|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-07-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 9 July 2013 Issue No: 4401
 Eurogroup approves staggered payments of 6.8 bln euros to Greece by OctoberBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni)
A Eurogroup meeting on Monday agreed to make staggered payments of its financial aid to Greece, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, told reporters.
Speaking to reporters, the Eurogroup's president said creditors agreed to disburse 4.0 billion euros to Greece in July, of which 2.5 billion euros from the European Financial Stability Fund while central banks will contribute 1.5 billion euros from their profits in Greek state bonds (SMP).
Additionally, an instalment of 1.0 billion euros is expected in October, of which 500 million euros from EFSF and another 500 million euros from the SMP programme.
Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said that the Fund's board will meet in July 24 to approve the disbursement of an 1.8 billion euros loan instalment to Greece.
 Greece, troika reach ad referendum agreementStaff teams from the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have concluded their review mission to Greece, the mission said in a statement issued on Monday.
The mission has reached staff-level agreement, ad referendum, with the authorities on the economic and financial policies needed to ensure the fiscal programme is on track to achieving its objectives.
The mission and the authorities agreed that the macroeconomic outlook remains broadly in line with programme projections, with prospects for a gradual return to growth in 2014, but remains uncertain.
While important progress continues to be made, policy implementation is behind in some areas, they said. The authorities have committed to take corrective actions to ensure delivery of the fiscal targets for 2013-14 and achieve primary balance this year. These actions include concrete steps to gain control over health sector overspending.
The income tax, property tax, and tax procedure codes are being reformed, and the autonomy and efficiency of revenue administration is being strengthened. The authorities have also committed to taking steps to bring public administration reforms back on track, such as by completing staffing plans by end-year, placing staff in the mobility and reallocation scheme, and meeting the agreed targets for mandatory exits.
With the recapitalisation of the banking sector nearly complete, the authorities have committed to further steps to safeguard financial stability, including through the sale of two bridge banks and completion of their strategy for a four-pillar banking system, the mission said. These reforms are a further important step towards facilitating adjustment and enabling growth.
The mission also discussed with the authorities progress in strengthening the social safety net, including through targeted employment and training programmes supported by the EU and a programme to provide access to primary health care for the uninsured.
The government is preparing the necessary legislation in support of its programme and will table an omnibus bill shortly before Parliament. The authorities are also preparing ministerial decisions and other legal steps to implement their commitments in the coming days. The staff-level agreement does not assume a temporary reduction in the VAT rate on restaurants and catering, but this issue of importance to the authorities will continue to be discussed with staff of the EC, ECB and IMF.
The Eurogroup and the IMF's Executive Board are expected to consider the request for approval of the review in July.
 ANEL, KKE attack government on talks with troikaA stinging attack against the government was launched on Monday by Panos Kamenos, Independent Greeks (ANEL) opposition party leader, saying that "the troika knows that chaos is coming."
"The outlook remains uncertain, the troika (of Greece's international lenders) stresses in its statement, which means that after some 4,000 suicides, two million unemployed and underpaid workers and thousands of new layoffs the Troika now recognises that chaos is imminent," Kamenos charged.
In its own criticism against the government, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) charged that "the current round of talks ended with the troika supporting the government's continuous, generalized offensive on all working people."
"The escalation of tax raids against the working class family, the privatization of banks, layoffs and mobility schemes for public servants and the new measures being prepared in the health sector, just show that the attack is focused on the self-employed and the employees of public and private sector," a KKE announcement added.
 European solidarity is important to Greece, Papoulias tells Polish counterpartRepublic President Karolos Papoulias underlined the importance of European solidarity in the crucial period Greece is going through, during his meeting with his Polish counterpart Bronislaw Komorowski on Monday in the context of his two-day official visit to Warsaw.
Papoulias said after the meeting that he briefed Komorowski on the economic crisis experienced by Greece, noting that "the Greek people, particularly the financially weak, are being tested by the crisis". He also underlined that "during these times, solidarity between the European partners is very important". Their discussion also focused on the future prospects of the European plan as they are being shaped under the pressure of the economic crisis.
President Papoulias also said that they discussed in detail bilateral relations' issues and current international developments. Bilateral relations are excellent, he noted, adding that the signing of a cooperation agreement on the sectors of culture, education and science is within this context.
The participation of a large business delegation in the mission will contribute to further boosting cooperation on important sectors of the economy including tourism, according to Papoulias, who also briefed the Polish president on Greek national issues, focusing on the recent developments in the Cyprus issue. "I pointed out that although the main role in solving the Cyprus issue belongs to the UN, following Cyprus' membership in the EU the solution to the issue has to be European, namely, to be compatible with the European acquis".
The presidents of Greece and Poland also discussed the EU integration course of the Western Balkan countries and the European good neighbourly relations policy, and Papoulias invited his Polish counterpart to visit Greece officially.
Papoulias' itinerary includes a meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and a visit to the country's national parliament. Later in the evening, he will attend a formal dinner hosted in his honor by President Komorowski. On Tuesday, Papoulias will visit the WWII concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Krakow and pay homage to the victims of the Nazi atrocities.
 President Papoulias meets with Greek community in Poland prior to start of official visitGreeks have the strength to overcome all problems they have faced through time, and everyone in Greece is doing the same thing, trying to face the problems, President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias said late on Sunday after meeting with residents of Greek descent and Greeks with businesses in Warsaw.
Prior to starting an official two-day visit in Poland on Monday, Papoulias said that Greece wanted to strengthen relations with its fellow EU member. "We believe we will overcome our problems, because, as I always say, Tomorrow will be better."
The president, who is accompanied by a delegation of ministers, asked Greeks abroad "not to forget this homeland, a small but a glorious and very important one."
On Monday Papoulias is meeting with his Polish counterpart and political leaders, and on Tuesday he and the accompanying delegation (including tourism and development ministers) will pay tribute to the victims of the Nazis at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps outside Krakow.
 President Papoulias addresses business forum in Warsaw"The great sacrifices made by the Greek people are starting to pay off. The reforms that are being promoted create the preconditions for economic recovery. The path is still uphill and, for as long as social cohesion is not being affected, we cannot relax our efforts," President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday underlined, addressing a business forum of Greek and Polish entrepreneurs in Warsaw.
President Papoulias, currently on a two-day official visit to Poland, praised the business efforts made by both countries, noting that "we support and encourage bilateral business meetings because they contribute to economic growth".
He made a special reference to Via Carpatia project agreed three years ago; a transport route designed to link the Baltic Sea with the Mediterranean Sea through the port of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. "We support this ambitious project that will pass through the eastern regions of the European Union, including Poland, thus bringing Poland and Greece closer," he said.
Earlier, in a meeting with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski a cooperation agreement was signed on the sectors of culture, education, science, sports, youth and mass media.
 Parliamentary committee begins review of new national broadcaster draft lawThe draft law concerning the new national broadcaster (NERIT) was tabled at the Parliament's committee of public administration on Monday, with State Minister Dimitris Stamatis and Deputy Minister for Public Radio and Television Pantelis Kapsis.
The draft law will follow the normal timeline. The committee members decided by majority vote that the second reading of the bill will be completed by Thursday and also approved the agencies invited to give an opinion on it.
Representatives from the former national broadcaster ERT's union POSPERT, the Union of Athens Newspapers, and the Hellenic Federation of Journalists, and professor Nikos Alivizatos - one of the authors of the bill - are among those who have been invited to give their opinion to the committee starting at 12 noon on Tuesday.
 Debate in parliament on public television reformDeputy minister for Public Broadcasting Pantelis Kapsis told parliament on Monday that his "intention was that public television reform be carried out with input by staffers."
During debate of a draft bill on the new public broadcaster, NERIT, Kapsis rejected criticism that the government's legislative initiative related to the decision of the Council of State, and stressed that timing now allows a breakup of the strong link that traditionally existed between the government and the public broadcaster.
Kapsis, who had an intense verbal confrontation with main opposition SYRIZA deputies Sofia Sakorafa and Zoi Konstantopoulou, spoke of certain misunderstandings existing about public television. He underlined that the bill was not associated with digital frequencies.
"ERT is a provider of digital network by default. It has nothing to do with licensing television channels, a lawless area for the past 20 years", he said, adding that hopefully, if the private television area gets into order, this would help public television to thrive.
 Meeting fails to achieve progress on public broadcasting transitionA meeting between deputy minister for Public Broadcasting Pantelis Kapsis, representatives of former public television ERT employees union POSPERT and ERT journalists concluded on Monday evening without achieving any substantial progress on the transition stage of public broadcasting, i.e. until the establishment of a new company to replace former ERT, shut down last month by the government.
Former ERT employees said the government presented detailed proposals and other information on employee compensation and recognition of past service.
Proposals will be examined during Tuesday's general meeting of ERT employees and a response should be expected by the end of the week.
 Venizelos receives EESC President MalosseGreek Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Monday with visiting European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse. Issues pertaining to growth and tackling unemployment, especially among young people, were at the focus of talks, according to a foreign ministry press release.
Venizelos briefed Malosse on the Greek economy's current state, underlining that no additional fiscal measures could be proposed and taken, as any such measures would fuel recession and unemployment. He asked EESC assistance towards changing the prevailing European views, as these constitute the main problem in Europe today, the press release added.
The Greek minister accepted Malosse's invitation to visit the EESC headquarters in Brussels.
 TAP group thanks Avramopoulos for his 'outstanding support' in securing Shah Deniz gas dealTrans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) representatives sent a letter of appreciation to Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos for his contribution in their selection by the Shah Deniz Consortium as the conveyor of preference to transport Azerbaijani natural gas to European markets.
The group pointed out that "the selection of TAP was achieved after several years of hard work and dedication by key players, including the strong support of many government and various authorities in Europe and beyond as well. However, this effort could not have been successful witout your and your colleagues' contributions."
"We would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank you," TAP added, "for your outstanding support over the past years and months. It has been an incredible journey so far, and we are proud to be a part of this historic and geostrategic project of opening the Souther Gas Corridor."
The group also said that the project would be "instrumental in opening the European setions of the Southern Gas Corridor. This new gas supply route is designed to improve the diversification of Europe's gas supplies as well as increased security of supply."
Avramopoulos was foreign minister during a large part of the process.
 SYRIZA-EKM leader Tsipras meets with EESC President Henri MalosseMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) leader Alexis Tsipras on Monday met visiting European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse and outlined his party's policy against unemployment, youth unemployment in particular.
"Europe is being led down slippery paths, the neo-liberal choices of the EU leaders are destroying economic and social cohesion, the austerity policies offer no solution, unemployment is on the rise and the social state is being dismantled," he said.
Both Tsipras and Malosse agreed that the crisis was European in its nature and said that EU leaders are implementing dead-end policies.
Tsipras underlined that "a broad-based alliance of social and political forces is necessary for Europe to change, to have a democracy and strong institutions that genuinely express the peoples, and social justice which is founded on economic growth with stable jobs, social welfare, healthcare and education as minimum prerequisites."
 Sunday opening only benefits big retailers, multinational chains, SYRIZA's Tsipras underlinesAn agreement between the government and the EU-IMF troika to allow shops to open on Sunday only benefits large department stores and multinational chains, main opposition SYRIZA-EKM leader Alexis Tsipras said on Monday, after meeting the Federation of Private Employees of Greece.
The main opposition leader noted that the agreement was detrimental to the interests of shop employees, disrupting their labour relations but also their family, social and personal life, as well as for small and medium-sized businesses that were unable to cover the additional costs of the measure. He predicted that this will result in a new wave of shop closures, which will once again swell the ranks of the unemployed.
Tsipras stressed that the employees, unemployed, pensioners and young people were not short of time and days in which to go shopping but money, after their wages and pensions were slashed and their jobs lost as a result of continued austerity and recession caused by bailout memorandum policies.
 SYRIZA's Dourou outlines party's positions on foreign policy in ANA-MPA WebTV interview"In foreign policy there are no eternal friends or eternal enemies," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) MP Rena Dourou said on Monday, adding that for her party "only the country's interests are eternal".
Speaking to the ANA-MPA's WebTV, she noted that "foreign policy needs comprehensive planning and not a government that acts as a mere observer of initiatives undertaken by others".
Responding to a question on whether SYRIZA-EKM leader Alexis Tsipras will meet with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, scheduled to visit Greece in ten days, she said that "at this moment, we do not think that there is any reason to meet with Mr. Schaeuble...We read that Mr. Schaeuble will come bearing 'gifts' which do not include a 'haircut', but only a loan pay off extension to perpetuity. He brings the 'gifts' to the government of (Finance Minister Yannis) Stournaras, (government vice-president Evangelos) Venizelos and (Prime Minister Antonis) Samaras who insist that with the policies followed the debt can become sustainable".
Dourou also underlined that "the Greek government follows the orders of the German government to the letter," noting that "this is anything but a European Germany".
Referring to SYRIZA-EKM positions on Greece's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), she underlined that "the EEZ, like the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), is too important an issue to be used as communications policy fodder that is offset against the debt crisis and the survival of the Greek people".
The full interview in Greek is available on the ana-mpa central website, http://www.amna.gr
 DIMAR leader meets with Henri MalosseDemocratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis met on Monday with the president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Henri Malosse.
Kouvelis, who was accompanied by Gerassimos Georgatos, responsible for the party's foreign and European policy issues, said, "The presence of the president of EESC in Greece indicates the importance of our social partners' participation in the policy being applied. The negative for the applied policy is that there is an absence of views the ideas, opinions, positions and demands of social partners."
"The fact that this society is against the European policy because the huge issue of unemployement is not being faced - an unemployment that has reached 27 percent and has devastated the young people, given that that the youth unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 57 percent", he added.
Additionally, Kouvelis opined that Europe should move rapidly towards its essential economic an political integration, to relax and to change the fiscal adjustment policy and to face the recession issues.
"These, of course, are demands not only of Greece and the European south but of Europe in general, which will either proceed or remain mired and doubted by European citizens".
 Municipal employees protest outside interior ministry; KEDE calls for public administration sector evaluationThousands of municipal employees gathered outside the interior ministry building in Klathmonos Square, downtown Athens on Monday, protesting against planned transfers and layoffs under a so-called "mobility scheme" for reforming Greece's public sector.
The protest was held ahead of a meeting on Monday afternoon due to be held the ministry between Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis, Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and trade unionists representing civil servants and municipal workers.
Public sector and municipal employees rejecting the "mobility scheme" plans had gathered at Karaiskaki Square earlier in the morning and participated in a protest march to the administrative reform ministry led by municipal police cars, motorcycles and bicycles.
The protesters left when their request for a meeting with Mitsotakis was denied and marched to the ministry of the interior.
The mobilizations were called by civil servants union ADEDY and municipal employees union POE-OTA.
Municipalities across the country are closed on Monday, with the exception of the social-welfare services, following a decision by the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE).
A POE-OTA work-stoppage is underway from 12:00 until the end of the shift, while Athens municipal police are on a 24-hour strike.
KEDE representatives met the leadership of the two ministries on Monday afternoon, with the meeting on issues arising as a result of the suspension from duty of 2,200 school guards and 3,500 municipal police due to continue on Tuesday morning. After the meeting, KEDE President Costas Askounis confirmed that school guards will be suspended on reduced pay at the end of July and the municipal police at the end of September.
Tuesday's meeting will focus on how the duties and responsibilities now carried out by school guards and municipal police will be carried out, including the loss of income generated for local authorities by the activities of the municipal police. Other employees to be suspended from local government will be selected through an evaluation process.
Earlier, KEDE officials had said they will insist on the proper evaluation of all public sector employees, charging that it is an obligation included in the memorandum that hasn't been met.
POE-OTA President Themis Balassopoulos noted that "the protesters, who arrived here from across the country, will not return to their homes if they won't have a job to go to...We will be here for the meeting and then we will decide on the future of our mobilizations".
Responding to a question on statements made earlier by Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis alleging that he has become a target for the POE-OTA leadership, Balassopoulos said that these are not serious issues, noting that Kaminis should be talking in defence of those who are being laid off.
 Fresh 24-hour strike in local councils on TuesdayA new 24-hour strike for Tuesday has been called by the union of local government employees (POE-OTA), which is also planning a protest rally at 11:00 at central Karaiskaki square. The industrial action excludes welfare services staff.
POE-OTA's executive board is scheduled to hold a new meeting on Tuesday evening to examine latest developments.
Furthermore, the trade union of municipal police was meeting Monday evening to decide on calling an indefinite strike.
 Defence minister urges support for transition to democracy in EgyptNational Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Monday urged Egypt's current state leadership and the political forces in the country to "undertake their responsibilities and ensure a smooth transition to democracy, avoiding civil strife."
The minister warned of the risk that the crisis might spread to neighbouring countries "where democracy is making its first steps, in an environment of generalised social and political instability."
He also called on Europe to "remain consistent in a policy of supporting democracy, contributing with its initiatives to political normalisation and clearcut support for democratic institutions".
Avramopoulos ended by stressing Greece's support for the "democratic process and democratic institutions," and said it stood by the side of the friendly Egyptian nation.
 Venizelos to meet with Patriarch of Alexandria and All AfricaGovernment Vice President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. with Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa at the Finance Ministry.
 Hearing for Michaelides' extradition to Greece set for July 18A hearing to decide on the extradition of former Cypriot interior minister Dinos Michaelides and his son Michael to Greece to stand trial is to take place before a Nicosia court on July 18.
They appeared before a Limassol provincial court on Monday after Greek authorities issued European warrants for their arrest in connection with a kickbacks and money-laundering case that also involves former Greek minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos. They are accused of money laundering in the period from 1997 to 2001.
The court ordered them to hand over their travel documents and to each post bail of 200,000 euros, as well as to present themselves to their local police station three times a week, in order to ensure their presence in court when the hearing comes up.
 Ukrainian ambassador Shkurov holds meetings in ThessalonikiUkrainian ambassador to Greece Volodymyr Shkurov on Friday visited the northern city of Thessaloniki, where he had several meetings with local political and ecclesiastical leaders, including Central Macedonia region prefect Apostolos Tzitzikostas, Thessaloniki Mayor Yannis Boutaris and Metropolitan of Thessaloniki Anthimos.
Issues touching on Ukrainian-Greek regional collaboration, the strengthening of communications between the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine and Greece as well as joint cultural events, especially the art exhibitions "Petrykivka Painting - Color of Traditions" in September, were discussed during talks.
Officials noted that the Ukraine and the central Macedonia region retain joint interests and a high potential for cooperation in the economic, tourism, cultural and ecclesiastical sector.
The Ukrainian embassy in Athens organised the art exhibition of Petrykivka "Petrykivka Painting - Color of Traditions" last month, which included more than 90 of the best works of craftsmen of the Dnipropetrovsk region, such as painted panels, dishes, toys, Easter eggs etc.
 300 start-up projects looking for foreign investorsInvest in Greece has a list of 300 business projects looking for investors from abroad, said Constantine Angelopoulos, manager for the agency's investment promotions on Monday.
Addressing the World Hellenic Inter-Parliamentary Association (WHIA) business forum convening at the Thessaloniki International Fair premises in the northern city, Angelopoulos said interest had been expressed from investors from as far away as Asia.
"These projects are applicable - some of these are key-ready," he said, and the climate in Greece is a lot more positive compared to a year and a half ago, when markets were talking about Greece's exit from the euro ("Grexit"), which is now in recovery ("Grecovery").
Investment costs start at 2 million euros and go over 200 million euros in some cases, he said. Among the 300 projects, those of greater interest to foreigner investors, he said, related to tourism and real estate management, food and drink, and some manufacturers with significant export activity.
WHIA consists of elected members of Parliament of Greek descent living in non-Greek-speaking countries.
 European Commission gives go-ahead for Greek trains operator's privatisationThe European Commission has given the go-ahead for the privatisation of Greece's trains operator TRAINOSE, which runs trains in Greece's railway network.
"The European Commission's approval of the start of TRAINOSE's privatisation opens up a new chapter, not just for the history of rail transport but also for the investment sector in our country," Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said on Monday, commenting on a letter he received from European Commission Vice-President Joaquin Almunia.
Almunia stressed the benefits of TRAINOSE's upcoming restructuring and privatisation, noting that the move will free the company from the issue of state subsidies, ensure its survival and growth and restore Greece's railways to the "centre of European competition", with significant benefits for both passenger and goods traffic.
According to sources, there is strong interest in the privatisation process for the Greek railway network, with potential investors including private companies and the state railway companies of Russia, China, France, Romania and two U.S. companies.
 European official meets with Labour Ministry officials on unemploymentEuropean Economic and Social Committee (EESC) President Henri Malosse expressed his support to Greece on the issue of unemployment, during a meeting he had with Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis and other ministry officials on Monday.
Malosse said "we must not accept the term 'lost generation'", referring to youth and the massive unemployment issue they face, and said the problem is not only Greek but European-wide.
The Committee he said would submit a proposal to appropriate European agencies that will follow four lines of action: the strengthening of social dialogue, the society of citizens, entrepreneurship and social cohesion.
Vroutsis thanked Malosse for the Committee's initiatives and said that actions in the last few months in Europe to fight unemployment were a positive development, and he also expressed hope that there would be further positive results from the EESC congress taking place in Greece in November.
The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups a formal platform to express their points of views on EU issues. Its opinions are forwarded to the larger institutions such as the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament.
 TAP officials send letter to development ministryTrans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) chief officials expressed their wish to continue cooperation with the Greek Development and Competitiveness ministry during the construction of the pipeline.
In a letter sent Monday to deputy minister Notis Mitarakis, TAP Managing Director Kjetil Tungland, External Affairs Director Michael Hoffmann and Country Manager/Business Leader Rikard Scoufias said that the TAP's process of selection was "fair and transparent".
They said the selection of TAP was achieved after many years of hard work and dedication of key individuals, as well as the strong support of many governments and various agencies from Europe, the officials said in their letter.
The TAP officials also expressed their thanks for the support provided towards implementing the project.
 Asprofos wins new contract with TAP projectAsprofos, a member of Hellenic Petroleum Group, was awarded the role of local engineering consultant for the basic planning of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) natural gas pipeline project in the section from Kipi Evros to Thessaloniki, a length of 400 km. The project has been in full swing since early 2013 and currently employs 25 Greek engineers.
Asprofos earlier completed the environmental and social impact survey for the installations of the TAP project.
 Greek tourism to benefit from turmoil in Egypt and Turkey from September onwardsGreek tourism can achieve its goal of 17 million tourist arrivals this year without looking to benefit from recent events in Egypt and Turkey, Hellenic Association of Tourism and Travel Agencies (HATTA) President George Telonis told ANA-MPA on Monday.
The Greek tourism product has proven its resilience during this period, Telonis said, adding that Greek tourism will capitalize from any benefits due to the political instability in Egypt and Turkey in September and October this year, before becoming more clear in 2014. He noted that large tour operators, currently signing their contracts for 2014, will lead next year's tourism trends towards Greek destinations avoiding Turkey and Egypt.
Telonis said that tourist arrivals from neighboring Balkan states were expected to rise significantly this year and that it was still early to make any precise estimates over tourism revenues, or per capita spending by tourists in 2013.
Alexandros Aggelopoulos, a member of Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, said Greek hotel enterprises were enjoying increased numbers of tourist arrivals. "It is not bad to be politically and socially stable, nor is it bad to be lucky as well," Aggelopoulos told ANA-MPA.
Official figures from Crete showed that tourist arrivals in the island were up 20 pct, with Russians the top market, while in Cephallonia, tourist arrivals were up 20 pct in June from air travel and up 23 pct by sea.
In Zakynthos, tourist arrivals from Russia were up 156.26 pct, Slovenia were up 53.81 pct, Serbia up 48.29 pct and Poland up 42.43 pct.
 Business climate flat in June in Northern GreeceBusiness climate index in Northern Greece deteriorated slightly in June amid fears of political instability in the country and following the withdrawal of DHMAR from a tri-party government.
The NGBI-500 index, measuring business expectations and performance by 500 enterprises located in Northern Greece, was -18 in June, from -15 in May and -36 in January 2013. A report, by Interview, said that favorable expectations over developments in the tourism sector helped in maintaining a positive trend for the index, which shows signs of recovery in the last five months.
Interview said that a 18 pct of businessmen thought that the condition of their enterprise was good, another 32 pct said it was satisfactory and 50 pct it was bad. In May, these businessmen said their condition was good (15 pct) and 45 pct said it was bad. A 29 pct of businessmen said they expected things to deteriorate in the next six months, with 26 pct expecting an improvement. Hiring intentions fell to 11 pct in June, from 21 pct in May, while dismissal intentions rose to 15 pct in June from 12 pct in May.
 Deputy FinMin meets with Vietnamese counterpartDeputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis met on Monday with his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Cong Nghiep, who is on a official visit to Greece together with a 10-member delegation.
Issues of tax policy as well as the country's experience from the fiscal adjustment programme were discussed.
Moreover, the two officials discussed the possibility of the resumption of the negotiations on an agreement to avoid double taxation between the two countries well as of improving on bilateral economic and trade relations.
 Greek inflation rate remains negativeGreek inflation rate remained negative at -0.4 pct in June this year, unchanged from -0.4 pct in May, and after a 1.3 pct rate in June last year, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that despite the fact that the inflation rate remained negative in June, the so-called "housewife's basket" recorded significant price increase in products and services. Fresh potato prices were up 32.6 pct in June, fresh vegetables rose 6.4 pct, fresh fruit were up 3.8 pct, fresh fish rose 2.4 pct, meat prices rose 1.0 pct and dairy products rose 0.7 pct.
Heating oil prices jumped 25.1 pct, electricity rates were up 12.3 pct and petrol prices rose 0.4 pct in the month.
The statistics service said that the consumer price index fell by 0.2 pct in June from May, after a decline of 0.3 pct recorded in the same period last year.
More analytically, the durable goods price index fell 4.1 pct in June, health prices fell 3.3 pct, transport prices eased 1.0 pct, communication prices fell 4.3 pct, entertainment prices eased 3.2 pct, hotel/restaurant prices fell 1.7 pct and other goods and services fell 4.6 pct in the month.
On the other hand, the food/beverage price index rose 0.8 pct in June, the alcohol/tobacco index was up 4.7 pct, the clothing/footwear index rose 0.1 pct and the housing price index jumped 6.9 pct.
Greece's harmonized inflation rate was -0.3 pct in June, unchanged from May, after an 1.0 pct increase recorded in June 2012. On a monthly basis, the harmonized inflation rate was -0.2 pct in June after a -0.2 pct fall recorded in June last year.
 Nobel laureate to speak on youth unemployment on July 12 in AthensNobel Prize winner in economics Christopher Pissarides, of Greek-Cypriot descent, will speak on "Youth unemployment: Why it is so high and where do we go from here?" at 12 noon on Friday, July 12, at the Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) in central Athens.
The lecture will be free and open to the public and is part of KEPE's Outstanding Lectures series.
Pissarides, a London School of Economics professor, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010 jointly with Peter Diamond and Dale Mortensen for his contributions to the theory of search frictions and macroeconomics. He specializes in labour, economic growth and economic policy.
He has been elected to the British Academy, Econometric Society, European Economic Association and the Society of Labor Economists. He is president of the Economica publishing council and member and advisor to numerous bodies and publications.
 Car registrations up 3.3 pct in JuneCar registrations grew 3.3 pct in June this year, compared with the same month last year, totalling 7,160 vehicles (new or used ones), Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that car registrations were down 44.3 pct in June 2012.
Car registrations in the first six months of the year totalled 40,682 vehicles, down 5.4 pct compared with the corresponding period in 2012. Car registrations were down 40.3 pct in the first half of 2012.
Motorcycle registrations totaled 3,612 in June, down 7.3 pct from June 2012, while in the January-June period, registrations fell 6.8 pct.
 Building activity down 15.8 pct in AprilThe volume of private building activity dropped further by 15.8 pct in April this year, while building permits fell 20.7 pct in the month, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
The statistics service, in a report, said that the volume of building activity was down 37.4 pct in the first four months of 2013. Building activity totalled 1,577 permits in April. In the January-April period, the number of permits dropped by 39 pct.
 Greek stocks end significantly higherGreek stocks ended significantly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, as investors discounted positive developments in a Eurogroup meeting for Greece, although turnover remained at very low levels for one more session.
The composite index of the market rose 2.08 pct to end at 858.40 points, helped by a strong rise in National Bank's share price (15.91 pct) and other bank shares. Turnover was a thin 31.71 million euros.
The Big Cap index rose 2.36 pct and the Mid Cap index eased 1.64 pct. National Bank (15.91 pct), Terna Energy (5.59 pct), MIG (5.05 pct), Alpha Bank (3.29 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (3.18 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Intralot (1.94 pct), Athens Water (1.80 pct) and Frigoglass (1.58 pct) were top losers.
The Banks (7.20 pct), Financial Services (3.41 pct) and Oil (2.96 pct) sectors scored gains, while Health (1.17 pct), Technology (0.68 pct) and Travel (0.44 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 73 to 48 with another 27 issues unchanged. Teletypos (19.88 pct), Perseus (19.63 pct) and Sato (19.05 pct) were top gainers, while Eurobank (29.9 pct), Geniki Bank (20 pct) and NEL (18.18 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 9.07 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 9.44 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.76 pct and the German Bund 1.69 pct. Turnover was a thin 2.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate rose to 0.52 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.43 pct, the six-month rate rose to 0.33 pct, the three-month rate was 0.21 pct and the one-month rate was 0.11 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe July contract on the FTSE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 1.38 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover remaining a low 10.367 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,231 contracts worth 7.041 million euros, with 52,240 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 16,064 contracts worth 3.326 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (4,619), followed by National Bank (4,446), Piraeus Bank (1,376), MIG (437), OTE (1,073), PPC (712), OPAP (173), Hellenic Exchanges (117), Mytilineos (353), Hellenic Petroleum (158), Ellaktor (173), GEK (326) and Intralot (311).
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: +2.96%
Personal & Household: +0.47%
Raw Materials: +1.85%
Travel & Leisure: -0.44%
Food & Beverages: +2.13%
Financial Services: +3.41%
The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Piraeus Bank, PPC and Alpha Bank.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.439
Public Power Corp (PPC): 6.87
HBC Coca Cola: 19.99
Hellenic Petroleum: 7.14
National Bank of Greece: 2.55
Eurobank Properties : 7.00
Piraeus Bank: 0.93
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.304
Pound sterling 0.874
Danish kroner 7.571
Swedish kroner 8.921
Japanese yen 131.99
Swiss franc 1.259
Norwegian kroner 8.084
Canadian dollar 1.377
Australian dollar 1.435
 Elassona town escapes forest fire danger; no evacuation neededA precautionary evacuation of the central Greece town of Elassona was called off on Monday evening, as a forest fire raging in the region since early afternoon has been placed under control. The decision to evacuate the town was taken by mayor George Paschopoulos.
The fire placed under control was initially threatening a region close to a military barracks and ammunition depot. Authorities said operations to control the blaze in other fronts were also going well.
Apart from the fire fighting forces, operating from land and air, a group of about 100 soldiers arrived in the region to assist in fire fighting and especially in protecting of the ammo depot.
The fire broke out at roughly 1:30 p.m. on Monday in pine woods just outside Elassona, central Greece near a military base used to store munitions. while authorities have yet to determine what caused it.
 Civil servant union work stoppage, march on MondayADEDY, the umbrella union of civil service employees, is holding a work stoppage of all services in Attica prefecture from 12:00 noon to the end of the working day on Monday and marching in central Athens the same day to protest future layoffs in the sector.
The march began around 12:30 p.m. at Karaiskaki Square and will head to the Administrative Reform Ministry. Aghiou Konstantinou Avenue is shut down and traffic around Omonia affected.
 Free admission every Thursday to all four Benaki Museum buildingsBenaki Museum, one of the most important museums in the country, had to cut down in opening days, number of employees and exhibition costs, to handle the tough economic circumstances. However, now it has reason to view the future with optimism after receiving a grant by Stavros Niarchos Foundation announced on Monday.
In the context of its three-year programme against the economic crisis, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation approved a two-fold assistance package including free entrance to all the museum buildings every Thursday for one year, as well as, the museum's operating support in the form of a matching fund, namely, by making a grant that will match the amount of all donations received by the museum in a year.
Admission will be free to all four museum buildings in Athens for a year beginning on July 18, namely, The Central Building (1 Koumbari St.), the Piraios Street Annexe (138 Piraios St), the Museum of Islamic Art (22 Agion Assomaton St.) and the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery (3 Kriezotou St.).
 Isolated showers, storms on TuesdaySummer showers and storms are forecast in central and northern parts of Greece on Tuesday afternoon, with sunny weather elsewhere in the country. Winds will blow from mainly northerly and easterly directions, ranging from 3-7 Beaufort. Temperatures will range between 19C and 34 C. Sunny in Attica, with temperatures from 23C to 33C. Cloudy with showers in Thessaloniki, with temperatures from 21C to 32C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: Painful agreement.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Wave of rage.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Compromise for her [German Chancellor Angela Merkel's] own good.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Who are the 12,500 civil servants 'available' for layoff.
ESTIA: Shocking taxation of real estate.
ETHNOS: The final list for the reserve labour.
NAFTEMPORIKI: New objective rates in real estate 'set fire' to 25 taxes.
TA NEA: The final agreement for public sector, taxes and National Health Organisation.
VRADYNI : Exit door for 15,000 civil servants.
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