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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-10

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 1435), March 10, 1998

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


  • [01] Simitis calls for dialogue in Kosovo,no change of borders
  • [02] Five Balkan nations agree on joint declaration on Kosovo crisis
  • [03] Humanitarian aid to Albania from Alexandroupoli
  • [04] US ambassador visits Crete
  • [05] Gov't on reported Burns criticism of Pangalos
  • [06] Greece participates in NATO's 'Strong Resolve'
  • [07] Simitis-Skandalidis meeting focuses on municipal elections
  • [08] ND Parliamentary group session held without turmoil
  • [09] No gov't comment on Italian weapons system to Cyprus
  • [10] Swedish FM rejects any thought of UN recognition for T/C pseudo-regime
  • [11] Insurances firms' federation offers reward for Sotiropoulos' murder
  • [12] Serapheim's condition stable
  • [13] EMU's third phase dominates ECOFIN session
  • [14] New housing le nding programme for Thrace
  • [15] Greek embassy press attache employees on strike
  • [16] Greek stocks still rising on calm drachma, money market
  • [17] Classification of brokerage companies based on net turnover
  • [18] Greece one step closer to modernising car market
  • [19] Greece backs Dr 14-billion upgrade for Thessaloniki airport
  • [20] EU inflation rate drops in Jan., Greece posts highest rate
  • [21] V. Papandreou projects increase in German tourist arrivals for '98
  • [22] Montreal tourism promotion for Greece

  • [01] Simitis calls for dialogue in Kosovo,no change of borders

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is categorically opposed to any change in existing borders in the Balkans, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday, following his meeting with visiting Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani.

    Mr. Mejdani arrived in Athens yesterday on a three-day official visit, the first ever by an Albanian head of state. Shortly after his arrival he entered into talks with his host, President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Expressing grave concern about the situation in Kosovo, Mr. Simitis said the "vicious circle of terrorist acts and the use of force must be broken".

    The premier said Greece condemned secessionist tendencies, was unreservedly opposed to terrorism and military force, while it had called on the parties involved to enter into a sincere and substantial dialogue without preliminary conditions.

    This, he added, will lead to a resolution of the problems of the region through the recognition of broad autonomy in Kosovo without a change of borders.

    Mr. Mejdani described the situation in the region as a threat to peace and stability and asked for Greece's help and the intervention of NATO and the European Union to stop the armed attacks.

    Turning to Greek-Albanian relations, Mr. Simitis said they were characterised by steady progress and contributed considerably to peace, security and stability.

    Greece, he added, will continue to support Albania's efforts to join Euro-Atlantic structures.

    Mr. Mejdani said relations between the two countries were excellent, noting that Greece was a friend of Albania.

    He stressed that Albania needed Greece's support to help it implement the necessary reforms.

    Stephanopoulos : Mr. Stephanopoulos said talks with Mr. Mejdani had coincided on the need for "prudent and sensible views" to prevail in resolving the Kosovo problem.

    Mr. Mejdani said his visit to Greece coincided with the worsening of the situation in Kosovo, stressing that this development "poses a serious threat to peace in the region".

    He called on Greece, as a member of NATO and the European Union, to play its role within the framework of Euro-Atlantic structures "in order to make Belgrade stop using force and sit at the negotiating table, so that a viable and long-term solution can be found."

    Following talks between the Greek and Albanian presidents, a cooperation protocol was signed by Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and Albanian Interior Minister Neritan Ceka providing for joint patrols by the border police and the Greek coast gu ard for a more effective policing of the two countries' sea borders.

    For technical reasons, the scheduled signing of a bilateral cultural agreement was postponed for 24 hours for certain corrections to be made.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said he was certain that his Albanian counterpart's visit would contribute to the further improvement of bilateral relations, adding that he had ascertained in talks with his counterpart and the Albanian delegation "the sincere desire for any outstanding issues in bilateral relations" to be dealt with in a way that leads to "the right solutions".

    Mr. Mejdani said Tirana was willing to broaden bilateral relations in all sectors and stressed the need for Greek investments in Albania.

    Noting that the ethnic Greek minority in Albania gave additional impetus to the "brotherly and friendly" relations between the two countries, he gave the assurance that the Albanian state "will respect the minority's rights in accordance with internatio nal standards".

    Mr. Mejdani said the Albanian workers in Greece were a link of friendship between the two peoples, noting that the Greek government was doing everything possible towards granting them legal status and improving their living conditions.

    Stressing that Greece was a "top priority partner", Mr. Mejdani said he had ascertained this during the difficult period which Albania had gone through, citing in particular Greek assistance in consolidating democratic institutions in his country.

    Mr. Mejdani also stressed the importance of Greek support for Albania's efforts to joint Euro-Atlantic structures.

    Also present during talks were Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, and Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis, among others.

    Opposition leaders : Earlier, Mr. Mejdani met with several Greek political parties' leaders in the afternoon for talks on Greek-Albanian relations and the Kosovo crisis.

    Main opposition ND leader Costas Karamanlis, who had a meeting with Mr. Mejdani, declined to comment afterwards.

    The leader of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), Aleka Papariga, spoke of a possible plan for a renewed break-up of Yugoslavia, warning that this "should not be overlooked" by using existing problems to open a new round of conflicts.

    Nikos Constantopoulos, the leader of the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), suggested calm and an intervention by the international community, stressing that immediate political and diplomatic initiatives were needed towards recognising the rights of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas, following his meeting with the Albanian president, said a solution of the Kosovo problem should come from Balkan nations, avoiding unilateral interventions by western nations.

    Skandalidis : Following his meeting with Mr. Mejdani, ruling PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis ascertained an identity of views on issues relating to the Greek minority in Albania and security in the region.

    "Greece is ready to offer its good services for a peaceful solution of any difference, because it has a long and bitter experience from hard-to-resolve conflicts in a fluid region as the Balkans," said Mr. Skandalidis.

    Official dinner : In the evening, Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that Athens is resolved to render Greek-Albanian relations an example of good-neighbourliness for the entire region.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos made the statements during an official dinner he hosted in honour of the Albanian president.

    Referring to the problem in Kosovo, President Stephanopoulos said Greece is greatly concerned over the worsening situation and spoke of "a vicious circle of violence by both sides."

    He said a substantive dialogue must start between the parties involved without preliminary conditions for a solution to the problems in the region with recognition of a degree of autonomy without a change in the borders of the Federal Republic of Yugosl avia, and with the unity and sovereignty of this country being safeguarded.

    President Stephanopoulos called on Albania to exercise all its influence, in the framework of the positions also supported by the international community, rejecting wha-tever secessionist concepts.

    He further said that Greece desires the unimpeded exercising of all minority rights by the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, stressing that this minority constitutes "a stable bridge of friendship between the two countries and is entitled to enjoy in pr actice rights anticipated by international accords, including educational and religious rights, as well as to live unobstructed with a sense of security."

    [02] Five Balkan nations agree on joint declaration on Kosovo crisis

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Five Balkan countries - Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - agreed in Sofia yesterday on a joint declaration on the Kosovo crisis.

    The move will reportedly inaugurate closer cooperation between Balkan states in jointly dealing with regional problems, and with FYROM participating in the group of five after a proposal by Greece.

    According to diplomatic sources, the declaration's text is in favour of granting broad autonomy to Kosovo, inhabited mostly by ethnic Albanians, but within the internationally recognised borders of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, stressing that the five nations were against altering borders in the region.

    They also proposed that a 1996 educational agreement between then Serb president Slobodan Milosevic and ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova be implemented immediately.

    At the same time they expressed regret at the violent repression of several peaceful demonstrations in Kosovo, while also condemning the use of terrorism as means to attain political goals.

    The five Balkan countries called on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the leaders of Kosovo's Albanians to begin talks to settle the problem, while underlining the need for respect for ethnic Albanians' human rights.

    They further proposed the return of international observers in Kosovo in order to monitor developments first hand.

    The declaration ends by addressing an appeal to the United States and the European Union to contribute in preserving stability in the Balkans, stressing that the five nations were counting on their support in finding a solution to the Kosovo problem.

    Gov't spokesman : In Athens earlier, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Greece was participating in efforts to draft a joint text at the five-nation Sofia talks.

    He said that Athens approach on the Kosovo crisis remained the same, namely, that it be resolved by peaceful means, through dialogue and without military intervention.

    "In no circumstances should there be any change of borders," Mr. Reppas said, adding however, that Athens was in favour of autonomy within the framework of existing agreements.

    Mr. Reppas also said Greece has long proposed the creation of a multinational rapid reaction force, when asked to comment on proposals in this respect by other countries, such as Turkey.

    He added that Greece had raised the issue of a rapid reaction force at a meeting of Balkan defence ministers, well before the recent intensification of tension in Kosovo. Athens had not raised the issue of a headquarters for the force so as to a void placing the matter on the basis of "a discussion motivated by expediencies", he added.

    Papandreou : Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, meanwhile, told Greek state television in London yesterday that Mr. Rugova and Mr. Milosevic had to talk "to avoid the worst".

    "Above all, there must be a clear message from the international community that Serbia must proceed to partial autonomy for Kosovo as well as from the other side that the international community cannot tolerate a new independent country, in other words,a change of borders in the Balkans, which would send shockwaves throughout the region," Mr. Papandreou said. "A Rugova-Milosevic dialogue could contribute to the peace process as would the implementation of the educational agreement," he said.

    "...there must be calm from all sides, no violence, no terrorist acts on the part of extremist elements as well as self-restraint on the part of Serbia in relation to the suppression of any expression of as to allow democratic procedu res to prevail in developments in Kosovo."

    [03] Humanitarian aid to Albania from Alexandroupoli

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    For the second time in less than a year the municipality of Alexandroupoli is preparing to send humanitarian aid to the ethnic Greeks of Albania.

    The first shipment, consisting of medicines and educational meterials, was sent in June 1997 to the ethnic Greek village of Vodrista.

    The second shipment, mainly medicines, was collected in a period of two months at the initiative of the Alexandroupoli youth committee's council with the cooperation of local communities, associations and citizens, as well as students' boards from the island of Kalymnos and the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation.

    The humanitarian aid is set for delivery on March 23.

    [04] US ambassador visits Crete

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    U.S. Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns yesterday visited military installations in the Hania region, during his two-day visit to the island of Crete.

    Mr. Burns met with the commander of the U.S. base at Souda, who briefed him on the base's five-year development programme. The ambassador also toured the NATO installations at Marathi and met with Greek military officials.

    Today he will meet with local officials and hold a press conference for local media in the afternoon.

    Mr. Burns' presence has not gone unnoticed, the Committee against Foreign Bases had scheduled a protest rally outside the municipal market for yesterday afternoon.

    [05] Gov't on reported Burns criticism of Pangalos

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responded yesterday to questions citing reports that the US ambassador in Athens often expresses his disagreement with moves by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Mr. Nicholas Burns is the US ambassador and expresses his government's positions, Mr. Reppas said, adding: "It is not possible for us impose restrictions on anyone to exercise their own policy.

    "What is important is for us to exercise the policy which we think is in the interest of our country and neighbouring ones," he said.

    [06] Greece participates in NATO's 'Strong Resolve'

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is participating in the large-scale NATO exercise codenamed "Strong Resolve" with four F-16 fighter planes, one frigate and a number of staff officers, the national defence ministry said yesterday.

    The exercise got under way yesterday in the Iberian peninsula and simultaneously in Norway with the participation of all NATO countries and seven Partnership for Peace countries.

    The objective of "Strong Resolve" is to evaluate the Alliance's capability to take action in two crises which arise simultaneously in different parts of the world.

    [07] Simitis-Skandalidis meeting focuses on municipal elections

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis held talks with PASOK party Secretary Costas Skandalidis yesterday, focusing on current political developments and preparation of the party's central committee session.

    The session is due to take place at the end of March on the issue of selecting mayoral candidates to be supported by the ruling party in October's municipal elections.

    Intraparty processes were concluded in all the prefectures in the country on Sunday and prefectural councils decided on whether preliminary elections will be held.

    [08] ND Parliamentary group session held without turmoil

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday addressed a clear warning to internal party dissidents not to cause turmoil, emphasising that if anyone did not want to follow what he called a "course to victory", then his place was outside the party.

    Addressing a crucial ND Parliamentary group session, he said there was no issue of revoking recent expulsions of six prominent deputies who failed to vote against the government on a controversial labour relations amendment, saying they had provided an alibi for the "government's hypocricy", adding that ND's ideological identity was given and vindicated.

    "We have no ideological issue or problem of political identity. We are the only party that has no need of redefining its ideology," he stressed.

    He reiterated that the basic reason for the party's electoral defeats in the past was a malignant introversion which reduced its appeal, as he said.

    "The major issue is unity and real cohesion with the elements of solidarity and not with the sum total of personal ambitions," Mr. Karamanlis said.

    He set four conditions for the party to regain power, namely, the party's democratic fuctioning, persistence on and projection of ND's ideas and values, consistency and continuity, and lastly, cohesion.

    Earlier, former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis had used harsh language, charging that the expulsions had severely injured the party, creating confusion and division at the grass roots level.

    He pointed out that one of those expelled, former minister George Souflias had gathered 30 per cent in the leadership contest of the party, adding that when the 40 per cent expels the 30 per cent, this means rift and schism.

    Mr. Mitsotakis said he was in favour of the two-party system, stressing that the greater the number of parties, the worse for New Democracy, the political system and the country.

    "However, wherever there is a vacuum, natural laws say it is filled," he cautioned, while he insisted ND had to cover as broad a section of the political spectrum as possible.

    "I insist on the broadness of the party because I know with what difficulty we reached 47 per cent (in 1990)," he said.

    Deputy Ioannis Kefaloyannis, who had presided over the party's disciplinary council that expelled the six deputies, accused Mr. Mitsotakis of never guaranteeing the unity of the party, including at critical moments, stressing that "the people are tired and cannot tolerate such behaviour any more".

    Souflias,Manos : On their part, Mr. Souflias and Stephanos Manos, who were recently expelled from the main opposition and are now independent, yesterday criticised ND's leadership.

    Mr. Souflias said "I am sincerely saddened, that in the Parliamentary group meeting the deep and permanent crisis in ND was confirmed..."

    He added that there was no essential and free discussion on the major issues torturing the party, because of the fear of new expulsions.

    Mr. Manos also expressed his concern, adding that he is sorry "because someone must enunciate an opposition to all Mr. (Costas) Simitis does or fails to do."

    [09] No gov't comment on Italian weapons system to Cyprus

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday declined comment on a report that Italian Prime Minister Lamberto Dini has blocked the export of the "Othel-lo" weapons system to Cyprus.

    Mr. Reppas said he did not have any details on the matter.

    [10] Swedish FM rejects any thought of UN recognition for T/C pseudo-regime

    STOCKHOLM 10/03/1998 (ANA - N. Servetas)

    Swedish Foreign Minister Lena Hjelm Wallen yesterday said "there is no country that has recognised the occupied part of Cyprus as an independent country."

    She added: " a result, Rauf Denktash has not been recognised as the leader of a country or as a president and this must be understood by the Turkish Cypriots."

    The statement came as a reply to possible UN Security Council reactions should Mr. Denktash make such requests.

    Sweden is currently a rotating UN Security Council member.

    Ms Wallen added that although the European Union wants the Turkish Cypriots to be included in Cyprus' accession talks, Mr. Denktash will under no circumstances take part as the leader of an independent country.

    [11] Insurances firms' federation offers reward for Sotiropoulos' murder

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday characterised the assassination of insurance firms' subsidiary fund president Nikos Sotiropoulos a tragedy.

    Mr. Sotiropoulos was shot in the head late Saturday night as he arrived at his seaside holiday home in Saronida with his wife and mother-in-law. Both women witnessed two male suspects drive off after the ambush.

    Investigations into the murder are continuing, as police are interviewing the victim's relatives, friends and colleagues.

    Police say it is possible the killers may have simply been trying to frighten the 68-year-old man, since, of the four shots fired only one hit him.

    Cartridge cases found at the scene are of Chinese origin, a type preferred by Albanian criminal gangs, according to police.

    It is believed the murder is linked to the recent closure of a number of insurance companies over financial and administrative irregularities, while another two or three are also expected to be closed.

    The Federation of Insurance Companies of Greece (EAEE) has offered a reward of 50 million drachmas for any information leading to the capture of those responsible for killing Sotiropoulos.

    At a press conference yesterday, EEAE president Doukas Paleologos spoke of the victim's long service and substantial contribution to the insurance sector in Greece.

    He declined to comment when asked whether he thought Mr. Sotiropoulos' murder was in any way connected to his activities in reforming the insurance sector, saying it was a matter for the police and judicial authorities.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Paleologos presented a list of the 40 insurance firms whose licenses have been revoked since 1981.

    [12] Serapheim's condition stable

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Physicians at the Athens Laiko Hospital yesterday announced that Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim's condition is stable.

    They added that he will remain hospitalised until he has recovered fully, since his body has been heavily weakened by a viral infection.

    Meanwhile, the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece convened yesterday for the first time since the Archbishop entered the hospital.

    After the meeting, Metropolitan of Serres Maximos said the Holy Synod expressed its wishes for the Archbishop's quick recovery.

    [13] EMU's third phase dominates ECOFIN session

    BRUSSELS 10/03/1998 (ANA - M.Spinthourakis)

    Preparation of the third and final phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) was one of the issues which dominated yesterday's EU Finance Ministers' Council (ECOFIN) session, where the British presidency presented a preparation plan for a very significant May 2 session.

    That meeting will decide the list of EU countries which will first adopt the common currency, the euro.

    Speaking to Greek reporters later, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said he intended, perhaps at the informal Council session in York in about two weeks, to ask the "15" to ensure that countries which will join the euro at a later date be c onsidered on equal terms as the first batch of members. The request would not only concern interpretation of Maastricht criteria but also other elements, such as the issue of continuous and stable convergence of the economy of a member-state with those of the other countries.

    The Greek side is anxious to obtain clear guarantees that there will be no "two-tier" evaluations.

    Regarding other issues, the "15" also decided yesterday to carry out a probe into possible distortion of the principles of free competition in the Union, arising from unequal taxation treatment of firms.

    Greece, Spain, and Portugal submitted their reservations on the Commission's interpretation of legislation regarding its competence to cut funding from the regional fund to one member-state when it finds mistakes in financial management.

    [14] New housing le nding programme for Thrace

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou and Labour Guild/Workers' Housing Organisation (OEK) President Athanasios Hanakoulas will meet with the political and business leadership of Thrace on Thursday to brief them on a new lending progra mme for the area.

    Mr. Hanakoulas said OEK is keeping its promise to continue strengthening the state organisation's work in the sensitive region.

    [15] Greek embassy press attache employees on strike

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greek embassy press attache employees will strike on Thursday and Friday, protesting their administrative transfer to the embassy where they are stationed, without however, their concurrent transfer under the foreign ministry's jurisdiction.

    They also demand that a new bill be introduced to Parliament by the press ministry, so as to equalise their employment status with trade attaches.

    [16] Greek stocks still rising on calm drachma, money market ------------------------------------------------------- Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities yesterday moved higher during the first trading session of the week underpinned by a steadier domestic interbank market and a stable drachma.

    The general index closed 1.29 percent up at 1,519.02 points. Banks were the focus of attention to end 2.36 percent higher, propelled by a 3.9 percent jump in National Bank of Greece's share.

    Other sector indices scored gains. Insurance rose 0.69 percent, Leasing ended 0.44 percent up, Investment increased 0.85 percent, Construction soared 2.32 percent, Industrials were 1.27 percent up, Miscellaneous ended 0.62 percent up and Holding rose 0. 95 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies jumped 2.58 percent. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index closed at 857.10 points, up 1.65 percent.

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's share price fell 110 drachmas in profit-taking after a sharp rise the previous week. It traded 612,170 issues.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 150 to 76 with another 15 issues unchanged.

    Dane, Ergas, Viokarpet, Elval and Technodomi scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Bank of Athens, Athinea and Ergodata suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 22,960 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,650, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,985, Delta Dairy at 2,955, Titan Cement at 14,900, Intracom at 15,450 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,390.

    [17] Classification of brokerage companies based on net turnover ----------------------------------------------------------- Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    The classification of brokerage companies contains an important innovation based on their turnover in February, which were announced yesterday.

    A classification was announced for the first time based on the companies' net turnover with the deduction of packages and repurchasing agreements.

    Sigma remains in first place in both classifications with a total turnover of 60.2 billion drachmas (53.7 without packages), holding an 8.66 per cent share in the stock exchange market.

    The next place, including packages, is occupied by Ethniki with a turnover of 53.3 billion drachmas, but in the classification without packages second place is held by Telesis with a turnover of 32.1 billion drachmas and a 5.17 per cent share in the mar ket.

    Coming next is Alpha Chrimatistiriaki with transactions having a total value of 39.9 billion drachmas including packages (27.4 billion drachmas without packages) and a 4.42 per cent share in the market.

    The top five financiers continue to control about 26 per cent of the stock exchange market's turnover.

    [18] Greece one step closer to modernising car market

    Athens 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek government will present measures to modernise the country's car market by the end of the week.

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis met yesterday Finance Undersecretary George Drys to discuss the framework of a plan to withdraw old vehicles.

    Mr. Laliotis proposed the adoption of consumer incentives with the replacement of specific numbers of cars annually, and an immediate start for the programme. According to a finance ministry bill, consumers will be offered a 300-500,000 drachma bon us to replace old cars with new ones.

    [19] Greece backs Dr 14-billion upgrade for Thessaloniki airport

    Athens, 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    A 14-billion drachma project to modernise the international airport in Thessaloniki, the country's second city, will be incorporated into the state's public investments plan for 1998, the national economy ministry said yesterday.

    Also to be included in the plan is an engineering study for construction of a new access runway for Iraklion airport on the island of Crete, budgeted at 265 million drachmas. National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pahtas signed the two decisions.

    [20] EU inflation rate drops in Jan., Greece posts highest rate

    BRUSSELS 10/03/1998 (ANA - P. Pantelis)

    The average inflation rate in the European Union decreased considerably in January, falling to 1.3 per cent from 1.6 per cent in December. Inflation in Greece decreased from 4.5 per cent in December to 4.3 per cent in January.

    According to the monthly bulletin of the EU's statistical service, the lowest inflation rates were registered in Belgium (0.5 per cent), France (0.6 per cent) and Germany (0.8 per cent).

    The highest percentages were recorded in Greece (4.3 per cent) and Sweden (2.1 per cent).

    Inflation was below the EU average in five member-states, while in all member-states, with the exception of Greece and Sweden, it was below 2 per cent.

    In January, the inflation rate was 0 per cent in Switzerland, 1.6 per cent in the United States and remained stable in Japan at 1.8 per cent.

    [21] V. Papandreou projects increase in German tourist arrivals for '98

    BERLIN 10/03/1998 (ANA)

    Speaking at a press conference here yesterday,Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said arrivals of German tourists in Greece will increase by at least 10 per cent this year compared to 1997.

    The press conference was held within the framework of the tourism exhibition "ITB '98".

    Ms Papandreou referred at length to several major infrastructure projects in Greece, which she said will have a direct impact on the improvement of the quality of the Greek tourist product in coming years.

    She also made particular reference to the positive repercussions the organising of the 2004 Olympics will have for Greece's tourism.

    The Greek National Tourism Organisation's (EOT) pavilion at the ITB exhibition in Berlin is dedicated to the Olympic Games.

    [22] Montreal tourism promotion for Greece

    MONTREAL 10/03/1998 (ANA - I. Frangouli)

    A large Montreal-based tourist agency is promoting Greek destinations from May to October, raising hopes of increased arrivals of Canadian tourists.

    The Nolitours tourist agency, in cooperation with Air Transat Canadian Charter company, are promoting tourist packages for Athens and the Greek islands.

    A similar move by Transat connecting Toronto with Athens occurred last year, while advertising fliers for Greece can be found in practically all tourist agencies in the city.

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