ECONOMY

In Brief

Top guns of European tourism consider threats and competitiveness Deputy Development Minister Dimitris Georgakopoulos yesterday proposed the inclusion of provisions regarding tourism in the currently drafted European Constitutional Charter, at the opening of the conference on «European Union Transportation Policies and Competitiveness of European Tourism,» held at the Capsis Hotel in Aghia Pelagia, on Crete. The two basic conclusions of the conference – that boosting the industry’s competitiveness through common policies in Europe was urgent and that the repercussions of the Iraq war and the SARS epidemic would be short-lived – will be presented at today’s informal meeting of EU ministers and senior European tourism officials from all 25 countries of the enlarged EU. On the sidelines of the event, it transpired that Greece may after all be assigned the hosting of next October’s World Tourism Organization’s (WTO) conference as the SARS epidemic scare is leading officials to reconsider Beijing as the designated city. Sources speculated that WTO President Francesco Frangialli, who was due to meet Development Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos late last night, was favorably disposed toward the idea. Beijing beat Greece’s nomination of Rhodes in WTO voting in Osaka in September 2001. Greece among the least compliant in implementing single market rules Greece remains among the EU members with the most difficulties in harmonizing its legislation to community single market directives, according to the latest issue of the «Table of Results of the Single Market,» released in Brussels. Greece has failed to implement 3.3 percent of directives, behind Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Austria. Five countries, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain and the UK are below the 1.5 percent target set two years ago. In November 2002, the Commission was looking at a total of 1,505 violations of single market legislation, of which Greece was responsible for 144. Intersat A Thessaloniki court will consider on June 27 an application by minority shareholders of listed telecom services company Intersat, chaired by Giorgos Batatoudis, for a financial and managerial audit of the firm. The shareholders allege a multitude of financial irregularities, including the illegal use of 7.5 million euros for the purchase of 35.7 percent of Athlos PAOK, the majority owner of PAOK soccer club. Sources said the shareholders are planning further court action to ensure that company assets are not liquidated. Closure Swiss company Schiesser Pallas, producers of underwear under the Palco label, yesterday announced the closure of its Greek plant and its transfer abroad, citing «a non-competitive business climate and an inflexible framework of labor relations.» The company said it will retain a knitwear factory in Komotini and its commercial segment in Greece. The General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) described the decision, which will mean the laying off of 500 workers, mostly women, as «proof of the unchecked irresponsibility of the employers, whose only criterion is profit.» It called on the government to intervene and prevent the closure of the factory.