Traders urge ministers to tackle problem of illegal street vendors The Trades and Crafts Chamber of Athens (BEA) called for stricter penalties on illegal street vendors, claiming that existing sanctions effectively promote the phenomenon. In a memorandum handed to visiting Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas and his deputy, Yiannis Papathanassiou, BEA officials argued that if immediate and drastic measures were not adopted, the country’s picture during the Olympic Games will be tragic. They propose raising the current maximum fine of 300 euros to 5,000 for unlicensed vendors, which would protect both shops and legal street vendors. BEA also argues that holders of revoked licenses be banned from reapplying for at least five years. Further, it calls for stronger investment incentives for small firms and equal opportunities for their participation in public procurement tenders. «There will be specific actions to boost competitiveness and make chambers our real advisers,» said Sioufas. FTSE to conduct talks and study before categorizing ASE Index company FTSE said in a statement yesterday it does not intend to downgrade the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) to the category of emerging markets before further talks with Greek authorities and international investors. FTSE said it will conduct a study into the quality of the market, based on the views of such investors, who account for considerable fund inflows. Sources said, however, that visiting officials gave the ASE about a year to introduce qualitative improvements, or face downgrading. Separately, the FTSE indices committee announced three changes to the FTSE/ASE Mid-Cap 40 and seven to the FTSE/ASE Small-Cap 80, effective June 1. Marfin Financial Group, FG Europe and Elais will replace Athens Medical Center, Chipita and Sex Form on the Mid-Cap 40. These will added to the Small-Cap 80, together with AB Vassilopoulos, Dynamic Life, Mochlos and Radio Korasidis. Business abroad Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis announced the setting up of «Greek Houses» in Russia, the US, Germany, France, the UK, Japan and China which will promote Greek exports and tourism and organize relevant exhibitions. A Greco-Russian and a Greco-Spanish business event will be held in Athens in the fall. Alogoskoufis discussed with British Ambassador David Madden the provision to the Greek Finance Ministry of know-how in public expenses control. Raytheon US defense systems maker Raytheon’s vice president, Thomas Culligan, paid a working visit to IT and telecoms equipment firm Intracom in Athens yesterday, and expressed interest in expanding cooperation between the two companies. Vodafone Mobile operator Vodafone’s Greek subsidiary has redesigned its network quality benchmarking system for uniform application in the 24 countries where the group operates. The system, which is available at the company’s data center, is allows the comparative monitoring of the quality of the network in all members of the Vodafone group.