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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 99-06-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Stephanopoulos stresses Athens' backing for Romania's,Bulgaria's EU prospects
  • [02] Greece's absorption of EU funds apparently on the rise
  • [03] Event on business opportunities for 2004 Games
  • [04] Greek force completes first phase deployment in Kosovo
  • [05] NATO forces, equipment surge through Thessaloniki
  • [06] Tsohatzopoulos on socialists' losses in Euroelections
  • [07] Ecevit brings up Aegean exploitation, Kurdish issue in interview with Greek station
  • [08] Alenia-HAI agreement signed
  • [09] Dutch authorities dismiss `cow AIDS` speculation, point to tainted vaccine
  • [10] Tourist flow from Austria continues unhindered
  • [11] IOBE survey of employee attitudes in Greece
  • [12] Hellenic Bottling in merger talks with Coca Cola
  • [13] Prinos to re-open under new ownership
  • [14] Stocks end down in directionless trade
  • [15] Strintzis Lines protests penalty
  • [16] Enterprise Oil to resume exploration in Ioannina
  • [17] Attica Aluminium to become holding company, change name
  • [18] Greek, Russian banking trade groups sign cooperation deal
  • [19] Bank of Attica to hold share capital increase
  • [20] Athens Foreign Exchange
  • [21] Green breaks world record in 100m at Athens meet

  • [01] Stephanopoulos stresses Athens' backing for Romania's,Bulgaria's EU prospects

    BUCHAREST, 17/06/1999 (ANA - A. Makridis)

    Greece and Romania's role in the Balkans and in efforts to bring lasting stability to the region were the focus of talks here yesterday between the Greek and Romanian presidents.

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos, who began a three-day state visit to Romania yesterday, urged the European Union to open its doors to Balkan countries, saying this would help address imbalances and avert instability.

    "Greece believes that the European Union will not be complete without the participation of those countries who desire and are interested in joining, particularly Balkan countries," he said at a news conference after talks with his Romanian counterpart Emil Constantinescu.

    "Their inclusion will restore the North-South as well as the East-West balance in Europe," he said.

    Mr. Constantinescu urged the immediate implementation of the stability pact: consolidation of democratic principles in all Balkan countries, beginning in Yugoslavia, and the participation of all in its reconstruction.

    "The image of the Balkans as a powderkeg of Europe must be replaced with the image of the Balkans as a container of goods," he said.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos reiterated Athens' intention to support Romania and Bulgaria's demand for the beginning of accession negotiations with the European Union at the upcoming Helsinki summit in December as well as their inclusion in NATO. He said a wide-ranging effort from both Europe and the United States was needed to rebuild and bolster the region, in the wake of the Kosovo crisis.

    Greece has prepared detailed proposals which it will pursue at the European Union on how to consolidate democratic institutions in the Balkans, at the same time as providing humanitarian aid and creating economic aid packages for Balkan countries, he said.

    Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, who accompanied the president, signed an agreement on health issues with Romania's foreign deputy minister.

    Official dinner : Later in the day, Mr. Stephanopoulos said it was time to heal the wounds opened by the war in Yugoslavia and urged a return to regional peace and stability.

    "Our first concern is ensuring the return of refugees under conditions which guarantee their personal safety," Mr. Stephanopoulos said at a dinner held in his honour by his Romanian counterpart.

    "The essential elements of stability must be protected: the principles of territorial integrity and the national sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...These goals require, among other things, a strong international presence on the ground, in which Greece is already prepared to participate as well as the full and verifiable disarmament of the Kosovo Liberation Army," he added.

    The Greek president welcomed Romania's intention to join the European Union and said that Bucharest's "full accession to the European Union meets not only a historical, political and economic need but is linked to the wider geo-strategic interests of the EU."

    Greece, he said, lends great importance to the respect of the rights of the Greek minority in Albania and predicted that relations with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) would be further strengthened and that this would help in a resolut ion of the name issue between Athens and Skopje.

    But Turkey, he said, continued to doubt Greece's internationally recognised sovereign rights and was increasing tension to dangerous levels.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greece's absorption of EU funds apparently on the rise

    BRUSSELS, 17/06/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    European Commission circles reportedly expressed satisfaction yesterday over Greece's absorption rate of second Community Support Framework funds.

    Relevant EU officials said Greece has already absorbed 85 per cent of funds it is entitled to. From the point of view of absorption, Greece is third among EU member-states, following Ireland and Portugal.

    The distribution of funds contained in the so-called Santer package, namely, the 3rd Community Support Framework, will be discussed on Monday in the framework of the EU council of foreign ministers meeting as it has been shaped in accordance with the agre ement reached at the Berlin summit.

    Sources said in the framework of consultations between EU services and the Greek side, an agreement should be reached by the end of July concerning the funding of major projects.

    EU officials said the Greek side has expressed the desire for the transfer of an amount exceeding 100 million euro from projects which are not advancing speedily, such as the Egnatia motorway, to top priority projects such as the Stavros-Elefsina motorw ay. According to the same sources, the European Commission's services are hesitant over Greece's request which will be the object of consultations in coming weeks.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Event on business opportunities for 2004 Games

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The US embassy in Greece, the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce and the US-Greek Business Council announced the holding of a special event at an Athen hotel on business opportunities within the context of the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

    The event, entitled "Athens 2004, Olympics Opportunity Forum," will coincide with the visit to Greece of US Deputy Secretary David Aaron, aimed at encouraging Greek-American business consortiums for joint investments.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Greek force completes first phase deployment in Kosovo

    SKOPJE, 17/06/1999 (ANA - M. Vihou)

    The deployment of 108 vehicles and 400 troops of Greece's 501th mechanised infantry battalion into Kosovo from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was completed at dawn yesterday.

    The Greek battalion, headed for the town of Urosevac, will be placed under US command.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of Albanian refugees have been gathering at a border checkpoint as of yesterday morning to return to Kosovo.

    About 800 cars alone crossed the border on Tuesday, while the UN High Commission for Refugees expected even more yesterday.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] NATO forces, equipment surge through Thessaloniki

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    More NATO military forces and equipment arrived yesterday in Thessaloniki at the city's airport and port headed to Kosovo via the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    Two French, an Italian and a Dutch airplane landed at the Macedonia Airport of Thessaloniki, transporting some 460 troops bound for Kosovo.

    Meanwhile, three Dutch and a French cargo ship unloaded artillery, dozens of containers and various military vehicles at the port.

    Further NATO arrivals are expected today.

    In a related development, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) supporters protested against the Alliance's presence in the Balkans, while later in the day they left for the town of Yiannitsa to protest outside a military base against Greek participation in the NATO force operating in Kosovo.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Tsohatzopoulos on socialists' losses in Euroelections

    BRUSSELS, 17/06/1999 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    European electorates voted against the socialists, who are in power in most European countries, wishing in this way to draw attention to the weakness of Europe in responding to a series of major problems, such as unemp loyment and development, Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said here yesterday.

    He was attending the European Socialist Party bureau session.

    Regarding Greece, he noted that conservative forces may have recorded a relative increase in their strength, but the left and centre-left forces continued to form the majority.

    He also said the vote reflected European voters' opposition to the EU's passive stand on the Kosovo issue, which led them to either abstain or opt for conservative parties.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the Greek contingent in the peaceforce being deployed in Kosovo is and will play a particularly positive role.

    The defence minister and FM George Papandreou will be taking part in the NATO joint meeting of their counterparts in Brussels on Friday, which will discuss developments in Kosovo and the role of Russia in KFOR.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Ecevit brings up Aegean exploitation, Kurdish issue in interview with Greek station

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday evening reiterated Turkish leadership's oft-repeated arguments regarding the Aegean and the possibility of exploiting its continental shelf, only this time directly to a Greek audience.

    In an interview with the private Greek television station MEGA, Mr. Ecevit said the problems of the Aegean "comprise the basic problem in Greek- Turkish relations."

    "After 1950 new technologies were introduced for the exploitation of the continental shelf's wealth. Therefore, we believe the time has come for the two neighbouring countries to sit down and discuss the problem of the Aegean in a constructive manner," Mr. Ecevit said.

    He added that Turkey has no claims over Greek territory, while he stressed that the Treaty of Lausanne is very solid, one of the few which "survived the Second World War."

    Answering a question on whether he considers Cyprus' partition as a permanent solution, Mr. Ecevit said "if we agree that today's condition is viable, then in time freedom of communication and movement between the two sides may be re-established.

    "The important (element) is the acceptance of today's reality on the island and for the solution to be given based on the recognition of that reality," he said.

    Referring to the possibility of a Greek-Turkish conflict, he said that neither of the countries can handle a war, adding: "I wish that it may never happen."

    Asked about the Kurdish issue, he repeated a claim uttered repeatedly by Turkish officials in past years, without however, offering details.

    "Iwe have known for years, not only by (the recent) Ocalan confessions, that there were military camps providing training to terrorists, who wanted to act in Turkey."

    In response to a question about PM Costas Simitis, the Turkish premier said "he (Simitis) gives the impression of a leader with a sense of responsibility, I hope that we will follow together a road which we hope will bring the two countries closer.

    "We will be happy to welcome him in Turkey, but as I have stressed earlier, Greece should first stop its support for terrorists," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] Alenia-HAI agreement signed

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Italian aerospace manufacturer Alenia Aerospazio, Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) and Athens-based Commersa signed an agreement yesterday for the creation of a joint venture in both aeronautics and space technologies.

    The deal, signed in France during the Paris Airshow, creates the joint venture, entitled "Hellenic Company for Space Applications S.A." (HCSA).

    According to the agreement, Alenia and HAI each have a 35 per cent stake in the new company, while Commersa owns the remaining 30 per cent.

    According to the press release, HCSA will carry out space and aeronautical programmes in both military and civilian sectors and will also venture in the telecommunications sector - such as remote sensing and satellite services.

    HAI may also participate in the production of the new tactical jet C-27-J, co-produced by Alenia and Lockheed Martin.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Dutch authorities dismiss `cow AIDS` speculation, point to tainted vaccine

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Netherlands' agriculture ministry yesterday released a much-awaited report on the mysterious cow disease thought responsible for the recent death of several thousand cattle in that country, a development which led to panic-stricken accounts of "Bovine AIDS" across the world.

    According to the Dutch veterinary authorities, the crucial finding in the report is that the cattle weren't afflicted with Bovine Infecteous Virus (BIV) - which attacks their immune system - but were stricken with Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD) through a contaminated vaccine used to combat Infectuous Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR).

    The latest in a string of food-related scandals to hit Europe this year found the Dutch ministry vehemently stressing that all animal products and by-products from the country are safe.

    The disease is not transmitted to humans, scientists added.

    The embassy of the Netherlands in Athens released the report here.

    The BVD outbreak was isolated at 12 stockbreeding units in the Netherlands, with some 6,000 animals subsequently destroyed, the report states.

    The Dutch agriculture ministry, the ID-DLO research facilities at Lelystad and the veterinary school at Utrecht University are continuing research and tests into the issue and the farms where the outbreak occurred.

    Finally, the report stressed that it was "utterly unlikely" that the cattle were infected by the BIV virus.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Tourist flow from Austria continues unhindered

    VIENNA, 17/06/1999 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Tourist flow from Austria to Greece has increased over the first months of the year,compared to last year, according to data from the largest Austrian tour and travel agencies.

    According to the Verkehrsburo firm, Greece holds first place regarding bookings for holidays abroad in the first five months of 1999, showing an impressive 28.1 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period in 1998.

    A report by the Greek Tourist Organisation's office in Austria ascertained that despite the war in Yugoslavia, which coincided with the crucial bookings period, the demand for Greece as a destination is continuing as normal, particularly to the south and the islands.

    Athens News Agency

    [11] IOBE survey of employee attitudes in Greece

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) yesterday released a study on employees' remuneration in Greece.

    The study included both the public and private sectors, and focused on the opinions and priorities of employees on work issues.

    According to the study, 47 per cent of public sector employees and 39.1 per cent in the private sector said compensation was the most important aspect of their work.

    Problems related to pensions were given first priority by 11.8 per cent in the public sector and 10.9 in the private sector.

    A decrease in work-hours without a corresponding decrease in pay ranked third.

    The study noted that 55 per cent of those questioned worked more than 40 hours a week and wanted more free time.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Hellenic Bottling in merger talks with Coca Cola

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Hellenic Bottling Co. yesterday confirmed it was in advanced merger talks with Coca Cola Beverages Plc (CCB) of the UK in a deal that would be effected through a stock swap.

    Under the plan, the two companies would exchange one new share in Hellenic Bottling for 9.5 of CCB's shares, Hellenic Bottling said in a statement.

    The Greek firm's share price ended at 8,460 drachmas yesterday, while CCB's share price closed at 1.15 pounds sterling on the London Stock Exchange.

    Hellenic Bottling has a total of 142.9 million shares compared to CCB's 1, 067 million.

    The plan offers CCB's shareholders a 44 percent stake in Hellenic Bottling Co. after the issue of new shares.

    The new chairman of the Greek firm is expected to be selected by Hellenic Bottling's board, while Neville Isdell, chairman and director general at CCB, will take over as chief executive.

    CCB is Coca Cola's bottler in the United Kingdom.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Prinos to re-open under new ownership

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Prinos oilfield is to resume operations at the beginning of July under new management and a new name - Kavala Oil.

    Due to hold an equal stake in the newly created company are workers of the former North Aegean Petroleum Co., which has pulled out of the oilfield; European Technical; and the municipality of Kavala.

    The municipality's holding is to be formally approved at a meeting today of the city council.

    The company's statutes and a financial and technical study of operations are due to be sent to Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos, whose ministry supervises the energy sector.

    The minister will send the documents for parliamentary approval.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Stocks end down in directionless trade

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended yesterday's session lower, extending their decline for the fourth consecutive session.

    Traders said investors remained nervous awaiting fresh incentives to lead the market out of its recent stagnation.

    The general index ended 0.21 percent lower at 3,985.63 points, off the day's lows, reflecting volatility in the bank index.

    Talk of a forthcoming alliance between Bank of Piraeus and Ergobank helped prices to a late recovery with the price of both shares ending significantly higher (4.8 and 7.0 percent respectively).

    Also, news of merger talks between Hellenic Bottling Co and Coca Cola Beverages Plc of the UK lifted sentiment.

    Hellenic Bottling Co's share price ended slightly higher in heavy turnover of 10.5 billion drachmas.

    Sector indices ended as follows: Banks (+0.60 pct), Leasing (+0.53 pct), Insurance (+3.15 pct), Investment (-1.60 pct), Construction (-1.22 pct), Industrials (-0.99 pct), Miscellaneous (-1.72 pct) and Holding (-3.12 pct). The parallel market index fo r smaller capitalisation stocks ended 2.86 percent higher while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips increased 0.14 percent to 2,364.39 points.

    Turnover was 215.405 billion with 37,448,358 shares changing hands.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 170 to 122 with another seven issues unchanged.

    Agricultural Insurance, Thessaliki, Hellenic Bottling and Bank of Piraeus were the most heavily traded stocks.

    A total of 27 shares ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 21,050 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 20, 450, Ergobank at 32,300, Ionian Bank at 16,210, Titan Cement at 28,000, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,800, Intracom at 20,050, Minoan Lines at 5,095, Panafon at 7,680 and Hellenic Telecoms at 7,050.

    Bonds edge up in higher turnover : Bond prices in the secondary market gained 15-20 basis points in sharply higher turnover than in previous sessions.

    Electronic trade totalled 57 billion drachmas from 9.0 billion drachmas in the previous session and 6.0 billion drachmas on Monday.

    The ten-year bond was quoted around 102.50, showing a yield of 5.97 percent. The yield spread over German bunds was 172 basis points.

    In the foreign currency market, the drachma rose sharply against the euro on demand.

    At the central bank's daily fix, the euro was set at 323.700 drachmas from 323.950 drachmas in the previous session.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Strintzis Lines protests penalty

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Strintzis Lines, a listed passenger shipper, yesterday protested against a decision by the Capital Markets Commission to impose a penalty on the company on charges of giving misleading information to investors over the share price in a buyback scheme last year.

    The company said in a statement the decision was wrong, and that it would take legal action.

    Strintzis said that the share buyback was undertaken to support its share price following a share capital increase last July.

    Greek legislation at the time did not allow for price support moves by companies, and Strintzis therefore proceeded in line with the provisions of an older bill, the statement said.

    Strintzis stressed that its action was taken in compliance with the law and that the share buyback price was based on recommendations made by the international consultant for the issue.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Enterprise Oil to resume exploration in Ioannina

    IOANNINA, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Enterprise Oil is to resume supplementary exploration for oil deposits in the prefecture of Ioannina at the end of July and continue until October, a company official said yesterday.

    The company's head of operations in Greece and Albania, Ivan Inchenko, met Ioannina prefect Nikolaos Zarbalas to discuss the project.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Attica Aluminium to become holding company, change name

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Attica Aluminium SA yesterday announced its conversion into a holding company under the name AlfaAlfa Holdings.

    The announcement was made by the group's chairman, Apostolos Allamanis, during an annual shareholders' meeting.

    Shareholders approved a plan for a dividend of 40 drachmas per share and an one-for-one rights issue.

    The group will reorganise through the integration of its holdings in engineering contractors Metron and Iris under listed ALTE, another engineering contractor.

    A share capital increase of 9.6 billion drachmas will also be held.

    Under the restructuring plan, expected to be completed within 1999, Multipack will absorb Attica Aluminium's industrial unit under the name Alpack.

    At a later stage, Mr. Allamanis said, Alpack and Estrelia Tourism would be listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, raising the number of the group's listed companies to four.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Greek, Russian banking trade groups sign cooperation deal

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The banking associations of Greece and Russia yesterday signed a cooperation agreement in Athens.

    Signing for the Union of Russian Banks was its president, Sergei Yegorov, and the general secretary of the Hellenic Banking Association, Ioannis Manos. The Russian ambassador attended the ceremony.

    The two sides are to exchange information in order to help modernise banking services, hold bilateral cooperation on banking legislation, and arrange seminars on problems faced by the Russian banking sector.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Bank of Attica to hold share capital increase

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    The Bank of Attica is to propose to shareholders at an annual general meeting today that the bank should boost its share capital by 29.8 billion drachmas. The new funds would be used to expand existing services by creating 10 new branches by the end of the year; set up subsidiaries; acquire an advanced technology computer system; and preparations for adaptation to the euro.
    Athens News Agency

    [20] Athens Foreign Exchange

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    Bank of Greece closing rates of: June 16, 1999

    Parities in Drachmas

    Banknotes             Buying  Selling
    US Dollar             309.683 316.863
    Can.Dollar            211.098 215.992
    Australian Dlr        203.757 208.481
    Pound Sterling        492.409 503.826
    Irish Punt            407.726 417.179
    Pound Cyprus          556.750 569.659
    Pound Malta           728.458 758.810
    Turkish pound (100)     0.068   0.071
    French franc           48.953  50.088
    Swiss franc           201.222 205.888
    Belgian franc           7.960   8.145
    German Mark           164.181 167.988
    Finnish Mark           54.006  55.259
    Dutch Guilder         145.714 149.092
    Danish Kr.             43.221  44.224
    Swedish Kr.            36.337  37.179
    Norwegian Kr.          39.218  40.127
    Austrian Sh.           23.336  23.877
    Italian lira (100)     16.584  16.969
    Yen (100)             257.563 263.535
    Spanish Peseta          1.929   1.974
    Port. Escudo            1.602   1.639
    Foreign Exchange      Buying  Selling
    New York              309.683 316.863
    Montreal              211.098 215.992
    Sydney                203.757 208.481
    London                492.409 503.826
    Dublin                407.726 417.179
    Nicosia               556.750 569.659
    Paris                  48.953  50.088
    Zurich                201.222 205.888
    Brussels                7.960   8.145
    Frankfurt             164.181 167.988
    Helsinki               54.006  55.259
    Amsterdam             145.714 149.092
    Copenhagen             43.221  44.224
    Stockholm              36.337  37.179
    Oslo                   39.218  40.127
    Vienna                 23.336  23.877
    Milan                  16.584  16.969
    Tokyo                 257.563 263.535
    Madrid                  1.929   1.974
    Lisbon                  1.602   1.639
    Athens News Agency

    [21] Green breaks world record in 100m at Athens meet

    Athens, 17/06/1999 (ANA)

    US sprinter Maurice Green yesterday smashed the world record in the men's 100-metre race, clocking 9.79 seconds at an international track meet at Athens' Olympic Stadium.

    Mr. Green is the first man to cover the distance in under 9.80 seconds. The previous world record holder was Canada's Donovan Bailey, with 9.84 in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

    "It's a really wonderful feeling. I want to thank the people who were in the Olympic Stadium tonight. This stadium is my lucky stadium, since this is where I won my first gold medal in a World Championship (1997)," he said.

    Ato Bolton, of Trinidad and Tobago, came second with 9.86.

    Yesterday's Tsiklitiria Games were part of the international grand prix circuit.

    Athens News Agency

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