|Friday, 19 January 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-06-22
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 22 June 2011 Issue No: 3818
 PASOK government receives vote of confidenceThe government of Prime Minister George Papandreou received, in the early hors of Wednesday, a vote of confidence, at the end of a three-day debate that began last Sunday. 155 ruling PASOK deputies voted for, while 143 deputies of the opposition parties voted against. 298 deputies out the 300-member House took part in the vote.
Papandreou announced last Wednesday his intention to ask for a vote of confidence in Parliament. Last Friday he proceeded with a reshuffle of his government.
 PM reiterats call for political consensusPrime Minister George Papandreou reiterated his call for national consensus for the country's exit from the present economic crisis.
Addressing Parliament on Tuesday night at the end of a three-day debate on the vote of confidence for the government, Papandreou said his was asking for a vote of confidence to his government in order to "continue the national struggle for the country's salvation and reconstruction."
He said he was asking a renewal of the vote of confidence "with the clear patriotic target to handle the country's public debt, to avoid the country's default and to guarantee that Greece remains in the European Union's hard core."
The prime minister also insisted on consensus and on a broader alliance of political forces inviting all parties and mainly the main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader to help in the effort for the salvation of the country without taking into consideration any political cost.
"It is a difficult task. But it can give birth to a new Greece... It is a unique opportunity," Papandreou added.
"The government sought and is still seeking broader consensus. I congratulate those forces which had the courage to vote responsible in favour of the memorandum," the premier also noted.
 FinMin addresses Parliamentary vote of confidence debateGovernment vice-president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, addressing Parliament on Tuesday evening during the discussion on the vote of confidence for the government, stressed that the viability of the public debt is the main target.
"If we achieve this the markets will be convinced, the banks will begin to borrow from the markets and the recession will decrease, the country will be stabilised and then it will pass on to growth," Venizelos said.
The minister added that achieving first stage surpluses will be the most important guarantee for the partners and the markets and a guarantee that Greece will become more competitive.
Venizelos set as the government's main concern the "restoration of the moral balance of measures", focusing on the creation of a new radical tax system that "will put an end to tax unfairness of much fewer paying than those who should be paying."
 ND leader demands electionsMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, addressing Parliament on Tuesday evening during the debate on the vote of confidence for the government, called for elections and cetegorically rejected the referendum being promoted by the government.
Samaras clarified that "we shall not become participants in your deadlock, we shall vote against the Mid-term and we shall vote for the clauses from the implementary law that we consider correct, while we shall continue to promote the renegotiation" of the memorandum.
The ND leader further said his party has always supported the decrease of the country's deficit and debt.
"We support also the main tools for achieving these targets. The structural changes, the utilisation of the state's property, privatisations and restricting the public spending. Not only we support these measures but we were the first, before you, to promote them," Samaras said.
The main opposition leader reiterated his refusal to give consensus to a "mistake", adding that he was ready to give his consensus for the correction of the mistake.
He added that there were still margins for renegotiating the meorandum so as to correct the mistake.
Samaras concluded by saying "if you like referendums Mr. (Prime Minister George) Papandreou, then make the best referendum, that is elections."
 KKE leaderCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, addressing Parliament on Tuesday evening during the debate on the vote of confidence for the government, described the latest "ultimatums" by the European Union, the eurozone and Scheuble to Greece as an "extortion with the fifth tranche of the memorandum as the challenge."
Papariga said the Greek people "must send their own ultimatum to the ultimatum given by the EU and the eurozone to the Greek people and telling them the heads in, if you do not show consensus there is no fifth tranche."
 LAOS party leaderPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, addressing Parliament on Tuesday evening during the discussion on a vote of confidence for the government, called for a "government of national action".
"There may have been a difficulty, for us not to have been able to make a national action government, but we must all work in this direction for the country to be saved. Nobody benefits in giving arguments only to (rallies taking place in) the square," he said.
Karatazaferis also said "we must find a way of understanding at all cost, there are good proposals from all the parties and we must proceed in this framework."
 TsiprasRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) parliamentary group president Alexis Tsipras, speaking in Parliament on Tuesday evening during the debate on a vote of confidence for the government, said that "the government with the tolerance of (the main opposition) New Democracy (ND) and LAOS (the Popular Orthodox Rally party) is sacrificing public property even the very party that constituted the trunk of the democratic sector so as to go ahead with this mixture of policy which is ruining the country."
Tsipras also denounced the Mid-term programme and said the climate in the country's political life resembles the political climate in 1965.
 Papandreou meets with EC chief in BrusselsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Special contributor I. Karanasopoulou)
Greek prime minister George Papandreou held talks with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels late Monday, which lasted past midnight, covering all the parameters of the crisis in the Greek economy and chiefly the country's debt.
After the more than 90 minute meeting, Barroso accompanied Papandreou outside where the Greek premier made a statement to the press, although the Commission chief had been initially scheduled to only issue a written statement.
Papandreou, in a brief statement, said that Greece and Europe were going through critical moments, and noted the "tough negotiations" taking place among the EU 27 as well as the 17 eurozone members, but also "beyond Europe".
In Greece "we are working for the broadest possible consensus", Papandreou said, adding his government's determination "to forge ahead, and with the EU's assistance, of course".
In a written statement, Barroso praised the efforts of Papandreou and the Greek government over the past year to deal with the "very serious fiscal situation in Greece", the results of which, "in terms of consolidating public finances and implementing key structural reforms" , adding that much hard work remained.
"This evening I had a useful meeting with the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
I would like to recognise the tremendous efforts made by the prime minister and his government over the past year - in the most challenging of circumstances - to address the very serious budgetary situation in Greece. The results, in terms of fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing reforms, have already been substantial.
As we all know, there remains much work to do.
I am well aware of the hardships many people in Greece are experiencing today as the country takes these difficult but long overdue decisions. As I have said before: if there were an easier route out of the crisis, we would have taken it. But there is not. The only way for Greece to return to growth and create jobs in a sustainable way is to restore competitiveness and put its public finances on a solid footing. That is the route Greece has embarked upon, with the European Union's full support and solidarity.
I trust that the new Greek government will receive the confidence of parliament tomorrow. But the crucial vote will be at the end of June with the decision on the ambitious package of further fiscal measures and privatisations put forward by Prime Minister Papandreou's government and agreed with the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Approval of this package is a necessary condition for the Eurogroup to be able to agree early in July on the disbursement of the next tranche of financial support to Greece. I therefore trust that Greece's elected representatives will back these measures next week in a spirit of national and indeed European responsibility.
These choices are not easy, but nor are the problems that need to be addressed. Now is not the time to falter. Now is the time to redouble efforts: for the sake of the Greek people, and for all of Europe."
The talks between Papandreou and Barroso also focused on European issues ahead of the December EU summit, the Cyprus issue, the European prospect of the western Balkan countries and Frontex's presence in Greece.
 Barroso calls for plan to boost competitiveness, jobs in GreeceBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA - M. Spinthourakis)
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday announced that he intends to propose a European Union plan to help Greece boost competitiveness and create jobs, giving it access to developmental funds of roughly one billion euro. He said that the plan could be financed by EU structural funds but also any member-states that want to contribute.
Barroso underlined that fiscal austerity programmes for reforming public finances had to run in parallel to action designed to boost the country's flailing economy.
The European Commission president said aspects of such a programme had been discussed during his meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou the previous day and that he would raise the issue at the upcoming EU summit.
Clarifying that the money to Greece would come with tighter supervision and technical assistance, he said the aim would be to "concentrate funds on where it matters most", frontloading some projects and allowing accelerated payouts of money available to Greece from structural funds. He also spoke about having better coordinated cohesion policies and ways to help Greece tap into the funds available. The Commission's goal would be to return Greece to growth in 2013, Barroso said.
"If Greece takes action, we have plans in order to help it," he stressed, adding that it was "up to Greeks to say if they want to be saved". Referring to his meeting with Papandreou, he said the Greek prime minister had left him in no doubt about his determination to make the necessary changes. He also noted that the ability of Greek public administration to act had to be enhanced.
Barroso noted that in the case that Greece failed, the repercussions for Europe and the rest of the world would be grave. This danger, combined with the need to show European solidarity, had to convince European public opinion about the need to further assist Greece, he added.
On the issue of political consensus in Greece, Barroso denied that this had ever been a condition for continuing support to Greece from the EU and IMF. He noted, however, that achieving consensus would be an extremely important element in the success of the programme to reorganise the Greek economy.
"Greece is currently at a crucial turning point and for this reason, exceptional courage is needed," the EU Commission president stressed, repeating his appeal to political parties in Greece to strive for consensus that would give the austerity programme greater credibility.
"It is a mistake to give the impression that there could be an alternative plan to the existing agreements between the Greek government and the troika," Barroso underlined, stressing that the EU and IMF were not prepared to finance any other economic policy apart from that already on the table. Barroso underlined that reforming public finances was the only option for improving the competitiveness of the Greek economy.
He said a vote of confidence in the government, due to be held in the Greek Parliament after midnight, was "crucial" but that the moment of truth would come next week, when the Greek Parliament voted on the Medium-Term programme.
Regarding the success of Greece's fiscal adjustment effort, Barroso said that this had started strongly but was then followed by "reform fatigue" so that there was a notable reduction in the deficit but less impressive progress in the area of structural changes and privatisations.
 Samaras briefed by FinMin on eurogroup meetingMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras was briefed by finance minister Evangelos Venizelos on the recent Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg, during a telephone contact on Tuesday morning, the finance ministry said in an announcement, confirming earlier reports by sources.
Venizelos, in reply to press questions, said the two men discussed the government's Medium-Term fiscal programme, due to be voted in on parliament on June 28, and on the programme's application law.
He also said that Samaras told him Venizelos that he understands the need to abide by the timetable agreed in the Eurogroup regarding the ratification of the two laws (Medium-Term programme and application law) by the end of June, regardless of the position ND will take on the substance of the measures.
To another question on whether the reference to national unity contained in the Eurogroup announcement after the Luxembourg meeting meant that the a condition for progress in the procedures was the opposition's positive vote for ratification of the Medium-Term Programme and its application law, Venizelos replied that this has not been placed as a condition, although it would be desirable for the government.
The reference to national unity is a reference to the need for a climate and atmosphere of unity and responsibility, the finance minister added.
Venizelos, who attended a Eurogroup meeting on Sunday for the first time since taking over the key finance ministry, also briefed Samaras on his sideline contacts and talks in Luxembourg.
 Finance minister briefs LAOS leaderFinance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday called the leader of the opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party George Karatzaferis on the telephone and briefed him on the decisions taken at the latest Eurogroup council held in Luxembourg on Sunday.
According to sources, Venizelos stressed that Parliament must approve the Medium Term Fiscal Strategy and a law executing this by June 30 at the latest. Karatzaferis agreed with this position, noting that it was necessary for the release of the 5th tranche of EU-IMF bailout loans to Greece.
 Gov't, main opposition on mid-term fiscal programmeThe new government spokesman on Tuesday underlined, during a regular press briefing, that "the meetings Prime Minister George Papandreou has with the European leaders are useful. Crucial issues will not be settled by staying in Athens".
"It is important that the contacts will have results," government spokesman Elias Mossialos said, adding that European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman van Rompuy appreciate the efforts made by the Greek premier.
Commenting on a telephone communication between newly appointed Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, the government spokesman referred to announcements the finance minister is expected to make on the way the law that will execute the programme will be voted on in Parliament.
As per the all-important medium-term fiscal strategic programme, Mossialos stressed that it will be voted by all 155 PASOK MPs, while he made it clear that it will not be passed with fewer votes, even if all opposition parties decide to walk out.
On his part, a spokesman for main opposition New Democracy (ND) party confirmed the telephone communication between Samaras and Venizelos.
According to ND spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis, the finance minister told Samaras that a positive vote by the opposition of the mid-term programme and the law that will execute it has not been set as a precondition, while Samaras pointed out that ND has no objections to the timetable agreed to at the Eurogroup, namely, a vote by June 30.
Mihelakis clarified that ND's stance vis-?-vis the medium-term fiscal programme vote will be negative.
Commenting on the extension of the bailout loan repayment period and a possible interest rate reduction, he stressed that there has been no negotiation on behalf of the government.
Moreover, Mihelakis lashed out at the new government spokesman, stressing that insults have replaced political arguments.
Commenting on the Bavarian state premier's statements as regards the stance of ND, Mihelakis stressed that a disinformation campaign on ND's positions has originated from Athens, adding that "it is misinformation that ND invites the people to take to the streets and that it does not want privatizations".
Asked about a Public Power Corp. (PPC) strike by the affiliated union, Mihelakis said "they should put the consumers first" and accused the government of pitting one social group against the other. He also blamed the government for continuing to protect the privileges of certain public utilities' employees.
Finally, Mihelakis expressed satisfaction over results in the elections for the new board of directors at the medical associations of Athens and Piraeus, where the ND-affiliated candidates won the majority.
 Council of State plenum on memorandumThe Council of State plenum has decided that the memorandum is not contrary to constitutional mandates, the European Human Rights Accord and international agreements.
The 55 councillors of state stressed that cutbacks in salaries, pensions etc made with the memorandum are compatible with the constitution the European Human Rights Accord and international agreements under specific conjunctures prevailing in Greece and in light of the need to avoid bankruptcy. In the event that there is a new memorandum that will impose new salary cutbacks etc, then the Council of State will judge again with the conditions and conjunctures that will be prevailing at that time.
Following five marathon sessions in camera the councillors of state, with a big majority that almost reached unanimity deemed that the memorandum was not necessary to be voted with the 3/5 majority, since it does not constitute an international agreement. In other words, according to the judges, the memorandum does not constitute an international agreement, according to article 28 of the constitution, for it to be necessary to be ratified by Parliament with an increased majority of 180 deputies.
 Makrypidis resigns from rapporteur in Mid-Term Programme discussionRuling PASOK party deputy Andreas Makrypidis resigned on Tuesday from the post of rapporteur of the government majority in the discussion on the Mid-Term Programme, invoking "personal reasons."
 Two polls show ND party leading PASOKTwo new polls publicised on Tuesday show the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leading in vote preferences.
The GPO poll for Mega Channel showed ND leading the ruling PASOK party by 0.9 percent, garnering 21 percent of preferences compared to 20.1 percent for PASOK. The poll by Real fm, presented by the Alter channel, showed ND leading PASOK by 1.7 percent, receiving 21.3 percent of the vote as against 19.6 percent for PASOK.
Mega's poll shows the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) receiving 9.2 percent, the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) 6.5 pct, the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) 4 pct, the Ecologists-Greens 2.1 pct, the Democratic Alliance 2 pct and the Democratic Left 3 pct.
The second poll shows the following percentages for the rest of the parties: KKE 7.6 percent, LAOS 5.1 pct, SYRIZA 3.1 pct, Democratic Alliance 2.4 pct, Democratic Left 2.3 pct and Ecologists-Greens 2.3 pct.
 President receives OSCE Parliamentary Assembly chiefPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday received Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly president Petros Efthymiou.
The talks focused on Papoulias' recent state visit to Azerbaijan, while the President of the Republic stressed the positive impact that the construction of the Interconnection Turkey-Greece-Italy (ITGI) natural gas pipeline will have on Greece.
 New MP sworn-in for vacated KKE seatThessaloniki-area politician Theodoros Ignatiadis was sworn-in on Tuesday as the replacement of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) deputy Angelos Tzekis, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Sunday.
Ignatiadis will represent the 2nd Thessaloniki constituency.
 ALDE Group adopts Bakoyannis proposalBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe - the ALDE Group - has adopted a proposal presented here by former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, in her capacity as the leader of the newly founded Democratic Alliance party.
The proposal aims to lead Greece out of the economic crisis.
Speaking in Brussels, Bakoyannis said that her approach is different from the one followed by the government, stressing that, in general, her proposal rejects the rationale that focuses on public sector spending cuts and tax increases.
 T-bills auction raises 1.625 bln eurosGreece on Tuesday raised 1.625 billion euros from the market in an auction of a 3-month Treasury bills issue.
The Public Debt Management Organisation, in an announcement, said the interest on the three-month issue rose to 4.62 pct from 4.06 pct in the previous auction of same T-bills.
Bids submitted totalled 3.675 billion euros, or 2.94 times more than the asked sum.
The auction was held through the market's primary dealers with settlement date set for September 23.
The organization covered the asked sum of 1.250 billion euros and accepted non-competitive bids totalling 375 million euros.
 Minister addresses FT con'f on health careThe urgency of the implementation of measures leading to the reorganisation of the National Health System in Greece was underlined by most of the speakers who addressed a Financial Times conference held in Athens on Tuesday.
Speaking in the conference entitled "Shaping the future of Healthcare in Greece: From past weaknesses and present challenges to a new vision", Health Minister Andreas Loverdos stressed that Greece should hurry because the implementation of reforms in the health sector cannot be delayed much longer.
Loverdos underlined the urgency of creating a smaller public sector, adding that "electronic" health is a top priority. He also stressed that his goal is to further reduce pharmaceutical expenditures forecasting that the reduction will be at least 1.3 billion euros in 2011.
 Debt restructure predictions, recommendations are obstacles to exodus from recessionThe "unrealistic predictions and recommendations for restructure of the Greek debt" are obstacles to the Greek economy's exit from recession," Alpha Bank president Yiannis Kostopoulos warned on Tuesday, addressing a general assembly of the Athens-listed bank's shareholders.
"Those approaches sideline the structural changes that have already been materialised and the progress that has been marked in the effort to reduce the deficits and debt. They only thing achieved with that tactic is to shake confidence in the economy and raise obstacles to its recovery," Kostopoulos added.
On the Greek economy more generally, Kostopoulos said that regaining Greece's credibility on the markets requires a further drastic reduction of the fiscal deficits and streamlining of the economy, with competitiveness, privatisations and exploitation of the state assets as the tools.
He further said that the banks' ability to continue financing the economy to a satisfactory degree now depends on restoring the climate of confidence, in conjunction with the progress marked in fiscal consolidation.
Alpha Bank managing director Dimitris Mantzounis said that regaining the confidence of the markets is a slow and painful process but can be achieved provided the financial planning is strictly adhered to, and also the required structural reforms which, he added, aim at putting the economy back on track of self-sufficient growth.
 Current account deficit declines in Jan-April 2011In a press release on the Greek balance of payments in April 2011 released on Tuesday, the Bank of Greece reported a 23.4 percent decline in the current account deficit year-on-year in the January-April 2011 period. This fell by 2.9 billion euro, from 12.6 billion euro in the same period of 2010 to 9.7 billion euro in 2011.
This development reflected primarily a large increase of 2.3 billion euro in the current transfer receipts of general government (mainly from the EU), a 1.3 billion euro decline in the non-oil import bill and a 1.1 billion euro rise in export receipts (including oil), which more than offset a 1.5 billion euro increase in the gross oil import bill.
In more detail, the overall trade deficit shrank by 878 million euro, as a result of a 1,670 million euro decrease in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships and a 265 million euro fall in net payments for purchases of ships, which more than offset a 1,056 million euro rise in the net oil import bill. Most importantly, receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 16.6 percent, while the corresponding import bill declined by 11.3 percent.
A 65 million euro increase in the surplus of the services balance reflects lower net payments for "other" services and slightly higher net travel receipts, which more than offset a contraction in net transport receipts. Both gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) and the corresponding payments showed a decline; as a result, net receipts dropped by 137 million euro. Moreover, travel spending by non-residents in Greece grew by 5.4 percent in comparison with the corresponding period of 2010, while travel spending by residents abroad rose by 4.7 percent. As a result, net travel receipts increased by 11 million euro. Non-residents' arrivals rose by 15.2 percent year-on-year in the January-April 2011 period.
The income account deficit rose by 146 million euro year-on-year, almost exclusively due to higher net interest, dividend and profit payments (up by 5.0 percent).
Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 1,227 million euro, compared with a deficit of 920 million euro in the corresponding period of 2010, mainly as a result of an increase in EU transfers to general government, concerning direct aid and subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy. Due to the quick implementation of the relevant procedures, the bulk of the funds allocated to general government under EU current transfers for the whole of 2011 had already been absorbed during the first two months of 2011.
The deficit of the combined current account and capital transfers balance (corresponding to the economy's external financing requirements) declined by 24.8 percent in the January-April 2011 period, reaching 9.4 billion euro from 12.4 billion euro in the corresponding period of 2010.
In terms of Greece's financial account balance, direct investment showed a net outflow of 342 million euro in the January-April 2011 period (compared with a net inflow of 635 million euro in the corresponding period of 2010). Specifically, net outflows of residents' funds for direct investment abroad reached 364 million euro, while net inflows of non-residents' funds for direct investment in Greece were marginally positive (only 22 million euro).
A net outflow of 5.4 billion euro was recorded under portfolio investment (against a net inflow of 2.9 billion euro in the corresponding period of 2010). In more detail, an outflow was recorded due to, mainly, a decrease of 8.0 billion euro in non-residents' holdings of Greek government bonds and Treasury bills and, secondarily, a 528 million euro increase in residents' investment in foreign derivatives. These developments were only partly offset by a 2.8 billion euro decline in resident credit institutions' and institutional investors' holdings of foreign bonds and Treasury bills and a 278 million euro drop in residents' holdings of shares of foreign firms.
Under "other" investment, a net inflow of 15.4 billion euro (compared with a net inflow of 14.8 billion euro in the corresponding period of 2010) is mainly attributable to a 21.3 billion euro increase in the outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents (of which 21.1 billion euro concern net general government borrowing, which reflects gross borrowing of 21.4 billion euro under the support mechanism for the Greek economy). An inflow was also recorded due to a 4.0 billion euro fall in resident credit institutions' and institutional investors' deposit and repo holdings abroad. These developments were partly offset by a 9.8 billion euro decline in non-residents' holdings of deposits and repos in Greece (outflow).
At end-April 2011, Greece's reserve assets stood at 4.6 billion euro. (It should be recalled that, since Greece joined the euro area in January 2001, reserve assets, as defined by the European Central Bank, include only monetary gold, the "reserve position" with the IMF, "Special Drawing Rights", and Bank of Greece claims in foreign currency on residents of non-euro area countries. Conversely, reserve assets do not include claims in euro on residents of non-euro area countries, claims in foreign currency and in euro on residents of euro area countries, and the Bank of Greece participation in the capital and the reserve assets of the ECB.)
 ND criticises divergence from budget targetsMain opposition New Democracy deputy sector head for the economy Christos Staikouras on Tuesday criticised the government's economic policy, saying that the execution of the budget highlighted the mistaken forecasts that it was based on and the divergence from the targets of the Memorandum.
"Revenues are collapsing, primary spending is growing, the public investments programme is sinking and the deficit is widening," Staikouras noted. Revenues, especially, were 2.16 billion euro or 11.8 percent lower than targets in January-May 2011.
 Event on Greece-Israel collaboration in water resources managementThe potential for new business collaborations between Greece and Israel in water resources management, as was the case between Israel with Italy and Spain, was at the focus of an event on "Water and Renewable Energy Sources - New techniques, regulations and trends" organised on Tuesday by the Greek-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Technology in the context of activities aimed at enhancing Greece-Israel relations in the fields of trade, research and technology.
Israeli water resources management innovations were presented at the event, such as reuse of waste and desalination with use of renewable energy sources.
It is noted that 60 percent of Israel is covered by desert, and that 70 percent of urban waste is reused after biological waste treatment.
Israeli ambassador to Greece, Arye Mekel delivered a brief greeting to the event, stressing the importance of closer cooperation between the two countries on energy issues.
Chamber president Vassilis Paisios said that Israel's known on water resources management issues is substantive and could serve as an incentive for efforts in that sector to commence in Greece as well, especially at a time when Greece is seeking a way out of the crisis.
Water management innovations in Israel have been incorporated in a special programme called NEWTech, while the branch has an annual turnover of 2 billion euro with prospects of multiplying over the coming years.
Merchants call on striking PPC employees to seek other forms of moblisiations 'that will not further burden a faltering market'
The National Confederation of Greek Trade (ESEE) on Tuesday asked striking Public Power Corporation (PPC) employees to opt for forms of mobilisations "that will not further burden a faltering" market.
In an announcement prompted by rolling 48-hour strikes by the federation of PPC employees GENOP that commenced at midnight Sunday, ESEE said that "to the degree that the government cannot give the proper solutions, given that further capitalisation (denationalisation) of the PPC is part of the 50 billion euros (state properties denationalisation plan) under the Medium-Term fiscal programme, it is now up to us, who comprise the society of the citizens, to manifest the required social solidarity".
ESEE appealed to GENOP to not impose the cost of its mobilisations to the "equally hard-hit working categories such as the small and medium size commercial businesses", adding that it fully respects the rights of workers to protest and strike, "but in key sectors such as energy", it assesses that "prospective excesses in the midst of the critical tourist season could possibly create immense problems".
As such, ESEE asked for a meeting with GENOP as soon as possible.
The rolling strikes have led to rotating electricity cuts in all parts of the country to ease the burden on the largely reduced number of power plants in operation so as to prevent power blackouts.
 Bulgaria exports electric power to Greece due to PPC employee strikeSOFIA (ANA-MPA/B. Borisov)
Bulgaria has made extraordinary electric power exports to Greece over the past two days amounting to 2,200 megawatts, as a result of the strike by Public Power Corporation employees.
This was announced on Tuesday by Bulgaria's relevant organisation for managing the energy system.
Bulgaria's normal exports to Greece amount to 500 megawatts, according to the organisation. It also announced that the daily consumption of electric power in Bulgaria itself has increased with about 100 megawatts in the past days due to the increase in temperatures.
 Eurostat: Greek per capita GDP at 89pct of EU27 averagePer capita GDP in Greece fell to 89 percent of the EU27 average in 2010, from 94 percent in 2009, the EU's statistics service Eurostat said on Tuesday in Brussels.
According to first estimates for 2010 released by Eurostat, GDP per capita in the member states varied between 43 percent in Bulgaria and 283 percent in Luxembourg.
Per capita GDP in Cyprus was at 98 percent of the 27-member European Union average.
 Stocks rise strongly on bank recoveryStocks rose strongly on Tuesday at the Athens Stock Exchange, riding on sharp gains in the banking sector that corrected Monday's heavy losses. The composite index of the market rose 3.74 pct to end at 1,275.47 points. Turnover was 110.066 million euros.
The Big Cap index jumped 4.64 pct, the Mid Cap index rose 2.53 pct and the Small Cap index ended 2.26 pct higher. ATEBank (-0.79 pct) was the only blue chip stock to post losses, while top gainers were Ellaktor (10.19 pct), Alpha Bank (9.81 pct), Eurobank (8.97 pct) and Piraeus Bank (7.00 pct).
Among sector indices, the biggest gains were in Banking (6.93 pct), Telecommunications (5.09 pct), Financial Services (4.7 pct) and Raw Materials (4.65 pct). The biggest losses were in Insurance (-1.92 pct), Chemicals (-1.16pct) and Commerce (-0.39 pct).
Broadly, advancers trailed decliners by 103 to 36 with another 41 issues unchanged.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.79%
Personal & Household: +1.22%
Raw Materials: +4.65%
Travel & Leisure: +0.29%
Food & Beverages: +1.72%
Financial Services: +4.70%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Coca Cola 3E, OPAP and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 3.47
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.53
HBC Coca Cola: 18.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.48
National Bank of Greece: 4.93
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 3.28
Bank of Piraeus: 1.07
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 13.85 pct on Tuesday, from 14.17 pct on Monday, in the domestic electronic secondary bond market. The Greek bond yielded 16.81 pct and the German Bund 2.96 pct. Turnover in the market was 18.0 million euros, of which 4.0 million were buy orders and the remaining 14.0 million euros were sell orders. The five-year (20/08/11) benchmark bond was the most heavily traded security with a turnover of 10.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates remained mostly unchanged. 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 his nominal price in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover rising to 53.251 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 15,721 contracts, worth 44.373 million euros, with 27,764 short positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 28,022 contracts worth 8.876 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (8,791), followed by Piraeus Bank (6,970), Alpha Bank (2,265), ATEbank (2,271), Eurobank (1,861), Bank of Cyprus (1,793) and OTE (781) .
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.458
Pound sterling 0.9
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 9.293
Japanese yen 116.93
Swiss franc 1.230
Norwegian kroner 8.030
Canadian dollar 1.423
Australian dollar 1.377
 President meets with anti-smoking com't membersPresident Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday met with members of the National Coordinating Committee for the Control of Smoking and referred to the lack of determination displayed by the executive power in the implementation of the new and stricter anti-smoking law.
On his part, committee head Panagiotis Behrakis expressed optimism and stressed that the results of the efforts made so far are promising, adding that "numbers are very positive".
Behrakis said that the number of smokers dropped 4.1 pct in the past two years and 10 pct compared with 2006. The number of cigarettes consumed dropped 15 pct in the past year, while exposure to passive smoking in restaurants and clubs dropped 35 pct. The declining cigarette consumption, particularly among the young, was attributed to the high price of cigarettes.
 Katsigras Collection to be exhibited in AthensSeventy paintings from the Masterpieces of the G. I. Katsigras Collection permanently exhibited at the G. I. Katsigras Art Gallery - Museum in the city of Larissa will be on display at B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music in Athens on June 23- Sept. 18, 2011.
Surgeon and art collector Giorgos Katsigras donated his collection to the Municipality of Larissa in 1981. The collection, one of the most significant in Greece, includes paintings of important Greek artists from the period between 1850 and 1950, among them Lytras, Iakovidis, Volanakis, Maleas, Parthenis, Triantafillidis, Gounaropoulos, Asteriadis, Vassiliou, Psihopedis, Bouzianis, Sikeliotis, Tassos.
The collection numbers more than 781 paintings, etchings and drawings as well as 1,250 art books and 4,500 literature and poetry books. The collection also includes furniture that belonged to German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890), designed by architect Ernst Ziller (1837-1923).
 Gold Theatrical Architecture medalThe Greek participation in the Scenography and Theatrical Architecture Exhibition held in Prague (Prague Quadrennial 2011) has won the Gold medal of Theatrical Architecture.
Greece was represented at this year's event at the theatrical architecture sector with the presentation of two theatres: The New stage of the National Theatre, designed by Office 75 and the Machine Theatre, by the Flux Office that will be created at Votanikos.
 Defendant in terrorist case testifies in courtThe first of the defendants in the "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" terrorist gang case, Panagiotis Massouras, completed his testimony before the court on Tuesday.
The self-styled "anti-state" activist told the court that he does not "recognise" its authority, characterizing it a "military tribunal".
A few months ago, Massouras was released from custody with restrictions pursuant to relevant legislation after being held for 18 months.
Nine defendants are on trial for three explosions claimed by the "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" ultra-leftist terrorist group.
 Four drug traffickers arrested in RhodesTwo Albanian nationals, aged 22 and 23, had set up a laboratory for adulterating and standardising drug substances, and heroin in particular, in the village of Pylonas on the island of Rhodes, that they supplied to drug addicts on the island with the assistance of two locals.
All four people involved were arrested by Rhodes Drug Squad police, while a kilo of heroin and eight kilos of hashish were found in their possession.
 Special Olympics nat'l delegations arriving in GreeceOfficial delegations of Special Olympics athletes, staff and coaches began to arrive in Athens from around the world on Tuesday, ahead of the opening of the 2011 Games on Saturday. Up until midday on Tuesday, 2,812 people had arrived from more than 58 countries.
The rest of the delegations are expected to arrive over the next day and some have arrived directly at their "Host Town" elsewhere in Greece.
Several delegations have departed for their "Host Town" Programme cities on several Greek islands and provinces, including the major holiday islands of Rhodes, Crete and Evia, "Host Towns" on the Ionian Islands, in the mainland provinces of Thrace and Macedonia, in northern Greece, as well as even on the island republic of Cyprus, in the eastern Mediterranean.
Local organising committees welcomed the delegations with ceremonies and with traditional Greek hospitality. Hoteliers have provided free rooms to all delegations. In total, more than 25,000 hotel room nights will have been donated during the "Host Town" programme.
The "Host Town" Programme is a special event of World Games. Delegations from around the world will be hosted for four days throughout the 13 regions of Greece prior to their arrival in Athens for the Special Olympic Games.
Below is a list of all of the Special Olympics programmes ("SO" followed by country name) who sent delegations to Athens for Special Olympics 2011 Games, and which have arrived to date:
SO COTE D' IVOIRE
SO COSTA RICA
SO BURKINA FASO
SO PUERTO RICO
SO COSTA RICA
SO NEW ZEALAND
SO BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
SO GREAT BRITAIN
SO KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
SO CHINESE TAIPEI
 Special Olympics athletes hosted in HalkidikiMore than 300 Special Olympics 2011 athletes and their escorts will be hosted in verdant Halkidiki, northern Greece, until June 24, within the framework of the "Host Town Programme" (Polis Amphitrion).
The 313 guests from Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles), Botswana, Brunei, Iceland, Montserrat (British West Indies), Samoa, Senegal, Sri Lanka and Turkey, will stay in 11 hotels in the holiday regions of Kassandra and Sithonia.
Delegations from around the world will be hosted for four days throughout the 13 regions of Greece within the framework of the "Host Town Programme", prior to their arrival in Athens for the Special Olympic Games on Saturday, June 25.
 Fair on WednesdayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-8 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 16C and 35C. Fair in Athens, with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 17C to 32C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 30C.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesExpectedly, deliberations and political developments surrounding the closely watched fifth installment of an EC-ECB-IMF bailout loan to Greece dominated the headlines in Athens' dailies on Tuesday, while some papers also cited the drop in college entrance exam scores.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "State owes 6.1 billion euros to the market..."
AVGI: "Syntagma protesters against a vote of confidence".
AVRIANI: "(New FinMin Evangelos) Venizelos should call up protesters to his office".
DIMOKRATIA: "Venizelos 'kowtowed' before lenders".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Education gets a failing grade".
?LEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Entrance levels drop by as much as 1,500 points".
ESTIA: "This is how the 20-month period (of PASOK governance) was lost".
ETHNOS: "Drop in scores for best schools".
KATHIMERINI: "Pressure on Greece at the max".
IMERISSIA: "Bank sector armaggedon of two trillion euros".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Not a euro in loan money before Mid-term programme is passed".
RIZOSPASTIS: "The people will demolish the bourjourois political system".
TA NEA: "Carrot and stick".
 Leaders focus on Geneva meeting with SGNICOSIA (CNA/ANA-MPA)
President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglou continued here Tuesday their discussion on governance and power sharing, but they also focused on the meeting with the UNSG which will take place in Geneva on July 7, UNSG Special
Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer said here Tuesday.
Speaking after the meeting between the two community leaders, which lasted less than an hour, Downer stressed that it was very constructive and added: "the UN are pleased with the meeting" which focused on preparing the meeting with the SG on 7th of July, "to ensure that it will be a successful meeting".
Downer added that the representatives of the two leaders, George Iacovou and Kudret Ozersay, will meet again on Thursday, June 23 and they will probably have one more meeting next week, while President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader will meet again on Thursday 30 of June.
Answering a question, the UN diplomat said that the leaders "very much understand that it would be better for them if they turn up in Geneva with more convergences and they very much want to achieve some convergences on the core issues to report to the Secretary General when they meet with him on the 7th, so they work hard on that".
Asked if there are going to be any convergences on the property and the territory issues by the Gevena meeting, Downer noted that it would be more likely to have convergences on governance and power sharing issues.
"I can't prove it but I think it's very likely to be more progress between now and the meting with SG," he added. He said that these negotiations have gone on for a long time.
"There is a process of what you might call creeping convergence; that is that very seldom there is a snap point when they say 'that's it, fine, we're agreed'. Usually it's 'well, we'll take up some of your points, and we'll make some new points', and then the other side comes back and says, 'well in relationship to those new points, we'd like them adjusted' ".
He said that the process moves like that, it is quite slow, "but what I call creeping convergence, not sudden convergence. And certainly that's a process that is well and truly underway here".
UN-led peace talks between the two sides in Cyprus began in September 2008 with a view to find a negotiated settlement to the Cyprus issue.
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