Poll: Greeks pessimistic about economy and social welfare Greeks are among the European Union’s most pessimistic citizens, hating the state of their economy and their social welfare system, an EU poll released yesterday showed. The Eurobarometer survey indicated that 52 percent of Greeks believe they are now worse off than before, up from 42 percent last fall. Almost all those Greeks questioned (94 percent) expressed dismay at the level of employment in the country, while 89 percent described the state of the Greek economy as «poor» and 79 percent lambasted the social welfare system. Greece’s unemployment rate has gradually fallen in the last two years, but still stands at 9.7 percent. The growth of the Greek economy was 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2006. Asked about the next year’s prospects, 59 percent of Greeks said the labor situation would deteriorate further, and 57 percent said the same about the economy. But the pollsters said these figures were higher in the last two surveys in the spring and fall of 2005, indicating a small rise in confidence. And in spite of their gloom about the broader picture, Greeks remain happy with the life they lead; 67 percent of respondents described themselves as «very» or «rather» pleased. (AFP) Cyprus inflation edges up in June NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus’s EU harmonized inflation was running at an annual 2.6 percent in June from 2.5 percent in May, the statistics service said. The index, known as HICP, showed yearly increases in fuel related sectors of household utility bills which were up 10.8 percent, and transport costs, which rose 7.3 percent. The cost of clothing and footwear dropped 9.0 percent while telecoms costs fell by 7.3 percent. The HICP tracker underperformed the broader Consumer Price Index (CPI) which stood at 3.02 percent year-on-year in June. For the January-June period HICP was up 2.1 percent compared to the same months of 2005, the statistics service said. Estee Lauder in Turkey Cosmetics maker Estee Lauder Companies Inc said on Tuesday it has set up a wholly owned affiliate in Turkey. The new Istanbul-based company, ELCA Kozmetik Ltd Sti, began operations on July 1 with more than 300 employees, Estee Lauder said in a release. Ahmet Ramiz is general manager and formerly held the same post at Vepa Velar, the distributor of Estee Lauder brands in Turkey before the new company was formed. (Reuters) Agritourism certification Agrotouristiki and other development companies are promoting the creation of a certification system of «Local Quality Agreements» on tourism services, clusters and other types of networking in agritourism. The project was promoted at the recent conference of the Greek network of the EU-subsidized Leader+ program. The pilot application of the system will be in Pieria in northern Greece.