Berlin to host new Greek cinema festival
NEWS IN DETAIL
Premier calls for E.U. territorial integrity
Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday assured his European Union
counterparts of Greece's readiness to contribute to the solution of
problems concerning other European peoples, but stressed that solidarity,
joint action and cooperation were required towards consolidating the 15-
member Union's territorial integrity and the building of a new Europe.
"I wish to stress the importance attributed by Greek public opinion to the
need for our joint action and cooperation to be aimed towards the
consolidation of security and the safeguarding of the Union's territorial
integrity and its external borders," he said in a letter addressed to the
leaders of the other 14 member-states in view of the Dublin summit
scheduled for Dec. 12-14.
He emphasised the burden of the country's foreign affairs problems on its
ability to follow the course towards integration.
"Unfortunately, Greece is facing great difficulties in responding to
certain issues of integration. One of the basic causes of these diffculties
is the continuing aggressive behaviour of our neighbouring country, Turkey,
which remains a factor of desta bilisation in the broader region and threat
to Greece`s sovereign rights.
"This situation inescapably affects Greece's positions and options in a
series of other issues. For instance, our obligation to adopt a new
armaments programme, which constitutes an additional annual burden
exceeding 1 per cent of GDP on a medium-term basis, renders almost
impossible the attainment of Maastricht criteria in time. This same cause
affects our positions regarding the Inter-Governmental Conference, e.g., on
issues of external policy and defence," the prime minister continued.
He also stated Greece's support for the enlargement of the Union.
Mr. Simitis stressed that attention must be given to the employment problem,
environmental protection, internal security and democracy, as well as
equality of member-states in the institutional sector.
Farmers reject gov't proposals
Two-hour talks between Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and
farmers' representatives yesterday to end week-long protests and barricades
on motorways throughout the country collapsed after the representatives
rejected the government's proposals.
Mr. Tzoumakas said the entire problem arising with the blockades can only
be resolved with political initiatives, but did not elaborate. Mr.
Tzoumakas once again referred to the 10 proposals budgeted at 136 billion
drachmas, adding that the state budget cannot tolerate further expenditures.
Dozens of road junctions on the national and rural road network remain
blockaded from Evros to the Peloponnese, while in many regions railway
lines have also been blocked.
In Thessaloniki, movement to and from Macedonia airport was possible only
by side-roads after farmers blocked access to the main road.
Thessaloniki-area merchants at the central food market said foodstuffs
would start to dwindle on Sunday if the blockade continued. Citrus fruits,
mainly from Crete and the Peloponnese, are already in short supply.
Moratorium on military overflights of Cyprus discussed
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides have
discussed the possibility of a moratorium on military overflights of Cyprus
but no decision was reached, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
Mr. Reppas said the proposal for a suspension of military flights over the
island republic was an older proposal by US State Department official Carey
Cavanaugh, which the US diplomat again reiterated in Lisbon.
The Greek government spokesman reiterated that the responsibility for such
a decision lay exclusively with Nicosia, adding that a moratorium could be
seen in a positive light as part of a collective proposal on Cyprus.
Mr. Reppas said such a moratorium will not have any effect on the joint
defence doctrine agreed to between Greece and Cyprus.
Greece, Bulgaria sign military cooperation agreement
The military chiefs of Greece and Bulgaria yesterday signed a bilateral
defence cooperation programmes agreement for 1997.
The agreement was signed by the Chief of the National Defence General Staff,
Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis, and his Bulgarian counterpart, Gen. Tsvetan
Gen. Totomirov described the new programme as a continuation of the
beneficial cooperation between the armed forces of Greece and Bulgaria,
underlining that for the first time it provided for joint exercises with
the participation of all military branches.
Legislation to improve national health system unveiled
The health ministry hopes to improve the operation of the National Health
System (ESY) with 12 points included in a bill that will probably be tabled
in Parliament before the holidays.
According to the new settlements announced by Health Minister Costas
Geitonas at a press conference yesterday, the concept of a unified health
agency is being abandoned for the time being, which would constitute the
precursor for unification of the health sectors of at least four major
health insurance providers, such as IKA, OGA, TEBE and the public
Mr. Geitonas said a new coordinating agency will be created, which will
cooperate with all funds.
He added that a public health and school medicine doctors branch will be
initiated, while a centre will be created for research and control of the
quality of tests and medical initiatives.
On the question of the better organisation of hospitals, which have debts
amounting to 140 billion drachmas for pharmaceuticals and consumable
materials, Mr. Geitonas said this debt will not be confronted with lending
or increasing hospital fees.
Thrace region reeling from flood damage
At least four villages in Xanthi prefecture remained cut off as all access
roads have been either destroyed or blocked by mud from recent floods.
Army helicopters are airlifting provisions and other necessities to
residents in the isolated villages, while prefectural teams are working on
opening the roads and repairing the electricity and water networks.
According to prefectural authorities in Thrace, residents made homeless by
the storms are being housed in various institutions. However, the recording
of damages to crops will be delayed as much of the land is still under
Authorities in the region said the next 24 hours will be crucial - if
rainfall continues in southern Bulgaria, the Evros River will almost
EOT employee groups say state organisation mismanaging its assets
A one-day seminar by Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) employee
groups presented evidence yesterday on what they termed unsatisfactory use
of EOT's properties and assets.
The groups, representing about 2,500 EOT employees, called on Development
Minister Vasso Papandreou to suspend her ministry's plans for what they
called "covert and unscheduled" sales.
EOT Secretary General Vassilis Kourtesis assured the state organisation's
employees that the government aims for "a dynamic, autonomous EOT", and
that any reorganisation plans will not affect their insurance rights.
According to EOT workers' representatives, the state organisation's
properties includes 325 sites with a total area of roughly 90,000 stremmata
throughout the country, while 15 of these sites are more than 1,000
Tourist facilities such as golf courses, hotels, museums, campsites and
marinas, have been constructed on 150 of these properties, they said.
EOT directly manages 72 of the properties, employing roughly 1,800
individuals on a permanent basis. Since 1995, these enterprises have
recorded total losses of about 50 million drachmas.
Private enterprises lease 210 of the properties, while 62 have been given
free of charge to municipalities, communities and other bodies throughout
EMU accession imperative for nation's prosperity
National Bank Governor Theodoros Karatzas yesterday stressed the importance
of Greece's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and stressed
the need to achieve the Union's targets, saying that if Greece does not
achieve entry to the EMU then it "will find itself in a very difficult
position and the final result will be that the standard of living
conditions will fall dramatically."
Mr. Karatzas ruled out the possibility of raising interest rates following
increased taxation of the banks' income.
Gov`t submits tax draft bill to Parliament
The government's new tax draft bill abolishing more than 200 tax exemptions
and introducing other taxes was yesterday submitted to Parliament's
The tax exemptions being abolished include those hitherto in force for the
President of the Republic, Parliament deputies and journalists, and those
granted for medical and hospital expenses to individuals earning more than
15 million drachmas annually.
New taxes will be levied on real estate owned by natural or legal persons
irrespective of nationality or place of residence, worth more than 60
The assets of mutual fund and portfolio investment companies will be taxed
at 0.2 per cent . Interest earned from state securities issued after Jan. 1,
1997 will be subject to a 7.5 per cent tax rate.
Foreign currency deposits - convertible or not - of permanent residents
will be subject to a 15 per cent tax, but those of residents abroad are
The rate is also applicable to convertible drachma deposits of permanent
residents, bonds issued by Greek investment banks and bought by banks
operating in Greece, and to interest earned from securities issued by
Joint Greek-Turkish business council to meet in Athens
Roughly 65 members of the Council of Greek-Turkish Business Cooperation are
to meet in Athens on Tuesday.
"The development of close economic relations help us overcome political
difficulties," Rahmi Koc, a well-known Turkish industrialist,said
"Our commercial trade with Greece is at the level of US$400 million. If
this was at $2billion, politcians would have a hard time disrupting the
relations of the two countries so much," Mr. Koc added.
Yugoslav trade exhibit opens in Athens
The first-ever Yugoslav economic exhibition organised in Greece opened in
Athens yesterday afternoon and will last until Saturday.
The exhibition was opened by the president of the Federation of Greek and
Industrial Chambers of Commerce of Greece, Andreas Kyriazis, and by the
president of the Yugoslav Industrial Chamber of Commerce Mihailo Milojevic.
Berlin to host festival of new Greek cinema this month
A festival of new Greek cinema will be held in Berlin from December 7-23,
organised in cooperation with the Friends of the German Film Archives and
the support of the Greek Film Centre. The festival will include screenings
of "From the snow" by Sotiritis Goritca (December 7 and 16), "Donoussa" by
Angeliki Antoniou (December 8 and 18), "Metaihmio" by Panos Karkanevatou
(December 9 and 19), "Lefteris Dimakopoulos" by Pericles Hoursoglou
(December 10 and 20), "Jaguar" by Katerina Evangelakou (December 11 and 21),
"The end of an era" by Antonis Kokkinos (December 16 and 22) and "Drop
in the ocean" by Eleni Alexandraki (December 18 and 23).
Further weather improvement is forecast as of today in most parts of the
country with rising temperatures. Strong winds in the Aegean sea will die
down. Athens will be partly cloudy with temperatures ranging from 8-16C.
Thessaloniki will also be partly cloudy and rainy with temperatures ranging
from 6-12C. The rest of the country will be sunny to partly cloudy.
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