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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-12-05

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1058), December 5, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Simitis stresses Greece's interest in EU's territorial integrity, external borders
  • [02] Farmers reject Gov't proposals, roadblocks continue
  • [03] Transportation problems mount
  • [04] Dayton accord implementation talks continue in London
  • [05] Evert proposes additional supports for education, culture
  • [06] Gov't Moratorium on military overflights of Cyprus discussed, no decision taken
  • [07] Synaspismos
  • [08] Greece, Bulgaria sign military co-operation agreement
  • [09] Simitis meets with PASOK deputies of Parliament committee
  • [10] AKEL delegation arrives in Athens for contacts with PASOK officials
  • [11] Papazoi to attend European conference on Mediterranean islands' development
  • [12] Legislation to improve national health system unveiled
  • [13] Thrace region reeling from flood damage
  • [14] Athens to host quadrilateral meeting on regional co-operation next month
  • [15] EOT employee groups say state organization mismanaging its assets
  • [16] Port employees threaten to block Piraeus
  • [17] Karatzas says EMU accession imperative for nation's prosperity
  • [18] Gov't submits tax draft bill to Parliament
  • [19] Joint Greek-Turkish business council to meet in Athens
  • [20] Yugoslav trade exhibit opens in Athens
  • [21] Greek economy on the mend, budget discussion hears
  • [22] Environmental organizations put Acheloos diversion project in the dock
  • [23] Police gangland spree killed 13
  • [24] Berlin to host festival of new Greek cinema this month

  • [01] Simitis stresses Greece's interest in EU's territorial integrity, external borders

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday assured his European Union counterparts of Greece's readiness to contribute to the solution of problems concerning other European peoples, but stressed that solidarity, joint action and co-operation were required towards consolidating the 15-member Union's territorial integrity and the building of a new Europe.

    "I wish to stress the importance attributed by Greek public opinion to the need for our joint action and co-operation to be aimed towards the consolidation of security and the safeguarding of the Union's territorial integrity and its external borders," he said in a letter addressed to the leaders of the other 14 member-states in view of the Dublin summit scheduled for Dec. 12-14.

    "In these issues, which are of concern to our country, the European Union must, in the aforementioned spirit, show the necessary sensitivity, but also the solidarity which our people expect... It is necessary for European peoples to realize that tangible steps are being made in the direction of strengthening ties between member-states, as an element interwoven with European integration. The further consolidation of solidarity between states on issues of vital interest to them, the common stand and action on foreign policy concerns must show that the idea of integration is being realized in crucial sectors," he stressed.

    He emphasized the burden of the country's foreign affairs problems on its ability to follow the course towards integration.

    "Unfortunately, Greece is facing great difficulties in responding to certain issues of integration. One of the basic causes of these difficulties is the continuing aggressive behavior of our neighboring country, Turkey, which remains a factor of destabilization in the broader region and threat to Greece's sovereign rights.

    "This situation inescapably affects Greece's positions and options in a series of other issues. For instance, our obligation to adopt a new armaments program, which constitutes an additional annual burden exceeding 1 per cent of GDP on a medium-term basis, renders almost impossible the attainment of Maastricht criteria in time. This same cause affects our positions regarding the Inter-Governmental Conference, e.g., on issues of external policy and defense," the prime minister continued.

    He also stated Greece's support for the enlargement of the Union.

    "Greece wishes to play a prominent role in the deepening and enlargement of the European Union. The Union's enlargement eastwards, and its complementary policies with third countries are firmly linked with stability and peace in the region, with relations of good-neighborliness, with the recognition by the neighboring countries of the principles and values which laid the foundations of the European Union 40 years ago," he said.

    Mr. Simitis stressed that for the same reasons attention must be given to the employment problem, environmental protection, internal security and democracy, as well as equality of member-states in the institutional sector.

    [02] Farmers reject Gov't proposals, roadblocks continue

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Two-hour talks between Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and farmers' representatives yesterday to end week-long protests and barricades on motorways throughout the country collapsed after the representatives rejected the government's proposals.

    At the end of the failed talks, Mr. Tzoumakas said the entire problem arising with the blockades can only be resolved with political initiatives, but he did not specify what the initiatives will be and what they will be aimed at.

    Mr. Tzoumakas once again referred to the 10 proposals budgeted at 136 billion drachmas, adding that the state budget cannot tolerate other expenditures.

    After this development, the farmers' coordinating committee was convening late into the night to plan its next moves.

    Earlier in the day, Mr. Tzoumakas informed the inner cabinet that the cost of demands put to the government by agricultural federations and the federations of democratic agricultural societies of Thessaly amounts to about one trillion drachmas.

    The inner cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, was informed that the total cost of meeting such demands would total 983 billion drachmas and that the figure does not include satisfaction of demands set by farmers in other parts of the country, which will require an additional one trillion drachmas.

    Agriculture ministry services also calculated the losses national coffers would sustain for each product in 1995 if Greece had not been a European Union member. These figures were calculated at 224 billion drachmas for cotton, 111 billion for grain, 130 billion for olive oil, 148 billion for fruit and vegetables, 124 billion for tobacco and 59 billion for sheep and goat milk.

    Among others, farmers' groups are demanding higher produce prices and increased subsidies, favorable debt settlements, cheaper fuel to cut the cost of production and lower prices for fertilizers.

    On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reiterated after the inner cabinet meeting that to give in to all the farmers' demands would cost the state one trillion drachmas.

    He added that there were European Union and legal "commitments and obstacles" which would prevent this as well.

    Mr. Reppas said there was no margin for further concessions from the government, noting that the cost of measures already announced by Mr. Tzoumakas to assist farmers would run into hundreds of billions drachmas.

    In addition, the spokesman added that the government did not regard the farmers as "opponents" and expected them to show "good faith". He left open the possibility, however, of a direct meeting between Mr. Simitis and farmers' representatives, but adding that such meetings could not be held "under the weight of pressure and in the climate currently prevailing because of the roadblocks".

    Mr. Reppas ruled out the possibility of police being used to clear the roadblocks set up by farmers on dozens of highways.

    [03] Transportation problems mount

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Dozens of road junctions on the national and rural road network remain blockaded from Evros to the Peloponnese, while in many regions railway lines have also been blocked.

    In Thessaloniki, movement to and from Macedonia airport was possible only by side-roads after farmers blocked access to the main road.

    Thessaloniki-area merchants at the central food market said foodstuffs would start to dwindle on Sunday if the blockade continued. Citrus fruits, mainly from Crete and the Peloponnese, are already in short supply.

    [04] Dayton accord implementation talks continue in London

    London, 05/12/1996 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Talks focusing on details of implementing the Dayton accord for peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina started at Lancaster House yesterday by placing particular emphasis on political, humanitarian, economic and constitutional issue s as well as on the question of alleged war criminals.

    The conference aims at laying the foundations for a two-year program to implement the Dayton accord.

    Greece is represented at the conference by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who in a statement stressed the importance the conference has for Athens.

    "This conference is of particular importance for Greece because it concerns peace and stability in our region. It also concerns future co-operation between the peoples of southeastern Europe and in this framework Greece wants to play an important role an d is already playing a substantive role, helping processes for building and restoring peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina," he said.

    Replying to a question on Greece's influence on mediating issues in the Balkans, Mr. Papandreou said:

    "...We now have the possibility of playing an important role, we have already mediated in several crises on issues concerning the region of former Yugoslavia, and even today we are discussing and offering our co-operation to the parties involved on issues arising. I would say that it is a continuing effort, a continuing participation and mediation on the part of Greece."

    Issues to be discussed at the conference today are the future economic development and reconstruction of Bosnia, human rights and refugees.

    [05] Evert proposes additional supports for education, culture

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Addressing an event in honor of the several noted arts and letters' personalities at an Athens hotel last night, main opposition New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert presented proposals "on making the country the center of a universal human effort to support and strengthen culture and education on the threshold of the 21st century."

    Mr. Evert said that in the era approaching, the countries which will survive and the peoples who will thrive will be those placing emphasis on their educational and cultural levels, calling for 5 per cent of GDP to be provided immediately for education and 1 per cent of GDP for culture over the next two years. He also proposed the initiation of an Olympic Games for arts and culture, with Greece as their permanent venue.

    Mr. Evert also called on university rectors to brief their colleagues abroad on Greek positions concerning national and historical issues.

    [06] Gov't Moratorium on military overflights of Cyprus discussed, no decision taken

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides have discussed the possibility of a moratorium on military overflights of Cyprus but no decision was reached, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas emphasized yesterday.

    Discussions between Mr. Simitis and Mr. Clerides were held on the sidelines of the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit conference in Lisbon this past week.

    Mr. Reppas said the proposal for a suspension of military flights over the island republic was an older proposal by US State Department official Carey Cavanaugh, which the US diplomat again reiterated in Lisbon.

    The Greek government spokesman reiterated that the responsibility for such a decision lay exclusively with Nicosia, adding that a moratorium could be seen in a positive light as part of a collective proposal on Cyprus.

    In addition, Mr. Reppas said in case a moratorium is enforced, it will not have any effect on the joint defense doctrine agreed to between Greece and Cyprus.

    He also maintained that Washington has not expressed any displeasure over Athens' position on the moratorium issue.

    [07] Synaspismos

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Meanwhile, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday criticized the government's handling of the issue, accusing it of a lack of cohesive strategy to deal with crucial national issues.

    According to Synaspismos, under certain conditions such a moratorium could be "a small step in the direction of de-escalating tension and creating conditions for substantive dialogue targeted at a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem."

    [08] Greece, Bulgaria sign military co-operation agreement

    Sofia, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    The military chiefs of Greece and Bulgaria yesterday signed a bilateral defense co-operation agreement for 1997.

    The agreement for several defense co-operation programs was signed by the Chief of the National Defense General Staff, Gen. Athanasios Tzoganis, and his Bulgarian counterpart, Gen. Tsvetan Bladenov Totomirov.

    Gen. Totomirov described the new program as a continuation of the beneficial co-operation between the armed forces of Greece and Bulgaria, underlining that for the first time it provided for joint exercises with the participation of all military branches.

    "Our co-operation is becoming increasingly closer, since the new program enables its extension to cover the lower echelons of the armed forces," Gen. Tzoganis said after the signing ceremony.

    He added that closer co-operation also contributed to stability in the region.

    The Greek military chief yesterday wound up a three-day official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of Gen. Totomirov.

    [09] Simitis meets with PASOK deputies of Parliament committee

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held a three-hour meeting yesterday with PASOK deputies who are members of Parliament's permanent committee of social affairs.

    Speaking to reporters, committee president Lambros Kanellopoulos and deputy Foivos Ioannidis said discussion concentrated on issues of social policy, with an emphasis being placed on problems created by the current farmers' mobilizations. A briefing on the budget also took place.

    [10] AKEL delegation arrives in Athens for contacts with PASOK officials

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    A Cypriot Communist AKEL party delegation headed by party Secretary General Dimitris Christofias arrived in Athens yesterday for talks with the ruling PASOK leadership.

    The delegation is expected to have a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis today, followed by talks between the delegation and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    In the evening, the AKEL officials will meet with a PASOK delegation headed by Party Secretary Costas Skandalidis.

    Delegations from other Cypriot political parties are also expected to visit Athens in the near future following invitation by PASOK's leadership.

    [11] Papazoi to attend European conference on Mediterranean islands' development

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Aegean Minister Elizabeth Papazoi will leave for Palermo, Italy, today to attend the third European Conference of Insular Chambers of Commerce as an official guest.

    The conference will focus on the problems of the islands' isolation and viability in the framework of Economic and Monetary Union and the revision of the European Union's treaty with a view to reinforcing programs and co-operations.

    Ms Papazoi will set out prospects for the indigenous development of the islands of Europe and will propose, as part of the Intergovernmental Conference on revising the Maastricht Treaty, the consolidation of a special policy for insular regions.

    [12] Legislation to improve national health system unveiled

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    The health ministry hopes to improve the operation of the National Health System (ESY) with 12 points included in a bill that will probably be tabled in Parliament before the holidays.

    According to the new settlements announced by Health Minister Costas Geitonas at a press conference yesterday, the concept of a unified health agency is being abandoned for the time being, which would constitute the precursor for unification of the health sectors of at least four major health insurance providers, such as IKA, OGA, TEBE and the public sector.

    Mr. Geitonas said a new coordinating agency will be created, which will co-operate with all funds.

    Such an agency, he said, will focus on negotiating better prices for funds concerning tests and hospital fees in both the public and private sectors. In addition, a first stage health care network will be created that will be developed in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.

    Mr. Geitonas said that this measure, together with joint action with ESY will contribute to patients avoiding inconveniences, since services will be offered to all citizens without exception at health centers, PIKPA multi-clinics, clinics for outpatient s, hospitals and municipal clinics. These services will be provided after the family doctor has been consulted.

    He added that a public health and school medicine doctors branch will be initiated, while a center will be created for research and control of the quality of tests and medical initiatives.

    On the question of the better organization of hospitals, which have debts amounting to 140 billion drachmas for pharmaceuticals and consumable materials, Mr. Geitonas said this debt will not be confronted with lending or increasing hospital fees. Namely , the status by which daily hospital fees after a heart operation will be equal to those for an appendicitis operation will cease to have effect.

    [13] Thrace region reeling from flood damage

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    At least four villages in Xanthi prefecture remained cut off as all access roads have been either destroyed or blocked by mud from recent floods.

    Army helicopters are airlifting provisions and other necessities to residents in the isolated villages, while prefectural teams are working on opening the roads and repairing the electricity and water networks.

    According to prefectural authorities in Thrace, residents made homeless by the storms are being housed in various institutions. However, the recording of damages to crops will be delayed as much of the land is still under water.

    The villages of Kastanies and Pythies in the Evros prefecture have been put on alert as the level of the Ardas River in the north of the prefecture has reached danger levels due to continuous rainfall in Bulgaria, and has resulted in 55 pigs being drowned.

    The "Xenokratis" emergency plan was put into effect in the prefecture after the Evros River rose above danger levels and limited floods were reported in riverside areas of Trigono, Orestiada and Didymoticho. Authorities in the region said the next 24 hours will be crucial - if rainfall continues in southern Bulgaria, the Evros River will almost certainly overflow.

    Damages were also caused in Epirus and the island of Corfu, where heavy rainfall has caused landslides on roads, resulting in at least four villages being cut off.

    Meanwhile, stockbreeders yesterday had to kill a further 267 sheep in Dasochori, Xanthi after they were found to have contracted variola, a disease which has already led to the slaughter of more than 1,000 sheep throughout the prefecture in the last few days. Meanwhile, vets are continuing inspections at stockbreeding units in Xanthi in an effort to prevent the disease spreading further.

    [14] Athens to host quadrilateral meeting on regional co-operation next month

    Teheran, 05/12/1996 (ANA/IRNA)

    The foreign ministers of Greece, Armenia, Georgia and Iran are due to meet in Athens next month to discuss matters of regional co-operation.

    The deputy foreign ministers of the four countries opened their second quadrilateral meeting on Tuesday in Tehran.

    Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Constantine Georgiou, Armenian and Georgian deputy foreign ministers Sergei Mansarian and Malkhaz Kakabadzadeh respectively, and Iranian deputy foreign minister for Euro-American affairs Mahmoud Vaezi, are heading delegations from their countries to the three-day meeting.

    Mr. Vaezi told the opening session that the independence of the Central Asian and Caucasus republics had provided an opportunity for the Islamic republic of Iran to move ahead with bilateral and regional co-operation with the republics.

    He said Iran believed that regional co-operation was an "important means for guaranteeing peace and security in the region", and that was why "Iran is seriously interested in bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral co-operation with the regional states".

    Economic co-operation in the region was aimed at closer ties among the regional countries, and was not detrimental to other countries, he added.

    The deputy foreign ministers, acting on an Iranian proposal, formed four committees on telecommunications, tourism, industry and technological know-how, and trade and energy, to explore venues for joint co-operation among the four countries.

    [15] EOT employee groups say state organization mismanaging its assets

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    A one-day seminar by Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) employee groups presented evidence yesterday on what they termed unsatisfactory use of EOT's properties and assets.

    The groups, representing about 2,500 EOT employees, called on Development Minister Vasso Papandreou to suspend her ministry's plans for what they called "covert and unscheduled" sales.

    On his part, EOT Secretary General Vassilis Kourtesis assured the state organization's employees that the government aims for "a dynamic, autonomous EOT", and that any reorganization plans will not affect their insurance rights.

    According to EOT workers' representatives, the state organization's properties includes 325 sites with a total area of roughly 90,000 stremmata throughout the country, while 15 of these sites are more than 1,000 stremmata each.

    Tourist facilities such as golf courses, hotels, museums, campsites and marinas, have been constructed on 150 of these properties, they said.

    EOT directly manages 72 of the properties, employing roughly 1,800 individuals on a permanent basis. Since 1995, these enterprises have recorded total losses of about 50 million drachmas.

    Private enterprises lease 210 of the properties, while 62 have been given free of charge to municipalities, communities and other bodies throughout the country.

    [16] Port employees threaten to block Piraeus

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Port employees said yesterday that they would block Piraeus' passenger port after what they described as fruitless talks with Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis. After the meeting with representatives of the Federation of Greek Port Employees (OMYLE) and wireless operators, Mr. Soumakis said that "all issues remain open and in progress."

    But port employees told reporters that they would prevent the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers at Piraeus, the country's main port, because they considered Mr. Soumakis' statement that he would brief Prime Minister Costas Simitis last night to be unsatisfactory.

    Mr. Soumakis told reporters that "I believe there will be a solution today," adding that port workers should have shown greater "sensitivity" in pressing their demands.

    Commenting on a strike by the Panhellenic Maritime Federation (PNO) scheduled for December 16, Mr. Soumakis said "I do not know whether such actions solve the problem or make it worse. I am afraid the PNO is adopting the wrong tactic."

    He added that the composition of Greek crews on ships should not be reduced, saying he will try to find a beneficial solution for the Greek merchant marine. He said that from then on each side must assume its responsibilities, both shipowners and seamen .

    Mr. Soumakis was replying to a question yesterday on whether he will accept a request by Greek shipowners in London for a decrease in the composition of Greek crews on their Greek-registry vessels.

    PNO is demanding better social security benefits, fairer tax treatment and full and continuous employment.

    Meanwhile, the country's cargo docks remained idle for the seventh day yesterday as striking dockworkers refused to load or unload cargo, make repairs or allow supplying of provision for arriving vessels.

    [17] Karatzas says EMU accession imperative for nation's prosperity

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    National Bank Governor Theodoros Karatzas yesterday stressed the importance of Greece's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Karatzas referred to the need to achieve the Union's targets, saying that if Greece does not achieve entry to the EMU then it "will find itself in a very difficult position and the final result will be that the standard of living conditions will fall dramatically."

    Asked how National Bank dealt with the government's economic measures, Mr. Karatzas said the banks accepted the measures, "because they have to participate to a significant extent to the ongoing effort to help the economy adjust to changes."

    Mr. Karatzas ruled out the possibility of raising interest rates following increased taxation of the banks' income.

    [18] Gov't submits tax draft bill to Parliament

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    The government's new tax draft bill abolishing more than 200 tax exemptions and introducing other taxes was yesterday submitted to Parliament's legislative committee.

    The tax exemptions being abolished include those hitherto in force for the President of the Republic, Parliament deputies and journalists, and those granted for medical and hospital expenses to individuals earning more than 15 million drachmas annually.

    New taxes will be levied on real estate owned by natural or legal persons irrespective of nationality or place of residence, worth more than 60 million drachmas. This is increased to 120 million for a married couple, and by 15 million for every child. Submitting a false statement or failing to submit one carries penalties of 75 and 150 per cent of the tax due. Agricultural and forestland, as well as industrial or commercial real estate are exempted.

    A 20 per cent tax will also be applied on grants and donations, and unearned income from shares of corporations not listed in the Athens Stock Exchange that are transferred. The assets of mutual fund and portfolio investment companies will be taxed at 0.2 per cent. Interest earned from state securities issued after Jan. 1, 1997 will be subject to a 7.5 per cent tax rate.

    The bill also introduces higher presumed expenses used by tax authorities as an indicator of income, for private cars and pleasure craft.

    Foreign currency deposits - convertible or not - of permanent residents will be subject to a 15 per cent tax, but those of residents abroad are exempted.

    The rate is also applicable to convertible drachma deposits of permanent residents, bonds issued by Greek investment banks and bought by banks operating in Greece, and to interest earned from securities issued by municipal authorities.

    [19] Joint Greek-Turkish business council to meet in Athens

    Istanbul, 0512/1996 (ANA)

    Roughly 65 members of the Council of Greek-Turkish Business Co-operation are to meet in Athens on Tuesday.

    "Co-operation in the economy and the development of close economic relations help us overcome political difficulties," Rahmi Koc, a well-known Turkish industrialist, said yesterday.

    "Our commercial trade with Greece is at the level of US$ 400 million. If this was at $2billion, politicians would have a hard time disrupting the relations of the two countries so much," Mr. Koc added.

    "I hope this initiative produces results. If it does not, we will not abandon our efforts. We will try again," he said.

    [20] Yugoslav trade exhibit opens in Athens

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    The first-ever Yugoslav economic exhibition organized in Greece opened in Athens yesterday afternoon and will last until Saturday.

    The exhibition was opened by the president of the Federation of Greek and Industrial Chambers of Commerce of Greece, Andreas Kyriazis, and by the president of the Yugoslav Industrial Chamber of Commerce Mihailo Milojevic.

    The official opening ceremony was attended by National Economy Under-secretary for Issues of Foreign Trade Alekos Baltas, the Greek ambassador in Belgrade, Panayiotis Vlassopoulos, Yugoslav Commerce Under-secretary, Mr. Vukovic, and the director of Invest Banka, Mr. Stanic.

    [21] Greek economy on the mend, budget discussion hears

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Greek economy has recovered substantially in the past three years, Finance Under-secretary Nikos Christodoulakis noted yesterday.

    He told a Parliamentary committee examining the 1997 State budget that this recovery was due not to "conjunctures" but to "permanent factors" such as stabilization of the public deficit and a substantial increase in investments.

    The committee yesterday began a three-day discussion of the budget before it is brought to the 300-member Parliament on Dec. 17 for a five-day debate ending in a vote.

    Mr. Christodoulakis, filling in for National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, said that a condition for achievement of the budget targets for 1997 was an end of demands by certain social groups.

    He said the target of a low inflation rate in 1997 was feasible, adding that the government was prepared to begin dialogue with employers for containment of prices.

    Ruling PASOK general rapporteur Yannis Zafeiropoulos described the budget as "developmental, socially just and crucial for the course of the country". He said it aimed at stabilization of the economy, adding that attainment of its targets was "crucial".

    Main opposition New Democracy party (ND) rapporteur Georgios Alogoskoufis predicted that the PASOK government's budgets would lead the economy to new impasses in two years, warning of the prospect of Greece's exclusion from the first as well as the second wave of participation in the EU's economic and monetary union (EMU) as a result. Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) representative Yiannis Dragasakis accused the government of exhausting its efforts in "marginal interventions in cutting back expenditures" and maintained that the government had no plan for restructuring of the economy.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) spokesman Tassos Intzes called the budget "plasmatic and counter-developmental", predicting that the Greek economy would deteriorate and that inflation would not fall below 7 per cent.

    The committee will complete its three-day review of the budget tomorrow.

    [22] Environmental organizations put Acheloos diversion project in the dock

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Five environmental organizations including Greenpeace are to set up a 'Special Environmental Court' to "rule" on whether the Acheloos River diversion project should go ahead or not.

    The "defendants" in the case will be six former ministers, the present Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis, Public Power Corporation General Director George Birdimiris and three representatives of engineering companies.

    They stand "accused" of "systematically misleading the European Commission and public opinion, omissions concerning the assessment of the project's impact on the environment, causing damage to the environment, financial damage and creating danger for human lives and property.

    The presiding "judge" will be Athens Bar Association president Antonis Roupakiotis with university lecturers, economists and the chairman of the European Committee for Environmental Law, Michel Priere as members of the panel.

    Some 30 persons have been called to testify in the two-day "trial" which will begin next Friday.

    [23] Police gangland spree killed 13

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    Police yesterday shed light on a number of murders, armed robberies and other serious crimes alleged to have been carried out by two gangs whose leader was eventually killed by the members themselves.

    The man who formed the two gangs, Vassilis Souflas, 35, was allegedly shot dead in March 1996 by two members of the second gang he formed, for personal differences and chiefly because he was pressing the gang to commit murders for no real reason.

    Sotiris Kousis, 33, one of the two men alleged to have murdered Souflas, was arrested in Amsterdam after efforts by the Greek police in co-operation with Interpol and extradited to Greece on November 8.

    Kousis has so far been charged with two armed robberies against two bank branches in northern Greece.

    In all, police believe the two gangs formed by Souflas were responsible between 1992 and 1995 for 13 murders, 13 armed robberies and one kidnapping.

    [24] Berlin to host festival of new Greek cinema this month

    Athens, 05/12/1996 (ANA)

    A festival of new Greek cinema will be held in Berlin from December 7-23, organized in co-operation with the Friends of the German Film Archives and the support of the Greek Film Center. The festival will include screenings of "From the snow" by Sotiritis Goritca (December 7 and 16), "Donoussa" by Angeliki Antoniou (December 8 and 18), "Metaihmio" by Panos Karkanevatou (December 9 and 19), "Lefteris Dimakopoulos" by Pericles Hoursoglou (December 10 and 20), "Jaguar" by Katerina Evangelakou (December 11 and 21), "The end of an era" by Antonis Kokkinos (December 16 and 22) and "Drop in the ocean" by Eleni Alexandraki (December 18 and 23). Both Mr. Hoursoglou and Mr. Karkanevatou will attend the festival, as will Greek film critic N. Fenek Mikelides, who will make brief presentations of all the films.

    End of English language section.

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