ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece to push for concerted European and Balkan tourism policies Greece will push for a common European tourism policy during its six-month term in the EU presidency that has just started, National Tourism Organization Chairman Yiannis Patellis told a tourism conference in Sofia yesterday. He said that policy would be closely related to the tourism efforts of Balkan countries, which have to cooperate to overcome the handicap of single destinations. While the European travel industry saw its revenues fall by 2.6 percent last year, countries in Southeastern Europe noticed an increase in visitors, said Jaime Ruiz Baudrihaye, head of the European Travel Commission, a non-profit organization. Turkey received 10.1 percent more visitors in 2002, Bulgaria 8.5 percent and Croatia 4.2 percent. Money laundering made easier As of January 1, individuals are not obliged to furnish proof of the origin of funds from abroad, given as loans to others or firms in which they are shareholders or paid in order to buy shares in non-listed firms, according to the provisions of recently approved tax legislation. The measure is intended as an indirect incentive for the repatriation of capital that is often the product of illegal activities, after the refusal of the Cabinet to institute such incentives directly for funds deposited in tax havens. Effectively, recipients of such money can now account for it as lawfully obtained from friends or relatives. Also, expenses for the acquisition of company shares are no longer treated as proof of income for tax purposes. Flisvos State-owned Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) yesterday signed the concession agreement granting operation rights for the Flisvos marina facility on the Athens coast to Lamda Technol consortium for 40 years. Main partners in the consortium are Lamda Development of the Latsis group and Olympic Technical, also owners of the Porto Carras resort. ETA retains a 25 percent stake and will receive annual rents. Lamda will invest 44 million euros in the facility and completion of the project is expected early in 2004. The concession agreement for the Zea marina in Piraeus was signed a few days ago, with ETA receiving 16.6 million euros. Growth rate Greece registered a 3.6 percent year-on-year growth rate in the third quarter of 2002, Eurostat said. The rate is the highest in the EU (no data was available for Ireland). Finland was second with 2.2 percent, followed by the UK and Sweden with 2.1 percent. The EU average was 1.1 percent and the eurozone average 0.8 percent. Bank MBA EFG Eurobank has launched a two-year in-house Master in Business Administration (MBA) program in financial services for its staff, in collaboration with the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA), the first of its kind in Greece. Teaching staff come from the Institute of Business Studies (INSEAD), New York University and ALBA. The first program is being attended by 33 employees. Romania project Construction firm Diekat has won a 4.6-million-euro tender for an environmental reclamation and waste management project in the Teleajen river basin in central Romania, in partnership with the local company Indserv. The project is partly financed by the EU.