ECONOMY

In Brief

OTE affirms intention to stay in Telekom Srbija BELGRADE (Reuters) – Greece’s biggest telecoms group OTE said yesterday it planned to keep its interest in the Serbian state telecoms monopoly but was waiting for talks with Belgrade authorities on the future of Telekom Srbija. OTE is the state’s sole partner in the company after Serbia bought back a 29 percent stake from Telecom Italia in December 2002. Since the Italians left, OTE has said it wants to take over the firm’s mobile unit in exchange for its share in the land-line business or ditch its stake altogether. «OTE has expressed commitment to stay and expand its business in Telekom Srbija,» OTE Vice President George Skarpelis told Reuters after a meeting with Serbian Telecommunications Minister Marija Raseta-Vukosavljevic. «We want to stay in the market as active investors and negotiate with other shareholders to reach a new agreement,» Skarpelis said. Prime Minister Zoran Zivkovic said last week Serbia had no intention of buying back the 20 percent stake held by OTE since 1997. Reformers who toppled Milosevic in 2000 have launched a probe into the deal, calling it «the biggest heist of the 20th century.» Christodoulakis notes extensive waste in civil servants’ health care Waste in hospitals and payments for non-existent and useless diagnostic tests and treatment for civil servants are estimated at 258 million euros a year, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said. He noted healthcare costs for civil servants are rising at an average annual rate of 17.5 percent, without any increases in rates having been approved, and are projected to reach 863 million euros this year. At the same time, social security contributions are going up by only 3 percent. GNTO The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) has established the following names for its websites where tourism information on Greece is available: www.greektourism.gr, www.greecetourism.gr, www.visitgreece.gr, www.greecebeyondwords.com, www.eot.gr and www.gnto.gr. Webpages of GNTO bureaus abroad are also to be found at the following addresses: Italy, www.ente-tourismoellenico.com; Netherlands, www.grieksverkeersbureau.nl; Northern Europe, www.travelgate.net/greecegate; UK, www.greektourism.com; Japan, www.int-acc.or.jp/greece/. Vodafone-Medical Subscribers of mobile operator Vodafone-Panafon may call medical line 1434 (cost, 1.66 cents per second) on a 24-hour basis for advice on any health problem from the Athens Medical Center. They are granted discounts of up to 20 percent for tests that may be needed in any of the center’s clinics in Attica and Thessaloniki. Pirate CDs Deputy Development Minister Kimon Koulouris told artists’ representatives yesterday he will launch a drive against the sale of pirate CDs. Recording companies’ revenue losses from the phenomenon are estimated at 150 million euros annually.