|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-10-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 4 October 2011 Issue No: 3906
 FinMin comments on 2012 draft budget, fiscal targetsGreek government vice president and finance minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday that the draft 2012 budget tabled earlier in the day in parliament was within the context that has been agreed with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika', adding that it is supported by the package of measures that have already been announced and will be passed by parliament before the end of October.
Venizelos added that the measures ensure achievement of the 2012 targets.
According to Venizelos, the budget winds up a closely-packed and difficult effort for fiscal adjustment, which from a primary deficit of 24 billion euros in 2009 will reach a 3.2 billion euros primary surplus in 2012, which translates into a primary surplus of 1.5 percent of GDP and a fiscal deficit of 14.65 billion euros.
The minister said that the new draft budget fully makes up for the 0.7 percent of GDP shortfall in the 2011 budget, which is attributed by the finance ministry chiefly to a deeper than anticipated recession in 2011, which was at -5.5 percent of GDP against an initial forecast of -3.8 percent in June this year.
According to Venizelos, the new macroeconomic conditions did not allow for covering that 0.7 percent of GDP by the end of 2011 and therefore, in agreement with the troika, the fiscal targets of 2011 and 2012 were dealt with in a combined way so that by the end of 2012 all the fiscal targets will have been met, as set out as an absolute figure in the Medium-Term Fiscal Adjustment Programme.
Venizelos warned that any other impression given that does not take into consideration the difficult macroeconomic conditions, the fiscal achievements of the two past years and all that has been agreed with the troika "does an immense injustice to this immense effort by the Greek people".
The minister further said that the fiscal adjustment, together with the fulfillment of the commitments the country has undertaken towards its institutional partners for a determined advancement of the structural changes, create the conditions for full implementation of the decisions taken at the July 21 eurozone summit with respect to Greece.
"In close cooperation with the troika and our institutional partners, we are trying to change the status quo, to protect our country fiscally and financially, to create the prerequisites for a new development model," he said, adding that "the most crucial and important thing we have to do to return to positive growth rates, with all that entails for the prospects of the country and its citizens, and especially the youth, is to achieve our fiscal and structural targets and prove internationally our determination, unity and consistency," Venizelos concluded.
 Greek economy to shrink 2.5 pct in 2012, draft budgetThe Greek economy will shrink by 2.5 pct next year, after shrinking 4.5 pct in 2010 and around 5.5 pct this year, according to the projections of a 2012 draft budget approved by the government. The draft budget envisages that the economy will return to positive growth rates in 2013, while unemployment is projected to rise to around 16.4 pct in 2012, from 15.2 pct this year, while the fiscal deficit will fall to 6.8 pct of GDP next year, from 8.5 pct in 2011.
The draft budget plan painted with bleak colours the economic situation in the country, noting that the external economic environment was less favourable next year, compared with initial estimates, while uncertainties persisted for most development economies and growth prospects were less optimistic than six months ago, with a debt crisis affecting more and more development economies.
The Greek economy was at a turning point over its growth prospects: a heavy fiscal consolidation program contributed in the short-term in keeping the economy in a recession, but on the medium-term the situation will depend on the composition and the implementation of a structural reforms program.
Private consumptions will fall by 3.8 pct next year, from -6.2 pct in 2011 and -4.5 pct in 2010, due to lower available income and rising unemployment. Public consumption will shrink by 7.5 pct, after an 8.0 pct decline in 2011 and a 6.5 pct fall in 2010. Investments are projected to fall by 4.0 pct next year, after declines of 12.9 pct in 2011 and 16.5 pct in 2010, while exports of goods and services are projected to rise by 6.4 pct and imports (fixed prices) to fall by 2.8 pct.
The unemployment rate is expected to rise further to 16.4 pct of the workforce next year, from 15.2 pct in 2011 and 11.9 pct in 2010, while employment is projected to fall by 1.1 pct in 2012, after declines of 5.3 pct this year and 2.1 pct in 2010.
The inflation rate is expected to fall significantly next year, with the harmonized inflation rate slowing to 0.6 pct, from 2.8 pct in 2011 and 4.7 pct in 2010.
The M3 monetary index shrank by 10.7 pct in July, reflecting a decline in bank deposits and a sharp fall in financial activity in the country.
Lending in the private sector remained negative (-1.2 pct in July), reflecting a worsening macro-economic environment.
The draft budget plan envisages that the government's fiscal strategy for 2012 will focus on implementing a Medium-term Fiscal Strategy Framework (2012-2015), continuing implementation of structural and institutional reforms, improving a tax and social insurance system, accelerating a privatizations program and restructuring public sector agencies and organizations.
The new budget envisages additional fiscal measures worth 7.11 billion euros (2.11 billion euros in 2011 and 5.0 billion euros in 2012). The country's fiscal deficit is projected at 18.69 billion euros this year (8.5 pct of GDP), from 17.1 billion (7.8 pct of GDP) envisaged in the memorandum. The target for 2012 is 14.7 billion euros (6.8 pct of GDP), down from 14.9 billion euros envisaged in the memorandum.
The draft plan, however, leaves the door open to the possibility of a further widening of the fiscal deficit this year, depending on the stance of Greek citizens and the society in general towards the government policy.
The fiscal deficit could rise by an additional 8.7 billion euros, or 4.1 pct of the GDP next year, without any additional measures, reflecting lower revenues (7.0 billion euros) higher spending on interest and a worsening of social insurance balance sheets (2.3 billion euros).
The public debt is projected to reach 371.9 billion euros next year (172.7 pct of GDP), from 356.2 billion euros (161.8 pct) this year and 328.58 billion euros (142.8 pct in 2010).
The draft budget plan envisages additional measures worth 7.11 billion euros. More analytically, these are: cuts in tax breaks (saving 1.95 billion euros), a special property tax (revenues of 1.7 billion euros this year and 100 million euros in 2012), a new payroll system in the public sector (saving 150 million euros in 2011 and 950 million euros in 2012), a labour reserve in the public sector (saving 200 million euros in 2012), cuts in basic and supplementary pensions (saving 260 million euros this year and 480 million euros in 2012), raising community participation in co-funded programs (saving 800 million euros) and equalizing special consumption tax between diesel and heating oil (revenues of 250 million euros next year).
 ND reactions on 2011 draft State BudgetMain opposition New Democracy (ND) shadow finance minister Christos Staikouras, commenting the main figures of the 2012 draft state budget, sternly attacked the government on its economic policy.
"The 2012 draft state budget is the real confession of the Memorandum's and the Mid-Term Strategy programme's failure," he said, adding that the "government acknowledges that despite the people's immense sacrifices, the fiscal targets are not being met and it is revising them".
The reason, he continued, is because recession is even deeper and the deficits higher than even the most recently revised forecasts, belying the finance minister's expectations and assurances that the deficit target will be met and proving that when the arithmetics of the economy clash with the false political expectations, arithmetics always win.
Referring to 2011 deficit, Staikouras said that despite the government's recent movements of political despair with the imposition of new measures that increase the bill to 28 billion euros for 2011, the deficit is estimated to reach 18.7 billion euros instead of 17.1 billion euros which was the target.
According to ND the deficit will decrease, if it decreases, because the government is now placing its hopes on the state mechanism and the citizens, for 5 billion euros in 2011, disregarding the state's unpaid obligations of 6.5 billion euros, the payment of which would further increase the deficit.
Staikouras accused the government of "obsession with the same economic policy that disregards recovery of the economy and renders its (PASOK government's) third State Budget a 'virtual reality'".
 Greece determined to show results, Finmin saysBRUSSELS (AMNA - V. Demiris)
Arriving for Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos underlined Greece's determination to show results and fulfil its obligations towards its EU partners.
In statements concerning the draft budget for 2012, Venizelos underlined that this was ambitious since it aimed to produce a primary surplus of 3.2 billion euro for the first time in years.
Venizelos stressed that Greece had embarked on a powerful programme of fiscal stabilisation over the last two years and that the country, while still hampered by structural problems, was not the eurozone's scapegoat.
Greece is a proud country that has the potential to go forward, in spite of the deep recession of 12 percent of GDP in the last three years, Venizelos said.
 PM: "We braked just before the disaster"Prime minister George Papandreou said that his government, for the past two years, has been "putting out the fire lit by others", addressing a Cabinet meeting late Sunday.
He also spoke of "facile criticism" by "those who want the position that Greece was in two years ago to be forgotten", and urged his government officials to "mercilessly strike out at the propaganda that completely diverts the blame of the arsonists and targets us, that we supposedly are not putting out the fire quickly enough".
"We braked just before the disaster to which others were leading the country," Papandreou said.
Papandreou repeatedly stressed the need for Greece to implement the part of the July 21 eurozone summit agreement it has assumed a commitment on, noting that no one should expect help from others if he is not first in the effort to solve the problems.
He said that from its very first moment in office, and before the Memorandum, his government took tough decisions, such as abolition of the stage programmes, the drastic reduction of contract workers in the public sector and for all hirings to be made through the Civil Service Hiring Examinations Board (ASEP), but despite all that "we were at the beginning of the deeper changes in our country".
Papandreou acknowledged that mistakes have been made under pressure, and that there have been delays, "but at least this government is on the move and taking decisions".
On criticism that his government is not negotiating, Papandreou said that tough and successful negotiations have been made to lighten the debt, which led to the decisions of March 2011 and July 21.
He rejected any idea of negotiating the debt. "We, first, do not want to renegotiate" the deficit, he said, adding that "we want a primary surplus as quickly as possible" so as to stop producing deficits, although he acknowledged that this practices causes problems of recession.
The premier also made note of the upcoming meetings of EU bodies, which will deal with the Greek issue.
The Eurogroup is due to meet on Tuesday, and will be attended by Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, while next Monday German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy will meet to discuss the July 21 eurozone summit decisions and an evaluation of Greece's progress.
The Eurogroup will meet again on October 13 in an extraordinary session at which the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' will submit its progress report on Greece and decisions on the 6th tranche of the bailout loan to Greece will be taken, followed by an EU summit on October 17 and another eurogroup meeting the following day, which will once again deal with the Greek issues.
Papandreou expressed optimism on the outcomes of all the above processes, and that in a short time all the eurozone parliaments will have ratified the July 21 decisions so that their implementation may begin.
 Cabinet decides 28-30,000 employees to depart civil service by end of yearA total of 28-30,000 will leave the civil service by the end of the year, in an initial stage, according to decisions taken late Sunday night by the Cabinet, chaired by prime minister George Papandreou, which discussed the final agreement reached with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' on the government's reserve labour measure.
According to a government announcement, some 18-20,000 civil servants will be placed in reserve labour, while 7-8,000 will be laid off with severance pay, which will result in 300 million euros in fiscal savings in 2012.
The main criterion for the reserves/layoffs will be how close to retirement the employee is, affects both the core and the wider public sector, and will chiefly apply to civil servants with private law indefinite contracts who are above the age of 60 and are due for retirement in the next 1-2 years.
The employees placed in reserve labour will receive 60 percent of their basic salary for the time they are in reserve, after which they will receive full pensions, while their organic positions (positions they occupied in the civil service) will be abolished.
Another estimated 1,000 primary and secondary education employees and employees in state agencies to be abolished or merged will also be placed in reserve labour and receive reorientation via the state-run Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) programmes. Those who are not absorbed after the reorientation will be laid off with severance pay.
A further 1,000 civil servants who had reached retirement age but continued working by virtue of an arrangement in the social security law brought by then employment and social security minister Andreas Loverdos, in order to receive a larger pension, will be immediately retired.
Also, 6-7,000 more civil servants will be laid off as a result of the abolition of regional branches of Ministries and Public Services if they refuse to be transferred to other services after the abolition of their organic positions.
The second stage of the streamlining of the public sector concerns the two-year period 2012-2013 when, based on an awaited study by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) on the organisation and operation of the total services of the Ministries and Public Services, all the employees will be evaluated, under the supervision of the Civil Service Hiring Examinations Board (ASEP) and EU experts, and those deemed inadequate will be placed in the labour reserve.
The government announcement further said that main opposition New Democracy's (ND) own proposal on reserve labour had been discussed in depth, and it was ascertained that it affected double the number of civil servants (60,000 instead of 30,000), would put the employees in a long period of reserve, would also affect young and productive employees and deprive Public Administration of experienced staff indiscriminately, while the fiscal benefit that would result is equal to that arising from the detraction of the benefits that are being abolished with the introduction of the new uniform salary scale.
Sources told AMNA that interior minister Haris Kastanidis and MPs Fofi Gennimata and Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou, during the Cabinet discussion, expressed reservations over the abolition of certain state agencies.
 ND asks explanations on the reserve labour measureMain opposition New Democracy (ND) is asking the government for further explanations on the reserve labour measures, which it called "purposely vague" and inconsistent.
ND press spokesman Yannis Mihelakis, in a statement, said that it is "unprecedented that the government considers layoffs to be more socially fair than no layoff", and charged the government of saying on the one hand that it is prepared to accept ND's proposal on reserve labour, acknowledging its advantages, and on the other hand listing a series of cons to the proposal.
"Even at this hour, the unremorseful PASOK (ruling party) attempts to scorn every proposal by ND," stressed Mihelakis, who reiterated that ND's proposal on reserve labour is more socially just and has a larger fiscal benefit than the government's.
 PM meets with PASOK MPsPrime Minister George Papandreou met on Monday afternoon with deputies of his ruling PASOK party from the central Macedonia region.
The meeting was part of contacts that the Greek prime minister is currently having with PASOK deputies regarding the problems facing the country's regions.
According to reports, Papandreou reiterated that general elections will be held in 2013 at the end of his government's term.
 Gov't sources deny foreign press reportGreek government sources on Monday night termed as "rubbish" a report by the Financial Times (Germany) citing informations according to which Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has reportedly said to close associates, twice over the past weeks, that he intends to resign.
 Troika to begin drafting report on Greece on WednesdayThe Greek government's talks with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) "troika" have in essence been completed, and the troika will begin writing up its progress report on the government's Medium-Term programme on Wednesday, alternate finance minister Pantelis Economou said on private on Monday morning.
Speaking on Mega television channel, Economou said that the troika team will be conferring with staff at the State General Accounts Office throughout Monday and Tuesday.
Economou further said that the troika initially wanted 30,000 layoffs in the public sector, but was finally convinced on the government's plan for reserve labour.
 ND leader meets with 'troika' officialsMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras met on Monday afternoon with the chiefs of the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) 'troika' mission in Greece at the party's headquarters for about 70 minutes.
Also present at the meeting were ND vice-president Stavros Dimas and party economic experts. No statements were made after the talks.
 Cyprus president telephones PM; E. Med exploration discussedGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Cyprus President Demetris Christofias held talks on the telephone on Monday, agreeing that tension in the Eastern Mediterranean must be avoided. According to an announcement issued by the Greek premier's press office, the two leaders stressed that all sides involved must maintain a responsible attitude.
Papandreou was also briefed on the progress of talks between the Cyprus government and the Turkish-Cypriot community to resolve the Cyprus issue, expressing his full support for Christofias' efforts to make real progress.
The call was made at Christofias' initiative, in the framework of regular and frequent communication between the Greek premier and the Cyprus president.
Christofias also briefed Papandreou on the results of an investigation concerning the July 11 explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari and the progress of exploratory drilling for fuel being carried out by Cyprus in its Exclusive Economic Zone.
 Offset benefits' contracts for research programmes in defence sectorFour offset benefits' contracts that will lead to research programmes are currently in effect according to a defence ministry document forwarded to parliament, it was announced on Monday.
The document was forwarded in response to a relevant question by Democratic Left MPs Fotis Kouvelis, Thanassis Leventis, Nikos Tsoukalis and Grigoris Psarianos.
In his response Defence Minister Panos Beglitis referred to Contract No 16/00 with "Lockheed Martin" which provides that the Academy of Athens Biomedical Research Foundation will receive the sum of 1 million euros for research and Contract No 13/03 with two 2-million-euro programmes for the Academy of Athens Biomedical Research Foundation and a 39-million-euro programme for SONAC company to develop and build replicas of armoured vehicles.
Also, Contract No 02/07 with RAYTHEON provides for a US $ 1.95-million programme for Theon Sensors company to develop night vision goggles.
Contract No 03/09 with Goodrich provides for two programmes, a US $ 55,000 programme for the Army Research and Technology Centre (KETES) to develop a robotic vehicle and a US $ 980,000 for "ISI Hellas" to develop a Portable Reconnaissance Screening System for the Air Force.
 China to honour Crete for assistance in Chinese citizens transport from LibyaA Chinese delegation arrived in Crete last week to express their appreciation to the local people and officials for the assistance offered in the evacuation of several Chinese nationals from Libya earlier in the year.
The delegation met with local and prefectural officials, before announcing Beijing's intent to honour all those who assisted in the transport and repatriation of Chinese citizens in February and March 2011.
Chinese diplomats briefed the Greek officials that Jia Qinglin, the chairman of the national committee of the Chinese People's political consultative conference, will organise an event on Oct. 26 at a well known local hotel.
 PASOK sec't meets Brazilian senator BuarqueRuling PASOK party secretary Michalis Kahrimakis met on Monday with visiting Brazilian Senator and former Democratic Labour Party (PDT) presidential candidate Cristovam Buarque.
The PASOK official briefed Buarque on Greece's current political and economic situation and on Prime Minister George Papandreou and the government's efforts to lead the country out of the current economic crisis.
On his part, the Brazilian senator underlined the importance that Greece represents for his country and proposed the strengthening of relations between PASOK and the PDT.
Buarque also handed presented an invitation on the part of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef to PM Papandreou to visit Brazil next June.
 Reports cite 'troika' demand for lower wage-scale in private sectorRepresentatives of the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" have reportedly called for lower private sector labour costs in the country via the abolition of a national collective bargaining agreement, during a meeting with relevant Labour & Social Insurance Minister George Koutroumanis on Monday.
Ministry sources in Athens said the minister expressed reservations over the idea, while in response to another 'troika' demand, namely, a three-year freeze in ratifying sector-wide collective labour contracts, Koutroumanis reportedly proposed ratification of all sector-wide contracts envisaging zero wage increases.
The two sides, however, agreed to extend special business labour contracts to enterprises with a workforce of less than 20 employees, a measure that will essentially allow a majority of employees to agree to pay cuts.
 Minister brings forward trucking sector deregulationInfrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Ragoussis on Monday set in motion an initiative to bring forward the complete deregulation of Greece's trucking sector and cut short the three-year transition period envisaged under the law passed by his predecessor a year earlier.
The minister held a meeting with a delegation from the Panhellenic Union of Overland Goods Transport, a national body representing truck owners, and briefed them on the radical changes and modifications that will be made under pressure from troika inspectors, who demanded the immediate and full deregulation of all 'closed' professions in talks with the government last Friday.
Sources said the minister informed truck owners that full deregulation will begin on January 1, 2012, 18 months sooner than the original date envisaged under the previous measure passed by former transport minister Dimitris Reppas.
In addition, there will no longer be any geographical restrictions according to a truck's home base, meaning that trucks will be allowed to transport goods throughout the country. Finally, the administrative fee for acquiring a new trucking licence will be just 1,500 euro.
Under the deal carved by truckers and Reppas, there would have been a transition period with a gradual reduction of the amount paid for a licence by 30 percent from January 1, 2011, by 35 percent the following year and by 35 percent in 2013, and finally abolished from July 1, 2013 so that obtaining a trucking licence would only cost the administrative fees. As a result, full deregulation would make the exchange value of a licence virtually nil.
Truck owners at the meeting expressed their complete opposition to the new measures announced by Ragoussis and are planning a meeting of the union's board on Tuesday to decide what action to adopt.
The climate is charged, however, with owners gravitating toward a new round of dynamic protests such as those that brought the country to a virtual standstill in 2010.
Truck owners claim that they have not time to found trucking companies before the end of the year since many of the vehicles they own have been bought with loans or are leased, so that they cannot be transferred as assets to a new company.
 GSEE meets with member-federations on labour reserve measureTrade unions on Monday agreed to use all available means, including recourse to Greek and European courts, to deal with the implementation of the labour reserve measure announced by the government.
The decision was reached in a meeting between the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the country's largest umbrella trade union organisation in the private sector, and its member-federations in state-run utilities and agencies where the labour reserve measure will be implemented.
The meeting focused on a relevant announcement made a day earlier by the government as regards the controversial measure and the escalation of mobilizations with a 24-hour strike in the public and private sector on Wednesday and a general strike called by civil servants union federation ADEDY and GSEE for Oct. 19.
A statement issued by ADEDY underlined that the tenure status of civil servants is being abolished a century after it was enacted, and questioned the constitutionality of layoffs in the public sector.
 Greek budget envisages additional taxes worth 3.382 bln euros in 2012Spending on interest will rise to 17.9 billion euros next year, or 8.3 pct of GDP, reflecting a rising public debt, although the draft budget plan noted that a rollover of Greek state bonds was expected to significantly reduce the country's borrowing needs for refinancing its debt for 2012. Greece's borrowing needs will be covered by a support mechanism, along with the issuance of short-term Treasury bills. The Greek government reiterated its intention to return to capital markets as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the 2012 budget envisages additional revenues from direct and indirect taxes worth 3.382 billion euros. Tax revenues are projected to reach 53.2 billion euros, from 49.8 billion euros this year, while regular budget revenues will rise to 56.368 billion euros in 2012 from 54.356 billion euros this year.
The budget plan envisages that higher tax revenues will result from a full implementation of a decline in the tax-exempt income limit to 5,000 euros from 12,000 euros, abolishing tax break measures, widening tax criteria on all taxpayers, changes in property tax, imposing an extra tax charge on large enterprises, raising VAT rates to 23 pct in restaurant services and imposing a special property tax.
Direct tax revenues are projected to rise to 24.115 billion euros, up 14.3 pct from 2011, while revenues from indirect taxes are projected to total 29.087 billion euros, down 0.2 pct from 2011.
 ELPEDISON power production plant inaugurated at Thisvi, central GreeceEnvironment, Energy and Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou on Monday inaugurated an ELPEDISON Group natural gas-powered electricity production plant at Thisvi, in Viotia prefecture, central Greece, stressing that the investment highlights the fact that the Greek economy inspires confidence in a very crucial period for the country.
Papaconstantinou underlined that the investment gives a boost to the energy market and stressed that it materialised a few weeks after the energy market deregulation law was passed in parliament. He pointed out that the energy sector's deregulation will be accelerated through the implementation of a privatization programme that will focus on Hellenic Public Gas Corp. S.A. (DEPA), Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA), Hellenic Petroleum S.A. (ELPE) and Public Power Corp. S.A. (PPC)
The Thisvi plant, a natural gas fired unit (CCGT) with a total installed capacity of 420 MW, is the second ELPEDISON power plant after the one already in operation in Thessaloniki making the company the second largest electricity production company in Greece after PPC. The 275-million-euro investment was completed in two and a half years.
ELPEDISON Group has been established by ELPE, the largest Greek commercial and industrial company active in the oil and petrochemical sector and Edison, the longest-running electric production utility in Europe and one of the largest in Italy. The Ellaktor Group (HE&D), among the leading Greek companies in the sector of construction and renewable energy activities in the field of power generation, is also part of the Group.
 Credit flow to private sector remained negative in Aug.The annual growth rate of total credit granted to the domestic private sector stood at -1.3 percent in August 2011, compared with -1.2 percent in July 2011 and 0.0 percent in December 2010, the Bank of Greece said on Monday. The net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative amounting to 1.310 billion euros in August, up from a negative flow of 1.031 billion euros in August 2010.
The net flow of credit to enterprises in August 2011 was negative, amounting to 690 million euros (August 2010: negative net flow of 643 million) and the annual growth rate of credit stood at 0.5 percent from 0.6 percent in July 2011 (December 2010: 1.1 percent).
The net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative, amounting to 143 million euros in August 2011 (August 2010: negative net flow of 142 million euros) and the annual rate of change of credit stood at -4.0 percent in August 2011, unchanged from the previous month (July 2011: -4.0 percent, December 2010: 0.3 percent).
In August 2011, the net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative, amounting to 476 million euros (August 2010: negative net flow of 246 million). As a result, the annual growth rate of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions decreased further (August 2011: -2.9 percent, July 2011: -2.7 percent, December 2010: -1.2 percent).
 Tourist arrivals on the rise in SeptemberTourist arrivals in Greece recorded a double digit rise in the first month of autumn and while this year's tourism season nears its end, the tourism sector continues to be the most productive sector of the Greek economy, it was announced on Monday.
International arrivals and revenues recorded a 10 pct increase, contributing to more than 17 pct of the GDP and 20 pct of employment.
Tourism and Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos will on Monday outline the ministry's tourism campaign strategy for the coming season at an event at the Federation of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE).
 Greek-Ukrainian business forum this monthA Greek-Ukrainian business forum entitled "Cooperation between Ukraine and Greece Under the Global Economic Crisis: Practical Possibilities and Prospects of Collaboration", will be held on Oct. 7, 2011, within the framework of a forthcoming visit by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to Greece this week.
The event, which will take place at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA), is under the auspices of the embassy of Ukraine to Greece. The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs are co-organisers of the business forum.
The event will also provide a platform for experience sharing, discussing investment opportunities and joint projects.
 Greek PPI up 7.8pct in AugustGreece's Producer Price Index in Industry rose by 7.8 percent in August over the corresponding year in 2010, the independent Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
ELSTAT, in a report, said that the Producer Price Index in Industry (PPI) in August 2011 compared with August 2010 recorded a rise of 7.8%. The index in August 2010 had recorded an increase of 4.6% compared with August 2009.
The PPI in August 2011 compared with July 2011 recorded a fall of 0.9%. The index in August 2010 had recorded an increase of 0.3% compared with July 2010.
The twelve-month average index, from September 2010 to August 2011, compared with the same index of the period from September 2009 to August 2010, increased by 7.3%. The previous year the twelve-month average index had increased by 4.1%
1. Monthly rates of change of August 2011 compared with July 2011.
Prices in total industry in August 2011 decreased by 0.9% compared with the previous month, July 2011, due to the monthly changes of the sub-indices of the markets: a. The PPI for the Domestic Market fell by 0.9%. b. The PPI for the Non-Domestic Market fell by 1.1% .
2. Annual rates of change of August 2011 compared with August 2010.
Prices in total industry in August 2011 increased by 7.8% compared with the same month of the previous year, August 2010, due to the annual changes of the sub-indices of the markets: a. The PPI for the Domestic Market grew by 7.5%. b. The PPI for the Non-Domestic Market grew by 8.6%.
 Qatar Holding buys 7.07 pct stake in European Goldfields for 130 mln Canadian dollarsAktor Construction International Ltd, a subsidiary of Aktor ATE, on Monday announced an agreement to sell 13 million shares of European Goldfileds to Qatar Holding, or 7.07 pct of the company's equity capital, for 130 million Canadian dollars.
In an announcement to the Athens Stock Exchange, Ellaktor said Aktor's equity stake in European Goldfields following the transaction with Qatar Holding fell to 12.2 pct and said that under the agreement Qatar Holding maintained the option to buy an additional 9,373,390 shares at a price of 13 Canadian dollars per share.
Ellaktor said the deal was necessary to facilitate funding in order to begin the first phase of a gold project in Halkidiki and to pave the way for Qatar Holding's participationin the project as a strategic investor by offering a loan worth 600 million US dollars, while existing shareholders will offer an additional 150 million US dollars.
 Lawyers to participate in Oct. 5 strikeThe heads of bar associations throughout Greece on Monday announced their decision to participate in a nationwide strike declared on October 5 by the civil servants' union ADEDY and the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the country's largest umbrella trade union organisation.
In an announcement, they said they would strike in protest against the economic measures being taken by the government that affect all Greeks and particularly lawyers through the imposition of a freelance enterprise tax, the solidarity 'contribution' and the property surtax, as well as the attempted liberalisation of their profession, reduction of the tax-free allowance, objective tax criteria and higher VAT.
 Bus workers assembly ends without decision on strike actionA general meeting by Athens bus workers, held during a work stoppage between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday, ended without any agreement on future strike action against the labour reserve measure planned by the government. A second meeting of the union's board will take place on Tuesday in order to make a final decision.
Monday's meeting was marked by tension and a number of proposals were made, without leading to any agreement. Sources said the likeliest outcome would be a 24-hour strike by bus workers on Wednesday, to coincide with a nationwide strike declared by the civil servants' union federation ADEDY and the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE).
They are likely to be joined on that day by workers on the Athens metro, who may however run trains for some hours during the day in order to allow people to travel to the centre of Athens and participate in protest rallies organised by the umbrella trade union organisations.
 Business Briefs-- Greece's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) eased to 43.2 points in September, from 43.3 in August, showing a slightly worsening of business conditions in the Greek manufacturing sector.
 Stocks end 2.4% lowerStocks came under strong selling pressure at the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, hit by a negative climate in other European markets over worries of a continuing European debt crisis amid speculation of a larger haircut of Greek state debt.
The composite index of the market dropped 2.40 pct to end at 779.29 points, falling to new lows for the year in intra-day trading (773.52 points). Turnover remained a disappointing low 31.397 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 3.78 pct, the Mid Cap index eased 0.25 pct and the Small Cap index ended 1.36 pct lower. Ellaktor (4.11 pct), Folli Follie (0.31 pct) and Jumbo (0.26 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while MIG (12.5 pct), Eurobank (8.6 pct), Marfin Popular Bank (8.33 pct), Alpha Bank (8.27 pct) and National Bank (7.27 pct) were top losers.
The Technology (1.71 pct), Personal Products (0.61 pct) and Commerce (0.30 pct) were top gainers, while Banks (6.95 pct), Financial Services (6.09 pct) and Travel (4.79 pct) sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 84 to 39 with another 53 issues unchanged. Maillis (10 pct), Sfakianakis (9.18 pct) and FHL Mermeren (8.6 pct) were top gainers, while Autohellas (17.6 pct), Lavipharm (16 pct) and Loulis Mills (13.7 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.99%
Personal & Household: +0.61%
Raw Materials: -2.23%
Travel & Leisure: -4.79%
Food & Beverages: -0.13%
Financial Services: -6.09%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OPAP, Coca Cola 3E and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.22
Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.99
HBC Coca Cola: 13.20
Hellenic Petroleum: 5.80
National Bank of Greece: 2.55
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.85
Bank of Piraeus: 0.44
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.80 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover shrinking to a low 8.495 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,974 contracts worth 4.715 million euros, with 23,536 short positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 17,334 contracts worth 3.780 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (8,833), followed by Eurobank (1,602), MIG (456), OTE (415), OPAP (312), Piraeus Bank (1,142), GEK (275), Alpha Bank (1,960), Ellaktor (995), Hellenic Postbank (364) and Mytilineos (138).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.352
Pound sterling 0.872
Danish kroner 7.553
Swedish kroner 9.296
Japanese yen 103.93
Swiss franc 1.232
Norwegian kroner 7.943
Canadian dollar 1.417
Australian dollar 1.404
 No trains, suburban railway on WednesdayAthens will remain without trains and suburban railway on Wednesday, as the Federation of Railworkers announced that it will participate in the 24-hour strike declared by the General Confederation of Workers in Greece (GSEE) on October 5.
The workers express their opposition to the reserve labour which they say opens the door to thousands of layoffs.
 Dockworkers' union to participate in Wed. strikeThe union representing dockworkers nationwide and at the Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) will participate in the 24-hour strike on Wednesday in protest against the government's austerity measures and labour reserve regime, it was announced on Monday.
The Federation of Port Workers of Greece (OMYLE) and the Port of Piraeus Dockworkers' Union made the announcement.
 High-school students, riot police clash in Syntagma; one arrestA protest rally by Athens highschool students in Syntagma Square opposite Parliament ended in violence on Monday, after riot police clashed with students toward the end of the rally.
One person was arrested during altercations with police, prompted when a small group of students attempted to block Vassilisis Sofias Avenue a second time, after the main body of the protest had left. Eventually, the remaining students dispersed.
The highschool students, from a number of state schools in the greater Athens area, were protesting about shortages of books, staff and other materials in schools.
They had blocked off central roads leading to Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens, causing serious traffic congestion in the centre.
 'Looking for Goddess Athena' at New Acropolis MuseumA visit to the New Acropolis Museum in Athens is enough for visitors to realise the splendor of its exhibits, however, digital applications can provide more details about the objects on display.
The digital application "Athena, Goddess of the Acropolis", available at the address www.acropolis-athena.gr <http://www.acropolis-athena.gr> , provides important information on the mythical goddess of wisdom, culture and the arts.
A virtual tour of the Acropolis Museum with the help of a beam of light leads the visitor to exhibits that depict the goddess Athena, including dedications and offerings.
 Elvis Costello live in AthensElvis Costello will be swinging by Athens during his "Solo" world tour, playing live for a one night at the Athens Concert Hall on October 26.
Costello fans be given a second opportunity to see him live after his scheduled appearance at the open-air Terravibe venue in Malakasa earlier this year was cancelled due to poor sales.
His last visit to Athens was in 2007 at the Herod Atticus Odeon, during the much-acclaimed "The River in Reverse" tour with singer-pianist Allen Toussaint. This time, it will be just Costello on his own, on the stage, with his suit and his hat and an acoustic guitar.
 Thousands of Holocaust testimonies available online at AUTH libraryGreek and foreign historians and researchers can have access to the visual history archive of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute following an agreement between Berlin's Freie Universitaet, the first European university to have access to the archive, and Thessaloniki's Aristotle University (AUTH), it was announced on Monday.
The largest audiovisual archive of its kind worldwide features 113,000 hours of history recorded in 235,000 videotapes that include 51,696 eyewitness accounts in 32 languages, presented by survivors from 56 countries.
Access to the audiovisual testimonies is exclusively available at three computer terminals at AUTH's new library building.
Addressing a special event at AUTH, Thessaloniki Jewish Community president David Saltiel referred to the valuable cooperation with Shoah Foundation Institute, stressing that "if voices become silent, history could be repeated".
 Foreign nationals wanted on Euro warrants arrested at border postTwo Albanian nationals, aged 26 and 37, wanted by German and Italian authorities, respectively, on European arrest warrants, were apprehended at the Kakavia border crossing at the Greek-Albanian frontier when attempting to enter Greece, it was announced on Monday.
Both men will face extradition.
The 26-year-old is wanted by German authorities for alleged drug trafficking in the Wuppertal district 2007.
The second man is wanted by Italian authorities for his alleged participation in a criminal gang trafficking women into a prostitution ring.
 Sunny on TuesdayMostly sunny weather is forecast on Tuesday, with the possibility of showers in the southwest. Winds northerly, ranging from 3 to 6 Beaufort. Temperatures from 11C to 29C. Sunny in Athens, with temperatures between 16C and 27C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 27C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe reserve labour measure and the 2012 draft State Budget approved late Sunday during a Cabinet meeting, mostly dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Greece signs 1.2 billion euros deal with Qatar for Halkidiki goldmines".
AVRIANI: "Oil sets fire to the Mediterranean ".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "8,000 to be fired in Public Utilities and Organisations (DEKO) and other agencies".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Execution in seven steps".
ESTIA: "Self-destruction syndrome".
ETHNOS: "The lists with the first wave of civil servants leaving under the reserve labour regime".
IMERISSIA: "Agreement with the troika - Reserve labour measures and 2012 austerity measures 'locked in'."
NAFTEMPORIKI: "2012 State Budget and reserve labour in public sector 'locked in'."
TA NEA: "Towards 3-speed reserve labour".
VRADYNI: "Arrangement of loans and credit cards with judicial contribution".
 Cyprus President rejects personal responsibility over Mari blastNICOSIA (CNA/AMNA)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias on Monday categorically rejected that he bears personal responsibility concerning the deadly blast that took place on July 11 at the naval base "Evaggelos Florakis", at Mari, adding that he will not resign.
The president was addressing a group of refugees from Morphou, a Turkish-occupied town in the north western part of Cyprus, during the inauguration of their new "Morphou Sports Association" premises, in Limassol.
Speaking in the aftermath of the publication of a report, earlier Monday, by Head of the Inquiry Commission Polis Polyviou, concerning the allocation of responsibilities on the handling of the storage of a confiscated cargo, that led to the deadly blast killing 13 people, President Christofias noted that the report's conclusion are not substantiated by the testimonies in front of the commission, adding that Polyviou had overstepped the terms of his mandate.
"The conclusions on behalf of Polyviou are not substantiated from the testimonies taken and the material presented in front of the inquiry commission", the president said.
He added that "to the contrary, many conclusions by Polyviou in his report - especially when it comes to the President's involvement to the issue under scrutiny - seem manifestly and at first sight to lack the necessary documentation".
The president went on by saying that "without doubt, one can safely argue that Polyviou has overstepped the terms of his mandate".
Moreover, he said that he would await the report by the Police, which will allocate possible criminal responsibilities and will give a comprehensive picture of the incident, in order for the government to take a definite position.
Polyviou: Major responsibility for Mari blast belongs to Christofias
The President of the Republic bears "grave personal responsibilities" concerning the tragic blast incident at the naval base "Evaggelos Florakis", at Mari, and its repercussions, Commission of Inquiry Head Polys Polyviou said Monday.
Following the incident, last July, the Cabinet appointed a single-member inquiry commission, headed by Polyviou, to investigate events which led to the deadly explosion and allocate political responsibilities.
Speaking to the press, following the publication of his report, in the presence of relatives of blast victims, Polyviou presented the conclusions of his report, saying that ex Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou and ex Defense Minister Costas Papacostas are also burdened with "very serious responsibilities, both institutional and personal ones".
He added that "the main responsibility, however, belongs to the President of the Republic, who is heading the state and the government".
Polyviou also said that part of his report also deals with criminal and disciplinary responsibilities, but said that he wouldn't announce names, out of respect for the criminal investigation.
Thirteen people were killed and dozens were injured when a massive explosion occurred at the naval base "Evangelos Florakis", near Limassol, on the southern coast, in the early hours of July 11th. The blast badly damaged the islandTs main power plant, at Vasiliko, resulting in regular power cuts.
The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from ''Monchegorsk'', a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. Nicosia was acting in accordance with UN sanctions against Teheran.
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