Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-22
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 22/07/1997 (ANA)
- Simitis and Papantoniou discuss economic policy for 1988
- Commandos bolster security on Greek-Albanian border
- Greece condemns Ecevit statements in Cyprus` occupied areas
- Madrid communique enables direct Greek-Turkish talks, Pangalos
- `Athens 2004` committee study on expected benefits from Olympics
- FYROM prohibited from using name 'Macedonia' in Euro sports events
- Soldier dies in parachute jump accident
- EBEA establishes business data bank for Balkans
- 10 more state enterprises to enter bourse in next 3 years
- FOREIGN EXCHANGE
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis and Papantoniou discuss economic policy for 1988
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said today after
a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis that the government would take
its decisions concerning economic policy for 1998 in October.
Papantoniou and the premier discussed the general directions of economic
policy for 1998 which, the former told reporters, would be within the
framework dictated by the economic convergence programme.
The primary objective of economic policy, he added, would be to bring
inflation down to below 3 per cent in order to ensure the country's entry
to economic and monetary union.
Papantoniou refused to be drawn on questions regarding possible future
taxation measures, saying only:
''Economic policy will be within the framework as outlined by the
According to informed sources, the main axes of economic policy for 1998
will be annual salary increases in the public sector of not more than 4 per
cent, the freezing of public utility rates to facilitate the reduction of
inflation and drastic cuts in budget expenditures.
It is believed that the spending cuts will chiefly be made with respect to
the expenditures of ministries and legal persons of public law.
The new budget is expected to provide for an 800 billion drachma rise in
revenues, originating chiefly from new measures to increase the efficiency
of collecting income.
No increases in indirect taxation are foreseen.
Lastly, the government is expected to continue its ''hard drachma'' policy
in 1998, again as part of efforts to bring down inflation.
Commandos bolster security on Greek-Albanian border
Greek army commandos today began taking up positions along the border with
Albania in the areas of Kastoria and Florina, northwest Greece, following
government decisions to strengthen border security in order to combat the
activities of criminal gangs.
A Hellenic Air Force helicopter at noon flew to Argos airport where it will
remain stationed in order to patrol the mountainous region from Ioannina to
One helicopter had already been patrolling the region and it is hoped that
the second will considerably contribute to increasing security.
Meanwhile, the joint army and police patrols operating in the region will
be strengthened by the formation of new units today, which will be equipped
with the very latest technical means.
The government took the decisions to increase security in northwest Greece
at a two-hour meeting of ministers chaired by Premier Costas Simitis
The measures are aimed at checking the activities of armed gangs of
Albanian criminals who have been crossing the border to steal, kidnap and
Greece condemns Ecevit statements in Cyprus` occupied areas
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday expressed regret at what he
termed "inappropriate" remarks by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent
Ecevit, during the latter's presence at events in Turkish-occupied Cyprus
to mark Ankara's 1974 invasion.
During the weekend events, Mr. Ecevit, who as prime minister had ordered
the 1974 invasion against the island republic, said the self-proclaimed
"Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", recognised only by Ankara, would
"live forever as an independent state. But its foreign policy and defence
will be handled by Turkey".
Responding to a question following a meeting at the Maximos Mansion, Mr.
Pangalos said that Mr. Ecevit considered it the "purpose of his life to
make wrong moves in Turkish policy on the Cyprus issue, that's why he has
returned to the scene of the crime ".
Athens will support the Cyprus issue by its policy, Mr. Pangalos said,
criticising Mr. Ecevit for scoffing at international agreements and
repeated United Nations resolutions.
Mr. Pangalos said that Mr. Ecevit's "unfortunate statements`` were made as
a "fiesta for domestic political consumption".
Madrid communique enables direct Greek-Turkish talks, Pangalos
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has described the recent Greek-Turkish
joint communique signed in Madrid as a "major political development" that
created a "new situation, qualitatively",while enabling direct talks on
bilateral issues concerning the two countries without intermediaries.
Mr. Pangalos stressed, however, in an interview to the Athens daily 'TA
NEA", published yesterday, that there could be no political rapprochement
with Turkey or discussion on issues of cooperation before the matter of
Ankara's claims on the Imia islets was settled through recourse by the
latter to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He added that at
no time during the talks that preceded the Madrid communique was the issue
of Greece's legal right, under the international Law of the Sea, to extend
its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles mentioned.
The six-point communique, issued on July 8 after talks by Premier Costas
Simitis and Turkish President Suleyman Demirel on the sidelines of the NATO
summit in Madrid and subsequently described by the government as a
"declaration of intentions", stated that the two countries would pursue
efforts to promote bilateral relations.
Mr. Pangalos said the "declaration of intentions" had eliminated the threat
of war, and was made at the highest possible level, by the Turkish
President himself, who also headed that country's national security council,
which "makes it clear that Turkey accepts the international treaties as the
basis for discussion".
Although this did not mean that Ankara would "...interpret or implement
international law and the international treaties in the way it should or in
the way they are implemented by the international community", there was
nevertheless, a "new situation, qualitatively" in the context of which
Greece could "directly discuss with Turkey without the mediation of a third
power, such as the United States or the European Union, particularly on
matters concerning the two countries".
"This does not mean that we will negotiate rights we consider non-
negotiable or will accept a political discussion on matters that require
legal handling," he said, adding: "There is no such commitment".
"What it does mean, is that representatives of two mature countries, the
representatives that is of Turkey and Greece, will be able to meet and
discuss all issues pertaining to the two countries'', he added.
Mr. Pangalos underlined that the only real problem in relations between
Greece and Turkey was that of the Aegean continental shelf.
He also urged Turkey to abandon its past behaviour and look to the future,
stressing that Greece would follow such an effort with a "sincere desire"
"The idea that Turkey can dominate Greece is one which belongs to the past,
one which has no hope of success and which can only create problems in
Turkey," Mr.Pangalos said.
`Athens 2004` committee study on expected benefits from Olympics
An Athens 2004 candidate committee-commissioned study states that if the
Greek capital is chosen to stage the 2004 Games, some 130,000 permanent or
temporary jobs will be created while an increase in tourism receipts and
public revenue by more than one billion US dollars will be gained.
Meanwhile, the findings of the study were presented at a meeting yesterday
on the financial aspects of staging the 2004 Games, organised by the
"Athens 2004" bid committee and addressed by committee president Gianna
"The 2004 Olympic Games provide an opportunity for the development of new
branches of the Greek economy and the attracting of major investments," Ms
The major advantage of the budget for Athens' bid, she claimed, is that it
is not burdened with the cost of the major infrastructure, works since they
are already in progress, plus the fact that 72 per cent of the sports
installations are ready.
The total estimated cost of staging the Games, according to the study, will
be US$1.35 billion, plus $215 million as provision for unforeseen
According to the "Athens 2004" bid, income from staging the Games will
exceed expenditures by $36.7 million.
Some 44 per cent of this income will come from the contracts already signed
by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) concerning television rights
and international sponsorships.
Between 2001 and 2004, the report states, the total increase in the
turnover of industry and Greek enterprises in general is expected to reach
$550 million, due to increased demand for consumer products, building
materials, furniture, sports and technical equipment.
The study also claims that Greek industry will benefit directly from the
promotion of Greece's image internationally through the Games.
FYROM prohibited from using name 'Macedonia' in Euro sports events
The Union of European Olympic Games Committees issued a decision forbidding
the use of the name "Macedonia" for any participants from the Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in sports events or events in Europe
related to the organisation.
The union calls for the use of the name FYROM or the initials "MKD" as
abbreviation, until a United Nation's final decision on the name.
Soldier dies in parachute jump accident
A 22-year-old professional soldier died this morning when his parachute
failed to open during a free-fall training jump at Pachi, Megara.
The soldier was named as Michalis Kotsidiaris, a resident of Piraeus, who
had signed up with the army as a volunteer on a five-year contract.
A preliminary investigation has begun of the circumstances surrounding the
death of Kotsidiaris.
EBEA establishes business data bank for Balkans
The Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) has established a data
bank for the Balkans to provide information for Greek businesses.
The data bank will begin by providing information on the business sectors
in Romania, Albania and Bulgaria. The countries it covers will be expanded
to gradually include all of the Balkans and the Black Sea area.
It will also link up with similar data banks in Greece and beyond.
EBEA president Yiannis Papathanasiou said the information bank would start
operating in the coming weeks and cover needs of businesses wishing to
expand into southeastern Europe.
Some of the information it will provide on each country will include its
economic profile, tenders called in the private and public sector, calls
for joint ventures, customs duties and taxation data, investment opportunities,
European Union programmes, trade facts and an explanation of its banking
10 more state enterprises to enter bourse in next 3 years
Another 10 state enterprises will join the bourse over the next three years,
the government announced yesterday.
A small percentage of their share capital will be made available to the
investing public, which will be based on the model of the partial
privatisation of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).
The list of 10 state enterprises will not include the Public Petroleum
Corp. (DEP) and the Hellenic Duty Free shops, whose registration is already
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou issued an order at a meeting
held at the ministry for an examination to ascertain which public utilities
(DEKO) possess elements rendering their conversion into shares feasible and
the registration of their shares on the bourse.
General and special issues concerning public utilities were also discussed
at the meeting, as well as the issue of freezing tariffs in the effort to
have inflation decrease even further.
Fair weather is forecast over most of the country tomorrow, with local
afternoon and evening. Winds northerly, light to moderate, and later
strong. Athens will be sunny with temperatures ranging from 22-35 C, and
Thessaloniki should see some light cloud in the evening, with temperatures
between 20 and 32 C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 279.744
Pound sterling 468.601 Cyprus pd 530.323
French franc 46.078 Swiss franc 189.194
German mark 155.714 Italian lira (100) 15.998
Yen (100) 241.294 Canadian dlr. 203.618
Australian dlr. 207.373 Irish Punt 417.453
Belgian franc 7.542 Finnish mark 52.737
Dutch guilder 138.518 Danish kr. 40.886
Swedish kr. 36.010 Norwegian kr. 37.702
Austrian sch. 22.125 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.542