In Brief

Greece aims at full compliance with EU fiscal rules Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis assured European Economic Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in a recent letter that Greece intends to reform its public accounts fully in line with EU rules. He also asked for postponement of the discussion at Ecofin, the finance ministers’ council, due next month on the Greek Growth and Stability Pact, submitted in December, so that the government may submit an updated Pact taking into account the excessive deficit procedure under which the Commission has placed Greece. Further, Alogoskoufis explained that in its revision of public finances, which took the country’s public deficit far above the prescribed 3 percent of GDP limit, the government had failed to gather all the data regarding military spending based on the delivery rule for the years 1997-2003 and had so opted for the method based on payments. Details of property tax overhaul in 2006 unveiled A draft bill to be tabled next month provides for a reduction in the real estate transfer tax for old properties, the introduction of value-added tax on new constructions and the abolition of the Large Real Estate Tax as of 2006, Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said yesterday. The present property transfer tax rates are 11 percent for the first 15,000 euros of value and 9 percent thereafter. The government intends to reduce them to 7 percent and 5 percent respectively, and has already prepared updated lists of the so-called objective prices for most of the country on which taxes are calculated, and which will also come into force next year. Car sales Sales of cars in Greece last month remained brisk, reaching 31,742 units, according to data from the Association of Motor Vehicle Importers-Representatives (SEAA). January’s figures were just shy of sales in January 2004 (32,006) and 127 percent higher than December 2004 (13,969). Hyundai leapt over Toyota to top the sales figures, gaining a 10.4 percent share with 3,292 units sold. Toyota and Opel captured 8.8 percent and 7.8 percent respectively. Club Galaxia The Daskalantonakis group of hotels (Grecotel) yesterday announced the creation of a holiday club that will strengthen the group’s position in time sharing. Club Galaxia will use the group’s 40 units in Greece, the project’s head Yiannis Daskalantonakis said yesterday, adding that the first 1,400 members have already registered. They will enjoy the group’s services as well as being hosted in some of the top hotels in the world, through cooperation with the international company RCI. Club Galaxia also supports and serves the hosting needs of the Greek soccer federation (EPO). Honeywell Electronics and security systems company Zarifopoulos has become US group Honeywell’s agent in Greece after long negotiations. Honeywell is one of the main suppliers globally in air-conditioning systems in buildings and in building management systems (BMS). The agreement with Zarifopoulos was signed a few weeks ago.

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