Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-07-30
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 30/07/1997 (ANA)
- Phantom modernisation tender awarded to Germany's DASA
- Present conjuncture requires implementation of armaments programme
- Greenpeace taking fresh initiatives on renewable energy sources
- All restrictions on foreign exchange abolished
- Pilot of crashed Mirage found dead
- Pangalos to head delegation of ministers to Tirana
- Meeting examines European Commission's 'Agenda 2000' proposals
- Record 199 countries to take part in World Athletics Championships
- Taxi drivers threaten lawsuits against Athens '97 organisers
- Kaklamanakis sails off into the Aegean
- Government aims at lowering indirect tax
- Dollar's jump drives up Greek fuel price, no other impact seen
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Phantom modernisation tender awarded to Germany's DASA
The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) today
officially awarded an 87 billion drachma tender for the modernisation of 39
Hellenic Air Force F-4 Phantom jets to the German company DASA.
The German firm was awarded the tender after three competitions held since
last November and the cancellation of a previous competition for the same
DASA's bid was 8 billion drachmas less than that of the American bidder for
the tender, while the contract to be signed will also provide for offset
The Phantom jets will be modernised in cooperation with the Hellenic
Aerospace Industry (EAB). Specifically, EAB will undertake the modernisation
of the aircraft's skeleton at a cost of 5.5 billion drachmas, while DASA
will upgrade the jets' electronic components.
The average cost of modernisation per aircraft is 8 million dollars,
compared to 11 million dollars which Turkey recently agreed.
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos described the deal as ''very
satisfactory'', saying the contract would provide a solution to a
At the same meeting today, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, KYSEA
approved the country's new defence doctrine which continues to view the
main threat as coming from the east and stresses the importance of a
flexible response capability in order for Greece's policy of deterrence to
The council also approved the new structure of the armed forces which
provides for the conversion of large military formations into smaller, more
flexible and mobile units.
Present conjuncture requires implementation of armaments programme
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the present conjuncture
requires the implementation of the armaments programme now so as to achieve
both the further strengthening of the armed forces and the upgrading of the
country's special weight in the international environment to enable it to
assume necessary initiatives for security and stability in the region.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos observed that the creation of the General Armaments
Department, which has the responsibility of implementing the armaments
programme, provides general staffs with the possibility of occupying
themselves exclusively with their operational task.
Mr. Sbokos referred to the targets of the General Armaments Department,
stressing that it will be based on the timely implementation of the
programme, transparency, quality and economy.
He reiterated the decision taken by the National Defence Ministry's
political leadership to have the participation of the local industry in the
armaments programme increased by 15 percent.
Tsohatzopoulos said later that Greece's new armaments programme would be
inviting bids by the end of 1998, after all preliminary procedures had been
He made the statements after briefing the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and
National Defence Committee on changes being considered in defence structure
and progress on the armaments programme.
Greenpeace taking fresh initiatives on renewable energy sources
The Greek branch of the environmental organisation "Greenpeace" said today
it was taking fresh initiatives to promote renewable sources of energy at a
national and European Union level.
At the same time, it called on investors in Greece and abroad to submit
proposals within the framework of the Development Ministry's Operational
Energy Programme (OEP) in order to take advantage of recently announced
"Greenpeace has already briefed over 70 investors in Greece and abroad
about the two new phases of the OEP which concern energy conservation
measures and the development of environment-friendly sources of energy,"
the director of Greenpeace's branch in Greece, Stelios Psomas, told a press
In view of the White Paper on renewable forms of energy being prepared by
the EU, Psomas said, Greenpeace had proposed to the Energy Commissioner,
Greece's Christos Papoutsis, that Community legislation should be adapted
in order to facilitate the "penetration" of "clean" energy.
In particular, Greenpeace proposed that private interests should be allowed
to generate electricity from renewable sources of energy, and power
companies should be compelled to buy the "clean" electricity at reasonable
"Greenpeace welcomes the new initiatives of the Development Ministry,"
Psomas said, referring to the second phase of the OEP at a total estimated
cost of 73 billion drachmas (50 billion for energy conservation and 23
billion for renewable sources of energy) and a separate programme for small-
and medium-size enterprises with a budget of 16 billion drachmas.
The environmental organisation however criticised the Public Power
Corporation (DEH), charging that it was discouraging efforts for the
creation of subsidiary companies for the promotion of renewable sources of
energy, "remaining fixed to old-fashioned notions which view these sources
as technologically immature".
All restrictions on foreign exchange abolished
All restrictions concerning foreign exchange will be abolished as of August
1 and will be free for all Greeks from now on.
According to two decisions publicised by the Bank of Greece yesterday, as
of Friday all people in Greece will be able to purchase as much exchange as
they like without restrictions, deposit their exchange without having to
explain how it came into their possession, convert their deposits from
drachmas into whatever currency they desire and vice-versa and take as much
foreign exchange as they wish when travelling abroad.
On the basis of these decisions, anybody will be able to open an exchange
account at whatever bank operating in Greece and feed this account with
exchange (banknotes or cheques) coming from either abroad (import) or
inside the country (the product of a transaction or purchase in drachmas),
withdraw from the account amounts of money either in drachmas or exchange,
make payments in Greece through his account for current transactions in
drachmas or exchange with payment orders and transfer capital abroad w ith
payment orders or by issuing a bank cheque.
In the two last cases, namely payments and capital export, certain
formalities are necessary.
Pilot of crashed Mirage found dead
Search teams yesterday found the remains of the pilot whose Hellenic Air
Force Mirage-2000 jet fighter crashed into the sea northeast of the island
The pilot, Lt. Ioakeim Pantelakis, was on an interception training flight
when his aircraft crashed Monday morning for reasons which remain
His funeral will take place today in Halkida.
Pangalos to head delegation of ministers to Tirana
A delegation of ministers headed by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos
will visit Tirana next Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas
announced yesterday. The delegation includes Public Order Minister George
Meeting examines European Commission's 'Agenda 2000' proposals
The Coordinating Inter-Ministerial body convened at the Zappeion Mansion
yesterday to examine the Agenda 2000 (proposals by the European Commission
on the future development and enlargement of the European Union).
Speaking to reporters shortly before the meeting got underway, Alternate
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said negotiations will be tough and the
future of the EU and Greece will depend on them.
Mr. Papandreou also referred to the Greek position in favour of a
simultaneous start to accession negotiations for the 11 candidate
National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas said that the utilisation
of EU funds will depend on the country's effort, adding that Greece remains
in the Cohesion Fund and in Target 1 for the Structural Funds.
EU funds amounting to 275 billion Ecu are anticipated until the year 2006
(on the basis of proposals made by the Commission) in the framework of the
Agenda 2000, compared to 200 billion Ecu over the 1993-1999 period.
Negotiations on the Agenda 2000 will dominate the coming period, heightening
with the summit conference in Luxembourg in December, since the cost of the
EU's new enlargement will now be scrutinised, as well as the new fiscal
prospects until the year 2006.
Record 199 countries to take part in World Athletics Championships
A participation record has been broken in the 6th World Athletics (IAAF)
Championships, starting in Athens' Olympic Stadium this Friday, as the
participating countries have risen to 199.
In the Atlanta Olympics the countries which took part in the track and
field races had numbered 197, while in the previous World Athletics
Championships (5th), in Gotteburg, there were 191 participating countries.
The International Amateur Athletics Association (IAAF) celebrated its 85th
anniversary with a grand opening of its congress at the Herod Atticus
theatre last night.
IAAF president Primo Nebiolo, in Athens to attend the games opening on
Friday, presented prizes to veteran Olympic winners attending the event
like Alberto Juantorena from Cuba, Yolanda Balanc from Romania and Valery
Borzov, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Taxi drivers threaten lawsuits against Athens '97 organisers
Athens taxi-cab owners today threatened the organisers of the 6th World
Athletics Championships, which opens in Athens on Friday, with lawsuits for
setting up a joint venture with a private car hire company.
Representatives of SATA, the cab owners' trade union organisation, claimed
at a press conference today that the joint venture set up by the organisers
- "World Athletics Championships - Athens '97" - and the private company
The purpose of the joint venture is reportedly to provide private vehicles
for the transportation of athletes and officials during the championships
which will end on August 10.
SATA clarified however that it would not organise any labour action since
the courts would provide the solution to their grievance.
Kaklamanakis sails off into the Aegean
Olympic windsurfing gold medallist Nikos Kaklamanakis will be escorted by
the frigate "Spetsae" as he sails off from Sounion to Crete on his
windsurfing board this morning.
Mr. Kaklamanakis is promoting sea tourism and Athens' bid for the 2004
Olympic Games by sailing to Crete with an intermediate stop at Santorini.
He will set off at 11:30 today for the 120 nautical mile trip to Santorini,
where he will spend the night before setting off tomorrow on the remaining
80-mile leg to Karteros beach, near Iraklion.
Government aims at lowering indirect tax
The government is considering reducing the prices of heating fuel, as well
as road toll fees and tickets for public spectacles, such as theatre,
cinema, sports etc.
The move, decided during yesterday's meeting of economic officials at the
Finance Ministry, is aimed at lowering indirect tax, which will in turn
contribute to lowering the inflation rate.
The government is preparing a series of measures, to be taken now and until
October, aimed at retaining prices mainly in fuel and food. Some of them
will relate to collecting tax revenue.
Yesterday's meeting was sparked by the sky rocketing price of the dollar.
It was decided that relevant authorities be on the alert and monitor
developments relating to the American dollarYs exchange rate.
Dollar's jump drives up Greek fuel price, no other impact seen
The government said yesterday the US dollar's steep rise against the
drachma had driven up fuel prices but so far left the rest of the economy
Monetary and government authorities were keeping close track of the
dollar's ascent and any impact it might have on the market, government
spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters.
The dollar lost 0.44 percent against the drachma on Tuesday in a technical
correction to a weeklong meteoric rise on the domestic market, reflecting
the US currency's jump on world markets.
The greenback finished at 287.14 drachmas from 288.40 at the central bank's
daily fix, reversing five straight rising sessions and as many new all-time
highs against the national currency.
On Monday the US currency had gained 2.27 percent on the drachma in a week,
and 16.5 percent from the beginning of 1997.
Commercial banks will sell the dollar at 291.447 drachmas on Wednesday.
Sporadic showers over mainland regions are expected in the afternoon today.
The rest of the country will have light cloud, with possibility of
termporary rain over the Ionian Sea. Winds will be northerly, mostly
moderate, but becoming very strong locally in the Aegean in the afternoon.
Athens will be cloudy with possible local rainfall in the north and
temperatures of 22-33 C. The same for Thessaloniki, with temperatures 20-31
Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 284.843
Pound sterling 464.911 Cyprus pd 529.391
French franc 46.017 Swiss franc 187.855
German mark 155.198 Italian lira (100) 15.926
Yen (100) 242.236 Canadian dlr. 205.701
Australian dlr. 210.264 Irish Punt 415.112
Belgian franc 7.517 Finnish mark 52.453
Dutch guilder 137.724 Danish kr. 40.765
Swedish kr. 35.914 Norwegian kr. 37.492
Austrian sch. 22.055 Spanish peseta 1.840
Port. Escudo 1.537