|Saturday, 19 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 12-10-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Thursday, 4 October 2012 Issue No: 4190
 Gov't unveils measures to boost urgently needed investmentsThe government on Wednesday unveiled a package of actions and regulations aimed at speeding up and simplifying procedures to attract and implement private and public investments.
The measures, presented by Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Deputy Minister Notis Mitarakis, foresee that an investor will be able to choose between different forms of investment support, participation of the private sector in the inspection of works, a centralised authority to speed up licensing, measures to support liquidity and a simplification of administrative procedures.
The draft bill, presented by the ministers, also includes provisions to launch hydroplane services to various destinations -- primarily to islands -- and to create a special purpose company for the exploitation of the coastline stretching from the southern Athens district of Faliro to Sounio, in extreme SE Attica prefecture, a distance of approximately 70 kilometres.
Efforts to launch hydroplane routes before 2009 mostly stumbled on bureaucratic obstacles and whether services were financial viable.
Hatzidakis said a new investment law was part of the government's reform strategy, one aimed at improving the business environment in the country.
 FinMin: Compromise necessary to reach agreement with 'troika'Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras emphasised on Wednesday that "negotiations with the (EC-ECB-IMF) troika are on a good path," while adding that the difference between the two sides remains significant, although he said he was optimistic.
More importantly, Stournaras said a "compromise must be reached" to bridge the gap between what the Greek government is willing to implement and what the 'troika' delegation has demanded in order to sign off on a 31.5-billion-euros bailout tranche. He spoke after exiting the Maximos Mansion and a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
The minister expressed confidence that a deal will be reached by Monday's Eurogroup summit.
Earlier, a finance ministry official told AMNA that the government's top economic staff will continue meeting with the representatives of the EC-ECB-IMF "troika" at least until Oct. 8, when the Eurogroup meeting is scheduled to discuss the Greek programme.
The official, speaking after the latest meeting between Stournaras and Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras with representatives of Greece's institutional creditors, said the agenda of Wednesday's negotiations focused on structural changes and fiscal consolidation, in order to reach an agreement on a 13.9-billion-euros austerity and revenue package.
Asked when the next tranche of the bailout package will be released, the official said: "We will wait and see".
Another official confirmed, in statements to AMNA, that a "rift" between the troika representatives and the government remained, both in terms of fiscal prospects and on a macroeconomic scenario to project the severity of the Greek economy's recession.
The unnamed senior official, speaking after a meeting between the prime minister and finance minister, said Wednesday's negotiations between the 'troika' and the Greek government "went somewhat better, but the difference is significant; it remains at (roughly) 2.5 billion euros and concerns 2013".
 DIMAR leader meets GSEE, opposes measures undermining labour rightsThe head of the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party Fotis Kouvelis, who leads one of the three parties supporting Greece's coalition government, on Wednesday expressed his disagreement with measures undermining labour rights after a meeting with the leadership of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE).
"No law can impose the collective agreements that must exist. These must be the result of agreements of the social partners themselves. I am not just referring to the minimum wage, I am referring to the sum of the reforms that must take place as the result of collective bargaining," he said.
Kouvelis underlined his "categoric" opposition to the replacement of the national collective labour agreement by any law, as well as his disagreement with reducing private-sector redundancy compensation.
"This thing that the troika is allegedly asking for is unacceptable because this issue has nothing to do with generating the sum of 11.5 billion euro [in cuts]," he said.
 Former SDOE chief Kapeleris summoned by Parliament, denies having seen list of politiciansFormer head of the Financial Crimes Unit (SDOE) Yiannis Kapeleris on Wednesday denied that he had ever been presented with a list of politicians or other high-profile individuals to investigate for undeclared wealth.
Kapeleris, who had been summoned before the Special Parliamentary Committee on Institutions and Transparency to shed light on reports of lists of individuals under investigation by the SDOE for illicit enrichment, claimed that he was once given a list of 10 names to look into by then finance minister George Papaconstantinou, but none of them were politicians or well known business or financial figures.
The former SDOE chief said Papaconstantinou had given him a list of roughly 10 names in late 2010 or early 2011 on a completely unofficial basis and had not asked him to carry out a formal inquiry but only to investigate the 'financial profile' of the 10 individuals, which Kapeleris carried out and returned to the minister on an unofficial basis without involving any of his staff.
Answering questions put by main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) MP Zoi Constantopoulou, Kapeleris confirmed that there had been a meeting at the finance ministry to discuss the so-called 'Lagarde List' and set up a special committee to investigate this but such a committee was never finally formed.
He strenuously denied that the 'Lagarde list' had ever been in his possession at any time and stressed that his involvement had been confined to finding out more details about the identity of the 10 individuals with large sums in Swiss bank accounts given him by Papaconstantinou.
 No politicians on 'Lagarde list', Diotis tells Parliament committeeTestifying before the Parliamentary Committee on Institutions and Transparency on Wednesday, former Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) chief Ioannis Diotis told MPs that the notorious 'Lagarde list' of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts did not include any politicians.
"No politician is on the list," Diotis said, adding that he had received a flash drive with the list from former finance minister
George Papaconstantinou "informally" when the latter was moved to another ministry and had equally handed it on to the new finance minister PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.
Diotis stressed that the evidence on the flash drive was "illegally material" obtained with the assistance of the secret services and could not be used as the basis of an investigation.
"These matters are handled by the Greek government. If it wanted, it could find a way to overcome the obstacles to using the evidence. I could not do anything else. If Mr. Venizelos had asked it of me, I would have carried out an investigation," he added.
Questioned about the flash drive's fate after Papaconstantinou left, Diotis said that he had given it to Venizelos and "explained my opinion that it could not stand up as acceptable evidence in court because it was the product of actions that were not legal and obtained with the assistance of secret services".
He also underlined that he had not made any other copies of the material, while the flash drive had at all times changed hands unofficially, without records or other documents. He said the information on the flash drive consisted of names and sums, similar to the records kept by banks.
 Concealment of 'Lagarde list' a major political issue, SYRIZA saysThe main opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA-EKM) party on Wednesday issued an announcement concerning the notorious 'Lagarde list' of Greeks with large Swiss bank accounts, saying that its concealment by two finance ministers was a major political issue.
"The fact that for two years, the ministers of finance that recommended the most catastrophic measures the country has ever known had in their drawers lists of tax-evading Swiss bank account holders, without considering it expedient to inform Parliament, is a major political issue," SYRIZA said.
It accused the representatives of the Greek government of covering up the affair "with the same ease that the slashed wages and pensions" at a time when their counterparts in Germany, Italy and France had won sizeable sums in out-of-court settlements for their countries based on the similar evidence.
The party said the excuses put forward by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos for not using the evidence on the lists were "lacking in seriousness and politically unacceptable" and "indicative of a policy that makes the weaker classes its target while covering for the powerful."
 PM to speak at International Herald Tribune event in Paris on ThursdayGreek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to outline his government's plans for reviving the Greek economy during his speech as keynote speaker during a panel discussion on 'Restoring European competitiveness on the World Stage' taking place in Paris on Thursday, during the 'International Herald Tribune Global Conversation' event celebrating the IHT's 125th anniversary.
Participants will include European Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding , Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and designer Philip Starck, among others.
 FM Avramopoulos meets with Albanian counterpart PanaritiForeign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos met on Wednesday with his Albanian counterpart Edmond Panariti in what the two sides called a "productive and constructive atmosphere, based on everything that unite us".
Both FMs agreed to hold regular meetings twice a year and to recommend to their respective governments an annual inter-state consultation between competent ministers, depending on the issues under discussion.
Speaking to reporters, Avramopoulos underlined a common volition to move forward with preparations for the signing of an agreement for the Turkey-Greece-Albania-Italy (TAP) pipeline, as well as to settle any pending obstacles to finally clear the way for an agreement delineating EEZ between the two countries in the Ionian.
Reminding that the two countries are NATO allies, future EU partners and neighbors with common interests, Avramopoulos underlined that the ethnic Greek minority in southern Albania will see its position being improved as a result of the progress made by Albania as a whole.
On his part, the Albanian foreign minister expressed a wish that the Tirana will overcome whatever obstacles to implement a bilateral maritime delineation agreement, "in compliance with national constitutions and international law".
He also thanked his Greek counterpart for the support in the promotion of the TAP natgas pipeline agreement, while citing the value of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania, on the one hand, and the Albanian guest workers and migrants in Greece, which serve as "bridges of friendship" between the two neighbours, as he said.
 Papoulias receives Albanian FM PanaritiPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received Albanian Foreign Minister Edmond Panariti, who is currenly on an official visit to Athens.
"We are all looking forward to the further development of Greek-Albanian relations for the benefit of our peoples, for the benefit of the region, of the Balkans, which are experiencing problems and need stability and security," Papoulias noted.
The Albanian foreign minister expressed certainty that the very good relations between the two countries will develop even more rapidly, while referring to his talks earlier with his Greek counterpart Dimitris Avramopoulos, he noted that Greece and Albania "have survived and successfully faced the challenges of history through the ages, and will surely face them successfully in the future."
 Former PASOK minister leaves PASOKFormer PASOK minister and party secretary Yiannis Ragoussis on Wednesday announced his decision to leave the party. Ragoussis, a former mayor of the island of Paros who became a leading minister in the former Papandreou government (2009-11), said that one of the reasons he reached his decision is the so-called "Lagarde List", which exchanged several "official hands" before finally making it to a financial crimes squad (SDOE) prosecutor this week.
 Sbokos led before prosecutorThe former defence ministry general secretary responsible for armaments during a 1996-2000 PASOK government, Yannis Sbokos, was led before a prosecutor on Wednesday.
Sbokos is charged with legalisation of illicit revenue (money laundering) and was judged a flight risk by an examining magistrate after new evidence turned up allegedly linking him to the ongoing Tsohatzopoulos case involving kickbacks and bribes for defence contracts nearly a decade ago.
After his testimony, Sbokos was sent before an examining magistrate in order to face charges for illegal possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm with an expired gun licence.
Two handguns were discovered by police on Tuesday afternoon at his upscale Kifissia district residence, one identified on an expired licence, the other completely unlicenced, reports state.
 State health service provider EOPYY denies 'secret' debtsGreece's National Organisation for the Provision of Healthcare Services (EOPYY) on Wednesday strenuously denied media reports claiming that it has 'secret debts' that have bumped up the overall debt load of public-sector organisations. In an announcement, EOPYY stressed that it submitted a financial report with "full accuracy and transparency" to the appropriate quarters every month without fail.
The announcement also commented on the long queues formed outside its secretariats in recent days, with long waits for EOPYY insured to carry out transactions. EOPYY's management explained that the problem arose because the contract with a private firm with 610 specialist users that normally handled these transactions had ended after 10 years.
Until a new contractor was selected through a tender, EOPYY has cme to an agreement with the health ministry to provide the same servce with a smaller and untrained staff in order to avoid directly assigning the contract or arranging for the service outside the framework of a tender.
 Independent Greeks party leader visits OPAPIndependent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos criticised the government regarding its intention to privatise the OPAP football pools organisation, while visiting the organisation on Wednesday.
Kammenos met with the board of the employees' union and claimed that "an effort is being made to downgrade OPAP so that it can be sold at a lower price and whoever are attempting it are perpetrating the offence of breach of faith", adding that the possible sale of OPAP "is a crime, it is not politics".
 Papoulias receives former PMPresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Wednesday received former prime minister George Papandreou. No statements were made after the meeting.
 Reactions to GD presence in NYCNEW YORK CITY (AMNA - P. Panagiotou)
The presence of the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party in the Greek-American community here has reportedly generated criticism both from within the large expatriate community of Greeks and from other communities.
The oldest and largest Greek-American organisation, AHEPA, in an announcement, condemned what it called the ideology and actions of the party's members.
Meanwhile, officials of Jewish organisations in the metropolis also expressed concern over the party's presence, referring to a "dangerous phenomenon".
 Dev'p minister receives 'troika' delegationDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Wednesday received a delegation of EC-ECB-IMF (troika) representatives for talks regarding competition and liquidity in the domestic market, as well as EU funds and other issues under the ministry's jurisdiction.
IMF representative Poul Thomsen left before the conclusion of the meeting, leaving the representatives of the European Commission and European Central Bank. A previously schedule engagement was cited as the reason for his early departure.
 Agencies issue joint announcement against measuresAgencies of the business world, employees, farmers, doctors and civil engineers on Wednesday issued a joint announcement on the economic measures that are to be announced.
The agencies' representatives, in a joint announcement, express their concern and disagreement with the measures that the government will announce, terming them "unfair, recessionist, ineffective for an exit from the crisis and disastrous for Greek society and the economy."
They also said they were preoccupied with the "issues of the downgrading of public and social services, the violent shrinking of the public sector, the selling of public wealth and the downgrading of democracy, as well as the development of fascist phenomena in the country."
 Gov't outlines island policyThe government's policy for the country's numerous islands was outlined on Wednesday by Shipping & Aegean Minister Costis Mousouroulis, where he referred to "quality, 'green' islands".
Speaking in Parliament before MPs elected from Aegean constituencies, he said "our way of thinking will have to be changed in order to achieve more while using limited resources".
He announced the establishment of an Island Policy Council with the participation of regional administration and local production forces representatives.
The minister noted that an emphasis should be given to sea transports through a reorganisation and better supervision of coastal shipping.
 ND MPs call for re-examination of 8.5-mln-euro tourism promo contractThirty-one New Democracy (ND) MPs on Wednesday tabled a relevant question in Parliament addressed to the minister of tourism, requesting a re-examination of a tourism campaign contract signed by Attica Regional Governor Yiannis Sgouros.
The ND deputies underlined that the contract signed with the company with the lowest bid has already caused two resignations in the regional government administration, while they rejected the argument that the contract in question must be immediately implemented in order avoid losing 8.5 million euros in National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA) funds.
The deputies presented a detailed table with the planned projects and related budgets, noting that the anticipated costs are "extravagant", as they charged, while adding that certain actions overlap with the tourism ministry.
 Cruise ship with Israeli tourists docks in VolosThe port of Volos, in central Greece, welcomed another cruise ship on Wednesday, the 17th of the current season, while other four are expected by Nov. 9.
The latest arrival is the cruise ship "Golden Iris", with 865 tourists on board, the majority of whom are Israelis.
 Business Briefs-- Societe Generale on Wednesday confirmed it was in exclusive talks with Piraeus Bank to sell its Greek subsidiary Geniki Bank. Piraeus Bank, in a statement to the Capital Markets Commission, said it was in exclusive talks with the French bank to buy Geniki Bank .
-- The domestic insurance sector suffered a sharp decline in the number of enterprises operating in the market over the last decade, reflecting a wave of mergers and numerous business closures after decisions by regulatory authorities to stiffen solvency criteria.
-- Papastratos, a Greece-based tobacco industry, on Wednesday announced an investment of 3.0 million euros to install a new production line at its facilities in Aspropyrgos, west of Athens proper, for packaging tobacco into rolled cigarettes.
 Stocks end moderately lowerStocks ended lower at the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday after two failed attempts to break above the 790 level - a significant technical resistance level, according to analysts.
The composite index of the market fell 0.44 pct to end at 777.48 points, reflecting losses mainly by bank shares. The index was up 1.60 pct during the day. Turnover was a moderate 58.428 million euros.
The Big Cap index eased 0.84 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.73 pct higher. Financial Services (2.8 pct), Raw Materials (1.95 pct) and Utilities (1.80 pct) scored gains, while Industrial Products (2.89 pct) and Banks (2.62 pct) suffered losses.
Ellaktor (6.88 pct), MIG (3.67 pct), Motor Oil (3.25 pct) and PPC (2.30 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Alpha Bank (4.92 pct), Viohalco (3.83 pct), Eurobank (3.57 pct) and Cyprus Bank (3.31 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 83 to 62 with another 24 issues unchanged. Minerva (28.57 pct), Centric Multimedia (28.05 pct) and HOL (20 pct) were top gainers, while Sato (19.64 pct), Elbisco (16 pct) and Vioter (11.11 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +0.12%
Personal & Household: -0.56%
Raw Materials: +1.95%
Travel & Leisure: +0.20%
Food & Beverages: +0.02%
Financial Services: +2.80%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, National Bank, OTE and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 1.74
Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.00
HBC Coca Cola: 15.50
Hellenic Petroleum: 6.43
National Bank of Greece: 1.96
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 1.08
Bank of Piraeus: 0.41
 Greek bond market closingThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds fell slightly to 17.84 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, form 17.86 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 19.27 pct and the German Bund 1.43 pct. Turnover was a low 6.0 million euros, of which 3.0 million were buy orders and the remaining three sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.67 pct, the six-month rate was 0.43 pct, the three-month rate was 0.22 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe December contract on the FTSE 20 index was trading at a premium of 0.72 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover shrinking to 18.562 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,059 contracts worth 8.742 million euros, with 31,169 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 43,296 contracts worth 9.820 million euros, with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (12,959), followed by Alpha Bank (9,294), Cyprus Bank (1,333), OTE (4,692), PPC (1,737), OPAP (4,420), Piraeus Bank (4,023), Intralot (1,121), Eurobank (705), Metka (317), Mytilineos (676) and MIG (624).
 Foreign Exchange rates - ThursdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.309
Pound sterling 0.812
Danish kroner 7.568
Swedish kroner 8.738
Japanese yen 102.62
Swiss franc 1.228
Norwegian kroner 7.522
Canadian dollar 1.291
Australian dollar 1.281
 Bilateral agreement with Canada on youth mobility up for ratificationA bilateral agreement on youth mobility, signed between Greece and Canada in May 2011, was tabled on Wednesday in Parliament for ratification.
The arrangement will make it easier for Canadian and Greek youths and young people between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in each other's country, in order to gain valuable experience.
Eligibility is extended to Greek and Canadian citizens, post-secondary education graduates or university graduates wishing to acquire professional experience in either country on a temporary basis. Also eligible are post-secondary education or university students who wish to take certain courses abroad.
 Tribute to Israeli cinema by Cacoyannis FoundationThe Israeli embassy in Greece, in cooperation with the Athens-based Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, will organise a tribute to Israeli cinema this month, entitled "Seven Stories from Israel -- Israeli Cinema Week.
The films will be screened -- with Greek subtitles -- at the Foundation's centre from Thursday, Oct. 18 to Wednesday Oct. 24.
The event is under the auspices of the ministry of education, religious affairs and culture.
 World forum on cultures dialogue begins in RhodesThe inaugural ceremony of the World Forum on the dialogue of cultures took place on the eastern Aegean island of Rhodes on Wednesday evening in the presence of dozens of personalities from many countries. The event is taking place for the tenth time on the island.
Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, addressing the event, stressed that it is a very important event and expressed satisfaction over the fact that the forum is taking place in Greece.
The minister also said, among other things, that it is important that hundreds of personalities from all over the world gather here every year in the era of globalisation and of new technologies and discuss peace and culture.
 Uproar over migrants' camp continues in Paranesti, DramaThe small town of Paranesti, Drama continued to be in uproar on Wednesday as local residents carried out a symbolic occupation of the town hall and shut down schools in protest against the conversion of a local army base into a detention camp for illegal migrants. Their actions came after Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias made in clear in a statement following a meeting with a committee of protestors that more migrants will be transferred to the town's Pantazopoulou camp.
Meanwhile, six town's people arrested during incidents outside the camp on Monday were released on Wednesday morning since the evidence against them did not justify holding them for a police court.
 Jewelry shop targetted for second timeBurglars broke into a jewelry shop early Wednesday morning in downtown Athens and took a large number of valuable items. Afterwards, the suspects fled with a stolen car, which was found later abandoned in the same area.
This was the second time that burglars targetted the same jewelry shop.
 Rainy on ThursdayRainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-6 beauforte. Temperatures between 13C and 29C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens with northerly 3-4 beauforte winds and temperatures between 17C and 29C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 27C.
 The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceThe government's negotiations with the EC-EU-IMF 'troika' delegation and the so-called "Lagarde list" with the names of Greek citizens with large bank deposits in Switzerland mostly dominated the headlines on Wednesday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The most crucial two weeks".
AVGHI: "They were hiding 'Lagarde list' in their house".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Continuous protection of tax evaders".
ESTIA: "The progenitor of unemployment".
ETHNOS: "Mystery over 'Lagarde list".
IMERISSIA: "Solution from EU - Plan for Greece, Spain, Cyprus".
KATHIMERINI: "IMF plays hard poker".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Troika demands reversals in labour relations".
RIZOSPASTIS: "They're abolishing labour contracts, eight-hour work and five-day work week".
TA NEA: "Confusion over 'sinful' CD".
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