|Friday, 20 July 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-06-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 7 June 2012 Issue No: 4089
 Greek banks' interest rates on deposits up in AprilGreek banks' deposit interest rates rose slightly in April, while interest rates on new loans decreased in the same month, the Bank of Greece said on Wednesday.
More specifically, the central bank in its monthly report said that in April 2012, the average interest rate on overnight deposits from households remained unchanged at 0.47 percent while the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations decreased by 6 basis points to 0.47 percent. The average interest rate on deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to 1 year, increased marginally by 2 basis points to 4.96 percent. As a result of the above developments and the redistribution of funds in favour of the relatively higher yielding deposit categories, the overall average interest rate on all new deposits increased by 3 basis points to 2.92 percent.
In the case of loans, the average interest rate on consumer loans without a defined maturity (a category which includes credit card debt, open account loans and debit balances on current accounts) decreased slightly by 3 basis points in April 2012, to 15.08 percent. On the contrary, the average interest rate on consumer loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year increased by 15 basis points to 8.34 percent in April 2012, from 8.19 percent in the previous month.
The average interest rate on corporate loans without a defined maturity decreased marginally by 2 basis points to 7.78 percent while the corresponding rate on loans to sole proprietors increased by 4 basis points to 10.35 percent. The average interest rate on corporate loans with a defined maturity at a floating rate or with an initial rate fixation period of up to one year decreased by 12 basis points to 7.57 percent. Finally, the average interest rate on housing loans at a floating rate or with an initial fixation period of up to one year decreased by 7 basis points to 3.55 percent. As a result of the above developments, the overall average interest rate on all new loans decreased in April 2012 by 4 basis points to 6.32 percent.
In April 2012 the overall average interest rate on outstanding amounts of all deposits remained almost unchanged, while the corresponding rate on all loans decreased. In particular, in April 2012, the average interest rate on outstanding amounts of deposits from households with an agreed maturity of up to 2 years increased by 4 basis points to 4.65 percent and the corresponding rate on deposits from non-financial corporations increased by 6 basis points to 4.69 percent. The average interest rate on outstanding amounts of loans with over five years' maturity decreased by 3 basis points to 3.49 percent for housing loans, increased by 2 basis to 5.21 percent for corporate loans and decreased by 4 basis points to 6.28 percent for loans to sole proprietors. As a result, the overall average interest rate on all deposits (including overnight deposits) remained almost unchanged to 2.84 percent, while the corresponding rate.
 ND leader Samaras gives internet television interviewNew Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras, speaking to the internet programme "e-nikos" of Nikos Hatzinikolaou, in which he also replied to questions put to him by citizens, stressed on Wednesday night:
"I did not sign the continuation of the memorandum, I signed its change. If I had not done it we would be in the procedure of the drachma already. Europe accepted the amendments I proposed. I was the architect of the anti-memorandum. I could insist (in October 2011) and receive a 60 percent (in anticipated elections), but at that moment I placed the fatherland above our interest."
"We have a complete and costed programme. The citizen stands to gain from our programme. Jobs, the stability of the euro, growth and relief for his debts as well as for many injustices that took place. We are in the most crucial period and many things are at risk. Jobs or taxes, euros or drachmas, successful renegotiating or capitulation," Samaras added.
He also said that someone having a loan must not pay an instalment above 30 percent of the monthly income. There must also be an extension of the unemployment bonus to two years.
Samaras also reiterated that he will form a factfinding committee to see how Greece reached the memorandum.
 Tsipras briefs G20 ambassador's on SYRIZA's platforms on economy and foreign policyCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday briefed the ambassadors to Greece of the G20 countries on his party's platforms on the economy and foreign policy at a special event at the Zappion in Athens.
Reiterating SYRIZA's main position that the Memorandum is leading Greece to destruction, but also the party's firm European orientation, Tsipras stressed that the SYRIZA platform is not a programme for Greece's exit from the eurozone but, quite the opposite, it comprises the only way out of the crisis and Greece's conversion into an equal and dignified partner in the EU and the eurozone.
The inconclusive May 6 parliamentary elections generated great interest internationally in SYRIZA, what it is and what it wants, Tsipras said, adding that SYRIZA is the Left of the 21st century that aspires to a socialism with democracy and freedom.
On what the main aims of a Left government would be, Tsipras explained: "We wish to pursue an agreed solution with our partners, but such a solution must definitely halt the continuing destruction, stop the downward trend of the Greek GDP, the increase in unemployment, the further compression of labour remuneration and the vital expenditures for the public health and the security of the country.
In an extensive reference to foreign policy, Tsipras said that SYRIZA, as government, will follow a multi-dimensional and peaceful foreign policy, but also a demanding policy within the EU capable of contributing to the building of regional cooperations in the Balkans and the Mediterranean.
He also said that SYRIZA champions the conversion of the Middle East into a de-nuclearized zone and will assume relevant initiatives in that direction.
On Greek-Turkish relations, Tsipras said he was in favor of dialogue, based on international law and mutual respect of the countries' national sovereignty. He also favored Turkey's accession to the EU, but on condition that the neighboring country lifts its threat of war against Greece and agrees to the referral of the delimitation of the Aegean continental shelf to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, while a criteria will also be a moratorium on armaments.
Regarding the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Tsipras said that Greece has inalienable right in establishing an EEZ and the exploitation of the underwater wealth in the zone, and will take up initiatives for relevant agreements with its neighboring countries.
With respect to the Cyprus issue, he said SYRIZA was in favour of the reunification of the island republic in the context of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, and a Cyprus without foreign armies and military bases.
As for the Balkans, he said SYRIZA will promote the inter-Balkan cooperation, and also the idea of a Balkan ecological map.
On the FYROM name issue, Tsipras said SYRIZA endorses a composite name with a geographical qualification for all uses (ergo omnes).
 SYRIZA leader discusses Memorandum, foreign policy with G-20 envoysRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday fielded dozens of questions by envoys of G-20 countries who attended a closed-door meeting in central Athens, following a public address delivered by the leftist leader.
The questions focused on what decisions that will be made by SYRIZA, if it wins the June 17 election and if it forms a government, on the Memorandum, Greece's participation in NATO and the western institutions in general.
Most of the questions and the discussion itself focused on the negotiating framework cited by SYRIZA, considering that it has made it clear that it will proceed with the termination of the memorandum.
According to reliable information, Tsipras wished to communicate with the senior foreign diplomats to outline to them his party's political positions and priorities, respond to their questions and, this way, help in overcoming or correcting any misinterpretations or possible vagueness.
Tsipras repeated that SYRIZA will table, in Parliament, draft laws reversing reforms in labour relations, minimum wages, layoffs, etc, and will make "decisive moves" toward a new and fair taxation system, as he said, expressing a hope that the EC-ECB-IMF troika will respond positively to the invitation for new negotiations.
He said a SYRIZA government will work methodically to preserve Greece's place inside the EU and the Eurozone but within a new negotiating framework, one aimed as he said in stopping the disastrous course followed by the country and avoiding a nationally painful humanitarian crisis.
Tsipras stated that his party's position, namely, that NATO should dissolve and Greece should leave the Alliance, still stands. However, he was clarified that the country's disengagement from NATO will not be raised in the "present phase".
He stressed that Greece will not participate in conflicts where NATO is involved, either directly nor indirectly, and underlined the need to have a nuclear-free Middle East, pointing out that SYRIZA will work for peaceful co-existence in the region.
SYRIZA sources later clarified that the party's negative stance as regards the country's participation in any possible conflict in Iran or elsewhere does not mean that it supports authoritarian or anti-democratic regimes.
According to the same sources, SYRIZA supports the launch of negotiations on EEZ delineation between Greece and Turkey, and in the Mediterranean in general, in order to avoid future tensions.
Referring to the burgeoning military cooperation between Greece and Israel, Tsipras said it is under discussion within the framework of a multi-dimensional foreign policy that will be followed by a possible SYRIZA government.
 SYRIZA leader Tsipras calls on ND leader to accept public debateRadical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) president Alexis Tsipras, addressing a rally in Elefsina on Wednesday evening, called on New Demcracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras to "stop hiding at last and appear and accept the public confrontation with him, without monologues prepared in advance."
He called on Samaras to appoint "whoever journalists he desires, whoever make him feel better, let him even appoint Mihelakis (ND's spokesman) provided that he accepts a live confrontation in a substantial and not standardised confrontation."
Tsipras appeared even more optimistic over the election victory of SYRIZA in the June 17 elections and, referring to the ND and PASOK parties, said "they are departing hand-in-hand, for the people to be left in peace and the country to change course," while expressing certainty over the victory of SYRIZA and stressing that "the people have turned the balance definitely."
 PASOK leader calls for 'national shared responsibility governance'PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, whose party came third in the May 6 elections and subsequent opinion polls, on Wednesday issued a call for a "governance of national shared responsibility".
Speaking at Greece's chamber of small industry, Venizelos stressed that voters wanted cooperation, which was also imposed by the numbers, but stressed that this had to be "politically realistic and balanced, able to govern the country, provide solutions and not make the problems worse".
He said the country needed governance with "national shared responsibility, a comprehensive national strategy that was responsible and feasible".
According to Venizelos, the "so-called polarisation" could be broken by the rise of a third 'pole' in the form of a strong PASOK, adding that PASOK was aware that people wanted new faces in power and that PASOK did not want power for itself but to act as the "guarantor of safe, European, progressive political developments".
He also expressed hope that the country, once its political problem had been solved, would also be able to tackle the social and economic problems but underlined that this could not be done with "two gladiators" with an inflated sense of their own strength and importance.
Venizelos urged voters to "listen" and noted a trend that was turning the internal political crisis into a crisis in the country's relations with the EU, in which Greece was creating a 'front' against those in a position to help the country out of its difficulties.
"Will we play with fire and proceed with a unilateral rejection of the loan agreement or with a responsible revision of the unfavourable terms, keeping the positive," he added.
 PASOK leader says country must be united on June 18PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos, in an open letrter to the Greek citizens and voters on Wednesday, stressed that on June 18 the country must be united and prepared for a nationwide effort that will take it definitely and with security from the crisis and dependence.
Venizelos added that no party can govern alone and manage the crisis, since the era of one-party governments passed "both politically and arithmetically". He also said that there are "no gladiators, nor a bipolar party system" and predicts that "on June 18 there shall be no majority government" and "consequently cooperations will be sought".
The PASOK leader also stresses that "only an electorally and Parliamentary strong PASOK guarantees and safeguards the necessary and balanced government cooperation" and "a governance of national joint responsibility" and adds that if such a thing does not happen "the deadlock will be inevitable, whatever the first party is."
 KKE on taxation issueCommunist Party (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Wednesday stressed that the new election battle finds people receiving income tax return statements which are enough to lead them to greater poverty.
Papariga clarified that KKE suggests the abolition of tax free reserves in effect for large capital; the taxation of monopoly groups; the sell out of property of large capital holders accused of tax or contribution evasion; abolition of objective criteria for taxation and special municipal taxes; taxation of the self-employed based on the accounting ledgers they keep and abolition of VAT in broad consumption goods, heating oil, farm supplies, machinery or diesel.
Papariga said that despite the recession the large capital holders will have to be taxed with 45 pct.
The KKE general secretary stated that New Democracy (ND) has never spoken in detail about the issue of taxation despite its certainty that it will form a government, adding that the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) is also vague on the issue despite the fact that it has presented its policy agenda.
 KKE SG Papariga comments on SYRIZA government programmeCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to SYRIZA's government programme, that it is a "programme that is far below the big slogans and the radical phrases" of the May 6 elections.
She said that "I admit that the government programme of '100 days' of SYRIZA created a small surprise for us, since all these days we were hearing that it will be a programme of 'soviet style' that would proceed with immediate privatisations, that would create panic in the capitalists in our country and the capitalists of all of Europe."
Papariga added that "in the text of the head of SYRIZA one can find many common things with the political announcements of (former PASOK prime minister Costas) Mr. Simitis and George Papandreou, before the crisis and indeed of the period that Greece was adjusting to enter the EMU."
Papariga further said that SYRZA leader Alexis Tsipras "said that with his programme, he aims at democracy, popular sovereignty and sovereign rights being gained in Greece, from a leftist party and indeed a very advanced party as SYRIZA wants to appear, we cannot imagine that these much-used terms are being used, which are completely void of content, as regards the remaining programme of SYRIZA (because) popular sovereignty, sovereign rights and democracy cannot exist when we live in a class society, when capitalist ownership and the monopolies dominate everywhere and when we are incorporated in the EU and NATO."
 DEM.AR leader: Greece needs progressive gov't that will keep it in euroGreece needs a progressive government bound by specific policy commitments that will keep the country in the euro while gradually pulling out of the terms of the bailout, Democratic Left (DEM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis stressed on Wednesday.
"Our country must have a government and it must have a progressive government, not in general and undefined terms but on the basis of a specific policy agreement that will be positively binding for the government policy exercised," he said during a press conference held in the city of Trikala, underlining that much will depend on how the Greek people choose to deploy the political forces come election day, depending on the support given to each party.
Kouvelis also emphasised his party's earnest efforts to support the formation of a government after the elections of May 6, which he said had "gone beyond" the percentage granted to his party by the Greek people.
DEM.AR's leader said that any agreement on policy must, however, meet two 'inviolable' criteria in order to be acceptable: the first was to exercise policy that served to keep Greece in Europe, the Eurozone and the euro, while the second was to immediately launch a tough, systematic and painstaking negotiation in order to release the country from the requirements of the bailout agreement.
Kouvelis specified that this policy agreement must include the reversal of legislation lowering the minimum wage and pulling all wages and pensions downward and the extension of the period of fiscal consolidation until the end of 2017- early 2018. He emphasised the need for progressive policies since Greek society was already divided, with galloping unemployment and 30 percent of people living below the poverty line.
The need for major tax reforms was another issue highlighted by Kouvelis, noting that the current system allowed the wealthy to get away with not paying taxes, the vast majority of which were paid by salaried employees and pensioners, while Greece also had a "tragic" 60-percent first place for indirect taxation in Europe.
 EcoGreens urge voters to support 'alternative, sustainable programme'In a press conference set against the backdrop of the long-suffering Fylis landfill site, which receives the bulk of the Greek capital's rubbish, the Ecologists-Greens party on Wednesday urged voters to support the EcoGreens as "a catalyst for an alternative, sustainable programme" for the day after the elections.
They stressed that the site chosen for the press conference could in itself be a good reason to say "enough is enough" and stop trying to sweep the problems under the carpet.
The head of the party's campaign Ioanna Kontouli noted that the EcoGreens had "understood" the message that majority governments were finished and that there was no going back, with a need for different political models and an end to bipolar, left-right dilemmas.
"Today these bipolarisations should not conceal a paucity of policies," she said.
"We believe that the EcoGreens and a role and a voice in Parliament. We know that it will be a difficult battle," she added, noting that ordinary people had been terrified into thinking the country would be ruined.
"We have experienced the bad negotiators that carried out no negotiations, had no vision. Now we must see the good ones, we who have a vision and proposals and can contribute to an alternative and viable programme," she added, urging voters to consider which forces were capable of forming alliances on the day after the elections.
The head of the EcoGreens state deputy list Yiannis Paraskevopoulos urged support for EcoGreens as an alternative 'regulator' to the PASOK party's Evangelos Venizelos.
"No one has a right to lead the country to a third election," he said, noting that a renegotiation of the bailout terms will be judged at the EU.
"There we can be a catalyst because the Greens are a better opposition to Mrs Merkel. For a Greece that wants to change on its own terms," he said.
He criticised ND for seeking to "trade in fear" and terrorising voters with the spectre of a return to the 50s, saying the party wanted to preserve both the worst aspects of the bailout agreements with the worst aspects of the pre-bailout era, such as legalisation of illegal constructions and rights to develop land.
"It is presenting the dilemma euro or drachma. We want the euro and a European country. If we cannot have both then we cannot have either," he said.
Briefly referring to the EcoGreens programme for a number of services - such as waste management, public transport, goods transport - Paraskevopoulos noted that collective goods were not a "luxury" but a vital part of being able to weather the crisis in a humane and cohesive society.
"The dilemma is not just governability. Around us in the shadow of the bailout a society of plundering is starting to be built," he warned, outlining the EcoGreens vision of a society with revived agriculture, reduced dependence on oil and coal, collective goods and a social economy.
 LAOS leader Karatzaferis says whoever wins the elections now will fall in a few monthsPopular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) party leader George Karatzaferis, speaking to the AMNA web TV on Wednesday, criticised New Democracy (ND) party leader Antonis Samaras on the occasion of the procedure of the two men's approach with the aim of the LAOS leader joining ND, while claiming that it would be preferable to have the SYRIZA party winning the June 17 elections now so that its leader Alexis Tsipras "will fall in two months and then the bourgeoisie democracy to come for eight years."
Karatzaferis assessed that whoever wins the elections now "will fall in a few months" and categorically rejected the dilemma of "euro or drachma", saying that there is no such question. He requested from the people the opportunity to be the stabilising factor in the next Parliament and as he said "I am wounded today because some do not want LAOS in Parliament."
 ND, SYRIZA continue to trade barbs over TV debateNew Democracy (ND) party on Wednesday again extended an invitation to the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) for a televised debate between the parties' respective leaders, while at the same time it attacked the leftist party of attempting to disorientate public opinion from the country's real problems.
In a statement, ND alternate spokesman and party press office director Giorgos Mouroutis called on SYRIZA to reply on whether it accepts previously agreed-to provisions for such a debate.
The ND official insisted that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras does not want a televised debate or any focus on the essence of policies and issues.
Mouroutis also accused SYRIZA of only wanting to discuss "inconsequential issues" before the election instead of substantive matters and the "real dilemmas" facing the country.
"... Since SYRIZA does not want to have a debate with New Democracy, let it have one with its (internal) groupings, in case they might find common positions. In any case, they will find us in front of them, in every city, village, town square, street, coffee shop, on all television screens."
On its part, a SYRIZA statement on Wednesday reiterated the party's position for two televised debates ahead of the June 17 elections, including one with the participation of all political party leaders - except from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) - that will be coordinated by television news readers.
SYRIZA underlined that it is open to specific alternative proposals as regards the individuals participating and will wait for a ND response within the next few hours.
The statement suggested that SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and ND's Antonis Samaras can have a separate second televised debate, after the recent French model, which was adopted in the recent presidential election campaign, allowing for lively dialogue and not being limited to parallel monologues. The suggested debate could be coordinated by two presenters, a man and woman.
 Government spokesman on comments by Turkish PM ErdoganGovernment spokesman Dimitris Tsiordas, commenting on Wednesday's references by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to the economic situation in Greece, stressed that Greece "would expect from its neighbours to respect its problems instead of clamouring."
Tsiodras added that "Turkey has a great deal of ground to cover in order to even reach Greece's current reduced average GDP per capita."
The government spokesman concluded by saying "it is therefore better for our neighbouring country to deal with its own problems, taking care in parallel to observe a more constructive stance in bilateral relations."
 Problems with high-cost meds to be resolved soon, health minister saysCaretaker government Health Minister Christos Kittas on Wednesday expressed certainty that problems with the supply of high-cost medication to people with serious ailments will be resolved within the next few days. During a press conference, he offered assurances that deliveries of drugs to the National Organisation of Health Service Providers (EOPYY) were underway, while the restocking of state hospital pharmacies that were open all day had also begun.
Kittas admitted that there was a serious problem at EOPYY pharmacies on Wednesday, where patients had formed long queues in search of needed drugs. He said their concern was understandable in light of the climate that had been cultivated but assured them that their medication would be available from Thursday and urged them not to all descend on EOPYY pharmacies at one "for treatments that will be carried out in coming days".
The minister again appealed to pharmacists to stop mobilisations and resume the supply of drugs on credit to EOPYY insured, noting that 200 million euro or 70 percent of the debt for March had already been paid and another 70 million euro that was already in EOPYY's coffers would be disbursed over the next few days. He denied that stopping the mobilisation had been made a condition for disbursing the 70 million euro and admitted that pharmacists were facing serious problems.
The minister said that efforts were being made to find private pharmacies that will provide expensive drugs, with EOPYY President Gerasimos Voudouris asking the head of the pharmacists association Theodoros Abatzoglou to indicate 50 private pharmacies in Athens and 50 in the rest of the country prepared to provide drugs paid for by EOPYY. Abatzoglou refused, saying that it would have to be either all pharmacies or none.
Kittas noted that in times of crisis, education and health were the first sectors to suffer when this should not be the case, stressing that these issues required consensus from all sides.
For the payment of past hospital debts, Kittas said that 110 million euro had been disbursed from the health ministry's budget and a further 90 million euro would be handed out to cover hospitals needs in the next few days, as well as 40 million euro to pay for doctors' and hospital staff night shifts and overtime.
Concerning sum owed to hospital suppliers, the minister said the hospitals had been given the necessary sums but their disbursement was being blocked by an outstanding issue at the Court of Audit that caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos was now trying to resolve. He announced that 310 million euro will be given by EOPYY to private clinics, doctors and other health service providers and diagnostic centres with EOPYY contracts.
 Preparedness exercise on Wed. by military's rapid deployment forcesAn unscheduled map and preparedness exercise mobilising Greece's rapid deployment force was reportedly called on Wednesday morning.
The overall exercise was being held under the auspices of the armed forces general staff (GEEThA), while some units were under the command of the army general staff.
No movement of troops is involved.
A previous military exercise involving a rapid deployment force involving all three branches was held on April 6, whereas on May 15 the chief of the general staff had ordered an unscheduled exercise involving combat air units.
 Trial of Golden Dawn MP for 2007 robbery-stabbing adjourned until June 11The trial of Chrysi Avgi - Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris on a charge of assisting an attack and robbery against a postgraduate student in 2007 was on Wednesday adjourned until June 11.
The charge against Kasidiaris is that, based on an eye-witness report, five unidentified attackers that clubbed and stabbed a postgraduate student in order to take his identity card got away in a car owned by Kasidiaris.
The accused did not attend the proceedings and denies any involvement in the incident, claiming that at the time of the attack he was at the Metropolitan hospital working as a drug sales rep and that his car was parked in the clinic's parking lot.
The hearing was postponed because there was no time to hear it within court hours.
 EU unveils plan towards bank unionBRUSSELS (AMNA / M. Aroni)
The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a plan aimed at resolving crisis in the banking sector in the future by avoiding the need to bailout banks through European taxpayers. The proposals adopted today by the European Commission for EU-wide rules for bank recovery and resolution will change this. They ensure that in the future authorities will have the means to intervene decisively both before problems occur and early on in the process if they do. Furthermore, if the financial situation of a bank deteriorates beyond repair, the proposal ensures that a bank's critical functions can be rescued while the costs of restructuring and resolving failing banks fall upon the bank's owners and creditors and not on taxpayers.
Barroso said: "The EU is fully delivering on its G20 commitments. Two weeks ahead of the summit in Los Cabos, the Commission is presenting a proposal which will help protect our taxpayers and economies from the impact of any future bank failure. Today's proposal is an essential step towards Banking Union in the EU and will make the banking sector more responsible. This will contribute to stability and confidence in the EU in the future, as we work to strengthen and further integrate our interdependent economies"
Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "The financial crisis has cost taxpayers a lot of money. Today's proposal is the final measure in fulfilling our G20 commitments for better financial regulation. We must equip public authorities so that they can deal adequately with future bank crises. Otherwise citizens will once again be left to pay the bill, while the rescued banks continue as before knowing that they will be bailed out again."
The framework builds on recent efforts by several Member States to improve national resolution systems. It strengthens them in key respects and ensures the viability of resolution tools in Europe's integrated financial market.
The proposed tools are divided into powers of "prevention", "early intervention" and "resolution", with intervention by the authorities becoming more intrusive as the situation deteriorates.
1. Preparation and prevention:
? First, the framework requires banks to draw up recovery plans setting out measures that would kick in in the event of a deterioration of their financial situation in order to restore their viability.
? Second, authorities tasked with the responsibility of resolving banks are required to prepare resolution plans with options for dealing with banks in critical condition which are no longer viable (such as details on the application of resolution tools and ways to ensure the continuity of critical functions http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/610&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en). Recovery and resolution plans are to be prepared both at group level and for the individual institutions within the group.
? Third, if authorities identify obstacles to resolvability in the course of this planning process, they can require a bank to change its legal or operational structures to ensure that it can be resolved with the available tools in a way that does not compromise critical functions, threaten financial stability, or involve costs to the taxpayer.
? Finally, financial groups may enter into intra-group support agreements to limit the development of a crisis and quickly boost the financial stability of the group as a whole. Subject to approval by the supervisory authorities and the shareholders of each entity that is party to the agreement, institutions which operate in a group would thus be able to provide financial support (in the form of loans, the provision of guarantees, or the provision of assets for use as collateral in transactions) to other entities within the group that experience financial difficulties.
2. Early intervention
Early supervisory intervention will ensure that financial difficulties are addressed as soon as they arise. Early intervention powers are triggered when an institution does not meet or is likely to be in breach of regulatory capital requirements. Authorities could require the institution to implement any measures set out in the recovery plan, draw up an action programme and a timetable for its implementation, require the convening of a meeting of shareholders to adopt urgent decisions, and require the institution to draw up a plan for restructuring of debt with its creditors.
In addition, supervisors will have the power to appoint a special manager at a bank for a limited period when there is a significant deterioration in its financial situation and the tools described above are not sufficient to reverse the situation. The primary duty of a special manager is to restore the financial situation of the bank and the sound and prudent management of its business.
3. Resolution powers and tools
Resolution takes place if the preventive and early intervention measures fail to redress the situation from deteriorating to the point where the bank is failing or likely to fail. If the authority determines that no alternative action would help prevent failure of the bank, and that the public interest (of access to critical banking functions, financial stability, integrity of public finances, etc.) is at stake, authorities should take control of the institution and initiate decisive resolution action.
Harmonised resolution tools and powers, together with the resolution plans prepared in advance for both nationally-active and cross-border banks, will ensure that national authorities in all Member States have a common toolkit and roadmap to manage the failure of banks. The interference in the rights of shareholders and creditors which the tools entail is justified by the overriding need to protect financial stability, depositors and taxpayers, and is supported by safeguards to ensure that the resolution tools are not improperly used.
The main resolution tools are the following:
? The sale of business tool whereby the authorities would sell all or part of the failing bank to another bank;
? The bridge institution tool which consists of identifying the good assets or essential functions of the bank and separating them into a new bank (bridge bank) which would be sold to another entity. The old bank with the bad or non-essential functions would then be liquidated under normal insolvency proceedings;
? The asset separation tool whereby the bad assets of the bank are put into an asset management vehicle. This tool cleans the balance sheet of a bank. In order to prevent this tool from being used solely as a state aid measure, the framework prescribes that it may be used only in conjunction with another tool (bridge bank, sale of business or write-down). This ensures that while the bank receives support, it also undergoes restructuring;
? The bail-in tool whereby the bank would be recapitalised with shareholders wiped out or diluted, and creditors would have their claims reduced or converted to shares. An institution for which a private acquirer could not be found, or which could be complicated to split up, could thus continue to provide essential services without the need for bail-out by public funds, and authorities would have time to reorganise it or wind down parts of its business in an orderly manner. To this end, banks would be required to have a minimum percentage of their total liabilities in the shape of instruments eligible for bail-in. If triggered, they would be written down in a pre-defined order in terms of seniority of claims in order for the institution to regain viability.
Cooperation between national authorities
In order to deal with EU banks or groups that operate across borders, the framework enhances cooperation between national authorities in all phases of preparation, intervention and resolution. Resolution colleges are established under the leadership of the group resolution authority and with the participation of the European Banking Authority (EBA). The EBA will facilitate joint actions and act as a binding mediator if necessary. This lays the foundations for an increasingly integrated EU-level oversight of cross-border entities, to be explored further in the coming years in the context of the review of Europe's supervisory architecture.
To be effective, the resolution tools will require a certain amount of funding. For example, if authorities create a bridge bank, it will need capital or short term loans to operate. If market funding is not available and in order to avoid resolution actions from being funded by the state, supplementary funding will be provided by resolution funds which will raise contributions from banks proportionate to their liabilities and risk profiles. The funds will have to build up sufficient capacity to reach 1% of covered deposits in 10 years. They will be used exclusively for supporting orderly reorganisation and resolution, and never to bail out a bank. National resolution funds would interact, notably to provide funding for resolving cross-border banks.
For an optimal use of resources, the resolution Directive also takes advantage of the funding already available in the 27 Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS). The DGS will provide funding, alongside the resolution fund, for the protection of retail depositors. For maximum synergy, Member States will even be allowed to merge the DGS and the resolution fund, as long as all the guarantees are in place to ensure that the scheme remains in position to repay depositors in case of failure.
 Caretaker minister addresses sea tourism forum at "Posidonia 2012"Caretaker Development, Competitiveness & Shipping Minister Yiannis Stournaras on Wednesday referred to the economic benefits Greece will have from a strong sea cruise sector and underlined the policies that should be implemented to further promote the specific tourism product.
Addressing the sea tourism forum held within the framework of "Posidonia 2012" international shipping exhibition, he stressed that the average sea cruise revenues for the port of Piraeus alone exceed 360 million euros, adding that the goal is to create the right preconditions in order to multiply the benefits.
Referring to the further steps that need to be made to facilitate sea cruise companies thus making Greece a more attractive destination, he suggested the introduction of a firm and updated regulatory framework, the improvement of port infrastructure and the facilitation of transactions between sea cruise companies and local societies.
Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) President Giorgos Anomeritis referred to the 420-million-euro sea cruise sector investments in the port of Piraeus and the operation of a subsidiary company specializing in management and infrastructure, adding that the Piraeus Port S.A. rates will be unchanged until 2016.
On his part, European Cruise Council (ECC) executive committee chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d' Ovidio stated that Greece comes third on the sea cruise tourism list after Italy and Spain representing 17 pct of the European sea cruise market.
The European Cruise Council (ECC) represents the leading cruise companies operating in Europe with 30 cruise members and 34 associate members.
 Development minister holds talks with British Transport undersecretaryDevelopment, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Yiannis Stournaras discussed on Wednesday issues concerning the development of shipping and port policy, in the framework of the "Posidonia 2012", as well as the tackling of the problem of piracy for ocean-going ships in a meeting with British Transport undersecretary Mike Penning and British ambassador to Athens David Lantsman.
The common view was ascertained during the meeting that the two peoples have a long tradition in shipping and that the common points must be found for further cooperation.
Stournaras wished the British officials every success in the London Olympic Games.
 Shipping secretary general meets with Zheijiang province maritime industry delegationGreek secretary general for shipping Nikos Litinas met earlier in the week with representatives of China's Zheijiang province, which has a rapidly maritime industry.
The delegation head, Zheijiang's shipping sector director Qi Buyun, noted the magnitude of the Greek merchant marine and the excellent relations between the two countries, while he also briefed Litinas on the province's leaping growth in shipbuilding and repair activities (one million tons per year in all types of vessels), the handling of shipments in its ports (iron ore, coal, crude oil, chemicals) and the maritime training provided in the Chinese universities.
Litinas, in turn, said that the two countries could have closer cooperation in the shipping sector, given that China is the primary user of shipping services and Greece is the largest provider of such services.
He also referred to marine education and the prospect for cooperation between the maritime academies in Greece and the Zheijiang universities through exchanges of visits by students.
 Turkish tourists to receive visas at ports of Rhodes, KosTurkish nationals wishing to visit the Dodecanese holiday islands of Rhodes and Kos for a duration of less than 15 days can now issue visas at the ports of the two islands, according to a pilot programme that will be launched on Thursday.
The visa issuance at ports, instead of Greek consulates in Turkey, satisfies a persistent request by local authorities and tourism professionals on several eastern Aegean islands, who have long demanded easier facilitation of visas for visitors from the neighbouring country.
The measure will also be implemented in the near future for the islands of Hios, Samos and Lesvos.
 Business Briefs-- Larco - a state-run iron/nickel industry - on Wednesday said it remained in the black for the second consecutive year in 2011, with revenues rising 29.9 pct to 311.1 million euros and pre-tax earnings rising to 6.6 million euros, from 6.4 million euros in 2010 (pre-tax loss of 105.5 million euros in 2009).
-- Mevgal, a northern Greece-based dairy industry, on Wednesday reported a loss of 8.13 million euros in 2011 despite an 1.2-pct increase in consolidated revenues to 186.34 million euros, slightly from 184.17 million euros in 2010.
 Stocks end flat on Wed.Stocks ended flat at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, unable to profit from a strong recovery in other European markets. The Greek market remained nervous following a two-day decline, which pushed the composite index 9.34 pct lower. The index ended 0.22 pct higher at 477.42 points, off the day's highs of 488.91 points. Turnover fell to 30.724 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 0.75 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.36 pct higher. The Health (12.77 pct), Telecommunications (9.96 pct) and Commerce (4.42 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Food (4.73 pct) and Raw Materials (3.40 pct) suffered losses.
OTE (7.96 pct), Eurobank (6.92 pct), Titan (4.95 pct) and Folli Follie (4.48 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Coca Cola 3E (4.76 pct), Mytilineos (3.60 pct) and Cyprus Bank (2.95 pct) were top losers. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 63 to 56 with another 20 issues unchanged. Athens Medical (30 pct), Euroholdings (19.40 pct) and NEL (17.95 pct) were top gainers, while Elbisco Holdings (20 pct), Unibios (20 pct) and Varvaresos (20 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +2.33%
Personal & Household: +0.84%
Raw Materials: -3.40%
Travel & Leisure: +1.37%
Food & Beverages: -4.73%
Financial Services: +0.12%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, HBC Coca Cola and OTE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.71
Public Power Corp (PPC): 1.20
HBC Coca Cola: 12.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 4.28
National Bank of Greece: 0.94
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.42
Bank of Piraeus: 0.20
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a discount of 0.68 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover remaining a low 6.828 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 3,999 contracts worth 3.428 million euros, with 20,372 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 33,990 contracts worth 3.400 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (14,691), followed by Cyprus Bank (4,965), Alpha Bank (5,523), MIG (536), OTE (3,423), PPC (809), OPAP (675), Piraeus Bank (469), Cyprus Popular Bank (1,613), Eurobank (110), Coca Cola 3E (281), Titan (236) and Mytilineos (131).
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 27.95 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 29.4 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 29.24 pct and the German Bund 1.29 pct. Turnover was a low 3.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed to lower. The 12-month rate was 1.22 pct, the nine-month rate eased to 1.08 pct, the six-month rate fell to 0.93 pct, the three-month rate was 0.66 pct and the one-month rate 0.38 pct.
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.267
Pound sterling 0.818
Danish kroner 7.543
Swedish kroner 9.151
Japanese yen 100.3
Swiss franc 1.218
Norwegian kroner 7.720
Canadian dollar 1.310
Australian dollar 1.285
 Andreas Christodoulides passes awayAndreas Christodoulides, the long-time general director of the Athens News Agency up until December 2004, passed away in an Athens hospital on Wednesday after a long bout with cancer.
He was born in Cyprus in 1942.
He graduated from the Pancyprian Gymnasium and later studied law in Athens. In 1967 he was obliged to interrupt his university studies due to the dictatorship and to depart Greece.
He worked in the press sector since 1965, beginning with the newspaper "Evdomada" (1965-1966) and then in the United Kingdom with the newspapers "Kosmos" (1972-1973) and "Nea Dimokratia" (1973-1974).
In 1974 Christodoulides returned to Greece and worked for the newspaper "Exormisi", where he was the chief editor (1978-1982) and managing director (1989). He was also a correspondent of the Cypriot newspaper "Ta Nea" (1974-1987).
In 1981 he was appointed as general director of the Athens News Agency, a post he held until 1987, when he was appointed president of state broadcaster ERT SA.
Christodoulides resigned from this post in July 1988 and took over as special secretary at the mass media service of the ministry to the presidency.
In 1990 he assumed the management of the Cypriot private radio station "Super FM".
In 1991 he returned to Greece where he served as an adviser at the Tegopoulos media group and was a regular contributor to the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".
In 1993 he was appointed for the second term as general director of the ANA, where he remained until 2004, overseeing the very successful coverage of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games by Greece's national news agency.
He was later appointed as the special adviser of to the ANA general director.
In 1989 he was selected by the University of Manchester as a member of the European Institute for the Media.
Christodoulides was a member of the European Forum of Audiovisual Means and a member of the board of the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute (IOM) from its foundation until 2005.
In 2005 he was awarded the Yannos Kranidiotis Award for innovative creation.
He attended dozens of international and local conferences, seminars and journalism sessions.
Christodoulides was instrumental in the creation of the Association of Balkan News Agencies and an active member, in his capacity as ANA director, in the European Alliance of News Agencies and the Alliance of Mediterranean News Agencies (AMAN).
Since 1994 he was a lecturer at the Athens University's faculty of communication.
Christodoulides translated and adapted into Greek three university textbooks entitled "The Art of Journalism-1986" and "The Art of Reportage-1992" and "The Art of Television Journalism-2006".
In 2009 he authored the book "International and National News Agencies".
Andreas Christodoulides is survived by his wife and a news agency that he took from a 1950s-era mentality and placed squarely in the 21st century.
 Condolences over death of Andreas ChristodoulidesSeveral messages of condolences were issued on Wednesday over the death of long-time AMNA general director Andreas Christodoulides.
Former prime minister George Papandreou expressed his profound sadness over the death of Andreas Christodoulides, referring to the courtesy, character and dignity as well as the resistance and overall political action of the deceased former president and general director of AMNA.
"With Andreas Christodoulides we waged common struggles for a better fatherland, to see Cyprus united. His contribution was invaluable," Papandreou concluded and extended his condolences to his family.
New Democracy party spokesman Yiannis Mihelakis made the following statement: "We lost today a valuable journalist; a patriot who believed in Greece and struggled for the reunification of Cyprus; a courteous, honorable and beloved person, because Andreas Christodoulides, from wherever he passed, was a model of character and dedication ... We express to his family our most sincere and warm condolences."
Former PASOK government spokesman George Petalotis noted that "Andreas Christodoulides served journalism and democracy to the greatest degree, with character, dignity and consistency. His contribution to the democratic ideal and to PASOK was invaluable and his loss is great."
An announcement of condolences was issued by the mass media department of the University of Athens, which stated that faculty members "were sadly informed of the loss of Andreas Christodoulides, former president and general director of the Athens-Macedonian News Agency and over a series of years valuable colleague of our department."
In a letter on Wednesday to AMNA General Director Ilias Matsikas, the General Director of the Cyprus Broadcasting Corp. Themis Themistocleous stressed that "we were informed with sadness of the death of Cypriot-born journalist and former president and director of ANA Andreas Christodoulides. Please accept the sincere condolences of the CBC and convey our condolences to the wife of the deceased."
 SG of European Alliance of News Agencies on Christodoulides' deathAndreas Christodoulides is dead. It is a huge loss for this family, his friends, for Athens News Agency where he for decades has held leading positions and for the European news agency business. Andreas has for 35 years represented his news agency in the European Alliance of News Agencies, a forum for cooperation between news agencies in Europe.
In the European news agency business we know Andreas as a unique combination of diplomatic skills in times of conflict and of passion when it comes to defending unbiased, independent and trustworthy news reporting.
The vast majority of Andreas? professional life has been dedicated to Athens News Agency. For decades he worked systematically on building a position for Athens News Agency as an independent source for news for traditional media, for new media and for non-media clients.
Andreas established an example that is often referred to in international discussions about how to guarantee independence for a publicly owned news agency. After many years of work, state owned Athens News Agency established statutes saying that the majority of board members are appointed by non-governmental bodies. This model became an example often referred to, also outside Greece, in discussions about ownership structure and a media company?s independence.
One of the last discussions with Andreas before he got ill was about how to secure quality journalism in a time where shortage of money is an obvious problem.
We all knew about Andreas? work during an earlier critical situation for Greece; the junta years. His modesty prevented him for talking about it. But we knew. Andreas fought then - and he continued fighting for what he believed in: Unbiased and independent news reporting as one of the preconditions for a democratic society.
We will miss him but we will remember him and we respect what he was fighting for.
European Alliance of News Agencies
 Christofias condolences over death of Andreas ChristodoulidesNICOSIA (AMNA - A. Viketos)
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias conveyed on Wednesday his grief and sadness over the death of former long-time AMNA general director Andreas Christodoulides, "one of our very own," as he noted.
"A fighter for freedom and democracy, Andreas Christodoulides recorded a lengthy career in public affairs and politics," Christofias said, adding: "... he was distinguished for his character, dignity, hard work and his professional competency, constituting a bright example for young journalists."
The Cypriot president underlined that the death of Christodoulides, 70, is a major loss for Greece and Cyprus, and for the Athens News Agency, in particular, for which he spent his life working for its progress and development.
Finally, Christofias expressed his sincere condolences to Christodoulides' wife, Astero, his relatives and AMNA colleagues.
 Hydrofoil runs aground, no injuries reportedA hydrofoil ran aground in shallows on Wednesday between the Saronic Gulf islands of Aegina and Agistri. None of the 59 passengers and the six member crew of the hydrofoil were injured. A Coast Guard vessel and a tug boat are currently heading to the spot.The hydrofoil was carrying out the itinerary Aegina - Piraeus.
 Court rejects Tegopoulos media publisher's application for classification under bankruptcy lawAn Athens court on Wednesday rejected an application by the X.K Tegopoulos Editions SA, publisher of newspapers and magazines including the Athens daily Eleftherotypia for the company's classification under the bankruptcy law.
According to a company notification to the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), an Athens first instance court, following discussion of the company's application for its classification under the provisions of Article 99 of the Bankruptcy Code, issued ruling no. 704/2012 rejecting the company's petition.
 Justice ministry requests opinion on publication of photos, names of HIV+ prostitutesThe justice ministry general secretary for transparency and human rights, Yiannis Ioannidis, on Wednesday requested an opinion by the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (HDPA) "for any interventions that may be necessary in the framework regulating the protection of personal data" -- a request directly linked to the recent publication of photographs of HIV+ women arrested on prostitution charges.
In a document addressed to HDPA, Ioannidis requested the independent authority's opinion on whether the fundamental rights of the individuals in question were violated, taking under consideration the reactions and doubts expressed on the issue by the Greek Ombudsman Office, the National Commission for Human Rights, the General Secretariat for Gender Equality, the Athens Medical Association and the Therapy Center for Dependent Individuals (KEThEA), among others.
 Fire at Lefkakia in progressA fire that broke out on Tuesday afternoon in the area of Lefkakia, Argolis prefecture, southwestern Greece, was still burning on Wednesday.
Throughout the night, firemen managed to contain the blaze but due to gusty winds that started to blow in the morning the fire was rekindled.
Twenty-eight firefighters with 14 fire engines are currently in the area battling with the blaze.
According to initial reports the fire has already burned 500 acres of brushland and farmland.
 Cannabis plantation found on CreteA cannabis plantation hidden in an olive grove was located in the forest area of Kroussonas on the island of Crete.
Police, acting on a tip -off, on Wednesday found and uprooted some 580 cannabis plants.
The plants were confiscated, and police are conducting an investigation to locate the perpetrators.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe liquidity problem in the state coffers and the burning issue of Spain's economic condition, mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "What we produce, what we import and what we are lacking".
AVGHI: "Memorandum sends us to ER".
AVRIANI: "Troika's collaborators are killing the cancer patients".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "SYRIZA's red card on investments".
ESTIA: "Final blow to the economy".
ETHNOS: "Major social security fund (IKA) has no more money to pay for the pensions".
IMERISSIA: "European Central Bank mulling guarantee of bank deposits"
KATHIMERINI: "Spain puts EU in a vortex".
LOGOS: "Interest inflates the deficit".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Tax revenues black hole getting bigger".
NIKI: "Why we are one step before collapse".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Neither New Democracy (ND) and SYRIZA, nor a coalition government will save the people".
TA NEA: "Spanish SOS - Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy sends dramatic plea".
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