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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens to take Commission tto Eurocourt over release of aid package to Turkey
  • [02] Commission report: Greek economy on track to enter 'euro zone'
  • [03] FYROM coalition partners back closer relations with Greece
  • [04] Kranidiotis in Sofia for BSEC meeting
  • [05] PM tells PASOK deputies he'll `follow the course` towards EMU
  • [06] Karamanlis: ND would win if elections were held today
  • [07] Nobel prize-winner Amartya Sen meets with G.Papandreou,lauds Andreas Papandreou
  • [08] Greece-Cyprus military exercise begins
  • [09] Reward for individual who led police to priceless cache of ancient coins
  • [10] Olympiakos tops Ajax 1-0, Panathinaikos loses to Lens 1-0
  • [11] Some 100 illegals arrested near Larissa, group entered from Turkey
  • [12] Police stumble upon 116.5 kilos of marijuana on roadsides
  • [13] SEB president: EMU goal for Greece unchanged
  • [14] Alexandroupoli to host Mediterranean development conference
  • [15] Greek equities end up
  • [16] Greece to sell four spa resorts
  • [17] Greece gets tough on false advertising
  • [18] Petrol prices decrease slightly
  • [19] Orion announces increased net profits
  • [20] Special OA fares to Frankfurt, Munich
  • [21] Audit reveals widespread tax evasion among NE Greece businesses

  • [01] Athens to take Commission tto Eurocourt over release of aid package to Turkey

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece immediately announced yesterday that it would refer the European Commission to the European Court for a decision earlier in the day to approve a 150-million-ecu package of economic aid to Turkey.

    "We shall refer the European Commission to the European Court and our recourse to that body will be immediate and without delay," according to a foreign ministry statement.

    The Commission's plan, put forward by External Affairs Commissioner Hans van den Broek, circumvented a standing Greek veto through the adoption of a new regulation terming Turkey a "deve-loping country", which requires only a special majority for approv al by the EU's Council of Ministers. Greek objections to date have been successful in preventing disbursement, as the package was envisaged as aid to an associate member in preparation for membership, which requires unanimity.

    "Dealing with Turkey on the basis of two criteria, as an EU associated member (Legal Basis 235), and at the same time as a developing country (Legal Basis 130 W), constitutes, if nothing else, a curious and legally disputable option," the statement read.

    "The policy we have been following on this issue is consistent. It is based on the basic principles which define the European Union, the general principles of international law and international practice," it continued.

    The statement further stressed that far from facilitating the European vocation of certain countries, methods such as the one employed by the Commission posed obstacles to their goals, diverting them from the correct course which would lead them to the European family.

    It concluded by noting that "such practices create the wrong impressions and promote false political messages, jeopardising the conditions for good neighbourly relations and stability".

    Meanwhile, the government also indirectly confirmed reports yesterday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had sent a letter to Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima protesting the Commission's plan to neutralise Greece's veto on the issue.

    Stressing that Greece "will protest at all levels", government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that Athens was in constant contact with "all parties", while adding that "it is also normal within this framework for letters to be sent".

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos on Tuesday sent a letter to his Austrian counterpart, Wolfgang Schuessel, asking him to intervene to prevent the adoption of the European Commission proposals on the release of Community funds for Turkey, which Athens considers to be legally unfounded.

    According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Pangalos strongly criticised the Commission's attempt to release funds allocated to Turkey under the Fourth Financial Protocol, which have up to now been blocked by a Greek veto.

    Noting that the attempt is contrary to decisions taken at the EU summit in Cardiff, the sources said, Mr. Pangalos warned that if the Commission sticks to its proposals, Greece would be forced to take recourse to the European Court of Justice.

    Despite efforts by its EU partners to persuade Greece to lift its veto, Athens has insisted on adherence to decisions taken at the last EU summits in Luxembourg and Cardiff, when Turkey was told that its EU candidacy would depend on whether it improved its human rights record and normalised relations with Athens.

    Papoutsis backs Greek statement : BELGIUM (ANA - M. Spinthourakis) - On his part, Greek EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis expressed disagreement with the Commission's decision to adopt Mr. van den Broek's plan for EU financing of Turkey, stressing that it exceeded the relevant mandate given to it by the Cardiff EU summit in June.

    "I believe that today's proposal by the Commission in essense exceeds the Cardiff mandate...I disagreed with this proposal because it is based on a disputable piece of legal acrobatics.

    "I fear it sets a dangerous precedent for circumventing the possibility of member-states to exercise the right of veto when invoking vital national interests. It creates a serious and institutional complication which will give rise to many discussions in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament," Mr. Papoutsis said in a statement.

    "Additionally, I would like to stress that the Union's political decisions to date dictate that progress in relations with Turkey be conditional on that country's respect for human rights and the development of good neighbourly relations with Greece, as well as on its positive contribution to a just solution of the Cyprus problem, according to UN resolutions," he concluded.

    Parties criticise gov't : Commenting on the development, the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party noted in a statement that it was in effect the first time the Greek veto on the financing of Turkey was circumvented since 1981, and Greece's position as an equal member was ignor ed on a national issue of the utmost importance. ND said this is due to the fact that the Simitis government failed in attaining its target of taking Greece into Economic and Monetary Union on Jan. 1, 1999, thus making the country "a second-class member-state."

    The Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) levelled criticism against both the government and the Commission for the outcome.

    "The government is a prisoner of the contradictions and the varied views in PASOK on crucial foreign policy issues, as on the one hand, it projects as 'a new grand idea' our equal position in the EU, and on the other, it is being led to isolation," said a statement.

    "The country's foreign policy cannot be exhausted in the continuous invocation of its veto for the financing of Turkey. On the other hand, however, the Commission's effort to circumvent the Greek veto with an unsound and of disputable validity legal argument, is annoying and unacceptable," the Synaspismos statement ended.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Commission report: Greek economy on track to enter 'euro zone'

    BRUSSELS 22/10/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The Greek economy is on track to participate in the European single currency, according to the European Commission's half-yearly economic forecasts for the next two years released yesterday.

    The European Union's executive expects Greece to fulfill the Maastricht Treaty criteria to enter the final phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in the year 2000.

    The Commission's report projected that inflation would fall to 4.8 percent this year, 2.9 percent in 1999 and 2.4 percent in 2000.

    Inflation in the 11-nation Euro-zone was seen rising from 1.5 pct this year to 1.6 pct next year and 1.7 pct in 2000.

    Greece's public deficit is expected to drop to 2.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) this year, to 2.1 pct next year and to 1.9 pct in 2000.

    The Commission said the Euro-zone public deficit was expected to fall to 2.3 percent of GDP in 1998, 1.9 percent in 1999 and 1.7 percent in 2000.

    Greece was expected to achieve annual growth rates of 3.4 percent this year, 3.5 pct in 1999 and 3.8 pct in 2000, higher than the Euro-zone's average forecast of 3.0 pct, 2.6 pct and 2.9 pct, respectively.

    Only Ireland and Luxembourg were forecast to record higher rates of growth than Greece in the 15-nation EU.

    The country's public debt was also expected to drop from 108.7 percent of GDP in 1998 to 107 pct next year and to 104.2 pct in 2000. Only two Euro- zone countries - Belgium and Italy - recorded higher public debt ratios over the last three years.

    Unemployment in Greece was forecast to fall from an expected 9.4 percent of the workforce this year to 9.1 percent in 1999 and to 8.9 percent in 2000. The Commission's forecasts for the Euro-zone average unemployment were 11 pct, 10.4 pct and 9.9 pct, respectively.

    Greece's current accounts deficit was seen holding steady at 2.4 percent of the country's GDP this year, 2.3 pct in 1999 and 2.3 pct in 2000. The 11- nation Euro-zone was expected to show a 1.9 pct surplus on average.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] FYROM coalition partners back closer relations with Greece

    SKOPJE 22/10/1998 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    The leaders of a centre-right coalition in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - between the VMRO-DPMNE and the Democratic Alternative parties - told Greek reporters here that they both view development of bilateral relations with Athens in a very positive way.

    The coalition has taken a clear lead in the first round of general elections last Sunday in the neighbouring country.

    Democratic Alternative leader Vasily Tupurkovski appeared particularly dissatisfied with the present level of relations, stressing that "every effort will be made for the development of bilateral relations" as soon as the coalition comes to power. He al so said he appreciates the fact that Greece is a European Union member and can play an important role for calm in the Balkans.

    On his part, VMRO-DPMNE leader Ljupcho Georgievski expressed support "for the spirit of the meeting in Crete and the policy set out by (Greek Prime Minister Mr. ) Costas) Simitis on overall Balkan cooperation. Only in this way will we become a proper pa rt of Europe and resolve our problems in a more realistic way."

    Mr. Georgievski said that he has become inspired by what he called Mr. Simitis' "positive policy" ever since he came to power, adding that "the problem of the name also existed before he came to power. With his policy, Mr. Simitis tried to appease spirits. We would also want this as an overall policy towards our neighbours. We have a certain problem with all four. Our policy will be not to place the problem at the centre. If there is a problem it does not mean that we cannot have good communication in o ther sectors. We believe that the problem will be gradually resolved with a positive action."

    Mr. Tupurkovski interprets the positive action "as a strengthening mutual trust, increasing contacts between citizens, even in the framework of the Schengen Pact, creating conditions for overcoming all problems, joint action in the Balkans and cooperati on in the framework of the Athens Olympiad."

    He termed such cooperation "fraternal", which would provide the possibility "for us to talk about the name (of his country) without disturbing bilateral relations and at the same time the interests of the two countries with understanding."

    Greece objects to the use of 'Macedonia' as the name of the neighbouring country, saying it implies expansionist designs against its northern province of the same name. After the signing of an interim agreement between the two countries in 1995, negotia tions are currently being carried out under UN auspices to find a solution to former Yugoslav state's name.

    On the question of negotiations on the name in particular, Mr. Tupurkovski said that "we will make them more effective with a greater exchange of information between us and with greater briefing for public opinion. We as a party of citizens will proceed in a way that the citizens will be a component for a solution."

    Speaking on the same issue, Mr. Georgievski said that the problem of the name is not the first that his coalition will resolve and nor will it place it as an obstacle in bilateral relations.

    "Our strategy is to improve our relations in general and I am optimistic that the problem will be resolved in the first four-year period of office. If it is resolved I will view it as the heightening of our good relations."

    Referring to economic relations, Mr. Georgievski said that "we will make a big overture to all Greek companies wishing to make investments. First of all, there are 3-4 major companies which are interested in investments and have been blocked by the gove rnment. These investments will be one of the new government's first duties. It is also known that two Greek companies wanted to undertake the construction of the Gevgeli-Veles roads, as well as of those leading to Bitola. If these two projects are underta ken by Greek companies it will be a very serious economic cooperation which will bring us even closer."

    Mr. Tupurkovski said that there is no dilemma on the continuation of an interim agreement concluded in New York in 1995.

    "We understand very well what the continuation of the state means. However, it will not be a sin if we will wish to improve relations. We will have considerable initiatives starting from the fact that our common interest are the Balkans and the quality of relations with neighbours in which Greece holds a special position," he said.

    Lastly, he categorically denied rumours about another change in the land- locked country's flag and the return of the Vergina Sun, a symbol of the ancient Macedonian dynasty in northern Greece.

    "Such a position is not contained in our programme and neither had we raised such an issue in our pre-election campaign," Mr. Tupurkovski added.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Kranidiotis in Sofia for BSEC meeting

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis leaves today for Sofia to attend the 12th ministerial summit of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact (BSEC).

    The legal parametres of BSEC's transformation from a multination forum into an international organisation will be discussed at the meeting.

    Mr. Kranidiotis will brief the participants on progress to date for the establishment in Athens of the International Centre of Black Sea Studies. The various BSEC work groups at the meeting will examine issues such as the signing of a multilater al agreement for the combatting of organised crime, and cooperation in the sectors of tourism, the environment, energy and transport.

    The summit's sessions will be concluded with the signing of a Greece-BSEC agreement for the setting up in Thessaloniki of the headquarters of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] PM tells PASOK deputies he'll `follow the course` towards EMU

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that he was determined to carry on with policies leading Greece into Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), despite setbacks in recent local government elections.

    "Our primary concern is the progress of the country, not our image," the prime minister told a meeting of the ruling PASOK party's Parliamentary group.

    He said that the country was going through a phase that "does not allow for games, manoeuvering and petty political expediencies", noting that "anyone who claims that there is another road other than cooperation with the EU is disregarding reality".

    "We shall not endanger the people's efforts and sacrifices, nor will we play games with their interests. Our primary concern is not our image, but the progress of the country," Mr. Simitis said.

    The premier accused the main opposition New Democracy party of "muddying the waters" instead of exercising opposition through positions.

    "Whether you are hearing ND or the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), you do not know which one is exercising that policy, and this creates a murky landscape of positions," he said.

    However, he added, regardless of the choices made by the KKE, Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) and the Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader-ships, which at times were in line with ND, for PASOK, the sole opponent was the conservative forces, while cooperation with the forces of the Left remained a fundamental component of the ruling party's policy.

    "This tactic does not change, whatever the tactics of the other parties may be," Mr. Simitis added.

    The premier said the municipal and prefectural elections proved PASOK's central leading role, as assessments of the first round results showed minor losses in its electoral strength.

    He conceded, however, that the outcome of the polls had fallen short of expectations, and indicated a decline that should concern PASOK.

    The results, he said, reflected a dual displeasure over "an inefficiency in aspects of the government's policy" and over "mistakes in the party's operation".

    He said it was only natural that there were mistakes and omissions in the government's policy, but added his conviction that the core of that policy had the consensus of the majority of the Greek people.

    To what degree the citizen felt that the government cared about him/her needed to be carefully handled, Mr. Simitis said, adding that there were weaknesses in social security matters, despite an increase in related funds, and due to the fact that hospit als were frequently "places of fear and anger instead of care and support".

    Mr. Simitis said much had been accomplished in all sectors, but the citizens' quality of life needed to be substantially improved, noting that a lack of policing created feelings of insecurity, while the situation in public transport was another object of social displeasure.

    He said the government's policy was one of changes and reforms, and consequently it was frequently accompanied by clashes, which gave rise to unrest.

    "But a policy that avoids conflict is accompanied by stagnation," the premier added.

    Mr. Simitis said that the political cost of such changes, for example the streamlining of the banking system, was very small compared to the benefit for the country.

    Consequently, his government "will not back down" on its policies. The premier noted that the government was at a critical turning point, midway through its four-year term, and described the first half of its term as a fruitful period in which the gov ernment's task was steadily and decisively advanced.

    General elections, he reiterated, would take place as scheduled in the year 2000, at the end of the government's term in office, at which time it will have fulfilled its platform commitments and will succeed in being re- elected.

    "Rarely has a government achieved such a stable course in such an unstable environment, and this is due to our consistency and persistence, and to the expression of the peoples desire and wish for our country's participation in EMU," the premier said.

    "It is the duty of every politician to be useful, and not necessarily pleasant, and so the government's policy is deeply useful for the country," Mr. Simitis said.

    Referring to the ruling party's work, he said that "all failed to meet current circumstances." He added there was a lack of party cohesion due to public confrontations.

    The premier and PASOK president also condemned what he said was "phenomena of personal strategies" and "federalisation of the party", warning that this would be the last time such incidents occurred.

    "We are all of the same PASOK, and nobody is more or less PASOK...we should all follow the paths decided upon," he concluded.

    Deputies : Afterwards, in addresses, several PASOK deputies blamed "internal opposition" for the lower than expected results of municipal and prefectural elections.

    Other PASOK deputies said the very disappointing election results for the ruling party were affected by the way the government's policy was handled as well as lack of cohesion by party supporters.

    Deputies affiliated with the PASOK's internal opposition were critical of the prime minster's close circle of advisers, while several deputies of the "modernisers" wing followed suit as well.

    Several deputies criticised what they called a lack of support to official PASOK candidates by government members and the PM's advisers.

    In his response, Mr. Simitis appeared against proposals for immediate measures.

    Finally, the premier touched on areas of ministers' responsibilities, which he said must improve, and stressed that the main aim of the government is EMU accession.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Karamanlis: ND would win if elections were held today

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis stressed yesterday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis has not received the "political message" sent by voters during recent municipal and prefectural elections.

    The ND leader said the premier "is looking for excuses over the (election) outcome."

    In an interview with the private "Flash" radio station, Mr. Karamanlis said the government has not met expectations because the country's course towards accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and structural changes are "being delayed dramatically."

    Mr. Karamanlis said that the overwhelming majority of citizens want the country to participate on an equal basis in the European family and are not reserved towards the national target.

    Analysing the results of the local elections, Mr. Karamanlis said that the overwhelming majority of citizens, regardless of political affiliations, want major changes to be made in the state and public extravagance restricted.

    He said that ND is the first party in voters' preferences and would win if elections were held now. He did not rule out the possibility of the government holding early elections and did not conceal his concern over the possibility of the government chan ging the electoral law.

    Commenting on the proposal by Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis for cooperation between the government and leftist parties, the ND leader said that the government is seeking a "theoretical salvation" and assessed that whatever hopes of a recovery in government policy are tending to disappear.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Nobel prize-winner Amartya Sen meets with G.Papandreou,lauds Andreas Papandreou

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    This year's Nobel prize winner in economics, Indian theorist Amartya Sen, met yesterday with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou during his visit to Greece, with both men discussed the future of the Andreas Papandreou Foundation.

    After the meeting, Prof. Sen praised ruling PASOK's founder and three-time Greek prime minister, saying "Andreas Papandreou was a multi-faceted leader, a man of many abilities and complex interests".

    The Greek alternate foreign minister, the eldest son of the late Andreas Papandreou, noted that the opinions of the Indian-born, London-based professor were useful and creative, as the foundation "can play an important role of contributing to the...practi ce of democracy and social justice in the region."

    Sen address : On Tuesday evening Prof. Sen spoke on the academic work and political contribution of Andreas Papandreou at the Old Parliament.

    "To speak about Papandreou's scholarly involvements would yield, as they say in India, a 'Mahabharata'...which I should explain, is a Sanskrit epic, rather like the 'Iliad' or the 'Odyssey', but seven times the length of the Iliad and Odessey put together, " he said.

    The speech centered on "Political Elements in Economic Development: A Tribute to Andreas Papandreou". It was Prof. Sen's first speech since receiving the award.

    Remembering his first meeting with Andreas Papandreou, he said: "By the time I came to Athens in 1963, I had also learned about his political heritage. I wondered whether Andreas would ever abandon academic economics for politics, though I thought that most unlikely given his academic success."

    He added that "Andreas Papandreou's pointer to think not just of economic growth but also of the social and cultural dimensions included what he called 'social, economic and cultural growth'."

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis also attended the event.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Greece-Cyprus military exercise begins

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    A Greek armed forces exercise, codenamed "Toxotis", began yesterday in the sea region between Greece and Cyprus.

    "Toxotis" is being held in conjunction with the already in process Cypriot National Guard exercise "Nikiforos", within the framework of the two countries' joint defence doctrine.

    Participating in "Toxotis" will be frigates, a destroyer, a missile boat, a submarine, naval support aircraft and helicopters and a number of air force planes.

    The combined exercises are aimed at testing the effectiveness of Cyprus' air defence and its anti-aircraft weapons. The scenario also includes a search and rescue mission some 30 nautical miles west of the western coastal town of Paphos, firing by aircr aft on mock targets as well as parachute jumps.

    The exercises will be concluded on Oct. 25 with a military parade in Larnaca.

    A two-day naval exercise, codenamed "Astrapi", also begins on Thursday in the southern and central regions of the Aegean.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Reward for individual who led police to priceless cache of ancient coins

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) is offering 136 million drachmas to the individual who tipped-off police regarding two antiquities smugglers, both arrested in October 1996.

    A Neolithic-period cache of artifacts, comprised of 153 gold coins, is considered priceless. It will be exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens in December.

    In a separate development, three wel-known icons from the Mount Athos monastic community will be exhibited at the Arts and Sciences Academy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia from the end of October through January 1999.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Olympiakos tops Ajax 1-0, Panathinaikos loses to Lens 1-0

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Olympiakos Piraeus beat Ajax Amsterdam 1-0 in Athens yesterday in a European Champions League soccer matchup.

    The other Greek team in the Champions League, Panathinaikos Athens, lost 1- 0 to RC Lens in an away game for Group E.

    Olympiakos and Ajax are in Group A.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] Some 100 illegals arrested near Larissa, group entered from Turkey

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Police yesterday arrested about 100 illegal immigrants out of an estimated 200 that slipped into the country four days ago near Larissa, central Greece.

    According to reports, the illegals, mostly Kurds but also some Iraqis and Iranians, were headed to Athens. They had been smuggled across from Turkey into the Evros border prefecture four days ago, crammed inside a freezer- truck by Turkish smugglers for US$1,000 each.

    The illegals were spotted yesterday by local residents near Larissa, after the latter had forced the truck driver, currently at large, to park the vehicle and let them out.

    Authorities are searching for the other illegals.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Police stumble upon 116.5 kilos of marijuana on roadsides

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Police on Wednesday found five sacks containing 100 kilos of marijuana at the side of the Ioannina-Athens highway.

    A sack containing 16.5 kilos of marijuana was found by police meanwhile at the side of the Ioannina-Kozani national road.

    In both cases, the police believe the marijuana was left by Albanian smugglers for accomplices in Greece to pick up.

    Before taking the sacks, the police placed the two areas under surveillance but no one came for them.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] SEB president: EMU goal for Greece unchanged

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Iason Stratos said yesterday that no change in policy is expected which would distance the country from the main target of the country's timely accession to European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    "We have said repeatedly that such a thing would marginalise our country. We would live with a continuous monetary scepticism and we would also be unable to fulfill our desires concerning our national pursuits," he said.

    Mr. Stratos further said that local administration is expected to have a stronger presence in setting out policy from now on and, therefore, local administration at both levels must be effective, avoid extravagance and produce positive results for all citizens.

    On the question of the implementation of a more open economic policy, Mr. Stratos said that social policy is always linked to existing funds and these funds, he added, can be created on condition that superfluous expenditures will be avoided in the wider public sector.

    However, he conceded that sections of the population exist, such as low pension earners, whose living standards are not satisfactory.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Alexandroupoli to host Mediterranean development conference

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    The 3rd International Conference on Mediterranean Cooperation and Development, which opens today in the northern city of Alexandroupoli, will focus on prospects for a single economic area spanning the Mediterranean basin, the Balkans and the Black Sea reg ion in the next century.

    The conference, which will end on Oct. 25, will be chaired by Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    According to previous reports, Prime Minister Costas Simitis will open the conference that will draw officials from 76 countries of the area under discussion, including ministers, ambassadors, trade attaches and bank governors.

    Among items on the agenda are energy, transport, the modernisation of telecom networks, small and medium-sized enterprises and cultural cooperation. Peace and security in the region will also be discussed.

    The conference has been organised by the Foundation for Mediterranean Cooperation, backed by the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank, the Foundation for Mediterranean Studies and local authorities in the north.

    Two similar conferences were held in Kalamata in 1996 and Kozani in 1997.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Greek equities end up

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities yesterday ended sharply higher for one more session on the Athens Stock Exchange helped by signs of a significant drop in the inflation rate below 4.8 percent in October, prospects of a successful third flotation in Hellenic Telecommunicati ons Organisation and a wave of interest rates declines in international markets.

    The general index ended 1.79 percent higher to 2,087.81 points. Trading was heavy with turnover at 46.2 billion drachmas. Volume was 13,317,000 shares. Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 2.33 percent, Insurance ended 2.18 percent up, Investmen t increased 2.66 percent, Industrials rose 1.17 percent, Construction jumped 5.36 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.89 percent up and Holding increased 2.48 percent. Leasing bucked the trend to end 3.36 percent off on profit taking following three days of big gains.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.72 percent up.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 158 to 73 with another 18 issues unchanged.

    Strintzis, Korinth, Ideal, Thessaliki and Hellenic Telecoms were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Development Invest, Ideal, Mouzakis, Alpha Finance, Attica Bank, Eskimo, Avax, Athina and Techniki Volos scored the biggest percentage gains hitting the daily 8.0 percent limit up.

    Korfil, Viosol, Bank of Athens, Alysida, Elve, Barba Stathis, Greek Aluminium and Mosholios Chemicals suffered the biggest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 37,950 drachmas, Ergobank at 23,810, Alpha Credit Bank at 20,980, Ionian Bank at 10,310, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,450, Delta Dairy at 3,105, Intracom at 10,530, Titan Cement at 17,540, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,425 and Minoa n Lines at 5,606.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Greece to sell four spa resorts

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    The National Tourism Organisation of Greece (EOT) is planning to privatise its four hydrotherapy units in the Fthiotis prefecture and will issue an international call for tenders soon.

    An EOT spokesman told the ANA yesterday that the organisation will privatise its four hydrotherapy units at Koniaviti, Thermopylae-Psoroneri, Loutroypatis and Platistomo, all between two and two-and-a-half hour drive from Athens.

    The deadline for both local and international tenders is April 5, 1999.

    The privatisation will bring in some 10 billion dr. in private investment, the spokesman said.

    Potential bidders are free to submit tenders for one or all four of the properties, while priority would be given to tenders that included development projects at all four units.

    The Platistomo spa, situated on a property of 196 acres, houses a hydrotherapy centre, two swimming tanks, a kiosk for mineral water therapy, and an 84-bed and a 36-bed hotel, both C category.

    The Loutroypatis spa is situated on a 201 acre plot, and has a hydrotherapy centre and a C class 81-room hotel.

    The Thermopylae-Psoroneri unit is situated on a property of 267 acres -- 190 acres at Thermopylae and 77 acres at Psoroneri), and has a hydrotherapy centre, a swimming tank, an 80-bed C class hotel and an 88-bed D class hotel.

    The Koniaviti spa, situated on a 172-acre land plot at Kammena Vourla, is not currently being exploited as a spa. There is an organised camping site run by EOT on a 64-acre expanse of the plot, comprising 50 small bungalows and rental spots for 250 moto r homes and tents.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Greece gets tough on false advertising

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Consumer complaints over misleading advertisements and fraudulous distance sales are rapidly increasing, according to a Greek development ministry agency.

    The ministry's consumers' general secretariat yesterday said that citizens were increasingly filing complaints over misleading tele-marketing and urged consumers to be more careful in transactions where both the supplier and the consumer were not present.

    The agency urged consumers to ask for full information on the supplier's identity, specific characteristics of the goods or services offered, price, quantity, transport costs, delivery time, VAT percentage and payment procedures.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Petrol prices decrease slightly

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    The retail sale prices of gasoline and diesel will decrease as of today and for a week.

    According to an announcement by the development ministry, the decrease will amount to 0.40 drachmas per litre for super gasoline, 0.50 drachmas per litre for unleaded, 1.10 drachmas per litre for diesel and 1.30 drachmas per litre for heating oil.

    In the Attica region and Thessaloniki prefecture, super gasoline will cost 200.30 drachmas per litre, unleaded 183.90 drachmas per litre and heating oil 68.70 drachmas per litre.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Orion announces increased net profits

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Net profits of the portfolio investment company Orion amounted to 1.2 billion drachmas in the first nine months of 1998 compared to 239.9 million drachmas over the corresponding period last year.

    Internal value of the company's shares as at Oct. 30 was 1,460.82 drachmas.

    The company's portfolio at the end of September was distributed in internal shares (75.36 per cent), bonds in drachmas (6.66 per cent), other investments (2.7 per cent) and availables (15.28 per cent). The main sectors in the share portfolio were metal processing companies and banks.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Special OA fares to Frankfurt, Munich

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    Olympic Airways (OA) yesterday announced special fares for the Athens- Frankfurt-Athens and Thessaloniki-Munich-Thessaloniki flights, targetting businesspeople who wish to return on the same day.

    Four flights daily, two from Athens and two from Thessaloniki, are planned.

    The new fares, valid from Oct. 25 through March 31 for the one-day travel on the Athens-Frankfurt-Athens route cost 160,000 drachmas (230,000 for business class) and for Thessaloniki-Munich-Thessaloniki 140,000 drachmas (187,000 for business class).

    OA also announced a special fare of 130,000 drachmas for a roundtrip ticket from Athens to New York or Boston with a seven days minimum and three months maximum stay, valid from Nov. 1 through Dec. 10.

    The above fares don't include airport taxes.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Audit reveals widespread tax evasion among NE Greece businesses

    Athens 22/10/1998 (ANA)

    A recent audit by the financial crimes squad revealed that 191 out of 398 businesses checked in northeast Greece were evading taxes.

    Tax evasion violations included failure to issue invoices and official receipts, refusal to produce accounting books for audit, maintenance of unofficial ledgers, general violations of the accounting code and late entries of purchases and sales. In 26 cases, unofficial bookkeeping records were confiscated, according to reports.

    Relevant reports are being prepared for submittal to tax bureau authorities.

    Athens News Agency

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