|Friday, 23 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-09-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Saturday, 4 September 2010 Issue No: 3584
 PM Papandreou: 'Now is the time for great changesPrime Minister George Papandreou, addressing the opening of the ruling PASOK party's three-day National Council sessions on Friday, sent a message of optimism over the country's future and said that "now is the time for great changes and reversals."
Papandreou offered his thanks for the confidence and support provided in "the joint struggle to reverse the downhill course that the country was taking," while describing all that the previous government had bequeathed to PASOK and stressing that "our first priority, the historical duty was for us to avoid bankruptcy."
The prime minister admitted that the decisions taken in this direction were painful, "without us considering the political cost" and pointed out that with them "we placed the base, the foundations to build a better Greece."
Papandreou further pointed out that Greece's problem neither was nor is only economic and added that the real dilemma at present is if we shall go back to all that has led us to here or if we shall create a Greece that shall be different, better, fairer and viable.
He went on to say that the mistakes of the post-junta period are being left behind and stressed that the great wager in the years to come is, also, the change in education in the country and in the welfare state as well.
Papandreou also referred to the "Kallikratis" plan, saying that it is not an electoral procedure, but a procedure for the reshaping of Greece, adding that for this reason the November elections are a confrontation of forces for the country's future.
The prime minister noted that "some want to turn the elections supposedly into a 'vote against the memorandum'," and added that it is being said that the Troika is to blame for everything.
"Does that mean that the Troika is to blame for the corruption in our hospitals? For tax evasion? For clientele extravagance? For our first place in unhygienic habits?" he pondered.
Papandreou underlined that they are those who ruined Greece and who led us to the memorandum. Those who were saying "yes" abroad and "no" at home. Those who are recognising at present that we took the right decision to save Greece from bankruptcy, meaning those who are admitting at present that they wished to vote in favour, but voted against due to the political cost.
"They are aware that this bill is the bill that we are all paying today for their crimes. It is the tombstone of their policy and they do not know how to handle it," the prime minister said.
Papandreou, summing up his policy, said that "we are proceeding with structural changes when and wherever necessary" and noted that "the restructuring of the Greek state is a condition for survival, it is a condition for our national independence."
 Opposition parties' reaction to PM's addressMain opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, replying to the address by Prime Minister George Papandreou on the anniversary of the ruling PASOK party's founding, said that "PASOK's socialist visions in 1974 were 'drowned' in the neoliberal memorandum of 2010, dragging along salaries, pensions and incomes. The disastrous for Greek society 'neoliberal socialism' of Mr. Papandreou is an international originality. Despite all this there is an exit: ND's strategy of hope."
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also announced: "The government, just like ND, are resorting to gimmicks and inventions of all kinds to conceal the big truth from the people: That their policy that is leading the people to final bankruptcy for the profits of the plutocracy is not a one-way path. They want the people not to condemn them and not to weaken them in the elections by voting for the Popular Rally that KKE supports. The people can repel it and reverse it because they have a different path that they can open in going along with KKE, with its alliance."
The Coalition (SYN) announced that "36 years were required for us to be led by PASOK of the 3rd of September to PASOK of the IMF. All that the present prime minister is claiming and doing as well as his government have nothing to do with his movement's founding proclamation and have exceeded by far even the extreme neoliberal policies of ND."
 Samaras visits Ambelakia, urges 'change of attitudes'Arriving in the historic village of Ambelakia in Thessaly on Friday, main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras called for a "change of attitude concerning life and the country, a new attitude of hard work, love for the country, cooperation and solidarity between us to increase the national wealth".
Samaras said that he had chosen the historic community at Ambelakia, where the world's first-ever community agricultural cooperative was created, to rally people to resist and avoid resignation and fatalism.
"I am not misleading anyone with groundless utopias. We propose specific, tangible solutions for exiting the crisis and for growth and prosperity," he said, adding that ND's proposal was based on special national traits, Greece's own traditions and particular advantages.
According to Samaras he proposed a new model for growth that had two requisites, competitiveness and the spread of opportunities.
"These two elements are self-evident everywhere else but have been forbidden words in the last decades in Greece," he added.
 Karatzaferis attack against SamarasOpposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) George Karatzaferis on Friday unleashed a sharp attack against main opposition New Democracy (ND) party and its leader Antonis Samaras over the latter's strategy and possible candidates for the upcoming November municipal and regional elections.
Karatzaferis, a one-time ND deputy who was expelled from the party only establish right-of-centre LA.OS party in 2000, warned that a ruling PASOK victory in the upcoming election would be blamed on Samaras' policies and choices.
"Mr. is in favour of subtraction and division, whereas I am in favour of addition and multiplication," Karatzaferis said in metaphorically describing his reasoning for joint candidates and platforms.
He also dismissed criticism that his party is serving as a covert support for ND rival PASOK.
 Alt. foreign minister sees 'positive moves' by Turkey toward Ecumenical PatriarchateAlternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Friday noted that there had been "some positive moves" on the part of the Turkish government concerning the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul.
Speaking during an interview with the Church of Greece radio, Droutsas also pointed out that the road ahead "was long and not easy". Among the positive steps he cited the permission given to hold a mass at the Panagia Soumela monastery on the the August 15 Feast of the Assumption holiday and the opening of the School of Theology on Halki to host an art exhibition.
"We should look at these positive steps and welcome them but know that the road will be neither easy nor short," he underlined, stressing that Greece will always stand by the side of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ecumenical Patriarch in this journey.
The alternate foreign minister pointed out, meanwhile, that Turkey had undertaken obligations as a candidate member of the EU and that much remained to be done.
 Papoulias received MEP Marietta YiannakouPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Friday received main opposition New Democracy MEP Marietta Yiannakou, who in statements after the meeting stressed that European countries must ensure that Europe remains strong and competitive.
"If it is necessary, for a period, to implement such policies [of austerity] in order to avoid the worst or improve our competitiveness, investments etc, then Europe must do this. On the other hand, we must see how we can ensure - and this is the role of politics - a level that is worthy of that achieved after the War, which left Europe ravaged and poor, through the European policy of the common market and then the European Union," she said.
The MEP stressed that Europe had to be made stronger since that would also make its member-states strong, stressing that "no country in Europe today is able on its own to meet today's challenges."
Yiannakou said her meeting with Papoulias had focused on Europe's prospects, the integration process and the climate within the EU as the Lisbon Treaty began to be implemented.
She stressed that Europe had to become more competitive in order to meet the challenges from third countries and also preserve the way of life of its citizens.
"It must preserve its agricultural population in a good state, the small and medium-sized businesses because Europe is not just a region of services, and it must play an important role in international affairs on the basis of the European External Action Service being created now and the efforts of Baroness Ashton," Yiannakou said.
 Tsipras meets PPC union leadershipRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras met on Friday with the leadership of the union representing Public Power Corp. employees, saying afterwards that the deregulation of the energy market will lead to "dramatic increases in the price of electricity for the consumer".
 Supreme court prosecutor wants Mantouvalos acquittal annulledSupreme Court Prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on Friday asked that a court decision acquitting former New Democracy MP Petros Mantouvalos of involvement in a judicial corruption scandal be annulled on the grounds that it was insufficiently justified.
Mantouvalos had been acquitted by an Athens Criminal Appeals Court of charges that included money-laundering, attempted fraud, attempting to violate laws on brokering and morally instigating abuse of authority. Mantouvalos and two partners in his law firm had been implicated in a judicial corruption scandal along with the fugitive businessman G. Bolaris and former judge Evangelos Kalousis, now in jail.
The Supreme Court penal department will now examine whether Tentes is empowered to seek annulment of the decision and whether his request has any basis before the local government elections in November 2010.
Mantouvalos recently announced that he will be a candidate for mayor in Piraeus with the backing of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party.
 EU approves Hellenic Financial Stability Fund schemeThe European Commission on Friday has approved a scheme for the recapitalisation of credit institutions in Greece by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (FSF), under EU State aid rules.
The Fund's capital is ¬ 10 billion and is part of the euro-area/IMF financial assistance to the country. The Commission found the recapitalisation scheme to be compatible with EU rules that allow aid to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State.
"The Financial Stability Fund is part of the financial assistance provided by the euro area and the IMF to Greece and is destined to safeguard the financial stability of the credit institutions in Greece and thus the provision of credit to the national economy. I am satisfied that the conditions under which Greece may use the Fund are in line with the rules on support schemes for the financial sector during the crisis which have been authorised previously in Greece and many other EU countries", said Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of Competition Policy.
The creation of the Financial Stability Fund is provided for in the May 3rd Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality between the Greek Government, the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The FSF is set to last until 30 June 2017. Although the MoU and the FSF were agreed at the highest level in the euro area, the Commission must check that the conditions under which the banks will be recapitalised, for those that need it,, comply with the rules on the recapitalisation of financial institutions during the crisis.
On 21 July 2010, Greece notified to the Commission a request for approval of the recapitalisation scheme under the FSF until 31 December 2010. This time limit is due to the fact that the crisis-related state aid schemes are approved for six-month periods, whether they concern recapitalisation, loan guarantees or treatment of impaired assets, to be able to re-assess the situation according to the evolution of the financial markets. In any event, the limitation is without prejudice to the existence of the fund, which is established under Greek law until 2017.
The objective of the Fund is to safeguard the stability of the Greek banking system when capital is not available through normal, generally private, solutions. It will provide equity capital to credit institutions by acquiring preference shares and, under certain conditions, common shares in respective banks. In case of preference shares, the scheme requires a remune-ration of 10 % of the shares and insists on several behavioural restrictions such as a dividend and a coupon ban. Moreover, in principle all banks benefitting from the fund will need to present a restructuring plan to the Commission.
 FinMin article in 'The Banker': Greece will not need to restructure debtEvidence is consistently accumulating that Greece will not need to restructure its debt in the end, finance minister George Papaconstantinou stressed in an article in the magazine "The Banker".
"There is a clear shift in attitude from international observers. Utter dismissal has given way to recognition that progress has been made and even cautious optimism. What lingers is the misplaced belief that, despite its best efforts, Greece will need to restructure its debt in the end. Evidence that this will not happen is accumulating, but proving so beyond doubt will take time. It hinges on sustainable debt dynamics: consistently running primary surpluses and achieving higher growth rates. Evidence for the former is already there; as for the latter, this is the very aim of the reforms under way - to give the economy a supply shock and boost its growth potential," Papaconstantinou wrote in the article.
The government, he explained, "chose to push through the bulk of the reforms in the first few months so as to reap the results as soon as possible".
"And while the fiscal and structural shock of this approach has been severe, the economy is turning out more resilient than expected. As a result, the recession this year should be milder than initially projected," he added.
The minister also pointed out that many challenges remain, while at the same time "there are risks of potential overruns in parts of the budget - particularly in hospitals, public companies and pension funds - and the potential of reform fatigue".
Papaconstantinou further noted that the Greek crisis has served as a "wake-up call for the whole of Europe".
"Reaction was initially hesitant but, in the end, European institutions have shown a remarkable capacity to adapt to fast-changing circumstances and challenge established beliefs," he explained.
"The crisis is by no means over. It has, however, opened up a discussion on filling in the missing pieces in the European puzzle with a view to completing and strengthening the entire European system of economic governance," Papaconstantinou concluded.
 Greek FinMin, BoG governor discuss economic, banking developmentsGreek Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou on Friday met with Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos and discussed developments in the Greek and global economy and the situation in the domestic banking system.
The two men focused on the operation of a Financial Stability Fund, after the European competition authority gave the "green light" to the Greek plan. The Financial Stability Fund will have a capital of 10 billion euros and a duration until June 30, 2017.
Greek Finance minister has hired three consultants to evaluate the state's equity participation in the domestic financial system with the first report expected around 7-8 September. The government is expected to finalize its decision over a proposal by Piraeus Bank to buy ATEbank and Hellenic Postbank and a proposal submitted by ATEbank for a four-party merger between ATEbank, Hellenic Postbank, Deposits and Loans Fund and Attica Bank.
 ADEDY will not attend TIF opening speechThe Civil Servants' umbrella federation ADEDY announced on Friday that will not attend the opening address of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) this year because, as it stated, "there is no point" and characterized the meetings in the framework of the TIF' on economic and social policy as "public relations".
In an announcement, ADEDY also called for a meeting with the government to discuss the problems faced by public administration and salary and pension earners.
"The government, in cooperation with the IMF and EU, decided on and are implementing the anti-popular and anti-labour Memorandum," it said.
ADEDY further said that the Memorandum policies and government's selections have brought a sharp reduction in workers' incomes, abolition of social security rights, and are leading labor relations to the barbarous conditions of the previous century, with dramatic repercussions on the working people and society, as unemployment is rising and poverty and penury are affecting an increasing proportion of the population, while at the same time the profits of the financially strong are increasing and the economy is being plunged into recession.
 Tourist arrivals up 9.13 pct in RhodesTourist arrivals in the island of Rhodes rose 9.13 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, official figures showed on Friday. A monthly report by the Civil Aviation Authority said that tourist arrivals with charter flights totaled 316,164 in August, up from 289,715 in August 2009.
The report showed a significant increase in tourist arrivals from France and Russia, which along with Israel accounted for the biggest part of August's rise. On the other hand, domestic arrivals fell 18.17 pct to 42,786 tourists in August, down from 52,286 in August 2009.
 Car registrations down 30.8 pct in Jan-AugCar registrations (new and used ones) fell 30.8 pct in the January-August period this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2009, the Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Friday.
The statistics service, in a report, said ca registrations totaled 149,371 in the eight-month period, down 30.8 pct from last year, after recording a 19.1 pct decline in the same period in 2009.
Motorcycle registrations totaled 46,959 in the January-August period, down 13.8 pct from 2009, after a 29.8 pct decline in 2009.
Car registrations plunged 66.1 pct in August this year, compared with the same month in 2009, while motorcycle registrations fell 20.8 pct over the same period.
 Stocks end 2.69% upStocks ended higher for the third consecutive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, boosted by market talk over developments in the domestic banking sector and encouraged by a positive climate in international markets. The composite index jumped 2.69 pct to end at 1,656.82 points, for a net gain of 7.1 pct in the week. Turnover was an improved 129.091 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 2.96 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 1.30 pct higher and the Small Cap index ended 1.29 pct up. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 117 to 42 with another 44 issues unchanged.
Financial Services (4.98 pct), Telecoms (3.76 pct) and Banks (3.25 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Chemicals suffered losses (-1.40 pct).
Mathios (16.67 pct), Vell Group (12.20 pct) and Vivere (10 pct) were top gainers, while Druckfarben (19.51 pct), Tegopoulos (10 pct) and Edrasi (10 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +2.88%
Personal & Household: +0.01%
Raw Materials: +2.28%
Travel & Leisure: +1.15%
Food & Beverages: +3.10%
Financial Services: +4.98%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and Bank of Cyprus.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 5.65
Public Power Corp (PPC): 11.94
HBC Coca Cola: 19.88
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.15
National Bank of Greece: 11.01
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 5.61
Bank of Piraeus: 4.42
 Greek bond market closing reportTurnover in the Greek electronic secondary bond market recovered to 103 million euros on Friday, of which 53 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 50 million were buy orders.
The three-year benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 41 million euros. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 896 basis points, with the Greek bond yielding 11.30 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 1.414 pct, the six-month rate 1.13 pct, the three-month 0.88 pct and the one-month rate 0.62 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - Saturday/MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.293
Pound sterling 0.839
Danish kroner 7.504
Swedish kroner 9.387
Japanese yen 109.25
Swiss franc 1.314
Norwegian kroner 7.952
Canadian dollar 1.366
Australian dollar 1.420
 Gaziantep mayor, delegation at Athens city hallAthens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis on Friday received the mayor of the southeast Turkish city of Gaziantep, Asim Ugur Guzelbey, and a delegation from the Gaziantep municipality at Athens City Hall.
The Gaziantep delegation is on an official visit to Greece.
Turkey's ambassador to Greece Mehmet Hasan Gogus and deputy mayor for international relations Sophie Daskalaki-Mytilineou were also present at the meeting.
The Gaziantep municipality delegation's visit to Athens follows an official invitation by Kaklamanis within the framework of the "Cities for Children" programme.
After the meeting, Kaklamanis referred to the importance of "city-to-city diplomacy", while he added that 20 children from Gaziantep will be hosted at the City of Athens' children's campsite next year.
 Annual Book Festival opens at Zappeion in AthensThe 39th annual Book Festival opened Friday in the courtyard of the Zappeion Mansion in central Athens.
The Book Festival, which runs through September 19, is organised annually by the Association of Book Publishers in collaboration with the City of Athens' Cultural Organisation and Historical Archives under the aegis of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, also features a number of side events, including photo exhibitions readings for children.
More than 160 publishers will present some 50,000 books in 13 stands in this year's festival.
An exhibition of up-to-now unpublished photographs of Athens in 1888 will also be on display. The photographs are from the City of Athens' Historical Archives and are contained in a collectors' edition published by the city, called "Athinai", which will be formally presented on September 15 in the evening.
Also, the National Book Center has scheduled a series of readings for children, titled "Fairytales of the World". On Saturday, Sunday and next Sunday (Sept. 19), at 7:00-8:00 p.m., children will have the opportunity to attend readings of traditional folk tales and literature from all parts of the world, which have been handed down from generation to generation in the oral tradition or written by Greek and foreign writers.
 Publishing firm "Ellinika Grammata" closesThe publishing firm "Ellinika Grammata" it is closing down after 53 years of operation, it was announced late Thursday. The publishing house, which has 90 employees, is a subsidiary company of the Lambrakis Publishing Organisation (DOL), which made the announcement of the closure.
The publishing firm will discountinue its operation on September 15, at which time the liquidation process will begin.
Ellinika Grammata was launched in 1957 by Dimitris Papachristofilou as a personal business, and was later taken over by his son Pavlos. In the '90s, it was listed among the 10 most productive Greek pubilishing firms.
In 2001, DOL acquired a majority 51 percent stake in the publishing house's share capital, and the rest of the shares in March 2007.
 Actions for Kastoria Lake (corrected)Émmediate actions in order to save Kastoria Lake, northwestern Greece, will be undertaken by the Environment Ministry in cooperation with the Western Macedonia prefecture, and financed under the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF), was decided during a meeting in Athens on Friday.
The meeting was held in the Greek parliament chaired by parliament president Fillipos Petsalnikos following recent newspaper articles on the disruption of the ecological balance of the lake and reactions by Kastoria residents and organisations.
 Fires in Serres, ThessalonikiA fire broke out on Friday afternoon in a forest at Ano Poroia in Serres while a second blaze was reported in an area of brush and grass in Asprovalta, Thessaloniki.
Thirty firemen and 14 vehicles, assisted by two water-bombing aircraft from the air were sent to battle the Serres fire, which is not threatening any inhabited area.
Another 30 firemen and 14 vehicles were sent to put out the blaze in Asprovalta, which is also not posing a danger to homes.
 Fire destroys Ioannina poultry farmA fire that broke out on Friday, possibly due to a short circuit, utterly destroyed all facilities at the Nikos Katsanos poultry farm in Ambelia, Ioannina. A total of 10,000 chickens were burnt to death and the facilities destroyed, while the overall damage is estimated at 500,000 euros.
The fire was put out by the Ioannina fire brigade, which has launched an inquiry to determine its causes.
 Wildfire in Rethymno prefectureA wildfire in the municipality of Syvrites in Rethymno prefecture, Crete, on Friday was reportedly under partial control by the early evening. The cause of the wildfire is not yet known.
 Cloudy, rainy on SaturdayCloudy and rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Saturday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 10C and 31C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with possible rain at night, with variable 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 20C to 31C. Cloudy with local showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 16C to 27C.
 The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glancePrime Minister George Papandreou's meeting with the country's productive sectors ahead of the Thessalonica International Fair (TIFF), ruling PASOK's Political Council meeting on Thursday, the pensions' issue, and the issue of equalisation in heating oil and fuel oil rates, mostly dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Eight 'windows' for full pension before the age of 65".
APOGEVMATINI: "Service in Armed Forces with salary and social security stamps - Everything changes in the Armed Forces".
AVGHI: "Ministers unwilling to be candidates in prefectural elections despite prime minister's pressure".
AVRIANI: "Civil servants' umbrella labour federation ADEDY will not attend Prime Minister's speech at the TIF".
CHORA: "PM's statement at Political Council: I impose taxes...for social solidarity reasons".
ELEFTHEROS: "Retroactive fines for illegally enclosed semi-balconies".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Rage in PASOK over Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou's intention to abolish the 'cheap' heating oil regulations".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "PASOK deputies and government members unwilling to be candidates for prefectural elections - PM: The unwilling candidates will be 'drafted'."
ESTIA: "Greece loses the train of modernisation".
ETHNOS: "Express retirement with fictitious working years".
IMERISSIA: "Cutbacks in corporate taxes".
KATHIMERINI: "Prime minister's deliberations with ministers and deputies over the prefectural elections' candidacies".
LOGOS: "PASOK's deputies refuse... to leave parliament".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "65,000 enterprises through a tax sieve - 'Raid' by special team of auditors to collect revenues from VAT infringers".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Tax allowances to capital, heavy taxation on the people".
TA NEA: "If the taxes in heating oil and car fuel become equal then each household will have to pay 760 euros more (each year)".
TO VIMA: "Full pension with seven year bonus ".
VRADYNI: "Cry of agony - Productive sectors briefed PM on the bad situation of the market".
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