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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-12-13

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 1065), December 13, 1996

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


  • [01] Simitis, Kok find common ground on Turkey-EU relations
  • [02] EU must tackle employment problem, Simitis says
  • [03] Ciller
  • [04] Stranded foreign truckers allowed through, some blockades dismantled
  • [05] Business losses
  • [06] Papantoniou calls for more elastic EU recession criteria
  • [07] German-Greek language project for trainees
  • [08] President to attend Kalavryta anniversary
  • [09] Greek defense policy goals are stability and peace in Balkans, Apostolakis says
  • [10] Shevardnadze says problems in Aegean must be solved peacefully
  • [11] MLRS missiles tested
  • [12] Plans to build on wetlands criticized
  • [13] American basketball player to face trial over violence charges
  • [14] Venizelos hails signing of contract for construction of Acropolis Museum
  • [15] Greek industry on the mend, ICAP report says
  • [16] SEB comments
  • [17] Australians to participate in Thessaloniki cultural events
  • [18] National Bank aims at branches in Sydney, Melbourne
  • [19] Tax evading companies' names released
  • [20] National Bank of Greece introduces... holiday loan
  • [21] Israeli firms explore possibilities for joint ventures
  • [22] Greek businessmen in Yugoslavia for food fair

  • [01] Simitis, Kok find common ground on Turkey-EU relations

    The Hague, 13/12/1996 (ANA - T. Aliboutaki)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Dutch counterpart Wim Kok have stressed the need for Turkey to state whether it accepts a statement by the European Union Council on July 15, calling on it to build relations of cooperation with Greece and EU countries, as well as the need for dialogue between Greece and Turkey to resolve their differences.

    The two prime ministers were speaking at a joint press conference in The Hague yesterday, shortly after a working lunch given for Mr. Simitis by Mr. Kok.

    Replying to a question by the Athens News Agency (ANA) on whether the Dutch EU presidency, due to take over from January 1 until June 1997, will consider the possibility of convening the EU-Turkey Association Council, Mr. Kok said the priority is for Turkey to promote solutions to its problems on the basis of dialogue and an effort to build good relations with EU countries.

    "This was the content of the discussion held during the meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister (Hans) van Mierlo and the Turkish Foreign Minister (Tansu) Ciller at The Hague about 10 days ago," Mr. Kok said, adding that "also with me, at the Dublin summit and specifically on Saturday, we will again discuss all these issues and Turkish Foreign Minister Ms. Ciller will have to state her position."

    On his part, Mr. Simitis reiterated the need for dialogue, saying that Greece considers dialogue to be the basis for a successful outcome and course to resolving differences between countries.

    "The Dutch Prime Minister and I had a common approach to all issues," Mr. Simitis said, adding that before the meeting he had the impression that "we are far apart."

    "During our meeting it was proved, on the contrary, that we are very close on all issues," he added.

    Mr. Simitis said extensive ground exists to upgrade commercial, economic, technological and cultural relations between the two countries and that co-operation between Greece and the Netherlands in all sectors can be extremely productive. He further mentioned possible co-operation in the farming sector and the joint upgrading of the two countries' activities in exports and imports.

    "We also discussed the issue of drugs which is preoccupying the EU lately. We agreed that this issue should be resolved on the basis of co-operation between EU member-states with joint action and handling," he said.

    Responding to a question by a Dutch journalist on the Greek farmers' protests and how the Greek government plans to act, Mr. Simitis conceded that there is indeed unrest in this sector but it will be handled with prudence by the government.

    Mr. Simitis, who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, was due to leave The Hague for Dublin last night to attend the EU summit.

    [02] EU must tackle employment problem, Simitis says

    Dublin, 13/12/1996 (ANA - S. Liarellis/M. Spinthourakis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis attended the European socialist session yesterday, before the EU summit to begin here today. Speaking during the session, he stressed the need for "special actions" to be undertaken by the European Union to tackle the problem of employment, adding that in the institutional framework of the labor market, "flexible forms of employment should be sought."

    Mr. Simitis said the EU must place particular emphasis on the issue of employment, adding that "an improvement in macroeconomic indicators is not enough. It is necessary but it is not enough to tackle the problem of employment."

    He said programs supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises must be enlarged and called for special references on employment issues to be included in the new treaty.

    Mr. Simitis also spoke of the EU's foreign relations, raising the issue of handling integrity problems faced by member-states. He also referred to issues concerning "institutional balance" and expressed support for "flexibility", but solely for specific and clearly-defined cases.

    [03] Ciller

    Brussels, 13/12/1006 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    In an interview with the Belgian newspaper "Libre Belgique" yesterday, Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller expressed disappointment over the lukewarm reception the Irish European Union presidency is preparing for her on the sidelines of the Dublin summit.

    Referring to Greek-Turkish relations, Ms. Ciller said she desires a dialogue of "mutual understanding" with Greece, but does not rule out intervention by third parties, adding that the bonds between the two countries are more important than their differences.

    Replying to a question on how relations with Greece can improve, Ms. Ciller said "the initial impression is that the problems appear to be complicated and insurmountable. However, I think that the two countries can settle their differences if they overcome mutual distrust and lack of confidence."

    [04] Stranded foreign truckers allowed through, some blockades dismantled

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    Protesting farmers yesterday began allowing hundreds of stranded foreign truck drivers through roadblocks in northern Greece that have cut off road access for 15 days, allowing the drivers, most of them British and Dutch, to continue their itineraries.

    At 11 a.m., groups from the Farmers' Coordinating Committee arrived at the roadblocks at Litochoro at the foot of Mt. Olympus and Malgaro, near Thessaloniki, to supervise the two-hour operation after the protesting farmers at the two blockades decided to allow the foreign trucks through.

    A spokesman for the two local committees said the decision was taken "as a gesture of good will to the drivers" who had undergone "hardships" over the past two weeks.

    Most of the stranded trucks were at the Litochoro blockade.

    The spokesman said the blockades would become impenetrable again after the two-hour operation.

    Meanwhile, circulation returned to normal after farmers began dismantling the blockades on the Serres-Drama, Grevena-Kozani, and Kozani-Florina provincial roads in northern Greece.

    At the same time, Corinth farmers dismantled the road blockade at Kiato along the Athens-Patras national highway, but the roadblocks at Aigion along both the old and new national highways remained in place, although the tractors were replaced by trucks.

    However, farmers in Larissa in central Greece refused to heed the call by Transport Minister Haris Kastanidis to allow foreign trucks through the roadblocks, and thus roughly 80 TIR vehicles remained trapped on the Athens to Thessaloniki highway at Temp i.

    The truck drivers rejected a government proposal to be escorted to the border through alternative provincial roads by police patrol cars, saying they were not covered by insurance outside the main highway.

    The issue of the stranding of TIR vehicles on Greek and French roads was discussed yesterday at the EU Transport Ministers' Council in Brussels, where Mr. Kastanidis promised that the Greek side would do everything possible to solve the problem.

    Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas will raise the issue of the problems faced by farmers in Thessaly and Xanthi with his EU counterparts next week, the government said yesterday.

    Acting government spokesman Nikos Athanassakis said Mr. Tzoumakas would raise the issue at Monday's meeting of European Union farm ministers.

    The spokesman also singled out main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga for criticism over their stance on the farmers' protests.

    He called on Mr. Evert to make his position clear on the method used by farmers to press their demands and explain how the cost of satisfying their demands could be met.

    Mr. Athanassakis challenged Ms. Papariga to explain to farmers how their income could be safeguarded outside the EU's Common Agricultural Policy.

    The spokesman also called on other opposition leaders to give specific replies to the problems rather than resorting to "sensation-seeking statements of no value."

    Meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos accused the prime minister of breaking pre-election promises, saying that "in the name of authoritarianism he is refusing dialogue with the farmers," and expressed the view that this refusal "directly affects our already suffering economy."

    Mr. Pavlopoulos expressed the belief that the silence of many members of the cabinet on the farmers' issue betrays their distancing from the prime minister.

    [05] Business losses

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    In a related development, representatives of the business world at a joint press conference at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on the farmers to comprehend the "disastrous consequences" of their action and to immediately lift the blockades.

    The representatives urged the government to enter into a meaningful dialogue with the farmers and called on the opposition parties "to stop encouraging the farmers' action and at last exercise responsible opposition."

    They said that "no single social group has the right to cause such serious problems to the rest of society," forecasting that gradually the farmers will lose support for their demands.

    President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Yiannis Papathanasiou accused the government of being "weak", saying that so far, it has been unable to "substantially consider the farmers' problems."

    He criticized the government for not "elaborating with sincerity on the state of the economy prior to the (September) elections," which he said has resulted in the farmers' refusal to acknowledge the problems.

    Mr. Papathanasiou also lashed out against the opposition and expressed fear of a dramatic loss of trade during the holiday season.

    President of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) Iason Stratos said that the entire Greek population has various demands, but that this is not the way to claim them.

    "There are no winners," he said, adding that "the Greek economy is the only loser."

    Panhellenic Exports Promotion Association President Christina Sakellaridi said exporters were suffering the most from the farmers' mobilizations, adding that so far, the blockades are estimated to be costing six to seven billion drachmas daily.

    President of the Greek Intercarriers Association Velissarios Kapotsi said that European consumers have now opted for Turkish or Spanish products, and predicted that "the European Christmas dinner will not feature any of the Greek traditional products."

    President of the Hotels Chamber Aristotelis Livanis condemned the leadership of the farmers' unions for choosing "violent forms of struggle," and called upon the State for "immediate solutions."

    President of the Tourism Enterprises Association (SETE) Spyros Kokotos said the only solution was dialogue.

    [06] Papantoniou calls for more elastic EU recession criteria

    Dublin, 13/12/1996 (ANA - S. Liarellis, M. Spinthourakis)

    The EU's Council of Economic and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) session began here yesterday afternoon, with the basic aim of finding a compromising solution on the issue of the Stability Pact between member-states which will participate in the European Monetary Union (EMU).

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou represented Greece. Sources close to the minister reported that he would call for "more elastic criteria" for assessing recession, and was to clarify that sanctions should not be imposed on a member-state if its economy is affected by external factors.

    Speaking to journalists on the flight to Dublin, Mr. Papantoniou said Greece would express the view that "natural disasters can be considered as external factors, or the necessity of a large amount of spending on armaments, when this is necessary for rea sons of national security."

    Aides of the minister were not ruling out the possibility of Greece being alone in supporting this position, and stressed that such decisions can be taken only with a unanimous vote.

    [07] German-Greek language project for trainees

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    A binational project for those undergoing training with a knowledge of the Greek language is being offered by the "Frankfurter Bildungswerk der Hessischen Wirtschaft". The program has been sponsored since 1988 by Germany's Federal Ministry for Labor and Social Affairs and the Greek labor office OAED.

    The aim is to support bilingual young people in the dual training system, to increase their mobility and to facilitate their transition to working life.

    Participants in the project, who must have a training contract either in a commercial or technical occupation, receive specialized tuition during the whole training period in Greek. In addition, the training and economic systems of both countries and to pics related to the European Union are included in the course.

    The specialized tuition prepares the young people for a five-week stay in Greece.

    In Athens, Thessaloniki or Volos the participants have a four-week practical experience in a company and take part in a one-week course. To date some 600 young people have taken part in the project and 150 of these have attained the aim of a bilingual certificate.

    [08] President to attend Kalavryta anniversary

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos is to attend a memorial service in the town of Kalavryta today on the 53rd anniversary of the mass slaughter of 1,300 men over the age of 16 by Nazi occupation forces. Events marking the killing of the town's male population in December 1943 began in Kalavryta yesterday.

    [09] Greek defense policy goals are stability and peace in Balkans, Apostolakis says

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    The ultimate goal of Greece's defense policy is to create conditions of stability and peaceful co-existence between the peoples of the Balkan peninsula, National Defense Under-secretary Dimitris Apostolakis said in an interview with the Irish Times daily, in view of the European Summit due to open in Dublin today.

    "The final goal of our national defense policy is to ensure conditions of stability and a framework for peaceful co-existence for the peoples in the region, without the use of force or threat of use of violence," Mr. Apostolakis said in the interview.

    Regarding Greece's armament program, recently endorsed by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), Mr. Apostolakis said that "it serves our equal participation in the European Union and ensures that our Armed Forces have a strong force of aversion."

    "Thus," he added, "we will face the situation of threat from our East from a country which is otherwise an ally."

    "Aversion is our ultimate goal and we serve this with the constant reinforcement and improvement of our defense ability," he said.

    Regarding the Dublin Summit, Mr. Apostolakis said the Greek government strongly supported reinforcement of the European Union's foreign policy through strengthening of the common foreign and defense policy.

    [10] Shevardnadze says problems in Aegean must be solved peacefully

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze yesterday said problems in the Aegean should be solved through peaceful means, stressing that the end of the Cold War era has given way to the creation of a suitable climate and necessary conditions for such settlement.

    The Georgian president met in Tiblisi with Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, who is visiting the country to participate in the eighth Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Council, which began its sessions on Wednesday.

    Mr. Kaklamanis told the press that dialogue with Turkey will be initiated after the necessary guarantees for safety and protection of territorial integrity and respect of the borders have been ensured.

    The meeting also focused on issues concerning the Greek community in Georgia and the legal status of Georgian immigrants in Greece.

    In another development yesterday, Mr. Kaklamanis assumed the presidency of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation Parliamentary Assembly, during an official ceremony. Greece is to hold the presidency for six months.

    [11] MLRS missiles tested

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    Two missiles were test fired at the Proskyniton firing range in the Thracian prefecture of Rodopi by the new and modern weaponry system known as MLRS, and concerning a missile-firing carrier mounted on caterpillar wheels.

    Each US-built MLRS missile contains 750 smaller missiles, costs 2.5 million drachmas and has a range of 32 km.

    [12] Plans to build on wetlands criticized

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Greek Ornithological Society yesterday described as "a terrible mistake" the 2004 Olympic Games candidacy committee's selection of the "heart" of Attica's most important coastal wetlands at Schinia as the construction site for athletics installations.

    The society's director, Costas Vassilakis, also charged that the committee had not taken into consideration current proposals for the upgrading of the Phaleron Delta and was pushing ahead with plans for the construction there of four major sports facilities "which will kill off what little (wildlife) has so far survived...".

    Athens is considered one of the favorites among 11 candidate cities bidding to hold the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Ornithological Society representatives told a press conference yesterday that the candidacy committee had falsely stated in its bid dossier that it had consulted with environmental organizations in Greece.

    If this had been the case, they said, the "gross error" of selecting the two sites would have been averted.

    According to the committee's proposals, rowing, canoe and kayak installations will be built at Schinia which, together with parking spaces, will cover at least 2.5 million square meters.

    The ornithologists pointed out however that Schinia has been incorporated in the European Union program 'Corine' as well as the 'Natura 2000' network. In addition, a presidential decree is currently being prepared for the protection of the wetlands an d the environment, town planning and public works ministry has already approved 260 million drachmas from the Community Support Framework II for environmental protection works.

    At Phaleron, the committee is planning the construction of a baseball stadium at a site proposed by the Ornithological Society as a nature park. The proposal won first prize in an international competition organized within the framework of a United Nations conference.

    Mr. Vassilakis said that alternative sites were available for the construction of the facilities, while Ioannina Lake in northern Greece already had installations capable of hosting the rowing events.

    [13] American basketball player to face trial over violence charges

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    American basketball player Gary Alexander of the Turkish Besiktas team was charged under a 1986 law "on violence in sports stadiums" and ordered to stand trial on June 2 next year.

    The American player was subsequently released but it was not known if he had managed to join the rest of the Besiktas team which was scheduled to leave Thessaloniki on a flight at 3 pm yesterday.

    Alexander was arrested in Thessaloniki yesterday on the basis of a wanton assault complaint filed against him following a brawl with a Greek player during a Korac Cup match on Wednesday evening.

    The complaint was filed yesterday morning by Greek player Dinos Angelides of Aris, Thessaloniki, who was involved in the brawl with Alexander in the 18th minute of the game when Aris were leading 40-31.

    TV footage of the incident appeared to show Alexander hitting Angelides while his back was turned. Angelides did not retaliate and the incident seemed to be over. But a few seconds later Alexander charged at Angelides and players from both teams immediately joined in the fracas. Order was eventually restored but the referees refused to restart the match.

    Aris club officials, who maintain that the incident was an act of provocation on the part of the Turkish team, have sent a video of the game to FIBA, the sport's ruling body.

    The club's chairman, Zafeiris Samoladas, said Aris had absolutely no responsibility for the incident, while the former secretary general of the Greek sports ministry, George Vassilakopoulos, attributed responsibility to the two referees, saying they should have simply sent off the two players involved and restarted the game.

    The match was the second leg of the cup tie. Aris last week won the first leg in Istanbul 64-65.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Sports Minister Bahatin Seker accused Greek fans of attacking Besiktas, the Anatolian News Agency has reported.

    "The incidents prove that the Greek fans watch matches against Turkish teams with the mentality and behavior of those at war, far from the spirit of sport," he said.

    "It is sad that the fans of a country which says it is the cradle of the Olympics and of sport and has submitted its candidacy to host the 2004 Olympic Games, are not aware that sport is friendship," the Turkish minister added.

    This is the second incident during an international game between Aris and a Turkish team. The first was at the 1993 European Cupwinners' Cup final in Turin, when Aris fans forced their way onto the court at the end of the game with Efes Pilsen, which the Greek team won 50-49.

    Aris was allowed to keep the cup but was penalized by FIBA, which ordered the Thessaloniki team to play all its European matches the following year in Athens.

    [14] Venizelos hails signing of contract for construction of Acropolis Museum

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed his satisfaction yesterday over the signing of a contract for the construction of the Acropolis Museum.

    Speaking from Paris, Mr. Venizelos described the signing of the contract between Italian architects and the Melina Mercouri Foundation as "a step of decisive importance ... for the construction of the new Acropolis Museum. A step which had been delayed for a long time."

    "The architects Nicoletti and Pasarelli are assuming a great honor and a great responsibility," he added.

    [15] Greek industry on the mend, ICAP report says

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    The recovery of Greek industry continued in 1996, albeit at a slow pace, according to a report released yesterday by the research company ICAP HELLAS.

    The rate of increase of the value of sales surpassed the average rise in prices of industrial products resulting in an increase in the volume of sales, ICAP said in the report.

    ICAP said the main reasons for the slow rate of recovery were the de-escalation of inflation and interest rates, the low rate of increase of domestic demand and exports and competition created by imports.

    For 1997, one-third of Greek industry is planning an increase in the volume of investments while there is a climate of optimism regarding sales, with 58.6 per cent of industry anticipating a real increase in the value of sales, 36.1 per cent expecting n o change and just 2.9 per cent predicting a drop.

    However, the report said pessimism pervades the average Greek household.

    The financial situation of most Greek households in 1996 either worsened (44 per cent) or remained unchanged (42.5 per cent), more so for rural than for urban households.

    Their expectations for 1997 are equally pessimistic since most households believe it is very likely their condition will either deteriorate (38 per cent) or remain unchanged (44 per cent).

    According to the report, the households appearing the most pessimistic are those of farmers, pensioners or the unemployed with a moderate or low educational level and an income of less than one million drachmas per household member.

    Only 13.6 per cent of families, most of them young, with a high educational level and an annual income exceeding three million drachmas said their position improved this year.

    The main reasons given for the deterioration of financial situations were inflation, namely the cost of living (58.7 per cent) and a low increase in available income (24.7 per cent).

    The large majority of families (61.1 per cent) was unable to save money this year, while 25.2 per cent had incomes lower than their expenditures and were consequently obliged to borrow, while only 13.7 per cent were able to save money.

    The report stated that inflation continues to be the main cause of concern for 1997, (53 per cent), followed by an expected low increase in income, (26.4 per cent) and the fear of losing sources of income due to the threat of unemployment, which appears to be greater in urban areas.

    [16] SEB comments

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    Commenting, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) said that estimates by ICAP on the profitability of Greek industry in 1995 gave a mistaken impression.

    The SEB announcement said that in reality, industry profits in 1995 showed a moderate nominal increase amounting to 13 rather than 38 per cent. It added that this represented the increase in profits for profit-making companies in the two specific financial years, namely 1995 and 1994 and excluded the results of loss-making companies.

    [17] Australians to participate in Thessaloniki cultural events

    Melbourne, 13/12/1996 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Aboriginal and Greek-Australian artists will participate in events to be held in Thessaloniki next year when the city takes over the title of Cultural Capital of Europe.

    Victoria's State Premier Jeff Kennet said he was trying to convince the state governments of South Australia and Tasmania to co-operate in a joint Australian representation at the Thessaloniki International Fair next year.

    Mr. Kennet also pledged to establish a Victorian commercial trade office in Thessaloniki as, he said, the city was a bridge to the Balkans.

    [18] National Bank aims at branches in Sydney, Melbourne

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    The National Bank of Greece is trying to upgrade its representative offices in Australia into full branches and is conducting an expert study on the viability of such an enterprise.

    Bank officials Ioannis Papanikos and Ioannis Agathos recently visited Sydney and Melbourne to evaluate the operation of the representative offices and Australian financial markets.

    Mr. Papanikos said the bank had previously tried to upgrade its presence in Australia in 1984 when the federal government deregulated the banking system and issued operating licenses to 16 foreign banks.

    "The report we submitted in 1984 unfortunately did not convince the relevant Australian authorities and so we did not get the license we had requested," he said.

    "We haven't given up on our efforts, however. In 1994 we began a new study to which we added new figures and this report will be submitted as soon as it is finished to the competent authorities... It is our view that the National Bank's two branch offices in Melbourne and Sydney will be viable despite strong competition since the deregulation of the banking system in Australia," he added.

    [19] Tax evading companies' names released

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    The Finance Ministry yesterday released a list containing the names of 481 companies which, according to the fiscal and customs authorities, were involved in instances of tax evasion or smuggling.

    According to the list, which states the violation committed by each company and the penalty imposed, 53 businesses were penalized for tax evasion by being closed down for several days.

    A total of 165 companies evaded tax by receiving or issuing false or forged invoices, with fines of over one billion drachmas being imposed in the more serious cases, while 189 undertakings violated the law on smuggling and their cases are pending before the administrative or judicial authorities.

    The list also shows that 36 companies unlawfully received agricultural subsidies.

    Describing the tax and smuggling violations as "serious", the ministry said it was obliged to give the list to Parliament and the press under the provisions of Law 2362/95. The ministry said similar lists of tax and customs violations would be ma de public annually when the state budget is tabled.

    The list includes three leasing companies which belong to the Agricultural Bank of Greece, the Alpha Credit Bank and the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank.

    Another category concerns violations discovered during the processing of confiscations, with fines exceeded 500 million drachmas in some cases.

    [20] National Bank of Greece introduces... holiday loan

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    The National Bank of Greece is to provide a special holiday loan until January 10, 1997, to help its customers meet increased demands during the Christmas and New Year period. The National Bank announced that the loans, available at its network of branch offices, will range between 500,000 and one million drachmas and will be within the Bank of Greece's overall credit limit for consumer loans. The interest rate will be 17.50 per cent and the duration of the loans will be from six to 12 months.

    [21] Israeli firms explore possibilities for joint ventures

    Athens, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

    Representatives of Israeli consulting companies visited Greece this week for a series of meetings with corresponding Greek companies in order to explore possibilities for joint ventures.

    The meetings, held between December 9-11, took place at the initiative of the Israeli Exports Institute and the Israeli Embassy in Athens.

    The delegation of the Israeli companies met with representatives from 50 Greek companies and discussed possibilities to create joint ventures in Israel, Greece, the Balkans and the Middle East.

    The Israeli delegation also met with officials from the national economy and environment, town planning and public works ministries as well as the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank (ETBA) and the Exports Promotion Organization.

    Speaking to reporters, Commercial Attachi at the Israeli Embassy, Doron Abrahami, said the Israeli entrepreneurs were impressed at the major infrastructure works in Athens and showed interest in the creation of a "common economic co-operation axis in Greece and the Balkans with the use of both countries' competitive edges such as Israeli know-how and Greece's traditionally good relations with the Balkan markets."

    Commercial trade between the two countries recorded an all time high in 1995, yielding $350 million, a 50 per cent increase against the previous year.

    [22] Greek businessmen in Yugoslavia for food fair

    Belgrade, 13/12/1996 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    More than 20 Greek businessmen are participating in the international food & beverages fair "Prehrana '96" which opened on Wednesday in Belgrade.

    Meanwhile, an 18-member delegation from the Serres Economic Chamber met on Wednesday with representatives of the Economic Chamber of Yugoslavia, with discussions focusing on economic co-operation between the two countries.

    The Greek businessmen have expressed interest for business co-operation in the fields of industry, agriculture, trade and tourism.

    In another development, National Bank of Greece representatives are visiting Belgrade for talks with their counterparts in the Central Bank of Yugoslavia and officials from the Ministry of External Trade, aiming at opening a branch of the National Bank of Greece in Yugoslavia.

    Representatives of the Piraeus Bank also held consultations in Belgrade this week regarding the bank's interest in creating a sister company in the country, while Greece's Commercial Bank is also interested in a joint venture with a bank in Yugoslavia.

    End of English language section.

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