|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-07-08
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 8 July 2013 Issue No: 4400 Politics
 Negotiations with troika conclude, FinMin leaves for BrusselsNegotiations with the troika representatives ended on Sunday with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras expressing confidence that an agreement will be finalised by Monday night, before the Eurogroup meeting is scheduled to convene.
"I am optimistic we will have an agreement by tomorrow (Monday) night," Stournaras said before heading to Brussels for the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings on Monday evening and Tuesday, respectively.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief of mission for Greece Poul Thomsen agreed, saying "we made significant progress. I hope we finalise an agreement tomorrow (Monday) before the Eurogroup."
High-level sources at the Finance Ministry said that pending issues are expected to be worked out Monday morning at the Euro Working Group prior to the Eurogroup meeting, where a proposal must be presented on the updated memorandum with Greece (including both the Memorandum of Understanding and the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies).
The Eurogroup will also decide whether the next loan tranche of 8.1 billion euros will be disbursed as is or split into further installments, depending on Greece's fulfilment of its "prior actions" obligations.
According to the Ministry sources, agreement with the troika was achieved on the following issues:
Firstly, businesses will not be asked to contribute 0.2 percent of their turnover to the OAEE fund (health and pension fund for self-employed and professionals).
Secondly, military pensions will not be reduced and will continue to be disbursed on the basis of the old wage scale. (Ministry sources also said that wages of active military personnel would not be reduced further.) The resulting revenue loss of 250 million euros will be partly offset by Ministry of National Defence cuts in procurements.
Thirdly, as of February 2014, the new unified tax on property will be collected directly by tax offices rather than through electricity bills.
The issue of a trial introduction of lower VAT in restaurant and bars from 23 percent to 13 percent is still open, they said. The government has proposed that losses from the reduction be offset by luxury taxes on cars and yachts.
Finally, the omnibus bill on prior actions required for the disbursement of loan tranches is expected to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, under emergency procedures. The new tax code, currently under public discussion, is also expected to be tabled the same day under emergency procedures.
 Meeting at the Interior MinistryA meeting was held on Sunday morning at the Interior Ministry in which participated Interior Minister Yannis Mihelakis, alternate Interior Minister Leonidas Grigorakos and the the ministry's general secretaries in order to discuss and prepare the ministry's actions following the decisions taken during government's negotiations with the representatives of the troika (EC,ECB,IMF).
On Monday, Mihelakis will have consecutive meetings with the Central Union of Greek Municipalities (KEDE), the Panhellenic Federation of Workers Associations of the Local Government (POE-OTA) and with the Panhellenic Federation of Workers in Local Administration (POP-OTA).
 Agreement between troika and Administration Reform MinistryAdministration Reform Ministry and troika (EC, ECB, IMF) had reached an agreement on Saturday regarding the transfers in public sector. Administration Reforms Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and deputy minister Evi Christofilopoulou met with the troika at the Finance Ministry in the presence of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and later an Administration Reform ministry official stated "We agreed, we will not meet again. Eurogroup will examine some details"
 Samaras addresses ND's political committeeYou cannot change a country without changing mentalities and without fighting populism and extremes, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told the main New Democracy (ND) party political committee meeting on Sunday.
Speaking at ND headquarters on Syngrou Avenue in Athens, the PM and party leader said, "You cannot change a country if you do not fight and win the battle of ideas and if you do not keep an open battle front with populism and extremes. The Greek people are not passive observers."
"The battle of ideas has a specific adversary; you have to know who the enemy is. Today it is necessary to bring productive investments to the country. Those who say no to investments are [our] opponents. Our goal is to bring more job openings - those who are against this and shut down factories are [our] opponents," the PM said, " adding that "when the primary need is for security, those who reinforce hooded protesters and those who burn down the city."
Speaking of PASOK in the government, Samaras said that "there is a lot in our past separating us from PASOK, but there is a great committment bringing us together: to take the country out of its crisis." He further said that everyone makes mistakes, but the greatest mistakes are made on streets and sidewalks by those who have never governed. "We are in great conflict with those who want nothing to change," he added.
His government's priority, he said, was "first to save our country, otherwise we will not be worthy of its history...What will our children say if, when it's time to bring the country out of crisis, we start fighting over the past?"
Both ND and PASOK are "the only remaining forces that want to save the country," Samaras charged, saying that did not mean the two merged or obliterated their differences. "However, it's one thing to prioritise the needs of our homeland, which is in emergency mode, and another to forget your differences. Look at what is going on in Greece - a year ago, Greece was the only source of instability. Look at it today - uncertainty and instability everywhere around us, while Greece looks like the only island of stability."
Samaras made special mention to NBA-selected Greek basketball forward of Nigerian descent, Giannis Adetokunbo, who does not forget he's Greek. "He has some people curse him and then complain that we call them neo-Nazis, while he is more of a Greek than those burning the Greek flag," Samaras said. "We move on, leaving the extremists in their misery, their whining is turning off Greek society. The battle for ideas unites, does not divide the majority," he concluded.
 Papamimikos elected New Democracy party secretaryAndreas Papamimikos is main New Democracy (ND) party's new secretary, following a unanimous decision by its political committee on Sunday.
In a short address Papamimikos said, "Our aim is to create a new party structure, a new political organisation that will attract new citizens and will inspire those who in the last years distanced themselves from the party. Our policy focuses on the human being. Our aim is to strengthen the government and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' efforts."
Papamimikos, 34, a lawyer by training with degrees from the University of Macedonia's Balkan Studies (undergraduate) and European Policies (graduate), and studies in communications and human resources at the University of Lille III. Before becoming ND secretary, he served as the first president of ND's youth party (ONNED) to be voted in directly by youth party members.
 Parties react to PM Samaras' speech at ND political committeeParties reactions to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' address to the main New Democracy (ND) party's political committee meeting on Sunday:
Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) press spokesman Panagiotis Skourletis charged Samaras with "a constant effort to set up the new extreme right" and "taking his own party and political disagreement back decades".
Skourletis said that Samaras did not clarify the real causes of Greece's present crisis, and charged that "the basic dilemma Greek society has to face is Memorandum vs Democracy".
Saving the country does not include "pandering to German Chancellor Angela Merkel", said Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos, accusing the premier of "proving that you are interested in saving bankers, publishers and your politically involved friends by using funds of the Greek people, who are becoming impoverished".
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said the new Greece "will not be built for the Greek workers with old materials provided by ND and other parties of the European path that led the people to bankruptcy. The new Greece is one of people's prosperity, without people being taken advantage of, released from the EU and other imperialist organisations, and will be built when the people decide to assume the country's rule and natural resources".
 Venizelos: 'Samaras and I share a relation of mutual understanding'PASOK leader, government vice president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos described his collaboration with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras "a relation of mutual understanding and personal trust" in an interview to the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper.
Venizelos stressed that both of them share a "huge burden" and stated that "the stability of the government's and the strategic stability of the country is a political possession of huge importance".
He noted that everyone understands that "there is no Plan B and if our country goes to elections we will be led before an absolute impasse".
He reiterated that the country cannot stand any more measures that will reduce incomes, function recessively and are hostile to employment.
"The thriller with the [release or not of the] tranche was a communicative and political mistake of our institutional partners," Venizelos said. "This public debate should end and stop giving rise to this communication issue every so often," he added.
Asked about relations with Democratic Left (DIMAR), he said it will be judged in parliament and expressed the certaintly that it will be judged positively; he also called his relation with DIMAR leader Fotis Kouvelis very warm.
Finally, Venizelos denied he has a problem a Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras: "I do not have a personal issue with Stournaras. On the contrary, I regard him a friend and there is a relation of mutual respect and sympathy between us exists. What I care for is that any negotiation be conducted in the best possible and effective way."
 Tsipras: 'I will not allow Greece to become a debt colony'The certainty that when SYRIZA becomes government both the country and Europe will change was expressed by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras in an interview with Sunday newspaper Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia.
Addressing himself to Greece's EU partners, the leader of the main opposition said he will not proceed to unilateral actions unless he is forced to by their stance to do so, and noted, "Our priority is the people's needs and not the international usurers' demands".
Tsipras noted that he will not allow the country to remain immersed in the crisis and to become a debt colony. In this framework, he proposes the re-negotiation of the loan contract, the write-off of the largest part of the debt and the freezing of the taxes for at least four years. The freezing will result in a savings of 25 billion euros that can be allocated to growth and to dealing with the humanitarian crisis, he opined.
 ANEL's Kammenos: Samaras and Venizelos to try elections under single partyPrime Minister Antonis Samaras and government Vice President Evangelos Venizelos will try to "go to elections under a single party to try and write off the debts of their parties and write off any criminal liabilities," Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos charged Sunday.
In an interview to ANA-MPA, ANEL's leader said the leaders of New Democracy and PASOK, respectively, "will fail in this enterprise", while he committed himself to not giving up fighting against all those who are battling him "within and without politics".
 SYRIZA: Sacrifices on memorandum's altar"The so-called negotiations between the heads of the troika and its local representatives resulted in human sacrifices on the memorandum's altar", said main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) in an announcement on Sunday.
SYRIZA also noted that "the memorandum's commitment to layoffs is being fully implemented, the new mechanism to formulate the minimum wage will push it further down while the first installment of the new measures to cover the financial gap is already in the works".
 DIMAR: The continuous compromise policy does not offer an exit from crisis"The troika (EC, ECB, IMF) insists on the implementation of the mistaken data fiscal adjustment programme" said in an announcement Democratic Left (DIMAR) on Saturday referring to government's negotiation with the the representatives of Greece's lenders.
DIMAR also noted "government's acceptance of a continuous compromise that does not set on the table the changes and the reforms issue in the economic policy is a policy that will not give an exit to the crisis. According to DIMAR "only with substantial changes as the reduction of the unjust tax burdens, the reduction of households' burden from bank loans and the financing support of the small and medium sized enterprises along with the immediate activation of growth interventions in the state, the rejuvenation of the real economy and the sustainability of the public finances will be achieved".
 'Europe owes a debt of gratitude to Greece', Schulz tells conference on Acheloos RiverGreece has contributed tremendously to European democracy, not just in antiquity but in the 20th century as well, said European Parliament President Martin Schulz through a teleconference on Sunday at a one-day meeting on "European policies for the development of the Acheloos River basin", at Vragiana in Argithea township, western Greece, on Saturday.
Addressing the meeting, Schulz said, "Europe owes a debt of gratitude to Greece, and for this reason the Europeans must continue to believe in the European future of Greece."
"The last five years Greece and the Greek people have exerted a Herculean effort," he said, adding that "the tough reforms you have initiated seem to be finally bringing results, and for the first time in six years the Greek economy will return to development in 2014."
Organisers included the European Commission and European Parliament offices in Greece and the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. Speakers included Agricultural Development and Food Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris, Eurodeputies Georgios Papanikolaou (New Democracy) and Spyros Danellis (PASOK), Cyprus EuroMP Sofocles Sofocleous (EDEK) and the Commission's head of the general directorate of agricultural policy, Tassos Chaniotis.
 Dev't Minister Hatzidakis leaving for Poland ahead of presidentDevelopment and Competitiveness Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, who will be accompanying President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on an official visit to Poland, is leaving on Sunday for Krakow.
Ahead of a delegation of ministers leaving with Papoulias on Tuesday, Hatzidakis will address the Polish-Greek Economic Congress on Monday and meet with Janusz Piechocinski, deputy prime minister and Economy minister.
Also on Monday, Hatzidakis will accompany Papoulias at the president's meeting with Polish President of the Republic Bronislaw Komorowski and Prime Minister Donald Tusk and on his visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps on Tuesday.
 SYRIZA leader to meet with European Economic Social Committee president MondayMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) party leader Alexis Tsipras will meet with European Economic and Social Committee President Henri Malosse at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, at the Parliament.
 Health Minister attends Greek Medical Association meetingHealth Minister Adonis Georgiadis on Saturday visited the Medical Association of Athens and attended the meeting of the Greek Medical Association.
Georgiadis discussed with the delegates their problems and their demands and during his intervention noted that "we can and must do the best possible for the Health sector. You, who are scientists, operate according to reality. You know better that we must not consume ourselves in wishful thinking but to be realistic. I am here to listen to you and to tell you what we can do and to call you to help".
 Communist Party on transfers, layoffs in public sectorCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Saturday regarding civil servants' transfers noted "The layoffs, with or without reserve labour, of thousands of civil servants will lead to the dissolution and downgrading of services and structures in health, welfare, education and municipalities which are linked with the popular needs satisfaction" adding that the propelled layoffs and transfers in local administration "are the result of a course of changes implemented in the past from the governments and with the responsibility of New Democracy, PASOK, Democratic Left and SYRIZA' municipal authorities".
The people said the announcement "must struggle against the reforms and not to fall in the trap of the false and dangerous division of 'public-private' and 'employed-unemployed'. To intensify its struggle against the government and EU's measures and to rally with KKE in order the way for a friendly-popular exit from the crisis to open".
 SYRIZA's founding congress opens on Wed.The works of the founding congress of SYRIZA will open with its leader Alexis Tsipras and the political parties' messages on Wednesday and will be concluded on Sunday 14 July.
According to the schedule released on Saturday on Thursday and Friday congressmen will address their speeches and on Friday night the final political decision plan will be presented.
The voting for the political decision, the political platform, the rules and the articles regarding the election of the president and the Central Committee will be all held on Saturday.
The works will be completed with the election of the Central Committee on July 14.
 Opinion poll gives marginal lead to SYRIZA over NDMain opposition SYRIZA was marginally leading over New Democracy (ND) by 0.5 percentage points, according to an opinion poll conducted after the recent government's reshuffle by VPRC for TVXS website released on Saturday
According to the poll results, SYRIZA was leading with 28.5 percent, followed by ND with 28 percent, ultra-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) with 14.5 percent, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) with 7.5 percent, PASOK and with 7 percent, Independent Greeks with 5.5 percent and Democratic Left (DIMAR) with 2.5 percent , while 6.5 percent of the respondents expressed support for other parties.
Regarding the shutdown of National Broadcaster (ERT), 58 percent of the respondents said it was wrong, 30 percent said it was right and 6 percent said neither wrong nor right.
The geographic coverage of the opinion poll was nationwide .
 Missing sailboat located, passengers safeA sailboat with a woman of foreign nationality and three children on board that was reported to be adrift southwest of Kythnos island, Aegean Sea, on Sunday was located later in the day by Coast Guard.
The woman's husband who was in a life raft was also found and rescued.
The sailboat is expected to be tugged to the nearest port.
 Wildfire in Stefani under controlA wildfire that broke out on Saturday afternoon in Stefani, Corinth prefecture was reported to be under control on Sunday.
The fire was raging throughout the night and is estimated to have burned 30 hectares of forest and farmland.
Twelve fire engines with their crews remain in the area to prevent rekindling given that strong winds continue to blow in the area.
 Human traffickers arrestedA 53 year-old man together with two other men both aged 34 were arrested on Friday on Egnatia national road by border police for attempting to get into Greece 18 illegal migrants from Iraq.
The van with the illegal migrants was driven by the older man while the other two were in a leading carto detect police check points.
Police confiscated the two vehicles and seven mobile phones.
The suspects will be sent before Rodopi prefecture prosecutor.
 Municipalities to strike MondayThe Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) will strike on Monday to protest civil service layoffs.
KEDE, which did not include social- and welfare-related services in the strike, is scheduled to meet with Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis on Monday. Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will also attend the meeting that will determine the union's future mobilisations.
Following the meeting of mayors, municipal employees jeered at Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis as he was exiting the building, prompting the reaction late Sunday of government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, Minister Michelakis and PASOK who condemned the incident.
 ND deputy's office targettedUnknown individuals placed a makeshift explosive device at the entrance of New Democracy (ND) deputy Fevronia Patrianakou's office in Athens.
Minor damages were reported from the explosion while the time of the explosion remains unknown.
Police are conducting an investigation.
 Fair on MondayFair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Scattered clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 18C-33C. Fair in the central and southern parts, 18C-34C; the same for the islands 21C-31C. Sunny in Athens, 24C-33C; Cloudy with possibility of rain in the afternoon in Thessaloniki, 22C-32C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Layoffs' tsunami in public and private sector.
ETHNOS: The taxes tragedy
KATHIMERINI: National Health Organisation (EOPYY) inspectors in clinics.
KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: Layoffs and in parliament.
KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras: Debt's reduction and tax freezing.
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: All with PAME (Labour organisation affiliated to Communist Party of Greece) in July 11 protest rallies.
PROTO THEMA: Haircut to mortgage and other red loans.
REAL NEWS: Germans' 'sick' plan!
TO PARON: Arrangement for debts to Tax Bureau a Waterloo.
TO VIMA: Tax-rent for all Greeks.
TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: Reversals in the reserve labour plan in public sector.
VRADYNI: Pension now under favourable arrangements in public sector and Public Utilities and organisation
36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS