|Wednesday, 13 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 21 June 2011 Issue No: 3817
 Papandreou-Van Rompuy talks in BrusselsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / Special contributor E. Karanasopoulou)
Prime Minister George Papandreou held talks here with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, focusing on Greece's mid-term fiscal strategic programme and the course of a new support package for Greece.
Speaking after a meeting with Papandreou, Van Rompuy noted that "I expressed my strong support to the prime minister and his unyielding effort for the reform of the Greek economy ... I stressed the need for Greece to make further adjustment efforts to handle the current challenges, while recognising the progress achieved so far."
According to Van Rompuy, "the package of measures agreed by the government and the troika on fiscal restructuring, privatisations and the structural reforms must be supported by the Greek Parliament. This will pave the way for the disbursement of the next tranche in mid-July."
"We are working for a mid-term strategy, including the participation of the private sector, in the spirit of what was agreed to at the Eurogroup yesterday," he said, adding: "given the duration, the size and the nature of the required reforms in Greece, national consensus is a precondition for success."
On his part, Papandreou noted that he had "a creative and interesting discussion with Mr. Van Rompuy. We are in the process of an interesting negotiation with the member-states. We want to be consistent; we want to do what we must to achieve the goals. We made efforts in the previous year and we shall continue to make. I hope that Parliament will approve the programme. And I hope, however, that the Union will also have the will to handle the crisis, which is not a Greek crisis alone, with the appropriate decisions at the upcoming summit."
Papandreou also met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso late on Monday night.
 Crucial July 3 Eurozone meeting on Greece calledLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA)
Eurogroup President and Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday said private investors will be present in any second bailout package for Greece, stressing here, however, that he does not know if they will be "enthusiastic."
Meanwhile, Eurozone finance ministers called an emergency meeting to take up the Greece issue on July 3, Juncker added.
"I have decided to call an extraordinary meeting of the Eurogroup on Sunday, July 3," Juncker said, following a meeting of EU FinMins here.
Moreover, he expressed his hope that the Greek Parliament will have ratified the Mid-Term Fiscal Strategy Programme by then.
Speaking at a joint press conference on Monday in Luxembourg, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and Juncker expressed optimism that the next and fifth aid tranche will be disbursed soon, whereas Eurozone officials will move to agree on a plan to prevent a sovereign default -- the Vienna programme.
 Venizelos: 'We must approve Medium-Term programme by the end of June'LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA - M. Spinthourakis)
Following his first attendance of a Eurogroup meeting the previous day, newly appointed Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday stressed that Greece has to approve the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy and a law that executes this before the end of June in order to regain credibility.
"The important thing is to establish a clear relationship of trust, to stabilise the situation and for the fifth tranche [of bailout loans to Greece] to be released," he said in statements to reporters.
Commenting on the situation in Greece, the new finance minister appointed during last week's government reshuffle noted that national consensus had proved elusive in Athens and had to be raised as a requirement by Greece's EU partners, unlike in Ireland and Portugal where there was a high degree of internal political consensus.
It should, instead, have been "the result of an instinct of self-preservation of our Nation," he pointed out.
Venizelos said the Eurogroup meeting had made signficant progress in preparations for the release of the fifth tranche before the crucial dates, with all sides agreeing that there had to be participation by the private sector to tackle the Greek debt problem.
"This concerns the completely voluntary participation of private investors in the form of rolling over existing bonds that mature, so as to effectively reduce borrowing needs in the next years. It is obvious that this process must be carried out so as not to trigger a credit event for Greece," he said.
The minister said that he had briefed Prime Minister George Papandreou on the results of the Eurogroup meeting, stressing that "we have a great many things to do every day".
"Political time has been greatly condensed, every day has huge importance and therefore we cannot waste even an hour," he underlined.
 Eurogroup: Legislation of Medium-Term programLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris, M. Spinthourakis)
The 12 billion euros 5th tranche of the 110 billion euro EU-IMF bailout loan to Greece will be disbursed in early July, provided that approval of the Greek government's Medium-Term fiscal program by the Hellenic parliament has been completed, eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker said in the early morning hours of Monday after a eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg.
Juncker said that progress was also made regarding the participation of the private sector in a second assistance program for the Greek economy, but added that a number of issues were still outstanding.
The eurozone chief also said that private sector participation should be voluntary and without pressure from the governments.
Juncker further said that the eurozone countries sought of the Greek government to complete the legislative procedure regarding the Medium-Term fiscal program, noting that Greece's partners in the eurozone were also awaiting the vote of confidence in the (newly-reshuffled) government of Greece.
The eurogroup president also reiterated the need for the two mainstream parties in Greece (ruling PASOK and main opposition ND) to agree on the implementation of the EU and IMF program for Greece.
According to a statement issued by the eurogroup, approval of the Medium-Term program by the Greek parliament will pave the way to disbursement of the next tranche of the bailout loan to Greece in early July, while the considerable progress achieved over the last year, particularly with respect to fiscal consolidation, was acknowledged by the eurozone ministers.
Regarding the support program for Greece, the eurozone finance ministers decided to define by early July the basic parameters "of a clear new financing strategy".
Also, for the first time in an announcement, the eurogroup made note of the need for political consensus in Greece, noting that the eurozone finance ministers called on all the political parties in Greece to support the fundamental targets of the program so as to ensure its rigorous and expeditious implementation.
Bearing in mind the length, magnitude and nature of the required reforms in Greece, national unity is a prerequisite for success, the announcement concluded.
The full text of the eurogroup Announcement is as follows:
"The Greek authorities are embarking on a significant and necessary adjustment effort. Ministers recognised the considerable progress achieved by the Greek authorities over the last year, particularly in the area of fiscal consolidation.
Ministers are also conscious of the serious challenges that Greek citizens are facing in these difficult times.
Ministers took note of the debt sustainability assessment prepared by the Commission and the IMF. The assessment showed that debt sustainability hinges critically on Greece sticking to the agreed fiscal consolidation path, the plans of collecting EUR 50 billion in privatisation proceeds until 2015, and the structural reform agenda which will promote medium-term growth.
Ministers look forward to the Commission's Compliance Report, that requires the finalisation of the updated Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected in the coming days, reflecting the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the European Commission, in liaison with the ECB, and the IMF.
This, together with the passing of key laws on the fiscal strategy and privatisation by the Greek parliament, will pave the way for the next disbursement by mid-July.
However, given the difficult financing circumstances, Greece is unlikely to regain private market access by early 2012. Ministers agreed that the required additional funding will be financed through both official and private sources and welcome the pursuit of voluntary private sector involvement in the form of informal and voluntary roll-overs of existing Greek debt at maturity for a substantial reduction of the required year-by-year funding within the programme, while avoiding a selective default for Greece.
On these conditions, Ministers decided to define by early July the main parameters of a clear new financing strategy.
Ministers call on all political parties in Greece to support the programme's main objectives and key policy measures to ensure a rigorous and expeditious implementation. Given the length, magnitude and nature of required reforms in Greece, national unity is a prerequisite for success."
 Germany backs Eurogroup appeal for consensus in GreeceBERLIN (ANA-MPA - G. Pappas)
The German government on Monday echoed a call by Eurogroup finance ministers for political consensus on a new round of austerity measures in Greece, in order to allow release of a new bailout package. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin was fully aligned with the Eurogroup call to Greece's opposition to support the measures for the new bailout.
"We are doing what the finance ministers did in Luxembourg yesterday and what Chancellor Angela Merkel did recently, we are calling on them in other words to support the Papandreou government in the very responsible and very difficult line it is following for the country," he said.
Seiffert said the German government considered the approval of the new measures by the Greek Parliament a necessary condition for extending further aid to Greece.
German finance ministry spokesman Martin Kreienbaum said the Greek Parliament had to make clear whether the measures would be approved and how they would be implemented.
"The next move must be made by Greece. It must show that it is in a position to approve and carry out these measures on a national level," he said.
He noted that Greece would need money by mid-July, by which time decisions concerning the next tranche of aid to Greece will have been made.
 Alt. FinMin Economou on memorandum, corrective movesAlternate Finance Minister Pantelis Economou on Monday rejected a renegotiation of the EC-ECB-IMF Memorandum, stressing that he disagrees with a relevant proposal by main opposition New Democracy (ND) given that the memorandum is being and will continue to be updated.
Speaking to an Athens private radio station, Economou stressed that "there is no room for renegotiation and that currently a discussion is underway in Europe on a different medium-term fiscal programme with a different content and composition."
As regards the likelihood of corrective moves in the medium-term programme, he said "after it is passed in Parliament we will have ample time to seek measures that will not lay a burden on small income earners and proceed with the cancellation of austere measures imposed on them."
 ND on the EC-ECB-IMF memorandumThe main opposition New Democracy (ND) party agrees with the targets set but disagrees with the ways in which the EC-ECB-IMF Memorandum targets are being sought.
ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Monday underlined that "the reduction of deficit and debt is our basic position," adding that his party agrees with decisive measures, such as, privatizations and utilization of state assets; the drastic cuts in public expenditures; the abolition or merger of public sector organizations and services; the measures against tax and contribution evasion; the freezing of hirings for three years and the implementation of "the one hiring for every five retirements" rule.
Mihelakis clarified that the restart of the economy can be achieved only through the implementation of the "Zappeion 2" proposals unveiled by ND leader Antonis Samaras and called on the government to immediately solve the vital problem of economic liquidity.
Responding to a question on the likelihood of snap elections, he stressed that the ND goal is to form a strong majority government, adding that this is feasible.
 LAOS leader on mid-term programmePopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking to the ANA-MPA on Monday, expressed his categorical refusal to vote for the mid-term programme as well as whatever the present government brings to Parliament.
He criticised the government, terming it "incoherent and anaemic" and adds that it cannot promote the major issues by itself.
Speaking to the ANA-MPA and called on to comment on his party's stance in Parliament, the LAOS leader said: "I shall vote against whatever this incoherent and anaemic government of Mr. (Prime Minister George) Papandreou brings. I believe that Mr. Papandreou cannot promote the major issues by himself, consequently I shall vote against anything he brings."
According to close associates of his, Karatzaferis insists on the need for the creation of an all-party government and believes that a single party cannot succeed under the present circumstances.
 FM attends EU Foreign Affairs CouncilLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis, speaking during the discussion on political developments in Albania, held on Monday in the framework of the European Union's Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg, proposed the holding in Tirana of a series of high political level visits to enable the suitable messages to be channeled effectively to Albania's political leadership, in the shadow of the political deadlock being shaped in this country.
The Greek Foreign minister intervened in the discussion and made his proposal with the criterion, as he said, of Greece's sincere interest in the progress of Albania's European course and its gradual adjustment to the European acquis communautaire.
He stressed that Greece is closely watching events in Albania and shared the concern on the trend taken by political developments following the municipal elections on June 5.
 PM to unveil referendum committee next weekPrime Minister George Papandreou will next week unveil the members of a committee that will prepare proposals for major political reform in Greece, to be decided through a national referendum in the autumn, government spokesman Elias Mossialos said on Monday.
During his first regular press briefing, Mossialos underlined that the members of this committee would not originate from just one party but from a broad political spectrum.
The spokesman said that the initiative announced by the prime minister in Parliament was vital for the modernisation of the political system and will launch a discussion on constitutional changes in an organised way since it was also a demand of civil society.
Noting that Parliament would not be sidelined and that everything would be passed by Parliament's Institutions and Transparency Committee, Mossialos said the aim was to tackle the basic causes and problems that gave rise to the deficit and allowed the debt to grow.
 KKE on proposal on referendum in autumnThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) responded negatively to the statement by the government spokesman in Parliament on the holding of a referendum aimed at changes in the constitution.
A relevant announcement by KKE said "the new government spokesman began with old extortions and new traps," adding that "in whatever way that the government presents the referendum trap which it is preparing, the people must not be deceived. The reply must be organising joint rallying with the KKE and elections for the antipopular policy to be repelled and reversed."
 Minister of State and gov't spokesman addresses parliamentNewly appointed Minister of State and government spokesman Elias Mossialos on Monday addressed the national parliament for the first time in his capacity as member of the new government.
Mossialos underlined that "the government is in continuous negotiation over the EC-ECB-IMF Memorandum as proved in the EU summit meeting last March when we won the extension of the bailout loan repayment period that will give the country a breather of many billions of euros by 2015, while an additional 6 billion euro will come from the reductions of the interest rates."
He accused main opposition New Democracy (ND) of focusing on creating impressions when it speaks about renegotiation of the memorandum considering that "continuous negotiations are underway as shown by last night's Eurogroup report in which a reference is made on the ongoing negotiations."
The government spokesman pointed out that the people want the government policy to materialize with determination and proceed with major structural reforms. He also repeated the prime minister's announcement as regards the opening of a public debate next fall on constitutional reform and the political system.
 Gov't spokesman criticises Samaras demand for early electionsGovernment spokesman Elias Mossialos on Monday strongly criticised a demand by main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras for snap elections.
"It is provocative when someone asks for elections when there is so much at stake for Europe and Greece. It is an irresponsible attitude showing that there is no awareness of the country's problems," he said.
He also criticised Samaras's speech in Parliament on Sunday as "an introspective position using trade unionist arguments, which do not go beyond the narrow limits of ND." Mossialos said that the main opposition leader's speech was aimed at "internal consumption" and not an effort to reach agreement on the major issues for the country.
The spokesman dismissed ND claims that Samaras had been the victim of a 'defamation campaign' abroad, calling these conspiracy theories, while insisting that Samaras appeared unaware of the true dimensions of the problem and was continuing to act like a 'local leader'.
Concerning the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy, the spokesman stressed that the government would push for improvements and adjustments within the framework of the long-term goals that had been set, adding that it was the obligation of MPs to support the government and seek solutions in this framework.
 Appreciation for Obama supportGreek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday expressed his deepest appreciation for US President Barack Obama's intervention, made recently in support of Greece.
Receiving an American Hellenic Institute (AHI) delegation and Greek-American students at the presidential mansion in Athens earlier on Monday, Papoulias thanked President Obama for his voiced interest "in this difficult period for Greece and for speaking with European leaders, Chancellor (Angela) Merkel and President (Nicolas) Sarkozy in particular. This is very important. We will not forget it. I thank him personally and I hope that we'll have the opportunity to meet and talk about our common interests and dreams. Together with the United States we have always fought for the same principles, namely, freedom, independence and human rights."
Addressing the young students visiting Greece and Cyprus through an AHI initiative, Papoulias expressed optimism that Greece will exit the crisis.
"We are a very resilient people. We have strong genes. We have made it in the past in much more difficult times than these and managed to pull through. And we'll do the same now. I am optimistic because the Greek people have infinite abilities and potential. You know about this first hand by watching your parents," he said.
 Figures from recent law enforcement crackdownThe first results of actions decided by the government cabinet on May 16 to upgrade Athens inner city districts were made public on Monday by the office of government vice-president Theodoros Pangalos.
Within the past month, a total of 1,231 police officers checked 4,924 individuals, 699 private cars and 135 stores, while 2,421 people were taken to police stations for questioning and 250 of them were arrested.
In the first four months of 2011, a total of 20,002 individuals were arrested trying to enter Greece illegally recording a considerable decline as a result of intensified border checks and a number of diplomatic moves.
A total of 17,340 foreign nationals were deported in 2010, while in the first four months of 2011 their number reached 2,530. The voluntary repatriation programme was utilized by 824 foreign nationals in 2010, while 203 made use of it in the first four months of 2011.
In addition, joint crews made up of Greek Police (EL.AS) and municipal police officers in the presence of prosecutors conducted regular operations aimed at combating the so-call "underground market" and other forms of crime.
A "night shelter" project is close to materialize following the signing of a memorandum by the ministries of labour and social insurance and the Church of Greece.
A tolerance status is implemented for illegal migrants that cannot be deported to ensure that law and order are observed.
An immigration map is in the process of being drawn up to outline the immigrant population qualitative and quantitative characteristics taking under consideration and the recent population census.
The number of labour stamps necessary to have a residence permit issued has been reduced from 200 to 120 to preserve the legal status of those who live and work legally in the country, while a draft law is being prepared incorporating directive 2009/52/EC providing for sanctions on employers who hire illegal migrants.
Since the beginning of the year, a total of 113 houses in downtown Athens occupied by illegal migrants were checked for tax violations by their owners.
Meanwhile, in the same period, financial crimes squad (SDOE) in cooperation with the Greek Police (EL.AS) and municipal police raided 41 warehouses in downtown Athens and confiscated over 4 million counterfeit brand name items. The street value of the items seized in 20 of the warehouses raided is estimated to over 110 million euros.
Economic incentives have been offered for the regeneration of inner city districts (Gerani, Keramikos, Metaxourgio).
 Tsipras holds talks with Dutch Socialist Party delegationCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday discussed developments in Greece and Europe with a delegation from the Dutch Socialist Party led by the party's secretary-general Hans van Heijningen.
In a statement, Tsipras underlined that the crisis was European and that more and more people were coming to realise, especially in the European left, that the problem could not be solved by more loans that went to shore up banks and pay interest for previous loans.
 Death of KKE deputy from Thessaloniki, minute of silence observed in parliamentCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) MP from Thessaloniki's B' electoral district Angelos Tzekis died suddenly on Sunday night at the age of 60.
In an announcement by the KKE central committee, the party expresses its deep grief at the unexpected death of Tzekis, and extends its most heartfelt condolences to the deceased's family.
Tzekis was elected an MP for the first time in 2000 on the KKE ticket in Thessaloniki B' district.
The Greek parliament observed a minute of silence on Monday morning in tribute to Tzekis, whose death was announced to the House by parliament's 2nd vice president Rodoula Zissi, who said that parliament and the Greek society was poorer as of today.
"We lost an eminent Communist, a fighter for the working class' interests," KKE parliamentary spokesman Spyros Halvatzis said.
Labor minister George Koutroumanis said that Tzekis was a consistent fighter and exceptional person.
Ruling PASOK MP Dimitris Papoutsis expressed the party parliamentary committee's deep grief, saying that "we came to know him from his action...he contributed to the popular struggles in a very worthy way".
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) parliamentary group secretary Costas Tassoulas said the party was crushed by Tzekis' sudden death.
Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) parliamentary spokesman Adonis Georgiadis said Tzekis had been a "tough ideological rival".
Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) parliamentary spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis said that "the entire parliament's grief is mirrored in a stark truth...Angelos Tzekis' sudden death is a big loss for the Greek parliament and Greek society".
 Parliament on Babis Protopapas' deathParliament President Filippos Petsalnikos on Monday extended his condolences and the parliament's to the family of Babis Protopapas, former chairman of the Party of Democratic Socialism (KODISO) and a former parliament deputy and government minister, who died last Friday at the age of 91.
The deceased was "a democrat who contributed to the progress of political thought and strongly defended democratic institutions in our country," Petsalnikos underlined.
 New Greek Ombudsman appointedThe interior, decentralisation and e-governance ministry on Monday announced the appointment of Calliope Spanou to replace George Kaminis as the new Greek Ombudsman, based on a decision of the conference of Parliament presidents.
Spanou was previously the deputy ombudsman at the authority and took over when Kaminis gave up his post to run for Athens Mayor. She will continue to head the independent authority until the end of Kaminis' term on February 20, 2012.
 Health ministry announces welfare spending overhaulHealth Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday announced that the ministry expects to pay up to 48 million euro less for welfare benefits in 2011, relative to previous years.
Loverdos announced that the new deputy minister Markos Bolaris will be exclusively in charge of welfare, and all welfare payments made by various ministries will be collected together and handled by the health ministry.
Based on the initial figures that have been gathered, the sums paid out will be significantly reduced because several people were still receiving welfare benefits to which they were not entitled.
Health ministry officials said that there would be a rationalisation and re-examination of benefits, if necessary, and the ministry will also look into the possibility that some people were receiving benefits without having submitted or renewed the necessary supporting documentation.
 Gov't announces administrative mergers of hospitalsHealth Minister Andreas Loverdos on Monday announced plans for the administrative merger of dozens of state-run and public hospitals around the country.
In a meeting with hospital administrators, he underlined that 83 managers will run the 131 hospitals currently in operation nationwide and that 300 of the 1,900 hospital clinics will be merged. Loverdos underlined that 950 hospital clinics were in operation 15 years ago, and in the meantime, their number has more than doubled.
"We are tearing down the 'small shops' created ? and that's fine! We are doing this so that we will not be forced to shutdown any hospitals," he said, an indirect barb at physicians who used the hospital clinics for years as a private practice.
Addressing the administrators, he called on them to move within approved budgets and stressed that money will be saved without having to close hospitals or resort to layoffs. He expressed optimism that health sector expenditure cuts in 2011 will easily meet the target of 1.35 billion euros.
Loverdos stressed that according to available figures, a 10-pct increase is being recorded since the beginning of the year in the number of patients treated in public hospitals and therefore, hospitals should become more effective in terms of services offered to the citizens.
 Deputy tourism minister announces drive to extend tourist seasonDeputy Culture and Tourism Minister George Nikitiadis on Monday said the ministry intends to soon launch a drive to extend the tourism season. Speaking on the island of Rhodes, the minister stressed that conditions for this were now ripe.
He said the government would seek to work together with tourism enterprises, regional authorities, travel agencies, airline companies and others in the tourism sectors and examine ways that Greece's tourist season might be extended to the period between November 1 and March 30.
The minister said that a condition for starting such an effort was to create three-year pilot programmes based in various regions of the country, with enough tourism enterprises participating to ensure the operation of a tourism market that would provide tourists with a full service for each region.
Participants in the pilot programme might be given incentives such as lower water rates from local municipalities, lower airport taxes or subsidised labour costs, he said.
 New GNTO facility in AmsterdamA series of special events were held the past few days at the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) offices in Amsterdam aiming to promote Greek tourism on the Dutch market.
A new permanent exhibition and events facility will also open in Amsterdam in September, aimed to enable Greek enterprises to make thematic presentations to facilitate major cultural organisations to access the Dutch market in order to boost visitors to Greece.
The new facility is located near famed Leidseplein Square in central Amsterdam.
GNTO general secretary Giorgos Koletsos and new GNTO director for The Netherlands Eleni Skarveli attended the events.
 GSEE to hold protest at EU officesThe General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) will carry out a protest at the European Union's offices in Athens on Tuesday morning, in the framework of the European mobilisation of trade unions. The mobilisations will heighten with a European demonstration in Luxembourg against the "austerity policy" and with the slogan "Social Europe with fair salaries-investments and employment for all."
GSEE has declared a 48-hour general strike on the days that the mid-term programme will be discussed and ratified in Parliament.
 General government deficit at 9.967 billion euro in Jan-April 2011The Greek general government deficit totaled 9.967 billion euro over the four months from January to April 2011, up from 7.328 billion euro in January-March 2011, the finance ministry announced on Monday.
During that period, outstanding debt by general government agencies came to 6.101 billion euro, of which 2.542 billion euro were social insurance fund debts, 1.721 billion euro were hospital debts, 892 million euro were ministry debts and the remaining 738 million euro were local government debt.
According to ministry figures, the state budget's deficit in January-April 2011 came to 10.602 billion euro, while social insurance funds and hospitals amassed deficits of 512.5 million euro.
Public sector legal entities had a budget surplus of 230 million euro and local authority agencies had a surplus of 917 million euro.
The figures also showed high rates of compliance among public-sector agencies during April in terms of sending financial reports to the General Accounting Office of State. All local authorities sent financial reports, as did 99.71 percent of hospitals and social insurance funds, 97.74 percent of public-sector agencies and 91.30 percent of public-sector enterprises.
 Only 18.47 pct of 2011 tax returns show net tax liabilityAfter the latest batch of 574,455 notifications was sent to tax payers on Monday, the number of tax returns in 2011 showing a net liability for more taxes is only 18.47 pct of the total.
Of the 2,221,078 tax notifications mailed to tax-payers so far, 39.74 percent inform them of a tax refund, 41.95 percent show a zero debt and only 18.47 percent asked them to pay additional taxes.
The number of those eligible for a refund is significantly increased relative to previous years, chiefly as a result of a measure that uses sales receipts for goods and services to build up one's tax allowance.
 Industrial turnover up 10.2pct in AprilIndustrial turnover in Greece rose by 10.2 percent in April over the same month in 2010, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that the Turnover Index in Industry (both domestic and non-domestic market) in April 2011 compared with April 2010 recorded a rise of 10.2%. In April 2010, the annual rate of change of the Turnover Index in Industry was 1.6%.
The average Turnover Index in Industry for the 12-month period from May 2010 to April 2011, as compared to the 12-month period from May 2009 to April 2010, increased by 7.3%. In April 2009, the corresponding average rate of change of the Turnover Index in Industry was -14.7%.
 Industrial new orders up 2.2pct in AprilGreece's industrial new orders rose by 2.2 percent in April, compared with the corresponding month last year, according to figures released by the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that the New Orders Index in Industry (both domestic and non-domestic market) in April 2011 compared with April 2010 recorded a rise of 2.2%. In April 2010, the annual rate of change of the New Orders in Industry was 4.3%.
The average New Orders Index in Industry for the 12-month period from May 2010 to April 2011, compared with the 12-month period from May 2009 to April 2010, increased by 4.6%. In April 2009, the corresponding average rate of change of the New Orders Index in Industry was -17.9%.
 Family basket of average Greek household costs 3.3 pct moreThe family basket of an average Greek household amounted to 2312.26 euros in May 2011 compared to May 2010, when it cost 2238.62 euros. According to a report by the Greek Consumers Centre (ELKEKA), the data reveal an increase of 73.64 euros, meaning 3.3 percent.
According to the report, the biggest increase appeared in housing with 9 percent, followed by transport with 6 pc, foodstuffs and non-alcoholic drinks with 3.5, alcoholic drinks and tobacco 3.3, clothing and footwear 3, communications 2.3, hotels, cafes and restaurants 1.1, durable goods, household items and services 1, while health shows a decrease of 1 percent.
 Merchant fleet down 2.7pct in AprilThe Greek merchant marine fleet fell by 2.7 pct in April this year, compared with the same month in 2010, after an increase of 1.1 pct recorded in April 2010, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, said the country's merchant marine fleet totaled 2,066 ships with a capacity of 43,032,593 dwt, up 1.6 pct compared with the same month in 2010 and against a 4.7 percent rise in the same comparison for 2010 against 2009.
 Measure foresees annual visit by pensioners to bank to prove they're aliveSocial Insurance Fund (IKA-ETAM) pensioners will have to appear once a year at the bank through which they are paid their monthly pension in order to verify that they are not deceased, an urgent measure taken in light of numerous instances of benefits being paid to people not living.
The measure was announced by IKA on Monday.
Between July 1 and Sept. 30, pensioners must appear at the banks servicing them, carrying their police ID card and pension booklet.
Following a crosscheck in 38 IKA-ETAM branches that focused on 1,660 pensioners, it was established that in 244 cases pensions continued to be paid long after their legitimate recipients' death.
 Turkish delegation at Iraklio ChamberThe widening of cooperation between the business community of Iraklio, on the island of Crete, and the region of Moudania was discussed during a visit to the Iraklio Chamber of Commerce by a delegation from Moudania in Turkey. The chamber was visited by the city's mayor Hasan Akturk, deputy mayor Dr Kartal Saldiris, as well as the president of the region's Chamber Emir Ali Usta and the vice president Esat Demicran, who met with the president of the Iraklio Chamber N. Dolapsakis.
The Turkish delegation proposed the twinning of the two chambers, with the aim of strengthening trade relations between the two regions.
The Turkish visitors said that Moudania constitutes an important suburb of Bursa, that is Turkey's second city for exports, after Istanbul, and the country's fourth city in population.
 Stocks lower on MondayStocks plummeted on Monday at the Athens Stock Exchange, reversing Friday's bullish gains, with the composite index of the market decreasing 3.80 pct to end at 1,254.02 points. Turnover was a low 56.49 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 2.52 pct, the Mid Cap index rose 2.58 pct and the Small Cap index ended 0.35 pct higher.
Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 54 to 81 with another 44 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -1.17%
Personal & Household: -2.27%
Raw Materials: -4.01%
Travel & Leisure: +0.75%
Food & Beverages: +0.35%
Financial Services: -4.91%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, EFG Eurobank Ergasias, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.16
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.30
HBC Coca Cola: 17.70
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.33
National Bank of Greece: 4.57
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.01
Bank of Piraeus: 1.00
 Bonds traded at roughly half nominal value in MayPrices for Greek government bonds fell on the electronic secondary securities market (HDAT) in May, while yields rose - by up to 24.61 percent for the 3-year benchmark bonds - according to figures released by the Bank of Greece on Monday. The only exception were the 5- and 7-year benchmark bonds that recorded significant gains.
In the rest of the so-called "peripheral" euro area government securities markets, prices exhibited a similar trend while, on the contrary, prices increased in countries with the highest sovereign credit rating.
In particular, with regard to Greek government benchmark bond prices, the 3-year bond price fell to 60.79 pct of the nominal value at the end of May from 61.29 at the end of April, the 10-year bond price declined to 54.59 from 55.94 and the 30-year bond price to 44.23 from 50.16, respectively. In contrast, the 5-year bond price rose to 61.68 at the end of May from 59.68 at the end of April and the 7-year bond price rose to 58.00 from 56.04 respectively.
As for Greek government bond yields, the 3-year benchmark bond yield increased by 94 basis points (bps) to 24.61% at the end of May, the 10-year benchmark bond yield rose by 52 bps to 16.11% and the 30-year benchmark bond yield by 124 bps to 11.06%. On the contrary, the 5- and the 7-year benchmark bond yields declined respectively by 73 bps, to 20.40%, and by 69 bps, to 18.04%. As a result, the yield curve remained inverted and flattened slightly, with the difference between the 30- and the 3-year bond yields reaching the level of -1,354 bps at the end of May from -1,384 bps at the end of April.
The average monthly spread between the Greek and the German 10-year bond yields was 1,281 bps in May, compared with 1,049 bps in April.
Trading volume on HDAT in May declined to EUR 695 million compared with EUR 1.40 billion in the previous month and EUR 1.39 billion in May 2010. The daily average turnover was EUR 31.6 million compared with EUR 73.9 million during the previous month. Investors' interest was mainly focused on bonds with maturities under 5 years, which attracted EUR 514 million worth of transactions, or 74% of the overall trading volume. Out of the 639 orders executed on HDAT, 62.4% were "sell" orders and 37.6% "buy" orders.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 14.17 pct on Monday, from 13.93 pct on Friday, in the domestic electronic secondary bond market. The Greek bond yielded 17.12 pct and the German Bund 2.95 pct. Turnover in the market increased to 24.0 million euros, of which 3.0 million were buy orders and the remaining 21.0 million euros were sell orders. The five-year (20/08/11) benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 16.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly higher. The 12-month rate was 2.14 pct, the six-month rate 1.76 pct, the three-month rate was 1.51 pct and the one-month rate 1.31 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.24 pct on its debut in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 33.522 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 9,830 contracts, worth 27.319 million euros, with 27,963 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,392 contracts worth 6.203 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (7,570), followed by Piraeus Bank (3,645), Eurobank (1,663), Alpha Bank (1,359), ATEbank (501), Hellenic Postbank (464) and Bank of Cyprus (386).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.444
Pound sterling 0.892
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 9.308
Japanese yen 115.95
Swiss franc 1.222
Norwegian kroner 8.045
Canadian dollar 1.421
Australian dollar 1.373
 Athens Fringe Festival opensAthens Fringe Festival 2011, the Greek capital's annual international arts festival, opened on Monday at the municipality's Technopolis events center and other locations around the city, with the 2011 theme being "Smile in the mind".
The third annual Festival, which runs through June 26, is organised by the Synthesis Media Company in collaboration with the renowned Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the biggest off-Festival on the planet.
Adopting the successful Fringe format, the Festival aims to present the work of young, upcoming Greek and European artists representing all art forms.
Athens Fringe Festival is an open-to-all celebration of the arts, a true off-Athens Festival.
The organisers invite artists, visitors and volunteers alike to think about what makes them happy and be inspired by that.
All forms of art have a place in the Athens Fringe Festival, from music, dance and theater to literature, crafts, video art and installations.
Fringe is much more than a festival, it is a social network, but unlike the Internet social networks, it is not virtual but living, with live actions and interventions in the everday life of the city.
A novelty this year will be a double-decker bus that will take artists around the cities of Athens for "lightning" performances, bringing the Festival to the public itself.
 Special Olympics athletes hosted in RethymnoSpecial Olympics 2011 athletes and their escorts will be formally received in Rethymno, Crete, in an event scheduled to take place at Sohora Stadium on Monday evening.
Rethymno is participating in the "Host Town Programme" (Polis Amphitrion) and will host the Special Olympics 2011 athletes from June 20 until June 23. The athletes and their escorts will have the opportunity to use the local sports facilities for training and, at the same time, experience Cretan culture.
 Armed robbery in university campusFour gunmen set up an ambush on Monday on a money delivery van in the premises of Athens University campus in Zografou. The money was destined to supply a bank ATM.
When the security employees of a private security company got out of the van, four unidentified individuals threatened them with guns and injured one of the employees on the head with a gun grip, grabbed the cash and fled.
According to early information the robbers took 100,000 euros.
Another incident occurred early Monday at a butcher's shop in the Rendis meat market district of Piraeus. Four unidentified individuals with machine guns broke into the shop and took approximately 100,000 euros cash and escaped in a waiting without license plates that was driven by an accomplice.
Police have launched a manhunt in both instances.
 Guard suspended after eight escape from juvenile prisonA guard at the Kassavetia Juvenile Prison was suspended from duty on Monday, by order of new Justice Minister Miltiadis Papaioannou, after eight juvenile inmates escape on Sunday afternoon.
Police successfully tracked down four of the escaped prisoners and are still looking for the other four.
Five of the escaped inmates were serving sentences ranging from six months to three years and the other three were remand prisoners. Based on the guard's testimony, the eight managed to slip past him while he was watching television.
 Unidentified man shot dead in Kaminia, PiraeusAn unidentified man was shot dead at 4:07 p.m. on Falirou Road in the Piraeus district of Kaminia on Monday afternoon. Initial witness reports said the culprits were two men riding on a motorbike.
 Earth tremor 25 km southwest of EgioA slight earth tremor measuring 4.1 points on the Richter scale occurred at 9:20 on Monday night, with its epicentre located 25 kilometres southwest of the city of Egio in the Peloponnese. No damage was reported.
 Fair on TuesdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 14C and 34C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 19C to 32C. Slightly cloudy in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 20C to 30C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe eurogroup meeting and decision on the 5th tranche, the new tax policy and government vice president Theodoros Pangalos' proposal for abolition of tenure in the public sector, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "All-front attack against prime minister George Papandreou".
AVRIANI: "Newly appointed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos the last trump card for the country's salvation".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Layoffs and abolition of tenure in public sector".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Money only if the measures (Medium-Term fiscal program) are ratified".
ESTIA: "The way out from the crisis".
ETHNOS: "Abolition of tenure in public sector on the table".
IMERISSIA: "Kiss of life with three 'yeses'."
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Finance Minister 'rewriting' the new tax measures".
TA NEA: "Secret weapon ....the Indignants' movement".
VRADYNI: "Pensions in express procedures".
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