Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-09-02
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 02/09/1997 (ANA)
- Government view of allegations of Olympiad irregularities
- Greece satisfied with Poos' comments on Cyprus issue
- Meeting on the economy
- New transport minister sworn in
- French military chief visiting
- Defence Minister visiting Britain
- Decree to abolish Greek language provision for EU foreign teachers
- Foreign Ministry info bulletin on Amsterdam summit
- IOC official downplays bomb attack on Greek Committee offices
- PM to make 1998 policy speech on Friday
- Wary Greek stocks edge up ahead of PM's 1998 policy speech
- Greek bourse takes wait-and-see attitude
- Xiosbank basic lending rate unchanged
- One-year Treasury bill issue today
- Stock re-purchases by two steelmakers
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Government view of allegations of Olympiad irregularities
The government said today that any allegations of irregularities in the
bidding process for the 2004 Olympic Games should be substantiated.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas was commenting on allegations by
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice-President Marc Hodler that rules
had been broken regarding the bidding for the 2004 Games.
Mr. Hodler told the German Press Agency DPA there had been incidents in the
past three weeks which were "pretty rough". The Swiss however, who are
responsible for the bidding rules in the IOC, declined to give further
The IOC is scheduled to decide in Lausanne on Friday which of the five
candidate cities will host the 2004 Olympic Games.
In the running are Athens, Rome, Cape Town, Buenos Aires and Stockholm.
Replying to reporters' questions on the contract which Athens must sign if
it is chosen to stage the Games, Mr. Reppas said it had become "the subject
of study by scientists".
He said however that it was not the right time to talk about such matters
in view of the IOC's decision on Friday.
The spokesman added that "everything else will be discussed on the basis of
the high level of organisation (of the Games) and the safeguarding of the
Greece satisfied with Poos' comments on Cyprus issue
Greece is fully satisfied with the statements by Luxembourg Foreign
Minister Jacques Poos in Ankara, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said
Mr. Poos said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem that the
improvement of Ankara's relations with Greece and the facilitation of
negotiations on Cyprus' accession to the European Union were prerequisites
for Turkey to improve its relations with the EU.
Luxembourg currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
"The EU member states believe that if Turkey truly wants full membership in
the EU, why shouldn't it encourage Cyprus' negotiations, even before it
becomes a member itself?," Mr. Poos said.
Asked by journalists meanwhile about reports that soldiers from the British
bases on Cyprus were visiting the Turkish-occupied north of the island
using papers declaring "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", Mr. Reppas
said the government knew nothing of the matter.
He stressed however that all the EU countries recognised the Cyprus
Republic and the government of President Glafcos Clerides as the legitimate
government of Cyprus.
"Such matters have no bearing on developments. What is important are
official relations," Mr Reppas said commenting on the reports.
Meeting on the economy
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou today chaired a
meeting on the revenues and expenditures of the 1997 state budget.
The meeting was attended by finance undersecretaries George Drys and Nikos
The focus of the meeting was the course of revenues and expenditures up to
now and the relevant forecasts up to the end of the year.
Also discussed were matters concerning the magnitudes of the new budget for
1998 which will be finalised in the next two months.
New transport minister sworn in
Tassos Mantelis was sworn in as the government's new transport and
communications minister in the presence of President of the Republic Kostis
Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis this morning.
Also taking the oath was Stavros Benos, who replaces Mantelis as undersecretary
at the interior, public administration and decentralisation ministry.
Mr. Mantelis was given the transport and communications portfolio by
Simitis on Monday, after he accepted Haris Kastanidis' resignation.
Mr. Kastanidis tendered his resignation on Saturday after claiming his work
was being undermined.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that Kastandis had freely
tendered his resignation, stressing that he had not been asked to do
Replying to questions, Mr. Reppas said the prime minister had confidence in
all his ministers, "as he had in Mr. Kastanidis".
Asked whether the government was concerned that other ministers might wish
to resign, Mr. Reppas said the sole concern of the government were the
problems which existed and which it wanted to tackle.
On the appointment of Mr. Mantelis, the spokesman said that he had held the
post of general secretary at the industry ministry and president of the
Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), noting that "he meets all
the requirements for the selection".
French military chief visting
France's Chief of Army General Staff General (Air) Jean-Philippe Douin
begins an official three-day visit to Greece tomorrow on the invitation of
his Greek counterpart Athanasios Tzoganis.
According to an announcement from the National Defence General Staff, Gen.
Douin will meet with the political and military leadership of the national
defence ministry and will be briefed on issues of mutual concern.
He is also scheduled to visit military bases and installations.
Defence Minister visiting Britain
Greece's National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will discuss the
Cyprus issue, Greece's relations with Ankara and the prospect of Greek-
British cooperation in armaments during his talks today and tomorrow with
his British counterpart George Robertson in London.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos is also scheduled to meet with British chief of staff
Charles Garthy and visit defence industries as well as meet with members of
Britain's Greek community and the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Great
Decree to abolish Greek language provision for EU foreign teachers
An education ministry draft presidential decree is expected to open the
door to European Union citizens allowing them to operate, direct or teach
at private foreign language schools.
The draft presidential decree allows for simple knowledge and ability to
use the Greek language in oder to be given permission to work and open
private foreign language schools in the country. Private lessons are also
Up to now, Greek law required full knowedge of the Greek language for
foreign language teachers to legally work in Greece.
Foreign Ministry info bulletin on Amsterdam Summit
The foreign ministry has issued an information bulletin on the results of
the EU Amsterdam summit, with a prologue by Alternate Foreign Minister
Summing up the assessment of aims and pursuits of the Greek positions, Mr.
Papandreou refers to "the promotion of our positions for the Common
External and Security Policy, including a reference to the existence of
external borders of the Union, support to the islands, the promotion of new
provisions for a coordinated policy in the employment sector, the fight
against unemployment and social exclusion, the strengthening of provisions
regarding social rights, and strengthening the role and the activities of
the European Parliament."
Mr. Papandreou stresses that in the second half of 1997, Greece must defend
its positions in the forthcoming changes in the EU, particularly on the
issues concerning its participation in the third phase of Economic and
Monetary Union, its active partici pation in the enlargement process, and
monitoring and intervening in the Common Agricultural Policy.
Information on EU issues may be obtained from the following Internet
Foreing Ministry, http://www.mfa.gr
General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad, http://www.mfa.gr/ggae
Alternate Foreign Minister, http://www.mfa.gr/gpap.
IOC official downplays bomb attack on Greek Committee offices
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Director General Francois Carrare has
described acts such as the minor bomb attack outside the offices of the
Greek Olympic Committee on Sunday night as "coming from madmen".
"...All these attacks are made by mad people, who wish to pass on mad
messages and do not express the opposition," he said during yesterday's IOC
press briefing at the Chateau de Vidy in Lausanne.
" I do not know what each IOC member will do and to what extent it will be
influenced by these terrorist acts. Some may be influenced, some may choose
to ignore the incident, some may support the cities where these incidents
occurred, wishing to prove they are not influenced by such situations," he
The shadowy urban terrorist group "Anti-Power Struggle" early yesterday
claimed responsibility for the explosion late on Sunday night outside the
headquarters of the Greek Olympic Committee in the central Athens district
The explosion caused a small fire which was quickly extinguished. It caused
minor, damage but no injuries.
The IOC members who will vote for the 2004 host city on Friday have been
reduced by two, bringing the total to 109 out of 111.
The 78-strong Athens delegation will be the smallest among the five
PM to make 1998 policy speech on Friday
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will open the annual Thessaloniki International
Trade Fair on Friday with a speech outlining his government's economic
policy for 1998 on Saturday evening.
The trade fair, whose opening is the traditional venue each year for
governments to announce policy before drafting the state budget, has
attracted individual companies and trade delegations from countries
A strong showing is expected at this year's September 6-15 fair by
countries from central and eastern Europe and the Middle East.
According to the organisers, the largest delegations from the region are
expected from Israel, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Romania and Federal Yugoslavia.
Greek engineering contractors, representing a rapidly expanding sector of
the economy, will for the first time take part as a group.
Wary Greek stocks edge up ahead of PM's 1998 policy speech
Greek equities ended moderately higher in cautious trading on the Athens
Stock Exchange yesterday with investors remaining on the sidelines at the
start of a crucial week for the market.
Traders said a decision by the International Olympic Committee on September
5 on whether Athens would host the 2004 Olympic Games was one factor
On the same day, the prime minister was due to make a speech on the
socialist government's fiscal and incomes policy for 1998 at the Thessaloniki
International Trade Fair, news crucial to the future of the Greek
The general index closed 0.77 percent higher at 1,529.27 points after
losing 1.64 percent early in the session.
Sector indices were mostly higher. Banks rose 1.22 percent, Leasing fell
0.33 percent, Insurance ended 0.26 percent up, Investment increased 0.35
percent, Industrials rose 0.91 percent, Construction was 0.05 percent
higher, Holding jumped 2.75 percent a nd Miscellaneous fell 0.36 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies eased by 0.09 percent.
Trading was moderate and turnover was 9.9 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 109 to 78 with another 22 issues
Athinea, Xylemporia, Kreka and Levenderis scored the biggest percentage
gains, while European Trust, Daring, Eskimo and Maxim suffered the heaviest
losses of the day.
National Bank of Greece ended at 33,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 16,930, Alpha
Credit Bank at 18,750, Delta Dairy at 3,930, Titan Cement at 14,450,
Intracom at 11,800 and OTE at 6,250.
In the domestic foreign exchange market the US dollar rose substantially
against the drachma, while the DMark was fractionally lower.
Greek bourse takes wait-and-see attitude
A drop in stock prices and a decline in trading volume were the main
features in August on the Athens Stock Exchange compared with the previous
month, according to a monthly market bulletin by Ionian Bank.
The Ionian Bank's composite index for the market fell by 5.01 percent in
the month, while the volume of trading shrank to 204.257 million drachmas
from 278.248 million in July, a drop of 26.59 percent.
The bank said that the Athens bourse had adopted a wait-and-see attitude, a
stance limiting price movements. Its composite index moved in a 55-point
range during the month.
Economic policy developments, a spectacular rise in the US dollar's parity
against the drachma and a decision on whether Athens will host the 2004
Olympic Games were the main cautionary forces in the market.
Xiosbank basic lending rate unchanged
Xiosbank has granted 5,300 housing loans since its founding totalling 23
billion drachmas, a bank statement said yesterday.
The bank's basic lending rate for firms will remain unchanged this week at
17.50 per cent, while the Xios Alma deposit account rate will also remain
unchanged at an annualised 9.92 per cent, with monthly payment of
One-year Treasury bill issue today
The finance ministry today will issue a new series of one-year treasury
bills, bearing a 9.50 per cent interest rate, with a 7.5 per cent tax on
Treasury bills are freely transferrable and can be purchased either in
drachmas or foreign currencies.
They will only be available today through the Bank of Greece or commercial
Stock re-purchases by two steelmakers
Two steelmakers, Viohalko and Halkor, decided to purchase 10 per cent of
their own shares from the Athens Stock Exchange. The move is in accordance
with current legislation and was taken at the two companies' general
Viohalko will buy more than 2.8 million shares at a ceiling price of 6,350
drachmas each. Halkor shares will be purchased at a ceiling price of 2,680
drachmas each and the company will buy almost 2.8 million shares.
Fine weather throughout the country today with some local cloudiness in
Thrace and central Macedonia and the northern regions. Winds northerly
light to moderate turning strong in the Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny
with temperatures ranging from 20-30C. Same in Thessaloniki with a few
clouds in the afternoon and temperatures between 19-28C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 283.226
Pound sterling 455.606 Cyprus pd 530.224
French franc 46.352 Swiss franc 189.566
German mark 156.012 Italian lira (100) 15.990
Yen (100) 234.479 Canadian dlr. 203.896
Australian dlr. 207.011 Irish Punt 420.112
Belgian franc 7.557 Finnish mark 51.832
Dutch guilder 138.523 Danish kr. 40.970
Swedish kr. 35.821 Norwegian kr. 37.686
Austrian sch. 22.170 Spanish peseta 1.850
Port. Escudo 1.543