|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-18
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineThursday, 18th March, 1999
 PASOK party congress opening todayThe Greek prime minister, Kostas Simitis, will open the sessions of the 5th PASOK congress at the Athens Olympic Stadium at noon today. The sessions will end with the election of 180 new members of the Central Committee on Sunday evening.
5,802 elected delegates will take part in the congress, although dissident party members have questioned the number of participants, as they believe no more than 5,500 delegates should take part.
The prime minister has appealed for unity at the congress, while the so- called "modernisers" and dissident party members are planning the last- minute details of their congress tactics.
 German chancellor visits AthensThe current EU president, the German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, paid a lightning visit to Athens yesterday for talks with the Greek prime minister, Kostas Simitis, in preparation for next week's EU summit in Berlin. They both agreed that the crisis which erupted following the resignation of the entire European Commission should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Chancellor Schroeder expressed his satisfaction at the progress made in the Greek economy and congratulated the Greek government for having met the Maastricht criteria.
There was a divergence of views between the two leaders on the question of EU funds and the distribution of EU credits. However, they both agreed to work at the Berlin summit to find a compromise solution.
 Consultations to overcome European Commission crisisFeverish consultations are taking place in the EU in a bid to overcome the crisis in the European Commission.
Germany and Britain have called for the appointment of a new Commission prior to the Berlin summit, while France yesterday proposed that the Commission be replaced after the Euro-elections in June.
However, the current European Commission has issued a statement calling for its replacement as soon as possible. The names of four candidates, Felipe Gonzales, Oskar Lafontaine, Romano Prodi and Javier Solana, have been suggested as a possible successor to the outgoing president, Jacques Santer.
 NATO secretary general visits TurkeyThe NATO secretary general, Javier Solana, is visiting Turkey today, within the framework of his tour of the capitals of NATO member states in view of the forthcoming summit of the Alliance.
Diplomatic sources at NATO headquarters in Brussels say the main item for discussion at the talks in Turkey will be the NATO summit in the United States, but it is very likely that the question of the increased tension in Greek-Turkish relations will also be raised. The same sources say Mr Solana hopes to contribute to a de-escalation of the tension between the two countries.
 Athens Stock Exchange 0.91% up yesterdayOn the Athens Stock Exchange the general share price index closed 0.91% up yesterday at 3,630.82 points. The total volume of transactions was 130 billion drachmas.
In the parities, the US dollar was fixed at 292.9 drachmas, the Deutschmark at 164.227 drachmas and the euro at 321.20 drachmas.
 Greeks abroad will vote one day earlier in Euro-electionsGreek citizens living in EU member countries and Greek seamen will vote one day before the June Euro-elections take place in Greece. The interior ministry is distributing a circular with instructions to all the relevant authorities.
 Justice minister underwent successful operationDoctors attending the justice minister, Evangelos Iannopoulos, who underwent surgery yesterday to remove three intestinal polyps, have said the operation was a success.
 Major traffic accident on Athens-Lamia highwayAn Albanian was killed and 28 other people, including a child, were injured when a bus overturned on the Athens-to-Lamia national highway at Inofita earlier this morning.