Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-11
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 11/07/1997 (ANA)
- Simitis stresses determination to proceed with modernisation
- Demirel comments on Greek-Turkish communique
- PASOK deputies criticise the communique
- Varied reactions continue from the opposition
- Greek, Turkish trade confederations laud Madrid communique
- Turkish warplanes again infringe Athens FIR
- Cyprus solution a prerequisite for Greek-Turkish normalisation
- Greece to coordinate business drive in the Balkans
- Current account deficit shrinks in March
- Wholesale prices slide to 2.6 pct yr/yr in May
- Greek equities end flat after early surge
- The small cap index rose by 0.30 percent
- Helexpo to hold electronics exhibition in Thessaloniki
- Greece supports peace process, Israeli-Palestinian meeting told
- Gov't unveils package of measures to combat unemployment
- Olympic Airways fleet renewal approved
- Antena TV station fined 100 million drachmas
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis stresses determination to proceed with modernisation
In an article published in the first anniversary edition of ANA's monthly
English-language magazine "Hermes-Greece Today", Prime Minister Costas
Simitis emphasises the government's determination to "proceed with resolve"
in modernising the country.
Mr. Simitis said this policy had already led the ruling PASOK party to
"clash even with aspects of its own political tradition and culture,
overcoming the fear of political cost and without succumbing to the sirens
of easy and unreasonable giveaways and political patronage," Mr. Simitis
wrote in the July issue of "Hermes."
The government's responsibility, he said, lies with "the thousands of
citizens who seek a new political vision, radical reform and a realistic
policy that will bring the country closer to the future".
The prime minister called for an end of "the Greece of bribes, kickbacks
and pay-offs...of interrelated self-interests, political patronage system,
of fiefdoms and preservation of privileges".
There was, he said, a "different Greece, of people who labour, struggle and
create: the farmers who have turned to more competitive and productive
crops, the business people who have boldly shattered the tradition of state
protectionism and have dynamic ally and successfully entered international
competition, the forces in the country's universities implementing
pioneering research programmes, the unexploited forces in public administration
who could work wonders but were asphyxiating within the current bureaucratic
framework, the trade unionists whose labour policy and political speech
were in tune with the European labour movement's most advanced thinking and
Mr. Simitis called for a "battle with appropriate weapons," by abandoning
outdated methods of thinking and planning new strategies demanded by this
"We must proceed with large-scale structural changes that contribute to the
development of competitiveness and the country's evolution, changes that
will address the system's weaknesses," he explained.
The government's goal was to build a strong Greece, "a Greece where both
economic indicators and individuals prosper, a Greece which commands the
respect of friends and foes alike."
A strong Greece in the 21st century was not only the responsibility of the
government but an issue for all Greeks, he added, concluding:
Demirel comments on Greek-Turkish communique
In a statement on Wednesday night upon his return to Ankara from the NATO
summit in Madrid, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel referred to the joint
communique issued and to his meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
"In the meeting we had with the prime minister of Greece and the foreign
ministers of the two countries, we communicated our consent for a
rapprochement in views on a basis which will develop Greek-Turkish
relations, and we are viewing with satisfaction the role played by the
United States in carrying out the meeting between the two ministers," Mr.
PASOK deputies criticise the communique
Twenty-two deputies from the ruling PASOK party yesterday expressed strong
reservations about the joint Greek-Turkish communique signed in Madrid on
Tuesday, claiming that through it "we are gradually slipping into choices
that result in recognition of Turkish claims, legalisation of Ankara's
expansionistic status and an expiation of its policies".
In an announcement, the 22 deputies said the joint communique was a product
of high-level Greek-Turkish dialogue, despite assurances to the contrary.
They noted that they were not sharing the responsibilities of those
developments and that the issue should be discussed at party organisations.
Varied reactions continue from the opposition
Main opposition New Democracy presented differing reactions on the signing,
with ND leader Costas Karamanlis having said the communique "justifiably
gave rise to questions and concerns" on Wednesday.
Yesterday, however, the ND leader attacked the government over what he
termed was a "surprise process" that was followed and its "unacceptable
silence", leading to a communique that "raises very serious concern".
ND honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis said that the outcome of this
latest effort to normalise Greek-Turkish relations would depend on
developments in the Cyprus issue.
"Turkey has to realise that unless the Cyprus issue is not resolved in a
just, viable and feasible way, Greek-Turkish relations will never be
normalised," said Mr. Mitsotakis.
Coalition of the Left and Progress official Nikos Bistis told a meeting
yesterday in Irakleio, Crete that the communique was a step forward, but
urged the government to avoid making surprise moves.
"Major decisions in Greek-Turkish relations demand a broader consensus,
which presuppose a clear and declared strategy," he said.
Greek, Turkish trade confederations laud Madrid communique
The two major trade union confederations of Greece and Turkey, GSEE and
TURK-IS, respectively, said they believe the recent Madrid communique
between the two countries could further develop relations to benefit both
A joint communique by the two unions stressed that "the establishment of a
climate of friendship and cooperation between the two countries would
contribute to their economic development", since the huge amounts spent by
both countries on armaments could be rechanelled to productive and peaceful
The board of TURK-IS is currently in Athens on an official visit and has
already had a number of meetings with GSEE officials. The Greek and Turkish
trade unionists also decided to mobilise their forces in order to improve
Balkan cooperation between trade unions, as well as to organise the next
Interbalkan Conference in Turkey.
Turkish warplanes again infringe Athens FIR
FIR Turkish warplanes infringed Athens Flight Information Region (FIR)
regulations on four occasions yesterday, while a violation of Greek
airspace was also recorded.
According to reports, four two-plane formations of Turkish F-4 "Phantom"
fighters were intercepted by Hellenic Air Force fighters, with five
The violation and the infringements took place in the airspace between
Lesvos and Hios.
Cyprus solution a prerequisite for Greek-Turkish normalisation
Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis told the Cyprus Radio (CyBC)
yesterday that a solution of the Cyprus issue was a prerequisite for a
normalisation of relations between Greece and Turkey.
The Greek foreign undersecretary said Greece backed the efforts by the UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan for a Cyprus solution. He stressed, however,
that the basic elements in such a solution that Greece was expecting to see
were one sovereingty, the withdrawal of Turkish occupying forces from
northern Cyprus and a consolidation of human rights and legality according
to European Union standards.
Greece to coordinate business drive in the Balkans
Greece plans to set up an agency to boost domestic exports and investments
in southeastern Europe that will, for the first time, coordinate activities
by the state and the private sector. The proposal by the Federation of
Greek Industry (SEV) to bring the two sides together and promote business
in eastern Europe and the Balkans was endorsed at a meeting yesterday
called to discuss better support for Greek firms active in the region.
Outlining the proposal, SEV's president Iason Stratos and board director
Andreas Kanellopoulos said the new agency should survey market needs,
process the data, and then make it easily available to companies.
The two officials said the agency would tackle institutional, political and
operational hitches, including coordinating demands by Greek firms to the
The greatest stumbling blocks to doing business in the Balkans were a lack
of reliable information on technical assistance and difficulties in making
contacts, the officials said.
The agency also could encourage Greek diplomats in southeast European
countries to adopt a more aggressive policy of promoting Greek enterprises,
Current account deficit shrinks in March
Greece's current account deficit rose sharply during the first quarter of
1997 to 1.627 billion US dollars from 1.203 billion in the corresponding
period last year, an increase of 32.5 percent, the Bank of Greece
The current account deficit shrank in March to 753 million dollars from
898.5 million the same month last year, the central bank said.
Wholesale prices slide to 2.6 pct yr/yr in May
Greek wholesale prices rose 0.5 percent in May from the previous month
against a 0.3 percent month-on-month rise in the corresponding month last
year, the National Statistics Service said.
Wholesale inflation fell substantially to 2.6 percent year-on-year in May
from 6.9 percent the same month last year.
On average, wholesale prices rose 2.8 percent in the first five months of
1997. They were 6.7 percent higher than the same period in 1996.
Greek equities end flat after early surge
Stock prices reversed an early strong upward trend to end fractionally
lower on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Investors appeared reluctant to push the market nearer the 1,600 psychological
level although traders said sentiment improved after positive developments
in Greek-Turkish relations.
They also cited a fall in wholesale prices and in March's current accounts
deficit as encouraging factors.
The general index closed 0.07 percent lower at 1,575.30 points, with most
sector indices losing ground. Trading remained moderate with turnover at
12.1 billion drachmas.
Banks fell 0.09 percent, Leasing was 0.09 percent off, Insurance dropped
0.14 percent, Construction eased 0.79 percent, Holding was 0.81 percent
lower and Miscellaneous fell 1.37 percent. Investment and Industrials
bucked the trend to end 0.84 and 0.19 percent higher respectively.
The small cap index rose by 0.30 percent
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 130 to 79 with another 18 issues
Ideal, Intertyp and Delta Informatics scored the biggest percentage gains,
while Mouzakis, Xylemporia and Bank of Central Greece suffered the heaviest
losses of the day.
National Bank of Greece closed at 35,885 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,740,
Alpha Credit Bank at 19,005, Titan Cement at 15,150, Intracom at 13,290 and
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,440.
Helexpo to hold electronics exhibition in Thessaloniki
Helexpo will organise a third annual electronics fair on the sidelines of
the annual international trade fair held in Thessaloniki every September.
Three pavilions at Helexpo will house 80 electronics firms that have so far
registered, which aims at attra cting the interest of Greek, Balkan, and
central and eastern European firms.
Helexpo will hold other specialised exhibitions along the annual September
one, such as companies dealing in construction and aluminium.
Greece supports peace process, Israeli-Palestinian meeting told
Greece is following developments in the Middle East with great interest,
supports the peace process and seconds the initiatives of the world
community to lift the present impasse, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos
Kranidiotis said yesterday.
Mr. Kranidiotis was addressing a non-binding, three-day meeting between
Israeli and Palestinian personalities, which opened at the Athens seaside
resort of Vouliagmeni on Wednesday and is aimed at exchanging views on the
future of the Middle East peace process.
The meeting is organised by the Greek foreign ministry.
Mr. Kranidiotis said that the initiative realised a pledge the ministry had
undertaken during a recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Self-Rule
Areas, in the framework of Greek efforts to assist contacts between the two
sides, promoting a just and viable solution to the Middle East problem.
Gov`t unveils package of measures to combat unemployment
Labour Minister Miltiades Papaioannou announced several measures yesterday
to increase employment and combat joblessness.
He added that unemployment among young people amounts to 28 per cent, while
the longterm unemployed constitute 51.3 per cent of the total number of
unemployed, whereas women total 58 per cent of the jobless rate in Greece -
compared to 50 per cent of th e total number of unemployed in the European
Mr. Papaioannou, who was speaking at a conference on "Active Employment
Policies", said 1.5 trillion drachmas would be provided over the next three
years 1997-1999 for structural interventions in the sectors of employment,
training and professional orientation.
Labour Undersecretary Christos Protopapas announced that as of February
1998 a mechanism for registering the unemployed, providing employment
coupons and registering needs in jobs would be ready at OAED to facilitate
the promotion of unemployed people in suitable jobs without difficulties
Olympic Airways fleet renewal approved
State-owned Olympic Airways was given the green light yesterday for
restructuring, after a decision was taken during a meeting between National
Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and OA's board.
About US $378 million will be allocated for the company's restructure.
In the first phase, OA plans to purchase four Boeing 737s, with the option
to buy four more, as well as two Airbus jetliners, with the purchase option
of two more.
It was also decided that planning for OA's eventual relocation to the new
Athens airport at Spata should be completed by September.
Antena TV station fined 100 million drachmas
The private television station Antena was fined yesterday 100 million
drachmas and ordered to suspend its programming for 10 minutes in the
afternoon for five consecutive days.
The National Council of Radio and Television (ERS) reprimanded the station
over allegations featured in one of its afternoon zone "reality" talk show
programmes, entitled "Kentri".
The show was blamed for causing a man to commit suicide last month,
following reports aired on the programme insinuated that he had molested
his teenage daughter.
The fine must be signed by the press minister and published in the
Government Gazette before being implemented .
Fine weather will prevail in most parts of the country today. Local clouds
in central and northern Greece with possible intermittent rain in the north
in the afternoon. Winds variable, light to moderate. Athens will be sunny
with only a few clouds in the afternoon and temperatures between 21-35C.
Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 20-32C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 274.070
Pound sterling 462.272 Cyprus pd 530.720
French franc 46.215 Swiss franc 188.535
German mark 156.220 Italian lira (100) 15.987
Yen (100) 242.584 Canadian dlr. 199.293
Australian dlr. 203.162 Irish Punt 419.041
Belgian franc 7.568 Finnish mark 52.626
Dutch guilder 138.701 Danish kr. 41.003
Swedish kr. 35.605 Norwegian kr. 37.343
Austrian sch. 22.193 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.546