Greek real farm price rise in 2001 Q1 highest in EU Real farm prices rose 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2001 in relation to the same period of 2000, according to data issued by Eurostat in Brussels yesterday. It was the highest rise among the 15 EU members. The real prices of vegetable production rose 10.5 percent and of animal production 3.4 percent. The respective EU averages were 4.3 and -2.3 percent. Pasta industry projected to continue growth at lower rates Greek pasta production will continue growing in the next two years, after an average annual growth rate of 5 percent in the 1990-2001 period, according to a survey by business research firm ICAP. Exports are also projected to continue to rise and imports to fall, largely as a result of the operation of a new plant by Misko, producing under Italy’s Barilla brand name. Domestic consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.4 percent in the last 10 years and is forecast to grow at 1-2 percent through catering establishments, as home demand is saturated. Greeks consume on average about 9 kg of pasta annually. Grants to self-employed The Labor Ministry will spend 29 million euros in 2002 in grants to 6,500 new self-employed professionals, according to a plan approved yesterday. The plan targets people aged 18-25, those unemployed for up to six months, and those unemployed for up to a year who are aged 26-60. Under the plan, which excludes doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers and teachers, those qualifying – of which 60 percent will be women – will receive 7,400 euros. 737-200s Olympic Airways is to withdraw all its Boeing 737-200 planes by the fall, in response to a letter by the European Commission to all airlines requesting immediate withdrawal for environmental reasons. The carrier said in a statement it is now using only three of its 11 such planes and has informed the Commission of its withdrawal plan. Italy route Minoan Lines today is launching the latest addition to its fleet, H/S/F Europa Palace, on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona route. The new, 214-meter-long vessel, built by Italy’s Fincantieri and capable of carrying 1,900 passengers and 600 private cars at a speed of 31.5 knots, has a conference center, cinema and a small clinic. It is the last of four Minoan Lines ships built by Fincantieri, and will soon be followed by one more from Korea’s Samsung shipbuilders, completing the listed firm’s 670-million-euro investment program in seven new ships. Egnatia Bank Negotiations over creating a possible partnership between Egnatia Bank and Australian-British Standard Charters Grindlays Bank have run into heavy weather over labor issues, sources said yesterday. A senior official said the chances now are 70 percent against a deal.