ECONOMY

In Brief

Brussels would help in softening impact of diversion of EU funds The European Commission is willing to help in the formulation of programs that will reduce the impact of the diversion of investment subsidies to the new EU member nations on those regions of southern Europe that have not yet achieved the convergence process, Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hubner told questioning Euro-MPs. Hubner said, «If during negotiations at the Council, proposals for the setting up of such mechanisms are submitted, the Commission will be willing to contribute to their final formulation.» Greek Euro-MP Costis Hadjidakis called for a broad debate that would reveal «the unfair treatment of cohesion countries and those EU regions whose development is lagging.» EFG Eurobank under fire for alleged violation of worker rights The Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) has accused EFG Eurobank of ignoring court decisions that rendered staff firings invalid. The bank itself said the case OTOE referred to was isolated and final adjudication is still pending. Visiting Eurobank staff yesterday, Synaspismos Left Coalition leader Alekos Alavanos expressed concern over extensive firings in the form of voluntary retirement, which the EU does not allow, and other violations, such as unpaid overtime and refusal to grant reduced hours to pregnant employees. Hotel figures corrected The Attica Hotel Association (EXA) yesterday provided corrected figures for occupancy rates in the Athens area in February, showing only five-star hotels on the rise, with 47.2 percent from 43.84 percent in February 2004. Four-star hotels fell to 44.94 percent from 67.32 percent; three-star went down to 47.18 percent from 59.93 percent and two-star fell to 36.18 percent from 39.76 percent last year. Helexpo in NJ Trade fair organizers Helexpo are aiming at the US market, through the country’s Greek community, by taking part this weekend in the 14th International Exhibition Hermes-Expo in New Jersey. The Greek company intends to promote this year’s 70th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair as well its other exhibitions using the help of Greek-American entrepreneurs who participate in Hermes-Expo in sectors Helexpo is involved with. Shipping receipts Greece’s foreign currency earnings from shipping rose 20.44 percent in January, year-on-year, to 1,118 million euros, according to provisional data by the Bank of Greece. Bucharest trip Athens Stock Exchange President Spyros Kapralos and two board members visited Romania this week and discussed cooperation issues with their counterparts in the Bucharest stock market. They were also received by Romania’s Communications Minister Zsolt Nagy. Lagos deal Listed company Intralot signed a 10-year contract with the gaming company of Lagos, Nigeria, for the procurement of a complete online system and its technical support, worth 1.6 million euros.