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Athens News Agency: News in English, 01-11-21

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Iliescu and Stephanopoulos discuss Romania's EU accession prospects
  • [02] Parliament to debate 2002 budget on Dec 17-21
  • [03] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday
  • [04] Weather Forecast: Light cloud on Thursday
  • [05] Greek stocks fall slightly on ASE
  • [06] Greek budget envisages 3.8 pct growth rate in 2002

  • [01] Iliescu and Stephanopoulos discuss Romania's EU accession prospects (ADDS)

    21/11/2001 22:27:08

    Visiting Romanian President Ion Iliescu said his country needed more help from the European Union in order to improve its economy and meet EU accession criteria, after a meeting in Athens with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday.

    Iliescu arrived in Greece on Wednesday morning at the head of a 80-member business delegation for a three-day official visit. He was commenting on a statement by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, who said that all 12 candidate-states had to join the EU, including Romania and Bulgaria.

    Stephanopoulos described Vedrine's statement as "positive" but noted that Romania had lagged behind in the accession process because of the slow growth of its economy.

    He pledged Greece's support but noted that only Romania itself could achieve higher growth rates, while he reiterated Athens' backing for Romania's entry into the EU and NATO.

    The two men also discussed Greek-Romanian bilateral relations and cooperation, especially in the framework of international organisations such as the OSCE, of which Romania is currently president.

    They said their positions on the situation in Yugoslavia were broadly similar and that they had also discussed the fight against crime and bilateral trade relations.

    [02] Parliament to debate 2002 budget on Dec 17-21

    21/11/2001 20:13:15

    A house debate on the government's budget for 2002 will be held on December 17-21, government officials said on Wednesday.

    The budget, the first in euros and last in drachmas, was formally submitted to parliament, with its passage through committee stage due to begin on Tuesday.

    The euro will be introduced as a currency in circulation on January 1.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a cabinet meeting earlier in the day to endorse the new budget that the economy had shown its resilience in a climate of global uncertainty, maintaining a relatively high rate of growth.

    "The most important thing for the success of our policy is the fact that there is a sense of security and certainty around the economy," the government spokesman quoted Simitis as telling his cabinet ministers.

    The economy had been adversely affected by terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, but to a lesser extent than many other countries, the prime minister said.

    "We must lay emphasis on stability, implement the stability pact and our international commitments, and make known the good image of our economy. And the image is good, as shown in OECD forecasts," he added.

    [03] Foreign Exchange Rates - Thursday

    21/11/2001 18:28:16

    Indicative tourist buying rates

    U.S. dollar 384.506

    German mark 172.829

    French franc 051.531

    Pound sterling 545.723

    Irish punt 429.202

    Belgian franc 008.379

    Luxembourg franc 008.379

    Dutch guilder 153.389

    Italian lira (100) 017.457

    Austrian schilling 024.565

    Danish kroner 045.403

    Swedish kroner 035.928

    Finnish mark 056.852

    Spanish peseta 002.032

    Portuguese escudo 001.686

    Japanese yen (100) 312.930

    Swiss franc 231.944

    Norwegian kroner 042.820

    Cyprus pound 589.757

    Canadian dollar 240.557

    Australian dollar 199.047

    [04] Weather Forecast: Light cloud on Thursday

    21/11/2001 17:56:28

    Light cloud is forecast throughout the country on Thursday. Winds northerly, light to strong, turning gale force in the southeast Aegean but quickly easing off. In the north, temperatures will range from 4C to 13C; in the west from -1C to 18C; and in the rest of the country from 1C to 17C. Mostly sunny in Athens with temperatures from 5C and 16C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 0C to 13C.

    [05] Greek stocks fall slightly on ASE

    21/11/2001 16:47:11

    Equity prices ended Wednesday's session slightly lower on the Athens Stock Exchange as investors continued taking profits in blue chip stocks.

    The general index ended 0.40 percent lower at 2,765.56 points, with turnover an improved 86.78 billion drachmas, or 254.7 million euros.

    The Textile and Wholesale sectors recorded the biggest percentage gains (up 3.01 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively), while the Bank and Telecoms sectors suffered the heaviest losses (1.55 percent and 0.65 percent, respectively).

    National Bank's shares fell another 2.05 percent, while Alpha Bank ended 0.74 percent lower as investors took early profits.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.87 percent lower, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.66 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index jumped 2.05 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 280 to 67 with another 16 issues unchanged.

    [06] Greek budget envisages 3.8 pct growth rate in 2002

    21/11/2001 14:51:10

    Greece's 2002 budget envisages an economic growth rate of 3.8 percent from 4.3 percent in the current year, a rate significantly higher compared with the eurozone average growth rate of 2.1 percent and the EU's average of 2.2 percent.

    The new budget, to be submitted to parliament by Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis Wednesday afternoon, also forecasts an inflation rate of 3.1 percent next year, down from 3.5 percent in 2001 and 2.9 percent in 2000. The inflation rate will be higher from a eurozone's average rate of 1.7 percent and an EU average of 1.8 percent next year.

    The budget also envisages that spending on wages and pensions will be restrained and increased spending in health, welfare and education.

    The incomes policy spending will rise by 6.5 percent in 2002 while spending in pensions will rise by 4.9 percent, reflecting partially an increase in the number of pensioners in Greece.

    Revenue growth is expected to increase by 6.1 percent next year compared with 2001, with revenues from direct taxation estimated to increase by 7.2 percent.

    The state budget also envisages an 11.9 percent increase in spending by the agriculture ministry, an 8.0 percent rise in education ministry spending, a 7.9 percent increase in health-social welfare spending, a 7.5 percent rise in justice ministry spending and a 6.6 percent increase in merchant marine.

    The government plans a 4.0 percent increase in defence budget spending, including the cost of hiring 11,000 professional soldiers.

    The budget envisages a 182.4 percent increase in spending on Olympic Games' works in 2002 compared with the current year, totalling 1.408 billion euros (479.77 billion drachmas), from 498.90 million euros (170 billion drachmas) in 2001.

    The government plans to complete its privatisation programme in the first few months of 2002 with the flotation of Public Power Corporation, the listing of Piraeus Port Organisation on the Athens Stock Exchange, the sale of majority stake in Olympic Airways and ETBAbank, the sale of a 15-30 percent equity stake in Hellenic Petroleum to an energy group and finding a strategic ally for Hellenic Post Office.


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