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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-08-26

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Monday, 26 August 2013 Issue No: 4443


  • [01] FinMin: Higher debt figures no cause for concern, explained by recapitalisation
  • [02] FinMin: Additional support package without new conditions
  • [03] Asmussen: Early for discussion on new haircut
  • [04] New restructuring of Greek debt 'unavoidable', German FinMin advisor tells Sunday paper
  • [05] Gov't spokesman: Greece is building its future
  • [06] Interior Minister: Early elections a crime
  • [07] Eurodeputies to meet with Deputy FM on Greece's presidency priorities
  • [08] SYRIZA: Government's last hopes fading
  • [09] Gov't spokesman to SYRIZA spokesman: Get help with state budget arithmetic
  • [10] DIMAR: Tackling of tax evasion prerequisite for exit from crisis
  • [11] Independent Greeks: Obedience exams to the troika
  • [12] KKE on new loan, haircut
  • [13] Greece must stay out of Syrian invasion plans, KKE says
  • [14] Europarliament president, gov't vice president address event in memory of politician Tsatsos
  • [15] Human traffickers arrested
  • [16] Fair on Monday
  • [17] The Sunday edition of Athens'dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] FinMin: Higher debt figures no cause for concern, explained by recapitalisation

    The debt is progressing as expected and no fear is justified, while any populist outbursts are unjustified, the Finance Ministry announced Sunday in response to related press reports.

    The basic target is achieving a primary surplus as of this year so the Eurogroup decision of November 27, 2012 - calling for a further reduction of the state debt - be applied, it said.

    In the announcement, the Finance Ministry gave further data, among which was the following:

    The central administration debt, as presented in the public debt bulletin for the second quarter of 2013, does show an upward trend, from 305.5 billion euros in December 2012 to 321.6 billion euros in June 2013.

    However, the increase was neither unexpected nor cause for worry, as it is temporary and time-related, and is balanced by the acquisition of assets from the Greek state. The apparent debt increase is a result of the obligation to show the disbursement of funds from the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) to the Greek state in order to finance the recapitalisation of banks.

    The recapitalisation, the Ministry pointed out, took place within 2013 and is occurring through the Greek state, while the ESFS funds are recorded as a debt, according to state accounting principles.

    However, the debt created by the disbursement of funds is balanced by assets that now belong to the Greek state (the shares of recapitalised banks) by their foreseen sale, based on a set resale price (by the recapitalisation's warrants mechanisms). This resale will bring to state coffers nearly 17 billion euros, the Ministry said, according to conservative estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    The great participation of the private sector - beyond any expectation - in banks' recapitalisation allowed the further inflow of funds that would otherwise have been allocated to the process of buying Greek state shares.

    Therefore, it concluded, the amount of increase shown in the statement on public debt is attributed to the recapitalisation of banks, is based on a conjunction of circumstances and is balanced by the acquisition of assets by the Greek state.

    The process of the public debt, because of sacrifices by the Greek people, has been stabilised at absolute levels, the announcement said. The achievement of primary surplus and the acceleration of privatisations will help reduce public debt in the following years, as the programme of financial policy has assessed, it concluded.

    [02] FinMin: Additional support package without new conditions

    "If Greece needs additional support that will be of 10 billion euros, which is a very small amount compared with the previous memorandums, and this will not be a new memorandum but a support package without new conditions, given that our targets until 2016 have been set and neither more measures can be requested nor additional targets can be set " said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in an interview with Sunday newspaper "Proto Thema".

    Referring to the possibility of a new haircut of the Greek debt, he clarified that "such a possibility does not exist" adding that "a legal basis exists from November 2012 Eurogroup decision on the extension of the debt repayment period and on the reduction of the interest rate".

    Asked on Greece's potentials to borrow from the markets, Stournaras said that "we do not have the two necessary conditions to get into the markets which are , primary surplus and GDP's positive growth rate for two consecutive trimesters".

    "At the end of the year it will be judged whether we will finally have a primary surplus in 2012 or that it will be achieved next year" adding that "European Commission's decisions on the new support, the extension of the repayment period and the interest reduction will be based on 2013 results".

    Stournaras estimated that a positive flow appears in last months' revenues and that "there's a lot left for revenues from the offshore companies. Only 41 of 10,000 offshore have been checked and we have collected 13 million euros. If 41 give 13 million euros, imagine what will happen with 10,000" said Stournaras pointing however that the Finance Ministry is moving slowly and doesn't have the know-how for this kind of checks and a hesitation on the tax charging exists.

    [03] Asmussen: Early for discussion on new haircut

    European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen expressed his opinion that it is early for a discussion on a new haircut of the Greek debt in an interview with Sunday newspaper "To Vima" and estimated that the "continuous discussions on the debt's reduction do not help".

    He said that in his opinion Eurogroup's decision 27 November 2012 answers to the debt reduction issue and to the alleged third support package.

    Asmussen stressed that 2015-2016 fiscal gap issue is important "We must see how large it will be and to discuss on how it will be covered within the framework of the Mid-Term Programme. We need a credible Mid-Term programme in order Greece to return to the markets" he said adding that "I understand the difficult political situation and the slim parliamentary majority but all those succeeded with so much political pain should not be destroyed'.

    Referring to the reforms, he noted that ?a lot have been done but also a lot remain to be done" and admitted that the unemployment rate in Greece is unacceptable. The German banker pointed that the efforts should focus on restruction changes and on the strengthening of competitiveness in order work positions to be created, particularly for the young and estimated that "the primary surplus target is feasible as well as a low but positive growth rate in 2014.

    Asmussen sounded the bell of complacency for the eurozone after the recent positive developments for the exit from the crisis and said that International Monetary Fund's (IMF) presence is necessary for the troika.

    Finally, referring to the banking association he called it "the greatest institutional reform after the introduction of the euro.

    [04] New restructuring of Greek debt 'unavoidable', German FinMin advisor tells Sunday paper

    A new restructuring of the Greek debt is "unavoidable", Joerg Rocholl, a member of the economic advisory board of German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble told Greek Sunday paper RealNews.

    "In my opinion, the restructuring of the Greek debt is unavoidable," he said, as "the running level of the debt is very high and will continue to rise, despite the progress Greece has achieved in its primary surplus, that is, its state budget, without interest payments," Rocholl explained.

    However, he added, "even with a significant 'haircut', of, for example, half its debt, Greece must improve its primary surplus in order to be in a position to shoulder the level of its debt after a restructuring."

    Although Greece has "undoubtedly experienced serious austerity measures," the economist said, "infrastructural reforms are more necessary than ever ... and must include the improvement of the taxation system so that (financially) stronger taxpayers can contribute more to the balancing of state budgets."

    Rocholl, a professor at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, said that the original target of 50 billion euros revenues from privatisations "is certainly not realistic at this point" and referred to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) observation in 2011 that the Greek state had significant real estate assets it could use to reduce public debt. "But, here, again, more must be done to improve the legal and institutional framework for possible investors," he pointed out.

    [05] Gov't spokesman: Greece is building its future

    "SYRIZA for once more foresees "disasters that do not come and ignores that all the international organisations agree on the recovery of the Greek economy" said government's spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Saturday noting that "Greece is building its future and SYRIZA remains stuck to the past and its disasterology"

    Answering to main opposition SYRIZA, Kedikoglou also opined that "SYRIZA seeks closed schools and hospitals by reiterating its undermining plans for autumn".

    [06] Interior Minister: Early elections a crime

    "Early general election would not be a mistake, it would be a crime and would put in jeopardy the economic stability and the Greek people's sacrifices" said Interior Minister Yannis Mihelakis in an interview with "Typos tis Kyriakis" Sunday edition, while referring to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble's statements, he estimated that they "do not lead to new austerity measures, something that neither the real economy nor the people and the government would bear'.

    Asked on speculations of a 'warm autumn' he reiterated that "a scenario of additional measures does not exist, only the implementation of those measures already voted by the parliament".

    Mihelakis underlined that "Greece is a stability factor in an international environment of instability and turmoil and this should not be reversed by any demagogue. It is an advantage we should make use of and not to ruin it".

    [07] Eurodeputies to meet with Deputy FM on Greece's presidency priorities

    A delegation of Eurodeputies from the European Parliament's Committe of Internal Market and Consumer Protection will meet with Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas at the ministry on Monday to be briefed on Greece's priorities when it takes over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Council in January 2014.

    The delegation will be headed by committee president Malcolm Harbour and will be in Athens until Tuesday. Delegation members will also meet with cabinet members and market representatives.

    [08] SYRIZA: Government's last hopes fading

    "International Monetary Fund's (IMF) pseudo-self criticism that does not touch the core of the memorandum policy and the German officials' statements for the need of a new memorandum, fade Samaras' government hopes for a miracle after the elections in Germany" said main opposition SYRIZA in an announcement on Saturday.

    SYRIZA charges prime minister that he chose the "head in the sand policy" awaiting our lenders' orders, given that the latest data on the Greek debt showed that it has reached 180 pct of the GDP.

    "The total social bankruptcy, the dissolution of the economy and the deep recession are the synonyms of Samaras' policy. Mr. Samaras should know that the Greek people will not stay with their hands down. Very soon, Samaras will become past and the political developments in Greece and in the European South will take our lenders by surprise ". concluded SYRIZA's announcement.

    [09] Gov't spokesman to SYRIZA spokesman: Get help with state budget arithmetic

    Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) is a victim of its own obsession with catastrophy, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said on Sunday, replying to statements by the party's spokesman.

    In an announcement on Saturday, SYRIZA's Panos Skourletis referred to German official statements of Greece's possible need for a third loan and memorandum package, saying that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' government "fading hopes for a miracle after the national elections in Germany (in September)." He also charged the PM with choosing the "head-in-the-sand policy" by taking a passive stance and awaiting orders from the troika of lenders, given that the latest data on the Greek debt showed that it has reached 180 pct of the GDP.

    On Sunday, following new German statements on the possibility of a third memorandum, Skourletis charged that the government "lacks democratic legitimacy and does not have the right to continue its disastrous work and to sign a new memorandum and new austerity measures".

    In his reply, Kedikoglou said, "SYRIZA is a victim of his own obsession with its predictions of disasters, distorting even simple arithmetic."

    The recapitalisation of banks, the government spokesman said, "created this temporary increase in debt" and said the SYRIZA spokesman should "call on some specialist from one of the party's component groups to explain it to him."

    After national efforts, "Greece is becoming stronger, and this is recognised by everyone abroad, as much as that spoils SYRIZA's plans," Kedikoglou concluded.

    [10] DIMAR: Tackling of tax evasion prerequisite for exit from crisis

    "The tackling of tax evasion is the main prerequisite for the exit from the crisis with substantial and just redistribution of the surcharges" said Democratic Left (DIMAR) in an announcement on Sunday adding that "no tolerance should exist to this antisocial attitude".

    DIMAR also estimated that "tax evasion should be tackled immediately and new taxes in salaries and pensions must be rejected....no delay in the upgrading and consolidation of the tax collection mechanisms" and calls all the political system to support this effort without ambiguities.

    [11] Independent Greeks: Obedience exams to the troika

    "While the public debt has skyrocketed to 321 billion euros and the new memorandum is just around the corner, New Democracy and PASOK's co-governance is preparing to give new exams of obedience to the troika (EC, ECB, IMF) with new layoffs in public sector and thousands of first home foreclosures" said Independent Greeks parliamentary group spokesman Notis Marias on Saturday.

    [12] KKE on new loan, haircut

    A new loan or a new haircut will bring new austerity measures that the people will be called to pay, said Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in an announcement on Saturday.

    "Despite the clash between IMF, EU country members and parts of the capital regarding the blend of the crisis an the debt's management, all are requesting the acceleration of the antipopular policy and the control of the people's reactions" said KKE.

    [13] Greece must stay out of Syrian invasion plans, KKE says

    The Greek government's responsibility in a future invasion of Syria is large, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said on Sunday, and called on the people to demand that Greece stays out of "imperialist plans".

    In a statement, the KKE said that developments in the last few days "confirm that imperialist aggressiveness is reaching a climax and the immediate military invasion of Syria is under way, after having been planned for a while now with the support and military equipment of the so-called anti-establishmentarians from the US, NATO and the European Union."

    The invasion of Syria must not be assistend in any way, the party said, and called for the shutting down of the base of Souda, on Crete, and of other NATO military bases.

    [14] Europarliament president, gov't vice president address event in memory of politician Tsatsos

    European parliament president Martin Schulz and government vice president and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos send a message for tolerance, mutual respect and more Europe in Greece addressing an event held on Friday evening on Skiathos island in the memory of politician and constitutional expert Dimitris Tsatsos organised by the local cultural society "Skiathos" and his former associates at the European parliament.

    "Tsatsos' thought is based on tolerance and respect" said Schulz while Venizelos noted that Tsatsos' message is not to force the correlations more that what the European societies can tolerate, adding that "if Europe does not proceed to its integration, if we don't have more Europe, then Europe will always be the Europe of the crisis and will lose points on the world stage".

    Given that the Greek presidency in EU in the first six months of 2014 coincides with the period of the elections for the European parliament, Venizelos underlined that "a new dialogue opens for Europe, a Europe that Tsatsos wanted to be the 'Europe of the countries and of the people'" underling that the institutional equality of the countries in Europe has been violated in the period of the crisis "Greece's target is to restore its self sufficiency and its institutional equality in EU. It is not an easy and pleasant 'ground' but it's the best and the safer way for Greece to exit from the crisis", said Venizelos.

    On his part, Schulz whom Venizelos called the 'most progressive person in Germany towards Europe', said that "Not only ancient Greece but also modern Greece's contribution to Europe and to the world is huge" adding that for this reason "some must stop speaking of Greece as it was a second rated country, on the contrary, Greece is and equal and total member of the EU".

    Schulz also reminded that 69 years ago "the nazis destroyed human lives on the island of Skiathos" adding that is "it is a huge disgrace for a German to know that such hideous crimes were committed in the name of the German people ".

    Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas, the ambassador Greece's permanent representative at UNESCO Katerina Daskalaki and Tsatsos' close associate Maria Panagiotou also addressed the event.

    General News

    [15] Human traffickers arrested

    Two Iraqi nationals were arrested on Saturday on a regional road of Rodopi prefecture, northeastern Greece for transporting 12 illegal migrants (8 Iraqi and 4 Syrian nationals).

    The two suspects did not stop to a police's check signal. The cars were confiscated and the suspects were sent to the local prosecutor.

    Two arrested on child pornography via the internet

    A 25 year-old man from Messinia and a 28 year-old from Thessaloniki were arrested on Saturday charged with child pornography via the internet.

    Weather forecast

    [16] Fair on Monday

    Fair weather and variable winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale.Sunny throughout the country with temperatures reaching, in the north 36C; in the south 37C and 34C on the islands. Fair in Athens, 21C-36C; the same for Thessaloniki, 19C-34C.

    [17] The Sunday edition of Athens'dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Samaras' (Antonis, prime minister) government a game in German elections.

    ETHNOS: Revealing figures on EOPYY's (National Health System Organisation) looting.

    KATHIMERINI: Favourable treatment to those who will return the stolen.

    KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: On-balance netting of loans and bank deposits -

    Troika's (ECB, EC, IMF) prerequisites a quicksand.

    KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: LARCO's (General mining and metallurgical company) privatisation a crime.

    LOGOS: Ministries and entities awaiting staff.

    PROTO THEMA: EU snatches TAIPED (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) -

    Troika's top secret plan to government.

    Realnews: Let's finish with the troika!

    TO ARTHRO: Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias' responsibilities for tax evasion.

    TO PARON: We reveal German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble's plan.

    TO VIMA: European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen to newspaper:

    Do not bring down what you have built.

    TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: What hides the 3rd support package.

    VRADYNI: 54,200 job positions for unemployed independent of age.

    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

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