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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-30

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 30/01/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Socialist Manifesto in Vienna-Simitis
  • Alternate FM on Cyprus issue
  • Fire Aboard Cypriot Cargo Vessel
  • Cretan air carrier begins flights to Bari
  • Greek stock market
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Socialist Manifesto in Vienna-Simitis

European socialist leaders on Saturday endorsed a manifesto for elections in the 15-nation bloc that pledges to lower unemployment, expand social policies, boost growth and improve environmental protection.

The manifesto, the first of its kind devised by European socialists, was approved at a leaders' summit in Vienna and is destined for ratification at a congress of the Party of European Socialists in Milan on March 1- 2.

It will act as a base for election campaigns by socialist parties in Euro- elections in June, but allows them to tailor the details to the needs of their countries.

Representing Greece at the summit was Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who said that European socialists and social democrats wanted solutions to guarantee growth and employment.

"Economic progress so far has helped to ensure stability and growth in Europe. But clouds on the horizon - financial crises - are likely to suspend the growth process, having a negative impact on employment," Simitis said.

"That is why socialist parties in government are concerned at how they can give new impetus to growth and employment by reducing taxes, reinforcing demand, creating infrastructure, including the Trans-European Networks, and backing research and technology."

The manifesto was drafted by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Henri Nallet, a leader of the French Socialist Party.

Representing Greece on the document's drafting committee were Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Kranidiotis and an advisor to the prime minister, Nikos Themelis.

The Party of European Socialists is the largest group in the European parliament, holding 214 out of 626 seats. Eleven of its members are in government.

The manifesto contains a commitment to forge an agreement on employment, and a strategy for growth based on coordinating national economic policies in order to spur demand and investment, also developing the Trans-European Networks.

Germany, the EU's six-month rotating president, hopes the agreement on employment will be adopted at an EU summit in June, when its term ends.

The agreement could act as a counterweight to a stability agreement forged two years ago in order to attain fiscal discipline among countries destined to join European economic and monetary union, socialist officials said.

Other targets contained in the 21-point document are the encouragement of tax harmonisation, closer defence cooperation, revision of the common agricultural policy, reform of the EU budget, and greater transparency and efficiency in the EU's Council of Ministers.

Alternate FM on Cyprus issue

Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Saturday that potential in the Cyprus issue should be exploited in order to nudge Turkey towards an overall agreement on gradual demilitarisation of the divided island.

Speaking in Nicosia, Papandreou said a demilitarisation agreement and fair settlement of the Cyprus issue could lead to peaceful co-existence by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus' planned entry into the European Union also could be key to achieving positive developments, he added.

Papandreou pledged that Greece would help Cyprus to harmonise its laws with the EU in preparation for entry.

The task would raise political and technical difficulties, but the Greek and Cypriot parliaments could work together to resolve them.

In addition, Papandreou promised to ask ministry legal experts and the lawyers' union to propose members for a working group that is to hammer out the details of harmonisation.

His statements on harmonisaton were made at a meeting with Cyprus' general prosecutor, Alekos Markidis.

Fire Aboard Cypriot Cargo Vessel

A fire broke out early on Saturday morning aboard a Cypriot-flagged cargo vessel carrying 14,000 tonnes of sugar from Belgium to Iran. No injuries were reported.

The 10,800-grt Rallia was sailing off western Crete in gale force winds when the fire erupted in the engine room.

The crew of five Greeks and 22 non-Greek nationals were unable to extinguish the fire, and gathered on the ship's bow awaiting assistance.

The merchant marine ministry ordered emergency sea and air services to the area, and alerted nearby shipping.

A lifeboat, tug, Russian cargo ship, fishing boat and air force helicopter rushed to the scene.

The Rallia's captain, Dimitris Pateras, 57, is in constant contact with the ministry's operations room.

Cretan air carrier begins flights to Bari

The Cretan private airline company "Air Greece" on Friday announced an additional service to Bari, Italy which will begin on February 15. The flights will depart from Athens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10.00 am local time. "Air Greece believes that the benefits of the new service will be multiple, not only on the levels of tourism and commerce but also from the cultural viewpoint," the airline said in a statement.

Greek stock market

Greek equities surged to new records for the third consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday in record turnover which caused problems in the operation of the market's electronic trading system. The general index ended 1.80 percent higher at 3,149.50 points, its seventh record close in 1999. Turnover was 133.133 billion drachmas. Volume was 20, 350,000 shares. Sector indices were mixed. The parallel market index for small cap companies fell 1.58 percent, while the FTSE/ASE 20 index ended 2.03 percent up to 2,001.65, an all-time high.

WEATHER

Cloudy weather, rain and storms will prevail throughout Greece today. Snow in the mountainous regions. Winds variable, moderate to strong, turning gale force in the east and south.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 279.218 Pound sterling 460.169 Japanese yen (100) 240.064 French franc 48.569 German mark 162.893 Italian lira (100) 16.454 Irish Punt 404.527 Belgian franc 7.898 Finnish mark 53.583 Dutch guilder 144.570 Danish kr. 42.805 Austrian sch. 23.153 Spanish peseta 1.915 Swedish kr. 35.875 Norwegian kr. 37.073 Swiss franc 197.388 Port. Escudo 1.589 Aus. dollar 175.951 Can. dollar 184.334 Cyprus pound 548.834

(M.S.)


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