EEE blames gov’t over EU single-hull tanker withdrawal scheme The Union of Greek Shipowners (EEE) yesterday blamed the government for the European Union’s decision to mandate an expedited withdrawal of single-hull tankers by 2010. EEE Chairman Nikos Efthymiou said the Greek government was wrong to adopt French President Jacques Chirac’s views on the issue. «If France or Germany were in Greece’s place, wouldn’t they have defended the interests of their biggest industry?» he asked. «(Merchant Marine Minister) Giorgos Anomeritis,» said Efthymiou, «was overoptimistic regarding the outcome of discussions at EU level but in the end was left alone.» He expressed EEE’s regret that Prime Minister Simitis had referred to «certain shipping interests» that opposed EU decisions, and said the decision would affect 321 of the 770, or 41.7 percent of Greek-owned tankers. Efthymiou said EEE hoped for a modification of the withdrawal timetable by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as there was an open legal issue, and said EEE would support individual shipowners who would seek compensation. All tankers built after 1995 are double-hull and Greek shipowners have ordered 120 vessels up for delivery up to 2005, he added. SEV hopes for improvements in draft bill on investment incentives The government’s draft bill on investment incentives, unveiled on Tuesday and particularly tailored to favor large foreign investments, «is in the right direction but needs significant improvements in certain areas,» said Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) Chairman Odysseas Kyriakopoulos. He said SEV especially hoped that incentives would not be directly linked with the number of jobs, as in a previous law which proved a failure. «This does not mean that many new jobs will be created – this is the goal of a development law – but not in this direct manner.» Kyriakopoulos found the bill’s tax incentives agreeable and said he hoped the law would not have an in-built bias against Greek enterprises. Separately, the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE), said the bill did not contain any measure in support of the least developed regions or small and medium-sized enterprises. Makedonia Palace Thessaloniki’s Makedonia Palace hotel will be closed for refurbishment between July 12 and August 24; the hotel’s pool, pool bar and reception facilities will remain open. Instant lottery Games-of-chance software-maker Intralot was the only firm to submit a bid in the Finance Ministry’s tender for the installation and operation of the State Instant Lottery in the next five years. The scheme is budgeted at 300 million euros and the bid will be assessed in the next few days. ELPE Societe Generale, in consortium with three Austrian banks, has signed a contract to provide 185 million euros in export finance for the construction of Hellenic Petroleum’s (ELPE) 309MW power plant in Thessaloniki. The project is to be constructed by Austrian firm VA Tech. Kri-Kri The Athens bourse approved the prospectus for the listing of dairy firm Kri-Kri; the public subscription for the share capital increase will take place on July 16, 17 and 18.