ECONOMY

In Brief

Christodoulakis gives account of economic record of Greek EU presidency The Greek EU presidency’s draft directive for gradually introducing a common framework of taxation on energy products will promote savings and environmental protection without affecting the competitiveness of industry, Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said at an event on the record of the presidency ending this month. The directive provides for a transitional period with rising low common tax rates until 2010. A number of other tax measures to be promoted in collaboration with bank haven countries, such as Switzerland and Liechtenstein, but also the US, concern taxation on deposit interest, the code of ethics on company taxation and the abolition of tax withheld at source on interest and affiliated firm rights. Christodoulakis said reducing public debt remained a major issue for the government, as the quest for growth cannot be sought by relaxing fiscal discipline. Moody’s upgrades Eurobank’s long-term credit rating Moody’s credit rating agency has upgraded EFG Eurobank’s long-term rating from «A3» to «A2,» and financial strength (without support from basic shareholders or the government) from «C» to «C+»; the rating for short-term borrowing remained unchanged at Prime-1. Moody’s said that Eurobank, Greece’s biggest in terms of market capitalization, enjoys strong fundamentals and competent management. Retail sales Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis is meeting the heads of tradesmen’s associations next week to peddle his proposal for shops to stay open one more afternoon a week, as part of efforts to bolster sales and the economy. Illegal software Software piracy in Greece further declined in 2002, to 63 percent of the total new software employed, from 64 percent in 2001, according to Business Software Alliance (BSA). As a result the estimated lost revenue for retailers fell from $61.4 million to $53.7 million. Since 1994, the software piracy rate in Greece has fallen 24 percent, at global level from 49 percent to 39 percent and in Western Europe from 52 percent to 35 percent. Postal Savings The Postal Savings Bank is expected to complete negotiations for a partnership with the Bank of Attica by the end of the month and then will be partially floated on the Athens bourse, either autonomously or in a joint scheme, Transport Minister Christos Verelis told the Athens News Agency. Conferences The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) is to set up the Athens Convention Bureau (CVB) as part of efforts to promote conference tourism. The agency will include the participation of associations of travel agents, conference organizers and hoteliers in the Attica region. Bosnia A conference on investment opportunities and economic cooperation between Greece and Bosnia-Herzegovina will take place in Sarajevo on June 20. For more info, contact the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, tel 210.338.2242/56, or at [email protected]