|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-09-20
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 20 September 2011 Issue No: 3894
 Finmin, IMF's Traa call for redundancies, wage cuts in public sectorThere are too many people working in Greece's public sector, which has to be trimmed down to reasonable levels, Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos underlined at the Economic Conference taking place at the Athens resort of Kavouri on Monday.
"There are surplus staff in the public sector and there must be a rationalisation with transparency, with the guarantees of ASEP (public-sector staff recruitment council)," he said, adding that Greece's public sector must finally be reduced to the size corresponding to the size of the country's economy.
The minister announced that decisions concerning public-sector organisations included in the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy will be taken within the week, while the uniform public-sector pay scale will be ready in early October.
"We have delayed the structural changes. The privatisations must at last take place. We cannot delay any longer, it's a government decision. There has to be a restructuring of agencies and the closure of unnecessary organisations," Venizelos stressed.
IMF troika representative Bob Traa echoed the view that the public sector was too large and stressed that there should not be any "taboo" about public-sector redundancies, while advising an emphasis on structural changes and fighting tax evasion, rather than more taxes on the existing tax base.
Traa underlined that funds had to be released from the public sector to the private sector and called for the closure of inefficient state enterprises, a reduction in the workforce and cuts in wages that he said were often higher than in the private sector.
While rejecting any reduction in taxes at present, on the grounds that this would increase the size of deficits, he also noted that a continuous increase in taxes was not economically and politically sustainable.
He underlined the need to broaden the tax base and ensure that the better off made a bigger contribution. He also called for a simpler taxation system with greater transparency.
"The laws on taxation now exceed 740 pages in volume. I am not surprised that you are unable to collect tax revenues," he emphasised.
Traa said Greece deserved recognition its success in reducing the size of the deficit, disagreeing that the stabilisation programme had failed. He noted, however, that any further reduction of the deficit will be very difficult without structural reforms and that the deficit had to be reduced to sustainable levels.
He pointed to the experience of countries like Turkey and the Netherlands, which had needed roughly a decade for structural reforms to kick in and bring about a recovery.
Replying to questions, Traa said that the EU and IMF would support Greece, provided it implemented the reforms it had promised to carry out and met its targets.
Noting that the reforms had started off impressively but slowed after the local government elections, he suggested that their implementation was an issue for the entire political system and not just the government.
On his part, Venizelos commented on developments in Europe and said the Eurozone had to think hard about how it will deal with bigger problems if it was unable to fully cope with those of Greece.
The minister predicted that the recession will reach 5.5 percent of GDP in 2011 and continue in 2012, when the government aimed for a primary budget surplus.
On the repeated waves of measures, he explained that the government had to take action to make up for measures that did not have the anticipated results because of the inadequacies of the administrative mechanism.
"If we don't do what has to be done now, we will have to do it not much later in conditions that are painful. Everyone knows this, I have briefed the leaders of the political parties and the representatives of social bodies," he added.
 ND attacks Finmin over thousands hired by public sector in 2010Main opposition New Democracy spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis on Monday strongly attacked statements about making public-sector staff redundant, made by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos at the Economist Conference earlier the same day.
Mihelakis stressed that Venizelos was still refusing to answer why, in the midst of the crisis, the government had hired an additional 28,850 temporary staff in the public sector in 2010, as well as 3,353 people employed with project contracts.
Instead of replying to ND revelations about these immoral and illegal new appointments, Venizelos was making military-type pronouncements, attempting to impose a law of silence and political censorship on the main opposition, the media and anyone daring to have a different opinion, the spokesman added.
 Teleconference between FinMin, troika heads to be resumed on Tuesday afternoonThe teleconference between government Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos with the heads of the troika is expected to be resumed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Monday's discussion lasted for about 2.5 hours and was termed "productive and substantive" by the Finance Ministry.
In parallel, on Tuesday morning the troika's technical delegations will further process certain data, regarding the measures that must be agreed both for the current year and for 2012.
Venizelos, addessing an event of the Economist on Monday, announced in advance a "package of measures", that will focus on the further restriction of expenditures and the promotion of privatisations and structural changes, stressing that if the necessary changes are not done in a coordinated fashion, then they shall be taking place in uncontrolled and painful conditions. These measures are expected to concern, among others, the extension of the labour reserve to the narrow public sector as well, the completion in early October of the new salary scale in the public sector (with salary reductions), the further decrease of auxiliary pensions, the closure of organisations in the public sector, etc. On the other hand, the minister mentioned that new taxes will not be imposed and promised that injustices will be remedied with the new taxation system.
 EU: No additional demands on Greece than already agreed toBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA)
The spokesman for EU Commissioner Olli Rehn on Monday reiterated that the European Union is not demanding more from the Greek government than has already been agreed to in order to secure EC-ECB-IMF bailout payments.
"There is no new austerity measure that has been put on the table," spokesman Amadeu Altafaj said here on Monday.
"The only thing that is on the table is compliance with agreed targets -- no more, no less," he said, while referring to a teleconference later in the evening between Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and EC-ECB-IMF "troika" representatives.
 DM: We are not intimidated by Turkey's threats'Defence Minister Panos Beglitis on Monday referred to threats made by Turkey in response to Cyprus' drilling activities.
Speaking to a private radio in Athens, he stressed that the Turkish attitude is characterised by "unilateral claims and threats", adding that Ankara "continues to violate the laws thinking that it is the only country in the region of Eastern Mediterranean".
He underlined that it continues the blatant violation of international law, pointing out that the time will come to "pay for everything".
"Fundamental principles of international legality cannot be ignored for too long," he stressed.
"Tension may increase," he stressed, adding that "we are forging alliances in the greater region and building a diplomatic and political embankment for Turkey's isolation in response to its practices."
 EC calls on Turkey to refrain from threatsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris/CNA)
The European Commission on Monday called on Turkey to refrain from any kind of threat or sources of friction or action, which could negatively affect good neighbourhood relations.
Replying to a question regarding Ankara's threats against Cyprus, due to the launching of explorations for hydrocarbons in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone, Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule's spokesperson Maja Kocijancic noted that Turkey must ''refrain from any kind of threat or sources of friction or action which could negatively affect the good neighbourhood relations and a peaceful settlement of border disputes.''
She also underlined the importance of progress on the normalisation of relations between Turkey and all EU member states including the Republic of Cyprus.
Kocijancic stressed that the EU wants to see a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible and called on all parties to exert restraint and do their utmost to facilitate a successful completion of the process underway with a view to reach a settlement.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement was signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
Turkey, which occupies Cyprus' northern part since it invaded in 1974, has threatened it would deploy warships in the Eastern Mediterranean, if drilling takes places prior to a political settlement in Cyprus.
Houston-based company Noble Energy has a drilling rig off Cyprus' southern coast. The company has a concession to explore for hydrocarbons in an offshore field in Cyprus' EEZ, south of Cyprus, known as Block 12.
Direct negotiations between the two sides in Cyprus have been going on since September 2008 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
 FM Lambrinidis addresses UN symposium on terrorismUNITED NATIONS (ANA-MPA/P.Panayiotou)
Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis underlined on Monday the need of adopting strategies that would deter the cultivation of extreme beliefs, while addressing the opening session of a United Nations high level symposium on combatting terrorism.
The Greek minister pointed to the importance of reinforcing the cooperation of the international community, noting that "terrorism constitutes a provocation to the values and principles of our civilisation, it threatens the pylons of democracy and targets human life and dignity."
Lambrinidis added that regions suffering from great poverty or phenomena of insufficient and bad government favour the infliltration of terrorists and the implementation of their plans.
For this reason, he added, countries in need should be supported while an effective cracking down of transactions financing terrorist activities should be implemented.
The Greek Foreign minister noted the absence of an "international unique and acceptable definition of terrorism", a fact that often leads, as he said, to a bad use of the term and to arbitrary interpretations, pointing out to the importance of concluding the negotiations for the adoption of a "Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism" which will establish a broadly acceptable definition of the phenomenon.
Referring to Greece's international initiatives aiming at reinforcing international cooperation in combatting terrorism, Lambrinidis said that Athens has introduced "appropriate legislation" and measures both for shielding the country and attributing responsibilities to those involved in terrorist actions.
The Greek minister noted that the number and the extent of terrorist attacks in recent years, especially after September 11, 2001, show that terrorism continues to be a serious threat to world peace and security. "Ten years after September 11, 2001, we must condemn it once again, intensify our efforts for the elimination of terrorism and work all together in a coordinated manner, on a regional and international level, in the framework defined by the United Nations five years ago regarding the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy," he added.
The UN symposium takes places in the framework of UN's 66th General Assembly.
 Lambrinidis-Nimetz meeting at UNNEW YORK (AMNA / P. Panagiotou)
The UN special envoy on the fYRoM 'name issue', Matthew Nimetz, on Sunday announced that he does not intend to pay a visit to Athens or Skopje in the coming period, speaking following a meeting here with Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis.
The meeting was held at Greece's permanent UN delegation.
Lambrinidis is currently in the United States to represent Greece at the 66th UN General Assembly.
 ND leader to meet regional governors on TuesdayMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras will be holding a meeting with the country's regional governors at the party's head office at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
 KKE leader meets GENOP-DEHCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga, speaking after meeting the Public Power Corporation's staff union GENOP-DEH on Monday, said "not a step back from the extortion being carried out by the government to tax homes 100 and 150 times with the invoices of DEH (the PPC) and possibly to add more taxes on DEH's bills."
Papariga added that the KKE supports every initiative so that "those who cannot pay not to pay and have no consequence, but we also call on those who possibly, cutting something else, can pay temporarily and they also not to pay the tax."
 LAOS party leader visits President Papoulias, requests national unity governmentPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis on Monday paid a visit to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias and outlined his positions on the latest developments.
He summed up his opinion by paraphrasing a quote from the ancient philosopher Democritus, namely that "Not argument but calamity is the teacher of fools".
Karatzaferis urged Papoulias to undertake an initiative for the creation of a national unity government.
Afterward, he said the president had seemed "more determined than any other time".
Karatzaferis said he had stopped taking any interest or depending on the intentions of the current prime minister George Papandreou and he was now interested only in what the president intended to do.
"It is unnecessary to even say that the country essentially isn't working," he stressed.
In response to an AMNA question about whether he had asked Papoulias for initiatives leading to elections, Karatzaferis underlined that the first priority was to try to come to some sort of understanding between the political parties.
 Tsipras on latest developmentsRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) Parliamentary Group president AlexisTsipras criticised Prime Minister George Papandreou and government vice president and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday, stressing that "the Papandreou-Venizelos government is proving to be the most dangerous government from the period after the restoration of democracy onwards", while appealing to the country's progressive forces to take the first step for their cooperation with the aim of "this indescribable government leaving."
Referring to the latest developments, Tsipras said the government "panic-stricken and surrendered, instead of admitting the complete failure of the memorandum and leading the country to elections, so that the people can choose their future, is threatening and extorting Greek society vulgarly."
On the question of possible additional measures being announced, the SYRIZA leader said that these measures "cannot and must not pass, these taxes cannot and must not be paid."
Tsipras also called on "the social agencies, the unions, the jurists, all the Greek people, to raise a shield of protection for the people who say 'I do not have, I am not being paid and therefore I am not paying'."
 SYRIZA MPs ask that ELSTAT's entire former board be heard in ParliamentCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Parliamentary spokesman Panagiotis Lafazanis and SYRIZA MP Dimitris Papadimoulis on Monday sent a letter to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos asking that all seven former board members of Greece's statistical authority ELSTAT be invited to appear before Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee to present their views on Tuesday.
Venizelos fired the entire board of the independent authority except the chairman last week, at about the same time as a member of the ELSTAT board made grave accusations of possible irregularities in the calculation of deficit figures that may have artificially enlarged the apparent size of the country's deficit.
Only the board chairman is currently scheduled to appear in Parliament, something that the two MPs describe as "inconceivable and provocative" given the grave accusations appearing in the media that the figures had been "tweaked" to appear larger.
A copy of the letter has also been sent to the chairwoman of the Economic Affairs Committee.
 UN High Commission for RefugeesThe UN High Commission for Refugees in Athens reports a series of "criminal attacks against foreigners", including refugees and people requesting asylum.
Moreover, in a joint letter to the prime minister and the Citizen's Protection, Interior and Health ministers and the Human Rights General Secretariat, the Greek Refugees Forum, the Assante Youth organisation, the Afghan, African and Kenyan Community speak of daily violent acts against foreigners.
The UN High Commission for Refugees notes that it concerns "criminal attacks with the sole criterion being the colour of the skin or the country of origin."
 FinMin at Economist conf' :Greece not eurozone's decisive problem"Greece is not the Eurozone's decisive problem," Finance Minister and government vice-president Evangelos Venizelos said during an address on Monday at an Economist conference being held in an Athens seaside resort.
Venizelos underlined that "if the Eurozone is not able to face, completely, Greece's problem, then it must consider with which institutions it will face even bigger problems".
The Greek economy will shrink 5.5 percent in 2011, Finance Minister and government spokesman Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday, adding that the target in 2012 is for the state to post primary surpluses in its budget.
Venizelos made it clear that the government is "obliged to replace measures that did not bring expected results due to the insufficiency of the state's administration and other causes. Priorities for the 2012 state budget will focus on spending cuts".
Moreover, he stated that 'if we don't now do what is necessary then we will be obliged to take the same measures, in the short run, under very painful conditions ... Everyone knows that, I have briefed opposition party leaders and the trade unions' leadership,"
Referring to the public sector he stated that decisions for the public sector, included in the Mid-Term Fiscal Strategic Programme, will be taken this week "There is redundant staff in the public sector and we must be rational".
Referring to the unified pay scale measure for all of the public sector, Venizelos said that it will be ready in early October.
 IMF official: Layoffs should not be tabooThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) official responsible for Greece, Bob Traa, underlined here on Monday the need for the imposition of additional fiscal measures in Greece, in order to slash the fiscal deficit.
"Additional measures will be necessary so the deficit can reach a viable level," he said, adding: "There should not be any taboos in terms of layoffs".
The IMF official further noted that "without a wider political support the programme will not be implemented successfully ... Greece has achieved tremendous progress in decreasing the deficit, but what is now needed is an emphasis structural reforms."
 Development minister gives interview to Spanish newspaperDevelopment, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Mihalis Chryssohoidis, speaking to the Spanish newspaper "El Pais", said that if the Greek government "implements the reforms and the environement in Europe improves we could see a small level of development at the end of 2012."
He said that in the coming period the priority must be the creation of a climate of stability and the promotion of policies that strengthen business activity and employment, such as the major infrastructures projects that develop the real economy and expressed optimism that the country will be attractive for foreign investments.
 Prosecutor orders preliminary probe into charges of artificial inflation of 2009 deficitAccusations by former Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) board member Zoi Georganta, who alleges that Greece's state deficit for 2009 was intentionally inflated, on Monday prompted the intervention of Financial Prosecutor Grigoris Peponis.
The entire EL.STAT board, sans its chairman but including Georganta, was ordered to resign by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a surprise decision on Thursday.
First Instant Court Prosecutor Popi Papandreou was assigned to conduct a preliminary investigation into the case to establish whether the accusations made are standing and determine if crimes against the Greek economy were committed.
Georganta, a professor of econometrics, told local media that that EL.STAT intentionally, and after being pressured by Eurostat, inflated the 2009 revised deficit from roughly 12-13 pct to 15.4 pct using non-scientific methods in order to justify the adoption of more and tougher fiscal measures in Greece.
According to Georganta, the upward revision was made possible by including expenditures from public utilities in the general government spending. Some of those public utilities companies are now included in the personnel redundancy programme applied via the labour reserve measure, Georganta alleged. This method is in conflict with the Eurostat practices considering that studies and statistical calculations that are deemed as imperative and should have taken place in advance were never held in the controversial wider public sector companies, Georganta said.
Former EL.STAT vice-president Nikos Logothetis had made similar accusations as regards the 2009 deficit via a memo he had forwarded to the prosecutor's office.
Logothetis is facing felony charges for violation of personal data protection after EL.STAT President Andreas Georgiou accused him of hacking into his email account.
 Greek current account deficit down 9.0 pct in Jan-JulyGreece's current account deficit fell by 568 million euros to 902 million euros in July, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the country's trade deficit fell by 134 million euros in the month, reflecting an improvement in the trade balance excluding oil and ships. More specifically, receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 12.2 percent, while the corresponding import bill declined by 7.3 percent. By contrast, the net import bill for oil and ships increased.
The surplus of the services balance grew by 278 million euros as a result of, mainly, higher net travel receipts and, secondarily, lower net payments for "other" services, while net transport receipts declined. More specifically, travel spending in Greece by non-residents grew considerably in July (by 16.7 percent). Both gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) and the corresponding payments showed a decline, of 16.2 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively; as a result, net receipts dropped by 18.6 percent.
The central bank said that the income account deficit fell by 118 million euros, mainly as a result of a 126 million euros decrease in net payments of interest, dividends and profits. Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 43 million, compared with just 4 million euros in July.
In the January-July 2011 period, the current account deficit fell by 1.4 billion euros or 9.0 percent year-on-year, to 14.2 billion euros. This chiefly reflects a significant decline of 2.4 billion in the non-oil trade deficit, a rise of 483 million in the surplus of the services balance and a very small increase in the current transfers surplus, which more than offset a large rise in the net oil import bill and a widening of the income account deficit.
In more detail, the overall trade deficit shrank by 1.2 billion euros, as a result of a 2.2 billion decrease in the trade deficit excluding oil and ships and a 201 million fall in net payments for purchases of ships. By contrast, the net oil import bill rose by 1.2 billion euros. Most importantly, receipts from exports of goods excluding oil and ships rose by 15.6 percent, while the corresponding import bill declined by 7.3 percent.
A 483 million euros increase in the surplus of the services balance reflects higher net travel receipts and lower net payments for "other" services, which more than offset a contraction in net transport receipts.
Gross transport receipts (chiefly from merchant shipping) fell by 11.8 percent and the corresponding payments dropped by 9.2 percent; as a result, net receipts shrank by 634 million euros. During the same period, travel spending in Greece by non-residents grew markedly (by 14.2 percent year-on-year), while travel spending abroad by residents rose by only 1.5 percent. According to data from the Bank of Greece's border survey, in the January-July period non-residents' arrivals rose by 11.4 percent year-on-year.
The income account deficit rose by 273 million euros year-on-year, mainly due to higher net payments of interest, dividends and profits (up by 4.3 percent). Finally, the current transfers balance showed a surplus of 1.056 billion euros, up by 12 million compared with the corresponding period of 2010.
In July 2011, the capital transfers balance showed a deficit of 254 million euros, down by 410 million year-on-year. In the January-July 2011 period, the capital transfers balance showed a surplus of 564 million euros, compared with 801 million in the corresponding period of 2010.
In July 2011, the deficit of the combined current account and capital transfers balance reached 648 million euros, compared with 806 million in July 2010. In the January-July 2011 period, this deficit came to 13.6 billion euros, compared with 14.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2010.
In July 2011, non-residents' direct investment in Greece showed a net inflow of 457 million euros. The most important transaction concerned a 392 million inflow for the acquisition by Deutsche Telekom (Germany) of 10 percent of the share capital of OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation). Residents' direct investment abroad recorded a net outflow of 407 million euros. The most important transaction under this category concerned a capital injection of 350 million by EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA to its subsidiary "EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA Spolka Akcyjna Oddzial w Polsce" (Poland).
In the January-July 2011 period, direct investment showed a net outflow of 656 million (compared with a net inflow of ? 679 million in the corresponding period of 2010.
A net outflow of 9.4 billion euros was observed under portfolio investment (against a net outflow of 6.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2010). Under "other" investment, a net inflow of 24.5 billion (compared with a net inflow of 21.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2010) is mainly attributable to a ? 31.6 billion increase in the net outstanding debt of the public and the private sector to non-residents.
At end-July 2011, Greece' s reserve assets stood at 4.75 billion euros.
 Greece to auction a three-month T-bill issue on TuesdayGreece will auction a three-month Treasury bills issue on Tuesday, seeking to raise 1.25 billion euros from the market. The issue will be made through the market's primary dealers, while settlement date was set Friday, 23 September.
 Gov't begins inspection of overseas bank deposit transfers exceeding 100,000 eurosGreece's finance ministry on Monday said it has begun inspections of taxpayers who transferred their money to banks abroad in order to find out whether these sums were justified by incomes declared in their tax statements. Under a decision taken by Pantelis Economou, the Deputy Finance Minister, banks must provide to the ministry a list of names of all taxpayers who took their saving deposits to banks abroad.
The inspections will focus on saving deposit transfers of more than 100,000 euros in 2009.
The government will impose fines and taxes on any undeclared incomes, while it planned to impose a special tax on saving deposits transferred abroad if taxpayers cannot justify their income.
 Cooperation in tourism discussed by Greek, British officialsDeputy Culture & Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis on Monday met with British ambassador to Athens David Landsman and foreign office consular services director Charles Hay.
The meeting focused on bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector, mass tourism and preventing negative phenomena.
The UK ambassador stated that he intends to visit regions in Greece that are very popular to tourists from the UK and meet with local authorities.
 Public-sector strike planned on ThursdayThe civil servants' union federation ADEDY has decided to hold a protest rally in Klafthmonos Square at noon on Tuesday, as well as a series of labour mobilisations to support the staff of organisations included in the labour reserve measures.
This will include support for strike rally being held by the staff of these state entities at Klafthmonos Square at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
ADEDY has also declared a three-hour work stoppage throughout the public sector in Attica on Wednesday over education issues (from 12:30 p.m. until the end of the shift) and will hold a rallly in central Athens at 1:00.
It has also decided a 24-hour strike on October 6, which may be moved to coincide with a general strike in the private sector.
 Air Traffic Controllers Union announces mobilisationsThe Union of Air Traffic Controllers will proceed with mobilisations, primarily with economic demands.
The Controllers announced a 24-hour strike on Sunday 25/09/2011 (00:01-24:00) and the proclamation of a four-hour work stoppage on Wednesday 28/09/2011, from 12:00 to 16:00.
They also announced the sector's participation in the strikes of the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), whenever they may be called.
 Greek merchant marine fleet down in JulyGreece's merchant marine fleet fell by 3.7 pct in July this year, compared with the corresponding month in 2010, after an increase of 0.3 pct recorded in July 2010, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced on Monday.
The statistics service said the Greek merchant marine fleet totaled 2,041 ships in July, with a gross tonnage of 43,154,944 dwt, up 0.4 pct compared with July 2010.
 Industrial new orders up 2.7% in JulyThe new orders' index in the industrial sector (measuring both the domestic and external markets) rose 2.7 pct in July this year, compared with the same month last year, after a decline of 3.8 pct recorded in July 2010, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, attributed this development to an 8.6-pct decline in the domestic market index and a 14.9-pct jump in the external market index in July.
 Business Briefs-- Greece's banking system is showing strong resistance despite a fiscal crisis in the country, Vasilis Rapanos, president of the Hellenic Bank Association said on Monday. Addressing an Economist conference in Athens, Rapanos said Greece was one of the few countries that the state did not intervene to bailout a bank because of the crisis, something that happened in several other countries, while he noted that the banking system was stable despite adverse conditions.
 Stocks end significantly lowerStocks ended significantly lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, following a downward trend in other European markets, with investors' interest focusing on the outcome of a teleconference between the Greek finance minister with the 'troika' representatives later in the day.
The composite index of the market fell 1.70 pct to end at 850,22 points, after falling to new lows for the year (833.65 points) during the session. Turnover fell to a low 62.146 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 2.15 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 2.5 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.73 pct lower. Coca-Cola 3E (0.39 pct) was the only blue chip stock to end higher, while Marfin Popular Bank (7.5 pct), OTE (5.15 pct), Ellaktor (5.0 pct), Hellenic Postbank (3.60 pct), PPC (3.51 pct) and Piraeus Bank (3.28 pct) suffered losses.
The Chemicals (1.37 pct) and Food (0.34 pct) sectors scored gains, while Insurance (6.52 pct), Health (6.17 pct) and Telecoms (5.15 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage gains of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 100 to 41 with another 60 issues unchanged. Kathimerini (10 pct), Elgeka (8.70 pct) and Nakas (8.33 pct) were top gainers, while Kordellos Bros (20 pct), Akritas (18.75 pct) and Imperio (17.65 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.50%
Personal & Household: -1.00%
Raw Materials: -3.57%
Travel & Leisure: -0.93%
Food & Beverages: +0.34%
Financial Services: -3.21%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, Bank of Cyprus, National Bank and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.65
Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.32
HBC Coca Cola: 13.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.00
National Bank of Greece: 3.13
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.17
Bank of Piraeus: 0.59
 Greek bond market closing reportThe Greek electronic secondary bond market remained inactive for one more day on Monday, with the yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widening to 16.2 pct from 16.03 pct on Friday.
According to Bank of Greece's data, the Greek bond yielded 17.99 pct and the German Bund 1.79 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate was 2.06 pct, the six-month rate 1.73 pct, the three-month 1.52 pct and the one-month rate 1.34 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 1.09 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to 17.490 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 7,358 contracts worth 12.948 million euros, with 21,776 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 19,879 contracts worth 4.542 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (5,763), followed by Eurobank (406), OTE (3,720), OPAP (470), Piraeus Bank (6,700), Alpha Bank (799), Hellenic Petroleum (219), Cyprus Bank (392), Hellenic Postbank (248), ATEbank (252) and PPC (263).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.384
Pound sterling 0.881
Danish kroner 7.559
Swedish kroner 9.305
Japanese yen 106.19
Swiss franc 1.224
Norwegian kroner 7.857
Canadian dollar 1.362
Australian dollar 1.352
 Rector calls for open universitiesThe rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) on Monday addressed a letter to the academic community of his institution, warning that its ongoing occupation by the students and supporters "has created conditions that will have a long effect on its smooth educational, research and administrative operation."
AUEB Rector Konstantinos Gatsios underlined that considering that the university remains closed for a third week, "we should warn the students that according to the law, any extension of the present situation would seriously jeopardise the semester making its completion extremely difficult, even impossible".
He repeated that the faculty is in favour of an open university, stressing that keeping the university closed is beyond any reason and concluded that "we clearly state our position that our university should reopen immediately and fully."
 EIB art collection at Byzantine and Christian MuseumAn exhibition of the European Investment Bank's art collection entitled "Within/Beyond Borders" will be inaugurated at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens at 7:00 p.m. on Monday.
The exhibition, comprised of 37 works of art created by artists from EU member-states and candidate countries, will run until October 30.
They include a painting by Greek artist Yiannis Kounelis, bought by the EIB in 1997.
This is the first time that the exhibition travels outside Luxembourg, where the EIB is based, and was sent to mark the 30th anniversary since Greece joined the EU.
 Butcher shop owner shot dead by robbersFour armed robbers ambushed a 38 year-old butcher shop owner at the entrance of the main meat market in the Piraeus district of Rendis early Monday morning. The perpetrators shot the victim and took a handbag that contained an unknown sum of money.
Afterwards, they fled with a car possibly driven by another accomplice.
The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where later he died.
 Alexandroupolis fishermen call for more patrols in sea regionA representative of professional fishermen in the extreme NE border city of Alexandroupolis on Monday called for more patrols by Greek coast guard vessels in the sea region between the city and the island of Limnos, charging that Turkish flagged fishing boats are illegally fishing and overfishing in the area.
A spokesman for the group charged that Turkish-flagged vessels regularly fish within three to four nautical miles around Limnos, at the same time as Greek vessels fish exclusive in international waters in the early autumn season.
 Five injured in construction site accidentFive workmen, three foreign nationals and two Greeks, were injured on Monday when supports gave way as they were pouring concrete to build a second-storey on a building under construction in Kifissia.
The accident occurred at 13:30 p.m. and the injured men were taken to Erythros Stavros hospital. A search by the fire brigade showed that no one had been trapped inside the collapsed building.
An investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched by the Kifissia police station.
 Two arrested on charge of rapeTwo men were arrested in Hersonissos, Iraklio on Crete on charges of rape, based on a report by a 21-year-old Irish woman.
The victim said she was on holiday on Crete and had met two Greek men, aged 22 and 24 years old, respectively, in a bar in Hersonissos. She later followed the 24-year-old to his room, where the 22-year-old later came as well, and the two men used physical force in order to coerce her into having sex with them.
Both men were arrested after they were positively identified by the Irish woman and will be led before an Iraklio public prosecutor.
 Forest fire in DomokosA forest fire broke out shortly before 3:00 p.m. on Monday in the Domokos region in Fthiotida. Ten fire engines, 28 firemen are battling to put out the flames, assisted by a team of nine men on foot and two PZL fire-fighting aircraft.
According to the fire brigade, the fire was not considered especially dangerous though it broke out in woods very close to the Lamia-Domokos-Karditsa road so that traffic along the old national highway from Lamia toward Karditsa and Trikala had to be suspended to allow fire engines access to the fire.
 Rainy on TuesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Tuesday, with wind velocity reaching 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 13C and 33C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southerly 3-6 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 21C to 31C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 30C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceA crucial teleconference on Monday between Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and representatives of the EC-ECB-IMF troika as well as main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' nationally televised press conference on Sunday at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Samaras sends message of hope".
AVRIANI: "Government and troika, with new package of austerity measures, leading country to civil war".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Venizelos' delirium to hide new shocking measures".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Immediate 'massacre' in public sector".
ESTIA: "Government leading us to disaster".
ETHNOS: "Blood and Tears - Layoffs and 20 percent cutbacks in civil servants' salaries".
IMERISSIA: "Sacrifices - barrier against bankruptcy".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Government to announce four billion euros of additional measures".
TA NEA: "Blood and tears for sixth tranche of bailout".
VRADYNI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou and FinMin: Layoffs and new measures - Samaras: General elections only solution".
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