NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece, Cyprus say Turkey must stand by Eurocourt ruling
Athens and Nicosia said yesterday that Ankara was obliged to abide by a
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision ordering Turkey to pay about
US$640,000 to a Greek Cypriot refugee denied access to her property in
Turkish-occupied Kyrenia since the 1 974 invasion of the island republic.
In a statement issued Thursday, the Turkish foreign ministry claimed that
Ankara does not exercise "public authority" in the illegal state, namely,
the areas of Cyprus that Turkish troops have occupied since 1974.
In its ruling on Tuesday, the European Court awarded Titina Loizidou
compensation for prevention of enjoyment of her property in the Turkish-
occupied coastal town. She is also entitled to moral damages and legal
costs. The ruling also does not mean any change in ownership rights for Ms
The illegal entity, unilaterally declared in the occupied areas of Cyprus
in 1983, is recognised only by Turkey, while the UN has called on all
states not to facilitate it in any way.
In Athens, the Greek foreign ministry said that Turkey would place itself
outside the European Charter for Human Rights and as a result out of the
Council of Europe and the European scene if it refused to abide by the
European Court's decision.
Cabinet approves measures to overhaul social insurance
The cabinet yesterday endorsed measures that form part of an overhaul of
the country's debt-ridden social insurance system whose next phase is due
to begin in the autumn.
Labour and Social Insurance Minister Miltiades Papaioannou told reporters
that the initial moves approved today, dubbed the small package of measures,
took into account the outcome of months of consultations with employers and
A new round of talks is expected to begin after the summer in order to
forge the large package of measures, which is to tackle the contentious
issues of social insurance contributions and eligibility for pensions.
"We will proceed at a brisk pace," Mr. Papaioannou said.
The restructuring of the social insurance system is to be drafted as a bill
that will be tabled in parliament for debate and a vote.
The bill will also contain measures to allow the investment of cash by
health and pension funds, a move that will benefit financial markets.
The government's economic leadership, including the central bank governor,
are due to meet in coming days to debate provisions that will enable the
funds to show healthy returns on investments.
Finally, the bill will also contain an innovation for the country - social
insurance for prostitutes.
"Our target is to go ahead with these structural changes as soon as
possible," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters after the
The key points of the small package of measures are as follows:
Mergers involving more than 60 health and pension funds, including the
Modernising operations, including extending computerisation
Creating a watchdog for spending on health
- Extending checks for evasion in the payment of contributions to all
funds. The checks are currently only used for the Social Insurance
Foundation, the main state health and pension fund
Applying disincentives to employment by pensioners
Allowing males the right to receive their spouse's pension on her death.
Currently only the converse applies.
Gov't distances itself from Turkish official's visit
The prefect of Edirne began a three-day visit to Greece yesterday and will
visit Rodopi prefecture at the invitation of his counterpart.
Turkish prefect Mehmet Canseven is accompanied by the mayor of Edirne,
Hamdi Sedefci, and the presidents of the city's chambers.
Commenting on his visit, Mr. Canseven said that the prefect of Rodopi,
Stergios Stavropoulos, had visited Edirne last October.
"There are plans for the development of cooperation on social, economic and
cultural issues," he noted.
In a related development, the foreign ministry's information department
announced yesterday that the "visit to Komotini by the prefect of Edirne
was settled directly between the prefectures of Rodopi and Edirne. The
foreign ministry of Greece had no involvement."
"We believe that for the exchange of visits between elected officials, the
time of the visit must be chosen carefully and must be preceded by adequate
preparation in cooperation with the foreign ministry,' it was added.
The announcement went on to say that "the prefect of Edirne is not an
elected local administration leader but an appointed senior employee of the
Turkish state. Visits by Turkish senior officials do not add anything to
contacts between local administration officials nor to rapprochement
between local societies".
Acropolis Museum re-opens
The Acropolis Museum has opened its doors again after improvements. The
museum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but on Mondays it will be open
to the public from 12 noon to 8 p.m.
Four domestic banks bid for Bank of Central Greece in bourse tender
Four domestic banks bid in a privatisation tender for Bank of Central
Greece through the bourse yesterday with Egnatia Bank leading the pack at
17.3 billion drachmas, market sources told the Athens News Agency.
Ranking second was Aspis Bank with a bid of 16.1 billion drachmas, followed
by Bank of Attica at 15.3 billion drachmas, and General Bank at 9.0 billion
drachmas, the sources said.
For sale were 51 percent of the bank's common shares and 20.01 percent of
its preferred shares held by its parent company, Agricultural Bank of
A formal announcement of the winner of the tender, whose bids were opened
at the Athens Stock Exchange, is expected in the first week of August.
An evaluating committee will also take into account business plans
submitted by the bidders.
The sale is part of the government's wide-ranging plan to privatise state
companies and banks in order to tighten up the public sector ahead of
Greece's entry into European economic and monetary union, expected by
January 1, 2001.
A recent bourse tender for listed Hellenic Duty Free Shops SA was called
off after the government complained that the bids were unsatisfactory. A
second tender is likely to be held in the autumn.
Greek stocks rise again, buoyed by bank privatisation
Greek equities finished higher for the second straight session yesterday in
moderate to active trade, apparently discounting the privatisation of Bank
of Central Greece, which was tendered through the bourse on the same
The Athens general share index ended 1.44 percent higher to end at 2,797.41
points. Turnover rose sharply to 61.8 billion drachmas from 49.4 billion
drachmas in the previous session.
Sector indices mostly finished higher. Banking gained 1.22 percent, Leasing
surged 3.60 percent, Insurance rose 1.01 percent, Investment jumped 2.10
percent, Industrials increased 2.01 percent, Construction slipped 0.20
percent, Holding edged up 0.65 pe rcent, and Miscellaneous crept down 0.17
The parallel market index for small cap companies finished 0.31 percent
Of 262 stocks traded, advances led declines at 140 to 95 with 27 shares
Finance ministry to hold T-bill auction on Tuesday
The finance ministry will auction six-month T-bills in electronic form on
Tuesday through the market's primary dealers with an issue and settlement
date on August 7.
The ministry said in a statement yesterday that the amount of T-bills to be
sold in the multiple price auction is 50 billion drachmas, and the
commission is 0.25 percent.
The ministry will also accept non-competitive bids from primary and non-
primary dealers to cover up to 20 percent of the total on offer.
AIDS dental clinic in Red Cross building faces shutdown
The only dental clinic in Greece for HIV-infected people is facing closure
following a Greek Red Cross decision to reclaim the property.
The clinic, run by the Special Epidemics Control Centre for the past three
years, has been housed in a building belonging to the Greek Red Cross,
which has now declined to renew an initial agreement for use of the
property. The lease expired in mid-June.
During a press conference, a representative of non-governmental AIDS groups
said the refusal by the Red Cross was "surprising".
The Red Cross maintains that the clinic had been given time to find another
In the past five months the clinic has treated more than 1,000 patients.
Greece, Lithuania, Yugoslavia into round 2 of WorldBasket '98
Greece took first place in its group with a third win in a row yesterday
over Senegal, 68-57, during the ongoing WorldBasket '98 championship in
Lithuania also scored its third win in as many days by overcoming Brazil 66-
62, following their high-profile victory over a non-NBA United States on
The US team reached the second round of the championships after an easy 88-
62 victory over South Korea. Russia came from behind, losing 34-41 at half-
time, to beat Puerto Rico 86-73, while the other favourite to win the title,
Yugoslavia, thrashed Japa n 99-54.
Italy also qualified to the second round by beating Canada 79-69 while
Australia with a difficult victory over Nigeria 70-64 secured its place in
the second round.
Finally, Spain edged Argentina 68-67 in overtime.
Hot, sunny weather is forecast throughout the country with light to
moderate winds turning strong in parts of the Aegean. Temperatures in
Athens ranging from 27C to 37C, and in Thessaloniki from 24C to 36C.
Friday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 293.979
British pound 481.001 Japanese yen (100) 203.548
French franc 49.213 German mark 164.989
Italian lira (100) 16.746 Irish Punt 415.469
Belgian franc 8.004 Finnish mark 54.322
Dutch guilder 146.360 Danish kr. 43.362
Austrian sch. 23.466 Spanish peseta 1.944
Swedish kr. 37.041 Norwegian kr. 38.896
Swiss franc 196.644 Port. Escudo 1.611
Aus. dollar 178.143 Can. dollar 195.484
Cyprus pound 561.472