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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-01-20

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Wednesday, 20 January 2010 Issue No: 3401

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Papandreou meets with visiting UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • [02] Citizens' protection minister meets UN High Commissioner Guterres on illegal migrants issue
  • [03] Ombudsman holds talks with UN refugees official
  • [04] Athens response to fYRoM suit
  • [05] ND sets up Family Budget Observatory
  • [06] Tsipras criticizes the gov't policy
  • [07] Commissioner-designate Damanaki attends hearing
  • [08] OSCE Cooperation Forum on Security Issues
  • [09] FM spokesman on British Appeal Court ruling
  • [10] Greek FinMin satisfied over ECOFIN conclusions
  • [11] Council welcomes Greek govt's plan, urges for more action
  • [12] Gov't on misleading stats sent to EU
  • [13] Gov't on stability programme
  • [14] Greece raises 1.5 bln euros from 3-month bills auction
  • [15] Government refuses 'temporary fix' as farmer road blocks multiply
  • [16] Farmers continue to arrive at road blocks
  • [17] KKE tables question on farm issue
  • [18] Bulgarian PM calls on EU to stop farmer protests in Greece
  • [19] Eurobank executive optimistic over developments in Greek economy
  • [20] Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce
  • [21] Economist Joseph Stiglitz to visit Athens
  • [22] Industrial index dips in Nov
  • [23] Soft drinks market shrinking, report
  • [24] Stocks end moderately up
  • [25] ADEX closing report
  • [26] Greek bond market closing report
  • [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday
  • [28] Transport minister: Tempi may reopen by Easter
  • [29] First flight carrying Greek volunteers, medicines, poised to leave for Haiti
  • [30] Greek Coast Guard intercepted roughly 10,000 illegal migrants in 2009
  • [31] Jewish community of Athens condemns Hania arson
  • [32] AHEPA condemnation of synagogue arson
  • [33] Greek Consulate exhibition inaugurated in Istanbul
  • [34] Actress Olympia Doukakis gives lecture
  • [35] Body of missing man found
  • [36] Cultural weekend offered by Hilton Athens
  • [37] Olympiacos replaces Zico as coach
  • [38] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday
  • [39] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Papandreou meets with visiting UN High Commissioner for Refugees

    The establishment of an independently operating Asylum Agency and the creation of a new framework of operation for migrant reception centers were announced by Prime Minister George Papandreou in statements he made at the Maximos Mansion, after his meeting Tuesday with visiting UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

    As the premier said, the other five government priorities are border protection, adoption of measures against illegal migration, appropriate management of the political refugees issue in compliance with international obligations (to ensure the protection of those who are really persecuted or faced with serious risks), cooperation with the UN High Commission, the EU and the neighboring states and the smooth integration of legal migrants (the second generation in particular) into the social structures.

    The prime minister stated that the intention of the government is to reform the asylum system to be in full compliance with the Geneva Convention and the European legislation.

    "We are witnessing a huge increase of the migration flow, illegal migration and refugees, associated with the multiplication of economic crises, the alteration of global demographics, regional conflicts that unfortunately intensify and climate change," the prime minister stated.

    He pointed out that "it is certain that the potential of Europe and Greece to receive and integrate is limited."

    The new framework of operation for the migrant reception centers was associated by the prime minister with the implementation of a border protection policy to avert the inflow of illegal migrants. He added that the goal is to create special primary reception centers in the most affected regions.

    The prime minister stated that he agreed with Guterres that the cooperation of countries that border with the EU is imperative to ensure that those who are really in need will be protected while reducing the burden faced by EU member states. The issue of Turkey was also discussed within this context, the prime minister stated.

    PM Papandreou stressed that the priorities announced will consolidate the sense of security in society and, at the same time, protect fundamental human rights.

    He also stated that they discussed the recent developments in the EU and the adoption of the Stockholm programme that stresses the need for real solidarity between the EU states as regards the asylum issue. He pointed out that the immediate operation of the European Asylum Agency is imperative as it will help the member states deal with the continuous migration flow and the large number of asylum seekers.

    Papandreou stated that he reminded the UN High Commissioner that the implementation of Dublin II Regulation resulted to a disproportional burden for Greece and underlined the need to amend the criteria and create a mandatory solidarity mechanism between the member states.

    He also stated that he briefed Guterres on the government initiatives that will be voted into law in a few weeks giving hope to the migrants that live legally in Greece for many years, and particularly their children, who will be acquiring the Greek nationality at birth.

    "The specific provisions also include a special reference to those with recognized refugee status," the prime minister stated, adding that "legal migrants and recognized refugees will have the right to vote in local administration elections."

    The prime minister concluded that Greece is counting on the UN High Commission assistance to face those issues.

    On his part, Antonio Guterres expressed full support to the government initiatives, adding that "migration is a human rights issue as well as a national security protection issue."

    He stated that having people in an uncertain situation is not right adding, however, that only those who are properly identified and really need protection should be allowed to stay ensuring that human rights and national security will be respected.

    Guterres stated that the measures announced by the government are positive and acknowledged that Greece is making a disproportionate effort offering notable service to the European Union. He invited the EU to fully support Greece and share the burden, adding that the UN High Commission will express its full support to Greece in Brussels, underlining that European policy cohesion is necessary to face the problem.

    [02] Citizens' protection minister meets UN High Commissioner Guterres on illegal migrants issue

    Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chryssohoidis met on Tuesday with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, former prime minister of Portugal Antonio Guterres and discussed the illegal migration issue.

    "We have sent a direct message in all directions that Greece is not an 'open field' for everyone to enter or exit the country without permission, nor will it be a bridge for anyone to illegally pass into Europe," stressed Chryssohoidis after the meeting with the UN official.

    The minister also said that Greece has closed all the country's entrances and exits for those who are moving illegally and will efficiently safeguard the Greek borders, adding that he, together with his French counterpart, are undertaking an initiative to examine the situation that has arisen with respect to Turkey and also the upgrading of the cooperation between the EURO and Turkey in the direction of implementation of the re-entry agreements that have already been signed.

    «This is an issue we will discuss at the informal ministerial Council meeting to be held in Spain next month and we will try to persuade Turkey to respect the existing agreements", said Chryssohoidis, adding that Greece will promptly proceed with a change in the law on political asylum. He noted that Greece has made it crystal clear that it will safeguard the human dignity of all refugees in the country.

    [03] Ombudsman holds talks with UN refugees official

    Ombudsman George Kaminis said in a statement to the ANA on Tuesday that UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres fully understands the problem Greece is facing with illegal immigrants

    The UN official concluded his contacts on the first day of his visit to Greece.

    Kaminis further said that Guterres is aware of the situation prevailing in the country on the issue of illegal immigration and agreed with the Greek position and the position of other Mediterranean countries that the Dublin Treaty must be amended and the weight of immigration should not fall solely on the first admission countries but on all the European Union countries. Kaminis added, however, that this is an issue concerning the EU.

    On his part, Guterres expressed satisfaction over the government's will to reform the asylum system so that it will be in full agreement with the Geneva Convention and European legislation.

    [04] Athens response to fYRoM suit

    Greece on Tuesday filed its obligatory counter-memorial at the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) in relation to a suit brought by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) over the 1995 "interim agreement" between Athens and the one-time Yugoslav province.

    The counter-memorial was filed by Greece's agents at the proceedings, Amb. Georgios Savvaidis, foreign ministry legal counsel Maria Telalian and a team of ministry diplomats and legal experts assigned the case.

    The counter-memorial lists, in detail and with accompanying documentation, Greece's legal arguments vis-à-vis the case, according to a foreign ministry press release on Tuesday. The ministry added that Greece's written response categorically rejects all of fYRoM's arguments, presenting legal, political and historical counter-arguments and points of reference.

    Athens had been given a Jan. 20 deadline to file its counter-memorial, whereas fYRoM had filed its memorial by last July.

    [05] ND sets up Family Budget Observatory

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras has decided to create a Family Budget Observatory within the party, coordinated by Kavala MP Nikos Panagiotopoulos with former MP Yiannis Bougas as his deputy.

    A party announcement said the decision reflected a desire for organised and comprehensive political action by ND to support Greek families struggling during the current economic crisis.

    The party noted the great importance of the family as an institution for Greek society and said that this was now in serious trouble, especially those families with smaller financial means, as a result of the economic crisis and its repercussions.

    "The ever-worsening problems of unemployment, high prices and lower quality of life, as well as a series of measures taken by the government that reduce citizens' incomes, make it necessary to set up this Committee. The government is making a mistake by not taking into account and not monitoring the repercussions of its decision on the quality of citizens' daily lives," it said.

    [06] Tsipras criticizes the gov't policy

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group President Alexis Tsipras with statements he made on Tuesday criticized the government for its policies on economy and agriculture.

    He described as "unacceptable" the updated Stability and Development Programme presented by the government to the European Union on Monday, adding that such a policy will lead the Greek people to an "ominous future".

    As regards the farmers' protests, Tsipras stated that the government should stand by the farmers and help them solve the major problems they face.

    [07] Commissioner-designate Damanaki attends hearing

    PARIS (ANA-MPA / Olympia Tsipira)

    European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner-designate Maria Damanaki of Greece attended her hearing before the European Parliament on Tuesday.

    The hearing lasted for three hours and was conducted in a positive atmosphere with the MEPs expressing satisfaction as regards the responses given by Damanaki to the questions posed.

    Summing up her policy on fisheries, Damanaki mentioned four key-points namely, sustainability, democratic responsibility, global dimension and compliance; meaning a reliable European policy on fisheries.

    On maritime affairs issues, Damanaki stated that the time has come to proceed with a complete policy for the management of sea basins that will give specific answers to specific problems.

    [08] OSCE Cooperation Forum on Security Issues

    VIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis)

    Alternate Defence Minister Panos Beglitis will inaugurate the OSCE's Cooperation Forum on Security Issues with an address at the Organisation's headquarters in Vienna on Wednesday.

    Greece holds the organisation Presidency over the first four months of 2010.

    Greece assumed the Presidency of the Forum, which constitutes the OSCE's political and military body and is the first permanent body that has been created during the transformation of DASE to OSCE in 1994, on January 1, 2010.

    The Forum deals with issues of the so-called "tough security" and is an autonomous body of the OSCE, with its own Presidency, that alternates in alphabetical order every four months, as well with its own "Troika", which functions in a coordinating manner and with an independent possibility of taking decisions.

    The 56 countries of the OSCE in the Forum are represented by political and military delegations of their missions and, just like the OSCE's Permanent Council, the Forum Plenum convenes on a weekly basis at the Orgnisation's headquarters in Vienna.

    [09] FM spokesman on British Appeal Court ruling

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras made the following statement on Tuesday regarding the decision taken by a British Court of Appeal on the Cyprus's Apostolides v Orams case:

    "Today's decision by the British Court of Appeal confirms, just like the previous one by the European Communities Court on the same issue, that the initial verdict by Cypriot justice on the Apostolides-Orams case must be implemented in the entire European Union.

    "We hope that this decision will constitute the beginning for those who, in the talks in Cyprus, dispute the right of ownership to reconsider their poisitions."

    A British Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that a decision by a Cypriot court, in connection with claims relating to Greek Cypriot owned property in Cyprus' northern Turkish occupied areas, must be executed. The British Court judgment was issued in the case of Apostolides v Orams, in which Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides took the Orams couple to court, claiming his property rights over his property in the occupied areas where the Orams had built, illegally, a holiday home.

    The Cypriot court had ordered the Orams to pay compensation to Apostolides, demolish the holiday home they had built in his property in the Turkish occupied village of Lapithos, halt all intervention on the said property and deliver it to its legal owner.

    The British Court of Appeal said this ruling must be executed. Apostolides, in an initial reaction, said he was pleased, adding that today's ruling was "a vindication of the institutions and the values of the European Union." He also noted that the judgment relates to all the aspects of the property issue, one of the main parameters of the question of Cyprus, which has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

    Apostolides' lawyer, Constantinos Kantounas, said the Court of Appeal ruling was "final and there is no right to appeal against it."

    Financial News

    [10] Greek FinMin satisfied over ECOFIN conclusions

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis)

    Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday expressed his satisfaction over a statement issued by the ECOFIN Council over the credibility of Greek public statistics and the acceptance of the government's updated three-year economic stability plan by his EU counterparts.

    Speaking to reporters, after an ECOFIN meeting in Brussels, the Greek minister said the Council acknowledged the big problems still existing but welcomed the first steps taken by the government towards resolving these problems. "We are paying the lack of credibility in the past," he said, adding that a new law -currently drafted by the government- would strengthen the statistics collection system in the country and noted that the new leadership of the statistical service would be elected by the Parliament and will include representatives by banks, independent agencies and probably a representative of Eurostat if this was legally acceptable.

    Papaconstantinou said the government's stability plan envisaged that the biggest part of fiscal consolidation would be achieved in the first two years of the program and will include reforms in the tax system, the pension system, budget drafting methods and regional administration. He said that the first reactions from the EU were positive and noted that the biggest problem now will be the implementation of the program.

    The minister said he hoped that Greek statistics could regain their credibility by October and said that as long as this issue was pending it was creating a climate of uncertainty in international markets.

    [11] Council welcomes Greek govt's plan, urges for more action

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)

    The Council of EU Finance ministers on Tuesday welcomed the Commission's examination of the issues regarding the Greek government deficit and debt statistics, in line with the request of the ECOFIN Council in November 2009.

    In a statement, issued after completion of a Eurogroup and ECOFIN councils in Brussels, the Council stressed that the outstanding issues identified in the report of the Commission must be addressed as a matter of priority, as they are fundamental for the economic policy surveillance process of the EU and EMU.

    In the light of its concerns, the Council strongly urged the Greek government to ensure that the outstanding methodological issues and technical procedures in the Greek national services, as well as the improvements to the governance and institutional structures as identified in the report, are properly addressed.

    The Council welcomed that the Greek government has initiated a number of actions on reforming the National Statistical System, granting independence to the Statistical Authority and more generally improving the institutional setting for the generation and dissemination of national data. The Council called on the Greek government to decisively address the shortcomings in administrative and operational capacity involved in the production of excessive deficit procedure statistics, by putting in place transparent working practices between the various institutions and granting them integrity and full accountability.

    The Council invited the Commission to continue cooperating with the Greek authorities, taking into account their initiatives, with a view to supporting efforts to resolve the statistical problems and improve collection and processing of government statistics in order to restore confidence in Greek statistics, as well as to propose appropriate measures that will bring the Greek statistical system on the whole in line with the EU requirements and to develop, by February 2010, an action plan to tackle statistical, institutional and governance deficiencies.

    The Council will monitor the progress at its forthcoming meetings, and it will revert to the issue at its next meeting in February.

    Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the Commission fully agreed with the Council's conclusions on Greece and stressed that the next ECOFIN Council will agree on an action plan for each point -acknowledged as problematic- over the collection and management of Greek statistics. A total of 14 points have been acknowledged as weak by the Commission and the Council and needed immediate action, Almunia said. He did not exclude that this action plan also included recommendations for the reform of other agencies, as well.

    Almunia said Eurostat could timely inspect all outstanding issues with Greek statistics if the EU executive's statistics agency would be offered more authority.

    The EU Commission said the ECOFIN council will discuss next month all recommendations made over Greece's excessive fiscal deficits and implementation of a new stability plan and admitted that because of the situation in Greece there was currently "nervousness" in markets which also affected other Eurozone countries.

    [12] Gov't on misleading stats sent to EU

    The government is currently awaiting a report on the misleading figures supplied to the European Commission and will decide any further action based on its findings, government spokesman George Petalotis said on Tuesday.

    He had been asked whether the government intended to set up a Parliamentary investigation to look into the issue.

    Petalotis noted that a committee to compile a report on Greece's statistical figures had been set up by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, to discover whether and how such misleading data was supplied to the EU.

    "When the report exists we will see what course to take but legality will definitely be restored and blame attributed wherever it is due," he added.

    [13] Gov't on stability programme

    The government spokesman on Tuesday reiterated that the government is fighting in Brussels to convince the European partners that "we are determined to overcome the economic crisis, reset the economy, and make radical administrative reforms leaving behind the mistakes and omissions of the previous government."

    Government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis stated made the comment in reference to the updated Stability and Development Programme and the presence of Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou in the Eurogroup meeting on Monday and an Ecofin council on Tuesday.

    "Our goal is to implement the Updated Stability Programme and we are ready in terms of legislation to make our country reliable again," Petalotis stressed.

    He said that the government expects that the Stability Programme will be appreciated by the European Commission and underlined that to "talk in advance about additional measures is untimely and not our intention."

    Referring to the Statistical Agency and its independent operation, the government spokesman pointed out that "any decisive and radical steps made toward the eradication of unreliability are positive."

    Concerning the "Kallikratis" local administration reform initiative, Petalotis characterised as "long-lasting societal problems" the issues of migrants and their integration as well as the granting of asylum and nationality.

    [14] Greece raises 1.5 bln euros from 3-month bills auction

    The Greek government successfully auctioned off a three-month state bills issue on Tuesday, raising 1.5 billion euros from the market.

    Bids submitted totaled 3.8 billion euros, while the interest rates on the three-month bills jumped to 1.67 pct, from 0.35 pct, compared with the previous auction of the same bills on Oct. 23, 2009.

    [15] Government refuses 'temporary fix' as farmer road blocks multiply

    The government will not consider any temporary "fix" in order to persuade farmers to give up their road blocks but insist on radical changes that dealt with the roots of their problems, government spokesman George Petalotis stressed on Tuesday.

    "We are neither planning nor will we carry out fragmentary measures. It would be very easy to come up with a temporary measure and solve the farmers' problem temporarily, so we can have peace," he added, stressing that this time next year the farmers should have no reason to take to the roads.

    The spokesman announced that the government has a plan for farm issues that it intends to finalise through dialogue on January 25-26.

    In the meantime, he added, the government was trying to come to arrangements with farmers at the road blocks and to hold dialogue with farming associations in order to persuade them to abandon the blockades.

    Farmers themselves seem unconvinced, so far, by the government's appeals or the invitation to take part in the upcoming dialogue on agricultural policy and reforms.

    Among new road blocks set up on Tuesday was one at the Sterna intersection of the Corinth-Tripolis national highway by farmers in the Peloponnese, who will remain there until noon on Wednesday before deciding further action.

    In Central Macedonia, the farmers in Thessaloniki were heading toward three meeting points at Halkidona, the Malgara toll posts and Prasina Fanaria, where they will decide whether to block roads. Road blocks are already in place at the Strymonikos intersection of the Serres-Thessaloniki national road in Serres prefecture, and at the Kerdyllia intersection on the Egnatia Highway, while the Promahonas border crossing with Bulgaria has been closed.

    In Kilkis prefectures, farmers have blocked access to the Doirani border crossing and those at the Evzones customs post have prevented trucks from entering or leaving the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

    In Western Macedonia, tractors remained parked outside the Grevena prefecture building for the second day running and Kastoria farmers at the Vogatsikos intersection continued to block traffic toward Thessaloniki and Albania at one-hour intervals, while Prespes farmers had blocked the border crossing at Krystallopigi.

    The city of Kavala remained cut off by farmers blocking the Amfipolis and Chrysoupolis intersections on the Egnatia highway, while some 200 tractors were threatening a long-term blockade of the Ormenio border crossing with Bulgaria.

    They remained on standby along the national road near Kornofolia in Soufli, at the Kipi customs post and elsewhere, while a large protest rally using tractors and farm vehicles was held on the Hania-Rethymno road by farmers on the island of Crete, where they also started closing the road at intervals throughout the day.

    Tractors were continuing to arrive at the Nikaia intersection of the national highway in Thessaly, from Karditsa, Farsala, Larissa and Trikala, while traffic was being diverted around the road block via Megalo Monastiri, Stefanoviki and the old Larissa-Volos national road.

    Farmer unionists have indicated that their members are in for a long haul and that the road blocks will stay in place, stressing their opposition to current agricultural policy and describing the protests as a "one-way street".

    "The government has changed but the problems not only remain but are constantly increasing," they underlined.

    One of the main demands of the farmers are Nikaia are guaranteed minimum prices for their crops in order to make up their lost income, in addition to measures to lower their production costs, debt settlement plans and a link of subsidies to production in the new CAP after 2013.

    [16] Farmers continue to arrive at road blocks

    Tractors belonging to protesting farmers were continuing to mass around the Nikaia intersection of the national highway in Thessaly on Tuesday, with hundreds arriving since Monday from Karditsa, Farsala, Larissa and Trikala, while traffic was being diverted around the road block via Megalo Monastiri, Stefanoviki and the old Larissa-Volos national road.

    Farmer unionists have indicated that their members are in for a long haul and that the road blocks will stay in place, stressing their opposition to current agricultural policy and describing the protests as a "one-way street".

    "The government has changed but the problems not only remain but are constantly increasing," they underlined.

    One of the main demands of the farmers are Nikaia are guaranteed minimum prices for their crops in order to make up their lost income, in addition to measures to lower their production costs, debt settlement plans and a link of subsidies to production in the new CAP after 2013.

    Farmers in Evros, on Greece's northeastern border, were threatening a long-term blockade of the Ormenio border-crossing with Bulgaria. So far, some 200 tractors have gathered at Ormenio and have been closing the border-crossing at two-hour intervals. Tractors were also on standby along the national road near Kornofolia in Soufli, at the Kipi customs post and elsewhere, while a large protest rally using tractors and farm vehicles was held on the Hania-Rethymno road by farmers on the island of Crete, where they also started closing the road at intervals throughout the day.

    [17] KKE tables question on farm issue

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Tuesday tabled question in Parliament to Prime Minister George Papandreou on the farmers' issues.

    Papariga asks the prime minister if he intends to "end the division of farmers into those whose only profession is farming and those who have an additional occupation."

    She also asked the PM if he will keep uniform financial assistance for small-income farmers and requested information on the intended measures aimed at a minimum guaranteed prices for farm products.

    [18] Bulgarian PM calls on EU to stop farmer protests in Greece

    In the most recent development concerning Greek farmers and their protests, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has apparently written to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and asked him to intervene so as to end the farmers' blockades of the Greek-Bulgarian border, saying that these violate European Union regulations for the free movement of goods.

    According to an announcement on Tuesday by the Bulgarian government's press service, Borissov accuses Greek authorities of failing to take measures that lie in their power in order to ensure the free movement of goods via the territory of an EU member-state. He further claims violations of articles 30 and 36 of the founding treaty of the EU regarding the import and export of agricultural goods and violation of regulations for lifting obstacles to trade transactions.

    The Bulgarian premier underlines that, while fundamental rights must be protected, any form of protest that violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of other EU citizens and is counter to the principles of the European Community common market is "completely unacceptable". He claimed that the form of protest adopted by Greek farmers affects the interest of Bulgarian transport companies, which suffered damages of 10 million euros in just one week during the similar protests of 2009.

    [19] Eurobank executive optimistic over developments in Greek economy

    Eurobank deputy chief executive Nikolaos Karamouzis on Tuesday categorically dismissed talks of a collapse of the Greek economy.

    Speaking to reporters during a news conference to present Eurobank Securities' new electronic securities trading platform, Karamouzis said government measures would proceed, regardless of how painful they are and stressed that no one "wants to commit suicide".

    The Greek banker said time is necessary to exit crisis and regain the country's credibility, while he sounded optimistic over the final outcome of this effort.

    Eurobank's executive said actions need to support the private sector and investments to boost exports and entrepreneurship. Fiscal policy should be combined with reforms, Karamouzis said.

    Eurobank EFG Securities presented an updated version of its electronic trading platform Eurobank Trader, offering expanded services to its customers in trading of Greek-listed shares and in shares listed in international markets.

    Eurobank Trade 2.0 is an electronic platform allowing users to operate stock market transactions in real time and to have portfolio management through the Internet.

    [20] Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce

    The entry into Greece of Turkish businessmen without a visa was one of the issues referred to during the annual reception of the Greek-Turkish Chamber of Commerce for the cutting of the New Year's cake.

    The reception was attended by Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas, the secretary general of the Finance Ministry, I. Plaskovitis, on behalf of the New Democracy party A. Papastavrou, Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party Deputy I. Korantis and Turkish Ambassador Hasan Gogus.

    Plaskovitis focused on the development of economic relations between the two countries, on the confidence that the government is showing to the Chamber, which it considers a development lever for the two countries' economic relations.

    The Turkish ambassador referred on his part to the further development of Greek-Turkish relations, to the need for an arrangement for certain categories of Turkish passports, the entry into the country of Turkish businessmen without a visa and to his government's support for new business cooperations.

    [21] Economist Joseph Stiglitz to visit Athens

    Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz will be invited to the Economist and Hazlis&Rivas conferences and participate in an "open discussion" with the Greek political leadership.

    The professor of the Columbia University in the United States, who has stated that the economists themselves are among those responsible for the present international crisis, will be present at the Hilton hotel on February 2 and explain his positions in reply to the question "Inside or outside the crisis."

    Focusing on the government's effort to fulfill the double aim of monetary restructuring and growth, Prime Minister George Papandreou will inaugurate the conference with an address.

    [22] Industrial index dips in Nov

    Greece's turnover index in the industrial sector fell 9.5 pct in November 2009, compared with the same month in 2008, after recording a decline of 16.8 pct in November 2008, the National Statistical Service announced on Tuesday.

    The statistical service, in a report, attributed the 9.5-pct decline in the composite index to a 9.4-pct fall in the manufacturing turnover index and a 12.9-pct decline in the mining turnover index. The domestic market turnover index fell 10.3 pct in November, while the external market turnover index fell 7.2 pct.

    The new orders index in the industrial sector fell 11.6 pct in November, from November 2008, reflecting a 13.5-pct drop in the domestic market index and 9.7-pct fall in the external market index.

    [23] Soft drinks market shrinking, report

    The soft drinks and beverage market in Greece is rapidly slowing, with volume in the market falling 6.0 pct in the September-October 2009 period, a report by IRI stated on Tuesday.

    The report said demand for soft drinks in the supermarket sector recorded a fractional decline, while demand in small retail stores dropped between 22 and 28.3 pct during the same period.

    Demand in Attica (the greater Athens area) fell 6.0 pct; in Thessaloniki was down 15 pct; in the rest of northern Greece it was down 10 pct and in the Peloponnese it fell 11 pct.

    Demand in central Greece grew 7.5 pct and was unchanged in Crete.

    [24] Stocks end moderately up

    Stocks ended moderately higher at the Athens Stock Exchange, with the composite index closing at 2,101.54 points, up 0.54 pct, after hitting an intra-day low of 2,003.35 points. Turnover was an improved 265.896 million euros.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 0.66 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 1.56 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index fell 0.88 pct. The Personal Products (2.83 pct) and Oil (2.77 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Utilities (1.97 pct) and Telecoms (1.08 pct) suffered losses.

    Klonatex (14.29 pct), Informer (9.09 pct), Levenderis (8.93 pct) and Akritas (8.22 pct) were top gainers, while Elfico (19.77 pct), Lanakam (19.12 pct), Kyriakoulis (10.87 pct) and VIS (9.57 pct) were top losers. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 114 to 77 with another 48 issues unchanged.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Insurance: +2.01%

    Industrials: -0.86%

    Commercial: -0.08%

    Construction: +0.94%

    Media: -0.26%

    Oil & Gas: +2.77%

    Personal & Household: +2.83%

    Raw Materials: +0.62%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.52%

    Technology: +0.24%

    Telecoms: -1.08%

    Banks: +0.95%

    Food & Beverages: -1.03%

    Health: +0.77%

    Utilities: -1.97%

    Chemicals: +1.09%

    Financial Services: +0.12%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank and Bank of Cyprus.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 7.13

    ATEbank: 1.77

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.68

    HBC Coca Cola: 16.40

    Hellenic Petroleum: 8.77

    National Bank of Greece: 17.21

    EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 7.15

    Intralot: 3.74

    OPAP: 14.89

    OTE: 10.09

    Bank of Piraeus: 6.98

    Titan: 19.80

    [25] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium (0.54 pct) in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover jumping to 119.148 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 19,872 contracts, worth 103.174 million euros, with 25,519 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 20,317 contracts worth 15.974 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (4,710), followed by Eurobank (1,258), MIG (1,203), OTE (900), Piraeus Bank (3,764), GEK (884), Alpha Bank (2,405), ATEbank (621) and OPAP (703).

    [26] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened slightly to 269 basis points in the Greek electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 5.93 pct and the German Bund 3.24 pct.

    Turnover in the market totaled 1.324 billion euros, of which 520 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 804 million were sell orders. The 10-year benchmark bond (July 19, 2019) was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 650 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month Euribor rate was 1.24 pct, the six-month rate 0.99 pct, the three-month 0.67 pct and the one-month rate 0.43 pct.

    [27] Foreign Exchange rates - Wednesday

    Reference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.439

    Pound sterling 0.881

    Danish kroner 7.501

    Swedish kroner 10.233

    Japanese yen 130.83

    Swiss franc 1.487

    Norwegian kroner 8.213

    Canadian dollar 1.484

    Australian dollar 1.566

    General News

    [28] Transport minister: Tempi may reopen by Easter

    Infrastructures, Transports and Networks minister Dimitris Reppas on Tuesday anticipated that the Athens-Thessaloniki national highway at the Tempi Valley intersection, along the Malliakos Gulf 'horseshoe' in north-central Greece, may reopen by Easter (in early April).

    The Tempi section of the country's main north-south highway has been closed to traffic since December 17, 2009 following a massive landslide, which claimed the life of an Italian engineer who was project director of a bridge being constructed at the site while arriving to inspect damage caused by falling rocks.

    Traffic is currently being diverted along other routes, while the government is mulling the idea of using a rolling highway to bypass the blocked Tempi valley, at least for heavy goods vehicles.

    "We believe that by Easter the road will be ready to reopen for traffic if the works begin immediately," Reppas said, adding that he was awaiting the finalised proposal of the construction consortium that holds the concession for the Tempi project, which will be immediately evaluated by the three co-authoritative ministries for speedy approval to enable the relevant works to begin.

    He added that according to a preliminary proposal submitted to his ministry by the consortium on January 15 outlining the framework of the works required, an estimated 16 weeks are required before the Tempi intersection may reopen.

    However, taking into consideration the findings of the team of experts set up by the ministry, the government believes that the target of reopening Tempi by Easter (which falls on April 4 this year) with completion of all the necessary stabilising and safety measures is feasible.

    Reppas said that the concessionaire consortium agrees that the works begin immediately, noting that, under the concession contract, the restoration work will be carried out by the consortium, but added that there was a difference in views as to who will foot the bill, but this will be decided through arbitration.

    "We will apply the contract and all its provisions, and we will not burden the Greek state. Arbitration will provide the answer," the minister added.

    He further announced two initiatives by his minister regarding Temp.

    Firstly, the TRENOSE railway company and other agencies are looking into the prospect of operating platform trains on the existing rail network to transport trucks and buses after some of the access works are constructed to the platforms at Evangelismos and Rapsani, he said, adding that TRENOSE officials are currently seeking such platforms in other European countries.

    Second, the concessionaire consortium has been asked to evaluate a recommendation by seismology professor Akis Tselentis for the installation of a system that will monitor and record vibrations and other phenomena on a permanent basis in the Tempi valley with seismographs, tachymeters and other instruments.

    Reppas further announced that the entire alternative road network currently being used, which extends over 400 kilometers, has been studied and is being upgraded so as to be used as a parallel network for the Thessaly region residents and more widely.

    [29] First flight carrying Greek volunteers, medicines, poised to leave for Haiti

    A special direct flight carrying a group of volunteer doctors and rescuers and a dispatch of medicines and pharmaceutical material is poised to leave for Haiti on Tuesday morning, provided the conditions in the earthquake-devastated country allow it, Greece's foreign ministry announced, adding that the Boeing 747 is equipped to bring up to 400 European citizens currently in Haiti to Athens on its return flight.

    The Greek mission, in response to an appeal for assistance by Haiti, comprises approximately 25 doctors, healthcare staff, rescuers and officers of the ministry's International Developmental Cooperation department, while the plane will also be loaded with a large quantity of medicines that are necessary for the first days after the disastrous quake.

    The volunteers will remain in Haiti for 10-15 days, depending on the needs there, and will be followed by a second mission to be conveyed by the same plane, which will also carry packaged and tinned food and medical supplies.

    Deputy foreign minister Spyros Kouvelis said that Greece, having in mind its historic relations and duty to Haiti, immediately after the tragedy struck earmarked 200,000 euros in financial aid in a first measure for the relief of the people of Haiti, via international organisations, and is continuing with a substantial humanitarian aid initiative.

    The ministry is collaborating with the Citizens Protection ministry, the Health ministry and the Agricultural Development ministry in a joint effort for the dispatch of immediate and efficient assistance.

    After concerted efforts, Kouvelis has secured the Boeing from Hellenic Imperial Airways, which has agreed to donate upward of 50 percent of the cost of the transportation of the volunteers and medical supplies. The airplane will, on its return flight, bring to Athens citizens of other European countries requiring repatriation.

    The foreign ministry has also called on all organisations wishing to help in the relief effort to contact the ministry at tel: 210-3683570 in order to receive a list of the medicines and other supplies needed, which will be sent to Haiti in the second dispatch.

    [30] Greek Coast Guard intercepted roughly 10,000 illegal migrants in 2009

    The Hellenic Coast Guard intercepted 10,165 illegal migrants in the Aegean Sea in 2009, while a total of 186 migrant-traffickers, the majority of them Turkish nationals, were arrested and 159 boats were confiscated in 595 separate incidents, based on official figures made public by the Coast Guard headquarters.

    A total of 54,362 illegal migrants and 934 migrant-traffickers were arrested and 829 boats were confiscated between 2001 and 2009, while 13,825 illegal migrants were rescued from drowning between 2007 and 2009 when the boats they boarded in Turkey capsized.

    In addition, 2,593 illegal migrants were arrested while attempting to leave Greece from the ports of Patras and Igoumenitsa and other smaller ports across the country.

    A further 8,221 migrants who attempted to enter the country illegally, along with 104 migrant-traffickers, were arrested in 376 separate incidents recorded within the framework of operation "Poseidon" that has been in effect for the past two years in cooperation with EU border agency FRONTEX.

    Most of the illegal migrants arrested in 2009 were intercepted on the Aegean islands of Lesvos (3,361), Samos (3,854) and Patmos (1,111).

    [31] Jewish community of Athens condemns Hania arson

    The Jewish community of Athens on Tuesday expressed "abhorrence" over the new arson attack at the Hania Synagogue on Jan. 16.

    In a statement, it mentions that "local authorities should isolate the followers of fascism and Nazism," adding that "the values of democracy and civilisation cannot tolerate racism and anti-Semitism."

    The fire that began in the early morning hours on Saturday was extinguished by the Fire Brigade, after causing an estimated 30,000 euros in damages, burning through the building's wooden roof and floor, destroying several books and archives. A police announcement said the fire was set by one or more unidentified individuals.

    [32] AHEPA condemnation of synagogue arson

    WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA)

    The leadership of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), the largest and most influential Greek-American organisation in the United States, on Tuesday issued a statement regarding the recent arsons attacks against the historic Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in Hania, Crete.

    "We strongly condemn the anti-Semitic attacks that have been carried out on the Etz-Hayyim Synagogue in Hania. This is the second arson attack in two weeks that has left the synagogue's infrastructure devastated and approximately 2,500 rare books and other archival items destroyed by fire," AHEPA supreme president Nicholas A. Karacostas is quoted as saying.

    "These anti-Semitic attacks upon the Jewish community in Greece are simply unacceptable. We appeal to the people of Hania, and all Greek citizens, to come together to defy these acts of hatred, intolerance, and bigotry; and to help the healing process begin ... We call for the swift apprehension of the perpetrators of these heinous attacks so that they may be brought to justice," he added.

    [33] Greek Consulate exhibition inaugurated in Istanbul

    ISTANBUL (ANA-MPA/A. Kourkoulas)

    A photo exhibition on Greek Orthodox churches in Istanbul before the Tanzimat period was organised by the Greek General Consulate and drew the attention of the city's social and cultural leaderships.

    Inaugurating the exhibition, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartho-lomeos, referred to the 53 churches of the pre-Ottoman reformist period continuing to exist in Istanbul, saying that "we love them all, they are part of our soul."

    "I congratulate the General Consul of Greece, Vassilios Bornovas who contributed substantively with his initiative to the celebrations for the emergence of Constantinople as the cultural capital of Europe for 2010," Vartholomeos added.

    Bornovas said on his part that "apart from the presentation of these churches, the exhibition has the purpose of the public getting to know the church as an operational place. We are opening, therefore, the door of churches to our fellow citizens in this historic City and we invite them to explore them."

    The exhibition contains photographic material from the 53 churches that are spread over almost all the parts of the City, from Pera to the shores of the Bosphorus and the Old City and will last until February 21, 2010.

    [34] Actress Olympia Doukakis gives lecture

    Oscar-winning Greek American actress Olympia Doukakis gave a lecture titled "The story of a woman: a discussion with Olympia Doukakis" at the American College of Greece, which invited her to Greece, on Tuesday evening.

    Olympia Doukakis spoke of her life, her family, the Greek school she attended and her Greek influences. She also spoke of her career, her goals and the difficulties she encountered at the beginning, as well as of the awards she received and her activist work and also replying to questions from the audience.

    [35] Body of missing man found

    The body of a 40-year-old man missing since Sunday afternoon in the region of Perama, Rethymno Prefecture, on the southern island of Crete, was found in the region of Stomio at the estuary of Geropotamos River. The man went missing after his vehicle was swept away by a torrent following heavy rainfall.

    [36] Cultural weekend offered by Hilton Athens

    The Athens Hilton Hotel has created a new culture-oriented package in an exclusive cooperation with Benaki Museum.

    The "Cultural Weekend for Two" combines hotel accom-modations and free access to all permanent and periodical exhibitions at the Benaki Museum, according to a hotel statement.

    Soccer

    [37] Olympiacos replaces Zico as coach

    Greek Super League soccer club Olympiacos Piraeus on Tuesday announced the termination of its collaboration with team coach Zico (Arthur Antunes Coimbra)and his assistants Eduardo Antunes Coimbra (assistant coach) and Moraci Vasconcellos Sant'Anna (fitness coach).

    The 41-year-old Serb Bozidar Bandovic will be the new coach of the team, assisted by Andreas Niniadis, an Olympiacos announcement said.

    Weather Forecast

    [38] Cloudy, rainy on Wednesday

    Cloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-5 beaufort. Temperatures will range between -4C and 15C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 2C to 10C. Cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 0C to 5C.

    [39] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Eurogroup's go-ahead and reservations on Greece's new Stability and Development program, an adverse report on the Greek economy by Deutsche Bank, and the farmers' protests with roadblocks along the national highways, were the main front-page items in Athens' dailies on Tuesday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "22 roadblocks by farmers paralyze the country, as the government calls them to a dialogue".

    APOGEVMATINI: "Poverty on the horizon - Eurostat: 20 percent of residents in Greece facing poverty level".

    AVGHI: "Government discussing additional harsher measures with Brussels, most likely as of June".

    AVRIANI: "Deutsche Bank fears default of Greek economy, as Papaconstantinou (finance minister) tries to convince the Europeans on the Stability Program".

    CHORA: "The Germans bombarding the Greek economy - New adverse report by Deutsche Bank".

    ELEFTHEROS: "They're searching for graft-takers in the state hospitals - Doctors, nursing staff, administrative staff targeted".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Upsets in property transfers - The tax will be calculated in accordance with the commercial value, and not the objective value, of the property".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The roads are opening, with one billion euros - Farmers: Roadblocks increase, government calls for dialogue".

    ESTIA: "Shameful data on the parental property gifts - Government bears huge blame".

    ETHNOS: "Piranhas in the fuel market, as the civil war in the distribution ring rekindles".

    IMERISSIA: "Yes, with asterisks (notes) from Brussels for Stability program - (Eurogroup president and Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude) Juncker: The measures are in the right direction, but not completely adequate".

    KATHIMERINI: " 'Stroke' from the farmers' roadblocks - Problems caused to the national road network and movement of goods".

    LOGOS: "Greece in a farmers' vise - The protest escalates".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Stifling supervision in management of the public sector".

    NIKI: "Domino effect of unrest - Social explosion on the threshold, fear of generalised poverty".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Blockade by the poor-middle income farmers on the policy of reinforcing the big-time farmers and merchant-industrialists".

    TA NEA: "Six-month 'test', and new taxes on the horizon - Stability Program approved, with reservations".

    TO VIMA: "8-9 percent tax on transfers of old real estate properties - New measures being mulled".

    VRADYNI: "Roadblocks everywhere - Greece cut in 4 - Stability Program 'scissored' by the EU".

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