200 mln euros from CSFIII to improve business competitiveness THESSALONIKI – Officials for the General Secretariat for Research and Technology yesterday presented at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) several programs co-funded by the European Union, through the Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII), the Development Ministry and the private sector, and which are aimed at boosting enterprise competitiveness. The 11 programs will fund projects with a total of just over 200 million euros, 75.5 million of which will go to two programs concerning the employment of young research and development specialists in companies. Programs will also be funded in the following sectors and activities: natural environment and sustainable development (32.65 million euros); urban environment and earthquake damage prevention (32.65 million); farming, foods and aquaculture (22.3 million); renewable energy sources and consumption savings (15.85 million); development of research and technology in new industrial enterprises (14.5 million); culture and tourism (12.91 million); standardization centers and commercial applications of research (9 million); health and biomedicine (6.77 million); and research on new business practices and labor markets. Turkish economy grows faster than expected ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s gross national product (GNP) rose a better-than-expected 8.8 percent in the second quarter of 2002, the State Statistics Institute announced yesterday. The institute said second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) rose 8.2 percent year-on-year. A Reuters poll had forecast GNP growth of 6.7 percent and 6.6 percent for GDP. Second-quarter GNP slumped 12.1 percent in 2001 and GDP fell 9.6 percent as the impact of soaring interest rates in a financial crisis pounded the economy. A subsequent $16-billion IMF rescue package aims to achieve 3-percent GNP growth in 2002, against a 9.4-percent contraction in 2001. The institute said total GNP in the second quarter was 59,500 trillion lira at current prices (around $36 billion at yesterday’s exchange rate). Turkey’s industrial output in July, announced over the weekend, had already pointed to stronger GNP, coming in at 12.3 percent higher than a year earlier, compared to a forecast 9.5 percent. Unemployment Romania’s jobless rate eased to 8.5 percent in August from 9.0 percent a month before, amid continuous economic growth, the Labor Ministry announced yesterday. Analysts said the fall in unemployment was also influenced by a seasonal rise in activities in agriculture and tourism. Romania expects an average jobless rate of 9 percent in 2002, up from 8.5 percent last year, with the country struggling to restructure its ailing industries. (Reuters) US visit Greece’s National Tourist Organization (GNTO) president, Yiannis Patelis, and Yiannis Evangelou, president of the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourism Agents (HATTA), are visiting the United States to promote Greece as a tourist destination, especially Athens, the host city of the 2004 Olympics. Yesterday, they met Robert E. Whitley, president of the US Tour Operators’ Association (USTOA) and had lunch with New York Times executives. The EU plans to wrap up accession talks by the end of 2002 with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta and to welcome them as new members in 2004.