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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-14

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 14, 1998

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


  • [01] Nationwide PASOK conference on ideology begins with address by Simitis
  • [02] ... Skandalidis
  • [03] ... Other addresses
  • [04] Latest Turkish proposal 'contains nothing new' - Athens reiterates
  • [05] ... Turkish response
  • [06] More Turkish violations of Greek airspace reported
  • [07] Simitis: Crucial period for Greek-Turkish relations at hand
  • [08] Improving trade relations top priority for new Australian ambassador
  • [09] Strong quake off Rhodes
  • [10] Primakov's schedule for official visit to Greece announced
  • [11] FYROM nationalist leader comments on Simitis' moderation
  • [12] Former Albanian strongman Alia in Thessaloniki for treatment
  • [13] Maziotis confesses in published letter, says he acted alone
  • [14] Golden wreath unearthed in Pella
  • [15] Macedonian tomb discovered
  • [16] Health minister disputes view that Greece ranks first in abortions
  • [17] Farmers set up roadblocks, second meeting with Gov't today
  • [18] Conference focuses on Greek export potential in developing markets
  • [19] Karamanlis says OA's future in the balance
  • [20] Greek business climate improves in January-banks
  • [21] Greek stocks slump on profit-taking
  • [22] Greek commerce calls for support measures
  • [23] British firms to take part in Infacoma trade fair
  • [24] Greece releases Dr 1.3 bln for infrastructure works
  • [25] EU commissioner to back olive output in reform talks
  • [26] Cost of agricultural production falls in most EU members
  • [27] Commission draft directive on double taxation of vehicles
  • [28] Iordanescu officially takes over Greek soccer team

  • [01] Nationwide PASOK conference on ideology begins with address by Simitis

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday addressed a conference of the ruling PASOK party on the subject of "Socialism and Democracy in Europe in the 21st Century", describing it as an exploratory meeting aimed at "finding possible replies to the questions being raised by the new reality".

    Mr. Simitis said that this was precisely the source of PASOK's strength, since the party was awa-re that "new roads" were needed and was working to build them, rejecting the idea that the end had come for ideologies and visions and that there was a crisis and stagnation in progressive thought.

    "The Center-Left will succeed in forming a new society if, to the dilemma 'socialism or social anarchy', it responds by remaining unmoved in the pursuit of a strong society, with free individuals creating prosperity, peace and culture," he said.

    "The forces of socialism will find the answers to the questions posed by the peoples of Europe because the crisis teaches those who are based on their critical judgment".

    "The new era requires steadiness in values, but also imagination, inventiveness, and an open mind on the ways we shall implement them, since dogmatism and established mentalities tie to backwardness, conservatism and deadlock".

    "The conservative camp is dominated by an ideological and strategic confusion between an aggressive neo-liberalism and a populist conservatism. Our difference with the neo-liberal view is primarily focused on the way the collectiveness of society is formed," the prime minister said, citing former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher's dictum of "society is something non-existent".

    "The weakening of the influence of the Left noted during recent years is not only due to the slowness with which it responded to the new reality but also other parameters. One was the view of the traditional left on social evolution, based on a mechanistic perception that endorsed the pervasive influence of the economy on social processes. A second one was the traditional socialist view of provisions to the whole of society without differentiating degrees of need," he noted.

    Mr. Simitis said a new economic policy that would aim at full employment and a modern state of prosperity should solve problems such as finding effective ways for controlling speculation, restoring stability to the world monetary system, formulating a program of effective support to the Third World, and directing investment as a priority to new technological sectors and human resources.

    "It should not escape us that the political formation of the EU is still an open process, a bet on a course whose characteristics are still unclear. However, our participation is not a fetish but a need," he added.

    [02] ... Skandalidis

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said "that PASOK remains the main body of the country's progressive forces", adding that "our targets for national independence, popular sovereignty and social liberation for a democratic and socialist society remain steadfast."

    "The radical transformation of PASOK into a modern socialist political formation is necessary here and now, because tomorrow will be too late. A transformation whose precondition is the resurgence of its ideas, the delineation of its modern progressive strategy and proposal, the redefinition of its national and social classifications and its political and organizing composition on a completely new basis. A radical transformation does not mean restructuring, it means a new composition in the sense of a renaissance, complete change and a new face," he said.

    According to Mr. Skandalidis, the modern Left must re-determine the duty of politics, to bring civilization to the center of political, economic and social life again, lead the effort for social reform and build a new model of prosperity.

    [03] ... Other addresses

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    On his part, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos underlined the need for dialogue between socialist parties and society.

    "The socialists in Europe will be judged in the coming years by the degree of their effectiveness in combating unemployment, the creation of a dynamic agricultural policy, dealing with the environmental problem as a priority, defending the welfare state and combating racism," he said.

    He cautioned that failure would risk a dynamic reappearance of the extreme right with dangers for democracy.

    In her address, Development Minister Vasso Papandreou referred to the new "European Left" in which "the claim for less state is not accepted when it abolishes the state's responsibility for institutions. The abolition of institutions is only understood when we are aware which new institutions will replace them. The most usual is the renewal and modernization of institutions and not their abolition."

    Ms Papandreou also referred to modernization, saying that "either it will have a human face or it will not be modernization."

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis focused on the crisis in the current social state model which concerns the issue of its funding as well as that of its workability and effectiveness. Although this phenomenon is more intense in Greece, he said relevant skepticism is not absent in Europe.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou examined economic indicators referring to the promotion of social policy.

    According to Mr. Papantoniou, the socialist prospect for Greece in the 21st century can be summed up in the triptych "dynamic competitive eco-nomy, strong social state and an active society of citizens. I am not claiming that we have all the answers to the challenges of our era, but we are attempting to formulate the correct questions so as to shape a common framework of skepticism."

    [04] Latest Turkish proposal 'contains nothing new' - Athens reiterates

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday that Gre-ece would examine a five-point proposal from Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem to work out differences between the two countries, even though it contained "nothing new".

    "Cem's proposal comes as no surprise to us. Of course, we shall examine it and give our views and replies next week. I should like to say however that the proposal contains nothing new.

    In fact, it is back-pedalling compared not only to the proposals which we have put forward, but also compared to proposals put forward by the Turks themselves in the past," Mr. Kranidiotis said. Mr. Cem handed details of the proposal, in the form of a verbal note, to Greece's ambassador in Ankara on Thursday.

    Underlining that the proposal also related to procedures which were already in progress, Mr. Kranidiotis said the issue of confidence-building measures in the Aegean was being discussed within the framework of NATO "and we expect the Turkish side to display a spirit of co-operation in these talks".

    Commenting on the Turkish proposal for a meeting of the two countries' committees of experts, set up to examine ways of approaching bilateral problems, Mr. Kranidiotis said Greece had already proposed dates for such a meeting "but Turkey does not want t his initiative, which is an EU initiative, to continue under the Community's aegis".

    n Turkey's proposal for the "normalization" of the Madrid communiqui, Mr. Kranidiotis said that Greece insisted on the principles of the declaration which it respected and was implementing.

    I am afraid that it is the Turkish side which has repeatedly violated (the principles). All Ankara has to do is declare its adherence to these principles and respect them," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

    With regard to the substance of the problems, Mr. Kranidiotis said, the Turkish side is carefully avoiding to make any mention whatsoever to the Greek proposal to refer the issue of the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf and Ankara's claims on the Imia islets to the International Court at the Hague. Commenting on the Turkish proposal for a high-level meeting between Greek and Turkish foreign ministry officials, Mr. Kranidiotis said "no one rejects such contacts on issues of co-operation within the framework of international organizations, economic co-operation, transport, illegal immigrants, etc."

    Already, he continued, there was a capacity for dealing with such issues through the embassies of the two countries.

    I am afraid that the Turkish proposals are aimed at serving other expediencies. And specifically, to give the impression that Turkey is acting in good faith and has good intentions towards Greece, with the aim of relieving the pressure being exerted on

    Ankara in relation to its European aspiration and Cyprus," Mr. Kranidiotis said.

    We must look at the essence of the problems and how we can resolve them," Mr. Kranidiotis said, reiterating Greece's position that its problems with Turkey should be resolved on the basis of the international principles of law.

    [05] ... Turkish response

    Istanbul, 14/02/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Turkish Assistant Foreign Under-secretary Inal Batu, who is in charge of Greek affairs, said Ankara will wait for a complete Greek answer and that the Turkish proposal was put together to avert the dangers created by continuing tensions in the Aegean.

    He added that "Greece is the only country in the entire world which believes that there are no problems in the Aegean."

    [06] More Turkish violations of Greek airspace reported

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Twenty Turkish warplanes yesterday infringed on Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) regulations and violated Greek airspace over the Aegean on several occasions. According to reports, 12 Turkish F-16s and eight F-s4 initially entered the Athens FIR without submitting previous flight plans, committing 13 infringements of air traffic rules in the region between Limnos and Hios. The Turkish aircraft subsequently violated Greek airspace on 22 occasions in the areas over Psara, Antipsara , Hios, Lesvos and Agios Efstratios.

    They were identified and intercepted by 20 Hellenic Air Force fighters, including F-16s, Mirage 2000s and F-4s.

    Interceptions turned into engagements on 10 occasions.

    [07] Simitis: Crucial period for Greek-Turkish relations at hand

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    The current period in Greek-Turkish relations is the most crucial since 1974, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed in a speech at a nationwide PASOK conference on ideology yesterday.

    "Greece responds to the trap of tension Ankara is trying to set with moves that strengthen our position as a force of peace and stability in the region. The coming period is one of crucial decisions, and for this reason the government is creating the preconditions to defend our national rights in the best way," he said.

    Regarding the economy, the prime minister said the government aimed to make it competitive and strong, but noted there was still a long way to cover, as the modernization of society required a long-term and persistent effort. He said he was aware that m any social classes, such as pensioners, low-wage earners and farmers were facing serious difficulties, but distinctions had to be made between real problems and justified protests on one hand, and the reactions of those who earned incomes from what he described as "parasitic activities".

    He stressed the government was resolved to make bold moves and overturn traditional behaviors and established interests without worrying about the political cost.

    [08] Improving trade relations top priority for new Australian ambassador

    Melbourne, 14/02/1998 (ANA -S. Hatzimanolis)

    Australia's new ambassador in Athens said in an interview with the ANA here that increasing trade relations between the two countries would be one of his main priorities.

    Ross Burns, who is due to take up his Athens post in the first week of March, said that while Greek-Australian relations "are excellent in all sectors", they were "minim-al" in the trade sector.

    He said this was "surprising", as Australia "has clearly larger trade relations" with other countries, such as Bulgaria.

    Mr. Burns further said that he would also work for the conclusion of a bilateral agreement on social security between Greece and Australia, which he said has been pending for many years.

    [09] Strong quake off Rhodes

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    A strong earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shook the Dodecanese islands yesterday morning, although there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. According to the Athens Observatory, the quake, recorded at 9:20 a.m., was recorded some 460 kilometers southeast of Athens, with an epicenter in the sea region east of Rhodes.

    Seismologists said later that yesterday's quake was probably the main one and not a precursor to a stronger one.

    A seismologist with the Athens Observatory said the quake was a surface phenomenon with an epicenter 30 kilometers south of Rhodes in the sea between Rhodes and the Asia Minor coast.

    A quake registering 5.4 on the Richter scale and with the same epicenter was recorded last June. He said there was some concern that the activity could spread and activate other faults in the region. No aftershocks have been recorded in the wake of yesterday's quake. It was felt throughout the island.

    [10] Primakov's schedule for official visit to Greece announced

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov will arrive in Athens tomorrow on an official visit lasting until Feb. 18.

    He will hold talks with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis.

    Mr. Primakov will have talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Monday morning. The talks will be attended by senior officials from both ministries.

    According to sources, the Russian foreign minister's visit has an exclusively political nature since issues concerning economic co-operation, as well as that concerning the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, will be discussed more extensively during the visit Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is expected to pay to Athens in spring.

    Talks with Mr. Primakov will concern issues of general interest, such as the situation in Iraq and the Middle East issue, issues of mutual interest such as the Balkans, the Cyprus issue and relations with Turkey. Discussions will also be held on Russia' s relations with international and European organizations such as NATO, the West European Union and the European Union with which it recently signed a co-operation agreement which was ratified, in the presence of Mr. Primakov, by the latest EU General Affairs Council in Brussels in January.

    Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Primakov are expected to sign two co-operation protocols. One will concern the establishment of cultural centers to promote the two country's language and civilization and the other exchanges between the two ministries' historical archives. They will also exchange the consultations program for 1998 on the basis of the co-operation protocol signed between the two ministries in 1992.

    On the part of Greece, the issue of the establishment of a general consulate in Moscow (a consular office currently functions in the Russian capital) will also be raised, as well as that of Greece's candidacy for the Security Council which, according to reports, Russia is examining positively.

    On Tuesday morning, Mr. Primakov will visit Mount Athos together with Mr. Pangalos and in the evening he will attend a dinner given in his honor.

    [11] FYROM nationalist leader comments on Simitis' moderation

    Belgrade, (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    A Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) nationalist political leader stated in an interview with the Yugoslav magazine 'Nin' that since the election of Costas Simitis as Greek prime minister there have been radical changes in Athens' attitude toward the landlocked state.

    "Mr. Simitis has proved to be quite moderate and objective towards FYROM, and we must understand his policy if we take account of the negative legacy of his predecessors," VMRO-DPMNE party leader Ljupco Georgevski said.

    He noted that the New York interim agreement is being implemented relatively well, a proof of this being the inflow of considerable Greek capital in the last two years in FYROM.

    He stressed, however, that no party in FYROM could make concessions regarding the state's name, as they all agree that their country harbors no designs whatsoever against neighbors.

    [12] Former Albanian strongman Alia in Thessaloniki for treatment

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Albania's last communist leader Ramiz Alia was scheduled to arrive in Thessaloniki yesterday to undergo open-heart surgery following a heart attack two weeks ago. Mr. Alia's traveling expenses have been paid for by an anonymous benefactor, identified only as a Thessaloniki businessman, due to the former Albanian strongman's dire financial straits.

    Mr. Alia, 72, has been in the intensive care unit of an Albanian hospital since his heart attack two weeks ago.

    Dr. Panayiotis Spyrou, the director of the cardiology unit at the Georgios Papanikolaou Hospital in Thessaloniki, will oversee his care.

    Dr. Spyrou last month headed a team of surgeons conducting a quadruple bypass on Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) founder and president Demetris Tsovolas.

    Mr. Alia, who took power following the death of Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha in 1985, was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence in 1992 for abuse of power and violation of citizens' rights. He was later freed by an appeals court ruling only to be rearrested and charged with killing or ordering the deportation of dissidents who tried to flee the country illegally.

    He escaped from jail along with hundreds of others during an armed uprising in March last year and was finally cleared of all charges in October.

    [13] Maziotis confesses in published letter, says he acted alone

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    In a letter published in the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" yesterday, Nikos Maziotis, the self-styled anarchist currently awaiting trial for alleged involvement in bomb attacks and possession of explosives assumed responsibility for all the charges filed against him by police, which he had categorically denied earlier.

    In his letter, Nikos Maziotis claims that "he is" the group "Anarchist Urban Guerrillas", and that he himself made and planted the bomb at the industry ministry.

    At another point in the letter, the 28-year-old conscientious objector claims that only he used to enter a house in the Kamatero area and that weapons, explosives and printed material found in it belong to him.

    However, under interrogation by the police and in his testimony before a prosecutor he had claimed that he had nothing to do with the findings in the house in Spartis Street and had added that many people used to visit it.

    Police officers involved in investigating the case believe at this stage that with his move, Maziotis is trying to cover up for culprits who used to visit the residence by assuming responsibility for everything himself.

    [14] Golden wreath unearthed in Pella

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    A golden wreath dating back 24 centuries has been discovered by archaeologists in Pella, the site where the tomb of Philip II is located.

    The wreath was discovered in a "twin" tomb during excavations near the village Agriosykia. It was found in the inner tomb while several copper and pottery artifacts were also found.

    In the same area of ancient Palla, archaeologists discovered a 2nd century BC bath complex, the oldest one ever unearthed in northern Greece.

    The 250-square-meter baths included a large water tank and a fireplace for heating water, while the building was part of an ancient gymnasium.

    [15] Macedonian tomb discovered

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    The discovery of a Macedonian tomb dating to the 4th or 5th century BC and west of modern-day Kavala at the Amphipoli site, has buffered archaeologists' theory of ancient Macedonian sovereignty in the region.

    A ceramic-roofed tomb, which apparently belonged to a Macedonian official and was found at the Phagri site, was already robbed, although 65 common tombs yielded valuable artifacts.

    [16] Health minister disputes view that Greece ranks first in abortions

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Health Minister Costas Geitonas said yesterday it is untrue that Greece ranks first in abortions in Europe. He was replying to a tabled question from Achaia Deputy Demetris Koutsogiorgas.

    However, he said that despite information in the possession of state-run hospitals, there is difficulty in monitoring the exact number of abortions, as private clinics do not co-operate, while a large number of women refuse to register abortions.

    In an unrelated issue, he also announced that the health ministry is preparing a program on cancer screening for women in the 45-65 age group.

    [17] Farmers set up roadblocks, second meeting with Gov't today

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and a government delegation will have a second meeting with protesting farmers today to try and avert an escalation of mobilizations.

    Mr. Tzoumakas will meet with representatives of farmers' federations in the Macedonia and Thrace region. However, farmers groups belonging to the Pan-Thessaly Coordinating Committee will not participate.

    Farmers agreeing to the meeting said they would block national roads in northern Greece for the duration of the meeting.

    Talks between the government and farmers on Thursday failed to make any headway on demands for crop subsidies, decreased interest rates on loans, cheaper fuel and an end to court action against several farmers charged in last year's demonstrations.

    Meanwhile, Thessaly farmers yesterday blocked the Athens-Thessaloniki highway just north of the Tembi valley, effectively cutting Greece in half.

    There is also talk among farmers for further roadblocks on the Elassona-Katerini road and the Athens-Thessaloniki rail line.

    [18] Conference focuses on Greek export potential in developing markets

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    The second nationwide exports development conference yesterday focused on the developing markets for Greek products in eastern Europe, the Balkans and Asia over the last five years.

    The conference was organized by the Northern Greek Exporters' Federation in Thessaloniki, and is under the auspices of the national economy ministry.

    The increase in trade with eastern European and Balkan countries began in 1992 and grew by 17.3 per cent, while the growth for the last 10 years is 39.7 per cent.

    A total of 20 per cent of all Greek exports finds its way to these markets, while Asian countries absorb 4 per cent of all Greek exports.

    Furthermore, the total of Greek exports in 1996 increased by 9.6 per cent compared to 1995, for a total of almost 8.8 billion ECU.

    [19] Karamanlis says OA's future in the balance

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Olympic Airways, Greece's ailing national carrier, should be privatized immediately, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis said yesterday.

    Mr. Karamanlis, speaking after meetings with OA's management and employees, said the future of the company was in the balance and the blame for the predicament lay with the government.

    "We need bold answers if Olympic is to be able to compete, guarantee jobs and provide a high level of service," he said.

    OA needs investors who will submit detailed business plans, bolster the company's competitive edge and implement worker relations based on standards prevailing in other major airlines, Mr. Karamanlis said, adding that the company must be overseen by an independent authority.

    The government's revitalization program for the national carrier has failed and the 700 billion drachmas cost is now being borne by the Greek taxpayer, Mr. Karamanlis said. Failure of the first program, he added, did not bode well for any further at tempts to reform the loss-ridden state carrier.

    [20] Greek business climate improves in January-banks

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's business climate improved in January, the banking industry said in a monthly report issued yesterday.

    The country's bank union said that the number of bankruptcies totaled 60 in January from 134 in the corresponding month last year, marking a 55.22 percent fall.

    Companies filing for bankruptcy showed a 51.61 percent fall over the same period to 135 from 279 respectively.

    Cheques that bounced fell 18.69 percent in January compared with the same month in 1997. The value of bouncing cheques was 33 billion drachmas from 40.6 billion last year.

    [21] Greek stocks slump on profit-taking

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities remained under heavy pressure for the second consecutive session yesterday to end the week sharply lower.

    Traders said renewed turbulence in the domestic interbank market dampened sentiment and led to massive profit-taking. The Athens bourse followed a two-tier course in the week gaining sharp ground in the first three sessions helped by an improved climate in the domestic money markets but dramatically changing direction the last two sessions hurt by negative comments on the Greek currency's outlook.

    The general index closed 1.73 percent down at 1,493.04 points but managed to show a 1.98 percent gain in the week. Most sector indices ended lower.

    Banks plunged 2.59 percent hurt by the prospect of higher interest rates, Investment fell 0.37 percent, Construction dropped 1.22 percent, Industrials were 1.63 percent off, but Insurance rose 0.49 percent, Leasing edged 0.13 percent up, Miscellaneous increased 0.54 percent and Holding ended 0.53 percent higher.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies was 1.03 percent down. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index fell 2.23 percent to end at 831.83 points for a 2.47 percent gain in the week.

    Trading was moderate with turnover at 16.5 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totaled 104.6 billion drachmas for a daily average of 20.9 billion, up from 15.34 billion the previous week.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 152 to 56 with another 28 issues unchanged.

    European Credit, Etma, Ridenco and Ergas scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Oinerga, Fintexport, Tria Alpha and Balkan Export suffered the heaviest losses at the daily 8.0 percent limit-down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,650 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,900, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,300, Delta Dairy at 2,965, Titan Cement at 13,950, Intracom at 15,295 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,850.

    [22] Greek commerce calls for support measures

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek commerce yesterday urged the government for measures to improve the market's climate and support businesses.

    In a letter to Labor and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou, the Greek Commerce Confederation asked for more European Union funds and the adoption of EU guidelines on flexible working hours in Greek law.

    The confederation stressed that commerce contributed 13 percent of the country's GDP and accounted for 16 percent of the labor force.

    It was therefore entitled to greater voice in policy making, the letter said.

    [23] British firms to take part in Infacoma trade fair

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Twenty-five British companies in the building materials and construction sector will take part in Infacoma, a sector trade fair to be held in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on February 18-22.

    The British Embassy in Athens said in a statement the firms are involved in steel structures, road marking and traffic safety equipment, construction equipment, PVC and metal profiles, roofing and cladding products, industrial flooring and construction membranes.

    [24] Greece releases Dr 1.3 bln for infrastructure works

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's public works ministry yesterday endorsed the release of 1.3 billion drachmas in funds to tender road improvement and heliport construction projects.

    The main projects are:

    * Construction of a heliport in Kastoria, northern Greece, budgeted at 100 million drachmas

    * Construction of a heliport on the Ionian island of Ithaki, budgeted at 99.96 million drachmas

    * Improvements to a highway in Ioannina, northwestern Greece, budgeted at 91 million drachmas

    [25] EU commissioner to back olive output in reform talks

    Brussels, 14/02/1998 (ANA/G.Daratos)

    European Union farm commissioner Franz Fischler yesterday said the importance of olive production in the EU's agricultural economy would be taken into account during talks on reforming the olive oil sector.

    Speaking at an international farm trade fair in Italy, Mr. Fischler said that measures to reform the sector would be released next month, including backing for producers and measures to limit the extent of land used for output.

    Replying to reporters' questions, Mr. Fischler said the EU's Common Agricultural Policy would not favor northern producers at the expense of Europe's south.

    [26] Cost of agricultural production falls in most EU members

    Brussels, 14/02/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The cost of agricultural production in most EU countries, including Greece, fell in 1997 compared to 1996, according to data released by Eurostat yesterday.

    The average cost fell by 3.8 per cent in real prices in the 15 member-states. In Greece the reduction was 2.6 per cent, and in Britain 14.9 per cent, the greatest decrease of all members. Only the Netherlands and Austria recorded increases of 3 and 0.3 per cent, respectively.

    [27] Commission draft directive on double taxation of vehicles

    Brussels, 14/02/1998 (ANA- M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission has adopted a draft directive aiming to prevent the double imposition of certain taxes on private cars of EU citizens when they change country of residence.

    The draft directive provides for an exemption from payment of taxes and circulation dues for six months in the receiving country in the case of temporary resettlement.

    In the case of permanent resettlement, the owner of the car will be exempt from taxes he has already paid in his country of origin.

    [28] Iordanescu officially takes over Greek soccer team

    Athens, 14/02/1998 (ANA)

    Romanian coach Anghel Iordanescu yesterday signed a two-year contract to take over as coach of Greece's national soccer team in mid-July immediately after the World Cup in France.

    Until then, Mr. Iordanescu will stay on as coach of the Romanian team.

    Under the contract, Mr. Iordanescu, who played in Greece with the OFI club in Crete, will receive US$300,000 annually and a bonus of $250,000 if Greece qualifies for the finals of the European Championships in 2000.

    In addition, the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO) has undertaken other commitments including payment of tax dues, home rent, car and insurance for Mr. Iordanescu and his family.

    EPO has retained the right to unilaterally renew the coach's contract for a further two years.

    At his first press conference after signing, speaking broken but comprehensible Greek, Mr. Iordanescu expressed optimism about Greece's chances of qualifying for the 2000 European soccer championships in Belgium and the Netherlands.

    "Norway is a very good team and Georgia is also dangerous, because it has many good players, but I believe Greece will take first place in the group and qualify for the finals," the Romanian coach said.

    Greece has been drawn in Group 2 in the qualifying round for the championships along with Norway, Slovenia, Latvia, Georgia and Albania.

    End of English language section.

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