|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-05-29
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 29 May 2013 Issue No: 4371
 Greece seeks to boost trade relations with RussiaGreek exports will continue their positive course this year, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas said on Tuesday.
Speaking in Moscow, on the occasion of the Greek-Russian"Go Interntional" forum, organised by Eurobank in cooperation with the country's exports agencies under the auspices of the Foreign ministry, Kourkoulas said Greek exports doubled in 2012 compared with 2004 and said he expected this positive trend to continue in 2013.
"Exports, tourism and privatization will have a significant contribution to the rescue of our econo-my," he said.
Kourkoulas said it was now clear that a growth model of the past decades has bankrupt and noted that a turn of the Greek economy towards exports was leading the economy out of the crisis.
He said that the number of requests made by Greek enterprises seeking to expand activities abroad has risen significantly and added that both the interna-tional political and business climate towards Greece has turned positive over the last few months.
Kourkoulas said that economic and commercial relations between Greece and Russia do not reflect the excellent political relations between the two countries and trade relations have significant room of further upgrading. He said he will discuss this issue with Russian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Alexey Meshkov in a meeting later on Tuesday.
"Russia has been upgraded in 10th from 12th place in terms of Greek exports and in 2016 I believe it will be in the top-five," Kourkoulas said after meetings with Meshkov and Sokolov on Tuesday, according to an ANA-MNA dispatch from Moscow. The focus of the talks with Meshkov was on issues pertaining to EU-Russia cooperation and potential contribution by Greece in promoting this dialogue, especially during the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2014.
According to a Russian Foreign Ministry announce-ment, the two ministers also discussed the prospects of Greek-Russian relations, with emphasis on cooperation in the investment sector and a favorable framework for entrepreneurs, particularly in the fields of tourism and energy.
 Moscow's 'Go International' business mission reveals Russian interest in Greek exportsRussian businesses are highly interested in striking deals with Greek exporters to promote their products in the Russian market, as it was established during a two-day "Go Interna-tional" business mission held in Moscow. The event was organized by Greece's Eurobank in cooperation with the country's exports agencies, under the auspices of the Foreign ministry.
Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas stressed at a form held on Tuesday in the framework of the event that
Greece's old and failed growth model that was based on domestic demand coming from borrowing was being replaced by a new one which is based on export activity, deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas stressed at a forum held on Tuesday.
"Greek exports in 2010-2012 increased as a percentage of GDP from 7.6 percent to 14.3 percent. In absolute figures, the country's total exports rose from 13.2 billion euros in 2004 to 27.6 billion euros in 2012," Kourkoulas said. He added that there are positive prospects for a continuation of such upbeat course, based on data collected by diplomatic missions' economic and commercial affairs offices.
Greece's efforts on the economy are beginning to bear fruit as demonstrated by the country's upgrade by the international rating firms - which also upgraded Greek banks, Kourkoulas noted. This, he said, was recognition that the right policy is being followed and this will have a further positive repercussion in terms of exports.
Russia looks upon the Greek market as a portal to a wider market of 65 million people, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said in his address to the forum. He expressed satisfaction over the upsurge, as he termed it, in relations in the sector of tourism and thanked the Greek side for the efforts to facilitate visa procedures to Russian tourists wishing to travel to Greece.
The Russian minister said that more than 150 mixed Greek-Russian businesses were active in Russia with a total turnover of 2.5 billion euros and 20,000 employees.
 PM Samaras meets cruise companies executivesPrime Minister Antonis Samaras met on Tuesday with senior officials of the two leading companies in the world that are active in the cruise sector.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Vice President John Fox and Carnival Corporation Senior Vice President Giora Israel did not conceal their admiration for Greece's course and the prime minister's ideas, press reports said.
John Fox and Giora Israel are participating in the 2nd Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum taking place in Athens on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 PASOK, DI.MAR to jointly table antiracism billA rift in the coalition partners over a controversial bill against racism grew on Tuesday as PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos agreed with Democratic Left (DIM.AR) leader Fotis Kouvelis to jointly promote an antiracism bill, based on the one originally introduced by Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis.
The junior coalition members decided on the action late yesterday after a meeting among the three ruling partners, including majority party New Democracy, on Monday failed to reach agreement as the government took a clear stance against the bill.
As government sources said of Monday's meeting, "The government does not intend to table the draft bill on antiracism in parliament," while a date for a new meeting on this issue was not set. The government's argument is that the bill is unnecessary and its provisions covered by existing regulation, while the two parties insist that it is necessary.
The draft law was reviewed by the state legal review committee, which ruled certain of its articles "unconstitutional".
PASOK leader Venizelos
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, a junior partner in the coalition government, on Tuesday said that this was not the first time there was disagreement between the three political party leaders in the coalition government referring to the anti-racism bill. He added that in the past, any disagreements were overcome through mutual compromise, noting that he was surprised with the way New Democracy (ND) handled the issue.
Speaking on public-run NET television, he noted that the anti-racism bill shows that the government needs hard work to operate and that often even the self-evident needs to be explained. The government is going through a crisis, he said.
Venizelos repeated that he will table an anti-racism draft bill and expressed certainty that it will be voted by the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), a junior partner in the coalition government, main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) and possibly by other parties of the opposition.
The PASOK leader attributed the ND stance as regards the anti-racism bill to its "desire to be in contact with an audience that moves somewhere between ND and ultra-right Chryssi Avgi (GD) or between ND and the Independent Greeks (AN.EL) party".
Referring to the government, he said that it implements the policy of PASOK which was condemned by ND and DIM.AR when they were in an "anti-memorandum phase".
The Executive Committee of the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), a junior partner in the coalition government, on Tuesday discussed the party's next moves in the context of new circumstances created after confirmation that the political party leaders had disagreed on the anti-racism draft bill.
DIM.AR leader Fotis Kouvelis briefed party cadres on the political party leaders' meeting at Maximos Mansion government headquarters and referred to the New Democracy (ND) objections, the largest of the three parties in the coalition government, to the anti-racism draft bill raised by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
In case efforts fail to reach an agreement and table the anti-racism draft bill in parliament, DIM.AR will undertake to promote the justice ministry-sponsored anti-racism draft bill or agree on a common draft bill with PASOK, also a junior partner in the coalition government.
The DIM.AR party cadres rejected scenarios that question the government's cohesion.
 SYRIZA lashes out at coalition parties for antiracism billThe main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party on Tuesday accused New Democracy, the leading party of the government coalition, of "blatantly flirting with the agenda and platform of the extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) and shutting its eyes to the rise of racist violence, while PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIM.AR), the junior coalition members, despite their disagreements, have no plans to threaten the government's cohesion."
Reacting to the tripartite meeting of the coalition leaders on Monday to discuss the antiracism bill, SYRIZA said that the government's "burial" of the bill "shows its internal conflicts, although these will not jeopardise the memorandum-based agreement of the three parties."
SYRIZA also criticised PASOK and DIM.AR, saying that both parties are facing their strategic impasses and cannot differentiate themselves in fundamental ways from the core of the memorandum-based policy, which threatens democracy and its values overall.
 'Fuss around antiracism bill is fabricated,' Independent Greeks leaderThe fuss around the antiracism bill is rife with "ulterior motives" and "fabricated tension, through intense disagree-ments", according to Independent Greeks (AN.EL) leader Panos Kammenos on Tuesday.
In statements to ANA-MPA, Kammenos said "the fuss is meant to deflect people's attention from the economy's problems at a time when a large group of Deutsche Bank officials is visiting Athens, recapitalisation is in progress and everything indicates that new measures will have to be taken."
Kammenos did not comment on the antiracism bill itself, as party spokesman Notis Marias had done so earlier by noting that "instead of trying to find solution to loosen Greece from the grip of the memorandum, the three fellow-travellers of the government pretend they are focused on the antiracism bill, proving that their goal is not to deal with racism effectively but to change the communications agenda topics away from society's urgent problems."
 FM attends EU Foreign Affairs CouncilGreek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos participated in the EU's Foreign Affairs Council held in Brussels on Monday night.
The Council's discussions focused on the Syrian crisis. Extensive talks took place on the issue of restrictions in the procurement of weapons, as well as prospects for the scheduling of a political procedure to solve the crisis, in the light of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry-Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov initiative on convening a new International Conference for Syria.
According to a ministry announcement issued on Tuesday, Avramopoulos, after underlining Greece's steadfast position that the solution to the crisis in Syria can come through a political and diplomatic process, said that for Greece it is of special importance that a unified EU stance is adopted regarding the arms embargo. In this framework, he supported the amendment of the existing status of sanctions, on terms and preconditions, in favour of the moderate Syrian opposition, after the outcome of the International Conference for Syria is taken into consideration, and with the necessary security valves so that weapons do not fall into the hands of extremists. He expressed his concern over the possibility of the conflict spreading to neighbouring countries and stressed that Greece actively supports the initiative of the US and the Russian Federation for convening an International Conference.
Avramopoulos stressed in his contacts the special interest of the Greek people in the Christian populations living in Syria and expressed his strong concern over the abduction of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Pavlos and the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Grigorios, providing a briefing in parallel on Greek actions and initiatives for their release.
Lastly, in the framework of his contacts in Brussels, the Foreign minister held a separate meeting with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.
 KKE party on EU Foreign Ministers Council meeting on SyriaThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued an announcement on Tuesday, commenting on the EU Foreign Ministers Conference meeting on Syria.
"The decision of the Council of Foreign Ministers, that paves the way officially for the supplying with weapons of the so-called rebels of Syria by the EU's member-states, constitutes an escalation of the imperialist attack against the Syrian people," the announcement said.
KKE added that "this decision upgrades the multiform military, economic and diplomatic support that the EU, NATO together with Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are giving to the so-called
Syrian opposition and is paving the way for an open military intervention".
KKE denounced the Greek government's stance, which, according to the KKE "voted for the specific decision, confirming its involvement in the imperialist plans against the people of Syria".
 Parliament president's series of meetings in CanadaOTTAWA, Canada (ANA/MPA-I.Frangouli)
Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis who is paying an official visit to Canada, met on Monday with the his Canadian counterpart Andrew Sheer, with Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney as well as with parliament secretary to the minister of International Trade Gerald Keddy.
The meetings focused on the bilateral relations, investments in Greece and on the further enhancement of the two countries' relations.
Meimarakis said that the Greek government is determined to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles and to create an investment-friendly environment underlining that the positive climate is supported by the political stability which improves the country's credibility in the discussions with its partners and with the investors.
"Everybody speaks of Ancient Greece, but we the Modern Greeks have the ambition that they will say the same of Modern Greece too" said Meimarakis
On his part, Canadian parliament secretary to the minister of International Trade Gerald Keddy expressed his satisfaction that Greece will overcome it problems and underlined the Canadian companies' interest to invest in Greece.
Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney referred to Greece's progress noting that Canada is an ally in Greece's effort and underlined the Greek community's contribution which, as he said, had worked hard and has succeeded a lot. He also mentioned the Youth Mobility Agreement between the two countries which will give the opportunity to young people from Greece to move to Canada.
Concluding, Canadian parliament president noted that Greece and Canada can cooperate and further enhance their relations and made a special reference to the recent celebrations on the occasion of the 70-year anniversary of Canada-Greece's diplomatic relations.
 Meimarakis: Greece has created a investing-friendly environmentOTTAWA, Canada (ANA/MPA-I.Frangouli)
"Greece is going through a very important period and we must inform everyone on its huge effort to succeed, in its effort to stand again on its feet and to prove that it has created a investing-friendly environment that can attract investments which will lead to growth and that will reduce the unemployment" said parliament president Evangelos Meimarakis in a statement to public TV ERT, after the conclusion of the first day of his visit to Canada and to the city of Ottawa.
Meimarakis noted that his visit to Canada aims to inform all the local entities that have an influence to the social, political and economic life of Canada in order to proceed with investments in Greece within of course, the legal framework existing in the country which will eventually, create new job positions.
 Luxembourg PM Juncker in Athens on June 10-11Luxembourg Prime Minister and former Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker will pay a two-day working visit to Athens on June 10-11, it was announced on Tuesday.
The visit will take place at the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
 Public Order minister announces plan to ban small protest ralliesThe government is planning to introduce legislation to ban small protest rallies of under 200 participants to prevent disruptions of social and economic life in cities, Public Order and Citizen Protection minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday following the end of a meeting with the board of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE).
According to the minister, the measure will apply for cities of over 100.000 in population and will be in place all year round, not just during the tourist season.
Dendias added, "that it is in the interest of protestors", since small demonstrations in urban cities cause resentment by the majority of citizens.
During the meeting, GSEE expressed opposition to the planned legislation saying "it restricts social and political rights," with president Yannis Panagopoulos making it clear that GSEE and public servants union ADEDY are responsible only for large demonstrations. He attributed the large number of small protest demonstrations to the policies pursued.
Commenting on the proposed ban, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said "it opens the way for prohibition of the right to protest."
It added that in reality the government did not care about workers and small shops, but instead wanted to remain "faithful to the interests of business groups and major investors requiring cheap labour."
 State calls for review of civil employee filesAll ministries and state agencies must review personnel files and make sure that the skills claimed by each state employee are backed up by documentation, according to a circular sent out Tuesday by Administration Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis.
The process it said is part of the government's effort to evaluate the structure of the public sector and its staff. Any document affecting each employee's pay level - such as university degrees, family status, language or other skills' certificates - must be verified and included in the personnel file.
In addition, the minister requires directors to verify all language certifications directly with the issuing centres - such as the British Council, the Hellenic American Union and the French Institute - that employees claim they got them from.
 Opinion poll sees ND lead over SYRIZANew Democracy (ND) leads by 1.8 percent over main opposition SYRIZA, according to an opinion poll conducted by GPO for private television "Mega".
According to the poll results, ND was leading with 21.3 percent, followed by SYRIZA with 19.5 percent, ultra-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 10.1 percent, PASOK with 6.7 percent, Independent Greeks with 6.4 percent, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 5.8 percent and Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 5.1 percent and ANTARSYA with 1.8 percent.
In response to who would be most suitable for prime minister, current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (and ND leader) was preferred by 46.3 percent of the respondents, followed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras with 29.3percent, while 25 percent said neither of the two.
The geographic coverage of the opinion poll was nationwide and was conducted between 24 and 25 May 2013.
 Greek research future looking bleak, scientists tell SYRIZA leaderThe Union of Greek Scientists expressed their pessimism about the conditions prevailing in research to Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday.
According to a SYRIZA announcement, the scientists and Tsipras exchanged views about the sector's development and about how it could help the country's competitive edge.
According to date quoted in the party announcement, research is funded at a very low rate of 0.51 pct of the GDP.
 Posidonia sea tourism forum opens in AthensThe Second Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum opened on Tuesday at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron), focusing this year on Greece as a preferred East Mediterranean cruise hub.
In his opening speech at the two-day forum, Shipping and the Aegean Minister Costis Moussouroulis said that Greece wanted to develop cruise ship tourism in 30 of its 57 basic ports, but this required a policy that did not load all responsibility onto the port of Piraeus alone, better management of ports and faster adaptation to technological advances in terms of ship size.
Greece has aligned itself to international safety standards, it applies the system of predetermined date and servicing of ships and has simplified the processes to provide supportive projects at the ports, Moussouroulis said. Museums and archaeological sites will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., while a fast-response group of Culture Ministry and local officials will be able to intervene where necessary.
In addition, the ministries of Culture, Development and Tourism are jointly trying to help improve the image of tourism enterprises on the islands - either by external improvements on buildings or by the use of new technologies. The 80-million-euro programme provides loans from 10,000 to 30,000 euros, with a long-term repayment period, while for investments on islands with fewer than 3,000 residents the interest rate will be zero.
Referring to the new act on recreational vessels, the minister spoke of a single institutional framework to benefit many more stakeholders, of eliminating discrimination based on vessel chartering criteria, which in the past has been arbitrary, of flexible chartering procedures and of change to the criterion of professionalism.
"Marine tourism is an activity in the global market which has shown resistance to the international crisis and demonstrates excellent prospects," the minister said.
Giora Israel, Carival Corporation senior vice president said the Greek government had the will to do a lot of things and bring them to completion in spite of the tough economic conditions. "We are your partners," he said emphatically.
Israel said two years ago, Greece encountered a critical period, noting that Carnival wanted to support the country's efforts. However, there are still many issues to be resolved, he said, but "good days lie ahead".
Carnival has nine cruise ship subsidiaries, and its vessels making 1,090 port calls in the Adriatic and Ionian seas, transporting some 2.8 million passengers.
Addressing the forum, Royal Caribbean Cruises vice president John Fox said the cruise sector's economic growth in Greece is directly linked to port facilities, safety concerns and political stability.
Specifically, he said that Greece only gets 600 million dollars of the 15 billion dollars generated in Europe by the cruise industry, stressing that the country lagged in homeporting growth as only 16 pct of passengers visiting Greece on cruise ships do actually get off board and spend money in the local market - half of that of Spain and France's.
The lifting of cabotage was a positive step in the right direction, Fox said, but added that Greece, in order to capture the economic benefits of the cruise industry, should as soon as possible modernise port infrastructure through assignments and partnerships. On this, he said, the government is going in the right direction.
Royal Caribbean has 41 ships of a total capacity of 100,000 passengers.
 EU targets unemployment of young people with new programmesBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
The European Commission is taking account of the unemployment situation in each member state ahead of a summit meeting in June whose agenda will be topped by the issue, it said on Tuesday.
In a memo, the Commission said that following the redesign of EU-funded programmes at the end of 2012, the EU adopted a national action plan in January of this year that it funded with 517 million euros. The programme hopes to add jobs for and train 350,000 young people in business skills.
Authorities in Greece, which registered 59.1 pct in unemployment of young people, authorities said the initiative has begun with a 47-billion-euro funding to provide short-term jobs to people up to 35 years of age in culture-related programmes and to support social structures that fight poverty and social isolation.
The Commission said it was also in final stages of preparation for two programmes, worth a total of 146 million euros, that will go into effect in June. The first will provide training and a five-month work contract at businesses for 45,000 unemployed youths up to 29 years of age, and the other will provide training to 1,000 young unemployed people up to 29.
According to EU statistics, in March 2013, 5.7 million young persons were unemployed in the EU-27, of whom 3.6 million were in the euro area. The youth unemployment rate was 23.5% in the EU-27 and 24% in the euro area, relatively stable over the month, but up by respectively 0.9 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points compared to March 2012.
In March 2013, the lowest rates were observed in Germany and Austria (both 7.6%), The Netherlands (10.5%), and the highest in Greece (59.1% in January 2013), Spain (55.9%), Italy (38.4%) and Portugal (38.3%).
 Head of task force to Greece reviews progress at European Parliament sessionBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
Conditions are ripe for an agreement that could restart all large-scale roadworks projects in Greece, provided Parliament approves it, Horst Reichenbach, head of the European Commision task force for Greece, said in Brussels on Tuesday.
At the session of the European Parliament's Budgetary Control Committee that met to review the implementation of financial assistance from the EU budget in Greece, Reichenbach reviewed the successful outcome of the task force proposals on out-of-court settlement of differences and on the founding of a general secretariat to coordinate the government's work.
The task force will remain in Greece for another two years, he said, but the success of its mission depends on the government's will to promote infrastructural changes in the economy. He said that although the government had completed important tasks, the Greek banking sector will face problems for a long time and said that infrastructural funds can contribute to the liquidity issue.
Former minister Stefanos Manos, who attended the hearing, said that the main problem in Greece is lack of a political will to initiate drastic changes in the public sector and restrict it and to combat tax evasion, and called on Reichenbach to pay attention to small projects as well.
At the hearing, a European Commission representative said that Greece had absorbed 56 pct of the structural funds alloted, above the EU average, while a spokesperson of the Bruegel think-tank, based in Brussels, criticised the Commission over its faulty programme for the Greek economy.
 Positive message for congress tourism in GreeceGERMANY (ANA/MPA-F.Karaviti)
Positive messages for the recovery of the Greek tourism were received at the International Exhibition of Congress Tourism IMEX 2013 in Frankfurt. The Greek National Tourism Organisation (NGTO) participated with its own pavilion in the exhibition and hosted 26 representatives of the sector, congress centers, entrepreneurs and hotels.
EOT presented, to approximately 150 buyers that visited the 275 sq.m pavilion, Greece's advantages while the chief of NGTO office in Germany Panagiotis Skordas had a series of meetings aiming to intensify the efforts towards the promotion of congress tourism in Greece.
According to the organisers, 9,000 professionals visited the exhibition and the individual business meetings between exhibitors and visitors increased by 33 percent.
 Annual Monetary Policy report to be tabled in Parliament on WednesdayThe annual report on Monetary Policy will be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday by Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos.
The Bank of Greece, according to reports, forecasts that the economy's recession will range this year close to -4.5 percent of GDP. It also forecasts a recovery from 2014 and a decrease in unemployment as of 2015. The central bank governor stresses in the report that the situation has started to change for the better and the country is on a good path for building a strong and competitive banking system.
As regards the economy's growth prospects, the central banker assesses that recession will reach around -4.5 percent this year, a prediction that also incorporates the negative repercussion from Cyprus that is estimated between -0.3 and -0.4 percent.
 Thirty eight Greek companies to participate in "Summer Fancy Food Show" in NYThirty eight Greek export companies will promote the official branding of the Greek food and beverages "Taste like Greece" with their participation in the International exhibition "Summer Fancy Food Show 2013" that will be held in New York from 30 June to 2 July.
The participating companies will promote the quality of the Greek gastronomy products as olive oil, olives, canned fruits, yoghurt and feta cheese, wine, salted preserves and other.
The visitors of the exhibition will have the opportunity to taste the Greek wines in the presence of a sommelier.
The International Exhibition "Summer Fancy Food Show" hosts 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries and is one of the most important events regarding the food and beverage sector.
 Professional trade unions meet with visiting ILO delegationThe big unemployment problem in Greece dominated in a meeting on Tuesday between a visiting International Labour Organisation (ILO) delegation and the board members of Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE) and National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE).
"The extraordinary unemployment rate in Greece can be reduced only through a national strategy for economic growth and by supporting SMEs," it was noted in the meeting hosted at the ESEE offices in preparation of the ILO conference in Athens on June 25-26.
The main issues under discussion will be SME job positions, programmes in support of jobless households, combating uninsured labour, linking education and vocational training with employment, social economy and social dialogue in Greece.
 Greek pension funds will not participate in banks' recapitalization processGreek pension funds will not participate in a round of share capital increase plans of Greek systemic banks.
The Labor ministry, in a letter sent to the managements of Greek pension funds last Friday, said that according to the latest memorandum signed with the EC-ECB-IMF troika, central government agencies have no right to participate in banks' share capital increase schemes.
Following this development, the boards of IKA -Greece's largest pension fund- and of the Self-Employed Single Fund annulled earlier decisions and proceed with the sale of their rights to Alpha Bank, while they are expected to do so with National Bank.
Meanwhile, GSEE -Greece's largest trade union umbrella- and OTOE -bank workers union- in a letter sent to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras protested against the decision which blocked their participation in Greek banks' recapitalization process.
 Greek companies suffer from lack of talentsA 38 pct of Greek employers are finding it difficult to cover their job position needs, a survey by ManpowerGroup said on Tuesday.
The annual survey, conducted on a sample of 751 employers from all sector of the economy, showed that for the fifth consecutive year, Greek employers are having big difficulties in covering job positions such as professional salesmen, high-ranking officials and technicians.
ManpowerGroup said more than one in two Greek employers (54 pct) said that vacant job positions were having a moderate to high impact on their company's ability to respond to the needs of its customers. This rate was significantly higher (20 percentage points) compared with last year.
The most significant finding of the survey is the effect of a lack of talent in business operations, Dr. Venetia Kousia, managing director of ManpowerGroup said, commenting on the survey. She added that "supplementary, regarding company strategy the problem demands a change of thinking which will come only through the systematic cooperation of all interested parties: the state, enterprises, education community, human resources experts and workers themselves".
 Intralot to pay 0.001967 euros dividend to shareholdersAn Intralot annual general shareholders' meeting on Tuesday approved a board plan to pay a 0.001967 euros per share net dividend to shareholders. The company, in a statement, said that its shares will be traded ex-dividend in the Athens Stock Exchange from Thursday, 30 May.
 Fourlis Holdings reports lower Q1 lossesFourlis SA Holdings on Tuesday reported lower after tax and minorities losses to 4.9 million euros in the first quarter of 2013, from a loss of 5.2 million euros in the same period last year.
The group said consolidated sales totaled 85.1 million euros in the January-March period, down 6.1 pct from 2012, while consolidated pre-tax losses rose slightly to 6.3 million euros from 6.2 million euros last year, while EBITDA fell to 688,000 euros in 2013 from 868,000 in 2012.
Fourlis said that although it was still early to reach any safe conclusions over market trends this year, the effects of an economic recession on the IKEA branch and on its Intersport chain has stabilize to a fully manageable level and were not expected to significantly affect its annual turnover.
 E.I.Papadopoulos reports improved 2012 resultsE.I.Papadopoulos, a Greek food industry, on Tuesday reported a small increase in sales and pre-tax profits, but a decline in net profits last year. The company, the biggest biscuit industry in the country which has recently expanded in the bakery market, said its sales totaled 121.01 million euros in 2012, from 118.49 million euros in 2011, an increase of 2.1 pct.
Gross profit margin fell by 1.2 percentage point to 49.1 pct in 2012 from 50.3 pct in 2011, with gross earnings falling by 0.3 pct to 59.44 million euros, EBITDA falling by 3.1 pct to 14.73 million euros and EBIT falling by 2.6 pct to 11.64 million euros.
Pre-tax profits rose 1.9 pct to 12.53 million euros in 2012 from 12.30 million in 2011 and 13.08 million euros in 2010. Net profits, however, fell 14.8 pct to 8.31 million euros hit by a heavier tax burden.
The business, founded in 1922, operates four production units in Athens, Inofyta, Thessaloniki and Volos. At the end of 2012 its workforce was 973 workers, up from 949 in 2011. Its market share in the biscuits market was 62.5 pct and in the toast market 32 pct.
I. Papadopoulos, chief executive of the company, speaking to ANA-MPA said the company will continue growing based on its own forces in the bakery business and noted it was not interested in participating in mergers and acquisitions seemingly underway in the market.
 Terna Energy says Q1 profits up 37.4 pctTerna Energy on Tuesday said its consolidated sales totaled 35 million euros in the first quarter of 2013, from 26 million euros in the same period last year, an increase of 34.3 pct. The company attributed this positive development to higher revenues form energy activities after the company increased its power capacity in Greece and abroad.
Energy revenues jumped 51.9 pct to 28.4 million euros in the January-March period period, up from 18.7 million euros last year.
Sales of the construction sector, however, fell 10.3 pct to 6.6 million euros in the three-month period.
EBITDA jumped 57.2 pct to 20.6 million euros, while EBIT rose 59 pct to 13.3 million euros in the first quarter of 2013. Pre-tax profits rose 36.2 pct to 7.8 million euros, while net after minorities earnings grew 37.4 pct to 5.6 million euros.
Group investments totaled 9.7 million euros in the first quarter of 2013, while cash flow grew to 20.5 million euros from 13.1 million euros in the same period last year.
 Direct flights from Athens and Thessaloniki to KievUkraine International Airlines is establishing a direct air link between Greece and Ukraine with flights on the Athens-Kiev and Thessaloniki-Kiev route.
The flights that have already begun from Athens (Eleftherios Venizelos airport) to Kiev (Boryspil Internataional Airport) will be carried out four times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), while another flight will be added as of June 18.
Moreover, the linking between Thessaloniki and Kiev, twice a week (Tuesday and Friday), will begin from May 31, 2013.
 Greek stocks end slightly lowerGreek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, unable to hold on to their early strong gains as lack of follow-through buying left share prices vulnerable to selling pressure. The composite index of the market eased 0.10 pct to end at 1,037.83 points, after rising as much as 2.01 pct during the day. Turnover eased further to 53.658 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 0.49 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 0.13 pct. MIG (9.59 pct). Folli Follie (3.54 pct), Hellenic Petroleum (2.74 pct) and Frigoglass (2.32 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (8.28 pct), Eurobank (4.20 pct), OTE (2.90 pct) and Jumbo (2.90 pct) were top losers.
The Commerce (3.51 pct), Health (3.01 pct) and Financial Services (2.29 pct) sectors scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Telecoms (2.90 pct), Technology (1.75 pct) and Utilities (1.72 pct) suffered losses. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 79 to 65 with another 22 issues unchanged. Varagis (20 pct), Pasal (19.89 pct) and Kathimerini (18.84 pct) were top gainers, while Naftemporiki (22.95 pct), Alsinco (20 pct) and Pegasus (17.41 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +1.03%
Personal & Household: -1.78%
Raw Materials: -1.23%
Travel & Leisure: -1.47%
Food & Beverages: +1.70%
Financial Services: +2.29%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Bank of Piraeus, Alpha Bank, OPAP, OTE and PPC.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.64
Public Power Corp (PPC): 8.00
Hellenic Petroleum: 8.99
EFG Eurobank Ergasias: 0.41
Bank of Piraeus: 0.27
 Greek bond market closing reportGreek stocks bonds have been at the focus of investment activity in the past two months, with turnover in the domestic electronic secondary bond market soaring to 318 million euros so far in May, after rising to 69 million euros in April. These figures, however, still lag far behind the volumes recorded almost 10 years ago or even before the country agreed to a bailout with the troika. The value of transactions reached its peak in September 2004 with a monthly turnover of 136 billion euros, only to fall to zero in October 2011.
Turnover in the market was 24 million euros on Tuesday, of which 17 million euros were buy orders and the remaining 7.0 million euros were sell orders. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds eased to 7.25 pct from 7.47 pct on Monday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.73 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.48 pct.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.47 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.38 pct, the six-month rate was 0.29 pct, the three-month rate was 0.20 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.35 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover at 23.898 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 11,238 contracts worth 20.239 million euros, with 38,187 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 12,058 contracts worth 3.663 million euros, with investment interest focusing on MIG's contracts (3,950), followed by Eurobank (2,528), OTE (1,507), PPC (936), OPAP (559), Hellenic Exchanges (211), Viohalco (141), Mytilineos (401), Hellenic Petroleum (210), GEK (713), Ellaktor (118) and Terna Energy (221).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.313
Pound sterling 0.868
Danish kroner 7.564
Swedish kroner 8.716
Japanese yen 133.96
Swiss franc 1.272
Norwegian kroner 7.666
Canadian dollar 1.358
Australian dollar 1.355
 Cretan regional governor holds meetings with foreign ambassadorsCrete's comparative advantages - history, culture, tradition, hospitality, natural beauty, tourism and excellent Cretan products - were discussed on Tuesday in consecutive meetings between Cretan regional governor Stavros Arnautakis with the ambassadors of Australia Jane Bloomfield, Slovakia Peter Michalko and Britain John Kittmer.
The regional governor said in his contacts with the three ambassadors that Crete is open to investments and is a safe destination and called for their cooperation to enable the message-invitation to pass to their countries.
He further said that Crete possesses infrastructures to host tourists, is open to religious tourism, is in a position to provide its excellent certified farm products everywhere and has internationally recognised scientific-research centres.
The three ambassadors said they are willing to offer their cooperation and referred to the possibilities and opportunities provided by the island, underlining Crete's advantages as well.
 Parliament sends support message to UNICEF fundraiserParliament Secretary General Athanassios Papaioannou on Tuesday expressed Parliament's support of a UNICEF fundraiser for programmes to inoculate children in vulnerable social groups against life-threatening diseases.
According to a Parliament announcement, Papaioannou made a personal appeal on the phone during a telethon hosted by public ERT radio.
He said that "every Greek's contribution to these telethons is effective and goes to a good cause" and said that executive, judicial and social power must join to help out at a time when collaboration is necessary to resolve large and serious social problems.
 Young girl seriously injured in brutal assault to be airlifted to the United States for treatmentThe teenage girl, that was brutally assaulted last July by a 21-year-old illegal migrant from Pakistan, while she was on vacation on the Aegean island of Paros with her family, will be taken to a rehabilitation centre in the United States. The girl is currently treated in Athens' Evangelismos Hospital.
Following an order by Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos, National Organisation for Health Care (EOPYY) President Lefteris Papageorgopoulos approved the funds needed for the treatment of the young girl abroad and preparations are underway to be airlifted to the United States.
Mirto, who was 15 at the time of the attack, was sexually assaulted and was found seriously injured on July 23 at a beach on the popular island of Paros, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean.
The girl, her mother and her sister were staying at the home of friends for a brief vacation, and after an afternoon swim at the Chryssi Akti beach the mother lost sight of the girl and searched her out, eventually finding the teen unconscious and injured behind an outcropping of rocks. The girl bore several wounds to the head and face, while the lower part of her bathing suit was missing. Subsequent tests confirmed that she had been raped.
The girl was initially taken to the Paros Health Centre but due to the gravity of her injuries was transferred by helicopter to an Athens hospital where she underwent surgery for serious head injuries.
A 21-year-old Pakistani national illegally residing in Greece, who was illegally employed at a Paros hotel, confessed to the sexual assault and brutal attack of the girl. He was positively identified as the perpetrator through DNA testing.
 Migrant traffickers arrested in northern GreeceTwo men, a Bulgarian, 32, and an Iranian, 18, were arrested on migrant smuggling charges, Thessaloniki police announced on Tuesday.
Eleven illegal migrants from Syria and Afghanistan were found hidden in a transporter van driven by one of the suspects. The arrests were made near "Analipsi" toll post facilities on Egnatia Odos national motorway in the region of Langadas on Monday evening.
The destination of the illegal migrants were northern European countries and according to police, the fees charged by the smugglers for their transport amounted to 38,000 US dollars in total.
An investigation is underway for the arrest of other members of the migrant smuggling ring.
 Cloudy on WednesdayCloudy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 10C and 30C. Slightly cloudy in Athens with northerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 16C and 29C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 15C and 29C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Halt to private television station owners' unaccountability.
DIMOKRATIA: Pensions: The new retirement age limits, the 'reduced pensions' and the 'fine prints'.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: First crisis in coalition government.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Tax statements will be automatically checked.
ELLADA AVRIO: Prime Minister Antonis Samaras ended PASOK, DIMAR's operetta.
ESTIA: Tax statements a puzzle.
ETHNOS: First rift in the coalition government.
IMERISSIA: Tax Bureau's guide for tax statements.
KATHIMERINI: Danger of major crisis in the coalition government.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Hurdles and traps in tax statements.
NIKI: Pension guide for the insured.
RIZOSPASTIS: People should now fight for their modern needs.
TA NEA: They agreed that they disagree.
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