ECONOMY

In Brief

Southern Europe’s farmers do not see eye to eye on region’s products Representatives of European farm cooperatives failed in a two-day congress to formulate common positions in view of upcoming negotiations on Mediterranean products in the European Union, the Greek confederation (PASEGES) said. According to a statement, the Spanish organizations’ insistence on a redistribution of funds for olive oil and Italian positions on tobacco led the meeting to deadlock. «The development shows the big differences existing, not only between countries of the north and the south, but also between countries of the south themselves,» said the statement. Following representations by PASEGES, the secretariat of the Committee of Agricultural Organizations in the European Union (COPA) has undertaken to formulate next week a political decision within the framework of the principles and philosophy of last June’s revision of the Common Agricultural Policy. EIB plans to up Greece’s role in the wider region Greece will play a key role in the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) activity in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, the bank’s vice president, Gerlando Genuardi, told a news briefing in Thessaloniki yesterday, where he presented the bank’s results for 2003. EIB granted a total of 42.3 billion euros in loans in 2003, against 39.6 billion in 2002. Of this, 34.2 billion went to EU members and 8.1 billion to non-members. Greece received 1.2 billion – against 1.07 billion euros in 2002 – of which 32 percent was for major projects in transport infrastructure (Athens metro, Rio-Antirio bridge), 29 percent in urban development and 19 percent in energy (including seven wind parks). The EU’s Mediterranean partners, including Turkey, received 2.1 billion euros. Loans this year are expected to be directed toward tourism, small enterprises and two big projects in Thessaloniki, the metro system and the submerged road artery along the sea front. The press briefing was held on the occasion of a two-day conference on vocational training in the western Balkans, co-organized by EIB. BSTDB Thessaloniki-based Black Sea Trade & Development Bank (BSTDB), an international organization, has granted a three-year, $3 million loan to Moldova’s Agroidbank, bringing the total granted for the promotion of credit facilities to that country’s small and mid-sized firms to $6.5 million. BSTDB to date has granted $80 million in such loans to member states. ASE The Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) has placed IT retailer Microland in the Under Supervision category, citing losses for three straight years and no indications of a possible return to profitability. It also placed Lanacam and Ippotour in the special category of Low Productive Activity for firms with annual turnover of less than 3 million euros. Korassidis Electrical appliances retailer Korassidis will obtain a 14.7-million-euro bond loan from the National Bank, to refinance an expiring older loan.