|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 11-10-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 24 October 2011 Issue No: 3915
 Greek PM meets with Merkel, Sarkozy; separate contacts with Cyprus presidentBRUSSELS (AMNA)
A meeting here between Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the German and French leaders, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, with diplomatic sources here reportedly stating that the Greek side's goal is a "final, clear-cut and secure" solution to the Greek debt problem.
The same sources reportedly said negotiations will be commenced, within the framework of the Eurozone, with banks holding Greek state bonds, with negotiations to be concluded by Wednesday. The meeting was also attended by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Barroso and Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Papandreou also met with Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, as both leaders reiterated the island republic's right to conduct oil and gas exploration in its territorial waters.
Christofias, in fact, brought up the issue of Turkey's threats and provocations during the summit meeting of EU leaders.
 PM: "The crisis is not a Greek but a European one"BRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Aroni)
"The crisis is not a Greek but a European one," Greek prime minister George Papandreou said as he went into a critical EU Summit in Brussels on Sunday.
Papandreou reiterated that Greece has repeatedly proved that it is taking the necessary measures to render its economy viable and the country more just.
"We are a proud people that deserve respect," Papandreou stressed, adding that the Greek people, on their part, have shouldered their responsibilities with great pain.
"The crisis is not Greek, but European. As Europeans we must act decisively and effectively," he added.
Papandreou had a meeting with European Council president Herman van Rompuy before the opening of the summit, while on Saturday night he held talks with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
After the meeting with Barroso, the premier said that Greece is continuing a tough and difficult negotiation aimed at lightening the burden born by the Greek people with respect to the country's debt, but also at the country's exiting the crisis and entering a developmental course.
"Greece's strong negotiating weapon is the sacrifices of the Greek people over the past two years," Papandreou said, adding that "now it is Europe's time", while also noting that the European citizens' in the EU institutions and function is diminishing daily, as is the social cohesion of Europe.
That is why the decisions taken must be decisive in order to evolve into a "Europe of solidarity".
Papandreou stressed that Greece has made decisive moves in order to implement its fiscal consolidation programme and put the economy on viable foundations.
"Now, it is the hour for comprehensive decisions for Europe," he said, adding that "the decisions that will be taken over the coming days will be historic."
Greek government spokesman Elias Mossialos said later that the meeting with Barroso took place in a "very good climate", and was also attended by Greek alternate finance minister Philippos Sahinidis.
Mossialos also said that Barroso assured Papandreou of his backing for Greece's efforts and stressed that Greece is an inseparable member of the eurozone.
The spokesman further said that the two leaders reviewed in depth the ongoing discussions in the eurogroup, and the activities of the European Commission task force in Greece and the technical assistance it is providing, and also discussed the decision to reduce Greece's national participation in the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) investment programmes.
The summit began on Sunday morning, with the leaders of the 27 EU member states attempting to come up with comprehensive responses to the debt crisis.
Despite optimistic statements by the European leaders as they entered the Summit, expectations were rather small as considerable disagreements continued to exist on fundamental issues to be dealt with in Brussels as they are interdependent and comprise a 'package' (recapitalisation of banks, new support programme for Greece, bigger contribution by the private sector, enhancement of the European Fiscal Stability Facility-EFSF).
A framework agreement reached by the 27 EU finance ministers on Friday, after a 10-hour marathon discussion, on recapitalisation of the European Banks is considered a positive development, while the German and French leaders expressed optimism that an ambitious comprehensive agreement will be reached at a follow-up eurozone summit on Wednesday.
The EU summit was due to run to about 2:00 p.m. Greek time, followed by a working lunch, while a eurozone summit was slated to start at 5:00 in the afternoon.
 European Council chief: Optimism for 'comprehensive package' solution at extraordinary EU summit called for WednesdayBRUSSELS (AMNA/V. Demiris)
European Council president Herman van Rompuy on Sunday expressed optimism that a "comprehensive package" for a viable solution to the Greek debt, recapitalisation of vulnerable European banks, boosting the European Fiscal Stability Facility (EFSF) and enhancement of economic governance will be agreed at another summit on Wednesday.
Speaking in Brussels after a summit meeting of the 27-member European Union, Rompuy said that "satisfactory progress" had been made Sunday regarding the recapitalisation of banks, which is expected to be finalised on Wednesday, when another, extraordinary, EU summit has been called at 7:00 p.m. (Greek time), ahead of a follow-up eurozone summit of the 17 euro area member countries.
On economic governance, Rompuy said the 27 leaders agreed Sunday to examine the prospects for a "limited" change to the treaties and that the matter will be taken up again at the EU summit in December.
 Samaras at EPP summit: Reiterates call for jump-starting Greek economyBRUSSELS (AMNA/M. Spinthourakis)
Greek main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras reiterated his position on the need to re-start the Greek economy, as he went into a summit of the European People's Party (EPP) grouping of the European Parliament in Meise, near Brussels, on Saturday evening.
Samaras said that latest figures indicate that Greece is in a deep recession, and consequently the necessary actions should be taken to jump-start the Greek economy, in tandem with the fiscal adjustment.
He added that re-starting the economy is a necessary condition for maintaining social cohesion.
Earlier, Samaras warned of major hazards for Greece but also for the European and global economy in the event of a revision of the July 21 eurozone summit decision on the Greek debt.
He also said that the manageability of the Greek debt, apart from whatever 'haircut', requires high growth rates and large and consistent primary surpluses, and that is why a jump-start of the Greek economy is required so that the country can enter an orbit of a viable solution of its problems, in the framework of the eurozone.
Greek government spokesman Elias Mossialos severely criticised Samaras on his statement that any revision of the July 21 eurozone summit decision on the Greek debt entailed great hazards both for Greece and for the European and global economy, accusing the ND leader of "danger-mongering and vagueness, once again, without putting forward any specific proposal whatsoever".
The EPP summit was attended by heads of state and government from 17 EU member-states, political party leaders, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek.
 ND bashes gov't amid EU report on Greek economyMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party on Saturday stepped up its criticism of the government in the wake of a latest EU report on the Greek government.
ND deputy and economy shadow minister Christos Staikouras emphasised that the assessments on the viability of the Greek debt are particularly damning for the socialist PASOK government.
He cited the estimate of a return to the market for sovereign lending no earlier than 2021, when the initial projection of the government was for 2011, along with a forecast for an economic recovery after 2013. Staikouras also charged that GDP will fall at greater levels than previously forecast, while the debt will remain at the 130-percent level of GDP until 2030, according to the EU.
 High-ranking Chinese official Jia visits GreeceThe chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jia Qinglin, began his official visit to Greece on Sunday with a tour of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and the Panathinaiko Stadium, the marble U-shaped venue that hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
Jia arrived in Athens following an invitation by the president of the Greek Parliament, accompanied by a delegation of Chinese officials and entrepreneurs.
"China considers the development of the strategic partnership with Greece as very important and is willing, together with the Greek side, to promote our cooperation at a new level," he said upon arrival in Athens.
Jia on Monday will visit the Acropolis Museum before being received by Greek President Karolos Papoulias.
 Judicial probe into KKE claims of 'link' between anti-state hooligans, policeThe head of the Athens first instance courts' prosecutors office on Saturday ordered a preliminary investigation into allegations by Communist Party (KKE) chief Aleka Papariga of a "connection" between hooded, violence-prone youths who regularly infiltrate protests in central Athens only to clash with riot police and engage in vandalism and hooliganism.
KKE has charged and has supplied what it called photographic evidence that hooded youths -- long described as self-styled anarchists or anti-state thugs -- are linked with police.
Meanwhile, in a related development, a 53-year-old man who suffered a fatal heart attack on Thursday during clashes in central Athens between communist-affiliated labour groups and the hooded youths, was buried on Saturday in an east Athens cemetery. The man was identified as a construction worker and a member of the KKE-affiliated labour grouping PAME.
 Tsipras demands apology from Merkel for 'lazy Greeks' statementCoalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) party leader and vice-president of the European Left Party Alexis Tsipras severely criticised German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and demanded that she apologize to the Greek people "for her slanderous attack about lazy Greeks", during an address in Berlin at the regular congress of the German Left party Die Linke.
Tsipras demanded the immediate withdrawal of the so-called Eureka plan, which he warned would mean sell-off of Greece's state property. He also called for the reversal of the Troika policy and Memorandum, which he said is sinking Greek society into despair.
It is noted that an open letter by the European Left Party to Merkel, copies of which were also sent to French president Nicolas Sarkozy, European Council president Herman van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, with a similar content, was made public on Friday.
Tsipras further said that at the Die Linke congress "we united our voices from all over Europe to send a strong message to the leaders of the European Union, who are meeting in Brussels, that if they do not abandon the policy of austerity, they will never find a solution".
 Minister: Illegals must abandon country voluntarily or be deportedCitizens Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis reiterated over the weekend, in published statements, that all third country citizens in the country that do not fulfil conditions for temporary residency "must abandon Greece either voluntarily or via deportation".
In comments carried in the Sunday weekly "Proto Thema", Papoutsis emphasised that the message that Greece is "not a paradise for illegal migrants must be conveyed everywhere; our society cannot tolerate becoming Europe's warehouse of illegal immigrants".
The high-profile ruling PASOK minister and one-time EU Commissioner said a new fence along a stretch of the land border with Turkey, one particularly vulnerable to migrant smugglers, is proceeding as planned, along with a network of infrared cameras along the border -- in the extreme NE border prefecture of Evros.
He also made reference to a stepped up police presence in the centre of Athens, which in recent years has been plagued by increased crime, mainly by gangs of Third World illegal migrants and congregated drug users.
 Greece ready to provide assistance after massive earthquake in TurkeyGreece is prepared to provide all possible assistance to the Turkish authorities after a devastating earthquake that hit the Van region of the neighbouring country shortly after noon on Sunday, Greek foreign minister Stavros Lambrinidis told his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in a telephone call later in the day.
Lambrinidis expressed his deepest condolences and the Greek people's support for the Turkish people, and informed Davutoglu of the Greek citizens protection ministry's readiness to provide all possible assistance to the Turkish authorities in dealing with the disaster.
 Energy Minister in Azerbaijan on MondayEnvironment, Energy & Climate Change Minister George Papaconstantinou, along with Deputy Minister Yannis Maniatis, will travel on Monday to Azerbaijan.
The Greek ministers will meet with the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev and the president of the Committee of Energy of the Azerbaijani national assembly.
According to a ministry announcement, the two sides will discuss the ITGI gas pipeline and secure natgas supplies.
 Foreign nat'l nabbed in Ioannina on European arrest warrantA 51-year-old Albanian national was arrested in the NW city of Ioannina on Friday on a European arrest warrant issued by Belgian authorities.
The foreign national is charged with aggravated people trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and participation in a criminal gang, between 1998 and 2004 in various Belgian cities. Other charges cited in the warrant include the procurement of forged documents for trafficked women and one count of rape.
The suspect is scheduled for face a local prosecutor in an extradition hearing.
 Superleague ResultsAsteras Tripolis - Xanthi 1-1
Atromitos Athens - PAS Yiannena 1-0
Panathinaikos Athens - Ergotelis Crete 4-0
OFI Crete - AEK Athens 3-1
Panionios Athens - Olympiakos Piraeus 0-3
Aris Thessaloniki - PAOK Thessaloniki 1-1
The standings after the 7th week of play
PAS Yiannena 9
Asteras Tripoli 3
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceDevelopments in the economy and Sunday's EU summit, and anticipated political developments in view of the critical decisions for the Greek debt were the main front-page items in Athens' newspapers on Sunday.
AVGHI: "The people can topple Memorandum-Government".
AVRIANI: "The Germans were getting rid of 'junk', and the Greeks, on the government's orders, were buying it".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Papandreou has run out of time - EU Summit to bring avalanche of political developments".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Walking in the dark - Intense mobility overnight in Brussels - Bargaining on 60 percent haircut".
ETHNOS: "George (prime minister Papandreou): I will not resign, everything else I will discuss".
KATHIMERINI: "Zero hour for Greece".
KERDOS: "Murky landscape in Europe - Greece a ping-pong ball between Paris and Berlin".
LOGOS: "The dead-end circle of taxes".
NIKI: "How to get 'haircut' on debts to banks".
PROTO THEMA: "Greece's assets have already been divided up: The taxation system goes to Germany, the budget and health go to France, business development goes to Finland, the privatisations go to The Netherlands".
REALNEWS: "Haircut for George (prime minister Papandreou) - Political reversals coming after the EU Summit".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Intensification of the struggle against government, EU, big capital and their political parties is the only way".
TO ARTHRO: "The 'Hegemon' plan - Technocrats from Europe to undertake the nationalisations".
TO PARON: "The prime minister hostage to Venizelos (finance minister)".
TO VIMA: "Shock reverberations from mammoth 'haircut' in banks, businesses, pensions".
VRADYNI: "IKA (state-run Social Security Foundation): Retirement as of this year - Who will benefit from retiring right now".
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