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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-12-15

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.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, December 15, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PASOK LEADS IN AN OPINION POLL CONDUCTED ACROSS GREECE
  • [02] THE BANK OF GREECE CUTS THE INTERVENTION INTEREST RATES
  • [03] NEW INTEREST RATES CUTS IN THE FIRST MONTHS OF 2000 PREDICTED BY MR. PAPANTONIOU
  • [04] LOSSES OF 2.54% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [05] THE ONLY EXISTING ISSUE BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY IS THE CONTINENTAL SHELF
  • [06] REACTIONS BY LEADING MEMBERS OF PASOK AND ND ON THE NEW OPINION POLL
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [07] TEN GREEKS WERE AMONG THE VICTIMS OF A ROBBERY IN SOFIA
  • [08] CONSULTATIONS IN ROMANIA ON THE NEW GOVERNMENT
  • [09] ECEVIT WILL SUGGEST TO DENKTASH TO CONTINUE THE TALKS ON CYPRUS
  • [10] MILITARY AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROM - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PASOK LEADS IN AN OPINION POLL CONDUCTED ACROSS GREECE

    The governing socialist party of PASOK leads the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy by 1 percentage point in an opinion poll conducted across Greece by the MRB polling company.

    The outcome of the opinion poll that was conducted before the Helsinki EU Summit meeting was given to publicity yesterday. PASOK got 31.6%, New Democracy 30.6%, the Communist Party 5.6%, the Democratic Social Movement 4.8%, Coalition of the Left 4%, Political Spring 1.4% and the Liberals 0.5%. To the question who is more suitable for the post of the prime minister after the year 2000, prime minister Kostas Simitis comes first with 41.9%, while New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis follows with 31.9%.

    The same research shows that Kostis Stephanopoulos is regarded as the most suitable for the post of the president of the Hellenic Republic by 61.4% of those who responded to the opinion poll.

    Regardless of political party affiliation 48.2% of the people believe that PASOK will be the winner in the next elections compared to 32% who believe that the winner will be New Democracy. The prime minister with 40.4% is the most popular politician compared to Kostas Karamanlis' 38%.

    [02] THE BANK OF GREECE CUTS THE INTERVENTION INTEREST RATES

    The monetary policy council of the Bank of Greece met today to announce the intervention interest rate cut.

    In yesterday's marathon meeting it was decided that the cut will be 0.75%. The new cut is possible to signal the drop of the commercial banks' interest rates on loans and bank accounts.

    Already the first move came for the National Bank of Greece. Its consumer loans interest rates are adjusted at 15.50%, the personal loans interest rates at 16.25 %, the housing loans interest rates at 11.75%, the savings accounts interest rates at 7.50% and the current account interest rates at 6%.

    [03] NEW INTEREST RATES CUTS IN THE FIRST MONTHS OF 2000 PREDICTED BY MR. PAPANTONIOU

    Minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou, who presented the updated convergence program for the three-year period of 1999-2002, predicted a new interest rates cuts in the first months of 2000. Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that the interest rates will follow a downward course stating that the de-escalation must be controlled.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that the goal of the government is for inflation to be at 2.1% in 2000 and 2001, while the goal for 2002 is to drop to 2%. Mr. Papantoniou stated that this inflation rate is absolutely compatible with the way the European inflation rate develops and will safeguard the Greek economy's course to the EMU.

    On the course of the stock market, he characterized the loss of enthusiasm as normal and added that the stock market is in step with the positive picture of the Greek economy.

    Also, the minister of national economy and finance confirmed today the information on consultations with the European partners on the revaluation of the drachma exchange rate to the Euro.

    [04] LOSSES OF 2.54% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Significant losses of 2.54% were recorded today in the Athens Stock Exchange general index in spite of the announcements on interest rates cuts that were expected to give a boost to the stock market.

    The positive developments in the economy front appeared to be insufficient and were unable to limit the caution expressed by investors. At the same time, the stock market is suffocating because of lack of cash flow as the big share capital increases that have dried out the Athens Stock Exchange continue, while the purchase interest remains limited.

    The small volume of transactions is also a cause of concern as of the 400 billion drachmas that were invested today 100-200 billions concerned share packages.

    [05] THE ONLY EXISTING ISSUE BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY IS THE CONTINENTAL SHELF

    Minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated before the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense today that the only existing issue between Greece and Turkey is that of the continental shelf.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos pointed out that the Greek-Turkish differences and Cyprus' accession course are being placed within the framework of the European Union security issues.

    To the same issue referred minister of interior Vaso Papandreou as well, who stressed that the Helsinki decisions open a new period for Greece and display Greece's leading role in the Balkans.

    Ms. Papandreou also added that Greece safeguarded Cyprus' rights and a way to solve the problems that is in agreement with international law and rules.

    [06] REACTIONS BY LEADING MEMBERS OF PASOK AND ND ON THE NEW OPINION POLL

    The government seeks the ultimate satisfaction which will come when it will win the vote of the people in the next elections, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas when asked to comment on the results of the MRB opinion poll results.

    From his side, foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou stressed that the government's work will be judged by the outcome of the next elections and from the positive results achieved in many different sectors.

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy press spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos stated that the governing socialist party of PASOK and his party are at the same starting point. He pointed out that it is natural to observe increased solidarity among the members of the two leading political parties as election time approaches.

    Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos stated that the enacted procedures can never be replaced by opinion polls and elections always have the last word. He stated however, that opinion polls are useful material for study.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [07] TEN GREEKS WERE AMONG THE VICTIMS OF A ROBBERY IN SOFIA

    The ten Greeks, who were the victims of a robbery together with other 20 passengers of a chartered bus making the run from Thessaloniki to Bucharest, are safe in a police station in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

    Three men armed with Kalashnikovs and dressed up as policemen entered the bus and began firing shots in the air while at the same time they were removing money and valuables from the bus passengers. They took the keys to the bus and left using two private cars waiting for them. The passengers managed to restart the bus using cables and reported the incident to the police.

    [08] CONSULTATIONS IN ROMANIA ON THE NEW GOVERNMENT

    The Romanian leadership started today consultations on the members of the new government in the country as prime minister Rantu Vasile finally accepted to be removed from his post by president Emil Constantinescu.

    The former Romanian prime minister had been accused of being unable to materialize the reforms he had promised and of slowing down the procedures for the country's accession into the European Union.

    [09] ECEVIT WILL SUGGEST TO DENKTASH TO CONTINUE THE TALKS ON CYPRUS

    Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit will suggest to Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to continue the negotiations on Cyprus because an interruption of the talks will be to the benefit of the Cypriot Republic, according to the Turkish newspaper Cumhurriyet which refers to Denktash's imminent visit to Turkey at the invitation of prime minister Ecevit.

    The Turkish Cypriot leader had reacted to the Helsinki decision on the accession of Cyprus into the European Union and Mr. Ecevit will brief him on the EU decisions and on Turkey's policy on the issue of Cyprus which, according to statements already made by the Turkish prime minister, will not change.

    According to the Turkish newspaper, Mr. Ecevit will advise Mr. Denktash to stay in the negotiations because their interruption will benefit the Greek Cypriots.

    [10] MILITARY AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROM

    A military agreement between Greece and FYROM was signed in Skopje yesterday by Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos and his FYROM counterpart Nikola Kljusev.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos attended the ceremony for the delivery of 10 "Leonidas" armoured personnel carriers and 5 "Mercedes" jeeps in an army camp outside Skopje.

    The agreement signed provides among others for scholarships to be granted to FYROM army officers for further training in Greece, the watching of Greek military exercises by armed forces officers of the neighboring country, and the participation of FYROM in NATO's Partnership for Peace programs in which take part NATO countries and all the former Warsaw Pact member- states.

    The Greek side has also undertaken the obligation to deliver medical material for the heart surgery clinic of the Skopje military hospital by April 2000, while the agreement also provides for the cooperation of the two countries in the defense industry sector.

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