|Tuesday, 20 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-09-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 23 September 2013 Issue No: 4467
 Troika-government near agreement on size of primary surplus, recession, official saysTalks between the government's financial team and the EU-IMF troika representing Greece's creditors on Sunday resulted in agreement in two areas: on the size of a primary budget surplus at the end of the year and a slightly lower rate of recession. In statements after the end of the four-hour meeting that launched the latest round of negotiations between the two sides, a senior finance ministry official said they were "close to converging on a small, realistic, sustainable primary surplus," while their estimates on the size of the recession diverged by just 0.1 percentage point.
Given that recent estimates by senior finance ministry officials put the rate of recession at 3.8 percent of GDP, this leads to the conclusion that the troika sees the Greek economy shrinking by about 3.9 percent in 2013, as opposed to its initial forecast of about 4.2 percent.
According to the same source, Sunday's talks touched on all issues but focused mainly on the execution of the 2013 budget and the estimates for the end of the year. The talks on this issue are expected to continue throughout the coming week, since there is disagreement between the two sides on four or five entries in the budget relating to revenues and spending.
Conversely, the finance ministry and the troika are far from convergence on the figures for the 2014 budget, given that several general government services have not yet supplied complete figures.
Regarding the remaining issues discussed during Sunday's meeting, the senior ministry official said these included a unified property tax to be imposed from 2014, both in terms of the revenue this will generate and the extent that this can be collected, as well as the preparatory work at the General Accounting Office for taxes collected for third parties.
Other topics covered were tax-collection mechanisms, structural changes and the collection of overdue private debts to the state, where the finance ministry is looking at alternative scenarios for the 8.0 billion euros due from individuals and private enterprises by the end of this year, considering that the specific target is unlikely under normal conditions.
The same official said that discussion on Sunday did not cover the four prior actions that Greece must carry out for the next tranche of bailout loans, amounting to 1.0 billion euros. He pointed out that there had been extensive discussion with troika technical teams on Friday regarding a restructuring of the state enterprises Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS), Hellenic Vehicle Industry (ELVO) and Larco, while state debts to the water companies EYDAP and EYATh are due to be settled by the end of next week.
Concerning planned privatisations, discussion on this issue was postponed until after the troika is briefed by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund on Monday.
Based on plans so far, the troika's inspections will be carried out in three stages: in the first stage lasting until October 10, they will examine implementation of prior actions required for the disbursement of the next bailout loan tranche. Such prior actions include finalizing restructuring plans for the defense industries EAS, ELVO and Larco, the settlement of outstanding state debts to state water companies EYDAP and EYATh, placing 12,500 civil servants in the so-called mobility scheme by the end of September and adopting a new code for practice for lawyers.
Negotiations with the troika heads will then be suspended for the IMF annual meeting of October 11-13 and a Eurogroup meeting on October 14. The second stage will open in late October, focusing on updating the bailout Memorandum of Understanding and making up for the 2015-2016 fiscal gap, estimated by the troika at 4.0 to 5.0 billion euros and by the Greek government at 2.5 billion euros.
The "hot" issue of the financing gap (estimated by the IMF at 10.9 billion euros), will be the focus of the third stage of troika inspections in November and December.
 Troika satisfied after meeting Greece's anti-corruption coordinator TentesA team from the EU-IMF troika mission in Athens emerged satisfied from a meeting with senior justice Ioannis Tentes, Greece's National Coordinator for Fighting Corruption, that was held on Sunday, sources said. The four-hour meeting evaluated the implementation of actions included in the road map of the Task Force for Greece and the national plan against corruption code-named 'Transparency'.
During talks with Tentes, the troika experts stressed that corruption must be dealt with so that Greece might regain its lost credibility.
Participants included Gabriele Giudice and Guillaume Prevost from the European Commission, Asimina Koutsoukou and Nicholai Benalai from the European Central Bank (ECB), Gianluca Esposito and Marialena Athanasopoulou from the International Monetary Fund and Tentes and his team.
The meeting concluded that since the institution of national coordinator against corruption was set up about three months ago, 70 percent of the targets of the national plan had been successfully launched.
Tentes outlined his targets and priorities and said that his goal was to complete a final strategic plan against corruption by next February.
 "No happy end in troika negotiations," SYRIZA saysIn a comment over the opening of yet another round of inspections of Greece's economy by the troika of lenders, the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) said that the "ostensible negotiations between the troika and the government are continued, even though it is known beforehand and there is no happy end."
"(Prime Minister Antonis) Samaras and (government vice-president Evangelos) Venizelos, who harmonically cooperate with the troika, are preparing to close down state enterprises of strategic importance (defence industries EAS, ELVO, LARKO), as well as to fire public employees and once more cut auxiliary pensions, remaining loyal to the disastrous policy of the bailout Memorandum, which has driven the society and the economy to a tragic deadlock," SYRIZA said in a press release.
"However, society's resistance is increasing and a change in directions is a one-way solution. The countdown has begun."
 DIMAR urges tougher stance in talks with troikaDemocratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Sunday urged the government to adopt a tough stance in negotiations and make it clear to Greece's creditors that the country had reached its limits. Specifically, he called for changes in the adjustment programme and a complete separation of the public-sector mobility scheme from lay-offs and the evaluation of structures, enterprises and staff.
He also called for liquidity to the real economy, modification of ineffective measures like the tax increase to heating oil, or the measures allowing households to settle debts to banks and the state, continued protection of primary residences and emergency, large-scale measures to support the unemployed, guarantee a minimum income and give universal access to health care.
Kouvelis said the government must work on a new deal with Greece's partners, without new measures, that will reduce the debt burden and give a strong developmental boost to the country, noting that these measures "will make possible a recovery of the economy and of society."
 Greek issues, Syria crisis dominated UN chief's talks with FM VenizelosNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
In statements to reporters after meeting United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Sunday, government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos repeated Greece's position concerning the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
"We are in favour of a mutually accepted composite name with a geographical determinant, applicable for all uses. A single name for every usage. A final, clear and functional solution," he underlined.
He said the meeting with the UN Secretary General had focused chiefly on major foreign policy issues of interest to Greece, especially the name dispute with FYROM and the Cyprus issue, as well as the crisis in Syria and matters relating to the future of the UN.
The minister noted that the UN's envoy for the name issue Matthew Nimetz had also been present at the meeting and that the UN chief appeared well briefed on the Greek position, which was supported by a broad range of Greek political forces.
"In this way our neighbouring country will be able to fulfil its EuroAtlantic prospects and this is very important for them and us, because we want all the western Balkans to find this common prospect, which acts to stabilise the region," he added.
On the Cyprus issue, he said that there was now a new momentum, due to the specific proposals made by Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and a comprehensive proposal for confidence building measures relating to Famagusta, which he said could give rise to new ideas and momentum.
"We have the appointment of negotiators from both communities, something that is very important. And, of course, it is important to have the European Union present because any solution must take into account Community laws and must be accepted by the Cypriot people through a referendum, because this is the only way for a solution to be legitimised and viable," he said.
Concerning Syria, he repeated that Greece was in favour of a political solution via a 'Geneva 2'-style process and sought answers concerning the use of chemical weapons. He noted that the U.S.-Russia agreement had created a framework and that this was very important, because it allowed the UN Security Council to play its role, not just for Syria but for all international issues.
Venizelos also referred to the humantarian aspects of the Syria crisis, saying that Greece had co-signed an article with 24 foreign ministers placing the main focus on the humantarian aspect and the suffering of ordinary civilians, including children.
Replying to questions, he confirmed that the goal was to begin talks on the Cyprus issue in October and, concerning a trilateral meeting between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt to discuss maritime zones, Venizelos noted that this was not an issue that directly concerning the United Nations. He described the meeting as "important" but denied that it sent a "message" to Turkey or any other country, stressing that its goal was peace, security and stability in the Mediterranean.
 PM Samaras stresses unity in fighting neo-Nazism, defending democratic legitimacyPrime Minister Antonis Samaras told the Athens Sunday newspaper "To Vima" that there needs to be unity between the people and political forces in the battle against Nazism and to defend democratic legitimacy.
Samaras appeared determined to oppose, as he put it, the criminal activity of neo-Nazis, in order to protect the Constitution and democratic legitimacy.
"Democracy is not undefended, it has the means to defend itself against the challenges and will use them all in the most efficient way," the premier emphasised, adding that the people's unity is necessary for the defense of democratic legitimacy.
"The tough time we are going through in order to deal with the crisis will soon be over. But the decline of division, should we tolerate violence and tension, will not end until the country is destroyed. We will never allow this. We are uniting the country and arming democracy," Samaras concluded.
 Tsipras: Austerity policy responsible for Golden Dawn's riseVIENNA (ANA-MPA/ D.Dimitrakoudis)
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras addressing an open discussion late Friday in Vienna at the "Bruno Kreisky Forum for the International Dialogue" referred to Golden Dawn party and to the murder of Pavlos Fyssas. He said it was a political murder from Golden Dawn's commando units which, however, did not surprise SYRIZA, because that's where the "barbarous policies and the credibility crisis of the political system in Greece" has led us.
The political situation in Greece is vague with a mixture of political expectations as well as fear of the neonazis, said Tsipras and clarified that he is convinced that the police and armed forces are not a threat for democracy. He also opined that Golden Dawn should not be set out of the law but to stand before the law.
On the economic crisis in Greece and in Europe, Tsipras said that his party doesn't intend to govern for three months but for many years and that they are ready and have the knowledge to take the risk and the responsibility "The first thing SYRIZA's government will do is to re-distribute the existing sources in order to support the weaker and afterwards it will begin a real negotiation with our EU partners in order a solution to be found within the European framework.
The main opposition leader stressed that it is crucial that the European people are convinced that SYRIZA is not giving a national battle but a battle for Europe and clarified that he is not against Europe adding that he supports a Europe of the people a united Europe that either will be socially just and will have solidarity or it will not exist.
He said that a solution must be found for Greece's debt that will cancel a large part of it in order to become sustainable adding that from the 200 billion euros that Greece have received as loan only 1, 5 percent has gone to real economy and the other 98 percent was given to the banks and for the repayment of older loans' interests.
 Gov't spokesman on Tsipras' interview to Austrian newspaperGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou in statement on Saturday regarding main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' interview with Austrian newspaper 'Der Standard' said "after the unprecedented depreciation of his visit to Germany by his 'comrades', Mr. Tsipras started to mince his words..."
Of course, continued Kediglou, he has a long way until he returns to reality, he added.
 DIMAR leader calls democratic parties to set up front against neonazisDemocratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Saturday made a plea to the parliament's democratic parties to agree on the creation of a front that will safeguard the normality and the Democracy against the neonazi murderers, in his address to his party's central committee, because as he said "Democracy must defend itself'.
Kouvelis noted that the political differences or oppositions must not hamper the unity against the 'absolute evil' and called for the immediate voting of the new antiracist law.
"The voting of the new antiracist law that was annulled by New Democracy (ND) circles and the elimination of Golden Dawn's (Chryssi Avghi) parastate mechanism must be propelled immediately. Golden Dawn's political and social isolation is a democratic duty" said Kouvelis and underlined that the death of antifascist Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini and the murder attack against Communist Party (KKE) members in Perama are growing dangerously the blood circle in the country and threaten the democracy and the normality.
 "Distressing to have a new-Nazi party in Parliament," Dendias saysPublic Order and Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Dendias says the need to consider the likelihood of outlawing the far-right Golden Dawn opposition party should be included in the revision of the country's Constitution.
In an interview with Sunday's edition of the Real News newspaper, Dendias said it was distressing that a neo-Nazi entity was voted by the Greek people to hold seats in Parliament. He revealed that he had already sent a proposal to Interior minister Yiannis Michalakis regarding the interruption of state subsidies to political parties being investigated for possible criminal acts by their members and/or supporters.
Dendias noted that there is clear evidence of a "criminal organisation" on the basis of specific incidents involving Golden Dawn members, for which he had already asked the Supreme Court's judgment.
The minister distanced himself from the view that the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) is an extreme political party in its entirety. He stressed, however, that SYRIZA should be prudent and reject the extreme voices from its ranks.
 KKE leader urges people to 'overthrow monopolies'Communist Party of Greece (KKE) General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas urged the "overthrow of monopolies as the only road for the people," in his speech at the 39th KNE-Odigiti festival organised by KKE's youth group KNE in Ilion. In an address delivered on Saturday, Koutsoumbas stressed that a "a counter-attack under the banner of popular needs," should be organised here and now.
He also stressed that KKE's 19th conference had shown the path for growth and for harnessing the country's productive potential in order to overthrow the power of monopolies, with central scientific planning, a loosening of links with the EU, unilateral writing-off of Greece's debt, a socialisation of monopolies and "popular, working-class power".
According to Koutsoumbas, all other proposals for management and power gave the kiss of life to a dying system, which was becoming ever more hostile and repulsive for the working class and the people, while a similar 'kiss of life' and the time to recover from the crisis would be given by any government formed with SYRIZA at its core.
 DIMAR Central Committee meeting concludedA meeting of the Democratic Left (DIMAR) opposition party's Central Committee concluded on Sunday afternoon, after having examined latest political developments.
The meeting also looked into the preparation of the party's congress.
The Central Committee approved by large majority the recommendations made by party leader Fotis Kouvelis.
DIMAR's Second Congress is to be held in mid December and during the meeting the Committee of Positions and the Organising Committee were set up.
 Man accused of Fyssas stabbing remanded in custody pending trialThe 45-year-old accused of the murder by stabbing of 34-year-old rapper Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini was remanded in custody pending trial following his testimony before a prosecutor on Saturday.
The accused is facing charges of premeditated manslaughter and illegal weapon possession.
The suspect in his testimony to the magistrate said he felt sorry for his action adding that he has a 'loose relation' with Golden Dawn. He also said that he was member of a left movement in the past.
Referring to the incident, he said he was drinking his coffee in a cafe and attempted to leave with car when two groups of unknown individuals attacked him and he impulsively used his knife adding that by the time of the tragic incident he was by himself.
According to information, during his testimony the suspect burst into tears and said that he destroyed two families, his own and that of the unlucky boy.
The 45 year-old has two children and was working as a truck driver.
 ADEDY calls fresh 48-hour strike for Tuesday, WednesdayThe civil servants' union confederation?ADEDY decided on Sunday to call a fresh 48-hour strike to protest layoffs and implementation of the so-called mobility scheme in the public service. The two-day strike will be on Tuesday and Wednesday.
ADEDY is in communication with the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) umbrella trade union group in an attempt to turn Tuesday's strike into to a general strike.
On the same day, public and private sector trade unions will hold a joint rally in central Athens' Klafthmonos square at 10:30.
GSEE is expected to take final decisions on escalation of industrial action on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, trade unions announced an anti-fascism rally to be held in Syntagma square on Wednesday afternoon at 18:00.
Employees with social security funds have also called fresh 48-hour rolling strikes starting Monday.
In the education sector, secondary educators have called a two-day strike for Monday and Tuesday.
 Foreign Exchange rates - MondayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.371
Pound sterling 0.856
Danish kroner 7.568
Swedish kroner 8.725
Japanese yen 136.59
Swiss franc 1.251
Norwegian kroner 8.126
Canadian dollar 1.410
Australian dollar 1.456
 Hatzidakis to attend bioclimatic nursery opening day in MarousiDevelopment minister Kostis Hatzidakis will on Monday noon attend the opening of a bioclimatic Nursery School in the northern Athens suburb of Marousi.
The nursery is among another 105 such bioclimatic kindergarten buildings being constructed with funds from the National Strategic Reference Framework?(ESPA).
Earlier, Hatzidakis is scheduled to meet with Israel's ambassador to Greece, Arye Mekel. Topics of discussion will include the energy agreement between Cyprus, Greece and Israel and Greece's investment opportunities.
 Golden Dawn members arrested for illegal possession of weaponsFive men aged 39,25,22,20 and 17, all members of extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party, were arrested on Friday night in Thessaloniki at a close distance from the party's offices.
On their possession police officers who were patrolling the area found clubs, an iron bar, tear gas sprays and jack knives.
A raid in the suspects' residences revealed a metal club, tear gas sprays, and iron glove and an air gun.
At a separate incident, three persons were arrested outside Golden Dawn's offices in the city of Halkida on Friday night. Police said that the suspects possessed helmets, sticks and shields.
 Human traffickers arrestedOne local and two foreign nationals were arrested on Saturday on Pyrgos-Patras national highway alleged to be the traffickers of 27 undocumented migrants that were found on Friday at Marathias on the island of Zakynthos.
The three suspects were transferred to the island and will be sent before Zakynthos prosecutor.
The 27 undocumented migrants are still on the island and were offered a 30-day temporary residence permit in Greece.
 Teachers to strike on Mon. and Tues.Secondary education teachers' union decided to continue their mobilisations with a 48-hour strike onMonday and Tuesday, it was announced on Saturday.
The teachers will re-examine their stance in new meetings that will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.
 Molotov attack outside PASOK offices, central AthensA Molotov cocktail was thrown against a riot police squad at 03:30 Sunday morning, stationed just outside the PASOK party central offices on Charilaou Trikoupi str., downtown Athens.
The attack caused damage to three parked cars. ???
 Super League resultsOlympiakos Piraeus drew 0-0 with Panetolikos in a match played away over the weekend for the Greek soccer Super League but retained the lead in the standings.
In other action:
Asteras Tripoli-Kalloni Mytilini 2-0
Atromitos Athens-Apollon Smyrnis (Athens) 2-0
Panathinaikos-OFI Crete 1-0
PAOK Thessaloniki-Platanias Crete 1-0
Ergotelis Crete-Panionios Athens 1-1
Levadiakos-PAS Yiannena 1-0
Panthrakikos Xanthi-Veria 1-0
Xanthi-Aris Thessaloniki (playing Sept. 23)
Standings after 5 weeks of play:
3. Asteras Tripoli 9
4. Kalloni 9
5. Panathinaikos 8
6. Panthrakikos Xanthi 8
7. PAS Yiannena 7
8. Atromitos Athens 7
9. Ergotelis 7
10. Panionios Athens 6
11. Veria 5
12. Levadiakos 5
13. Panetolikos 5
14. Xanthi 4 (4 matches played)
15. Platanias Crete 4
16. Apollon Smyrnis (Athens) 3
17. OFI Crete 3
18. Aris Thessaloniki 1 (4 matches played)
 Weather forecast for MondayShort rains mainly in the western and eastern parts of the country are forecast for Monday. Northerly winds 4 to 6 Beaufort. Overcast and possibility of local rain in Athens, improving in the afternoon, with temperatures ranging from 17C to 28C. Generally fair in Thessaloniki, partly cloudy in the east. North-northwesterly winds 3 to 5 Beaufort, temperatures 15C to 26C.
 Athens' Sunday newspapers at a glanceELEFTHERI ORA: "High treason by Papandreou-Samaras"
ETHNOS: "Crime and ring"
AVGI: "Gov't tension throw of the dice"
VRADINI: "Solution for forest land and building societies"
EPOCHI: "From flirt to withdrawing?"
KATHIMERINI: "Golden Dawn: From fringe to crime"
NIKI TIS DEMOKRATIAS: "Credit cards - 7 ways for hair-cut of up to 80 pct"
DEMOKRATIA: "Tsipras' deputy charged with felony"
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Anti-terrorism Squad hunting for 6 Golden Dawn members"
RIZOSPASTIS: "Common struggle needed by the youth and the people's movement"
LOGOS: "Greeks' taxpaying ability runs dry"
PROTO THEMA: "Never forget fascism"
TO ARTHRO: "Stournaras' degrowth"
TO VIMA: "Blood drowns the neo-nazis"
TO PARON TIS KYRIAKIS: "Polarization for elections"
TYPOS TIS KYRIAKIS: "Golden Down's guilty secrets"
FREE SUNDAY: "Economy-Politics: Everything and everyone to the extremes"
REAL NEWS: "Here is the evidence Mrs. Merkel"
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