Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-01-30
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 30/01/1999 (ANA)
- 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
- 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-
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
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,"
"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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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