EU sets out marketing rules for olive oil BRUSSELS – The European Union’s executive commission laid out new standards yesterday for marketing olive oil as part of an EU effort to promote one of Europe’s most subsidized crops. From November this year, olive oil will have to be sold in sealed bottles no bigger than five liters (1-1/3 US gallons), the Commission said in a statement. It will also, from November 2003, have to be clearly labeled as being extra virgin, virgin, «olive oil composed of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil,» and olive-pomance oil. «To meet our goal to better promote olive oil, we need more coherent rules,» EU Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler said. The rules follow a three-year extension by EU member states in July 2001 of the EU’s olive oil regime, which doles out more than 2 billion euros (1.9 billion dollars) in subsidies each year. The European Commission wanted to scale back the regime but ran into stiff resistance from Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal – the world’s leading olive oil producers. (AFP) Strikers say refineries will not be hit A strike by Hellenic Petroleum workers, opposing government plans to sell off a stake in the country’s largest refiner, will not curb output from the company’s two refineries, a spokesman for the strikers said yesterday. The workers will strike from today till Monday at the refineries’ loading areas. «No ships or trucks will be able to load but the production will not be affected at all,» Hellenic Petroleum workers’ representative Vassilis Nikitas told Reuters. Russia’s largest refiner Lukoil with Greece’s Latsis group, which owns the Petrola refinery near Athens, last month jointly bid 454 million for a 23.17-percent stake in Hellenic. But workers fear the sale will lead to mass layoffs. Nikitas said after the end of the strike employees will meet to discuss further action. (Reuters) PPC to issue bonus shares The Public Power Corporation (PPC) said yesterday it will issue bonus shares for retail investors who have held on to their PPC shares for six months. PPC said in a statement that non-institutional investors who participated in the company’s initial public offering for listing on the Athens and London stock exchanges would receive one bonus share for each 10 held at the close of trade on June 11. There is a maximum limit of 200 shares per shareholder, the company said. Bonus shares will be issued after mid-July. (Reuters) Greeks go it alone Greece, with 31.2 percent, has by far the largest percentage of self-employed in the European Union, Eurostat data shows. Italy follows with 27.5 percent, Portugal with 20 percent and Spain with 18.6 percent. One in five self-employed men employs no one else in his business; 16.7 percent of the self-employed are women and 13 percent of them hire no staff. Greek-Turkish business A group of eight Turkish businessmen, members of their country’s Entrepreneurship Development Association (ISHEAD) met with Greek counterparts at Thessaloniki’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday.