Effects of "hard drachma" policy on exports to be studied
NEWS IN DETAIL
The main opposition New Democracy party's political council session took
place amidst considerable tension yesterday, marked by yet another clash
between ND leader Miltiades Evert and former premier Constantine Mitsotakis,
in the aftermath of the latter's recent interview in a monthly magazine
which rekindled a long-standing feud between the two men.
Sources said that in addressing ND's honorary president and former premier,
Mr. Evert stressed that he would not be invited to the political council in
future, because he had undermined the authority and history of the party
with his recent statements.
Referring to a charge by Mr. Mitsotakis in the interview with the magazine
"Status" that he (Evert) was not telling the Greek people the truth, Mr.
Evert said: "You cannot call other people liars...I have been elected twice
through democratic procedures and I have to defend the dignity of my
Mr. Mitsotakis replied that he participated in the council according to
provisions in the party's charter, and it was not within the ND leader's
right to exclude him, stressing that he ought to be prepared to accept
criticism in view of the agreement reached in the council's last session,
namely, that all contenders for the ND leadership should have equal
opportunities and should not be threatened with expulsion.
After the session, Mr. Mitsotakis stated he would return to the political
council after the ND congress next year.
He also dismissed fears of the party's split.
Nationwide 24-hour strike today
Labour unions are went on 24-hour nationwide general strike today to
protest the government's recent economic policy and taxation measures.
The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil
Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) have called for strike
actions, which is expected to paralyse the country. Employees in hospitals,
the mass transportation sector, banks , public utilities, industry and
commerce also participating, while farmers are expected to block national
roads around the country.
Taxi drivers were scheduled to begin a strike at 5 this morning, which will
be continued until 5 a.m. tomorrow.
Teachers and nursery school staff declared strikes yesterday, following a
meeting between teachers' representatives and Education Minister Gerasimos
Arsenis, which was deemed by the former as unsatisfactory. The teachers
will meet with the minister agai n on Monday.
Due to the strikes, traffic restrictions in Athens will not be in force
today, and all private cars may circulate freely within the capital's
Turkish link to forest fires
A fatal traffic accident earlier this month near the Turkish village of
Susurluk, which exposed connections between the neighbouring nation's
underworld and the state, has also produced allegations of involvement by
Ankara's secret services in several forest fires that devastated several
Greek islands in recent years.
The continuing public controversy in Turkey regarding the involvement of
the extremist right-wing "grey wolves" organisation in drug smuggling and
murder cases has also led to claims of arson on Greek forests by Sedat
Bucak, a True Path Party (DYP) deputy, during a television interview.
Bucak, the only survivor in the Susurluk accident, said Abdullah Catli -
one of three individuals killed in the incident - had participated in
arsons on Greek forests. On the following day the nationalist publication
"Yeni Safak" came out with a headlin e reading "We burned Rhodes", but
copies of the newspaper were destroyed in a suspicious fire that hit its
offices the same day.
Bucak is the leader of an anti-Kurdish militia group which recruits
thousands of civil guards in the country's southeast. The shadowy figure is
considered well-connected and informed on activities of special forces,
with which he cooperates closely, accord ing to reports.
Torching of forests in predominantly Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey
is alleged to be one of the methods used by Turkish special forces to flush
out Kurdish separatists and to force civilians to abandon their villages.
According to reports, Greek authorities have gathered evidence leading to
the conclusion that many of the fires which destroyed forests on Greek
islands were not simply the result of arson, but of sabotage operations
carried out by specially t rained forces.
Kaklamanis meets with Russian counterpart Zelezniev
The Greek and Russian Parliament Presidents, Apostolos Kaklamanis and
Gennadi Zelezniev, respectively, yesterday affirmed an identity of views on
important issues between the two countries, as well as their willingness
for even closer and more productive relations.
Both sides also expressed satisfaction with the very good relations between
the two parliaments and cooperation of delegations in international
Regarding economic relations, both sides noted a will to proceed at a
faster pace with the natural gas project, the proposed Burgas-Alexandroupolis
oil pipeline and an aluminum plant.
NATO, former Warsaw Pact officers meet in Thessaloniki
High-ranking NATO and former Warsaw Pact country officers met behind closed
doors Tuesday and yesterday in Thessaloniki to exchange views on issues
regarding defence cooperation and peace in southeastern Europe.
Sources said discussion also included the issues of a NATO regional
headquarters in Greece, and a rapid deployment force planned to be based in
Alexander the Great Exhibition in New York
An exhibition entitled "From Pella to Alexandria: Marks of a Civilisation",
was opened in Fordham University recently by archaeology professor Dimitris
Prof. Pandermalis spoke of the determining presence of Alexander the Great
in Egypt and referred to Alexandria as the "the first city of the vision
for a Hellenic ecumenical presence, with the possibility of co-existence
between Greeks and Egyptians."
Chief of Staff to visit Bulgaria next week
The Chief of the National Defence General Staff, Lieutenant-General (Air)
Athanasios Tzoganis, will pay an official visit to Bulgaria from December 2-
4 at the inviation of his Bulgarian counterpart General Tsvetan Bladenov
Totomirov, it was announced yest erday.
During his stay in the neighbouring country, Lt.-Gen. Tzoganis will have
talks with the political and military leadership of the Bulgarian defence
ministry on issues of mutual interest in the defence sector.
In addition, he will sign the programme for bilateral military cooperation
for 1997 and visit a number of military units and installations.
Papoutsis initiative aims to outlaw 'sex tourism'
The European Commission has sent a letter to the European Parliament and
the Council of Ministers proposing a series of measures against sex
The letter was sent at the initiative of EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis
who said that sexual abuse of children in third countries was unacceptable
and linked to tourism.
"I believe it is time to react and take careful and responsible action,"
Mr. Papoutsis said.
Proposed EU action calls for the mobilisation of the member-states and the
creation of a common front to battle sex tourism.
Balkan women meet in Thessaloniki to discuss problems
A two-day conference bringing together women from all Balkan countries to
discuss the status and problems of women in Balkan countries will be held
in Thessaloniki over the weekend. The meeting, organised by the Women's
Section of the Coalition of the Lef t and Progress party, will focus on
democratisation procedures and the participation of women in decision-
making centres in the Balkan peninsula.
It is also scheduled to discuss "peace, security, cooperation, viable
development and the role of women." Delegations from Croatia, Montenegro,
Moldova, FYROM, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Turkey
and Cyprus are taking part in the meeting.
SEB calls proposed new taxes on businesses a 'counter-incentive'
Federation of Greek Industry (SEB) President Iason Stratos said yesterday
that an increase in taxation for businesses constitutes a counter-incentive
for attracting capital, adding that he did not see a bold enough policy
regarding denationalisations and privatisations.
Commenting on the government's tax settlements, Mr. Stratos said an
agreement has been reached on the issue of tax exemptions lacking a
developmental or social character.
It appears that industry disagrees with the taxation of land and building
sites used by industrial enterprises, as well as with taxation for the
transfer of shares of enterprises which are not registered with the Athens
Ships stranded at Piraeus as seamen join strike
No vessels will be leaving Piraeus or any other port in the prefecture of
Attica today following the seamen's decision to join the 24-hour general
strike organised by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE)
and the Civil Servants' Supreme Ad minstrative Council (ADEDY).
The seamen's strike will begin at 6.00 this morning and end at 06.00 the
Piraeus dockworkers have already stated their intention to participate in
the general strike.
One of the main demands of the unions is that the government index-link tax
brackets to inflation.
Chinese silk experts visit Evros
Chinese silk experts began a two-day visit yesterday to Soufli, Evros,
within the framework of cooperation between the National Foundation of
Agricultural Research (EThIAGE) and the Chinese State Research and
The two organisations have also signed agreements for joint research
programmes in the silk production sector in Thrace, as well as for new
varieties of cotton and for the production of mushrooms. A meeting was held
in Soufli between the Chinese delegation, EThIAGE officials and silk
cooperative organisations to examine issues related to the development of
silk production in the region.
Pachtas confident EU fund absorption will be good next year
"1997 will be a year in which the absorption of European Union funds will
take off," National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas said yesterday.
In 1996, for the first time Greece will be very near to 100 per cent with
respect to commitments.
"Our forecast is that the figure will be approximately 90 per cent
nationwide for the 13 Regional Programmes and the 17 sector programmes of
the various ministries," Mr. Pachtas told reporters shortly before a
meeting on the regional programmes.
With regard to inflows, Mr. Pachtas said, 1996 will be the first year for
some time that not only will the target of 100 per cent be attained "but
there will furthermore be over-absorption, that is, the target of
approximately 600 billion drachmas which is expected to enter the country
from the EU by the end of the year will be surpassed."
The Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece (SEBE) is preparing a study
on the repercussions of the "hard drachma" policy on the competitiveness of
Greek exports, in an effort to gauge the issue for the first time.
SEBE believes that "since the government's monetary and exchange policy
will move in the same direction in 1997, as it was made known by National
Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, exports enterprises, and particularly
those dealing with traditional markets in central Europe, are faced with
the danger of their presence shrinking further."
The study on the consequences of the hard drachma is expected to be
completed in about a month and its results will be announced in January.
Sunny to partly cloudy in most parts of the country. Same for Athens where
temperatures will range from 10-17C and in Thessaloniki from 6-13C.
FOREIGN EXCHANGE (Buying)
U.S. dlr 238.001, Can. dlr.177.270, Australian dlr. 193.142, Pound sterling
399.082, Irish punt 399.776, Cyprus pd 515.840, French franc 46.068, Swiss
franc 184.319 Belgian franc 7.572, German mark 156.002, Finnish mark 51.822,
Dutch guilder 139.049, Danish Kr. 40.642, Swedish Kr. 35.692, Norwegian Kr.
37.174, Austrian Sh. 22.173, Italian lira (100) 15.717, Yen (100) 209.937,
Spanish Peseta 1.854, Portuguese Escudo 1.545.