ECONOMY

In Brief

EU to initiate warnings over Greek budget deficit next week The European Commission next week will ask Greece to scale down its budget deficit by 1 percent from a provisionally estimated current 3.2 percent of GDP, sources say. The admonition – a first step in the corrective procedure envisaged for EU members exceeding the 3 percent ceiling – is expected to be made to Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis at the Ecofin Council next week. The Greek government will decide how to spread out the reduction over 2004 and 2005. Greece is also facing a major problem with high debt, which exceeds 100 percent of GDP. The Commission is currently said to be considering rebalancing the criteria of fiscal discipline, giving priority to the taming of public debt to a ceiling of 60 percent of GDP, instead of budget deficit. OLP administration thrown into uncertainty by remark The administration of the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP), a listed company, appeared in doubt yesterday after Anastasios Gonis, a former president of the State Audit Council and government-proposed appointee to one of the posts of OLP’s chairman or managing director, slightingly referred to the credentials of Anastasios Yiannis, who currently holds both posts, «as a mere former employee of the European Commission.» Gonis was proposed by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis. Sources said the opposition plans to raise the matter before Parliament. Nova in Cyprus Cypriot pay-TV operator Multichoice is to offer the Nova Greece channel package to its subscribers, the company said yesterday. Multichoice (Cyprus) said it had entered a cooperation agreement with Multichoice Hellas SA which would offer viewers an enhanced choice of channels. The service is to be available as of today. Subscribers will be given the option of maintaining their existing analog service of subscription to the local LTV and Alfa Channels or switch to digital where they will also be able to receive the Nova package, Multichoice Cyprus said. The Cypriot company said that it would be acting only as an agent of Multichoice Greece in offering Nova. Multichoice Cyprus is presently the only local pay-TV provider. It is expected to face increased competition with the launch of at least two other pay-TV services anticipated this year. (Reuters) Klonatex Unfair competition is driving the global textile industry into recession, the president of Klonatex group Thomas Lanaras told shareholders yesterday. He said the sector’s major problem for yarn producers was the shrinking of the number of clients in the EU. In a major diversification move, he said Klonatex has set a target of securing 50 percent of its turnover from its alternative telecommunications subsidiary, Lannet, in the next three years. Piraeus Bank Piraeus Bank said in a stock market filing yesterday it plans to merge with three wholly owned financial subsidiaries. Based on the plan, the bank will absorb subsidiaries Piraeus Finance, Piraeus Investment Advisers and Piraeus Holdings without undergoing an increase in its share capital. (Reuters)