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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-03-15

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


Last Update: 19:06 GMT+2

SECTIONS

  • [A] GREECE
  • [B] BALKANS
  • [C] WORLD

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] GREECE

  • [01] NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER ANNOUNCES DRASTIC MEASURES
  • [02] GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF GREEK WORKERS ON DRACHMA'S DEVALUATION
  • [03] TAIWAN TO SEND TRADE MISSION TO GREECE
  • [04] BRITISH TRADE MISSIONS IN ATHENS THIS WEEK
  • [B] BALKANS

  • [05] TURKISH GENERAL TO TAKE PART IN WEU'S MILITARY LEADERS MEETING
  • [C] WORLD

  • [06] CYPRUS ' ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE EU TO START ON MARCH 31

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] GREECE

    [01] NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER ANNOUNCES DRASTIC MEASURES

    Web Posted: 19:06 GMT+2

    Athens, March 15 (MPA)

    The Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou announced a package of drastic economic measures today, which are to enable the national currency, the drachma, to enter the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), by subjecting it to a 14 per cent devaluation.

    The package, which has already sparked considerable unrest among the Greeks,

    provides for the partial privatization of 11 public utilities and three or four state-controlled banks in 1998 and 1999, with the state retaining minimum 51 per cent stakes. It also foresees the streamlining of other loss-making utilities, such as the national carrier Olympic Airways, railways, urban transport and the post-office.

    Mr. Papantoniou also announced that he will soon table a draft bill on changes in the social security system, and revealed measures for trimming public deficits, as well as changes in labor market regulations affecting both the private and public sectors.

    The Minister stated that the fiscal adjustment measures aim at reducing public sector deficits to 2.4 and 2.1 per cent of GDP in 1998 and 1999 respectively. He stressed that the target of further bringing down inflation to 2.5 per cent by the end of the year still

    stands, and urged employers and unions to adopt the figure as a guideline in negotiations for collective labor agreements.

    He did stress his confidence that there would be no further speculative pressures on the drachma, as the currency's new parities were considered fully competitive.

    [02] GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF GREEK WORKERS ON DRACHMA'S DEVALUATION

    Web Posted: 19:06 GMT+2

    Kavala, March 15 (MPA)

    The General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) representatives, who rounded up a three-day meeting held in Kavala for the organization's 29th conference, demanded that the government protect workers from the repercussions of the drachma's

    recent devaluation.

    GSEE President Christos Polyzogopoulos asked "for immediate measures so that the end result (of the devaluation) will be positive".

    The Greek drachma was devalued by 14 percent on Saturday, enabling the national currency to join the European Union's exchange rate mechanism (ERM) currency grid, while a package of drastic economic measures including partial privatization of state utilities and banks and streamlining of public transport and postal organizations

    was also announced.

    The move and accompanying economic measures were lauded by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund alike, but was met with strong criticism from the Greek opposition parties and labor unions.

    The Greek government took financial markets by surprise on Friday when it announced it had applied to immediately join the up to then 12-member ERM, following a day of speculation in which the drachma fell sharply against the ECU.

    The EU's monetary committee comprising senior bank and finance ministry officials, during a seven-hour meeting in Brussels on Saturday, accepted the drachma into the ERM, effective immediately, and also approved an Irish request for a 3 percent revaluation of the punt to put it back in line with economic fundamentals.

    [03] TAIWAN TO SEND TRADE MISSION TO GREECE

    Web Posted: 19:06 GMT+2

    Athens, March 15 (MPA)

    Taiwan's Council for External Trade and Development (CETPA) is sending a trade mission to Greece on March 18 to boost economic ties between the two countries.

    The delegation sent by CETPA, a non-profit organization, comprises 31 Taiwanese companies from a wide range of sectors. The group will stay until March 22 while an exhibition of their products will be held on March 10 at the Athens Hilton.

    Trade between Greece and Taiwan fell by 4.2 percent in 1997 to 187 million dollars from 195.1 million in 1996, according to CETPA statistics. Greek imports from Taiwan dropped by 39.3 percent to 17 million dollars last year from 28 million in 1996, while Greek exports to Taiwan rose by 1.7 percent to 170 million dollars from 167.1 million in 1996.

    [04] BRITISH TRADE MISSIONS IN ATHENS THIS WEEK

    Web Posted: 19:06 GMT+2

    Athens, March 15 (MPA)

    Two trade missions from Great Britain are to visit Athens this Tuesday and Wednesday.

    One delegation of over 26 companies plans to demonstrate specialist equipment for airport services and equipment produced in the UK, while the second will arrive from Iraklion, Crete, bringing a mini-exhibition of products and services in contract furnishings for hotels and tourist resorts.

    [B] BALKANS

    [05] TURKISH GENERAL TO TAKE PART IN WEU'S MILITARY LEADERS MEETING

    Web Posted: 19:06 GMT+2
    _Turkey's Army General Haki Karadayi is to participate at the summit meeting of the military leaders of the countries -members of the western European Union. _ The meeting is to take place in April at Athens.

    [C] WORLD

    [06] CYPRUS ' ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE EU TO START ON MARCH 31

    Web Posted: 19:06 GMT+2

    Brussels, March 31 (MPA)

    Negotiations for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union are to start as planned on March31, even if the Turkish-Cypriots refuse to participate in the talks, according to the "15" Foreign Ministers .

    The decision to proceed with the talks was facilitated once the French government retracted its demand to "shelf" the talks if the /Turkish- 0cyptuots did not participate.

    Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has expressed his satisfaction, but Rauf Denktash, the self-called leader of the Turkish-Cypriots, accused the EU of having succumbed to Athens's "blackmail".


    Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/


    Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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