ECONOMY

In Brief

Central bank sues striking staff; meeting fruitless The Bank of Greece filed a suit against staff who are continuing to strike in protest against changes to their social insurance status, asking for the strike to be ruled illegal and abusive. The case is to be heard at noon today. Separately, a meeting of strikers’ representatives and Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia proved fruitless. According to the strikers, the minister said social security reform is now law and rejected a proposal that its provisions regarding central bank staff be frozen. The European Central Bank has backed the strikers. The strike has caused serious problems in Greece’s payments and clearing systems. Weak consumer outlook hurts Greek economic sentiment Greek economic sentiment deteriorated in March, weighed down by a sharp downturn in consumer confidence, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said yesterday. The Greek economic climate index fell to 98.9 points from 102.7 in February, its worst reading in the last two years. The reading fell below the benchmark for the 27-nation European Union and also the eurozone index, which came out at 99.6. The overall index is based on business expectations sub-indices covering industry, construction, retail trade, services and consumer confidence. «Expectations in the retail trade and the services sector are weakening, while in industry and construction, they are rising slightly,» IOBE said. «The determinant reason for the deterioration of economic sentiment is the retreat of consumer confidence.» (Reuters) Verbund in Turkey Austria’s leading electricity company Verbund announced yesterday the construction by its Turkish joint venture of a 920-megawatt gas-fired power plant in northeastern Turkey by 2010. Enerjisa, jointly owned by Verbund and Turkey’s Sabanci, got the green light for the project yesterday, after closing negotiations with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Austria’s A-TEC Power Plant Systems in January. The project at Bandirma on the southern coast of the Marmara Sea will cost some 500 million euros ($775 million) and is expected to be operational by late 2010, a statement said. «Together, the partners (Sabanci and Verbund) aim to achieve a share of at least 10 percent of the Turkish electricity market by 2015,» it added. Enerjisa owns four natural gas power plants in Turkey. (AFP) Serb farmer upset A Serb farmer used a grinding machine to cut in half his farm tools and machines to comply with a court ruling that he must share all his property with his ex-wife, local media reported yesterday. Branko Zivkov, 76, told Belgrade daily Kurir he had been ready to give his wife Vukadinka her equal share of everything earned during their 45-year marriage, but was furious at being asked to give away half his farming equipment. Instead, he bought a grinder and cut in two all his tools, including large items such as cattle scales, a harrow and a sowing machine. «I still haven’t decided how to split the cow,» he told the newspaper. «She should just say what she wants – the part with the horns or the part with the tail.» (Reuters)