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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-10

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 1412), February 10, 1998

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


  • [01] Greece submits non-paper to NATO on Turkish provocations
  • [02] Papadopoulos hints at new employment 'balance' in public sector
  • [03] ... Farmers' cooperatives
  • [04] Greek, Turkish journalists concerned over tension
  • [05] Tsohatzopoulos chairs committee meeting
  • [06] Impasse in EU-Turkey relations continues
  • [07] Santer to visit Athens in April
  • [08] Premier to receive Vietnamese deputy PM on Thursday
  • [09] Other Simitis' Meetings
  • [10] President Stephanopoulos tours Arta, Preveza
  • [11] Imported blood by-products confiscated
  • [12] Organization of 2004 Olympics a challenge, but poses no fears
  • [13] Iordanescu given green light to coach Greek national soccer team
  • [14] ND leader chairs meeting of party's heads of policy sectors
  • [15] ... Manos meets Andrianopoulos
  • [16] Gov't officials visit flood-hit Evros
  • [17] Buildings in Kavala seriously damaged by floods
  • [18] News in Brief
  • [19] Turkish freighter refloated
  • [20] EU to initiate proceedings against Greece on spent mineral oils
  • [21] IKA revenue losses may spell trouble in years to come
  • [22] Farmers' representatives to meet Gov't officials
  • [23] Draft bill aspires to benefit cooperatives
  • [24] Greek stocks surge on falling inflation, rates
  • [25] Greece to change law on overdue loans
  • [26] Greece to create incentives for withdrawal of old cars
  • [27] Greek exports rise in value in 1994-1996
  • [28] Italian company wins OTE tender
  • [29] Greece sees 12% increase in UK arrivals
  • [30] New loans program for real estate in eastern Aegean
  • [31] ASE president heads for Chicago

  • [01] Greece submits non-paper to NATO on Turkish provocations

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas yesterday confirmed a report that Greece had sent a non-paper to NATO refuting Turkish claims that Greece was giving support to Turkey's Kurdish minority.

    The report, which appeared in Sunday's issue of the Athens daily "Kathimerini", said the non-paper also presented NATO with data indicating that Turkey was undermining the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations through, firstly specific mechanisms in Greece's northeastern province of Thrace with a view to promoting destabilization and separatist views, secondly, through arsons in forests and other forms of sabotage in Greece by members of the Turkish underworld linked with unofficial power centers in the neighboring country and thirdly, by Turkish authorities showing "tolerance" in the massive flow of illegal immigrants to Greece and drug trafficking from Turkey towards Europe through Greece.

    The report said the submission of the non-paper was part of a broader strategy on the part of the Greek government, according to which the de-escalation of tension between the two countries should be accompanied by shedding light on Turkish provocations so that the international community acquires a clear picture of the ways in which Turkey's aggressiveness is manifested.

    According to the report, sources said the government considered that these tactics minimized the dangers of 'spasmodic' -and with unforeseeable consequences- moves by Ankara in Thrace, where its strategy has been led to an impasse through Greece's policy of equal political and legal rights for the Moslem minority in recent years, as testified, among other things, by the abolition of Article 19 of the Citizenship Code.

    Such an approach is also considered to reduce the likelihood of a 'hot' incident in the Aegean. The latest briefing of EU ambassadors on Turkish violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean was accompanied by a video showing to better illustrate Turkish provocative behavior.

    With regard to the referral of bilateral differences to the International Court of Justice, Mr. Reppas said Greece's position was unchanged.

    As reiterated by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in parliament last Wednesday, the only issue that the two countries could jointly refer to the International Court was the question of the continental shelf, he said.

    If Turkey recognized the Court's jurisdiction, something which Mr. Reppas did not think likely, then it would be able to take recourse to that Court over any issue it wished.

    "It is not necessary (for Turkey) to raise these issues by means of irregular military action," he added.

    [02] Papadopoulos hints at new employment 'balance' in public sector

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Interior and Public Administration Minister Alekos Papadopoulos has left open the issue of flexibility in labor relations and part-time employment in the public sector.

    Speaking yesterday at the European Conference on local and regional government, the minister referred to changes with a view to achieving a "new balance", and a new "entrepreneurial education" capable of transforming economic development into an increase in employment. He also referred to local collective labor agreements, independently of national or sectoral ones, resolution of problems relating to time of work with a view to boosting competitiveness, but also pursuing "ways of cooperation between the private and the public sectors".

    Civil servants' union (ADEDY) president Yiannis Koutsoukos called for the institutionalization of social dialogue through collective bargaining, and urged the government not to undermine the climate of dialogue with the unions by raising issues, such as part-time employment in the public sector, whose rejection by the unions is a foregone conclusion. He said unions would defend the European model of labor relations, against the wishes of the admirers of American or Japanese models.

    [03] ... Farmers' cooperatives

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Trade union leader (GSEE) Christos Polyzogopoulos yesterday chaired a broad meeting of delegates from all over Greece in Thessaloniki's Labor Center, which dealt with the problem of possible staff dismissals from agricultural cooperatives as part of a plan which, sources say, the government is promoting for their rehabilitation.

    Delegates said the plan would lead 3,000 people to unemployment, as more than 75 cooperatives would shed between 20 and 75 per cent of their staff, and that five cooperatives had already submitted plans for group layoffs.

    [04] Greek, Turkish journalists concerned over tension

    Izmir, 10/02/1998 (ANA/S.Balaskas)

    A group of Greek and Turkish journalists on Sunday expressed concern over the "perpetuation of tension" in relations between Greece and Turkey and called on the two sides to avoid any provocative military or other actions.

    A resolution issued after a three-day meeting in the Turkish city of Izmir, which ended on Sunday night, said:

    "We consider negative for both countries, the implication in Greek-Turkish relations of foreign military formations regardless of how they are manifested, as they entail the danger of war or an arbiter's role".

    More than 250 journalists, politicians and intellectuals attended the "2nd solidarity meeting of Greek and Turkish journalists" organized by the "Journalists in the Aegean and Thrace for Peace" movement, in a follow up to the first meeting last year on the Greek island of Hios.

    The resolution expressed "deep concern over the perpetuating tension in relations between Greece and Turkey".

    It reiterated the journalists' "firm position that the problems between the two countries can and should be resolved through the application of the rules of international law, bilateral treaties, and full respect of the existing borders".

    It called on both sides to "finally decide to avoid every provocative, military or other action".

    The resolution said that "any hesitation on the path of dialogue, often the result of pressure from nationalistic circles in both countries, and every hesitation in respecting international law only intensifies the crisis and gives rise to interventions by third parties that serve only the arms dealers at the expense of the standard of living of the two peoples".

    Regarding the Cyprus problem, the resolution stressed "the need for demilitarization of the island and solving its internal problems to the benefit of the two communities".

    At another point the resolution stressed that "the minorities in Greece and Turkey could form a bridge of friendship among the two countries," adding that "we feel compelled to demand the implementation of any human rights that are violated today".

    The delegates said that the next solidarity meeting would be held in Alexandroupolis, Thrace next year.

    [05] Tsohatzopoulos chairs committee meeting

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos chaired a meeting of the joint Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministries' committee yesterday in the framework of regular meetings on the better coordination of action. The meeting was attended by Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    The new structure of the NATO alliance was examined, as well as confidence building measures being promoted by NATO's

    Secretary-General Javier Solana.

    [06] Impasse in EU-Turkey relations continues

    Brussels, 10/02/1998 (ANA-M. Spinthourakis)

    The heavy atmosphere prevailing in EU-Turkey relations since the Luxembourg summit continued during yesterday's first session of the Joint Parliamentary Committee, in which 12 Turkish deputies and 12 Euro-MPs participated .

    The head of the Turkish delegation, Istanbul deputy Bulent Akarcali appeared intransigent, even hostile, stressing that Turkey was not considering its participation in the European conference as the Luxembourg summit had adopted decisions which were discriminatory against his country.

    Other Turkish deputies criticized the EU for discriminating in favor of Greece, and said that as a result it could not play any role in the resolution of Greek-Turkish differences.

    Regarding Cyprus, External Affair Commissioner Hans van den Broek said the EU had not placed any special terms for Turkey, and that the door of the European conference remained open either now or in the future for Turkey whose absence would be a mistake . He added that no EU institutional organ shared the view that Cyprus was a Greek-Turkish dispute, and reiterated that accession negotiations with Cyprus and countries of eastern Europe would begin at the end of March.

    Former Europarliament president Peter Dunkirt told Turkish delegates, "you have a long way to go and you will need time to cover it," noting that Turkey was currently facing an internal war (with the Kurds) , which was a problem that no other country of the Union or prospective member was facing.

    [07] Santer to visit Athens in April

    Brussels, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    European Commission president Jacques Santer will pay an official visit to Greece April 9-13.

    While in Athens, Mr. Santer will meet with the state and political leadership of the country.

    He will also be the keynote speaker at a banquet at an international conference on "Greeting a new Business Age" being organized in Athens by The Economist magazine on April 9.

    Mr. Santer will also visit the island of Crete, where he will meet with representatives of local authorities and producers.

    It will be Mr. Santer's third official visit to Greece since assuming the helm of the Commission in January 1995.

    [08] Premier to receive Vietnamese deputy PM on Thursday

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Vietnam's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Nguyen Manh Cam, will be in Athens on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas added that the prime minister would answer questions on the farmers protests in Parliament tomorrow.

    Today, the prime minister will chair a meeting on public utilities and corporations. The meeting will be attended by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis and Labor and Welfare Minister Miltiades Papaioannou.

    [09] Other Simitis' Meetings

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Mr. Simitis met yesterday with Greek film director Costa-Gavra and singer George Dalaras.

    Mr. Gavra said he had met Mr. Simitis before he became prime minister "and I just visited him today to say hello".

    He added that he told the prime minister that he felt the perception of Greece abroad was changing for the better since Mr. Simitis became prime minister.

    The prime minister later met with PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis and PASOK Eurodeputy Paraskevas Avgerinos.

    [10] President Stephanopoulos tours Arta, Preveza

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos started a two-day tour of Arta and Preveza yesterday. He received a warm welcome in Arta by local authorities and inhabitants. Also present was Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) President Demetris Tsovolas and a number of deputies.

    Addressing President Stephanopoulos, the Mayor of Arta Mr. Vayios referred to the city's problems, stressing that the state has forgotten the region and called on President Stephanopoulos to intervene for a new impetus to be provided for development.

    "I cannot resolve problems faced by Arta myself, but you were right in raising them because only in this way can a government be sensitized to resolving them," President Stephanopoulos said.

    Referring to Greek national issues, President Stephanopoulos said "we must defend our homeland from enemies. I am not being an alarmist, but we must defend dignity, pride and our territorial sovereignty."

    Afterwards, President Stephanopoulos visited Saint Theodora Cathedral, the Byzantine Museum, the Holy Panagia Monastery and the historic bridge. Later on in the day he was due to be given the city's gold medal.

    President Stephanopoulos will tour the prefecture of Preveza today.

    [11] Imported blood by-products confiscated

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) yesterday announced that it confiscated more than a month ago a large number of imported blood by-products, which may be tainted.

    EOF President G. Kavadias said that two pharmaceutical products imported from Germany were pulled off the shelves of two pharmacies in the Athens area to be tested for viruses.

    The samples tested to date did not contain infectious diseases but the testing at the "Laiko Hospital" will continue, Mr. Kavadias said.

    EOF's announcement came after a report yesterday that a Lichtenstein lawyer revealed that tainted blood by-products and human organs were illegally imported from eastern European countries and Russia and exported to Greece.

    The illegal trade, which begun in 1996, used blood of cancer patients and people with a weak immune system.

    Mr. Kavadias noted that the case has already been assigned to a public prosecutor, since these products were promoted in public hospitals in Athens and Patra by university doctors without the quality seal of EOF.

    Mr. Kavadias said that at least two doctors are allegedly involved in prescribing the blood by-products, and it is probable that they received large commissions for promoting the products.

    The EOF president noted that all products with the EOF seal of approval may be used without fear by all patients.

    [12] Organization of 2004 Olympics a challenge, but poses no fears

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Newly appointed president of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games organizing committee Stratis Stratigis yesterday said the organization of the Games, while a "considerable challenge", posed no fears.

    Speaking at a joint press conference yesterday with Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras after returning from the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Mr. Stratigis said of his meeting with International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch:

    "The IOC president believes that the Athens Olympics will combine sports with culture linked with history. Mr. Samaranch rightly believes that the 2004 Games will be the best ever held."

    With regard to the 2004 budget, Mr. Stratigis stressed that the final budget would be submitted after the Sydney Olympiad in 2000.

    "We aren't afraid of anything. The IOC's accumulation of technical know-how and our efforts to adapt the Games to new technology are a guarantee that the Games will be organized successfully," he said.

    Questioned with regard to Greece's proposal for a world truce during the 2004 Games, Mr. Fouras said the proposal had become "flesh and blood" in Nagano and had been enthusiastically received by all IOC members.

    Asked to comment on the participation in the organizing committee of Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who led the successful bid committee, Mr. Stratigis said:

    "The government wants Mrs. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki on the organizing committee. She has told me that for family reasons she will be unable to do so. However, she will be on the National Committee and has assured me she will ... assist us."

    [13] Iordanescu given green light to coach Greek national soccer team

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    The appointment of Romanian soccer coach Anghel Iordanescu to head the Greek national team was approved yesterday by the board of the National Soccer Federation (EPO).

    Mr. Iordanescu has been recruited to help the team in its bid to qualify for the finals of the Euro 2000 championships.

    He has signed a two-year contract at a salary of 300,000 dollars per year, with a bonus of 250,000 if the team reaches the finals.

    EPO president Sotiris Alimisis said the federation reserved the right to renew the contract for another two years.

    [14] ND leader chairs meeting of party's heads of policy sectors

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Yesterday's meeting of the main opposition New Democracy party's heads of policy sectors, the first after the recent expulsions of six deputies, was held in a formal and rather cold atmosphere.

    The meeting, chaired by party leader Costas Karamanlis, did not discuss intraparty issues, while according to party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos, the issues relating to the expulsions was now over.

    The six were brought before the party disciplinary council last week after they failed to comply with the party's line in voting against a government-sponsored amendment for public utilities.

    Former ministers Stefanos Manos, George Souflias and Vassilis Kontoyiannopoulos were permanently expelled, while three other deputies were suspended from the party for one year.

    Replying to a question as to whether the ND's electoral chances were slashed after the expulsions, Mr. Spiliotopoulos said politics was not practiced through assumptions but was rather judged by results.

    He added ND's current mission was to fulfill its institutional undertaking, namely to systematically check on the government for mistakes and deficiencies and submit its own proposals.

    Discussion during yesterday's session focused on farmers' protest action, compound interest and the pensions system.

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos charged that it was now widely acknowledged that Agriculture Minister Stefanos Tzoumakas was unsuitable for the post because he has insufficient knowledge of the issues involved, on top of having been ineffective on crucial issues in Brussels.

    He also accused the government of not having taken advantage of the time since last year's protest action by farmers to bring in parliament a comprehensive policy to solve problems.

    Regarding the controversial issue of compound interest, the ND spokesman said in the coming days the party will submit its own proposal in parliament.

    [15] ... Manos meets Andrianopoulos

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    The latest developments in the ND party and consequences of the recent expulsions were the focus of a meeting lasting one hour, between expelled deputy Stefanos Manos and Andreas Andrianopoulos, held in London yesterday.

    Both men agreed that both the ND and the country were going through a critical period, and moves should not be hasty, but serious and in low profile.

    In the meantime, Vassilis Kontoyiannopoulos has left open the possibility regarding the founding of a new political party.

    In an interview with the Ethnos newspaper, the former ND deputy said both George Souflias and Stefanos Manos had the required qualities to lead a new political movement.

    Nevertheless, he noted that the current crisis in the main opposition party could ease off if the leadership acknowledged its error and called the expelled back in the party.

    [16] Gov't officials visit flood-hit Evros

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Agriculture Under-secretary Vassilis Geranidis yesterday visited the Evros prefecture regions, which were hit by flooding.

    Mr. Petsalnikos said that the damages were extensive and that as soon as they are catalogued he will move to "heal the wounds," both with financial aid and with the reconstruction of the infrastucture.

    Mr. Geranidis said that his ministry will move to compensate the farmers for their losses as soon as the official cataloguing of the damage is complete.

    [17] Buildings in Kavala seriously damaged by floods

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Over 250 homes and businesses were seriously damaged in last week's flooding in Nea Peramos, Kavala, according to a statement by its mayor Iraklis Karaberidis yesterday.

    Dozens of holiday-home owners visited the region over the weekend to survey the damage to property.

    A team of engineers is inspecting all flooded buildings for structural damage.

    Regional Director for eastern Macedonia and Thrace Stavros Karatziotis is to visit Nea Perama tomorrow to announce measures to assist the flood victims and allocate compensation from national and European Union funds.

    [18] News in Brief

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    - Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday received Britain's Research and Technology Secretary and discussed the 5th research and technology program of the European Union.

    - The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that a report published in the Albanian newspaper "Albania," which wrote that Greek politicians were involved in an alleged murder plot last March against former president Sali Berisha, was unfounded and "lacked seriousness".

    - An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded at 16.00 yesterday, its epicenter located 20 kms east of Athens in the sea bed near the port of Rafina, according to an announcement by Athens seismologists. The tremor was felt in Rafina, Loutsa and Athens, particularly the northern suburbs. No damage has been reported.

    - "Greece has had no message from the United States concerning a possible request from Washington for the use of (military) bases on Greek territory in the event of an intervention in Iraq," government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday in reply to press questions.

    [19] Turkish freighter refloated

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek tugboats refloated a Turkish freighter that had run aground in the shallows off the islet of Mathraki, northeast of the island of Corfu, harbor officials said yesterday.

    They said the Ecuador-flagged "C. Osman", which ran aground last Friday while en route to the Yugoslav port of Veka, was refloated late on Sunday night by two Greek tugs after transferring part of its cargo to a Greek cargo ship.

    Meanwhile, the Piraeus harbor authority said that the 2,037-ton Greek tanker "Aegean VI" ran aground yesterday in the sandy shallows off the island of Poros.

    The tanker's nine-member crew were all safe, and efforts were being made to refloat it.

    [20] EU to initiate proceedings against Greece on spent mineral oils

    Brussels, 10/02/1998 (ANA- P. Pantelis)

    The European Commission has decided to initiate procedures against Greece for not announcing plans for the management of spent mineral oils, Environment Commissioner Ritt Bjerregaard said in reply to a question by Greek Euro- MP Michalis Papayiannakis.

    "Greece has not submitted data concerning the implementation of Directive 87/101/EOK, regarding spent mineral oils, amending Directive 75/439/EOK on the disposal of spent mineral oils," she said in a reply dated February 5.

    "In Greece, only 9 per cent (5,000 tons) of used mineral oils are gathered through legal procedures and undergo renewal. The remaining part is gathered by illicit small traders, who sell the untreated waste as fuel," she added. As a result the Commission was considering referring Greece to the European court for ill application of the Directives, she concluded.

    [21] IKA revenue losses may spell trouble in years to come

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    The President of the Social Security Foundation's, IKA, Staff Federation Mr. G. Perifanos told a press conference yesterday that an increase in contributions evasion and loans can lead IKA to a crucial position and even to inability to guarantee, five years later, pensions and medical care for those insured with it.

    The POS-IKA union has called a 24-hour strike today and has announced a 48-hour strike in the next few days. Trade unionists warned that they will consider the period until Easter as "strike time" and called on the government to evaluate the foundation's revenue losses and inconvenience caused for the insured.

    Their main claim is an incentive bonus for pursuing contributions evasion, totaling six billion drachmas, given to them last year but withdrawn this year by decision of Finance Under-secretary Nicos Christodoulakis. They also want the hiring of more staff.

    More than 3,000 vacant jobs cost IKA a great deal. Mr. Perifanos predicted a decrease in contributions receipts by 5-7 per cent a year, leading to a loss of 300 billion drachmas over the next three years.

    [22] Farmers' representatives to meet Gov't officials

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Protesting farmers yesterday continued a week-long blockade of national highways in northern Greece as the government set up a team of troubleshooters in a bid to end the standoff.

    The team, headed by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and comprising Finance Under-secretary George Drys, agriculture undersecretaries Demetris Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis, and the governor of the Agricultural Bank of Greece, Petros Lambrou, invited protesting farmers' representatives to the ministry for talks on Thursday.

    The farmers have said they will intensify blockades this week and continue their protest until their demands are met for state subsidies and cheaper petrol for agricultural use. Farmers are blocking the national road at several points in the prefectures of Thessaloniki, Pieria and Imathia, causing serious disruption to traffic and forcing drivers to use side roads.

    They plan a two-hour blockade near the Greek-Yugoslav border post at Evzoni beginning at 2:00 p.m. today.

    [23] Draft bill aspires to benefit cooperatives

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    A draft bill presented yesterday by Agriculture Minister Stefanos Tzoumakas aspires to contribute to the establishment of independent and economically sound farmers' cooperatives.

    The draft bill was put together by a committee set up for the purpose by the minister last August.

    According to the committee's report, new legislation should be governed by the following basic axes:

    - small farming interests and local societies in mountainous and disadvantaged regions can only be supported through cooperatives

    - as businesses owned by their members, cooperatives should operate in the form of independent bodies to the benefit of their members.

    The social nature of the cooperatives is evident in their internal rules, while their economic well-being would result from initiatives serving the interests of the local society.

    [24] Greek stocks surge on falling inflation, rates

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities yesterday shot to their highest levels in more than a month on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said market sentiment was encouraged by a fall in inflation, a gradual drop in domestic interbank interest rates and positive news on a government sponsored amendment for bank penalty rates on overdue loans.

    The general index closed 3.09 percent up at 1,509.31 points reflecting a 5.12 percent surge in the banking index.

    Other sector indices scored gains. Insurance rose 4.02 percent, Investment increased 0.86 percent, Construction ended 4.75 percent up, Industrials rose 1.92 percent, Miscellaneous ended 3.55 percent higher, Holding was 1.74 percent up but Leasing bucked the trend to end 0.52 percent off.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.68 percent. The FTSE/ASE index surged 3.85 percent to end at 843.09 points.

    Trading was extremely heavy with turnover at 29.2 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 147 to 76 with another 20 issues unchanged.

    St. George Mills, Esha, Hellenic Textiles and Bank of Athens scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily upper 8.0 percent limit, while Vis, Halyps Cement, Mouzakis and Benroubi suffered the heaviest losses at 8.0 percent limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,580 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,600, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,250, Delta Dairy at 3,000, Titan Cement at 14,295, Intracom at 15,815 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,950.

    [25] Greece to change law on overdue loans

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government will release a bill next week covering the imposition of penalty rates on overdue loans by commercial banks.

    Under the new regulation, penalty rates are to be imposed every six months, down from the current three months, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Mr. Papantoniou told reporters after a meeting with bank governors that the ministry wanted to benefit borrowers.

    He stressed that the government would do its utmost to limit the cost of the new regulation. It is being introduced following a Supreme Court decision.

    [26] Greece to create incentives for withdrawal of old cars

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis plans to introduce incentives for car owners to withdraw old vehicles from the market in order to help cut pollution by 2004 when Athens will host the Olympic Games.

    "There must be attractive incentives so that cars over 15 years old on average can gradually be withdrawn ... and replaced by new cars with new technology," Mr. Laliotis told journalists yesterday.

    Declining to give details of the measures that have yet to be decided, he said the import of cars up to five years old should be allowed so that Greece would not become a graveyard for old vehicles.

    Cars over 15 years old accounted for up to 40 percent of atmospheric pollution, Mr. Laliotis said.

    [27] Greek exports rise in value in 1994-1996

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek exports rose steadily in 1994-1996 in value but fell in the first three months of 1997, an industry report said yesterday.

    A Greek industry chamber report showed that exports jumped 87 percent in 1994 to slow to 16.9 and 3.1 percent in 1995 and 1996 respectively, following declines of 11.6 percent in 1992 and 16.2 percent in 1993.

    Exports, however, fell 3.2 percent in ECUs in the first quarter of 1997 compared with the corresponding period in 1996.

    Exporters, businessmen and producers urged the government to take measures to support the economy in order to improve competitiveness and promote Greek exports abroad.

    Exporters' representatives stressed that in 1992-1996 Greece's presence in its traditional central European markets shrank to the benefit of emerging markets in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

    At the same time, Greece's export share in the European Union market fell to its lowest levels.

    Exporters warned that the government's hard drachma policy was hurting competitiveness and urged better coordination between government and industry export agencies.

    [28] Italian company wins OTE tender

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Italian Maristel construction company has won a tender to procure and install a 330 km submerged optical fibers cable connecting Yugoslavia with Greece.

    The 3 billion drachma project is to be implemented on behalf of the Telecommunications Organization of Greece (OTE) and the Yugoslav counterpart organization.

    [29] Greece sees 12% increase in UK arrivals

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece expects a 12 percent increase in tourist traffic from Great Britain, according to recent figures from the Greek National Tourist Organization in London. Bookings in December 1997 were up by 35 percent compared with the same month in 1996, with bookings for January 1998 already over the December figure.

    The most popular destinations for holidaying Britons were: Athens (up 195 percent), Lefkada (up 72%), Cephallonia (up 62 percent), Skiathos (up 61 percent), Corfu (30 percent), Rhodes (22 percent) and Zakynthos (20 percent).

    [30] New loans program for real estate in eastern Aegean

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Insurance Minister Miltiades Papaioannou attended the delivery ceremony for new workers homes in Polichnito Lesvos yesterday and announced a new loans program by the Workers Home Organization for beneficiaries from the eastern Aegean.

    According to the new program, beneficiaries in the Aegean will be able to receive loans for the purchase and repair of real estate in eastern Aegean islands. The period for paying off the loan is 25 years with an interest rate ranging between 1 per cent and 7 per cent in accordance with the beneficiary's civil status.

    The minimum income required for one to join the programs is 2.2 million drachmas for people from the islands of Lesvos, Rhodes and Chios, while a minimum level is not required for people from the smaller islands.

    [31] ASE president heads for Chicago

    Athens, 10/02/1998 (ANA)

    Athens Stock Exchange President Manolis Xanthakis will head a committee of ASE and Capital Market Committee members departing for Chicago today for contacts with officials of the local Stock Exchange for Merchandise in the framework of obtaining better in formation for the Greek capital market. Mr. Xanthakis disclosed this during a luncheon meeting with journalists yesterday.

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