ECONOMY

In Brief

Greek competitiveness remains among laggards in EU states Greece ranks 21st in terms of competitiveness among 23 members of the enlarged EU (excluding Luxembourg and Cyprus), plus Romania and Bulgaria which occupy the last two positions, according to the latest data published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The EU scores an average of 4.97 out of seven, against 5.55 for the US. The only EU members beating the US grade are Finland, Denmark and Sweden, which top the table. The WEF’s eight assessment criteria were the spread of the information society, innovation and research and development, market deregulation, the network industry, the efficiency of financial services, improvements in entrepreneurial culture, effectiveness against social exclusion and sustainable development. Separately, the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) said government data on new businesses shows a decline in their net number from 55,000 in 1990 to 25,000 in 2003, with closures – overwhelmingly of small businesses – representing 72 percent of start-ups. SEV said the accelerating decline in the last three years was due to particular tax reform measures. Surge in temporary jobs expected during Olympic Games The 2004 Olympic Games will give a big boost to temporary employment in Greece, staff recruitment firm Adecco officials told a press briefing. They said Adecco alone is handling 4,000 such positions. The firm presented a study showing that 73 percent of 3,500 people who found temporary employment last year were aged 21-30 and mostly filled positions as office staff (36.2 percent), salespeople, manual workers and switchboard operators; 77 percent of them had been unemployed, while the rest were looking for a different job. About 80 percent of temporary jobs lasted up to three months. Defense Deputy Defense Minister Vassilis Michaloliakos said in a statement he agreed with the visiting CEO of US weapons maker Lockheed Martin, Vance D. Coffman, to maintain cooperation on the basis of mutual confidence and «full transparency in defense spending.» Costing The Hellenic Management Association’s (EEDE) Institute of Production Management is holding an event on «Costing Systems» at its monthly members’ meeting tomorrow at the Divani Caravel Hotel (2 Vas. Alexandrou) at 6 p.m. Kantor Business Consultants’ Yiannis Hasapakis will be the keynote speaker. An entrance fee is charged to non-members. For more details, contact Niki Mercouri at by telephone on 210.211.2000, or fax, 210.211.2020. Corporate Governance Standard and Poor’s and the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE) are co-organizing a conference on «How Good Corporate Governance Can Make Companies More Attractive to Investors and Other Stakeholders» tomorrow from 4.15 to 7.30 p.m. at the bourse’s former trading floor (10 Sophocleous). Standard and Poor’s Governance Services Director Ian Byrne will be among the speakers. For more details, contact Fotini Kotzabasi at tel 210.998.4900.