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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-07

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 1410), February 7, 1998

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


  • [01] Greek consumer price inflation slips to 4.4 pct in January
  • [02] EU's highest inflation rate posted by Greece
  • [03] Black Sea bank aims to lure investors, finance infrastructure
  • [04] Greek stocks jump on declining inflation
  • [05] Royal Olympic Cruise Lines seeks listing in NY
  • [06] Gov't comments on latest Persian Gulf tension
  • [07] G. Papandreou calls for Olympic truce to prevent strike against Iraq
  • [08] New Turkish theory disputes Greek sovereignty of islets
  • [09] Greece hopes to send teachers to Albania
  • [10] Constantopoulos visits Kurdish refugee camp
  • [11] Evert proposal for urgent ND meeting rejected
  • [12] ... Karamanlis interview
  • [13] ... Constantopoulos
  • [14] Cabinet briefed on 'Cultural Olympiad'
  • [15] PASOK conference on ideology
  • [16] Tsohatzopoulos tours DASA facilities in Germany
  • [17] Royanmont initiative schedules March meeting in Athens
  • [18] Iordanescu to assume nat'l football team's helm
  • [19] ET-3 holds telethon for the Kalash tribe
  • [20] Expatriate honored for support of Greek language in Australia
  • [21] Internet in schools
  • [22] Flooding reported in eastern Macedonia, Thrace
  • [23] Vessel runs aground near Corfu
  • [24] Opposition criticism over Gov't handling of farm policy
  • [25] ... Tzoumakas
  • [26] Farm minister asks EU for debate on olives crisis
  • [27] Women comprise 60 percent of long-term unemployed
  • [28] Alumil activity in Romania

  • [01] Greek consumer price inflation slips to 4.4 pct in January

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek consumer price inflation continued its decline in January, dropping to 4.4 percent year-on-year from 4.7 percent a month earlier, the National Statistics Service (ESYE) said yesterday.

    The average inflation rate for the 12-month period of January 1997 to 1998 stood at 5.3 per cent, as opposed to 8.1 per cent for the corresponding period of January 1996 to January 1997.

    The figure was due to an 0.8 percent fall in January's consumer price index (CPI) compared to an 0.5 percent drop in the same month the previous year, ESYE said. The fall in the CPI resulted mainly from an 8.8 per cent reduction in apparel and footwear because of winter sales, and a 2.9 per cent drop in services and consumer durables, again due to the sales.

    Curbing the decline in inflation were a rise in telephone rates by 1.2 per cent and an increase in tobacco prices by 2.3 per cent.

    Commenting on the fall in inflation down to 4.4 per cent, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said during a press conference in London that the government had succeeded where all its predecessors had failed.

    "We are strict, a little unpleasant, but we have finally succeeded where all other governments in the last 25 years failed," he said.

    He added that the government was resolved to continue implementation of its economic program, and that the emphasis in coming years would fall on the rehabilitation of public utilities. He stressed that the effort would be crowned with success, as it enjoyed broad popular support.

    "Beyond the reactions of certain groups, which are inevitable, I believe the social cohesion which the government has achieved will permit the completion of this effort by 2000 without upheavals and in a climate of general consensus. We also assume the political cost involved," he said.

    He is on a visit to London.

    [02] EU's highest inflation rate posted by Greece

    Brussels, 07/02/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    The average annual inflation rate in the European Union dropped to 1.7 per cent in 1997 from 2.4 per cent in 1996.

    Inflation in Greece decreased to 5.4 per cent in 1997 from 7.9 per cent in 1996. In December, 1997 inflation amounted to 1.6 per cent in the EU and 4.5 per cent in Greece.

    According to the monthly bulletin issued by the EU's statistical service, the smallest percentage of 1.2 per cent of the average annual inflation rate was recorded in Ireland, Austria and Finland. The largest figure was recorded in Greece with 5.4 per cent, and in Denmark with 2 per cent. In seven member-states, the inflation rate was less than the annual average percentage and in six the percentage was 1.9 per cent.

    [03] Black Sea bank aims to lure investors, finance infrastructure

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    The first president of the Black Sea Commerce and Development Bank, Ersoy Volkan of Turkey, said yesterday that the newly created bank aimed to boost economic stability in the region, attract investments, finance infrastructure works and launch cooperation with international financial groups.

    Mr. Ersoy, who will hold the Thessaloniki-based bank's first four-year presidency, said he wanted the bank to operate independently of politics among states participating in the venture.

    The governors of the bank, which was set up by the Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC) organization, met for the first time in Thessaloniki on Thursday night.

    The governors are from Greece, Russia, Turkey (each country participating with 16.5 per cent), Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria (13.5 per cent each) and Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Albania (each contributing 2 per cent of share capital).

    They are scheduled to meet again in Thessaloniki on March 11 to decide on the composition of the board of directors and appoint deputy governors.

    The official inauguration of the bank is scheduled for June, and the institution is expected to be fully operational next year.

    [04] Greek stocks jump on declining inflation

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek stocks ended sharply higher yesterday as the Athens Stock Exchange celebrated a fall in the inflation rate to its lowest in almost three decades.

    The general index closed 2.45 percent up at 1,464.12 points, showing a net gain of 4.92 percent on the week. Traders said investors had regained confidence after turmoil in the domestic money market seemed to evaporate and state institutional investor s decided to intervene to support the market ahead of a public offering of investment firms on February 17-20.

    Most sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 2.84 percent, Insurance increased 1.03 percent, Investment ended 0.74 percent up, Construction soared 2.59 percent, Industrials rose 1.66 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.79 percent higher and Holding jumped 3. 27 percent. Leasing bucked the trend to end 0.04 percent down.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 2.51 percent. The FTSE/ASE index of blue chips ended at 789.41 points, up 0.96 percent, to show an increase of 6.26 percent on the week.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 20.8 billion drachmas. The week's total turnover was 76.7 billion drachmas for a daily average of 15.3 billion, up from 13.8 billion drachmas the previous week.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 174 to 49 with another 17 issues unchanged.

    Alumil, Agrinio Metalplastic, Viokarpet and Nafpaktos Mills scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper trading limit, while Vis, Mouriades, Endisi, General Warehouses and Daring suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,930 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,800, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,450, Delta Dairy at 3,005, Titan Cement at 13,700, Intracom at 15,250 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,900.

    [05] Royal Olympic Cruise Lines seeks listing in NY

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. announced yesterday it will seek listing on the New York Stock Exchange through an initial public offering of 6.1 million shares of common stock at 15 dollars per share.

    The company has granted underwriters an option for 30 days to purchase additional shares.

    Net proceeds of 85 million dollars will be used to repay existing debts; make a progress payment on two new cruise ships the company has ordered from the German shipyard Blohm & Voss; finance the acquisition and refurbishment of two second hand cruise s hips purchased by the company in January; and boost operating capital.

    Lead underwriters in the offering are Lazard Freres & Co., LLC and Donaldson, and Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation.

    The lead managers are Lazard Capital Markets and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette International.

    Royal Olympic Cruises offers destination-oriented cruises in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas and in central and south America.

    Royal Olympic was formed in 1995 as a result of the merger of Epirotiki Cruise Line and Sun Line Cruises.

    [06] Gov't comments on latest Persian Gulf tension

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will not become involved in any military operations against Iraq without a prior decision by the UN Security Council, Defense Under-secretary Demetris Apostolakis said in Parliament yesterday.

    However, he said that although Greece would be "committed to obey" any such UN decision, it would not be necessary for Greece to contribute its own forces to any military operation.

    Mr. Apostolakis was speaking in response to a question from Communist Party of Greece deputy Haralambos Aggourakis regarding the possible use of the Souda and Aktio military bases by US Air Force planes in any new action against Iraq.

    With regard to a recent meeting in Athens between US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Mark Grossman and the leadership of the foreign and defense ministries, the under-secretary commented that the US had made "no request for Greek assistance or facilities in the event that the US decided to intervene in Iraq". Therefore, he added, Greece has undertaken no commitment to the US government.

    Mr. Apostolakis also said Mr. Grossman had been informed of Greece's opposition to the trade sanctions against Iraq and their devastating repercussions on the children of Iraq due to the lack of medicines and foodstuffs.

    He added that Athens also called on greater quotas for Iraqi oil exports.

    [07] G. Papandreou calls for Olympic truce to prevent strike against Iraq

    Nagano, Japan, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday reiterated the need to preclude any attack against Iraq during the Winter Olympics here.

    Speaking at a press conference, he added that the 15-day duration of the Games can be used to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

    [08] New Turkish theory disputes Greek sovereignty of islets

    Istanbul, 07/02/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    A Turkey-based research foundation again raised claims disputing Greek sovereignty of several small Aegean islands and rocky islets in a publication entitled "The Basic Issue in the Aegean."

    The edition, published by the "Turkish History Foundation" and compiled by a Turkish naval officer, repeats exactly the arguments set out in a Turkish military academy manual in May 1996.

    The small, rocky islets "which are not mentioned by name in international treaties in the Aegean continue to belong to Turkey, which constitutes a continuation of the Ottoman state", according to the latest Turkish theory.

    The purpose of the theory, according to the publication, is "a new and basic problem which will influence the overall status in the Aegean."

    The "theory's major problem is that the Lausanne Treaty, by which the modern Turkish state was created and its borders were delineated in detail, explicitly states that Turkey in the Aegean is restricted to islands, small islands and rocky islets etc., located at a distance of three nautical miles from the Asia Minor coasts and the islands of Imvros and Tenedos.

    The Turkish military staff has recently attempted to plan exercises or restrict regions for exercises which would help the new theory to be implemented in practice. In one case (Gavdos, May 1996) it opposed, on the basis of this theory, the inclusion of the island, located south of Crete, in a NATO exercise.

    Turkish diplomatic circles, despite the fact they appear hesitant on the correctness of the new theory, are systematically raising the issue of "gray zones in the Aegean" lately, an expression leading directly to the new theory.

    Meanwhile, Turkish foreign ministry officials asked about the new publication said they were unaware of details of the study.

    [09] Greece hopes to send teachers to Albania

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis said yesterday that the government was trying, through a cultural agreement with Albania, to send Greek teachers to schools of the ethnic Greek minority in the neighboring country.

    Replying to a question in Parliament, Mr. Kranidiotis said that thanks to the efforts of the Greek government, classes of Greek-speaking schools had for the first time been operating since September 1996 also outside the predominantly ethnic Greek areas .

    In particular, he cited the operation of such schools in Gjirokaster, Delvine and Sarande.

    Mr. Kranidiotis added that the Albanian government had accepted the establishment of a model Greek school in Tirana by the Friends of Education Society.

    [10] Constantopoulos visits Kurdish refugee camp

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos yesterday visited a camp for Kurd refugees near Loutraki, Corinth prefecture at the head of a Synaspismos delegation.

    The delegation offered symbolic aid collected by the party's Parliamentary group and its solidarity committee.

    Commenting on his visit afterwards, Mr. Constantopoulos said the Kurds genocide "is a disgrace for our century."

    "The Kurds are political refugees who are seeking a country, freedom, work and a life... the Greek government must take an initiative at an international conference on the Kurdish problem and proceed with processes for their recognition as political refugees and the granting of political asylum," he said.

    [11] Evert proposal for urgent ND meeting rejected

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy's leadership has turned down a proposal by former ND leader Miltiades Evert for an urgent meeting of the party's Parliamentary group, to discuss the latest developments following the expulsion of three senior members and the suspension of three others earlier this week.

    One of those expelled, former minister George Souflias, continues contacts with deputies and party members, exploring the possibilities for the formation of a new party.

    Sources close to him said "he has told nobody what he is going to do because he has not made his final decisions," while some of his aides reported that a decision has been made by the six expelled to coordinate actions outside Parliament, as they are the basic representatives of liberalism.

    Mr. Souflias is also said to believe that it is those who remain in the party that will face problems.

    ND leader Costas Karamanlis is visiting the Achaia region over the weekend, to attend various social functions.

    Meanwhile, the Political Spring party, which is at the center of speculation regarding its role in a possible political realignment, asked that the name of its leader, former ND foreign minister, Antonis Samaras, not be used in "as an alibi in backstage games and political designs".

    A statement issued said that the party's proposal for the formation of an "anti-Simitis" front still stands, and is addressed to all parties and political figures who believe that the present prime minister's policy is dangerous for the country.

    "A pre-condition for the promotion of this proposal is the respect for the autonomy of parties and individuals," the statement said.

    Meanwhile, former ND prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis dismissed a press report claiming that 7.5 billion drachmas of the party's 10-billion-drachma deficit dates back to his term in office.

    [12] ... Karamanlis interview

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    In an interview with the weekly newspaper 'Ependytis', out today, Mr. Karamanlis appears unwilling to make any compromises.

    "I always have as a criterion the unity, cohesion, united political position, and above all efficiency. I am not prepared to accept any compromises on any of these," he said.

    He expressed the view that the cause of all ills in his party was fragmentation and the prevalence of personal strategies, reiterating that he decided to expel the six deputies because "they provided an alibi and a life-belt to a government that is shaking. I put up with a lot for 10 months, but tolerance and goodwill cannot be transformed into weakness for the party," he said.

    He stated categorically that there was no issue of Political Spring leader Samaras returning to ND

    [13] ... Constantopoulos

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Asked to comment on the latest developments, Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos said there is confusion in policy and positions in the two major parties.

    "It is clear that the two major parties can no longer accommodate social processes, different voices and democratic dialogue," he said.

    [14] Cabinet briefed on 'Cultural Olympiad'

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis told the Cabinet yesterday said that the "Cultural Olympiad" does not just involve Athens but all of Greece.

    He added that the goal of the effort is to minimize the cultural inequalities in Greece, both social and geographical, and to promote the presence of Greece abroad.

    Mr. Simitis requested the speedy completion of the Acropolis Museum and unification of Athens' archaeological sites.

    On his part, Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos briefed the Cabinet on plans for the Cultural Olympiad, which is to begin in 2000 and continue in the form of a permanent, international non-governmental institution beyond the Athens Games in 2004.

    Cultural events, centered in ancient Olympia, Delphi and Epidaurus, will be coordinated by the ministry and organized by other agencies, including the European Cultural Center of Delphi, the National Theater, the State Theater of Northern Greece, the National Art Gallery and other museums.

    [15] PASOK conference on ideology

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister and PASOK President Costas Simitis will inaugurate the party's conference on ideology next Friday. PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis will address the two-day affair.

    Parliament and Europarliament deputies, central committee members, PASOK-affiliated labor unions' members and cadres will attend the conference.

    [16] Tsohatzopoulos tours DASA facilities in Germany

    Munich, 07/02/1998 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos visited facilities of the German aerospace firm DASA near Munich yesterday, where he was briefed on the progress of upgrading two Hellenic Air Force F-4 fighters.

    Know-how will also be transferred to the remaining F-4s, which will be upgraded in Greece.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos is in Munich to attend the "Political Security Conference", starting this morning and with "Security and the Future" being the first issue on the agenda.

    German Chancellor Helmut Kohl will be the main speaker.

    This year's event is being attended by more than 200 politicians, diplomats and military officers, including US Defense Secretary William Cohen and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana.

    [17] Royanmont initiative schedules March meeting in Athens

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    The next meeting of the Royanmont initiative, a process for stability and good neighborliness i n southeastern Europe, will be held in Athens on March 31.

    The members of the initiative, coordinated by Panayiotis Roumeliotis, will have a series of visits and contacts between Feb. 10 and March 15.

    The Royanmont process resulted "from the vision of an enlarged European family, based on democratic principles, peace, stability and co-operation among peoples."

    It became possible after many efforts were made for European Union countries, the US and Russia to participate in the Royanmont process, as well as Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Albania and Turkey.

    The process focuses firstly on improving relations between Balkan countries and the conclusion of agreements of good neighborliness with the ultimate purpose of avoiding conflicts which would lead to tragic results.

    Secondly, safeguarding freedom of expression and movement in the region which will contribute towards consolidating democracy.

    Thirdly, creating suitable preconditions to eliminate national prejudices and enable social groups to come into contact (athletes, physicians, attorneys etc.).

    The meetings, due to start next week and come to a close on March 15, are aimed at the gradual conclusion of co-operation and good neighborliness agreements. The agreements will constitute a springboard for the eventual conclusion of a Stability and Good Neighborliness Protocol between countries in southeastern Europe.

    The Royanmont initiative follows a parallel course with the Dayton/Paris initiative for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Royanmont will not preoccupy itself with economic restructuring programs and infrastructures development despite the fact its targets include the mobilization of resources and means in the EU on developing actions in the area.

    Royanmont's coordinator Mr. Roumeliotis will probe the possibilities of funding programs and will try to ensure that other initiatives are also included in the overall framework. Moreover, linking the Royanmont process with the pacification process in Bosnia-Herzegovina is also anticipated.

    [18] Iordanescu to assume nat'l football team's helm

    Bucharest, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Romanian coach Anghel Iordanescu yesterday announced that he will assume the position of head coach for the Greek national men's football team after this summer's World Cup.

    Mr. Iordanescu said he agreed on all terms with the Greek Football Federation (EPO).

    [19] ET-3 holds telethon for the Kalash tribe

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Thessaloniki-based ET-3 state television channel is holding a television marathon to raise money for the Kalash tribe of the Hindu Kush, considered by many as descendants of Alexander the Great's soldiers.

    The marathon, which began last night and was scheduled to run until dawn, is organized by ET-3 in collaboration with the education ministry and the "Friends of the Kalash" organization.

    The Kalash tribe lives in northern Pakistan at an altitude of 2,300 meters under adverse conditions. The Kalash are believed to be descended from the Macedonian soldiers of Alexander that remained in the area following the Indian campaigns.

    The Kalamaria municipality is currently hosting 12 children from the Kalash tribe, aged 9-17, while it intends to adopt most of the total 30 tribal settlements and build a building in the classical style there to serve as a cultural center, which will be named Thessaloniki.

    [20] Expatriate honored for support of Greek language in Australia

    Melbourne, 07/02/1998 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    La Tromp University in Melbourne will proclaim Greek expatriate businessman Zisis Dardalis an honorary literature lecturer at a special ceremony on Feb. 16.

    The award will be made in recognition of his contribution towards promoting the teaching of Greek and Greek civilization in Australia.

    Mr. Dardalis has made donations totaling about 100 million drachmas to La Tromp University so far for the creation of a Greek studies faculty and a national Greek studies and research center.

    "I want our language to be preserved and developed so the next generations of expatriates not to be assimilated," he said.

    [21] Internet in schools

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday announced that all schools will soon have access to the Internet.

    Mr. Venizelos said he will be meeting next week with Education Minister Gerassimos Arsenis to discuss the matter.

    [22] Flooding reported in eastern Macedonia, Thrace

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Two people drowned yesterday as torrential rains throughout northern Greece flooded hundreds of homes and shops and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland.

    One death was reported on the island of Thassos and one in the Evros region.

    A state of emergency contingency plan for natural disasters was put into effect in Evros, while waters of the Evros River marking the Greek-Turkish border rose above the 4.7-meter safety limit to 5.7 meters late yesterday, with the level expected to rise from melting snows in Bulgaria.

    Rail and roadways connections were also disrupted.

    Several Kavala-area towns were hit by heavy rains, while in one town alone more than 200 buildings were flooded.

    Regional officials and deputies are expected to request financial aid by government and European Union sources.

    Meanwhile, snowfall was reported for the first time this winter in Thessaloniki yesterday morning. Snow was also falling in Florina, Kozani, Grevena, Kilkis and Veria.

    [23] Vessel runs aground near Corfu

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Ecuador-flagged, Turkish-owned cargo ship "Sea Osman" ran aground yesterday off the islet of Mathraki, northeast of Corfu, while on route to the Yugoslav port of Veka.

    Several of the vessel's cargo holds flooded, forcing the vessel's Turkish captain to call for assistance.

    The passenger ship "Daedalos", a Ukrainian cargo vessel and a port authority tugboat were dispatched to the site.

    [24] Opposition criticism over Gov't handling of farm policy

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    The prime minister is afraid of facing society's explosive problems, being preoccupied with his own image and communication mechanisms, Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos charged in a press conference yesterday.

    Referring to farmers' mobilizations, he stressed that the country has no agricultural policy while farmers remain uninformed.

    "Nothing is being done to prepare the country for the new regime of financing agriculture, intervocational co-operation, the land bank, production costs, producers' organizations and new farmers, for the recognition of the farmer's profession, and the completion of farmers' register," he said.

    "Small and medium producers, comprising the vast majority of farmers, and particularly olive and citrus fruit growers, are in despair and facing their obliteration," he added.

    Meanwhile, Communist Party Secretary General Aleka Papariga called for an urgent debate in Parliament on farmers' mobilizations, saying that their problems also affected other categories of the population. She charged the causes of the problem should be sought in the policies of the EU and the government.

    Farmers yesterday blockaded the Athens to Thessaloniki highway near Larissa for two hours (3-5 p.m.) and held an assembly to discuss the progress of their mobilizations.

    A rally in Larissa later gathered meager support.

    The Kalamata to Tripoli highway remained closed yesterday, after being blocked by farmers on Thursday night.

    [25] ... Tzoumakas

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas will meet today in Athens with representatives of the farmers' unions of Thessaloniki, Serres, Pella and Xanthi.

    The Federation of the Serres Farmers' Unions requested the meeting to present their demands. During the meeting, protesting farmers will blockade the Athens-Thessaloniki highway for two hours.

    Mr. Tzoumakas will also have a meeting with representatives of the farmers who blocked the Malgara bridge near Thessaloniki.

    [26] Farm minister asks EU for debate on olives crisis

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas has sent a letter to European Union agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler asking for an urgent discussion of problems facing Greek olive producers.

    Mr. Tzoumakas asked for the issue to be included on the agenda of the next olive oil administrative committee meeting in Brussels on February 11.

    The minister argued that although olive product prices have dropped significantly sales were sluggish with products remaining in warehouses.

    The situation was a cause of serious financial, social and political problems in Greece, carrying a risk of disintegration for the country's olive oil market, Mr. Tzoumakas stressed.

    Meanwhile, olive producers continued protesting in Crete and farmers have agreed to hold further protests along the country's national road network.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas called on the farmers not to proceed to blockades and called on them to hold talks with the agriculture minister.

    [27] Women comprise 60 percent of long-term unemployed

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    More than 60 percent of Greece's long-term unemployed are women, according to a recent report by the country's General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE).

    The findings of the report were announced at GSEE's third national conference, titled "Women and Employment", which began on Thursday in Athens.

    Speakers said that women made up 80 percent of the workforce in trades involving piecework, such as the fashion industry.

    Women still did not make more than 80 percent of a man's wage for the same work despite legislation enforcing equal pay for equal work being on the books for the past 20 years.

    Greece's aging population and the subsequent burden this places on the state social security system meant that more and more women were being forced out of the workforce to care for ailing relatives before having collected the required number of social security stamps for a full pension.

    However, reforms being considered to the social security system would be of little to no benefit, since they centered on proposals to increase the retirement age.

    [28] Alumil activity in Romania

    Athens, 07/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Alumil Mylonas company, recently registered on the Athens Stock Exchange, has consolidated activities in Balkan markets, and particularly Romania, by establishing the subsidiary Alumil Rom Industry SRL.

    Alumil purchased the Bucharest installations of the Vulcan firm, aiming at initially using its storage space to cover the Romanian market.

    End of English language section.

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