ECONOMY

In Brief

Commission will not let subsidies go to waste The European Commission may ask for the return of 54.3 million euros in Regional Development Fund subsidies for the 72.4-million-euro waste separation plant in Ano Liosia, west of Athens, which has been shut after operating problems and an accident, Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom told New Democracy party Euro-MP Antonis Trakatellis. «To date, the responsible authorities have not provided a satisfactory explanation for this situation. If necessary, the Commission will order the return of EU funds,» Trakatellis reported Wallstrom as saying. She also noted that the Commission in December 2002 activated the procedure for referring Greece to the European Court for non-compliance with community legislation on waste management and that «Greece has not yet submitted a national strategy for reducing biodegradable waste destined for sanitary landfills,» as required according to Directive 1999/31/EC. Mathematical formula fails the test of transparency The Council of State has seemingly dropped a bomb on the method for determining the winners of public project tenders. The country’s highest administrative court ruled that the controversial mathematical formula, initially introduced to prevent the submission of unrealistically low bids, and which applied up to June 6, is contrary to Community Directive 93/37 and European Court legislation for not allowing competitors to explain low bids. The method has been criticized as having led to collusions of interest among construction companies which determine the allocation of projects by submitting pre-agreed bids. The Environment and Public Works Ministry yesterday, however, notified construction firms of five changes in how the formula is to be applied. Insurance The Interamerican insurance company has launched a human resources development program to attract and support new salespeople; the program sets out selection and assessment procedures, involving an intensive training program and hiring on a salary basis for a period of up to 12 months, depending on performance. Successful performers will then be employed on a commission basis. Athens CVB The charter of the Athens Convention, Exhibitions and Visitors Bureau (Athens CVB) was signed yesterday by four organizations, the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (HATTA), the Association of Greek Professional Conference Organizers (SEPOS), the Association of Greek Exhibition and Conference Organizers (SEOES) and the Athens Hotel Association (EXA). IMF-Turkey The International Monetary Fund, ending talks with Turkey on IMF-backed economic targets, said yesterday it had no date scheduled for a key board meeting on a delayed fifth loan review. With domestic debt mounting, Turkey is eager to see the next tranche of its $16 billion IMF loan before the Washington lender’s two-week recess in August. The recess could mean further delays for the funding. «It is premature to say about a board date,» Tom Dawson, IMF external relations director, told a news briefing. «Time is running short at this point,» he added. (Reuters)