ECONOMY

In Brief

Jobless and closures data spark party political row Labor Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos yesterday locked horns with the main opposition and the umbrella labor union organization over jobless rates and business closures. Panayiotopoulos accused PASOK of twisting facts to score political points, and the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE) of publishing data issued by PASOK under its logo. He added that no company has relocated abroad in the last 18 months and that in 2005 11,000 companies closed but 22,000 new ones opened, while unemployment has fallen to 9.6 percent from 11.3 percent in 2003, with the target being 8.3 percent. GSEE countered that the government is covering some entrepreneurs involved in company closures or relocations and accused it of propaganda tactics. Its president, a PASOK member, called on the government to stop opposing GSEE and other unions branding them as opposition forces. Kosovo’s Post and Telecom signs partnership deal with BT PRISTINA (AP) – Kosovo’s Post and Telecom signed a partnership deal yesterday with BT Plc, an official said. Under the deal, the British company and the province’s Post and Telecom, known as PTK, will work jointly for a period of three months on drafting a strategic roadmap, said Seremb Gjergji, a spokesman for the Kosovo company. BT will help Post and Telecom transform from a publicly owned company with a monopoly in the field of telecommunications into a shareholder corporation. The partnership is also aimed at creating a strategy for the change of the company’s internal culture, technology transformation and enhanced services for its clients. Post and Telecom is Kosovo’s most profitable company. It recently signed a 17-million-euro (US $20 million) deal with French telecommunications company Alcatel SA to modernize and expand the fixed-line network infrastructure in the province. Corporate Games More than 6,000 staff from large and medium-sized companies will converge in Athens on November 4-6 to take part in the biggest multisports event after the Olympics, the Europe Corporate Games. Greece will be hosting the event for the next five years, with quality tourists using the Olympic infrastructures, helping tourism during a rather quiet period. This year’s program includes 16 sports, featuring events such as squash, basketball, bowling and mountain biking. The Games are under the support of the ministries of Culture, Development and Tourism, the City of Athens and the Athens Chamber of Commerce. Piraeus Bank By mid-November Piraeus Bank will have transferred its central administration to the new building of the Army Providence Fund in central Athens, freeing up four buildings in the capital which now amount to 10 percent of its overall spending on renting. The new 11,500-square-meter building will house 550 staff, ending the spread of the bank’s management across several buildings. Also, by the end of 2005, its branches in Attica will rise from 102 to 110, with 20 more to be added next year. The aim for end-2006 is for 300 branches across the country.