|Sunday, 17 December 2017|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 9 September 2013 Issue No: 4455
 Primary surplus will be reached, 2014 a year of recovery, Samaras saysGreek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Saturday said he was certain that the goal of primary budget surplus will be achieved this year -the first step towards the country's exit from the memorandum- and that 2014 will be a year of recovery.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair, the Greek Premier said "No" to new austerity measures and attacked opposition parties, mainly SYRIZA and Golden Dawn (Chrisi Avgi).
Samaras reassured citizens that the tax burden will be smaller in 2014. "I have to say that this year it will be a very difficult year for everyone. Citizens are asked to pay unbearable taxes. But this is only for this year. Because in 2013 everyone is asked to pay taxes from the previous three years. We know that this is a heavy burden. We offered all possible facilitations, but we know that the burden is unbearable...But this is only for this year. Let's finish with it. From next year, everyone will pay more logical sums. And as long revenues are going well and reach our targets, tax burdens will become lighter. Our aim is and remains: all to pay little and according to their abilities. Not to crush the weak and leave the strong ones escape. And to ease the burden on middle class, the steam-engine of the economy and the backbone of the society and democracy."
The Greek Prime Minister said his intention was and remained to introducing a unified corporate tax factor of 15 pct. "This will be achieved when primary surpluses are stabilized," Samaras said adding he intended to lower a current rate of VAT for most products as the government did by lowering VAT on the restaurant business. "This move offered respite to tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises," he noted.
The Prime Minister stressed all international organization agreed that 2014 would be a recovery year for the Greek economy. "All signs that Greece has turned its course in the last year are clear for everyone to see, even to the most harsh critics of the country. Everyone, except for someones from the inside, here in Greece...It is not certain that they don't see them. It is certain they don't want to see them. They don't want to admit that the country was leaving behind its past. Because they are stuck to the past".
Samaras urged everyone to consider where the country was at this time of period last year and where the country stands now, saying that "last year, most people abroad discounted the country's exit from the euro. Today, the same people are discounting the exactly opposite thing: the country's exit from the recession and its certain stay in the euro".
"Greece adheres to its agreements and reaches its goals. The only thing necessary now is the creditors to do the same. We reach a primary surplus. We move better than goals set. No new measures will be needed besides what already has been agreed. Our economy cannot endure this kind of talk any more," Samaras said. He stressed that Greece "is a unique island of stability within a more-and-more unstable region, which everyone knows it is in danger of catching fire. Greece, along with other countries, such as Cyprus and Israel, can become an axis of stability and stabilization in the region." He added that the country would have been able to say such a thing if it had left the euro last year and remained isolated from partners and allies.
"Last year, from this same stand I promised yout two things: that we will not let Greece exit the euro, even though many wanted it. And that we would make Greece strong again. Although not many people believed it at the time. Today, one year after, I tell you that we prevented the country's exit from the Eurozone and that Greece is again a much more powerful player in the region, and it will become stronger in the future," he noted.
He said that "a small miracle begins to happen in Greece." "In a short time we could say no more to the era of memorandums. When others set our policy, since we were unable to live without loans not for a month. From now on, Greece will be able to stand on its feet, determine its fate and prove on a daily basis its credibility and its responsibility towards its people".
Samaras said he was not going to keep up with past practices of populist policies. "No more redistribution of borrowed money. From now on, the Greek society will distribute its wealth and opportunities fairly. That's the end of state-ism, bureaucracy and vested interests that prevented the country from moving forward. From now on, Greece will make giant leaps with competitiveness and export activity. No more Greece seeking protection and protectors. From now on, Greece will earn allies, new roles in its regions and new markets worldwide. No more Greece swept away by waves of illegal immigrants, when security fears dominated. From now on, Greece will be hospitable to everyone, but strict with those who did not respect borders and laws. Citizens will feel the safety owned by the state. This is the end of an era when someones tried to get rid from our national tradition and our cultural identity trying to become "pseudo-Europeans".
Samaras attacked SYRIZA main opposition party for misery. "We have achieved already what they said they seek. And we have achieved them not in confrontation with our partners, but in agreement with them."
"The known prophets of doom are losing their temper because, Yes, I am optimistic. But what do they think? That I don't see unemployment? I don't feel the pain? That I don't know that people is suffering? To all these people I say: What I am fighting is called unemployment, poverty, insecurity. And I fight because my primary goal and obligation is to eliminate every hurdle and all mentality depriving Greek citizens from their right for Growth and Hope. These voices of misery have lost their souls, they will lose everything. I wish we had an opposition supporting Greece's exit from the crisis. We did not expect to agree with us on everything. But at least to support structural changes, cutting overspending, bureaucracy, corruption, the isolation of criminals...But they are opposing not only our policy, but everything helping the country to exit the crisis," Samaras said.
He strongly attacked Golden Dawn party saying they were "neo-nazis", representing the worst nightmares felt by Europe and the whole world. Their presence alone weakens Greece at a time when our country needs strong support.
The Prime Minister said the two extremes remain in the past and promoting hate in the country, dividing the Greek people doing everything in their power to isolate the country abroad. "Both extremes ignore democracy and the law. They have no plans for tomorrow, because they are not interested for tomorrow. No one of them will govern the country because they are unable. They only want to clash between them on the ruins of the country. This will not be done," he said.
The country is turning page, slowly exiting the crisis, putting aside the extremes, he added.
Commenting on a talk over the sustainability of the Greek debt, the Premier said: This talk over the sustainability of the Greek debt is made between our creditors and focuses on how to help us more if we do what it is agreed, to present a primary surplus this year. And on the condition to continue implementing structural reforms, which we are doing after all. "It is a talk which must end the soonest possible, because it is the last hurdle towards attracting large investments in the Greek economy," Samaras said, adding that by reaching a primary surplus and controlling the debt the country was simply exiting the era of memorandum.
The Greek Prime Minister also sent a message of peace, friendship, cooperation and development to neighboring countries and noted: "Growth means security, stability and prosperity. But stability means that no provocation will be tolerated from neighboring countries...We are the first who want to help our neighbours. But the historical identity of the Greek Macedonia is not negotiable. We first, extend a hand of friendship seeking a common prospect of development. But with unilateral provocations, friendship cannot stand and there can be no cooperation".
Samaras also referred to the Thessaloniki International Fair, saying it was turning a page in history. "The Thessaloniki Fair becomes again the face of this development orientation. This year we seek a first upgrading of the Fair with new participations and international interest. And this is only the beginning of the new era".
 SYRIZA strongly reacts to PM's speechSYRIZA main opposition party on Saturday strongly criticized the Prime Minister for his speech during the inauguration of the Thessaloniki International Fair, saying he is "dangerous" for the country.
In a strongly-worded statement, SYRIZA said that Mr Samaras "with an unprecedented delusional speech, left a question unanswered: whether he knows in which country he lives in".
The main opposition party called the Prime Minister "to stop hiding and to apologize for his policy, only for once before he pulled out from his post". "The only thing certain is that Mr. Samaras is dangerous for the country and its citizens, promoting the theory of two extremes to benefit from petty-politics, undermining democracy at a time when his colleagues recommend a cooperation with Golden Dawn party," a statement said.
SYRIZA said that Mr Samaras was seeing a brake in unemployment when 1.5 million compatriots have no work, "order" in education and health when schools and hospitals are closing down, sustainability in public debt when it continues rising, primary surpluses and growth on the ruins of recession and levelling.
The government accused SYRIZA of betting everything on the destruction of the country. In an answer to main opposition party's statement, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said that "reality will refuted them again".
"It is extremely sad for anyone to see that the main opposition cannot speak in a serious and documented way even when it has to answer to the Prime Minister's specifict and documented position," Kedikoglou added.
Golden Dawn and communist KKE parties also issued statements criticizing the Prime Minister's speech.
 "We will not take new measures," Samaras saysNo new measures will be imposed while austerity will not continue, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Sunday. In an interview with Sunday's edition of "Ethnos" newspaper, the Premier underlined that "any additional support or facilitation would be offered to Greece will be based on a previous agreement, and not following a new agreement...I will not be "new memorandum - new onerous terms" as some ones are shouting".
Samaras underlined, sending a message to the country's creditors, that the country was reaching its goals and that "agreed terms envisage a relief from a primary surplus, not a new austerity".
Commenting on a question if he would resort to early elections if creditors insisted on new measures, the Prime Minister said: "We did what we have agreed. We will do everything, but we will not take additional measures. I am not allowed to destabilize the country by talking about early elections, now that Greece was stabilizing..." he noted. Samaras rejected the possibility of a "parliamentary accident" but said that "in case that majority deputies denied to support a government legislation, this will not be an accident, but a sabotage".
 SYRIZA on the prime minister's interview"The countdown has begun" because "one day, lies come to an end," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) underlined in response to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview in Sunday's issue of "Ethnos" newspaper.
"While the Greek society is experiencing the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII and the Greek economy shrinks rapidly, our creditors are having a party with what they have gained from the Greek debt affair and the prime minister takes pride in his successes," SYRIZA said.
 Government spokesman on SYRIZA's announcement as regards the prime minister's interview"Same old SYRIZA. Many insults, zero proposals," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Sunday said, in response to an announcement by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) on the interview of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Sunday's edition of the newspaper "Ethnos".
 Legal basis on Eurogroup's decision on Greek debt relief, FinMin saysThe Prime Minister described as an immediate plan achieving a primary surplus this year and a new growth model, Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters in Thessaloniki, during a visit to the pavillions of the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair, the Finance Minister said that the Premier used the word "extroversion", which means we export or produce to substitute imports. "When we reach that point we will be an economy with very significant growth prospects," Stournaras said. Commenting on a message sent by the Prime Minister to the country's partners over a the country's debt, Stournaras said: "There is legal basis on Eurogroup's decisions of November 27, 2012. And that's where we will built our case".
The Finance Minister said the government was working towards expanding the criteria offered for a subsidy for heating oil consumption "to become more attractive and flexible", while said not it was too early to discuss about cutting VAT factors beyond the restaurant business, saying: "Let's see first if the reduction succeeds in the restaurant sector".
 Zanias confident Greece will present primary budget surplus this yearGeorge Zanias, president of the Hellenic Bank Association, on Sunday expressed his confidence that Greece will present a primary budget surplus this year and that the economy will present positive growth rates in 2014.
Commenting on the Greek banking system, Sanias said banks lost a lot during the crisis, with non-performing loans totaling 60 billion euros, while a recapitalization plan restored stability in the sector. He noted that banks must thoroughly examine businesses and their potential to avoid creation of a new round of non-performing loans in the country.
 Venizelos dismisses scenarios of early elections"The country is at the final turn of an uphill and has travelled almost 4/5 of the road leading to the way out of the crisis," Evangelos Venizelos, leader of PASOK party said on Sunday.
Addressing an event at the Thessaloniki International Fair, Venizelos said there was never a plan B and noted that things could have been done differently only before the crisis, in 2007, 2008 or early 2009, and if there was social consensus which even today was not enough. He accused SYRIZA main opposition party that after a period of wavering it returned to the logic of unilateral attact against the lending agreement and debt write off. Referring to small private bondholders he said: "We have not forgotten them and we must take care of them".
The dismissed scenarios over early elections and noted that government stability was a precondition for development in the country. We need to respect the tolerance limits of the society, we need solidarity to have its consensus, Venizelos said.
He stressed that a VAT reduction in the restaurant business did not have the expected results. "If the results were better we would have a negotiating card to lower a special consumption tax on fuel," Venizelos said while he admitted there were failures in certain tax measures. He said that a primary budget surplus will help to improve the daily life of citizens, while commenting on a programmatic agreement between New Democracy and PASOK he noted that the agreement did not cover only the two political parties but the society in general, because it is a national strategic development plan.
"It was the patriotic duty and the agony for the weak and the middle people, that led us to take this difficult choices. That's how people are saved," Venizelos said while he attacked political parties opposing the memorandum saying they were playing games on the back of the people who are making sacrifices.
Venizelos earlier met with the management of Thessaloniki International Fair-Helexpo SA and was briefed over the characteristics of this year's fair and the merger plan between the two companies. Tasos Tzikas, president of TIF-Helexpo said TIF was making a restart and asked for the support of the Foreign ministry to mobilizing the Greek diaspora in supporting commercial and trade fair activities.
 Venizelos dismisses reports of "sudden death" for Hellenic Railways, defence industriesEvangelos Venizelos, leader of PASOK party and vice-president of the government, on Sunday categorically dismissed reports of a "sudden death" for Hellenic Railways and the country's defense industries.
Speaking during a meeting with representatives of the country's productive classes in the framework of the 78th Thessaloniki International Fair, Venizelos underlined that defense industries were playing a national role in the country's defense and sovereignty.
 OSE is not being shut down, transport ministry clarifiesThe ministry of transport and networks on Sunday dismissed a front-page news report in the newspaper "Real News", according to which, Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) will be shutdown.
A ministry statement underlined that shutting down or trivializing the organization is not in the government's plans. "On the contrary, the government's intention is to upgrade the organization's operation and services and for this purpose fundamental and major railway infrastructure projects are underway across the country," the ministry statement noted.
 SYRIZA's proposal is the only realistic way out of the crisis, Tsipras saysMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras on Sunday expressed certainty that his party's proposal on the economy will be accepted by Berlin and the country's creditors.
In an interview in Sunday's issue of the newspaper "Eleftherotypia", Tsipras underlined that the country's debt needs a 40-50 pct "haircut" to become sustainable and correspond to 85-90 pct of the GDP which is the European average. He noted that the uncontrollable recession will have to be stopped and the country should be free of the memorandum policies.
He underlined that debt reduction in combination with the end of austerity and a plan of immediate public and development-oriented investments would signal the exodus from the crisis and speedy recovery.
He maintained that "the country's creditors and the Germans" will accept SYRIZA's proposal because "is the only realistic and viable way out of the crisis considering that everything implemented so far have failed big time. The creditors themselves have already revised three times the 2010 agreement and the debt continues to be non sustainable".
He insisted in the "freezing" of interest rates for a period of four years based on an economic growth clause and noted that the proposal will be accepted because the creditors wouldn't want to put the eurozone cohesion at risk.
Tsipras said that he does not wish to proceed with a unilateral move, like a cessation of payments, but he wouldn't hesitate to do so if he was forced to. He said that "nobody can expel us from the eurozone" and noted that "a SYRIZA government will have a clear popular mandate to rid the country of the memorandum".
He said that SYRIZA is not a new or an old PASOK, noting that his party expresses the people's rage stemming from the failure of the worn-out and corrupt political system and, at the same time, it expresses the need for a radical change of course.
 Government spokesman Kedikoglou on Tsipras' interviewThe leader of the main opposition party is stuck to the past and continues to seek the country's bankruptcy, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said in response to an interview by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras published in the Sunday issue of the newspaper "Eleftherotypia".
"It is time for him to understand that we have definitively averted the likelihood of a bankruptcy, no mater how distressing this can be for him," Kedikoglou said, noting that one could easily think that the interview was given back in 2012.
The government spokesman said that Tsipras has not understood that there has been a "haircut", as well as, interest rate reduction without national bankruptcy and still insists to threaten with a unilateral cessation of payments.
 Foreign Minister Venizelos to meet with Belgian defence minister; North Rhine-Westphalia European affairs ministerDeputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will meet at 16:00 on Monday, September 9, with Belgium's Vice-President and Defence Minister Pieter De Crem and at 17:00 with North Rhine-Westphalia European Affairs Minister Dr. Angelica Schwall-D?ren.
 Defence Minister Avramopoulos to meet with visiting Belgian counterpart on MondayNational Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos will meet at 12:00 on Monday, September 9, with Belgium's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Pieter De Crem, it was announced on Sunday.
The Belgian official is on a formal visit to Greece at the invitation of the minister of defence.
 People should defend their rights, KKE general secretary Koutsoumbas saysOpposition Communist Party (KKE) general secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Sunday rejected an invitation by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras to join forces in an uncompromising struggle against the government and the troika creditors.
In an interview in Sunday's issue of the newspaper "Eleftheros Typos", Koutsoumbas wondered how this uncompromising struggle will be waged, noting that all former PASOK trade union leaders have joined SYRIZA.
Koutsoumbas also underlined that KKE will use all its powers to reinforce the popular alliance which is the response to the people's need to defend their rights.
 Culture Minister Panagiotopoulos congratulates Venice Film Festival Silver Lion winner; best actorCulture & Sports Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos on Sunday congratulated film director Alexandros Avranas and actor Themis Panou for the important distinctions they won in the 70th Venice International Film Festival.
"Hearing your names being announced by Bernardo Bertolucci himself in the festival's award ceremony made us all proud," Panagiotopoulos said.
"Avranas is one of the many talented fellow Greeks who renew the great tradition of the Greek cinema and who excel with new creativity, boldness and entrepreneurship, incarnating a new Greek Hope," the minister said.
Alexandros Avranas won the Silver Lion for best director for his film "Miss Violence" and Themis Panou won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor in the same movie.
A day before winning the Silver Lion, Avranas had won the federation of film critics Fedeora award for Best Euro-Mediterranean Film and the Arca Cinema Giovanni young cinema award.
 Deputy FM Kourkoulas to address event hosted by Friedrich Ebert Foundation, ELIAMEPDeputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas will address an event on Monday, September 9, co-hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).
The event, on a social and democratic Europe of the citizens, that will take place at the Cycladic Art Museum, will also be addressed by North Rhine-Westphalia European Affairs Minister Dr. Angelica Schwall-D?ren.
 Gov't not planning more measures, Development Minister saysDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Saturday offered reassurances that the government "was not planning, in any case, to take more measures like the ones that pressured enterprises and households in the last few years".
Addressing a lunch organized by the Central Union of Greek Chambers in Thessaloniki, Hatzidakis said: "We are no longer on the cliff...We have travelled 3/4 of the road and must reach the end not to waste all sacrifices. We will cross the last mile so that 2013 will be the last difficult year".
He added that in the last 15 months Greece has climbed three significant steps: political stability, strong ties to the euro and a recapitalization of banks. The Greek minister said that a way will be found to fund Greek chambers and noted that Greek banks must offer liquidity in the market.
 Zakynthos set for record tourism season this yearTourist arrivals at the island of Zakynthos are expected to surpass 500,000 by the end of the season (end of October), setting a new record for the last decade, travel officials said.
Tourist arrivals in the eight-month period from January to August totaled 393,059, from 337,474 in the corresponding period last year, for an average increase of more than 16 pct, according to figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Arrivals from Russia (142 pct) recorded the biggest percentage increase, followed by arrivals from Poland (67.63 pct), Italy (65.74 pct), Holland (51.88 pct), Belgium (47.17 pct) and Germany (42.5 pct), while arrivals from the UK rose only 2.14 pct and remained the top position in tourist arrivals in the island.
Travel officials, however, said the domestic tourism fell significantly in the same period. According to figures released by the port authority of Zakynthos, passengers travelling by sea to the island fell by 10 pct in August.
 Cross-border purchases hitting local markets, surveyCross-border consumer moves between Greece and FYROM are hitting local markets in Florina, a survey by the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce showed on Saturday.
The survey, based on a sample of 250 enterprises in the region, showed that eight out in 10 enterprises said cross-border moves were hitting the local market, while only three in a total of 250 in the same said that these moves had a positive impact on local markets.
The survey on: "Cross-border moves and commerce: the case of Florina", was presented during a news conference in Thessaloniki, during which Macedonia-Thrace Minister Theodore Karaoglou underlined the need for "a strong domestic market, which will act as a sub-bed of export activity, in order to achieve a restart of local economies".
The survey also showed that citizens in the prefect of Florina had the same opinion on the issue, with three in four respondents saying the it was the FYROM side which was benefiting from cross-border moves. Citizens of Amyntaio were more pessimistic with only 3 pct saying they were the ones to benefit from an economic interaction in the region. This rate rose to 15 pct in the city of Florina. The survey was conducted on a sample of 999 citizens.
Businessmen in the Florina prefect said consumers preferred to buy consumer goods in neighbouring FYROM and said their loss in turnover from this trend was around 32 pct. The survey showed that the majority of Greek citizens visiting FYROM for consumer purchases said it was because of "better prices" in the neighbouring country. The survey also showed that the majority of purchase in FYROM was petrol, followed by food products and clothing/footwear. The average sum of consumer spending in FYROM was up to 100 euros per month.
On the other hand, visitors from FYROM said the basic reason for their visit was consumer purchases, tourism and business. Nine out of 10 visitors end up in the city of Florina. FYROM citizens prefer supermarkets for their purchases and their spending priority was food products.
 Individuals arrested in Thessaloniki on Saturday were released pending trialThree individuals, arrested on Saturday evening in Thessaloniki after the scheduled protest rallies on the day of the formal opening of the 78th International Trade Fair (TIF) had ended, have been released pending their trial, police announced on Sunday.
The three individuals, aged 19, 22 and 23, were led before a prosecutor facing misdemeanour charges. Their trial date was set for December 11, 2013.
According to police, at total of 123 people were brought in for questioning before and after the protest demonstrations in downtown Thessaloniki on Saturday.
 Firebomb attacks targeting a police unit on duty in downtown Athens; one arrestA 46-year-old Italian national was arrested after two separate firebomb attacks on Saturday evening targeting a police unit on duty in the downtown Athens district of Exarchia, it was announced on Sunday. A total of 16 individuals were brought in for questioning during a police operation for the arrest of the culprits.
The first attack was recorded just before midnight when roughly 50 individuals hurled firebombs at the police unit in the district of Exarchia and the second attack was carried out by a group of roughly 10 individuals about two hours later.
In the possession of the 46-year-old were found an air gun and plastic bullets, among others. According police, he was arrested again on November 17, 2011, the anniversary day of the Polytechnic School Uprising, accused of breach of peace, assault and illegal gun possession.
 Tremors recorded south of Crete and NW of ThessalonikiTremors were recorded in the morning and in the afternoon on Sunday south of Crete and northwest of Thessaloniki.
A weak earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale was recorded at 13:30 near Thessaloniki. Its epicenter was located 30 kilometers north-northwest of the city, according to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) Seismological Station. The phenomenon is being monitored by seismologists.
Another earthquake was recorded south of Crete at 07:59 on Sunday. It measured 4.7 on the Richter scale and its epicenter was 40 kilometers southeast of Tympaki, according to Athens' Geodynamic Institute and Thessaloniki's Geophysics Laboratory.
Shortly afterward, at 08:24 the same epicenter gave a weaker earthquake measuring 3.4 on the Richer scale. No damages were reported.
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