Details on interbank market tax released
NEWS IN DETAIL
Developments in the European Union in relation to the Intergovernmental
Conference (IGC), Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as well as Mediterranean
and Balkan issues were the main topics of discussion here yesterday between
Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi.
Italian mass media and the Greek side stressed that the meeting was
particularly positive since an identity of views was ascertained,
particularly on the IGC and the Balkans.
Regarding the IGC, the two premiers agreed that procedural rules were
needed that would simplify matters and lead to quick and effective
decisions. Nevertheless, certain differences in approaches were identified,
with Mr. Simitis stressing Athens' posit ion in favour of the principle of
unanimity on issues of national interest.
On Balkan issues both Rome and Athens almost had identical positions since
Mr. Prodi believes that there should be a new Balkan policy.
In the wake of its strong presence in Albania and the major problems faced
by Tirana, he accepted many of the ideas and proposals put to him by Mr.
Simitis concerning both Albania, and the Balkans in general, reports
A broad field of cooperation was agreed for the examination of existing
plans, and it was considered expedient to establish six-monthly contacts
between the directors general of the ministries of foreign affairs and
national economy of the two countries .
Regarding EMU, Mr. Prodi said he considered his country's participation in
the first group of countries imperative, while Mr. Simitis said Greece had
decided to participate in the second group, with the aim of meeting
precondition for convergence in 1998 through a drastic reduction in
deficits, down to 4.2 per cent of GDP.
On another topic, Mr. Prodi assured his Greek counterpart that difficulties
in beginning construction of an electric hookup between Greece and Italy
would be overcome.
Concerning Ankara, Mr. Simitis reiterated that any progress in EU-Turkish
relations was currently dependent on Turkey's reply to a Council of
Ministers' decision in July, which calls on Ankara to affirm its commitment
to human rights and international agreements, among others.
"The EU has adopted a decision in relation to these problems. Greece is
awaiting Ankara's reply, which has still not been given, and is a basic
precondition for any development. Without a move on Turkey's part, the EU
must not shift from its views," Mr. Simitis said from the Italian
Regarding Greek-Turkish differences and Cyprus, he stressed that "we are in
agreement with Italy that the rules of international law and treaties must
Diplomatic sources said yesterday that Mr. Simitis' scheduled visit to The
Netherlands on Dec. 12, ahead of the Dublin summit, was expected with
According to the same sources, Mr. Simitis apparently enjoys increased
respect among the Dutch leadership for his moderate stance during the Imia
crisis in January and for his academic background.
Meanwhile, replying to reporters' questions on statements by Ms Ciller that
Greece and Turkey should enter into a general dialogue on all issues,
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos invoked the Treaty of
"There has been a very clear institutional framework for decades now - the
Treaty of Lausanne - the consistent implementation of which solves many of
what Turkey views as problems in the Aegean and this must be understood by
all," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.
The minister clarified that "at the present time there is no issue of
negotiations about the Aegean". "If there are concrete proposals, they must
be put forward in a responsible way, via a specific procedure," he
Explaining what had happened in Ostend, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said Turkey had
tried to get the meeting to accept that Ankara could participate, together
with the WEU full members and moreover on an equal basis, in decision-
making on initiatives which may be taken by the defence group concerning
the dispatch of troops and humanitarian missions.
Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides met with National Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday evening and discussed developments
in national issues, particularly the Cyprus problem, as well as other
bilateral matters. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said his scheduled visit to Cyprus
was also discussed.
The Greek minister is scheduled to leave on a four-day visit to Cyprus
today. Speaking after the meeting, Mr. Michaelides said the joint defence
doctrine between Greece and Cyprus is a pertinent issue for the defence and
existence of Cyprus.
The Greek permanent representative came under strong pressure yesterday
for a lifting of Athens' reservations regarding financing of Turkey from
the Community budget and for consenting to the convening of the EU-Turkey A
As expected, the Greek side refused any discussion on the above issues,
stressing that Turkey is obliged to give persuasive answers on how it
intends to smooth over relations with Greece on the basis of a July 15
Council of Ministers' decision, and reit erating that until that occurs,
Greece would not lift its reservations.
According to well-informed diplomatic sources, the aim of pressures was to
force Greece to abandon its insistence on implementation of the July 15
decision, and consent to exploration of other ways of dealing with the
problem of Turkey's relations with the Community and Greece.
Van den Broek cites need for improvement in Turkey's human rights situation
Shortly after a meeting between EU External Affairs Commissioner Hans van
den Broek and Turkish Trade Minister Yilmaz, a spokesman told reporters
that the Commissioner had asssured his interlocutor that the European Union
considered its customs union with Turkey as of special signficance.
Nevertheless, he made it clear that as long as Turkey did not record an
improvement in human rights issues, and did not comply with the Council of
Ministers' decision in July for the resolution of Greek-Turkish differences,
the Commission was not in a position to undertake an initiative in the
direction of freeing EU funds for Turkey.
Tsohatzopoulos briefs Evert on new armaments programme
The political and military leadership of the national defence ministry
yesterday briefed main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades
Evert on the recently announced four trillion drachma defence programme
aimed at bolstering the fighting cap ability of the armed forces.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos told reporters that the briefing had been restricted to
the logic behind the programme, the conditions under which the programme
will be implemented, including technical, financial and training issues, as
well as the decision of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and
Defence (KYSEA) to ensure transparency and inform the opposition parties.
Gov't allocates seven billion to Mount Athos
Funds amounting to seven billion drachmas will be allocated to the all-male
monastic community of Mount Athos in northern Greece from a total package
of 36 billion drachmas made available by the European Investment Bank (EIB),
government spokesman Dimitri Reppas said yesterday.
In the present initial stage, Mr. Reppas said, six billion drachmas will be
disbursed, of which 2.5 billion will be given to Mount Athos.
Further funds totalling 4.5 billion drachmas will be given to Mount Athos
in the third phase of disbursement, he added.
Mr. Reppas clarified that the funds would be managed by the monasteries of
Mount Athos themselves, under the overall supervision of the national
Meeting considers details for 3 more Greek-Bulgarian border crossings
A plenary session of a joint Greek-Bulgarian committee was held in Komotini
yesterday, focusing on details of creating three new border crossings in
the prefectures of Rodopi, Xanthi and Drama to link eastern Macedonia and
Thrace with southern Bulgaria.
The meeting was attended by two delegations of experts headed by Foreign
Ministry secretary general Constantinos Georgiou and Bulgarian Alternate
Regional Development and Public Works Minister Nikolai Grigorov.
The intention of both countries to cooperate and promote processes for
building and operating the three new passages at the Drama-Goce Nelce,
Xanthi-Rudozem and Komotini-Makaza points was also reaffirmed.
Mr. Georgiou said the three new border passages confirm the excellent
political and economic relations between the two countries, which aim at
giving special economic, tourism and cultural development in the region.
On his part, Mr. Grigorov said creation of the three new road passages is
an important issue because they contribute towards opening the natural
space of the two countries and cooperating in cultural and economic
relations between two friendly countries .
Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis will visit London tomorrow at
the invitation of the city's Greek Maritime Cooperation Committee.
Committee president Ioannis Hatzipateras invited Mr. Soumakis to attend a
council meeting and an official luncheon in order to meet members of the
Greek shipping community in London.
Mr. Soumakis will have the opportunity of being briefed on issues
concerning the committee's members and on general issues of interest to
Greece's merchant marine fleet.
He will also meet the British transport minister for talks on various
maritime issues of concern to the two countries and on Greek positions in
the European Union regarding shipping.
Investment interest from Quebec
Major Canadian companies in the telecoms, transport and construction of
hydroelectric works sectors are apparently interested in investing in
Greece. Representatives of such companies, which have visited Greece in the
past, will make a new visit in the spring as part of a mission organised by
the provincial government of Quebec.
Representatives of companies showing interest so far - Teleglobe,
Bellacanada, Bombardier and Hydro Quebec - will cooperate with a special
advisory bureau for investments in Greece, created by the municipality of
The government will tax net income from deposits or loans between banks
on the interbank market, the finance ministry announced yesterday.
The tax will be collected in advance and begin to be assessed on transactions
carried out as of 1 January 1997.
For the purpose of implementing the decision, the present 50 per cent
advance payment of banks' income tax will be increased to 60 per cent as of
Up to now, income from bank transactions on the interbank market were
subject to a special tax regime, according to which profits from such
transactions were deductible from the total taxable net profits of
OTE development programme announced
An ambitious investment programme in the Balkans and the Black Sea region
totalling some 100 billion drachmas over the next five years (1996-2000)
was announced yesterday by Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE)
The programme aims to keep OTE in touch with competitors in the area of
cooperation and to turn Greece into a telecommunications network connecting
western Europe to Africa via the Balkans.
Officials said a mobile telephone system to be developed by OTE is
scheduled to be completed during summer or autumn 1997. OTE's participation
in services, construction programmes, technical know-how and its involvement
in underwater cables make the org anisation an active participant in the
world telecommunications market.
Further promotion of Greek-Yugoslav trade examined
Athens' ambassador to Belgrade, Panayiotis Vlassopoulos, met with Serbian
Industry Minister Oscar Fodor here on Tuesday for talks on further
promoting bilateral economic cooperation.
An announcement by the Belgrade government said one of the most important
areas of cooperation is investment of Greek capital in certain Yugoslavian
Meanwhile, a five-day exhibition of Greek products will open in Belgrade
today. Greek businessmen, primarily from northern Greece, will exhibit
clothes, footwear, office equipment, sanitary items, vehicle spare parts,
chemical products, raw materials fo r furniture, heating equipment as well
Sunny to partly cloudy with moderate southern winds in most parts of the
country. Temperatures will range from 11-18C in Athens and from 7-14C in
The organising committee for the Athletics World Championships '97, which
will be held in Athens next August, has been reportedly inundated with
calls for ticket reservations, although the actual tickets have not yet
The committee has received requests to hold 51,000 tickets, costing a total
of 371 million drachmas, and comprising 10 per cent of the total. The
majority of requests have been made from Germany, Britain and the United
Meanwhile, all athletes breaking a world record during the championships
will receive a 25-million-drachma bonus, IAAF sources stated.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 235.005 Can. dlr.174.909, Australian dlr. 186.987 Pound sterling
394.102, Irish punt 395.114, Cyprus pd 514.848, French franc 46.309, Swiss
franc 185.770 Belgian franc 7.601, German mark 156.637 Finnish mark 51.983,
Dutch guilder 139.664 Danish Kr. 40.795, Swedish Kr. 35.547, Norwegian Kr.
37.202, Austrian Sh. 22.251, Italian lira (100) 15.608 Yen (100) 211.167
Spanish Peseta 1.862, Portuguese Escudo 1.550.