In Brief

Very small business to receive EU subsidies for first time Dozens of very small professional businesses in the services sector will be eligible for subsidies for organizational and technological modernization under the European Union’s Third Community Support Framework investment plan for the first time, the Development Ministry said yesterday. The budget of the program is 200 million euros, of which 80 million will be subsidies. The professions and activities eligible include plumbing, car-repair shops, gas stations, pharmacies, catering firms, accounting services, photo shops, news agencies and professional translation offices. Investment proposals must have budgets between 25,000 and 100,000 euros and applications will be accepted until October 14. Tourism operators say no time to relax vigil on problems The strong rise in the number of foreign visitors this year should not cause officials to relax their efforts to solve the problems of the tourism industry, the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) urged yesterday. It said the country’s general infrastructure and the services provided continue to be largely below visitors’ expectations. «Creating a favorable business environment is an indispensable prerequisite. The circumstances are positive for Greek tourism to achieve today what it has not in the last 20 years,» SETE said, emphasizing the role of local government, which is still largely beset by many weaknesses and a counterproductive mentality. Separately, the Attica Hotel Association (EXA) said business in July was considerably brisker than in the same month last year. Olive oil The Development Ministry intends to formulate an action plan to support the olive oil-producing sector and develop its export potential, Deputy Minister Yiannis Papathanassiou said after a meeting with representatives of the sector’s manufacturers (SEVITEL) yesterday. SEVITEL officials said later that although this year’s production is projected to increase, producer prices are also seen as rising, from 2.80 euros per kilo last year to 3.20 euros as a result of the damage to the crops in other countries, particularly Spain, due to bad weather. The discussion also dealt with preparations for celebrations of 2006 as «Olive Oil Year.» SEVITEL is eager to ensure the effectiveness of the ban on unregistered distribution of the product in 17-kilo containers. Turkish growth Turkish economic growth is seen as coming in below an official year-end target of 5 percent in the second quarter due to a slowdown in domestic demand, exports and industrial output, a Reuters poll showed yesterday. Analysts said Turkey risked missing its year-end target after posting stellar growth in gross national product (GNP) of 9.9 percent in 2004. In a poll of 20 banks and brokerage economists, gross domestic product (GDP) and GNP were estimated to have risen by 3.7 percent and 3.9 percent respectively in the second three months of 2005. The growth rate for GDP and GNP are seen at 4.7 percent and 5.0 percent respectively for the whole year. (Reuters)