Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-07-26
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 26/07/1997 (ANA)
- Gov't to deregulate electricity in line with EU
- Pangalos says it's time for a solution to Cyprus problem
- Gov't plans to restructure defence industry
- PM gives interview to Financial Times
- Greek students in Britain campaign for Parthenon marbles' return
- Greece expresses opposition to EU funding for Turkey
- Woman confesses to priest's murder
- American climber rescued off Mount Olympus
- Greek suspension bridge gets Dr 115 bln EIB loan
- Greek telecom seen awarding Dr 70 bln digital deal next week
- Greek rail subsidiary to manage Dr 500 bln in projects
- Greek equities end sharply up, pierce resistance
- Greek industrial output drops 3 pct in May yr/yr
- Current account deficit drops in April
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Gov't to deregulate electricity in line with EU
The government yesterday decided to deregulate the electrical power market,
bringing the nation in line with European Union directives.
Following an Inner Cabinet meeting, where a unanimous decision was taken on
the issue, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the institutional,
organisational and administrative framework governing the electricity power
market must be completed by February 1999, announcing that the government
has agreed to a single administrator system.
Mr. Reppas said this means that the private sector will be given the chance
to produce electric power and that the Public Power Corp. (DEH) will
maintain public control. He further announced that an independent body will
be initiated to supervise conditions set in tendering.
Mr. Reppas said it was decided that processes for linking Greece with the
European networks (cable with Italy) will accelerated and the institutional
framework for the purchase of electricity will be promoted in Parliament by
the end of the year, accompanied by a study to restructure DEH.
Mr. Reppas also said that the Inner Cabinet did not discuss the issue of
construction of a power plant in Florina, adding that this will be
discussed by government bodies in the future and not be included in the
cabinet meeting's agenda for next Friday.
Pangalos says it's time for a solution to Cyprus problem
The government is determined to support the Cyprus government throughout
the process of negotiations that has begun towards a just and viable
solution to the Cyprus issue, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said
yesterday after meeting with visiting Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis
Mr. Pangalos noted "this is the time there must be a solution to the Cyprus
problem" and reiterated that Cyprus was on the way to begin negotiations
for European Union (EU) accession, along with other European countries.
Following a two-hour meeting with Mr. Kasoulides, Mr. Pangalos referred to
the major changes taking place in Europe and said that in that context
Cyprus should become a free country with basic human rights guaranteed and
the rights of its citizens for free movement within the island republic to
The Greek foreign minister said that a solution of the Cyprus problem would
contribute to an improvement in the climate in the southeastern Mediterranean
and help the European future of Turkey, which at present is "isolating
itself from international develo pments" by its occupation of northern
Cyprus and its refusal to observe internationally accepted rules of
Cyprus' foreign minister said his meeting was necessary to talk about all
recent developments on the Cyprus issue, including the second round of
direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot
leader Rauf Denktash, scheduled for August 11-16 in Geneva.
Mr. Kasoulides also expressed his appreciation for Greece's support in
Cyprus' application for EU membership, saying that without Greece's efforts,
the island republic would not have succeeded in reaching the stage of
accession talks, due to begin early in 1998.
Cyprus hopes for a solution on the 23-year-old problem based on international
law and human rights, and is participating in the direct talks in a
positive and constructive spirit, he added.
Asked to comment on statements by President of the Republic Kostis
Stephanopoulos, who said Thursday that there was not much cause for
optimism due to Turkey's stance, Mr. Pangalos said statements by the Greek
president cannot be commented on.
He added that there were no differences in opinion from Mr. Stephanopoulos'
statement, because the government had "also observed Turkish intransigence,
which has been expressed by provocative statements and acts, on the
occasion of the tragic anniversar y of events of 1974 and the stance held
by Mr. Denktash during the New York negotiations" with Mr. Clerides in
"This does not mean there is no possibility of reaching a solution, " Mr.
Pangalos added. "If Turkey wishes to obstruct a solution, given its other
problems and the general changes in world conditions, that's another issue
entirely," he said.
He, nevertheless, expressed hope that Turkey would keep a positive stance,
to allow a solution that would benefit all Turkish Cypriots, development
for both sides and progress.
Gov't plans to restructure defence industry
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the country's defence industry
needed restructuring, commenting on a discussion held by the inner cabinet
"The reasons are economic and national," he said, adding that an inter-
ministerial committee will be established, composed of the National Economy,
National Defence and Development ministries, to coordinate policy in this
Mr. Reppas said various proposals had been made concerning the merging of
companies that had a similar objective of closer cooperation, cooperation
with the public sector, and the need to increase competitiveness, primarily
in markets abroad. There are four state-run defence sector enterprises at
present - EAB, EBO, ELBO and PYRKAL.
PM gives interview to Financial Times
In an interview with the London-based Financial Times, which was published
on Thursday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed that "Greece will use
all measures offered in the framework of the European Union to achieve what
it considers to be right".
He also didn't rule out the possibility that Athens may resort to blocking
EU accession of central European applicants if Cyprus isn't included in a
future Union enlargement.
Mr. Simitis said Greece will not release EU funds to Turkey in the
framework of the latter's customs union with the 15-member Union or proceed
with dialogue if Ankara does not stop disputing part of Greek sovereignty
or does not resort to the Internatio nal Court of Justice at The Hague.
"Every word in Greek-Turkish discussions is important," Mr. Simitis said,
explaining that the Greek side aims at achieving results through the
experts committees and not "as in the past" discussions leading to
Mr. Simitis said the spirit of Davos was "shortlived" because an effort was
made to achieve a great deal in a short period of time, while not enough
attention was paid to details.
According to the British newspaper, Mr. Simitis is aware that an improvement
in Greek-Turkish relations will allow for cutbacks in defence spending, an
element which will contribute towards the attainment of targets set in the
Maastricht Treaty, which constitutes a top priority target for the Greek
Describing Mr. Simitis' personal characteristics, the newspaper assesses
that he is neither explosive nor charismatic but has much in common with
British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"He gave a different image to an old-fashioned socialist party, managing to
apply policies which would have met with strong reaction a few years ago,"
the newspaper reported.
Lastly, Mr. Simitis said in the interview that he believes he's closer to
the French socialists, adopting measures favouring low-level pensioners and
Greek students in Britain campaign for Parthenon Marbles' return
Greek student societies in Britain will stage protests outside the British
Museum, the Ministry of Heritage and British embassies around the world on
November 14 to campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to
In a statement by the Union of Hellenic Student Societies in the United
Kingdom released yesterday, the union said that they had designated
November 14 as "Parthenon Day".
The campaign will include mass mailings to British officials calling for
negotiations on a timetable for the return, debates, and Parthenon Day Web
Sites at the Internet addresses of: http://www.greece.org/eefkmed and
http://www.uk.digiserve. com/mentor /marbles.
Greece expresses opposition to EU funding for Turkey
Greece yesterday expressed its explicit and categorical reservations over
any funding for Turkey from the European Union's budget, whose draft for
1998 was discussed here on Thursday.
Greece's permanent diplomatic representative at the EU, Ambassador Pavlos
Apostolidis, made the following statement during yesterday's meeting of the
member-states' Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), which he
also submitted to the session's minutes:
"The Greek delegation is opposed to the registration of funds for fiscal
cooperation with Turkey (EU budget policy B7-4034), given that the required
legal basis does not exist in accordance with the processes anticipated by
the Treaty and on the basis of the terms and preconditions of the relevant
body for the (EU) budget.
"The Greek delegation also discloses that it does not agree with the
selective implementation of the legal basis in accordance with the policies
(of the EU budget) and the interests of certain member-states."
Athens had also submitted a similar statement in the minutes of the Council
of Ministers on the EU budget last year.
Meanwhile, governent spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Athens' policy remained
unchanged on the issue. Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis had
set out Greece's view on the matter.
Woman confesses to priest's murder
A 42-year-old woman yesterday confessed to shooting to death a priest
earlier this week on an Athens street, an incident which attracted
widespread local media attention.
Ekaterini Yiannakopoulou was arrested late Thursday night outside a
monastery in Mandra, western Attica, after evading police since shooting
Archimandrite Anthimos Eleftheriadis in the Nea Smyrni district on
The suspect reportedly told police that she killed the Cypriot-born priest,
who was also her confessor, because he had "ruined her life by rejecting
her after a relationship spanning eight years."
She also told police that she bought the murder weapon from an undisclosed
Athens store last September and began making plans to kill the priest, whom
she at one point described as "god in human form."
Ms Yiannakopoulou was charged with premeditated murder, illegal possession
and use of firearms, and taken to a prosecutor to testify. She is scheduled
to testify on Tuesday, following her request for an extension.
In statements to the press, she appeared confused and said, "I loved the
archimandrite and I still love him. I died along with him the moment I shot
him. But I had to protect his honour and that of my family".
American climber rescued off Mount Olympus
Mountain rescue workers succeeded in evacuating an American national from a
Mount Olympus shelter late yesterday, after strong wings and fog hampered
two attempts by military helicopters to approach the site.
Army personnel carried 32-year-old William Sheen overland down the mountain
on a stretcher and from there by ambulance to an Athens hospital, where he
reported in a relatively good condition.
According to reports, Mr. Sheen, who suffers from sickle-cell anemia, had
been tended by a doctor while waiting for evacuation at the shelter,
located at an altitude of 2,100 metres.
Greek suspension bridge gets Dr 115 bln EIB loan
A French-Greek consortium that won construction and operation of a
suspension bridge in western Greece yesterday signed a contract with the
European Investment Bank (EIB) for a loan of 115 billion drachmas.
The loan, which is guaranteed by the Greek state, covers around 50 percent
of the project's 226 billion drachma budget.
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou told the signing ceremony
that the project, due for completion in 2005, was the key to development in
The winning "Yefyra" consortium, which will operate and maintain the bridge
for 42 years, comprises engineering contractors GTM-Entrepose SA of France
with a 55 percent stake, and Greek engineering contractors who hold the
remaining 45 percent.
The bridge will have two traffic lanes in each direction, and the state has
undertaken to build access roads to the country's main highway network.
Around four million vehicles annually are expected to use the bridge.
The project will create 3,000 jobs, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis
Greek telecom seen awarding Dr 70 bln digital deal next week
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) is expected to award a
contract next week to Intracom and Siemens, its traditional suppliers, for
procurement of 1.366 million digital switches worth 70 billion drachmas,
OTE sources said.
The state-run firm's board postponed the first of three meetings to debate
the deal in order to gain more time to prepare its recommendations.
Meetings are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday next week.
OTE is expected to order 1.366 million switches, opting for the mid-point
of a 600,000-1,800,000 range still being discussed, the sources said.
The digital supplies are part of a fast track investment programme for 1997-
1998 worth 135 billion drachmas.
OTE board members are expected to make the following recommendations at
next week's meetings:
Direct award of the digital switches deal to Intracom and Siemens to
bypass new long-term contracts or an international tender, both of which
would be time-consuming
Direct award to Intracom and Siemens of a contract for installation of a
network risk and fault management system
Tender between Intracom and Siemens to provide network supplies
OTE president Dimitris Papoulias has informed Prime Minister Costas Simitis
of progress in the firm's investment plan and fresh needs that have
Greek rail subsidiary to manage Dr 500 bln in projects
Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) in August is expected to transfer the
design and implementation of projects worth 500 billion drachmas to Ergose,
a newly created subsidiary.
State-owned OSE will keep control of projects in the final phase of
OSE is also due to hand over new projects and materials procurements to
Ergose by the end of 1997.
Greek equities end sharply up, pierce resistance
Greek stocks yesterday ended sharply higher led by banks, piercing
resistance at 1,600 points after struggling to retake the key level for
nine straight sessions.
The Athens general share index finished 2.05 percent higher at 1,601.39
points, outperforming the parallel market for smaller cap stocks which rose
0.96 percent. The bourse gained 4.18 percent on the previous week.
Trade was moderate to active with turnover jumping to 15.3 billion
National Bank of Greece gained 1,685 drachmas to close at 37,810 drachmas,
propelled by a robust 94 percent rise in first-half net profit to 33
billion drachmas from 17 billion a year earlier.
Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 2.91 percent, Leasing 0.43
percent, Insurance 2.48 percent, Industrials 2.17 percent, Holding 1.57
percent, and Miscellaneous 2.02 percent. Bucking the trend were Investment,
which lost 0.02 percent and Const ruction, down 0.01 percent.
Advances led declines at 126 to 67 with 37 shares remaining unchanged of
230 stocks traded.
The day's highest percentage gainers were Agrinio Metals and Plastics,
Hellenic Investment Bank for Industrial Development (preferred), Benroubi
(preferred) and Keranis (common).
The biggest losers were Evropaiki Pisti (preferred), Sato (preferred),
Kekrops and Macedonian Textiles (common). Among blue chips, National Bank
of Greece finished at 37,810 drachmas, Ergobank at 17,500, Alpha Credit
Bank at 20,125, Delta Dairies (commo n) at 3,470, Hellenic Bottling at 10,
250, Titan (common) at 14,990,
Intracom (common) at 13,190, and Aluminium de Grece (common) at 18,295
Greek industrial output drops 3 pct in May yr/yr
Greek industrial production slumped three percent in May against the same
month in 1996, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday.
Industrial output in January-May held steady, NSS said.
Current account deficit drops in April
Greece's current account deficit for April dropped 3.1 per cent to US$660
million from $681 million in the same month of 1996, showing an improvement
for the second straight month, the Bank of Greece said yesterday.The
January-April deficit jumped 21.3 pe r cent to $2.28 billion from $1.88
billion a year earlier, the central bank announced.
Most parts of the country can expect cloudy weather and scattered showers
with storms, especially in central and northern Greece. The cloud is
expected to lift gradually, remaining only in the north. Winds are
northwesterly, moderate to strong. Athens will be cloudy and possibly rainy,
with temperatures ranging from 22-32 centigrade. Cloud is also forecast for
Thessaloniki with temperatures ranging between 20-27 centigrade.
Friday 's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.307
Pound sterling 473.581 Cyprus pd 530.323
French franc 45.995 Swiss franc 187.776
German mark 155.030 Italian lira (100) 15.933
Yen (100) 244.726 Canadian dlr. 205.721
Australian dlr. 210.403 Irish Punt 415.747
Belgian franc 7.505 Finnish mark 52.189
Dutch guilder 137.640 Danish kr. 40.718
Swedish kr. 35.924 Norwegian kr. 37.527
Austrian sch. 22.036 Spanish peseta 1.839
Port. Escudo 1.534