|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-05-08
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE COURSE OF THE ECONOMY OF THE SE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES WILL BE EXAMINED IN THE THESSALONIKI FORUMThessaloniki, 8 May 2000 (18:31 UTC+2)
The determination of the FYROM government to proceed with the liberalization of the country's economy was underlined by FYROM minister of finance Borko Adreev speaking in the 7th Thessaloniki Forum today.
Mr. Adreev stated that his country is in a transitional period and gave a special emphasis to the unfavorable effects the crisis in Kosovo had on the development of FYROM. He said that during the crisis, the country's GDP got only to 2.7% in 1999 instead of the predicted 6.5% while production dropped by 2.6%.
He also pointed out that within the framework of the effort to attract foreign investments the FYROM government has moved ahead with the enactment of the necessary legal framework which is harmonized with the EU legislation.
The priorities of the Albanian government for stability in the country and mainly its economic development were analyzed by Albanian minister of finance and privatization Mustafa Muci, stressing that Greece is one of the most important partners of his country as over 200 companies are active in Albania with an invested capital of over US$100 million.
Mr. Muci underlined that the macro-economic stability is the main priority for the Albanian government which undertakes initiatives aimed at consolidating a climate of trust with foreign investors, while he stressed that the telecommunications sector will be first in the privatization process.
From his side, Bulgarian finance minister Muravey Radev expressed the view that the negative picture of the Balkans, due to the tension and the conflicts that prevail, isolate the countries of the region from the rest of the world and condemn them to a slow pace of economic development.
Referring to the course of the Bulgarian economy, he pointed out that in the past 2 years it had positive growth rates and an increase of foreign investments, while inflation and interest rates are at very low levels. He also underlined that the government is making efforts for the country to become an EU member by January 2007.
Cypriot minister of finance Takis Clerides presented the basic characteristics of the Cypriot economy and the advantages offered by the island as an international business center. He said that the Cypriot economy is satisfactory both in terms of growth and macro-economic stability as it is confirmed by the reports issued by all the reliable international organizations.
Mr. Clerides stated that Cyprus is an ideal place for investments by companies targeting the market of the Middle East, while it has a wide network protecting foreign investors from double taxation.
 THESSALONIKI'S SELECTION TO BECOME THE SEAT OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF SE EUROPE WAS PROVEN TO BE CORRECTThessaloniki, 8 May 2000 (17:49 UTC+2)
Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis speaking in the opening of the 7th Thessaloniki Forum today expressed the view that Thessaloniki's selection to become the seat of the Organization for the Reconstruction of south-eastern Europe has been proven to be correct.
Mr. Paschalidis referred to the vision to turn Thessaloniki into a modern center of education, culture and technology, pointing out that this presupposes the drawing up and systematic materialization of a strategic plan for the development of infrastructures in the wider region.
 THE BTC WILL BE SOLD TO OTE-KPN IN THE NEXT TWO MONTHSThessaloniki, 8 May 2000 (18:58 UTC+2)
The sale of 51% of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Organization, BTC, to the Greek-Dutch joint venture OTE-KPN is expected to be completed by the end of July, stated to MPA Bulgarian minister of finance Muravey Radev.
The negotiations have entered the final stage and are expected to end in success in the next 1 to 2 months, stated Mr. Radev admitting, however, that the privatization of BTC has been delayed considerably mainly, due to the complexity of the whole attempt.
Mr. Radev attributed the delays to the crisis in Kosovo and to the fact that there was only one bid made for the purchase of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Organization.
 INFLATION WAS AT 2.6% IN APRILAthens, 8 May 2000 (18:42 UTC+2)
The inflation rate in Greece in the month of April was at 2.6% decreased by 0.5% compared to the month of March.
In the previous month inflation was at 3.1%.
 GAINS OF 1.32% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 8 May 2000 (18:40 UTC+2)
Optimism returned to the Athens Stock Exchange because of the 1.32% rise recorded by the general index reaching 4.475,06 points and the increased volume of transactions that reached 153 billion drachmas.
Of the 334 stocks trading today 310 recorded gains and only 24 recorded losses.
 NICHOLAS CAGE IS IN THE IONIAN ISLAND OF KEFALLONIAArgostoli, 8 May 2000 (18:36 UTC+2)
Hollywood actor Nicholas Cage, who will play the leading role in the film titled "Captain Korelli's mandolin", arrived in the Ionian island of Kefallonia last night on board a private jet. The film will be based on a book that became a best seller in Britain.
In statements he made upon his arrival at Kefallonia, Mr. Cage referred to the natural beauties of Greece, its people and culture and to its cuisine. The shooting of the film will start on May 18.
 THE LACK OF ECONOMIC GROWTH IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE BALKANSThessaloniki, 8 May 2000 (18:36 UTC+2)
The major problem in the wider Balkan region is the lack of economic growth and human resources, while new and significant problems are being created by issues concerning the internal affairs of each country, outside factors, historical issues and political instability, stressed in his speech in Thessaloniki's Forum US Eastwest Institute founder John Edwin Mroz.
He also pointed out that the problems in the Balkan region are mainly due to the transitional period in which most Balkan countries are namely, changing from socialist markets to free trade as well as, to the creation of new states.
Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies analyst Vladimir Gligorov stated that in the Balkan countries with a total population of over 55 million people the gross income is under 98 billion drachmas and the overall exports barely exceed the exports of Greece. He also added that the imports to those countries show that there is a deficit in trade balance, while the annual per capita income is under US$2.000 and the unemployment figures are disappointing.
President of Eastwest Institute in Turkey Celik Arsel referring to the Task Force recommendations, he said that the main goals are to reduce the investment cost, fight unemployment in the wider region and professional training, adding that the long-term goal is the customs union of those countries with Europe and the establishment of intergovernmental institutions of cooperation.
 TOPURKOWSKI: THE KEY TO DEMOCRACY IS ECONOMIC GROWTHThessaloniki, 8 May 2000 (18:35 UTC+2)
The key for the consolidation of democracy in the Balkans is economic growth, according to FYROM vice-president Vasil Topurkowski, who was one of the main speakers in the 7th Thessaloniki Forum lunch today.
He referred to the delays in the structural changes front, stressing that the region's governments must realize that the necessary changes can not happen automatically but only through reforms.
The FYROM government vice-president praised the role of the international community in the effort for the normalization and stability in the region, stressing that an international presence is not possible without the participation of the United States and NATO, while Russia's important role can not be underestimated.
Referring to the European prospect of FYROM, Mr. Topurkowski stressed that the third round for the EU association agreements was especially successful but such agreements should not be regarded as a panacea for all existing problems.
 US$7 MILLION FROM THE BLACK SEA BANK TO A GREEK SHIPBUIDING COMPANYThessaloniki, 8 May 2000 (17:49 UTC+2)
The procedure for the approval of the sum of US$7 million by the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank to be granted to a Greek shipbuilding company that has undertaken to build its sixth ship in Ukraine, is at its final stage.
Speaking to MPA, Black Sea Bank president Ersoi Volkan stated that the request for the financing of the specific plan has been approved by the Bank's credit committee and is already in the hands of the board of directors for signatures.
Referring to the future plans of the bank, he said that the initiatives for the establishment of branches of Greek banks in Turkey and Turkish banks in Greece are seen positively and the Black Sea Bank initially will back those plans, while in the future it will participate in them. He underlined that there is information that Turkish banks intend to open branches in Greece but he was not in a position to present specific facts.
Referring to the Greek-Turkish cooperation, Mr. Volkan pointed out that Greek and Turkish businessmen develop initiatives in the tourist sector and intend to ask to be financed by the Black Sea Bank.
Mr. Volkan also pointed out that next month he will visit Albania where he will suggest the development of joint projects with Greece. He also stated that certain projects in Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldavia, Georgia and Armenia are being examined and evaluated.
 KAKLAMANIS: EUROPE IS NOT CONCERNED WITH TERRORISMAthens, 8 May 2000 (17:44 UTC+2)
The issue of terrorism essentially does not concern the European parliaments and Europe, stated Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, who attended the Council of Europe member-states parliament presidents' conference.
On the US report on terrorism in Greece, Mr. Kaklamanis stated that it caused the outrage of the Greek people and the strong reaction of the Greek government and the political world. He said that terrorism is an issue used by the United States in the same way they had used in the past the threat of communism and more recently the threat of Islam in order to exert pressures and possibly to undermine policies they do not approve of. That was the case with the known US state department report, said Mr. Kaklamanis, that was made public at a time when the talks on Cyprus and the Greek-Turkish relations are imminent in New York.
 A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WAS SIGNED BY WOMEN PARLIAMENT MEMBERS FROM GREECE AND TURKEYAnkara, 8 May 2000 (18:41 UTC+2)
A memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening peace and friendship between Greece and Turkey was drawn up by women parliament members from both countries.
The Turkish newspaper "Milliyet" mentions that the memorandum stresses that realistic and right solutions that will be approved by both sides and will protect their interests, are necessary.
The women parliamentarians mention that they will back the positive rapprochement that has started between the two peoples and the positive talks between the two governments, stressing that they will make an effort for the development of a dialogue among the political parties and the parliaments of both countries.
 EU FMs HOLD INFORMAL MEETING IN AZORESLisbon, 8 May 2000 (13:37 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou is presently at the Azores for an informal two-day meeting of European Union foreign ministers, where he opened a discussion on Turkey's relationship with the EU as a candidate for membership.
Mr. Papandreou stated that Turkey-EU relations should be based on the conclusions of the Helsinki summit. The meeting also accepted a Greek request to establish an association council between the EU and Cyprus.
 GREEK-AMERICAN REPUBLICANS PROMOTE GREEK WINESNew York, 8 May 2000 (13:37 UTC+2)
New York's Greek-American Republican Association is to host a Greek wine-tasting event on Wednesday, May 10, in cooperation with Greece's Trade Bureau in NY.
The event, to be held at Manhattan's "Aura" restaurant, will feature a variety of 40 Greek wines and various delicacies.