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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-12-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece wants guarantees before consenting to Turkey's EU candidacy status
  • [02] Stephanopoulos hopes outcome of EU summit will be one of 'unity and common acceptance'
  • [03] Greece to become full member of Schengen Treaty as of January 1, 2000
  • [04] Greek, Turkish officials begin Athens talks to final touches on range of agreements
  • [05] Greece, Bulgaria sign programme of cooperation to combat illegal immigration
  • [06] 'Turkey and Europe: Effects on Greek- Turkish Relations'
  • [07] Niotis attends annual ministerial meeting for Balkan cooperation in Bucharest
  • [08] Athens to welcome new millennium with spectacular display of light and music
  • [09] No change in government policy on narcotics, spokesman says
  • [10] Greece says it fully sympathises with protesters in Seattle over WTO meeting
  • [11] Statue of Venus of Lybia returned home
  • [12] Yugoslav government opens bids for construction of key motorway
  • [13] Parliamentary committee approves Greece-USA memorandum
  • [14] Gov't rejects lone bid for HELEXPO
  • [15] Shortlist in tourism asset tender
  • [16] Stocks remain under pressure
  • [17] Bond yield spread hits record low
  • [18] Popular Bank of Cyprus seeks Athens bourse listing
  • [19] EU okays info-tech forum
  • [20] Marfin Momentum to go public
  • [21] Athens Foreign Exchange

  • [01] Greece wants guarantees before consenting to Turkey's EU candidacy status

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday it wanted guarantees that if it consented to Turkey's formal European Union candidacy status this would not be followed by a rekindling of disputes with Ankara.

    "Greece does not wish to find itself tomorrow facing obstacles to Cyprus's accession prospects... (and) its sovereign rights being disputed, without clearly defined and accepted procedures by all on the most efficient way of resolving such disputes," Prime Minister Costas Simitis told reporters after meeting his Finnish counterpart, Paavo Lipponen.

    He said Greece wanted to endorse Turkey's candidacy at the EU summit in Helsinki next week, as this would be to the benefit of all, but would veto it without such guarantees.

    "It is in the interest of the European Union not to become entangled in disputes and face problems between members or candidates... We hope for an agreement in Helsinki but the participation of any country (in the EU) must guarantee development, peace and cooperation. If we don't achieve this framework, then we will say 'no' in Helsinki," he said.

    Mr. Simitis said Greece believed in Turkey's place in the European Union, as this would contribute to the strengthening of peace and cooperation in the region.

    "We consider that the era of conflict, threats, of expansion of one country at the expense of another is past. It is not only past, it is also incompatible with international law. It is for this reason that we believe in Turkey's European vocation. Its participation, at an initial phase, in the processes of European integration will facilitate peace and cooperation in the region," he said.

    "The European Union is a community of principles, values and rules assisting the common effort of overcoming irrational nationalisms and conflict. The EU leads to the creation of ties of friendship. It is to the benefit of Turkey, but also of Greece and the EU for Turkey to become part of this framework... We do not believe that Turkey's isolation is to Greece's benefit... Precisely because we do not believe in isolation, because we believe that the development of cooperation is necessary, we recently undertook a series of moves and initiatives to develop our relations. But Turkey's participation in the process of European integration will lead to problems... if there are no clear positions on the outstanding differences," he added.

    "The guiding criterion for our position is the country's interest. The interest in peace, security, development".

    Mr. Simitis said that clear answers required answers to the procedures regarding the entry of Cyprus to the EU.

    "The linking of entry and the political problem will unduly burden our relations with Turkey on an issue in which that country has no say. This is a European issue, it concerns the entry of Cyprus to the European Union. Any linking will create new tensi ons on Cyprus and this is precisely what we wish to avoid," he said.

    Mr. Lipponen, whose country currently holds the six-month rotating presidency, said that given the present favourable climate, such as has never existed before, there was an opportunity for certain encouraging steps on Turkey's part.

    Reppas : Earlier yesterday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters that it was clear on what had to precede a positive decision that will bestow European Union candidacy country status on Turkey at next week's EU summit.

    "What the government will do (in Helsinki) will be led by the principle of ensuring national interest, as well as the interests of the European Union, " he said.

    To date, the government has repeatedly said that it could go either way in approving or rejecting Turkey as a candidate, saying that its stance was predicated to a great degree on the attitude to be taken both by Turkey and its EU partners. "The gov ernment is well aware of the framework in which it will be moving at the summit," Mr. Reppas said.

    He said that Greece was clear on what it was aiming for and what had to come before for the Community to achieve a decision which will ensure expansion and Turkey the status of candidate country.

    However, the spokesman noted that Turkey's stance to date did not appear to be matching with EU principles and that it was up to the European Union to take a decision. Mr. Reppas said that the time remaining to the beginning of the Helsinki summit was short but that nevertheless many things could occur in this interval which would ensure there is a positive outcome at Helsinki.

    Responding to a reporter's question, he said that the government had not dealt with the issue of a postponement of the discussion on expansion at the summit. He left open the prospect of a further discussion of the issue at a meeting of the inner cabinet next week.

    Yesterday morning, Prime Minister Simitis conferred at length with Foreign Minister George Papandreou and senior foreign ministry officials, ahead of talks with Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen. The talks focused on negotiations with Euro pean Union partners on the issue of Turkey's bid to become a candidate country with the 15-member bloc.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Stephanopoulos hopes outcome of EU summit will be one of 'unity and common acceptance'

    LISBON, 03/12/1999 (ANA - N. Megadoukas)

    Visiting President Kostis Stephanopoulos expressed the hope the outcome of the European Union's Helsinki summit will be a result of "unity and common acceptance." He was speaking after holding talks here with his Portuguese counterpart Jorge Sampaio.

    The two presidents discussed bilateral relations between Athens and Lisbon and major EU problems, while President Stephanopoulos ascertained that there is "understanding" regarding Greek positions which "are known and will be set out once again at the Helsinki summit."

    President Sampaio underlined the ties existing between the two countries and their common history, as well as close cooperation in international organisations to which they belong in support of peace and democracy.

    He also stressed the significance placed by Portugal on Greece's leading role and position during events in this part of the world in past months.

    President Stephanopoulos praised Portugal's performance, particularly in the economic sector, adding that the two countries are proceeding together to achieve fulfillment of major European ideals.

    He said that with his Portuguese counterpart he discussed the future enlargement of the EU and agreed that, regardless of unfavourable economic consequences, enlargement should be supported for political reasons and added that they also focused on probl ems which might arise at the Helsinki summit.

    President Stephanopoulos visited the Portuguese Parliament in the afternoon, and later met with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres with whom he discussed Greek-Portuguese relations, as well as major issues concerning the European Union, in view of the upcoming EU summit in Helsinki and Portugal's assumption of the EU presidency on 1 January, 2000.

    After the meeting, an agreement was signed for the avoidance of double taxation, which will give impetus for further development in bilateral, economic and trade relations between Greece and Portugal.

    President Stephanopoulos later attended a dinner given in his honour by his Portuguese counterpart and referred to Greek-Turkish relations and to Turkey's European prospects. Mr. Stephanopoulos said that the devastating earthquakes in Greece and Turkey had brought the two peoples closer but the emotional upset experienced is not enough for a permanent rapprochement between the two countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Greece to become full member of Schengen Treaty as of January 1, 2000

    BRUSSELS, 03/12/1999 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    Greece is completing the implementation of the Schengen Treaty and will become a full member as of January 1, 2000.

    This is the result of the decision taken here yesterday by the Joint Schengen Committee at ministerial level, with the participation of Iceland and Ireland, in the framework of the European Union's Council of Justice and Interior Affairs Ministers.

    As a result of the decision, controls on Greece's internal borders with the other Schengen member-states will be lifted. Greece was represented by Foreign Ministry Secretary General S. Perrakis and Public Order Ministry Secretary General D. Efstathiadis .

    Mr. Perrakis termed the decision "historic." He said it was the end of a great effort to incorporate Greece in Schengen which anticipates the free movement of persons.

    The Netherlands and Denmark noted Greece's progress in the sector of controls for external borders and lifted reservations they had raised for procedural reasons (the decision should be ratified by their national Parliaments). France, which had disputed security on Greece's external borders, considers the decision satisfactory. However, the French representative said its success will depend on its implementation.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek, Turkish officials begin Athens talks to final touches on range of agreements

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    A team of Turkish and Greek government officials began talks in Athens yesterday on putting the final touches to a range of bilateral agreements arising from the so-called 'low-impact' talks between the two countries.

    The two sides have been meeting for months on a range of non-contentious issues which could provide the basis for further cooperation. These issues include tourism, police cooperation, the environment, and science and technology.

    Major issues of dispute between the two countries - such as Cyprus and a variety of issues relating to the Aegean - have not been touched on. According to diplomatic sources, the texts of the five bilateral agreements refer to tourist cooperation, the environment, issues of security for citizens, economic cooperation and cooperation in the scientific and technological fields. The sources said these agreements were in the final stages.

    The final touches to the pacts on the avoidance of double taxation, investment protection, shipping cooperation and cooperation in the energy sector are expected today.

    The sources added that a committee of high-ranking foreign ministry officials from both countries - which has been charged with overseeing the 'low-issue' talks - would convene before the EU Helsinki summit at the end of next week and draft a report on the outcome of the talks.

    The report will be forwarded to the foreign ministers of both countries.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Greece, Bulgaria sign programme of cooperation to combat illegal immigration

    SOFIA, 03/12/1999 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    Greece and Bulgaria yesterday signed a programme of cooperation providing for measures against illegal immigration. The programme, to be launched next year, will give priority to breaking the rackets smuggling people from Bulgaria to Greece.
    Athens News Agency

    [06] 'Turkey and Europe: Effects on Greek- Turkish Relations'

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece and Cyprus will gain the most out of a possible Turkish candidacy for accession to the European Union concluded the panel of a discussion organised by the Front of Logic Against Nationalism and the Pantion University of Athens yesterday.

    In the discussion entitled "Turkey and Europe: Effects on Greek-Turkish Relations", participated political and academic figures to express a revision in long-standing confrontation of problems between the two countries, including the Cyprus problem.

    Unanimously the panel condemned racism, nationalism, xenophobia, anti- europeanism, the idea of "a sisterless nation" and the "Israelisation" of Greece via immense purchases of armaments, which as they explained negate every effort for development and social policies.

    "We should not confront Helsinki with fear. To the contrary, it is a great opportunity for Greece, as Turkey's candidacy will lead to a decision by the EU, which will lay out a binding 'road map' (for Turkey) for the protection of human rights, democratic institutions and resolution of Greek- Turkish problems and the Cyprus problem," PASOK deputy Stephanos Manikas said, in his address.

    "It would be deeply disappointing if the preconditions for Turkey's candidacy are not met," Pantion University Prof. and member of the non- governmental organisation Alexis Iraklidis said.

    Mr. Manikas also said that "the national interest is better promoted, when we have wide open horizons, which allow us to maximise our comparative advantages in the international chess board.

    "Our aim is a strong Greece. A Greece that can exist within the environment of globalisation ... we aim for peace, security, cooperation, stability in Europe and in our region.

    "It is natural that struggling for peace, we exercise without obstacles our sovereign rights in the framework of International Law and international practice," Mr. Manikas said.

    Former ambassador Kostas Zepos addressed the need for the "creation of a stable framework of communication and dialogue, between societies of the two countries," which will lead to a better understanding of "each other" for the benefit of peace.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Niotis attends annual ministerial meeting for Balkan cooperation in Bucharest

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece is willing to commit 600 million dollars in the framework of the Stability Pact for joint investment programmes in the Balkans, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis told the annual ministerial meeting for Balkan cooperation in Bucharest yesterday.

    The meeting, also attended by the foreign ministers of Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania, focused on ways of implementation of the Pact. Mr. Niotis also announced the holding in Athens later this month of a meeting of the coordinators of the Stability Pact for that purpose.

    Meanwhile, the foreign ministry said that Greece would work for the re- inclusion of Yugoslavia in the annual Balkan conferences.

    "Greece considers unfortunate the fact that Yugoslavia's place has remained vacant, looks forward to its immediate reinstatement with a view to the restoration of normality in the framework of the Interbalkan Conference and the process of cooperation in SE Europe, and will work towards that end," said the statement.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Athens to welcome new millennium with spectacular display of light and music

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Athens will welcome the new millennium with a spectacular display of light and music. A total of 5,000 searchlights and hundreds of lamps will illuminate the Parthenon and all of Attica for 25 minutes. The event will be directed by Gurt Hoff of Germany, who has also undertaken New Year celebrations in Berlin.

    Events on the Acropolis will start in the last 10 minutes of 1999 and will continue into the first quarter of an hour in 2000. The event will be broadcast direct by Greek Radio and Television (ERT) on a global network.

    Among others, a stand will be erected in the parking lot of the restaurant "Dionysos", opposite the Acropolis, and concerts will be organised to honour Manos Hadzidakis, Mikis Theodorakis and Odysseus Elytis. At 10 p.m., the Orchestra of Colours with Nea Venetsanou and Vassilis Gisdakis will interpret the "Roman Market" by Manos Hadzidakis. At 11 p.m., Mikis Theodorakis will direct the orchestra "Enarmonia", with Maria Farantouri and Marios Frangoulis with "Axion Esti" by Odysseus Elytis.

    On arrival of the new millennium and at 12:15, a concert will be given by Dionysis Savvopoulos and his orchestra and the Athens Municipal Symphonic Orchestra, while from 1:45 and for an hour the Athens Municipality's "Big Band" will be giving its own concert.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] No change in government policy on narcotics, spokesman says

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday said that nothing had changed in the government's policy on narcotics.

    Mr. Reppas was responding to reporters' questions about comments made by Deputy Health Minister Theodoris Kotsonis on Wednesday in favour of the state providing free methadone and, possibly, heroin to young drug users.

    The minister, speaking to reporters, said that he had broached the issue in talks with the prime minister but that these talks had not got to a formal stage.

    Mr. Reppas said the deputy minister's comments had been made in the context of a dialogue presently under way on these issues and denied reports that Health Minister Lambros Papadimas was unhappy with Mr. Kotsonis' remarks.

    New Democracy shadow minister for social affairs Vassilis Mihaloliakos called Mr. Kotsonis' views "unacceptable" and said they ran counter to the views expressed by the inter-ministerial committee and national committee on narcotics.

    "Seriousness is needed to deal with this problem, something which seems to have abandoned the government," Mr. Mihaloliakos said.

    Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee on combatting the use of narcotics yesterday invited Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Mr. Kotsonis to testify on their views.

    Committee chairman Constantine Stephanis said that the views of the two ministers would be included in the discussion under way on the future of the detoxification programme.

    In the past, Mr. Papandreou has said he agrees with the decriminalisation of certain types of 'soft drugs' such as cannabis. He said that decriminalisation will separate users from drug dealers, decrease criminal activity and increase psychological support for addicts, as well as reduce the death rate of drug users since the state will be able to regulate the quality of the drugs.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Greece says it fully sympathises with protesters in Seattle over WTO meeting

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Greece said yesterday that it fully understood and sympathised with protesters in Seattle, where ministers from around the world were meeting on a world trade liberalisation deal.

    Although the World Trade Organisation is useful, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, the Greek government believes that countries' particularities, particularly cultural ones, must be taken into account. "We don't want homogeneity in the name of globalisation,"he said. Protesters were cleared from the centre of Seattle by riot police enforcing another night of curfew as ministers from around the world met on a global trade liberalisation deal.

    Police temporarily sealed off a downtown hotel with President Bill Clinton inside as clashes erupted nearby on Wednesday, the second day of protests against a meeting of World Trade Organisation ministers.

    In Athens, Mr. Reppas said public protests in Seattle revealed the public's sensitivity to issues affecting their lives over the next few years, adding that these sensitivities were understood. Referring to the Clinton visit to Greece last month, which was marked by violent street protests, the spokesman said that the violence in Seattle was a lesson to those critical of Greece for allowing members of the public to express their opposing views.

    He said that the lesson was directed to those who believed that street protests in Greece indicated a sickness at the heart of the country's democracy, adding that the government was against any form of illegal action.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Statue of Venus of Lybia returned home

    ROME, 03/12/1999 (ANA - L. Hatzikyriakou)

    The famed statue of Venus of Lybia was repatriated yesterday as Italy's efforts to recover the statue from the Berlin Museum proved successful.

    Italian Prime Minister Massimo D' Alema delivered the statue during a special event to Lybian leader Muammar Gaddafi. Italy managed, following a diplomatic struggle, to succeed in its request to have the statue returned to Lybia.

    "Unfortunately there are at this time countries which have these sensitivitive differences (and I mean) that between Greece and Britain over the Parthenon Marbles," Mr. D' Alema said. The 2nd century A.D. statue left Lybia as a gift of the Italian occupation commander to Nazi leader Herman Goering and was since the end of the World War II part of the Berlin Museum collection.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Yugoslav government opens bids for construction of key motorway

    BELGRADE, 03/12/1999 (ANA/AP)

    The Yugoslav government opened bids yesterday for the construction of a key motorway to cross Serbia, which had been submitted by three joint ventures with the participation of several European countries and the US, according to a report by the Tanjug news agency.

    NATO bombings in spring which lasted 78 days led to the destruction of many factories, infrastructure, government installations and communications. For the time being, business opportunities in Yugoslavia are extremely limited due to the lack of capital and the refusal of many western countries to help the authorities in Belgrade for as long as President Slobodan Milosevic remains in power.

    The Public Works Ministry opened bids between three groups with French, Austrian, Greek, Swedish, Italian and American companies offering to cooperate with Yugoslav ones on the motorway which will link the city of Nis with the borders of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and will have a total length of 142 kilometres.

    The government's final decision on the bid to be ultimately accepted will be announced in 90 days, according to the head of the Bids Committee Kazimir Kouri, adding that all who have placed bids also expressed interest in other projects in various parts of Yugoslavia, such as the rebuilding of bridges destroyed on the River Danube.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Parliamentary committee approves Greece-USA memorandum

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    The Greek Parliament financial affairs committee yesterday approved by majority vote the Greece-USA momorandum on technological cooperation with Balkan countries.

    The momorandum was signed by National Economy Minister Yiannos Papandoniou and US Secretary of Commerce William Daley on Jan. 17 1998, and includes cooperation in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and any other country of the region, which the two signatories will agree on to include in the future.

    The memoradum will now be tabled in a full session of parliament for final approval.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Gov't rejects lone bid for HELEXPO

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    The national economy ministry said yesterday it had rejected a single bid submitted in an international tender for the part-privatisation of HELEXPO, the state trade fair organiser.

    The ministry said the sole bid was "unsatisfactory", but gave no further details of the tender or any future sale plans.

    On the auction block was a 45 percent stake in HELEXPO and its management.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Shortlist in tourism asset tender

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    The state-owned GNTO Asset Management Company SA said yesterday it had shortlisted six groups from Greece and abroad in a tender to find a financial consultant.

    The firm's job is to improve management of assets belonging to the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), which the latter formerly managed itself.

    The consortiums are as follows:

  • Agricultural Bank of Greece, Bayerische/Hypovereinsbank, PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • Zeus Group (Bank of America, National Bank for Investment and Industrial Development, Lamda)
  • Alpha Finance, Sanwa Bank, Deloitte & Touche Consulting
  • Fuji Bank Ltd, American Appraisal
  • Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Piraeus Prime Bank, KPMG
  • Warburg Dillon Read

    The asset management company is also in the process of selecting specialist consultants for sectors including evaluation of tourism investments and legal advice.

    Contracts are expected to be awarded at the end of January.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Stocks remain under pressure

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Equities lost ground in low turnover yesterday, remaining under pressure for the third consecutive session.

    The Athens general share index ended 1.35 percent lower at 5,577.46 points. Turnover was around 260 billion drachmas.

    Although blue chips mostly performed poorly, shares that are often the butt of speculation soared with more than 50 hitting the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.15 percent lower at 2,780.25 points.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (-1.25 pct), Leasing (-0.92 pct), Insurance (+0.86 pct), Investment (-1.16 pct), Construction (-1.52 pct), Industrials (-1.88 pct), Miscellaneous (-1.24 pct) and Holding (-0.69 pct). The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks edged down 0.33 percent.

    Of 313 shares traded, decliners led advancers at 173 to 122 with 18 issues remaining unchanged.

    The most heavily traded stocks were Frigoglass, Eskimo and Panafon.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,790 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 25, 050, Titan Cement Company (common) at 38,310, Hellenic Petroleum at 4,655, Intracom at 13,500, Panafon at 3,920 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,790.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Bond yield spread hits record low

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Bond prices in the domestic secondary market rose in brisk trade yesterday with the yield spread over German bunds posting a historic low.

    Players discounted a rate cut by the central bank of around 0.50 percentage point.

    A higher reduction in key rates would give the market even more impetus, analysts said.

    The benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.43 percent, the same as in the previous session, from 6.56 percent on Tuesday and 6.59 percent on Monday.

    The yield spread over German bunds was 127 basis points from 128 basis points a day earlier, 135 basis points on Tuesday and 136 basis points on Monday.

    According to analysts, the yield spread over German paper is likely to drop to 120 basis points by the end of the year.

    Turnover through the Bank of Greece's electronic trading system was 94 billion drachmas. Buy orders accounted for 92 billion drachmas of the total.

    In after-hours trade, sellers came out of the woodwork due to a decline in the euro.

    Drachma rises vs euro : Domestic foreign exchange trade was dominated yesterday by the euro's slump on international markets, taking it lower against the drachma.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the European single currency was set at 328.570 drachmas from 328.600 drachmas in the previous session, 328.850 drachmas on Tuesday, and 328.550 drachmas on Monday.

    Also at the fixing, the dollar jumped against the drachma in line with its rise on international markets.

    The US currency was set at 326.180 drachmas from 325.390 drachmas a day earlier, 324.990 drachmas on Tuesday and 324.680 drachmas on Monday.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Popular Bank of Cyprus seeks Athens bourse listing

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Popular Bank of Cyprus, the parent of European Popular Bank, a subsidiary operating in Greece, is to seek listing on the Athens Stock Exchange, Group chairman Kikis Lazarides said yesterday.

    In an interview to the Athens News Agency, Mr. Lazarides said the parent bank's plan for bourse entry was independent of its subsidiary's move to gain listing on the same market.

    European Popular Bank's mid-term goal was to expand its branch network to 30 in Greece, he added.

    The parent company planned to reinforce its subsidiaries, launch new products and create specialised departments or subsidiaries, Mr. Lazarides said.

    "The expansion of our activities will rest on the autonomous development of the services we offer, although we cannot rule out other moves towards growth of our banking services," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] EU okays info-tech forum

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    The European Union's executive Commission yesterday endorsed a proposal by the Association of Northern Greek Information Technology Companies to hold a second Balkan conference.

    The EU-funded conference is set to take place in the second quarter of 2000 in Thessaloniki.

    The association said in a statement yesterday that the decision to hold a second Balkan info-tech conference in the northern port city in the wake of the first this year had advanced its plan to create a permanent agency in Thessaloniki on infomation te chnology for the Balkans.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Marfin Momentum to go public

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Marfin Momentum, a portfolio investment company, yesterday applied for entry into the main market of the Athens Stock Exchange, it said in a statement.

    The firm plans to increase its share capital by 10 billion drachmas through the issue of 5.0 million new common shares at a nominal price of 2,000 drachmas each, the statement said.

    Of the new shares, 4,765,000 are destined for an initial public offer (IPO) and the remaining 235,000 for private placement with members of the Marfin Club.

    On entry into the Athens bourse, Marfin's shares will total two million and its share capital 40 billion drachmas.

    The company's adviser in the IPO is Marfin Invest, a subsidiary, and the main underwriter is the Commercial Bank of Greece.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 03/12/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: December 2, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             323.571 331.073
    Can.Dollar            218.736 223.807
    Australian Dlr        205.741 210.511
    Pound Sterling        517.189 529.180
    Irish Punt            413.860 423.456
    Pound Cyprus          564.448 577.535
    Pound Malta           753.946 785.360
    Turkish pound (100)     0.058   0.060
    French franc           49.689  50.841
    Swiss franc           203.658 208.380
    Belgian franc           8.080   8.267
    German Mark           166.651 170.515
    Finnish Mark           54.820  56.091
    Dutch Guilder         147.906 151.335
    Danish Kr.             43.813  44.828
    Swedish Kr.            37.789  38.665
    Norwegian Kr.          40.077  41.006
    Austrian Sh.           23.687  24.236
    Italian lira (100)     16.833  17.224
    Yen (100)             316.775 324.120
    Spanish Peseta          1.959   2.005
    Port. Escudo            1.626   1.664
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              323.571 331.073
    Montreal              218.736 223.807
    Sydney                205.741 210.511
    London                517.189 529.180
    Dublin                413.860 423.456
    Nicosia               564.448 577.535
    Paris                  49.689  50.841
    Zurich                203.658 208.380
    Brussels                8.080   8.267
    Frankfurt             166.651 170.515
    Helsinki               54.820  56.091
    Amsterdam             147.906 151.335
    Copenhagen             43.813  44.828
    Stockholm              37.789  38.665
    Oslo                   40.077  41.006
    Vienna                 23.687  24.236
    Milan                  16.833  17.224
    Tokyo                 316.775 324.120
    Madrid                  1.959   2.005
    Lisbon                  1.626   1.664
    Athens News Agency

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