In Brief

Roadworks spur requirement for private financing The government hopes to attract as soon as possible private financing for the construction of public works, beyond the 9 billion euros already envisaged under the EU Third Community Support Framework (CSF III) investment plan for the 2001-2006 period, Deputy Economy Minister Christos Pachtas said yesterday. Contractors will be granted long-term concessions for the works they finance. According to sources, however, the ministry is still far from drafting an adequate legal framework for such schemes. Pachtas said implementation of CSF III is continuing at a satisfactory pace and the ministry’s target is to make 100 percent of programs operational early next year. As regards road projects, he said Greece had asked the EU to advance about 650 million euros from the 2005-2006 period, due to high absorption rates by the specific program. Pachtas also said publicity costs for CSF III would amount to about 38 million euros, compared to 18 million for the previous package. France’s La Poste bids for ELTA France’s La Poste submitted a binding offer to buy a 10-percent stake in Greece’s Post Office (ELTA), a senior Transport Ministry official told Reuters yesterday. «La Poste was the only binding offer made. We are optimistic that the sale of the stake in ELTA will be completed soon but we need to take a closer look at the offer,» the official said. No further details concerning the bid were given. In January, Greece’s Finance Ministry said that it had invited Germany’s Deutsche Post, Holland’s TPG and France’s La Poste to submit binding bids in ELTA after the companies showed an initial interest in it. ELTA’s strategic investor will also jointly set up a courier service with the Greek company. (Reuters) Temps’ rights Temporary agency workers employed for more than six weeks should be entitled to the same pay and holidays as permanent staff in similar jobs, the European Commission said yesterday. The European Union’s executive arm adopted controversial proposals on minimum rights for temps, saying they struck a balance between labor market flexibility and social protection, despite fierce criticism from mainly British employers. Defending the proposals, EU Employment Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou told a news conference: «We cannot agree with the political concept that employers can benefit from the flexibility of staff and at the same time pay them less.» (Reuters) Greece taken to court The European Commission said yesterday it would refer Greece to the European Court, citing a failure to fully implement Community legislation on the unimpeded provision of sea transport services within member states. The Commission considers that Greece has abused the right to apply national legislation regarding the size of crews by extending it to foreign-flagged vessels, which come under the legislation of the country where they are registered. The dispute mainly concerns cruise ships that dock at Greek islands.

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