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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-13

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 1416), February 13, 1998

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


  • [01] Greece rejects latest Turkish call for unconditional dialogue
  • [02] ... Cem
  • [03] No agreement reached in talks between Gov't, farmers
  • [04] Kranidiotis: Revelations verify that Ankara wanted war over Imia
  • [05] ... US ambassador
  • [06] Tsohatzopoulos calls Greek-Turkish relations 'antagonistic'
  • [07] Greece, Vietnam to sign three bilateral agreements
  • [08] Burns on Olympic truce proposal
  • [09] Former Albanian strongman Alia in Greece for heart surgery
  • [10] Internal ND developments continue after deputies' expulsion
  • [11] PASOK conference on socialism, democracy in Europe
  • [12] Simitis-Laliotis meeting
  • [13] AI resolution delivered to Algerian embassy
  • [14] No damage to Kerameikos site from Metro works
  • [15] Roman-era brothel uncovered in Thessaloniki
  • [16] Findings point to significance of Dion shrine
  • [17] Discussion on 2004 Games draft bill completed
  • [18] Archaeologists meet in Thessaloniki
  • [19] Greek-Bulgarian initiative on Balkan co-operation
  • [20] No agreement reached between employers' representatives, unions
  • [21] Marble exhibition, INFACOMA in Thessaloniki
  • [22] HEPO support for SMEs in declining areas
  • [23] Greek marble production decreases
  • [24] Greek money market edgy after stable week
  • [25] Greek equities shed gains on profit-taking
  • [26] Greece to back exports to Yugoslavia, Black Sea countries
  • [27] Senior Greek officials discuss the economy
  • [28] European employers' group releases analysis on competitiveness
  • [29] Greece, China seek closer trade ties
  • [30] Greece's Intrasoft, Athens Medical create subsidiary
  • [31] Greece considers leasing out Olympic Airways routes
  • [32] Athens to get new English newspaper

  • [01] Greece rejects latest Turkish call for unconditional dialogue

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Athens yesterday rejected a five-point proposal from Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to work out differences between the two countries.

    "The Greek government does not accept the Turkish proposal because it includes issues which are already being dealt with and it reiterates the standing Turkish position for unconditional dialogue on all issues," government spokesman Demetris Reppas told reporters. Mr. Cem handed details of the proposal to Greece's ambassador in Ankara yesterday morning. He proposes a high-level meeting to identify problem areas in the Aegean, formalize principles of good-neighborly relations and bolster confidence-building measures.

    Mr. Reppas said Ankara's suggestion for a high-level meeting to determine points of contention could only be held in regard to the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf.

    "Everything else is about unilateral Turkish claims," Mr. Reppas said.

    The Greek spokesman also rejected Ankara's proposal that national expert committees set up under a European Union initiative meet on a bilateral basis to continue the procedure.

    "This is a European Union initiative and can only continue as such," he said.

    Mr. Reppas said Greece respects the Madrid communiqui, signed with Turkey last year, which set out basic principles that should govern relations between the two countries, and expected Turkey to do the same.

    The Madrid communiqui is not a treaty but a political declaration, he said.

    Turkey's proposal on confidence-building measures in the Aegean, he continued, was moot.

    "There is already a related proposal from NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana which is being discussed at the ambassadorial level".

    Commenting on Mr. Cem's proposals, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said "We have received them, we shall study them, and we will answer in due time."

    The main opposition New Democracy, in a statement, referred to what it called a lack of coordination by government members.

    [02] ... Cem

    Ankara, 13/02/1998 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    Referring to his five-point proposal towards Greece on Turkish television, the Turkish foreign minister clarified that the point on the group of experts concerned the bilateral level and not the European Union level.

    "Initially, the initiative for a group of experts began with the EU as a starting point," but now the Turkish side "proposed that the two countries begin (talks) between them".

    [03] No agreement reached in talks between Gov't, farmers

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Government officials yesterday met with representatives of protesting farmers from around Greece for two and a half hours, although no agreements were reached.

    According to reports, neither side moved from its positions, while increased farmers' mobilizations in the near future are expected.

    Farmers' representatives insisted on their demands for national crop subsidies, decreased interest rates on loans and an end to court action against several farmers charged in last year's demonstrations.

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas said that the government cannot offer additional subsidies, since it is impossible through national coffers and because of EU prohibitions.

    Mr. Tzoumakas added that the government is forging ahead with a specific plan of reform for agriculture, which aims to increase farmers' income.

    The minister also said that a bill will be tabled in Parliament as soon as the Economic and Social Committee will give its appraisal.

    As far as farmers' demands for cheaper fuel, Mr. Tzoumakas said the government will consider the proposal for greenhouses and other such activities, which have a direct bearing on production costs.

    On the other hand, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy and Thessaly farmers' representative Vangelis Boutas said that "the government refused to satisfy any of our demands. The decrease in petrol prices is referred to for the future. The statements o n costs for meeting our demands (937 billion drachmas) are false and baseless. Tomorrow, farmers who participate in the roadblocks, will decide on the direction of the protests."

    Meanwhile, farmers in Macedonia, Thrace, Laconia and other parts of Greece are ready to move on with protests, while Thessaloniki-area trade unions yesterday organized a rally for the protesting farmers.

    [04] Kranidiotis: Revelations verify that Ankara wanted war over Imia

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis told Parliament yesterday that Turkey's leadership wanted war with Greece during the Imia crisis in late January 1996 when Ankara openly disputed Greek sovereignty of the Imia islets.

    Mr. Kranidiotis based his assessment on what he called the "recent revelations" about the role of the Turkish political leadership during the crisis, and developments "in the meantime".

    Adm. Guven Erkaya, Turkey's navy chief at the time of the crisis, stated during a program on Turkish television earlier this week that former Turkish premier Tansu Ciller and her then foreign minister Deniz Baykal were in favor of a military confrontation with Greece during the crisis.

    Mr. Baykal was in favor of a confrontation from early on in the stand-off, the admiral said in reference to a meeting on Jan. 29, 1996, but the idea "caused fear among the others".

    He also revealed that Ms Ciller was putting pressure on him to speed up the occupation of the smaller of the two Imia islets, in order to create faits accomplis before any diplomatic efforts bore fruit.

    Replying to a question tabled in Parliament by main opposition New Democracy deputy Alexandros Papadongonas, Mr. Kranidiotis said the foreign ministry had no information indicating that the Greek embassy in Washington had been notified beforehand about imminent moves by Ankara's forces on Imia on the night of the crisis.

    He reiterated Greece's call on Turkey to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice at The Hague on the basis of reciprocity in order for the two countries to examine their relations.

    "The Greek proposal for a step-by-step approach is realistic, since it provides for recourse to The Hague on the issues of the continental shelf in the Aegean and Imia," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

    He underlined that the approach proposed by Athens had international backing, including that of both the European Union and Washington.

    [05] ... US ambassador

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Asked by reporters to comment on Adm. Erkaya's statements concerning the Imia crisis, US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns replied: "It would not be correct for a US ambassador to comment on these events. I would like to leave this to the Greek government."

    Mr. Burns was speaking after a meeting yesterday morning with Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Demetris Tsovolas, who expressed the view that Mr. Erkaya's statements "do not reflect reality".

    Mr. Tsovolas said they were aimed at "creating the appropriate psychological climate in order to put forward the false dilemma 'peace or war' and ultimately to shape the suitable conditions to get concessions from Greece outside the framework of international law and international conventions".

    Commenting later on the statements by Turkey's former naval chief, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said the conclusion easily drawn was that Turkey did not always follow the "peaceful path".

    "Turkey then sought military confrontation in order to impose negotiations. The fact that Ankara did not attain its targets confirms the soundness of the government's handling," Mr. Reppas added.

    [06] Tsohatzopoulos calls Greek-Turkish relations 'antagonistic'

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne is crystal clear, it does not lend itself to disputation and very clearly sets out the regime in the Aegean, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated Yesterday.

    Speaking at the Air Force War School, he noted that relations between Greece and Turkey were antagonistic, and a new element of this antagonism appeared to be the fact that the two countries were on the oil routes of the Black Sea and the Caspian.

    "Greece, as a force of peace stability, security and co-operation, a member of the EU, the WEU and NATO, tries to influence developments in the area, while Turkey, feeling as a regional superpower, strives to influence developments in neighboring countries", he said.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the government's policy of continuously boosting the Greek armed forces in the 1980s had achieved a balance of power in the area and successfully averted a dynamic Turkish intervention in 1987.

    However, because Greece was busy with internal problems between 1989 and 1995, it ignored the tremendous push in armaments by Turkey, while the present government is trying to redress the balance with the approval of an armaments program, which is being implemented quickly.

    "We are the only country in Europe which due to the tangible threat from the Turkish side is obliged to maintain its armed forces at a high level of fighting capability and efficiency", he said.

    Finally, he reiterated that the maintenance of defense and security in the Aegean, which constitutes a single security area, are the sole responsibility of the Greek armed forces.

    [07] Greece, Vietnam to sign three bilateral agreements

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam, currently on an official visit to Greece, met yesterday with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou for a discussion of bilateral relations.

    The Vietnamese minister, who also had meetings yesterday with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis, is to sign three co-operation protocols while in Greece, on double taxation, shipping and investment protection.

    [08] Burns on Olympic truce proposal

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    The US administration expressed its appreciation of a Greek proposal for a truce during Olympic Games, US ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns said yesterday after a meeting with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    "The fact that this idea comes from Greece and the ancient Greek ideals makes us especially respectful and we consider it very useful," he added.

    Mr. Papandreou said they had discussed "current developments in Iraq, the proposal for an Olympic truce, and Turkey's latest proposals to Greece."

    [09] Former Albanian strongman Alia in Greece for heart surgery

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Former Albanian president Ramiz Alia has been granted a visa enabling him to fly to Thessaloniki on Friday night to undergo open-heart surgery. The 73-year-old last communist leader of Albania, who has had severe heart problems for the past five years, will be operated on at the Georgios Papanicolaou Hospital on Saturday or Sunday by well-known heart surgeon Panayiotis Spyrou, who has performed similar operations on several Greek politicians.

    Sources said that Mr. Alia was given a medical visa by the Greek consulate in Tirana.

    The sources said Dr. Spyrou, who saw Mr. Alia a few days ago in Tirana, said that "because of the seriousness of his condition, he should be operated on in Thessaloniki."

    Meanwhile, an ANA report quoting sources in Tirana, said that Nexhmije Hoxha, the 77-year-old widow of Albanian communist dictator Enver Hoxha, was "seriously ill and living in a small apartment located in an old military camp in a Tirana suburb".

    [10] Internal ND developments continue after deputies' expulsion

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy party is still feeling the repercussions of the expulsion of six prominent deputies last week for failing to toe the line in voting against a government amendment on labor relations in public utilities.

    Former minister George Souflias appeared in a lengthy interview on the private Antenna television channel Wednesday night, and did not rule out the possibility of the formation of a new party, saying that the "pathological symptoms of the political life was leading to changes."

    He noted, however, that it was too early to speak of a new party or of the next political moves.

    Nevertheless, he accused party leader Costas Karamanlis of inertia and inability to formulate clear policies, adding that his expulsion had been predetermined due to the leader's feeling of insecurity of losing the helm after an electoral defeat.

    He said that it was Mr. Karamanlis who should have been referred to the disciplinary council for absconding on previous positions of the party that were generally in line with the government's proposed amendment.

    Another former minister among those expelled, Stephanos Manos, is keeping a distance from the aftershocks, and sources close to him said that he does not "wish to be represented by anyone else apart from himself". They added that although he was angry, he is facing the situation with coolheadedness, considering that no hasty moves should be made towards a political differentiation.

    Sources close to Mr. Karamanlis said he does not intend to busy himself with the issue any longer, feeling calm and "without any burden".

    [11] PASOK conference on socialism, democracy in Europe

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis was to inaugurate a two-day national conference yesterday on socialism and democracy in Europe of the 21st century.

    PASOK members, deputies, Eurodeputies, representatives of local party organizations as well a representatives of trade unions will participate.

    [12] Simitis-Laliotis meeting

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis.

    According to reports, they discussed today's PASOK conference.

    [13] AI resolution delivered to Algerian embassy

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek section of Amnesty International yesterday delivered a resolution signed by 2,000 Greek citizens to the Algerian embassy in Athens, expressing their concern over the continuing violence in the North African country.

    Amnesty International reminded the Algerian government that the protection of human rights is not a domestic affair, but a necessity of international interest.

    [14] No damage to Kerameikos site from Metro works

    Brussels, 13/02/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis has assured European Parliament President Jose Maria Gil-Robles that the Kerameikos archaeological site will not be damaged by underground drilling for Athens' new urban railway project.

    "I consider it my duty to inform you that under no circumstances will the Metro (tunnel) proceed if there is the slightest possibility that the ... safety of the Kerameikos monuments is at stake," wrote Mr. Simitis in response to a letter from Mr. Gil-Robles.

    Political Spring Eurodeputy Katerina Daskalaki had drawn Mr. Gil-Robles' attention to the Kerameikos issue, asking him to intervene.

    Mr. Simitis also gave details regarding the archeological finds unearthed during excavations for the Metro and plans for exhibiting them in mini-museums at Metro stations.

    He added that alternative solutions were being studied with regard to diverting the tunnel around the site.

    [15] Roman-era brothel uncovered in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    An ancient brothel some 21 centuries old has been discovered by archaeologists in the center of Thessaloniki.

    The brothel dates to the early Roman era and was discovered during excavations being conducted to the south of Thessaloniki's ancient agora.

    The site is reported as particularly luxurious, of 7.5X5.5 meters wide, and constituting part of a larger area which included the local baths.

    The circular hall contains 25 baths of a diameter of 7.5 meters and is connected to the place where the brothel was located. The two sites have mosaic floors. In the center of the hall lies a structure serving as a fireplace. Hot stones were placed there and water was poured on them to create vapors.

    The brothel is located on the second floor of a building in which a number of pots were found for food, leading archaeologists to believe it was a tavern of that era. A red phallus-shaped jug was found in the brothel decorated with bas-relief grapevines , as well as a replica of a phallus. A glass pot was also found in the same place a picture of Venus.

    The building is one of the earliest in the post-Hellenistic period since its use from the 1st century BC has been confirmed.

    A small number of halls having a similar circular layout of baths have also been found in other areas such as Gortyna, Arcadia (4th-2nd century BC), Cyprus and Syracuse.

    Archaeologist Polyxeni Veleni, who is responsible for the excavations, said the need to excavate the region is imperative.

    [16] Findings point to significance of Dion shrine

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    A number of new findings unearthed in the past months have all but confirmed a view that an ancient Macedonian shrine was located in the Dion, Pieria region.

    Findings include a head of Roman emperor Trajan, adorned with a laurel crown, a number of copper coins minted in Dion bearing the portrait of the emperor, as well as 20 inscriptions dating back from the 4th to the 2nd century BC.

    The new findings were presented on Wednesday by Aristotelion University in Thessaloniki Prof. Demetris Pantermalis during an 11th meeting of archaeologists from the region concerning excavations in Macedonia and Thrace. He said that the conclusion reached is that the Macedonians' most famous shrine was located there, and flourished during the era of Philip II and Alexander the Great, as well as in later Hellenistic times.

    [17] Discussion on 2004 Games draft bill completed

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament yesterday completed discussion of a draft bill for the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games at a committee stage.

    Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras praised representatives of all parties for their contribution to the assumption of the 2004 Games by Athens. He stressed that the city's mayor, Demetris Avramopoulos, and the Greek Olympic Committee have fully agreed with the provisions of the bill and the selection of executives by the prime minister. He also called for the inclusion in the bill of a provision whereby all relevant bodies would have to submit progress reports.

    The Communist Party of Greece, the Coalition of the Left, and Democratic Social Movement rapporteurs expressed serious reservations regarding environmental effects, commercialization and the composition of the organizing committee, and said they would vote against the bill.

    On his part, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos complained that he sent a copy of the draft bill to main opposition leader Costas Karamanlis 20 days before the tabling of the bill but had received no reply.

    [18] Archaeologists meet in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Dozens of archaeologists met in Thessaloniki yesterday for their 11th consecutive annual meeting on the results of digs in the Macedonia and Thrace regions.

    The experts are expected to make some 67 announcements of significant finds made in the course of 1997, including that of an ancient settlement at Karabournaki, near Thessaloniki, new finds at the site of Dion in Pieria and artifacts discovered by chance during construction work for a natural gas pipeline in Thessaloniki.

    The conference is being held at the Aristotelian University and will end on Sunday.

    [19] Greek-Bulgarian initiative on Balkan co-operation

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece and Bulgaria will undertake an initiative to strengthen co-operation between Balkan countries and the Mediterranean countries of Europe in the sector of tackling natural and technological dangers.

    The effort will be undertaken together with the executive secretariat of the Council of Europe's (CoE) Open Partial Agreement on preventing and dealing with disasters.

    The first joint meeting of the General Political Protection Secretariat with the members of the Bulgarian delegation and the executive secretariat of the CoE's "EUROPA program" was held in Athens yesterday and the day before yesterday.

    Greece assumed the presidency of the body for the prevention and combating of disasters last November. The agency responsible is the General Political Protection Secretariat.

    The meeting was attended by the heads of the corresponding delegations and Political Protection Secretary-General D. Lavrentakos.

    [20] No agreement reached between employers' representatives, unions

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    A meeting between trade unions and employers' federations on the signing of a new national collective bargaining agreement for 1998 was held at the offices of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) yesterday, although the meeting failed to produce results.

    The Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) appears prepared to offer increases of up to 4.5 per cent on the basis of increases equaling the sum of anticipated inflation, plus an additional amount for possible deviations in a possible two-year agreement, plus a part of productivity.

    SEB President Iason Stratos reportedly said that in the past four years the increase in labor incomes exceeded 4 per cent, adding that in the crucial years of 1998 and 1999 industry and businesses cannot give increases exhausting the entire percentage of the increase in national productivity.

    In this context, industrialists appear at the negotiating table with a proposal for a 4.5 per cent increase but might offer an additional 0.5 per cent if a two-year agreement is reached.

    On the other hand, unions want increases in the region of 6-7 per cent. GSEE will be organizing its congress in about a month's time.

    [21] Marble exhibition, INFACOMA in Thessaloniki

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    The international marble exhibitions "INFACOMA" and "MARMIN" will run concurrently in Thessaloniki from Feb. 18 to 22, both at the Helexpo exhibition center.

    INFACOMA will include 817 exhibitors from 27 countries and MARMIN will include 147 exhibitors from seven countries. Both exhibitions will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekdays, an hour earlier on the weekend.

    [22] HEPO support for SMEs in declining areas

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) has undertaken to support the export efforts of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in declining areas of the country.

    The initiative is part of a relevant program funded by the Industrial Operation Program. Independent private industrial and handicraft enterprises and cooperatives are entitled to participate in the program.

    Companies fulfilling these requirements should have their production facilities in the regions of Lavrio, northern and central Halkidiki and the island of Syros, or in the prefectures of Achaia, Viotia, Drama, Evros, Evia, Imathia, Kastoria, Kilkis, Kozani, Larisa, Lesvos, Magnisia, Xanthi, Pella, Rodopi, Samos, Florina and Hios.

    They must also have at least one concluded fiscal year before the date of submitting the proposal and employ up to 200 people. Lastly, they must have an annual turnover exceeding 50 million drachmas and not more than four billion drachmas in the last fiscal year.

    [23] Greek marble production decreases

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek marble production fell by 20 per cent over the last four years, dropping Greece from third to fifth place in international marble production.

    Italy is in first place, China in second, Spain is in third place and Turkey occupies fourth place in marble production.

    While Greek exports reached the 30-billion-drachma mark and the value of finished marble products has gone up, there has been an increase in raw marble exports from Turkey, Egypt, Portugal, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Guatemala .

    [24] Greek money market edgy after stable week

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's interbank market came under pressure yesterday ending a week-long period of increasing stability. Bank of Greece sources reported capital inflows of 130 million ECUs at the drachma's daily fixing. The Greek currency weakened against the ECU an d the DMark but improved slightly against the US dollar.

    Interbank rates moved higher by almost one percentage point despite a 50 basis point drop in the Bank of Greece's overnight intervention rate to 17.5 percent on Wednesday.

    [25] Greek equities shed gains on profit-taking

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Renewed turbulence in the domestic interbank market yesterday halted a three-day rally of prices on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Greek equities lost ground as investors rushed to rake in their profits. The general index closed 0.87 percent lower at 1,519.27 points with most sector indices losing ground.

    Banks fell 1.10 percent, Leasing eased 0.14 percent, Investment dropped 0.83 percent, Construction fell 0.88 percent, Industrials ended 0.41 percent off, Miscellaneous plunged 2.97 percent and Holding fell 2.16 percent. Insurance bucked the trend to end 2.07 percent up.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 0.56 percent. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index eased 0.92 percent to end at 850.76 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 20.2 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 142 to 74 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    General Trade, Ergas, Etma and Benrubi scored the biggest percentage gains, while Klonatex, Papoutsanis, Agrinion Metals and Plastics and Mouzakis suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 23,295 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,200, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,870, Delta Dairy at 3,000, Titan Cement at 14,350, Intracom at 15,630 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,960.

    [26] Greece to back exports to Yugoslavia, Black Sea countries

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will release another 140 million dollars in export credits to Black Sea countries and Federal Yugoslavia to ease the purchase of Greek products, National Economy Under-secretary Alekos Baltas said yesterday.

    A total of 125 million dollars has already been allocated from the government's credit facility program.

    Mr. Baltas was speaking at a press conference on the priorities set for Greece's international economic relations.

    Referring to priorities for 1998, Mr. Baltas announced that a forum of ministers of foreign economic relations from countries in central and southeastern Europe was being scheduled for May in Greece.

    [27] Senior Greek officials discuss the economy

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis discussed the country's economic prospects yesterday with Bank of Greece governor Lucas Papademos.

    During the meeting, the two men discussed monetary policy, the European Union, the transition to a single European currency and the role of the European Central Bank on the road to monetary union.

    The country's central bank will submit in March its annual report on the previous and current years' monetary policy.

    [28] European employers' group releases analysis on competitiveness

    Brussels, 13/02/1998 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)

    UNICE, a European employers' union, yesterday released its latest comparative analysis on European competitiveness.

    The report was drafted with the contribution of all union members including the Federation of Greek Industries.

    The report argues that since 1993 direct investments fell in the European Union, but rose outside the 15-state bloc.

    Energy costs in Europe are on average 47 percent higher than in the US, while telecommunication costs are almost triple.

    European workers have to work on average seven months a year to pay their taxes against four months in Japan.

    The report urges government and industry to take measures to improve European competitiveness in business and the investment climate, promote fair reform in the labor market, cut public spending and ease tax and administrative rules for businesses.

    Competitiveness is not the ultimate goal but the means to contribute to the EU's economic growth, improve the standard of living and boost employment, the report said.

    [29] Greece, China seek closer trade ties

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    A Chinese business delegation is visiting Greece to examine ways of improving bilateral trade relations.

    The delegation met Ion Steriotis, chairman of the European Business and Businessmen's Union, and delivered an invitation to Greek businessmen to visit the Canton trade fair, China's biggest.

    Mr. Steriotis urged Chinese firms to use northern Greek ports to transit their products to the Balkans and central Europe.

    [30] Greece's Intrasoft, Athens Medical create subsidiary

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's Intrasoft, a member of the Intracom group, and Athens Medical will set up a new company to produce high-techology medical equipment.

    Medisoft SA, the newly created subsidiary of both firms, is to target markets in Greece, Europe and the Middle East.

    Among Medisoft's activities will be:

    - The development, production and sale of software and high technology products in the health and welfare sectors

    - The development of applications in multi-media information systems, again in health and welfare

    - The development of telematics and telemedicine

    - Feasibility studies for the application of information systems, computerization and data coding in health organizations

    Medisoft's share capital is 100 million drachmas. The firm will be staffed by existing personnel in the two groups.

    Socrates Kokkalis, president of the Intracom group, said yesterday he expected the firm to show turnover of 50 billion drachmas over the next three years.

    Medisoft's products may be introduced on a pilot basis into hospitals of the Apostolopoulos Group, which owns Athens Medical, in Greece and abroad.

    Both Intrasoft and Athens Medical are listed on the Athens bourse.

    [31] Greece considers leasing out Olympic Airways routes

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is studying all options in order to revitalize Olympic Airways, including leasing some of its routes to other airlines, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas was replying to a reporter's question on whether a leasing arrangement may be adopted.

    Government officials have said the airline's survival was in jeopardy if solutions to chronic financial and organizational problems were not found within two months.

    [32] Athens to get new English newspaper

    Athens, 13/02/1998 (ANA)

    International Herald Tribune publisher and chief executive Richard McClean and Greek daily Kathimerini chairman of the board Aristidis Alafouzos yesterday announced that the newspapers have joined forces to publish a daily newspaper for distribution in Greece, starting early March.

    The paper will include the entire edition of the International Herald Tribune plus a daily section in English from Kathimerini.

    The combined newspaper will deliver an international look at world politics, business, culture and sport from the IHT while providing local coverage of the day's news in Greece, including economics, commentary and entertainment listings from the pages of Kathimerini, a press release said.

    The IHT, founded in Paris in 1887, will be printed on the Kathimerini presses, combined with the daily supplements and distributed in the early hours to subscribers, hotels, airlines and newsstands.

    Greece thus becomes the 15th of the Herald Tribune's remote printside locations spread over three continents.

    End of English language section.

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