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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 04-10-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

¤ctober 14, 2004

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek economy will recover in 2005, FinMin says
  • [02] Rising energy cost to affect Greek consumers, enterprises, economy
  • [03] Greece expected to be elected non-permanent member of UN Security Council on Friday
  • [04] PM Karamanlis to refer to all current political issues during Thursday's meeting of the ND's Parliamentary Group
  • [05] PM Karamanlis has successive meetings with ND deputies
  • [06] Gov't on latest provocations by Turkish forces
  • [07] Papandreou calls gov't 'incompetent' on Greek-Turkish issues
  • [08] Gov't on ERS refusal to issue 'transparency certificate' to construction firm
  • [09] PASOK leader launches attack on ruling ND on issue of vested interests and transparency
  • [10] NATO defense ministers meet in Romania
  • [11] Prosecutor begins preliminary probe into another 2 weapons contracts
  • [12] Procurement contract for C41 security system to be renegotiated
  • [13] European Parliament Committee on Environment approves appointment of Greek Commissioner Dimas
  • [14] Stephanopoulos rounds off visit to Bulgaria
  • [15] Ambassador new head of National Information Service
  • [16] Case of defamatory leaflets dismissed by prosecutor
  • [17] Leyla Zana picks up award after nine years
  • [18] Greek-Polish conference in Warsaw on Public Administration
  • [19] Greece in 37th place in world competitiveness classification for 2004
  • [20] Debate begins on draft 2005 state budget
  • [21] EU Commission to publish autumn forecasts for Greek economy Oct 26
  • [22] Agricultural Minister comments on recent crisis over farm prices
  • [23] Deputy development minister says possible electric power price increases will be lower than inflation
  • [24] Eurobank analysts believe Athens Stock Exchange general index will reach 2,650 points in 2005
  • [25] Substantiated European Commission opinion against Greece on transport measures
  • [26] Greek motorcycle market to continue growing strongly, report says
  • [27] 48 hour strike by Olympic stewards
  • [28] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks stabilize as positive climate prevails in major European bourses
  • [29] Greek woman elected 'Woman of Europe' for 2004
  • [30] Celebrations mark 40 years of Greek "Deutsche Welle" program
  • [31] Late-night torrential rainfall causes acute problems in Attica prefecture
  • [32] Estonian President certain of cooperation with Cyprus
  • [33] Euro-Parliament Committees support Kyprianou for Commissioner
  • [34] Cypriots must propose next steps for solution, US Ambassador says

  • [01] Greek economy will recover in 2005, FinMin says

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis on Wednesday expressed his confidence that the Greek economy would recovery without putting extra burdens on workers or private sector enterprises.

    Speaking in parliament, during a debate over a draft law on Mutual Fund Management Companies, later voted by the assembly, Alogoskoufis dismissed recent reports alleging that the government's new budget has been already rejected by the Commission. "I disagree with the Cassandras of the main opposition over a recovery of economic growth rates," the Greek minister said.

    "We have a duty to reverse in 2005 a fiscal derailment we inherited from the previous government. We are determined to work towards this goal. A mild adjustment will be made to avoid hitting workers' incomes and burdening the private sector with extra taxes. We will contain spending in the public sector," Alogoskoufis told parliament.

    Responding to main opposition's criticism, Alogoskoufis said that the new draft bill on Mutual Fund Management Companies -along with other to follow soon- was a big step towards strengthening the culture of collective investments in the stock market and the Athens Stock Exchange's credibility.

    [02] Rising energy cost to affect Greek consumers, enterprises, economy

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Rising prices in international oil markets will have an impact on Greek consumers, enterprises, the economy and the state budget, the Greek Industries Union (SEB) said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, SEB's president Odysseas Kyriakopoulos, said that rising fuel prices were burdening the cost of production-transportation of products and stressed that "it would not be irrational" this added cost to burden consumer prices in the country.

    Higher energy cost, SEB said, would affect economic growth in 2005 and state revenues, a prospect putting in doubt a government target to contain fiscal deficit below 3.0 percent of GDP, as envisaged by the EU's Stability Pact.

    Kyriakopoulos recommended changes in a draft budget plan for 2005, based on the assumption that international oil prices would average 40 dollar per barrel next year and currently moving above 50 dollars. He also urged for more measures to reduce spending and to promote privatizations. He also reiterated a demand by the Union members for a reduction in diesel oil tax used by domestic industries.

    Commenting on recent furor over domestic so-called vested interests' influence on political life, Kyriakopoulos said that an existing law on primary shareholders is ineffective and called for its change. He noted that an existing law increased bureaucratic procedures.

    "We need more effective solutions with less bureaucracy," Kyriakopoulos said adding that a solution to the problem was needed the soonest possible as this debate was burdening the country's economic climate. "It is essential to see if institutions and laws are effective in ensuring the country's smooth operation. The general view is not. So we have to review our thoughts," he noted.

    [03] Greece expected to be elected non-permanent member of UN Security Council on Friday

    New York, 14/10/2004 (ANA/P. Panagiotis)

    Greece is expected to be elected a non-permanent member to the UN Security Council for a two-year term (2005-2006) in the 15-member Council on Friday during the 59th session of the UN General Assembly.

    The election process will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. (Greek time) on Friday.

    Candidates for non-permanent seats on the Security Council are Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania, to succeed Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain, whose terms are ending, as of January 1, 2005. The candidate countries are traditionally uncontested.

    The Security Council members are elected by the 191-member UN General Assembly. A diplomatic source at the UN headquarters told ANA that, "according to all indications, no UN member country has expressed objections to Greece's candidacy to date".

    Greece's "stabilizing role" in the region and the successful 2004 Olympic Games staged in Athens proved to be important factors of the constant improvement observed in Greece's image "at international level", according to the same source.

    With respect to national issues, two are matters that concern the Security Council: the Cyprus issue and the FYROM name issue. At global level, the problems that stand out are the crisis in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, Asia and Latin America, while at the same time there are ad hoc committees, the special issues, and those examined by the Security Council presidency.

    The candidate countries for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council are elected for a two-year term, and traditionally have no opponent, as they are selected in advance according to region.

    One-third of the Security Council seats belong to the five permanent members (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US), which retain a right of veto. Algeria, Benin, Brazil, the Philip-pines and Romania, whose terms commenced in 2004, will remain on the Council as non-permanent members until end-2005.

    On August 26, 2003, Greece and Denmark received the endorsement of the UN's Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG) regional bloc, to which the two countries belong, together with the other countries of Western Europe, the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Turkey and Israel, for the two seats allocated to the WEOG.

    Under Chapter V, Article 23, paragraph 1 of the UN Charter, the General Assembly elects 10 members of the UN to be non-permanent members of the Security Council, with "due regard being specially paid, in the first instance, to the contribution of Members of the United Nations to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization, and also to equitable geographical distribution".

    Greece is a founding member of the United Nations and an original signatory to its Charter, and is one of the very few WEOG countries and the sole E.U. member state which has only once been a non-permanent member of the Security Council, having been elected for the 1952-1953 period, approximately fifty years ago, whereas numerous WEOG countries, have already served on this body four or five times. It presided over the Security Council in February 1952 and in December 1953. In the next two years -- provided no unforeseen circumstances arise and it is elected to the Security Council -- Greece will preside over the Council in July 2005 and for one other month in late 2006.

    It should also be noted that in 1994 Greece had voluntarily with-drawn its candidature to the Security Council for the period 1995-1996 in order to facilitate the achievement of an agreed slate within the WEOG.

    [04] PM Karamanlis to refer to all current political issues during Thursday's meeting of the ND's Parliamentary Group

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    During Thursday's meeting of the New Democracy (ND) party's Parliamentary Group, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis is expected to refer to all current political issues.

    At noon on Wednesday, the Intersecretarial Coordinating Body of the party convened at the ND's headquarters at Rigillis under the chairmanship of Vangelis Meimarakis and discussed the course of the party during the coming period, as well as the planning and implementation of the decisions of the party's 6th congress.

    Meimarakis, Secretary of the ND Central Committee, said that discussed were ways for the party to support the government policy effectively and operationally. Already, Meimarakis said, "we are beginning to implement the decisions of the congress for better coordination and operation, for the party to become more constructive."

    [05] PM Karamanlis has successive meetings with ND deputies

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had successive meetings at his office in Parliament on Wednesday with New Democracy (ND) deputies.

    Karamanlis met with Messrs. Tragakis, Karras, Kostopoulos, Adrahtas, Kallioras, Manginas, Haitidis and Kassimis.

    The discussion focused on the government's work and the problems faced by the deputies in their regions.

    [06] Gov't on latest provocations by Turkish forces

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The government on Wednesday pointed to a spate of recent violations of Greek airspace and infringements of the Athens FIR by Turkish warplanes as counter-productive to the good climate in bilateral relations.

    "We expect from Turkey that is reduce whatever actions cause tension, because we desire good relations between the two peoples; we want Turkey to remain committed to this effort," government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos said during a regular press briefing.

    [07] Papandreou calls gov't 'incompetent' on Greek-Turkish issues

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou on Wednesday sharply criticized the government, saying it was "income-tent" vis-a-vis the all-important sector of Greek-Turkish issues, whereas the premier was "defeatist".

    In addressing his party's Parliamentary group, the one-time foreign minister also criticized the government over the crash of a military helicopter off northern Greece last month.

    Speaking just hours after a Parliament majority voted to establish a committee of inquiry to investigate a pair of costly weapons procurements (Russian-made anti-aircraft missile units and a US-made artillery-detecting radar system) during the previous two Simitis governments, Papandreou also cautioned his own party's cadres.

    "The battle against the policies of an incompetent government must be given by all, united, and away from petty-ambitions, petty-grandstanding and the (internal party) mechanisms of the past, so that necessary reforms can be made to PASOK..." he said.

    In terms of the high-profile Parliament committee of inquiry, he said this development merely serves to divert public opinion, whereas Athens' foreign policy has been replaced by "personal relations" -- a quip aimed at the close ties cultivated recently between Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and this Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    In reference to the ongoing uproar in the national press and society over the extent of influence exercised by so-called "vested interests" and economic oligarchies on the country's political life -- one of the Karamanlis government's oft-cited priorities -- Papandreou said the most important question in the fight against corruption is whether "individuals will be denounced or whether (political and state) institutions will be strengthened".

    The furor over "vested interests" began in earnest last week, following reports that PM Costas Karamanlis himself referred to the issues, in the strongest of terms, no less.

    However, the government flatly dismissed reports of foul language, but confirmed the substance of the statements, namely, to fight corruption and collusion.

    Gov't reaction: Asked during a regular press briefing to comment on Papandreou's criticism, government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos cited a statement by former Prime Minister Costas Simitis to justify the committee of inquiry, paraphrasing that "whoever has evidence should seek recourse in the courts."

    "When a prosecutor sends his report to Parliament no one has the right to ignore it ... PASOK is attempting to criminalize the country's political life with baseless charges, while the government wants a wider investigation of cases based on evidence," he added.

    "The government in just eight months has turned its commitments into practice, much sooner than was expected," Roussopoulos stressed.

    [08] Gov't on ERS refusal to issue 'transparency certificate' to construction firm

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The government emphasized on Wednesday that the National Council for Radio and Television, known as ERS in its Greek-language acronym, is an independent regulatory authority, one in fact, prescribed by the Constitution.

    The statement, made by government spokesman Thodoris Roussopoulos during his regular press briefing, came in answer to questions regarding Tuesday's refusal by ERS' board (4 to 3) to issue a "certificate of transparency" for the bourse-listed Aktor construction firm.

    Aktor is owned by Leonidas Bobolas, the son of George Bobolas, the chairman of the Pegasus press group, which owns two Athens dailies. The latter is also a large shareholder in the private national TV station Mega Channel.

    [09] PASOK leader launches attack on ruling ND on issue of vested interests and transparency

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Main opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) leader George Papandreou on Wednesday raised his tone of confrontation with the ruling New Democracy (ND) party on the issue of vested interests and transparency during a meeting of the Movement's Parliamentary Group.

    Papandreou attributed to the "conservative party" the great, as he said, responsibility on the issue of vested interests.

    The PASOK leader also referred with rhetoric questions on the issue asking:" Who took loans in the past, who had the favor of the state, who had permanent support of party and conservative apparatuses of the state which was controlled by the ND and (before 1967) by ERE?"

    Papandreou further referred to the settlements on radio and television networks, underlining that the licenses were given in 1990 during the government of Constantine Mitsotakis "without transparency, without procedures, without criteria," and noted that at present the situation is much more difficult and much more complex.

    He attacked the ND, noting that it ''does not follow the rules of the market'' and disputed the sincerity of the efforts of the government and that of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, stating that "we are waiting to see whether things are said with sincerity and whether the ND has the will to proceed." He added that "we as PASOK have stated, and we will do it, that we will support every serious effort of the government.''

    In an answer to Papandreou's statements, Government Spokes-man Thodoris Roussopoulos said that the charges made by the main opposition leader were ''general and vague'', adding that the ND government ''in the past eight months that it has been governing has realized many of its commitments much sooner than expected''.

    [10] NATO defense ministers meet in Romania

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Minister of Defense, Spilios Spiliotopoulos, on Wednesday outlined the basic points of Greece's policy concerning existing peace keeping missions in which NATO is a participant at an informal meeting of the Alliance's defense ministers in the city of Pojana Brasov in Romania.

    According to a press release issued by the Greek Ministry of Defense, Spiliotopoulos stated that "Greece's participation in these types of missions is being dealt with by the Greek government, and will be dealt with in the future, always in the light of national priorities".

    Official sources reminded of Greece's refusal to a possible re-quest for its participation in any kind of international peace-keeping mission to Iraq. Regarding the Alliance's planned mission for the training of Iraqi army personnel, Greece has already stated its readiness to help, excluding however the dispatch of Greek trainers to Iraq. The same sources clarified that during this informal meeting, no decisions were made concerning a possible expansion of a Greek peace-keeping force which was already active in Afghanistan, beyond Kabul.

    The meeting also hailed NATO's ''contribution to the successful holding of elections in Afghanistan'', to ministry's press release said.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Spiliotopoulos held talks with his French and Belgian counterparts Michelle Alliot-Mariot and Andre Flahaut respectively.

    On Thursday the Greek minister will participate in the works of an informal session of the NATO-Russia Council (NCR).

    [11] Prosecutor begins preliminary probe into another 2 weapons contracts

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    An Athens first instance prosecutor on Wednesday opened another preliminary investigation into the purchase of a pair of weapons systems by the defense ministry leadership during the previous Simitis governments - a development that comes in the wake of another two high-profile cases resulting in the establishment of a Parliament committee of inquiry.

    The latest cases involve the purchase of two Russian-made hovercraft in 2000 and the purchase of a batch of NH-90 helicopters reportedly without a tender.

    Initial information regarding the cases was conveyed by the current general secretary of the national defense ministry, former Supreme Court prosecutor George Zorbas, to the prosecutor's office.

    [12] Procurement contract for C41 security system to be renegotiated

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Ministry of Public Order has announced that it will renegotiate the terms of the procurement contract for the C41 security system which was hastily procured for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis commented that the system had presented a number of problems which were beyond its specifications. Efforts had been made to sort these problems out both before and during the Olympic Games but to no avail, resulting in the decision to form a 20-member commit-tee which would study them.

    The minister added that these problems were not covered by the initial agreement and so the government would negotiate new terms with the manufacturers of the system. Furthermore, the estimated initial cost of the system was 259 million euros, but in actual fact it exceeded 300 million euros. From this amount, 110 million euros have been defrayed against the cost of fulfilling the contract.

    Voulgarakis that Greece had gained by hosting the Olympic Games. He added that the government would create an Institute of Planning and Study, which would make the best use of the technological knowledge and positive experiences Greece had gained from the Olympics and would export them to as many countries as were interested. According to the minister, to date, interest has already been expressed by China, Italy, Bulgaria, Malta and other nations.

    Finally, the minister stated that he would reform the regional police force, in order to boost security in Greek regional areas.

    [13] European Parliament Committee on Environment approves appointment of Greek Commissioner Dimas

    Brussels 14/10/2004 (ANA/V. Demiris)

    With favorable comments the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on Wednesday approved the appointment of Greek Commissioner candidate for the environment Stavros Dimas after a three-hour hearing on September 29.

    It must be noted that the Plenum of the European Parliament now has the final word and which is called on October 27 to approve or reject in its entirety the new composition of the Commission which is foreseen to undertake its duties on November 1 for five years.

    In its assessment on Dimas' hearing, the European parliament's committee noted the "open and friendly personality" of the Greek Commissioner, at the same time expressing satisfaction on his intentions to work in a spirit of complete independence to the benefit of Europe in close cooperation with the European Parliament and the relevant committee.

    As further referred in the letter, the coordinators of the commit-tee noted the long political and professional experience and abilities of Dimas, at the same time recognizing his broad knowledge in many aspects of environmental policy despite the fact that it was not his specialty.

    Meanwhile, the European Parliament Committees on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection consider that Cypriot Markos Kyprianou is well qualified to take on his new tasks of Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.

    [14] Stephanopoulos rounds off visit to Bulgaria

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The President of the Hellenic Republic, Kostis Stephanopoulos, rounded up his three-day official visit to Bulgaria Wednesday, returning to Athens in the afternoon. The president had been accompanied on his trip by Foreign Minister Evripidis Stylianidis and a team of Greek businessmen.

    On Wednesday morning, Stephanopoulos visited Varna, where he met with the Metropolitan of Varna and Preslava, Kyrillos. The president informed the bishop that Greek-Bulgarian relations were excellent as were the relations of the Greek and Romanian Orthodox churches. The next stop for Stephanopoulos was the archaeological museum of Varna, where he saw an exhibition of ancient Greek ceramics which had been unearthed in Bulgaria.

    Finally, the president met with the presidents of three Greek-Bulgarian friendship societies who asked him for more books and educational and cultural exchanges between Greece and Bulgaria.

    The President is due to make an official visit to Albania next Monday.

    [15] Ambassador new head of National Information Service

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Minister of Public Order, George Voulgarakis, announced Wednesday the appointment of Yannis Korantis, a 56 year old ambassador, as the new head of the National Information Service. The minister accepted the resignation of Loukas Apostolidis, the current head of the service who will be replaced by Korantis at the beginning of November.

    Apostolidis thanked the leadership of the Ministry of Public Order for the trust they had placed in him but stated that after six years in the post, he had contributed as much as he could.

    In a career spanning over thirty years, Korantis has held a number of important and crucial posts including at NATO as well as in the U.S. and Turkey.

    [16] Case of defamatory leaflets dismissed by prosecutor

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    A formerly controversial case involving the distribution of a batch of highly critical pamphlets against PASOK leader George Papandreou just days before the March 7 elections was dismissed this week by a local prosecutor.

    According to the findings reported by the prosecutor, there was no evidence to implicate the New Democracy party, which subsequently went on to win the general elections.

    Furthermore, there was no evidence to charge postal workers initially accused of violating privacy laws.

    [17] Leyla Zana picks up award after nine years

    Brussels 14/10/2004 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Former Turkish parliamentarian and Kurdish rights activist, Leyla Zana, was in Brussels on Wednesday to pick up the Sakharov Award that she had been awarded nine years ago by the European Parliament. Zana, who was released from jail this year and was given permission by the Turkish authorities to visit Brussels, stated that there had been some progress in the modernization of Turkish law in the past few years even though there were problems in enforcing these changes.

    Zana spoke before the Committee on Foreign Affairs at the EU Parliament, and referred to the continued existence of political prisoners in Turkey, requesting that the EU continue to put pressure on Turkey to implement democratic reforms.

    PASOK Europarliamentarian Panos Beglitis who was also pre-sent at the Committee meeting, expressed PASOK's solidarity with Zana and the Kurdish people and added that Zana's presence at the Euro Parliament was an indication of the progress Turkey had made in the past few years despite the fact that many problems still existed in the sectors of democratic institutions and human rights.

    [18] Greek-Polish conference in Warsaw on Public Administration

    Warsaw 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    A conference entitled "Rules of Ethics in Public Administration" was held in Warsaw on Wednesday.

    The conference was jointly organized by the "Centre of European Constitutional Law, Themistoklis and Dimitris Tsatsos Foundation" (KESD), the Polish "Public Affairs Institute" and the Polish Public Administration Service.

    Greetings to the delegates were directed by Greek Ambassador to Warsaw Dionysios Lelos and on the part of Poland by the Public Administration minister, the Interior minister and the director of the Polish Public Affairs Institute.

    [19] Greece in 37th place in world competitiveness classification for 2004

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Greece was ranked in 37th place in the world competitiveness classification for 2004, dropping from the 35th place it held in 2003, according to the Growth Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum's annual report publicized on Wednesday.

    From one point of view, however, Greece's classification remained unchanged since its drop of two positions is due mainly to the fact that this year two new (Arab) countries were added to the classification which received higher positions than our country.

    According to the results of the Global Competitiveness Report, issued every year by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) Greece is ranked as follows according to the three main competitiveness indexes: -37th place among 104 countries according to the growth competitiveness index. -41st place among 103 countries according to the business competitiveness index. -51st place among 104 countries according to the overall competitiveness index (prepared for the first time this year).

    Presenting the report on Wednesday, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) noted that sectors having a positive impact on Greece's competitiveness are mainly human potential, improved infrastructures and public institutions, security in particular and the low crime rate.

    On the other hand, sectors downgrading the competitiveness of the Greek economy are the public sector, local competition, social and environmental policy and technology, particularly in the implementation of innovations and in cooperation between businesses and universities.

    [20] Debate begins on draft 2005 state budget

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    "With the budget of 2005 we are laying down the foundations for healthy, sincere and credible budgets and credible programs of stability and development," said Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, speaking on Wednesday night at the parliamentary committee which is examining the draft state budget for the economic year of 2005.

    "We are striving to reduce the deficit from 5.3 per cent to 2.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with a smooth adjustment which will centre on the control of public expenditures," said Alogoskoufis who included in the central aims of the budget the "balanced development for all" and the increase in employment.

    Referring to privatization, Alogoskoufis said that they will reach the sum of 1.6 billion euros during 2005 or to 1 percent of the GDP and will be incorporated in a framework of a "reduction of the business activity of the state, the strengthening of competition, attraction of direct foreign investments and better utilization of the state properties."

    [21] EU Commission to publish autumn forecasts for Greek economy Oct 26

    Brussels, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The European Commission's autumn forecasts for the Greek economy, due to be published October 26, are not yet finalized, a spokesman for EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, the Commissioner's spokesman stressed that the EU's executive has not yet started processing of a report over the implementation of recommendations made by an ECOFIN council in July 5 by Greece. The report is due to be discussed by a ministers' council November 16-17.

    The spokesman was commenting on reports by Greek media alleging that the Commission was doubting the realism of the Greek government's new budget.

    Community sources in Brussels said it was likely that the Commission, in its autumn forecasts, to present slower growth rates compared with Greek budget projections of 3.9 percent for the year. Such a move could have consequences on the country's fiscal condition, they noted.

    [22] Agricultural Minister comments on recent crisis over farm prices

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evaggelos Basiakos on Wednesday said that a recent crisis in prices and distribution of certain farm products, such as peaches, industrial tomato, rice, wheat, corn, grapes, potatoes and onions, was attributed to this year's over-production levels, large inventories accumulated over the last three years, an increase in imports and a decline in exports of farm products (that led to a farm trade deficit of 670 billion drachmas in 2003), legal barriers in prohibiting imports, implementation of community directives and lack of preparatory work by domestic bodies.

    The Greek minister stressed that the government was taking all necessary measures -in line with community directives and after a systematic dialogue with farm unions- to protect domestic market and producers and noted that the government was not entitled to set prices on farm products, but only to intervene as an intermediary.

    Basiakos said that government was taking additional measures aimed to speed-up payment of subsidies and compensations to farmers, extra measures to reduce production costs, improve competitiveness, raise pensions and abolish the burden of penalty interest rates on unpaid bank loans. The government aimed to increase farm spending by around 8.0 percent, to offer support and make a more efficient use of community programs for the farm sector, while it would seek to boost consumption in the domestic market and to impose stricter rules for manufacturers and traders of farm products, Basiakos noted.

    He noted that community adjustments achieved by the government during talks over a new Common Agricultural Policy in April would be implemented from 2006.

    [23] Deputy development minister says possible electric power price increases will be lower than inflation

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Salangoudis, speaking to foreign correspondents and news agency reporters on Wednesday, said possible price increases of the Public Power Corporation's (DEH) electric power will be lower than inflation.

    On the question of price increases in fuel due to soaring increases in international crude oil prices, Salangoudis said his ministry has succeeded, with a series of moves, to minimize whatever repercussions and increases for the final consumer and as a result price increases in our country are among the lowest in Europe.

    He also said the radical differentiation of the refineries' pricing system is being examined to secure a genuine competitive environment with the adoption of a weekly pricing system.

    [24] Eurobank analysts believe Athens Stock Exchange general index will reach 2,650 points in 2005

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Athens Stock Exchange's general index will reach 2,650 points in 2005, provided that profits of listed companies will increase 12 percent, according to Eurobank analysts.

    Speaking on Wednesday during an analytical presentation of developments expected in both local and international markets, Eurobank analysts Christos Elafros, heading a share analysis department, and Paris Karasso, a deputy general director, pointed out that the suitable investment strategy for 2005 is focused on the careful selection of shares.

    Interest in the local market will remain with high capitalization companies, while certain opportunities will also appear for selective placements with medium capitalization companies due to the prolonged decline of their shares.

    Referring to the presence of foreign institutional investors, the analysts expressed satisfaction over interest they are showing in the Greek market, despite its small size, which has been confirmed by a 33.5 percent increase in their presence, resulting in their control of 21.1 percent of the market.

    [25] Substantiated European Commission opinion against Greece on transport measures

    Brussels, 14/10/2004 (ANA/M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission issued on Wednesday a substantiated opinion against Greece, Portugal and Luxembourg who have not yet notified the EU's executive the measures for incorporating to their national laws the European Union's legislation on the allowed maximum weight and the allowed maximum dimensions of certain road vehicles.

    As stated by the relevant Commission announcement, the relevant guide completes the existing legislation with the further harmonization of the allowed maximum weight and the allowed maximum dimensions of the road vehicles which are used in passenger transport.

    The announcement notes that the deviations from the existing rules of the member states with regard the dimensions of these vehicles can cause damaging repercussions to the terms of competition and constitute an obstacle in traffic in the European Union.

    [26] Greek motorcycle market to continue growing strongly, report says

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek motorcycle market is expected to grow to a new record this year, with sales exceeding 60,000 units in 2004, a survey by the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Wednesday.

    The report stressed that the Greek motorcycle market offered very favorable prospects and noted that this year's strong sales figure was not related with a government-sponsored policy to withdraw older motorcycles from the market, since the program accounted for only 176 units due to bureaucracy obstacles.

    IOBE said that the domestic market was steadily growing in the last decade, with the number of new motorcycle (more than 50cc) registrations rising by an average annual 8.2 percent rate in the period 1992-2002, while registrations of motorbikes (up to 50cc) rising an average annual 2.9 percent over the same period.

    The report said that production activity was limited in the country, while commercial activity was particularly strong, with imported motorcycles totalling 876,022 in the period 1994-2001. Italy, with a market share of 27.5 percent, Japan (20.5 pct), and Germany (7.5 pct) are the country's main importers, while non-EU states accounted for 52.1 percent of domestic imports.

    The international motorcycle market is highly concentrated, the report noted, with the two biggest markets, EU and Japan, producing a total of 3,442,949 units in 2002, or more than 80 percent the world's production.

    IOBE said that strong competition were holding motorcycle prices to relatively low levels in the domestic market and predicted an increase in sales over the next few years due to easier financing programs offered by commercial companies to consumers.

    The report stressed that a rapid growth in the motorcycle market needed immediate measures to improve the country's road network and to help in limiting road accidents by imposing stricter rules in training and safety inspections.

    IOBE said that demand for motorcycles was directly connected with developments in the country's regulatory framework, taxation, prices, consumers' income, advertising, technological developments and consumers' habits.

    [27] 48 hour strike by Olympic stewards

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Olympic Airlines stewards announced Wednesday that they would be calling a 48 hour strike for 16 and 17 October, to push mainly wage-related demands. During a press conference, the steward's union of the debt-ridden state carrier criticized the government and more specifically the Ministry of Transport regarding its policy of privatization.

    According to the union, a two-year work agreement was signed in August between the union and Olympic, which has not yet been approved by the Olympic Airlines Board of Directors, even though the president of the company had committed himself to approving the agreement by the end of September.

    [28] Athens Bourse Close: Stocks stabilize as positive climate prevails in major European bourses

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Stocks stabilized as a positive climate prevailed in the major European bourses, traders said.

    The Athens general share index closed at 2,401.04 points, showing a rise of 0.07 percent. Turnover was 79.3 million euros.

    Derivatives Market Close: Turnover at 78.6 mln euros

    Equity Index Futures:

  • FTSE/ASE-20 (high cap): At discount

  • Underlying Index: +0.08%

  • FTSE/ASE-40 (medium cap): At premium

  • Underlying Index: +0.01% percent

    [29] Greek woman elected 'Woman of Europe' for 2004

    Brussels, 14/10/2004 (ANA/Y. Zitouniati)

    Aliki Moschi-Gose from Greece was elected 'Woman of Europe" for 2004 here on Wednesday night from among 15 candidates from corresponding European countries.

    Moschi-Gose, who is from the island of Rhodes, has completed studies in France and the United States and is president of the foundation "Women-Art-Mediterranean" which she created her-self and is active in the dialogue of cultures, Euro-Mediterranean cooperation and, primarily, the participation of women in programs for peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean.

    The panel was composed of Eurodeputies, journalists and diplomats from the 15 countries participating in the event.

    The title will be awarded in the European Parliament's hall of ceremonies in the Belgian capital on Thursday by the President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell and during an event organized by ruling New Democracy party Eurodeputy Rodi Kratsa in her capacity as president for the strengthening of the position of women in Europe.

    [30] Celebrations mark 40 years of Greek "Deutsche Welle" program

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    The Greek Deutsche Welle radio program is celebrating the 40 years since its inception this year, with celebratory events organized in Athens from 24 until 26 October, which will also be attended by the General Director of Deutsche Welle, Eric Beterman.

    As part of the celebrations, the Goethe Institute in Athens will be organizing a meeting of 43 local radio stations which transmit the Greek Deutsche Welle program as well as a public forum on the topic of "Prospects for radio in the 21st century".

    A celebratory event is also being held at the Old Parliament building, under the aegis of President of the Greek Parliament, Anna Psarouda-Benaki.

    [31] Late-night torrential rainfall causes acute problems in Attica prefecture

    Athens, 14/10/2004 (ANA)

    Torrential rainfall in the Attica prefecture late Tuesday night caused serious problems of flooding and electricity cuts in several areas, the Fire Department and police told ANA.

    A rainstorm that broke out shortly before midnight resulted in the flooding of central Pireos street where it meets with Hamosternas street, and also in the Ano Liosia residential district, and several drivers were trapped in their cars. The Fire Department was called in for assistance.

    An electricity failure plunged Megara into darkness, while in the coastal suburb of Glyfada and all the eastern Attica suburbs traffic lights went out, causing traffic confusion.

    Up until midnight, the Fire Department had received more than 100 calls to pump floodwater and remove people trapped in cars and elevators throughout the prefecture.

    [32] Estonian President certain of cooperation with Cyprus

    Tallin 14/10/2004, (CNA/ANA)

    Estonian President Arnold Ruutel met on Wednesday in Tallin with Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and expressed certainty that the two countries would continue to cooperate and support each other, which would also be to the benefit of the EU.

    President Papadopoulos said the Cypriot government was ''very keen to see a revival of talks'' on the Cyprus problem, adding that ''we would like Turkey to respond to the concerns of the Greek Cypriots regarding its attitude towards Cyprus.''

    The Estonian president said the discussions showed that ''it is important to continue our cooperation in new conditions as members of the EU.''

    He said that for both countries as EU members ''it is very important to build a closer relationship,'' adding that ''it is possible to corporate nowadays, despite the long geographical distance, in the

    field of information technology and research, education and culture and other fields.''

    ''I am sure that we shall continue to work together and support each other and this complies with the interests of the EU,'' he added.

    Asked what Estonia could do on the Cyprus issue, Ruutel said ''those questions and issues are discussed at the EU and the EU is trying to find solutions to them and we have discussed them,'' noting that ''we support Cyprus but would not discuss that in detail now.''

    President Papadopoulos said he expressed the wish ''to further improve relations and work together within the framework of the EU.''

    ''We are very proud to belong to the EU but we think smaller countries of the EU should exchange frequently views and take positions concerning the various challenges and problems of the EU,''he added.

    The Cypriot president said that ''in the coming months the EU has to deal with important problems affecting all the members states and I am very glad that on some of these issues we have the same views and the willingness to corporate.''

    ''We talked the tourist and economic relations, about our standing within the EU and about the Cyprus problem and the decisions which the EU has to take in the months ahead and I am very satisfied with our talks,'' he added.

    Replying to questions about the Cyprus problem, President Papadopoulos said ''we are very keen to see a revival of talks concerning Cyprus and we would like Turkey to respond to the concerns of the Greek Cypriots regarding its attitude towards Cyprus,'' adding that ''the details of these issues are not for discussion now.''

    [33] Euro-Parliament Committees support Kyprianou for Commissioner

    Brussels, 14/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The European Parliament Committees on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection consider that Cypriot Markos Kyprianou is well qualified to take on his new tasks of Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.

    In their evaluation of Kyprianou, the two Committees on Wednesday noted in a letter to President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell Fontelles that the Cypriot Commissioner designate emphasized ''his absolute independence from all local, party, professional and economic interests which seek to deter-mine EU policy, as well as his firm commitment to continuing dialogue with the European Parliament and with its relevant committees.''

    ''He stated that he would adhere strictly to rules of good governance of the human and financial resources placed under his responsibility, and that he would attach a high priority to effective implementation of EU law. He then expressed a general wish that he could help instill a feeling of confidence in the internal market on the part of all European consumers,'' the Committees add.

    The members of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety noted Kyprianou's remarks ''with approval'', and the members of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection were ''unanimous in finding that Mr. Kyprianou's answers were impressive throughout'' the hearing, the Committees point out.

    In conclusion, the Committees ''consider that Mr. Kyprianou is well qualified to take on his new tasks both in the light of his past political experience and of his performance at his hearing on 8 October'' and can ''thus express their support for his nomination as Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.''

    [34] Cypriots must propose next steps for solution, US Ambassador says

    Nicosia, 14/10/2004 (CNA/ANA)

    The US government is ready to assist efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, but proposals on next steps should come from Cypriots and not from the international community, US Ambassador to Nicosia, Michael Klosson stressed here Wednesday.

    ''We are prepared to assist settlement efforts, but proposals on next steps must come from Nicosia, not foreign capitals. Renewed steps towards a solution must begin with those on the is-land who have to grasp it, live with it'', Klosson said.

    Addressing the annual General Meeting of the Cyprus-American Business Association in Nicosia, Klosson noted that the solution would be by necessity a compromise and said that people in Cyprus should be prepared by their leaderships to accept a compromise.

    He also underlined the need to financially assist the Turkish Cypriots, in order to enhance prospects for a solution and reunification.

    ''We would be delighted if Cypriots could take matters in their own hands and present the UN Security Council with a negotiated solution. Unfortunately, there is no reason to expect that any time soon'', he said.

    The US diplomat noted that there is now stalemate in the Cyprus issue and said that the international community cannot answer the question how to overcome the current situation.

    ''The international community cannot answer that question for Cypriots. In recent months, much has been said about the role of the international community, real or imagined'', he said.

    Klosson added that the question that has to be answered now is what steps should be made so that both communities in Cyprus vote in favor of the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's plan for a solution of the Cyprus problem.

    ''Outsiders cannot weigh those concerns and answer those questions. We need to hear feasible answers first from Cypriots in order to assess how we might assist'', US diplomat said.

    He noted that Cyprus would not be able to achieve its full potential as a strong partner within the EU, with the U.S. or in the region as long as the Cyprus problem persists.


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