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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-11-23

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No. 1048), November 23, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Simitis, Evert clash in Parliament over Commission report on Greek economy
  • [02] Cyprus issues arrest warrants for Turkish killers
  • [03] Foreign heads of state expected in Greece soon
  • [04] President in Thrace
  • [05] G. Papandreou: Athens won't support EU expansion unless Cyprus included
  • [06] Greek delegation reacts sharply to Turkish proposals at NATO conference
  • [07] BSEC transport ministers push for promotion of regional road axis
  • [08] Athens reiterates that it will not consider Imia, continental shelf issues in 'package'
  • [09] Parliament discussion to focus on IGC
  • [10] Souflias on three-day tour of eastern Macedonia, Thrace
  • [11] Coalition, ND agree on need for political party leaders to meet on foreign policy
  • [12] Greek delegation to important OSCE summit to be headed by premier
  • [13] Parliament discusses case of drug dealer's release
  • [14] Federation of Greek groups in NYC celebrates its 59th anniversary
  • [15] Gypsy groups threaten nationwide protests over recent killing
  • [16] International symposium examines effect of last year's earthquake
  • [17] Union of European Theaters festival slated for Thessaloniki
  • [18] Venizelos opens European writers conference
  • [19] Athens to organize conference on composer Mitropoulos
  • [20] Workers seek tax justice, GSEE says
  • [21] Northern Greek informatics firms call for feasibility study
  • [22] Greek trade fair gets under way in Belgrade
  • [23] 80 Greek firms to participate in Europartenariat
  • [24] AGET comes under direct Italian control
  • [25] Government's communications policy discussed at inner Cabinet meeting
  • [26] Greek National Defense Minister continues meetings

  • [01] Simitis, Evert clash in Parliament over Commission report on Greek economy

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert crossed swords yesterday in Parliament over observations made by the European Commission on the Greek economy.

    The observations were contained in the Commission's recently published twice-yearly review of economic conditions in the 15-member Union.

    Describing a question tabled by Mr. Evert as "alarmist", Mr. Simitis said the report constituted a routine review of the economies of all the countries seeking to attain convergence, within the framework of which the course of the Greek economy was also examined. Mr. Simitis noted that the EU's monetary committee had ascertained significant progress in the Greek economy but also numerous problems which still had to be resolved.

    He added that Greece's deficit would be 7.9 per cent of GDP at the end of this year, against the 1996 budget target of 7.6 per cent.

    Accusing ND of contradicting itself, Mr. Simitis said the ND leader was "on the one hand sounding the alarm about the economy, while at the same time reacting to the government's economic measures."

    "They should decide once and for all what they want," the premier added.

    Mr. Evert responded by accusing the government of having become helpless in the face of foreign initiatives and decisions.

    "Mr. Simitis does not understand that with its report on the Greek economy, the European Commission is exerting political pressure pertaining to our national issues," Mr. Evert said.

    It was inconceivable, he continued, for the Commission to threaten to cut off Cohesion Fund financing to Greece solely because of "a small divergence of 0.3 per cent from the target set".

    "Your government is incapable of stopping such procedures and the only thing you do is to run around after the event," Mr. Evert said. Mr. Simitis responded by saying Mr. Evert was not informed of matters.

    "Studies on the course of the economies of all the countries are conducted at many levels in the EU and certain observations are made in the report in question. It is nothing in particular and under no circumstances can one speak of pressure," Mr. Simitis said.

    He added that Greece would attain the deficit target of 7.6 per cent set by the EU.

    Mr. Evert strongly criticized the government's economic policy drawing particular attention to what he termed "the government's non-credibility" and the "new tax storm which will hit middle incomes."

    PASOK's successive governments have been in office for 15 years and have the sole responsibility for the current situation in the economy, Mr. Evert said.

    Terming the government's tax policy as a "dead end," Mr. Evert urged expenditure cuts and a policy for development to boost the economy.

    Stressing that additional taxation would not help in this direction, Mr. Evert pointed to National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou making "soothing" statements about the economy on one hand, while announcing new taxes on the other.

    Stressing what he termed the government's "failed economic policy," Mr. Evert called on taxpayers to "raise their voices" in order to put an end to the government's "unacceptable tax policy."

    Meanwhile, National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas said that low- to middle-income earners were not hit by new taxes in the 1997 budget.

    "We agree with Mr. Evert, however, for cuts in expenditures and the need for less state intervention," Mr. Pachtas added.

    The national economy under-secretary accused the main opposition of "leading the economy backwards," while in office between 1990-93.

    [02] Cyprus issues arrest warrants for Turkish killers

    Nicosia, 23/11/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    Cyprus Police have issued arrest warrants against six people, two Turkish Cypriots and four Turkish mainland settlers, in connection with organizing the murder of unarmed Greek Cypriot Tasos Isaac in August, during an anti-occupation demonstration in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

    The announcement was made by Attorney General Alecos Markides at a press conference yesterday, noting that all suspects were identified in photographs.

    The arrest warrants were communicated to Interpol Thursday night, asking the international police force to help in the arrest of the six suspects.

    Isaac was savagely murdered by extremists on August 11, when he was trapped in barbed wire in the buffer zone, erected by the Turkish occupation army. He was beaten to death with stones, batons and iron bars.

    Mr. Markides said more people were involved in the murder but there was no available evidence as to their identity. However, he said police were continuing investigations to identify the remaining suspects.

    He said if any one of these people travels to any country which Cyprus has a convention to extradite suspects, the government shall ask that the suspect in question is extradited to Cyprus.

    The six were identified as:

    -- Hasan Yilmaz, a Turkish settler, former member of the Turkish Secret Services and now owner of a coffee shop in the Turkish-occupied town of Kyrenia. He was identified in photographs, beating Isaac.

    -- Neyfel Mustafa Ergun, 26, Turkish settler, illegal policeman, who arrived in the occupied areas when he was a child. He was identified at the scene of the crime.

    -- Polat Fikret Koreli, a 17-year-old Turkish Cypriot living in the Turkish-occupied town of Famagusta.

    -- Fikret Veli Koreli, Polat's father, a Turkish Cypriot from Paphos town and now in Famagusta.

    -- Mehmet Mustafa Arslan, 41, a Turkish settler, leader of the Turkish extremist organization "Grey Wolves" in the occupied areas, a Nicosia resident. There is evidence that the suspect participated in Isaac's murder.

    -- Erhan Arikli, 40, a Turkish settler from the former Soviet Union, living in the occupied areas for the last 10-11 years.

    On October 30, Cyprus police issued arrest warrants against five people in connection with the premeditated murder of Solomos Solomou, shot and killed on August 14 when climbing a flagpole to lower the Turkish flag during a demonstration to protest against the murder of his relative, Isaac.

    Amongst the suspects are Kenan Akin, self-styled minister of agriculture of the illegal occupation regime, Erdal Emanet, commander of the so-called security forces in the occupied areas, Mehmet Karli, commander of the 29th division of the Turkish army, Hasan Kontaci, former commander of the Turkish occupation troops in Cyprus and Attila Sab, so-called chief of police of the illegal regime.

    [03] Foreign heads of state expected in Greece soon

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    A number of foreign leaders, including King Juan Carlos of Spain, will visit Greece in the near future at dates yet to be fixed, sources in the president of the republic's office said yesterday.

    The sources added that President Kostis Stephanopoulos had extended official invitations to the presidents of Tunisia and Uzbekistan as well as to the kings of Belgium and Spain.

    The dates for the visits will be fixed through diplomatic channels, the sources said.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the government is aware that Mr. Stephanopoulos has invited Juan Carlos to visit Greece.

    Mr. Reppas said the government does not object and added that President Stephanopoulos, as head of state, can invite his counterparts.

    [04] President in Thrace

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is expected to attend a glittering ceremony in the northeastern border town of Alexandroupolis to honor the "bard of Thracian songs" Chronis Aidonis.

    In an announcement, the Society for the Cultural Heritage of Evros, which is bestowing the honor, expressed its thanks for "the man who brought to light the all-but forgotten Thracian song, made it known and loved nationwide".

    Meanwhile, Mr. Stephanopoulos will visit the island of Thassos and Chryssoupolis, near Nestos, Kavala on Sunday, on his return from the border island of Samothrace.

    He is expected to return to Athens on Sunday evening.

    [05] G. Papandreou: Athens won't support EU expansion unless Cyprus included

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Speaking at a conference in Athens yesterday evening, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou warned Greece's European Union partners that Athens will not accept accession of new member-states to the EU unless Cyprus is one of them.

    The conference was organized by the Athens Economic University and the University of Cyprus on the subject of "Cyprus, the EU and the role of Greece."

    "The accession course of Cyprus has taken its path and is not reversible, regardless of whether or not the political problem is resolved," Mr. Papandreou said.

    He said "the enlargement to the east has a strategic significance for European interests. However, the balanced enlargement of the EU to the south as well, also has equal strategic significance for us."

    Mr. Papandreou said the time remaining until the start to accession negotiations must be utilized for a resolution of the political problem, which "necessitates pressures being exerted on the Turkish side to dull its intransigence."

    [06] Greek delegation reacts sharply to Turkish proposals at NATO conference

    Paris, 23/11/1996 (ANA/Y. Zitouniati)

    With the submission of eight amendments at the 42nd NATO parliamentary assembly yesterday, Turkey unsuccessfully attempted to institute - along with procedures for enlargement of the alliance - the simultaneous integration of its members into the Western European Union (WEU) and the European Union.

    A similar, but milder version was submitted by Dutch Liberal deputy Nim van Eekelen.

    The head of the Greek delegation, PASOK deputy Eleftherios Veryvakis, immediately reacted to the proposals, stressing that "the procedures for NATO, the WEU and the European Union are autonomous and independent, and any such interconnection in dissimilar organizations is inconceivable".

    Turkish Motherland party deputy Kamran Inan countered without being given permission to address the assembly, claiming that "these are Greek views". Discussion soon escalated into a personal heated exchange between the two men.

    The assembly rejected the amendments, as disagreement was also voiced by other delegations, including the French and the Spanish.

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Orestis Kolozov said after the end of the session that the "role designed for Greece and Turkey in NATO with regard to the Balkans is now becoming apparent, and there must be strong reactions from the Greek side f or these developments to be dealt with effectively."

    [07] BSEC transport ministers push for promotion of regional road axis

    Sofia, 23/11/1996 (ANA/N. Hios)

    A two-day conference of Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC) and Central European Initiative (KEP) member-state transport ministers came to a close with the ratification of a final communique on developing regional road networks and the signing of a memorandum establishing an inter-regional coordinating center in Sofia.

    The meeting here was also attended by representatives from the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Yugoslavia, Egypt and Israel. Special observers at the conference were, among others, representatives from the European Commission and the UN's Economic Committee for Europe.

    Greece, a full BSEC member, was represented by the Greek ambassador to Sofia, Panayiotis Karakasis.

    According to the communique, views were exchanged on national and regional policies, as well as on multipartite co-operation programs in the transport sector.

    Particular attention was paid to the planning and building of international road networks in the regions, while ministers stressed the need to speed up implementation of specific road networks, and particularly those decided at the meeting in Crete, as well as new proposals concerning regions in central and eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Adriatic, the Black Sea basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East.

    Special reference was made to the need to harmonize the technical, economic and legal clauses of member-states' legislation to correspond with the national interests and principles of the market economy, and to simplify and harmonize customs and border processes for travelers and cargo.

    The possibility of a common approach to regional policy was also examined in light of the European conference on transport in Helsinki next year.

    Representatives from Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova agreed to the creation of the center in Sofia.

    [08] Athens reiterates that it will not consider Imia, continental shelf issues in 'package'

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Athens again stressed yesterday that it would not treat the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and the issue of the Imia islets as two aspects of a package deal, but would deal with the two issues separately.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the Greek government is prepared to deal with developments in Greek-Turkish relations but the issue of referring the Imia islets and the continental shelf to the International Court at The Hague in the form of a package is "out of the question".

    He added, however, that although the two issues should be dealt with separately, they could both be considered at the same time.

    According to Mr. Reppas, if Turkey were to seek recourse to the Hague over the Imia issue, he could not rule out discussion for the drafting of an agreement for the mutual referral of the continental shelf issue to the International Court.

    [09] Parliament discussion to focus on IGC

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    An agenda meeting will convene on Dec. 9 in Parliament on a party leaders' level to focus on developments in view of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), it was announced yesterday.

    * The Greek parliament will soon ratify a bilateral agreement that will enable the payment of pensions to political refugees who had been living in Romania, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday in Parliament, in response to a question from Communist Party of Greece Secretary-General Aleka Papariga. The ratification of the agreement, the prime minister added, has been delayed by the Romanian side.

    [10] Souflias on three-day tour of eastern Macedonia, Thrace

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Former New Democracy minister George Souflias, who unsuccessfully contested the ND leadership in late September, and is considered certain to mount a challenge to Miltiades Evert again at next year's congress, yesterday began a three-day tour of eastern Macedonia and Thrace.

    In statements at Alexandroupolis airport, Mr. Souflias accused the PASOK government of breaking its pre-election promise not to impose new taxes, and of subjugating the state to the party.

    Regarding likely Turkish provocations in Thrace, Mr. Souflias described 1997 as crucial for national issues, adding that the formulation of a national strategy by the government was of paramount importance. This required, above all, protection of our sovereign rights and not giving the impression that we are ready to make concessions, he added.

    Another prominent ND party member, Ioannis Kefaloyiannis, who has also been a candidate for the leadership in the past, said yesterday that the party's congress would provide the best possible solution, warning all those eyeing its unity that they would meet the angry opposition of its supporters.

    Meanwhile, party deputy leader Ioannis Varvitsiotis, who has also indicated he might run for the leadership, yesterday completed proposals for the broadening of representation at the congress by 1,200-1,400 delegates, who will be prefectural councilors , candidate mayors, trade unionists etc. - saying he will forward them to the party's political council on Monday.

    [11] Coalition, ND agree on need for political party leaders to meet on foreign policy

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert and Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos agreed yesterday that a meeting of the country's political party leaders should be held to discuss the entire spectrum of Greek foreign policy.

    The two party leaders met to discuss Greek-Turkish relations in light of statements on Thursday by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos. They also discussed issues related to the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). At the same time, Messrs. Evert and Constantopoulos agreed on the need for a regular parliamentary debate "so that the Greek people may be informed about the government's European policy".

    Mr. Constantopoulos accused the government of "double-talk" and a lack of strategy on foreign affairs "which weakens the country's international position".

    ND spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos also criticized the government for what he claimed was "a lack of foreign policy".

    Mr. Constantopoulos will meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday to set out his views on the need for a meeting of political party leaders.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas has sent a letter to Mr. Constantopoulos accepting only the parliamentary debate and not the meeting, Mr. Constantopoulos said, adding that he was expecting a reply to his proposal from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the government.

    [12] Greek delegation to important OSCE summit to be headed by premier

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will hold a two-day summit in Lisbon from Dec. 2-3, with summit results expected to significantly affect the future of European security and Greek national issues in particular.

    Three-week preparations for the summit, to be attended by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, were concluded at the OSCE's headquarters in Vienna yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis, whose entourage will include Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, is expected to set out Greek positions at the 55-nation OSCE summit on the so-called "security model for the 21st century."

    The Greek permanent delegation in Vienna, headed by ambassador Christos Botzios, made effective interventions on issues concerning human and minority rights as well as Greek national matters.

    The European Union is expected to present an initiative in Lisbon on common action by various security institutions in Europe, such as the OSCE, NATO and the West European Union (WEU).

    Moreover, the importance of the OSCE's Lisbon summit is also attached to the role of the organization's institutional bodies, the consolidation of its legal standing and decisions expected to be taken in 1997 on enlargement eastwards, both for NATO and the EU.

    [13] Parliament discusses case of drug dealer's release

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Both Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos and opposition ND deputy Apostolis Andreoulakou expressed their concern in Parliament yesterday over the recent release of a drug dealer due to the statute of limitations on his case, following repeated postponements of the case.

    Mr. Yiannopoulos said the Supreme Court prosecutor had begun an inquiry and that he himself was overseeing the case.

    He called "peculiar" the fact that the case had been postponed repeatedly.

    The ND deputy asked the minister to find a solution to the problem of the courts and said that the dispensation of justice should be speedy and timely.

    [14] Federation of Greek groups in NYC celebrates its 59th anniversary

    New York, 23/11/1996 (ANA/M. Georgiadou)

    The Federation of Greek Associations of Greater New York is celebrating the 59th anniversary of its founding this year with a two-day conference to which all expatriate Greek groups have been invited.

    The conference will focus on the best methods of joint action and the most effective coordination of initiatives on national and other issues which concern the Greek-American community.

    The conference is also expected to broach the subject of dealing with Turkish provocations and of "the permanent solutions which are apparently being decided" on the Cyprus problem and on the Aegean, as well as issues concerning Macedonia and Thrace, cooperation of the federation's various local Greek community organizations with the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) and methods of better informing US public opinion.

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos will participate in the conference, while the Pan-Macedonian Union has organized a program in order to welcome the minister to New York.

    In addition, the Union has organized a photographic exhibition, due to open on Tuesday, entitled "From Pella to Alexandria: Point of Reference of a Civilization", in co-operation with the Alexander the Great Foundation, Fordham University's "Odysseus" Association and the Greek Culture Foundation.

    * The first trade fair on products and services providing protection from theft and fire "Security" will open today at the Helexpo installations in Thessaloniki.

    The fair will run through Monday and will include a seminar on the issue of protection from theft and fire.

    [15] Gypsy groups threaten nationwide protests over recent killing

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Gypsy groups yesterday declared their intention to hold nationwide demonstrations over the controversial shooting death of an Ano Liosia man by a traffic policeman in Livadia on Wednesday.

    The policeman fatally wounded gypsy Anastasios Mouratis, 45, near a police roadblock after the victim and several youths with him were detained and searched by police.

    The detained group of gypsies had earlier stopped at a petrol station near the roadblock, which had been set up by the police after they received information that a wanted gypsy was in the vicinity.

    The police officer is being held in custody.

    According to reports, gypsies from around Attica were congregating yesterday in Ano Liosia with the intention of going to Kaningos Square in central Athens to join anti-racist organizations and political party representatives before holding a protest march to Parliament.

    Their main demand that the state provide a pension to the victim's widow and six children. Mouratis was buried yesterday.

    In a related development, the government expressed its condolences yesterday for the death of Mouratis, spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    "The government deplores such acts, believes they are unjustifiable because they cost human lives and have unfavorable consequences on the operation of the police," Mr. Reppas said.

    He confirmed that the government would do all it could to help Moraitis' wife and children.

    [16] International symposium examines effect of last year's earthquake

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    A two-day international scientific symposium on the repercussions for Aigialia and Fokida of last year's catastrophic earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale opened yesterday in Aigio, the town most badly hit by the tremor.

    The symposium is being held on the initiative of the Organization for Anti-Seismic Planning (OASP) and the prefectural Local Government Authority of Achaia.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis was to have attended the symposium but was eventually unable to due to parliamentary obligations.

    Addressing delegates, OASP president Professor Dimitris Papanikolaou explained the importance of the symposium, noting that not only purely scientific data concerning earthquakes but also the political and social dimensions of seismic phenomena would be presented.

    "A phenomenon which will always exist for Greece, which is why a special organization is needed to incorporate all the political responsibilities, because above all, the social web of a particular region must not be allowed to slacken when such natura l disasters occur," Mr. Papanikolaou said.

    He added that one of the main aims of the symposium was to illustrate that social and political repercussions were directly connected with the earthquake phenomenon.

    Twenty-one people died, among them 10 French tourists, in the June 1995 earthquake which mainly hit Aigio on the northern Peloponnese coast.

    [17] Union of European Theaters festival slated for Thessaloniki

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    The sixth Festival of the Union of European Theaters is to be held in Thessaloniki next year within the framework of events for the Cultural Capital of Europe 1997.

    Thessaloniki won over the festival from Strasbourg after submitting its candidacy to host the event on the initiative of the State Theater of Northern Greece, which became part of the Union in May, and with the support of the Cultural Capital of Europe 1 997 Organization.

    The Union of European Theaters organizes an annual festival with the participation of its members, which are 17 of the most important theatrical organizations in Europe.

    As well as performances, the festival will include exhibitions of leading European stage designers, dedications to great directors with video screenings of their most important productions, as well as conferences.

    [18] Venizelos opens European writers conference

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday opened the 15th European Authors Federation Conference meeting in Athens.

    Urging the authors to put to use the type of strategies that aim at organizing the literature market, the culture minister stressed the need "to persist in a new type of political liberalism which is also necessary for inspiring authors and artists."

    The meeting, ending today, is taking place with the participation of 100 writers from 30 countries and is focusing among other things on copyright as well as freedom of speech and expression.

    The meeting is hosted by the Greek Authors Society.

    [19] Athens to organize conference on composer Mitropoulos

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    The Athens municipality will organize the first international conference on the subject of "The Art and Contribution of Dimitris Mitropoulos", within the framework of events to honor the noted Greek composer.

    The series of events includes composers, musicians and researchers of his work as a maestro and composer, as well as individuals who knew and co-operated with him.

    The conference will be held on Nov. 26 in the Antonis Tritsis Hall of the Athens municipality's cultural center. The third and last concert of the dedication, entitled "Greek Sonata" will be performed at the end of the event.

    Entrance is free.

    [20] Workers seek tax justice, GSEE says

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    The non-indexation of the tax scale means a loss of 60 billion drachmas annually for wage-earners, the president of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos said yesterday.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos said that the workers' limits of tolerance had been exhausted and that unionists were now demanding a fairer taxation system.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos was speaking at a joint press conference held by GSEE, the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), and other union groups.

    He said that the reform of the taxation regime was the central slogan for the 24-hour strike scheduled for November 28 and was expected to be a "thorn" in the side of union-government relations for a long time.

    Workers and pensioners, the conference was told, carried the greater part of the tax burden again this year, paying 362 billion drachmas, or 55 percent, of total tax revenues.

    The unionists demands are: the indexation of income brackets, the increase of the tax-free threshold for wage-earners to two million drachmas and the computerization and streamlining of the taxation system.

    Pegging tax brackets to cost of living, the president of the accountants union Dimitris Varelas said, would bring the tax-free limit today from one million drachmas to 1.576 million. The income bracket of 1.3 million would have reached 2.007 million, that of 2.5 million 3.917 and those earning four million 6.268. Subsequently, workers on an annual income of 3,917 million drachmas will pay 272,000 drachmas in tax, but under the indexation would only pay 60,000 drachmas.

    [21] Northern Greek informatics firms call for feasibility study

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    The Federation of Informatics Enterprises in Northern Greece (SEPBE) has put forward a proposal to the industry ministry that a feasibility study be undertaken on small- and medium-size enterprises in the informatics market in Macedonia and Thrace.

    The aim of the study is to document the size of the market and to form a unified proposal on the viability of firms in northern Greece in the light of new market conditions.

    SEPBE said it has noted that the market is characterized by intense competition and an extended slump. "The dramatic fall in prices, the changes in marketing strategies of firms and increased demands of users for a high standard of service as well as the stagnation noted in the execution of major informatics projects play a significant role in the viability of informatics SMEs active in the region," an announcement said.

    Meanwhile, SEPBE said it was organizing a business mission to the International Informatics Exhibition in St. Petersburg on December 3-7.

    The aim of the mission is to forge contacts with Balkan and Black Sea informatics firms.

    Members of SEPBE taking part in the mission will receive exhibition space of 20 sq.m. free of charge to present their wares and hold contacts.

    [22] Greek trade fair gets under way in Belgrade

    Belgrade, 23/11/1996 (ANA/M. Mouratidis)

    Greece' ambassador in Belgrade Panayiotis Vlassopoulos yesterday inaugurated the first Greek trade fair at Belgrade's exhibition complex.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos said that the first such trade fair in Yugoslavia after the lifting of sanctions was an indication of the new economic relations between the two countries and of their future development.

    The inauguration was attended by the President of the Yugoslav Chambers Mihailo Milojevic.

    The exhibition has been organized by the TEGOS-PLAN firm from Thessaloniki and includes the participation of some 50 Greek businessmen, primarily from northern Greece.

    Greek and Yugoslav entrepreneurs will meet in Belgrade today to discuss issues such as imports and exports, the banking system, the creation of joint enterprises, the investment program and prospects for co-operation in the agricultural sector.

    Mr. Vlassopoulos, meanwhile, met on Thursday with the Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikos Sainovic and defined the activities which would immediately strengthen economic co-operation between the two countries.

    The first exhibition of Yugoslav products in Athens will be held December 3-7.

    [23] 80 Greek firms to participate in Europartenariat

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Eighty Greek companies will participate in the Europartenariat to be held in Genoa, Italy on November 27-29.

    The next Europartenariat is due to be held in Piraeus, in June next year.

    National Economic Under-secretary Alekos Baltas will be in Genoa for a handing-over ceremony on November 28.

    [24] AGET comes under direct Italian control

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    After protracted negotiations, the National Bank of Greece has agreed to sell 50 per cent of its shares in the Greek-Italian consortium Kalnat - which controls 50.5 per cent of the AGET Iraklis cement company since 1991- to the Italian Concretum concern f or 32.2 billion drachmas.

    The package of shares sold represents 12 per cent of AGET's equity capital, and thus National Bank's participation in the company is now restricted to 33 per cent.

    The agreement includes a clause stating that if Concretum decides to sell its shares or if AGET is sold or goes bankrupt, National Bank will have a preference in repurchasing the company.

    It was also agreed that new investments would be undertaken to improve the company's competitiveness and promote environmental protection schemes.

    [25] Government's communications policy discussed at inner Cabinet meeting

    Athens, 23/11/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday chaired a meeting of Cabinet members and party officials to discuss the government's communication policy in view of the 1997 budget to be submitted shortly in Parliament.

    The meeting took place with the participation of the inner cabinet members, PASOK central committee secretary Costas Skandalidis, party officials, and associates to the premier. Sources said the meeting determined guidelines of the government's communication policy as well as coordinate action between the party and government on the issue.

    After the meeting, Mr. Simitis held a meeting with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, focusing on foreign relations issues.

    Mr. Simitis also met with former PASOK health minister Dimitris Kremastinos. Sources said the meeting was held at the initiative of Mr. Kremastinos.

    [26] Greek National Defense Minister continues meetings

    Nicosia, 23/11/1996 (ANA/CNA)

    Greek National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who is currently visiting Cyprus, yesterday discussed defense issues with President of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou, the parliamentary defense committee and Defense Minister Costas Eliades.

    Speaking after their meeting, Mr. Kyprianou said that by building up its defense, the republic will be in a better position during negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    On his part, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the fundamental principles of international law should be taken into account by those launching initiatives for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    He described the defense pact, agreed between the governments of Cyprus and Greece, as a solid foundation between two independent states which will constitute the answer to the threat of Turkish expansionism.

    In a statement, the President of the parliamentary defense committee, Takis Hadjidemetriou, said the people of Cyprus have welcomed the joint defense pact and look forward to a better and more peaceful future.

    "Cyprus should be united and integral for its people as a whole, Greek and Turkish Cypriots," Mr. Hadjidemetriou stressed.

    On his part, Defense Minister Costas Eliades said that working for the defense of Cyprus is similar to working for the restoration of the rights of the people of the island.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was also briefed on defense issues by National Guard Commander, Lieutenant General Nikolaos Vorvolakos.

    Later yesterday evening President Glafcos Clerides held a second meeting with Mr. Tsohatzopoulos.

    In a short statement Mr. Tsohatzopoulos described the meeting as "very useful and interesting" and added that they continued their discussion on issues of common interest.

    The Greek National Defense Minister will continue his contacts today with separate meetings with Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides and the political party leaders.

    End of English language section.

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