a strong productive web with an intense export orientation. With works taking place and trails opening to Central and Eastern Europe, the last few years creative powers have been unleashed. In the bipolar postwar world Northern Greece was in the periphery, today it is the crossroads of a region with vast potential for development.
The vision for a metropolitan-Thessaloniki in the 21st Century is achievable. It needs work and will. It demands the mobilization and coiling of us all.
I wish good luck to the 66th TIF and I am certain that this year's event will be as successful as any other.
 DISCOMFORT ON FYROM NAMEThessaloniki, 21 August 2001 (13:15 UTC+2)
Distress on the eventuality of FYROM being recognised as "Macedonia" was expressed by the president of the parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, and he expressed a hope for a final end to confrontations.
"It's a situation which anyone can characterize as dramatic. I believe that every measure for the safety of the Greek soldiers will be taken", he underlined.
"The problem has more to do with the character of any peace force sent there - if there is a final decision to send such a force. If there really is an order for disarmament or if there is a repetition of Kossovo, where, really, the supposed peace keeping force was being used as cover for the smuggling through the guarded - supposedly, I stress once more - by UCK soldiers zone, of arms.
At this moment in Kossovo, NATO forces are making the conflict situation which has arisen in Skopje easier, which supposedly, with the agreement being made, they wanted to stop or to limit", he stressed.
"We've been discovering with suspense after last Saturdays developments, that the case of Skopje's name has taken a turn to the worse and is insulting our national dignity but also historical truth. The Greek and European position with its carelessness and its compliance and the de facto recognition of Skopje with the name "Macedonia" discomforts and worries us".
The above statement was made by the mayor of Thessaloniki, Vasilis Papageorgopoulos, in relation to the issue of the recognition of Skopje as "Macedonia".
"We call the government to take direct responsibility and to correct the error made with the recent signing by the European Union of the Treaty for Skopje, in contradiction to the UN decrees, which temporarily recognize Skopje as FYROM," he ended.
 PERSONALIZED POSTAGE STAMPSAthens, 21 August 2001 (18:39 UTC+2)
The so-called personalized postage stamp will appear in Greece in early September. The new stamps are unique as senders can have their picture printed on them or the picture of any other person. The personalized stamps will have the emblem of the Greek Postal Service printed on their left side, while the picture of the sender will be on its right side.
Speaking to the Athens newspaper "TA NEA", Greek Postal Service director Andeas Taprantzis stated that an effort is being made to boost traditional correspondence in an electronic era in which Internet dominates.
 THE MATERIALIZATION OF THE GREEK RECONSTRUCTION PLAN SHOULD START FROM THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 21 August 2001 (18:14 UTC+2)
The immediate materialization of the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans is imperative to start from Thessaloniki under the coordination of the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace. The above were stressed by Association of Industries in Northern Greece president Dimitris Simeonidis after the meetings he had in Athens today with prime minister Kostas Simitis and right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis.
Specifically, Mr. Simeonidis stated that such an important Greek initiative in the Balkans should not be a field of conflict for the ministries of national economy and foreign affairs and function as an opportunity for the cooperation and coordination of the public and private sector.
Within this framework, proposals were tabled determining the responsibilities of the independent office for the economic cooperation in southeastern Europe, while it was proposed that the coordination of the EU initiative INTERREG III should be undertaken by the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace.
In addition, it was also requested that the clothing sector participate in the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans as it is a widely shared belief that it has undertaken a greater activity in the region compared to any other sector and at the same time, it meets all preconditions necessary to be included in the Plan.
 REPPAS: THE ISSUE OF THE ID CARDS HAS CLOSEDAthens, 21 August 2001 (17:29 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responded to Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece, who called on the prime minister to review his tactic on the issue of the state-issued identity cards.
In a written response, Mr. Reppas reiterated that the issue of the ID cards has closed after the decisions issued by the State Council and underlined that the people elect the governments and the Church of Greece has a spiritual and not a political role.
 WARRANT FOR THE ARREST OF CLUB MED HOTEL EXECUTIVESAthens, 21 August 2001 (17:03 UTC+2)
The Athens prosecutor will issue a warrant for the arrest of the French executives of the Club Med Hotel in Marathonas, Athens where a freak accident happened last Saturday involving a 7yearold French tourist, who was sucked in by the pool's automatic water recycling system and was killed in a tragic and painful way. The warrant will be issued in case the two will not appear to testify.
Criminal charges have been filed against the two hotel company representatives, who have not appeared before the authorities yet and against the person responsible for the pool maintenance.
 THE FIRST VISITORS TO "ATHENS 2004" COME THROUGH THE INTERNETAthens, 21 August 2001 (16:48 UTC+2)
The visitors of the "Athens 2004" site on the Internet reached 2 million in the first two years of the www.athens.olympic.org web site which was launched in July 1999.
The visitors came from 40 countries and mainly from the United States (about 700.000), Britain (75.000), Australia (70.000), Canada (40.000), Japan (30.000), Mexico (10.000) and New Zealand (10.000). The Greek visitors reached 170.000 and 55% preferred the Greek pages, while 45% opted for the English pages.
The average visit lasted 8.5 minutes, which is a long time taking under consideration that there are three years left before the Athens Olympic Games. The average visit in Sydney's pages lasted 10 minutes but this was recorded in the last six-month period before the opening of the Olympic Games.
 BUILDING ACTIVITY INCREASE IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARYAthens, 21 August 2001 (16:38 UTC+2)
The number of building construction permits showed an increase of 8.7% in the two-month period of January-February 2001 compared to the same period last year. The surface corresponding to those permits increased by 25.6%, while the volume increase was 32.6%.
The biggest increases were recorded in the regions of Athens, eastern Macedonia and Thrace, central Greece and Crete.
 PROBLEMS IN THE OLYMPIC AIRWAYS BUYOUTAthens, 21 August 2001 (16:35 UTC+2)
The Olympic Airways buyout faces serious problems. According to the Athens newspaper "Express", the executives of the adviser company Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) came to this conclusion after the first round of negotiations held between representatives of the Greek state and the Axon Airlines Group.
The same sources pointed out that the demands of the prospective buyer cannot be met without overturning the terms set for the buyout.
The deadlock has caused strong concern to the government and it has not been clarified yet if the prime minister will refer to the Olympic Airways privatization in his speech in Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair next month.
 GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 21 August 2001 (16:29 UTC+2)
Marginal gains of 0.02% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index rose to 2.687,51 points, while the volume of transactions was at 98.2 million Euro or 33.46 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 197 recorded gains, while 116 had losses and the value of 65 stocks remained stable.
 RETAIL SALES IN MAY INCREASED BY 8.1%Athens, 21 August 2001 (16:27 UTC+2)
An increase of 8.1% in retail sales was recorded in Greece in the month of May, according to figures provided by the National Statistics Agency. Retail sales in the month of April had an increase of 7.7%.
The retail sales in retail department stores increased by 10%, while the food, drink and tobacco sales increased by 8.9%.
 THE GOVERNMENT'S GOAL IS TO STRENGTHEN BUSINESS ACTIVITYAthens, 21 August 2001 (16:19 UTC+2)
The strengthening of business activity in the country is the new target set by the Greek government within the framework of the economic policy for the year 2002. This priority and the already expressed position concerning the strengthening of social policy will be reflected in the new state budget, the basic parts of which will be finalized today in an economic staff meeting held under finance minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
The strengthening of business activity is expected to be underlined both by prime minister Kostas Simitis in his opening speech in Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair next month and the responsible government staff. Already, the ministry of finance is getting ready to table a draft bill in parliament offering taxation incentives to real estate investment companies, overseas shipping and business mergers.