|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-10-15
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Tuesday, 15 October 2013 Issue No: 4486
 PM Samaras in Brussels on TuesdayPrime Minister Antonis Samaras (L) is scheduled to visit Brussels on Tuesday, to address an event jointly organised by the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation on "The Necessity of Europe". The prime minister will return to Athens on the evening of the same day.
Prime Minister Antonis C. Samaras addressing the opening of a painting exhibition at the Athens Archaeological Museum, in central Athens on Monday.
 Venizelos meets with Albanian Prime Minister Rama, foreign minister BushatiTIRANA (ANA-MPA / I. Paco)
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos met here on Monday with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati in the context of his one-day official visit to Albania.
In the meeting with the Albanian prime minister, Venizelos noted that the Greek government wants bilateral relations to reach a new level of cooperation.
On his part, the Albanian prime minister said that his government wants to give a new dimension to cooperation with Greece in a spirit of friendship. He said that the Albanian government is determined to boost regional cooperation and thanked Venizelos for the support offered to Albania's EU accession course.
The close bilateral cooperation for a solution of outstanding issues in relations between Greece and Albania dominated talks that Venizelos had earlier with Albanian Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati.
In a joint press conference, Venizelos referred to the issue of the revocation of "the state of war" which was raised by Bushati, and noted that the Greek cabinet declared a state of peace with Albania in 1987. He also underlined that since 1986, the option of seeking recourse to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is open for anyone wishing to do so. "Therefore, we have a very secure cooperation framework based on bilateral and multilateral treaties," Venizelos underlined.
He expressed the readiness of the Greek side to offer assistance to Tirana's EU accession efforts, together with Italy, which takes over the rotating EU Presidency after Greece.
Responding to an ANA-MPA question on delineating maritime borders, Venizelos said that "the common basis of the 'Mediterranean Year', as a result of the successive EU presidencies of Greece and Italy, is a comprehensive maritime policy focusing on the Mediterranean region. I repeat that an important study has been given to publicity by the European Commission, which proves that the implementation of the international maritime law and the delineation of maritime borders will have major economic benefits for the EU and Mediterranean countries".
The two ministers also referred to the importance of the TransAdriatic Pipeline (TAP) for the economies of Greece and Albania, noting that it is a project of major importance for energy security and regional economic stability.
On his part, the Albanian foreign minister said that they discussed "all the issues that bring us together and those that divide us; we exchanged opinions for the creation of an appropriate climate of confidence that would enhance and further deepen our bilateral cooperation, as well as cooperation on a regional and European level".
Responding to a question on whether he raised the so-called "Cham issue" during the talks with Venizelos, the Albanian foreign minister said that "the Cham issue is in the diplomatic file with Greece," noting that "now is the time to look at reality and overcome the historical obstacles because we wish to enrich bilateral and multilateral cooperation instead of remaining hostages of nationalism".
 Finmin Stournaras rules out new fiscal measuresLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA / M. Aroni)
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told reporters here late Monday evening that he was certain no new horizontal fiscal measures were to be taken by the Greek government. He was speaking moments after the end of a Eurogroup session.
Stournaras stressed that government efforts now focused on achieving a larger GDP expansion and adopting measures of a purely structural nature. He added that Greece's "cyclically adjusted primary surplus" amounted to 4 pct - 6 pct of GDP.
The finance minister added Greece was very close to satisfying the prior actions required for the disbursement of a rescue loan tranche of 1.0 billion euros.
As far as the so-called funding gap is concerned, Stournaras estimated it to around 5.0 billion euros for the second half of 2014 and to around 10.4 to 10.8 billion euros for the for the two-year period July 2014 - July 2016. He said an initial discussion was held at the Eurogroup and the decision is expected by the end of the year.
Asked to comment on a statement by European Central Bank (ECB) Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen?that Greece's funding gap will not be covered by a bond roll over, Stournaras stressed that all options were being considered. He added that if the gap was not covered by a bond roll over, then an equivalent method would be used. "All options are to be negotiated," he characteristically said, adding that "our partners will observe their commitments in the same way we observe ours."
Speaking on the sustainability of Greek debt, Stournaras said Greece wished to see a "debt write off," noting that this could be achieved in different ways, like for instance through lengthening loan maturities and/or reducing interest rates.
Asked about the time Greece would borrow from financial markets again, the finance minister said it would be good if this could happen before the end of the fiscal program and specifically in the second half of 2014 by issuing a limited amount of bonds.
On his part, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem stressed that Greece had made impressive progress and enormous efforts to achieve a primary surplus. He added, however, that much remained to be implemented, such as public administration reforms, acceleration of privatizations, liberalisation of certain so-called closed professions and continuing efforts to combat tax evasion.
Greece's funding gap would be discussed at December's Eurogroup, Dijsselbloem said, noting Eurogroup's commitment "to provide the proper support to Greece, provided the country meets the program requirements."
Both Dijsselbloem and European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn expressed the hope that troika's evaluation of the progress made will be completed by November so as to allow Eurogroup to go ahead with settling the funding gap issue.
Dijsselbloem clearly stated that "no one in the Eurogroup wishes a Greek debt haircut," adding that there were other available means to write off debt.
Finally, Rehn said Eurogroup expected Greece to implement fiscal and structural requirements. As far as the current evaluation by the troika is concerned, he stressed there was some pending "technical work" that should be implemented by the Greek side.
 PM Samaras inaugurates exhibition at National Archaeological MuseumPrime Minister Antonis Samaras inaugurated the exhibition "Prosfora" (Contribution) at the National Archaeological Museum, central Athens on Monday evening.
Addressing the event, Samaras said that the presence of those who either by their art or by their money were joining their forces to support the National Archaeological Museum was really praiseworthy.
"I would say indeed that the participation of all of you constitutes the catharsis of a tragedy: That of our state's temporary inability to offer what it used to in the past through our culture," the premier said.
The exhibition is an initiative of the non-profit company "Alliance for Greece" and includes 60 works from 57 modern Greek artists (mainly paintings and sculptures).
At the close of the exhibition, in two months, the works are scheduled to be auctioned and the largest part of the proceeds to be donated to the Museum.
 Venizelos recognises need of centre-left rallying of forcesPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed the need for "responsible centre-left" political forces that would move beyond "small-minded party or private opportunism" to rally together as he welcomed such an initiative signed by 58 widely-known Greeks that mentioned as favorable a possible alliance between PASOK and former ruling coalition member DIMAR.
In an interview to daily Ethnos newspaper, Venizelos said he was open to dialogue concerning changes about his own role as well in such a new alignment.
He added, "PASOK does not want to lead anyone, it respects everyone, but wants to be respected by others and wants especially to be recognised for the burden it's lifting and the role it's carrying out".
Referring to his cooperation with New Democracy in governing - in which he serves as vice-president and foreign minister - PASOK's leader said it is "a government of national responsibility and need" and clarified that "cooperation does not mean ideological identification or obliteration of differences in history and values. But it does mean a sincere collaboration with a sense of national and institutional responsibility, based on the premise that it is necessary for its four-year term to be completed because Greece needs both stability and time".
 Interior minister defends party funding blocking amendment, criticises SYRIZAThe amendment tabled by the government on suspending funding for parties under trial for criminal actions includes two articles, Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis told Vima radio station on Monday.
In comments criticising the stance of main opposition party SYRIZA, which has tabled its own version, Michelakis said that the articles include criminal acts and terrorist acts, respectively. "SYRIZA has only included an article for criminal activity. What is it afraid of? I do not believe there is anyone who accepts the view that terrorism activity is under negotiation", he said.
He said what was important was whether extreme individuals and extreme actions were involved, as individual party members. "The prime minister has been specific. He spoke of the Skouries (mining area) incidents; if you remember the video, there were some people with hoods on who lit fires, threatened others and fired guns. What we are saying is, Isn't this a form of violence that must be condemned, without footnotes? Another thing we're saying is, Isn't it a criminal act, what those who burned Marfin Bank did? In my opinion, that's an act of terrorism", Michelakis said.
 Admin. Reform Minister meets OECD Sec-Gen, French counterpart in ParisPARIS (ANA-MPA/ O. Tsipira)
Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, currently in Paris, on Monday held meetings with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria and his French counterpart Marylise Lebranchu.
During the meeting at the OECD, Gurria briefed Mitsotakis on the progress of the second phase of work carried out by the OECD to identify administrative burdens for Greek businesses and 13 sectors of the Greek economy.
In statements afterward, Mitsotakis emphasised the importance of this effort, noting that it "strikes at the heart of bureaucracy and links administrative reform to growth in the most tangible way".
Based on the current plans, the OECD is expected to deliver its report, which will identify and estimate the cost of administrative burdens by January 2014, along with suggestions for reducing or eradicating 20 percent of the most significant of these burdens.
On his part, Mitsotakis briefed Gurria on recent economic developments ahead of the latter's visit in November to present the annual OECD report on Greece.
Regarding his meeting with his French counterpart, the minister said he had defended Greece's position calling for additional time to carry out effective reforms in public administration, noting that the reform efforts could not be restricted to suspensions, lay-offs and cutting costs.
Replying to an ANA-MPA question, Mitsotakis said that he had asked the EU-IMF troika for additional time before the second wave of public-sector employees to enter a 'mobility scheme' because the government wanted to take the time to organise "real reforms," not because it did not want to move fast on this issue.
"We have to turn our energy to where it really hurts. For example, to how we select our general managers, an issue on which we have not yet given an answer compatible with the demands of present-day public administration," he said.
 Defence minister on cost of October 28 military paradesVehicles and aircraft will be taking part in the October 28 'OXI' day parade in Thessaloniki, National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos confirmed on Monday during a meeting with defence ministry correspondents.
He clarified that these will chiefly be units stationed around Thessaloniki, as well as F16 exhibition plane and possibly other Hellenic Air Force planes.
Responding to recent criticism appearing in the press concerning the high cost of the vehicles used in a parade and whether this was justified in a time of crisis, Avramopoulos replied that the estimated cost of using aircraft was around 35,000 euros "if one took into account that the Armed Forces are in constant training".
He also announced that an offer had been made by the Vardinogiannis group to supply the fuel for the parade, which was accepted, and noted that the entire ministry leadership was in agreement that the military parade should not be 'miserly'.
 Parliament president in Romania on TuesdayParliament president Evangelos Meimarakis will pay an official visit to Romania on Tuesday.
Meimarakis will visit the Greek school "Athina" in Bucharest and afterwards will meet with Patriarch Daniel of All Romania.
On Wednesday, the Greek parliament president will with his Romanian counterpart Valeriu Stefan Zgonea, with the President of the Senate Crin Antonescu and with Government Vice President and Regional Development Minister and Public Administration Liviu Dragnea.
Finally, on Thursday Meimarakis will meet with Romanian President Traian Basescu.
 SYRIZA attacks PM and 'far-right friends'Main opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) press spokesman Panos Skourletis on Monday slammed the so-called 'theory of the two extremes' being propagated by the government, saying that this "targeted the social struggles of the Left." Speaking on the radio station Vima FM, Skourletis warned that this was "a very extreme game of political destabilisation" and a degree of tension and extremism in political life that was unprecedented after the return of democracy in 1974.
In a direct attack on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Skourletis said that he "has led this far-right group, which for a year now has been implementing a strategy, one part of which is to convince public opinion about the so-called 'success story' that hasn't worked and the other to make us forget the failure and collapse of the success story," he said.
Responding, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou dismissed the criticism, saying that SYRIZA had resorted to conspiracy theories after realising that their doomsday predictions were being proved wrong.
"Unfortunately, the ridiculousness of SYRIZA's claims competes with its institutional dangerous irresponsibility," he added.
In a press release earlier, SYRIZA had attacked the prime minister and his "far-right friends" over the so-called "theory of the two extremes," which it claimed was a "spin operation" seeking to cultivate tension and strengthen the government's precarious position by lumping the action of neo-Nazis with the movements and action of the Left.
Among others, it slammed attempts to draw parallels between the arson attack at Marfin Bank in 2010 or the more recent incidents in Skouries with the activities of neo-Nazi groups.
SYRIZA also stressed that it "categorically and unequivocally" condemns phenomena of violence, but that the government had chosen to bank on extreme polarisation in order to divide the Greek people and thus protect itself from the negative repercussions of its own policies.
Referring to the incident in Marfin Bank in May, 2010 - when three people died in a fire set by protestors taking part in anti-austerity demonstrations - SYRIZA stressed that it had asked for those responsible to be found and brought to justice from the first.
 SYRIZA calls for justice to intervene over Hellas Gold ore spillsMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MPs and party members on Monday called for justice to intervene concerning spills during the transportation of possibly dangerous ores being extracted and exported by Hellas Gold, during a press conference in Thessaloniki.
The party questioned whether adequate safety standards and controls were in place and asked that the results be made public of tests carried out after a spill from a truck in Redina and of material found in a warehouse used by the logistics company in charge of transporting the ores.
SYRIZA MP Litsa Ammanatidou-Paschalidou called for official tests to be carried out to determine the contents of Hellas Gold freight, while raising questions about whether the operating licence for the warehouse of the logistics firm transporting Hellas Gold cargo was fully legal and in line with environmental regulations. Other MPs also raised questions about whether the drivers and vehicles met specifications for transporting dangerous and toxic cargo, whether all environmental regulations were being observed and proper precautions taken, and whether Hellas Gold had permission to export the ores across borders.
According to SYRIZA MP Katerina Igglezi, meanwhile, Hellas Gold was not observing the necessary environmental rules in its mining activities in Halkidiki, while other speakers criticised the 'targeting' of the movement opposing the mines, saying this turned all protest movements over anything into targets.
 Interior Ministry turns over new Immigration Code to public deliberationA new Immigration Code collecting various regulations and introducing a five-year residence permit to those "living in Greece for a long time" was presented for public deliberation by Interior Minister Yiannis Mihelakis and Alternate Minister Leonidas Grigorakos during a press conference on Monday.
The ministers said that regulations introduced with the appearance of the first immigration waves in the 90s involved over 20 laws, 6 presidential decrees and 42 regulatory acts, based around what is known as "Pavlopoulos' law" (3386/2005) introduced in 2005.
The main innovation of the law provides a five-year residence permit to legally residing foreign nationals allowing them to work in other EU member-states with their families. This will apply to those who already have residence permits in Greece of a 10-year duration or more.
It will also introduce a central authority to decide on inviting foreign nationals to work in Greece, which will take into account the Greek market's needs. Fast track procedures, for the entry and residence of foreign nationals wishing to promote investments and development will also be introduced, facilitating the issue of residence permits for third-country nationals carrying out investments greater than 100 million euros or real estate purchases with a value no less than 250,000 euros.
In addition, the law will take into account the economic crisis, as "unemployed foreign nationals who have lived in Greece for a long time do not necessarily become illegal residents," Michelakis said.
Children of immigrants, who have successfully attended a minimum of 6 years in a Greek school will be eligible to apply for long-term resident status when they become adults. The six-year precondition included in the new Immigration Code was also a precondition in the so-called "Ragoussis Law" for 2nd and 3rd generation immigrant children wishing to take Greek nationality.
The code was prepared for over a year, Mihelakis said, by specialist academics, judges of the Council of State and public administration officials "who are dealing on a daily basis with the practical applications of the existing regulatory framework; they worked without pay, above and beyond the call of duty, for a year, in order to reach this result".
 DIMAR's leader calls for common front against neo-NazismOpposition Democratic Left (DIMAR) party leader Fotis Kouvelis on Monday urged support for the work of justice and a common front against neo-Nazism, during his address at a party event entitled "Democracy cannot be threatened" organised in light of developments relating to the far-right party Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi).
He also called for a restructuring of the state to enable it to meet its obligations to citizens, financial control and understanding between the democratic forces.
Kouvelis criticised New Democracy and main opposition 'Coalition of the Radical Left' (SYRIZA) for engaging in petty party politics, saying both sides to tone down the 'spin' and the acrimony in the debate between them in order to deal with the greater threat to democracy.
"In ND, they should remember that the tolerance they showed toward the phenomenon of GD and the adoption of a conservative agenda did not work out for them," he pointed out. At the same time, he called on SYRIZA not to "hold back" from the joint democratic effort for fear of undermining its goal of being elected to government.
 KKE's Koutsoumbas pays tribute to EAM, liberation of AthensThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is the country's only political party that studies its history, without covering up mistakes and weaknesses, in order to learn collectively and leave a good legacy for future generations, party leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas said on Monday during a speech delivered on the anniversary of the National Liberation Front (EAM) and the liberation of Athens from the Germans in 1944.
Paying tribute to the "immortal generation of EAM" and the fighters who were executed, tortured and deported, Koutsoumbas emphasized that the study of KKE's history is related to the present and the future of the revolutionary movement.
He added that the Communist Party was the only political force which has the stature to openly address the people and tell them to rethink KKE's positions in the past 20 years on all political, social, economic, domestic and international affairs.
Referring to austerity measures, KKE's leader said that the specific measures are not temporary "because they are the condition for the recovery of the profitability of the capital, and under the conditions of any growth propagandized by the government."
 KKE leader pays tribute to late general Gi?pCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas on Monday signed the book of condolences opened at the Vietnamese embassy in Athens on the death, on October 4, of general V? Nguy?n Gi?p.
"The legendary figure of General Gi?p will continue to inspire us," Koutsoumbas said afterwards.
General Gi?p "always inspired, continues to inspire and will go on inspiring for ever, the communists, the militants, the peoples of the entire world and of our country, our youth because he is the symbol of the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people which, headed by the Communist Party of Vietnam, succeeded in overthrowing the yoke of French imperialism and then that of American imperialism, and build the foundations of socialist society in his country," he added.
 Joint Greece-Kazakhstan committee meeting Tuesday in AthensDeputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas will co-chair the 2nd Summit of the Joint Interministerial Greece-Kazakhstan Committee meeting taking place in Athens on Tuesday with his counterpart Alexey Volkov, a ministry announcement said Monday.
The committee is set up to promote bilateral economic and trade relations, scientific and technological collaboration and tourism between the two countries.
The deputy ministers will sign a protocol of cooperation at 12:15 pm at the Foreign Ministry and make statements to the press. A working luncheon will follow.
 Two defendants in the Fyssas' murder, three Perama assailants held on remandA 32-year-old on Monday became the latest suspect to be remanded in custody over the murder of musician Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini on September 17. The suspect is alleged to have been in the same car as Giorgos Roupakias, the man who confessed to stabbing Fyssas, and was remanded in custody following a unanimous decision by the prosecutor and examining magistrate handling the case.
The defendant is accused of being a direct accomplice to the murder, according to the arrest warrant issued against him.
Referring to the decision, his defence attorney stated that her client's detention pending trial was unfair since there is no evidence proving that he was present during the attack, nor any testimony to that effect.
The 32-year-old's mobile phone and identity card were found in Roupakias' car after Fyssas' murder. According to his testimony, he had left them in the car after meeting with Roupakias to pick up printed matter he was supposed to distribute in the area the next day.
Another defendant accused of participating in the ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) criminal organization case will be remanded in custody following his testimony before the special examining magistrate on corruption.
Athanassios Tzorvas, 36, who had an outstanding arrest warrant issued against him, was charged with being a member of a criminal organization after he turned himself in to the police last week.
According to the case file, the 36-year-old was involved in the Fyssas murder based on phone record evidence and mobile phone tracking information.
Meanwhile, testimonies continue in relation to the attack on Communist Party (KKE) members in Perama by GD members.
Three of the four assailants, who had been identified by the victims of the September 12 attack, were jailed on remand. One of them testified that he is a GD member and, referring to the circumstances of the attack, he alleged that they were not the assailants, saying characteristically that they had been attacked by KKE-affiliated labour organization PAME members.
One of the suspects was released due to a lack of incriminating evidence placing him at the scene of the attack.
 Parents of Roupakias' accomplice face charges after illuminating flares found in bag destined for their sonCriminal proceedings were initiated on Monday against the parents of the alleged accomplice of Giorgos Roupakias, the confessed killer of musician Pavlos Fyssas, after police found and seized two flares hidden in a bag with clothing destined for their son, who is on remand pending his trial.
Roupakias' alleged accomplice is currently being held at the counter-terrorism squad headquarters. He will be transferred to a prison facility on Tuesday.
 Labour Minister in Luxembourg meetingLabour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis is attending the Labour Ministers meeting (EPSCO) in Luxembourg on Monday and Tuesday. The meeting's focus is "The social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union".
 ECB's Asmussen rules out bond roll over to plug financing gapLUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA/ V. Demiris)
European Central Bank (ECB) executive board member Joerg Asmussen on Monday ruled out a roll over of Greek government bonds as a way of plugging an emerging financing gap in 2014, saying this amounted to monetary financing that was forbidden by the rules of the Eurozone and the euro.
He also stressed that it was up to Greek authorities to do what is necessary so that a troika review that was interrupted can be completed,as he arrived for a Eurogroup session in Luxembourg.
Asmussen stressed, however, that it was important to close an estimated 5.0-6.0-billion-euro financing gap expected to arise in the first half of 2014 and said that the Eurogroup would have a first exchange of views on how this might be done, adding that much would depend on the progress that Greece made in privatisations.
 FinMin interview: The financing gap problem will be resolved in two movesThe European Central Bank and the eurozone's central banks are blocking the rollover of the debt maturity on the 19-bln-euro loans to Greece until 2016, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with Naftemporiki newspaper on Monday, of which 10 billion mature within 2014, arguing that the loans constitute financing in currency.
Stournaras said that rolling over the loan maturity dates would resolve Greece's immediate financing problem, in combination with the renewal of the 4.5-bln-euros bonds that have been given to banks, and he quoted the Eurogroup decision of November 2012 calling for a rollover or measures of equal effect.
Negotiations on the financing gap will be held in November and December while the discussion on measures to decrease the debt will open after April 2014.
Asked on whether he has personal political ambitions, Stournaras refrained from giving a direct answer, saying, "I have a lot of work until May-June; after that, everything is open". He also said he feels comfortable in his current position and "never thought of resigning".
The minister ruled out the possibility of a new opening of the social security issue, of the minimun salary, and of a haircut in bank deposits, as well as the possibility the Tax Bureau moving ahead to foreclosures.
 IOBE revises estimates for economic recession this yearThe Greek economy is expected to shrink by 4.1-4.2 pct this year and probably to return to zero in 2014, the Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said on Monday.
In its report on the outlook of the Greek economy, IOBE said that based on recent revisions and projections, the Greek economy would probably see its recession falling to zero next year, although there were still significant uncertainties and pending issues which could lead to either a weaker or better course -on preconditions. The Institute said that the unemployment rate will rise to 27.5 pct this year, from 24.2 pct in 2012, slightly down compared with a previous estimate for an unemployment rate of 28.3 pct. IOBE said the Greek economy was nearing a stabilization point.
"Regardless of technical analysis over the details of forecasts, the twin deficits -fiscal and external balance- are reaching a balancing point, prices are falling, while a six-year recession seems to be nearing its end. This stabilization does not signal only that a catastrophic scenario for the economy has been removed but it has also established a necessary basis for any future improvement".
This adjustment and an implemented fiscal discipline could become a significant factor for restructuring, the report noted.
 Development minister says new National Strategic Reference Programme will have more social actionsDevelopment Minister Costis Hatzidakis, addressiong an event of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EVEP) on the occasion of the conclusion of actions for training unemployed and persons threatened with unemployment in the industrial sectors of Piraeus, in the framework of the National Strategic Reference Programme (ESPA), said that "the new ESPA will have more social actions that will begin immediately. We shall intensify our efforts so that much more money will be given in 2014-2015 to initiatives to restrict social pain as much as we can".
The minister also said that he is committed, firstly, that the reforms will be continued to enable Greece to become extroversive and competitive, for recession to stop and new jobs to be created and that every tool "that we have to relieve society" will be used.
He reiterated his assessment that 2014 can be the first positive year, the year in which we shall see the signs of recovery and added that "our performances regarding the fiscal adjustment are already being hailed internationally and the target of a primary surplus is near".
The minister went on to say that "the structural changes are already beginning to produce results, Greece is ranked steadily among the first positions in all studies on the increase in competitiveness and international investors such as Cosco, Hewlett Packard, ZTE and others are manifesting their interest in practice".
 Shipping minister calls for initiatives for the utilisation of Greek shippingShipping Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis, speaking during the presentation Monday of a report by the international consulting company The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on the issue of the "assessment of the shipping's impact on the Greek economy and society", said that Greek shipping is a longstanding victim of populism.
Varvitsiotis said that while shipowners accepted the doubling of their taxing to help the country in the economic crisis they are being accused of not paying taxes.
The minister said that there must be a coordinated policy on shipping because it is national capital. He called for necessary initiatives to be taken in the framework of international competition to enable this capital to be utilised, adding that there is also considerable social contribution by the Greek shipowners from various initiatives of theirs.
Union of Greek Shipowners president Theodoros Veniamis said at the same event that the shipowners are supporting the Greek economy now in this difficult period of economic crisis.
 Greek shipping makes greatest contribution to the Greek economy after tourism, BCG reportsCamille Egloff-Ghicas, speaking during the presentation of an exhibition by the international consulting company The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on the theme of "The evaluation of the repercussion of shipping on the Greek Economy and Society", stressed that Greek shipping makes the greatest contribution to the Greek economy after tourism.
BCG's head in Greece Vassilis Antoniadis said that "the results of the investigation prove that shipping, already having a considerable contribution to the Greek GDP, can be a main lever for growth, in the midst of a major economic crisis, supporting the Greek economy in liquidity, employment, contribution to GDP and investments in shipping as well as in many other sectors of the economy, like in the past. The founding of shipyards and refineries, air carriers and big investments in hotel complexes have already constituted indicative examples since the '60s."
Egloff-Ghika, the head of shipping studies for southeastern Europe, said that "shipping constitutes one of the sectors where Greece has a global competitive advantage. We can say indicatively that the average operational cost of the Greek-owned fleet is 23 percent more competitive than the global average.
She also said that shipping has 200,000 jobs, or 4.5 percent of employment in Greece, and are positions with a high added value since they contribute 7 percent of GDP.
 Commission adopts list of 250 key energy projectsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
The European Commission on Monday adopted a list of some 250 key energy infrastructure project, known as "projects of common interest" (PCI) which will benefit from accelerated licensing procedures and improved regulatory conditions and may have access to financial support from the Connecting Europe Facility, under which a 5.85 billion-euro budget that has been allocated to trans-European energy infrastructure for the period 2014-20.
The European Commission, in a statement said that this will help them get implemented faster and make them more attractive to investors. Once completed, the projects will help Member States to integrate their energy markets, enable them to diversify their energy sources and help bring an end to the energy isolation of some Member States. They will also enable the grid to uptake increasing amounts of renewables, and consequently help reduce CO2 emissions.
Energy Commissioner G?nther Oettinger said: "We have to make sure that our limited funds are used wisely and that EU money goes where it can create most benefits to European consumers. With this list of energy infrastructure projects and their accompanying benefits, we also hope to attract more investors."
The list includes up to 140 projects in the field of electricity transmission and storage, about 100 projects in the field of gas transmission, storage and LNG, and several oil and smart grids projects. The projects will benefit from a number of advantages:
accelerated planning and permit granting procedures (binding three-and-a-half-years' time limit)
a single national competent authority will act as a one-stop-shop for permit granting procedures
less administrative costs for the project promoters and authorities due to a more streamlined environmental assessment procedure, whilst respecting the requirements of Union law
increased transparency and improved public participation
increased visibility and attractiveness for investors thanks to an enhanced regulatory framework where costs are allocated to the countries that benefit most from a completed project
possibility to receive financial support under the Connecting
Europe Facility. This will play a key role in leveraging the necessary private and public funding, and possible financing can come in as early as 2014.
For a project to be included in the list, it had to have significant benefits for at least two Member States; contribute to market integration and further competition; enhance security of supply, and reduce CO2 emissions.
The Commission will monitor closely the implementation of the permit granting measures and the construction of the projects. Finally, the list of PCIs will be updated every two years with the aim to integrate newly needed projects and remove obsolete ones.
The European Commisssion selected the folowing eight projects:
The electric power link between Greece-Bulgaria (Eastern Maritsa-Nea Santa)
The link between Israel-Cyprus-Greece (Hadera, Israel-Attica)
The hydroelectric plant in Amfilohia, western Greece
The link between Komotini-Stara Zagora (natural gas)
-The LNG (natural gas) storage plants in Alexandroupoli and Kavala
-Interventions in the existing pipelines on the Greek-Bulgarian borders between Koula-Sidirokastro
-Interventions in the plants at Kipi, as well as the pipeline between Greece and Italy (ITGI)
-The undersea natural gas pipeline between Israel-Cyprus-Greece via Crete
 Cooperative banks enter recapitalisation process, per union presidentCooperative banks will be recapitalised in two phases, according to Nikos Myrtakis, president of the Union of Cooperative Banks of Greece (ESTE), speaking to ANA-MPA on Monday.
The first phase will include six banks, which will adjust to the index of capital adequacy limit as set by relevant supervisory authorities. The rest of the banks will follow in phase two, and will aim to further strengthen the index and help their operations grow.
Following their recapitalisation, expected to be completed by November, they will be restructured in terms of strengthening their role, adapting to new conditions, and improving management. Changes include improving competitiveness and operational procedures and bringing all banks under a common platform, allowing customers access to a network of all the cooperative banks.
The banks made it through the crisis, Myrtakis said, and the careful planning of their recapitalisation and restructuring will prepare them to contribute to the economy by providing liquidity to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Currently there are 163 cooperative banks, including Panhellenic Bank, in Greece, with 192,942 members. According to the most recent data, as of June 31 account deposits totalled 2.97 billion euros, bank loans totalled 3.3 billion euros and assets were over 3.61 billion euros.
 Greek banks cut dependence from ECB, ELA mechanisms in Sept.Greek banks cut their total dependence from the European Central Bank and Bank of Greece lending mechanisms in September. A Bank of Greece report said that the Greek credit institutions' dependence from the two mechanisms fell to 72.78 billion euros in September from 74.13 billion euros in August.
More analytically, lending through the Bank of Greece's Emergency Lending Assistance mechanism totaled 8.96 billion euros in September, from 11.7 billion in August, while lending through ECB rose to 63.82 billion euros from 62.43 billion euros. The central bank said that this development reflected a continuing deleveraging of banks and further decline in new loans.
 ND and PASOK debts to IKA gradually being paid off, per Labour ministerNew Democracy and PASOK debts to the Social Security Fund (IKA) were published on Friday at the Parliament's site, following a request by Independent Greeks deputies Gavriil Avramidis and Yiannis Dimaras related to parties' finances.
From data compiled up to June 28, and sent in July to Parliament by Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, it appears that ND owed at the time 256,061 euros and PASOK 109,415 euros. These amounts, determined by a scheduled check, covered the wage period from February 1 to April 30, 2013 and include basic insurance funds and related fees.
Earlier debts relating to December 2012 and January-February 2013 (including the Christmas 2012 bonus) by both parties were paid off by mid-May 2013: ND paid 506,247 euros on May 15 and PASOK paid 310.775 euros on May 17. The amounts were paid through the main IKA branch in Syntagma Square, which handles insurance issues for the parties' main offices.
In their request, the two opposition deputies had requested of Vroutsis to inform them of possible suspension of payments to IKA by the two ruling parties, especially as the current IKA manager is a former general manager of PASOK party.
"The current picture, especially the financial one, of the formerly mighty large parties, completely agrees with the financial situation they led the country to," the two deputies charged, adding that both parties appear to be deeply in debt to banks, making it very hard to meet their obligations.
 Heating oil expected to range between 1.25 and 1.30 euros per litreHeating oil prices are expected to range between 1.25 and 1.3 euros per litre, when the winter season opens on Tuesday, according to current international prices and equivalencies.
Vendor sources however said that consumer interest in purchasing heating oil was minimal, and they attributed this to high prices, fair weather so far and the fact that the Finance Ministry has not finalised details of subsidies to home owners for this season.
The Special Consumer Tax on heating oil last year rose from 60 euros to 330 euros per 1,000 litres, to bring it up to par with the equivalent tax on diesel oil and discourage black marketeering. Diesel oil prices increased by 4 percent, but the increase in heating oil led to a 70 percent drop in consumption.
The government gave a subsidy in the 2012-2013 winter period of 0.28 euros per litre to families and individuals qualifying on the basis of income and assets, and set a maximum consumption level based on the area and prevailing weather conditions, as well as the total surface area (square metres) of a main home.
 Greeks spending less on heating/cooling, according to survey unveiled b y WWF GreeceUp to 80 percent of Greeks have been forced to reduce their spending on heating and cooling their homes, according to a survey carried out by Public Issue on behalf of WWF Greece last June. The environmental group partially unveiled its findings on Monday, while introducing its 'Better Life' participatory initiative seeking to involve the public in efforts to improve daily life during the crisis.
On the state of the environment in Greece, 53 percent of those responding to the survey described this as 'bad or very bad', while three in 10 consider air pollution from cars and heating, including fireplaces, to be the most important environmental problem. Also high on people's agenda were the lack of cleanliness in public places, indifference by people and the state to the environment and a lack of green spaces.
According to WWF Greece general director Dimitris Karavellas, in statements to the ANA-MPA, the results of the survey reflected the severe impact of the economic crisis on people's daily lives, with the overwhelming majority forced to cut down on the cost of living by restricting spending on the basics, including food, clothes, travel, electricity and heating.
The survey also revealed that eight in 10 Greeks have voluntarily offered to some social cause over the last year, while six in 10 say they are willing to participate in actions that offer assistance to children, vulnerable social groups, actions to protect the environment and improving quality of life in the city.
Through the "Better Life" initiative, the environmental organisation seeks to improve people's daily lives by offering practical advice and solutions for major issues, such as heating, as well as opportunities for solidarity, mobilisation and participation via the interactive website - www.kalyterizoi.gr. The website has 2,500 registered users so far and each week invites people to actively contribute ideas and advice. At the same time, every two months it will open a file providing information and taking action on issues of concern to the general public.
 Assets under management up 12.39 pct in SeptemberAssets under management in Greece totalled 10.98 billion euros at the end of September, up from 9.77 billion euros in June 28, 2013, for an increase of 12.39 pct, official figures showed on Monday.
A report by the Union of Institutional Investors said this increase basically reflected the inclusion of EDEK to its group of members.
In the mutual funds market, assets under management fell 2.7 pct at the end of the nine-month period to 5.814 billion euros. The market recorded capital outflows totalling 740 million euros in the third quarter of the year, reflecting high outflows from the subcategories of composite mutual funds and international bond funds.
Greek bond funds recorded the highest returns (25.45 pct), followed by Greek equity funds (18.51 pct), international equity funds (14.49 pct) and US equity funds (13.85 pct).
 Greek import price index down 4.4 pct in Aug.Greece's import price index in the industrial sector fell 4.4 pct in August, compared with the same month last year, after a 6.9 pct increase recorded in August 2012, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.
In a report, the statistics service attributed this development in the so-called imported inflation to a 0.6 pct decline in the eurozone import price index and an 8.0 pct drop in the import price from other countries.
The index was down 0.1 pct in August from July, after an 1.6 pct increase recorded in the same period last year.
 Life insurance premium production up 5.5 pct in Aug.Premium production of life insurance contracts grew 5.5 pct in August this year, for the first time since July 2012, official figures showed on Monday.
A report by the Union of Insurance Companies of Greece said that premium production of life insurance contracts grew 18.7 pct to 1,046,739,480 euros in the January-August period.
 Greek products highlighted at 'Gouts and Terroirs' gastronomy salon in SwitzerlandGreece will be the honoured country at the "Gouts and Terroirs" gastronomy salon organised by Fribourg canton at the city of Bulle in Switzerland from November 27 to December 1.
Local entities and businessmen of Greek descent active in the gastronomy sector have undertaken the cost of setting up the 250-sqm pavillion to promote the Greek products and cuisine.
Olive oil from Crete, Mytilini and Kalamata, saffron from Kozani and wine from northern Greek wineries will be presented at the Greek pavillion.
Businesses interested in this or future events should get in touch with the Foreign Ministry's Business Development Directorate (Mr. Petropoulos, tel. 210 368 2764) or directly with Switzerland, Elias Margonis (tel. 0041 788 758 270) and Fotis Stalikas (tel. 0041 792 126991).
 Greek stocks end 0.92 pct higherGreek stocks resumed their upward trend in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, following Friday's correction, helped by strong investment interest in blue chip stocks such as OTE, National Bank and Piraeus Bank. The composite index of the market rose 0.92 pct to end at 1,119.36 points, off the day's highs of 1,120.91 points. Turnover remained a strong 160.29 million euros, boosted by the transaction of several significant package of shares.
The Large Cap index rose 1.09 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.56 pct higher. OTE (4.14 pct), National Bank (3.91 pct), Piraeus Bank (3.45 pct), Frigoglass (2.50 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Jumbo (3.01 pct), Hellenic Exchanges (2.31 pct), Alpha Bank (1.74 pct) and Folli Follie (1.62 pct) were top losers.
The Telecoms (4.14 pct), Technology (2.22 pct) and Banks (2.15 pct) sectors were top gainers, while Personal Products (2.74 pct), Commerce (1.59 pct) and Financial Services (1.56 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 75 to 64 with another 19 issues unchanged. Varvaresos (19.39 pct), Spider (19.23 pct) and Hellenic Fish Farms (17.19 pct) were top gainers, while Sidma (19.02 pct), Alpha Grisin (18.89 pct) and AEGEK (14.13 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -0.96%
Personal & Household: -2.74%
Raw Materials: +1.77%
Travel & Leisure: -0.20%
Food & Beverages: +1.52%
Financial Services: -1.56%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OTE, Piraeus Bank, OLP, National Bank and Motor Oil.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.622
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.93
Coca Cola HBC: 20.61
Hellenic Petroleum: 9.05
National Bank of Greece: 3.72
Eurobank Properties : 7.76
Piraeus Bank: 1.50
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained below 7.0 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, to 6.99 pct from 6.96 pct on Friday. The Greek bond yielding 8.85 pct and the German Bund 1.86 pct. Turnover was a thin 6.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month rate was 0.53 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.44 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.225 pct and the one-month rate was 0.129 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe October contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.55 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday, with turnover rising to 30.798 million euros.
Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 13,634 contracts worth 25.413 million euros, with 51,201 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 15,728 contracts worth 5.385 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank's contracts (5,149), followed by National Bank (2,575), Piraeus Bank (2,377), MIG (890), OTE (1,526), PPC (894), Mytilineos (495), Motor Oil (216), GEK (143), Ellaktor (125), Hellenic Petroleum (117) and Eurobank (116).
 Foreign Exchange rates - TuesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.376
Pound sterling 0.861
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 8.930
Japanese yen 135.19
Swiss franc 1.251
Norwegian kroner 8.254
Canadian dollar 1.425
Australian dollar 1.452
 Operation underway in Cape Tenaro to rescue boat with 75 illegal immigrants aboardAn operation was underway late Monday evening to rescue 75 illegal immigrants, who were located on a boat sailing south of Cape Tenaro, south Peloponnese.
The vessel was being towed to Kalamata by an Italian tag boat, escorted by a Greek Coast Guard boat. It was expected to arrive in Kalamata port around midnight.
Meanwhile, National Defence Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos ordered the General Staffs in the region to provide any assistance to the immigrants, including food, bedclothes, etc.
 Justices Council orders release of two jailed for Hellas Gold arson attackA Misdemeanours' Court Justices Council in the northern Greek town of Polygyros, Halkidiki on Monday order the release of two of the four Halkidiki residents jailed on remand in connection with an arson attack targeting the Hellas Gold worksite near the village of Skouries earlier this year. The two had been incarcerated in the Diavates court prisons since last April.
Considering their case after six months in custody, the judges' council ordered their release until trial but forbid them to leave the country and ordered them to report regularly to the local police station where they live.
Two more individuals remanded in custody during the summer over the same incident have also applied for their release from temporary custody.
A total of 20 people face criminal charges in connection with the attack on the Hellas Gold installation, including that of forming a criminal organisation, while seven have testified so far. The case refers to violent protests against gold mining operations on the peninsula, which are strongly opposed by sections of the local population, especially those in coastal villages relying mainly on tourism.
 Round table event at European Parliament on return of Parthenon MarblesA round-table discussion on "The Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles: A European Concern" will be held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, organised by Greek Eurodeputy Rodi Kratsa.
Speakers will include professor Dusan Sidjanski, chairman of the Swiss Committee for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles, and representatives of national committees from Great Britain, Sweden and Belgium, as well as from academia and cultural institutes.
Culture Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, European Commis-sioner for Culture Androulla Vassiliou and Acropolis Museum Bernard Tschumi will also address the meeting.
The event will take place from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm local time, at the European Parliament Room P4B001 (PHS).
 International Science Fiction festival in AthensThe 7th International Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival organised by the Caid-Societas, Scientia et Ars centre will be held at the Cervantes Institute, the Greek Film Archive and the Caid multiplex in Athens from October 24 to November 1.
The festival's aim is to promote to the public and specialists alike the interaction between science and science fiction, as it is expressed in different arts.
Eighty-eight films from twenty countries will be screened at the festival, 26 of which will compete for five awards, best film, innovation and technology, art, science communication and audience.
A series of events will be held within the festival's framework on the issue "Science and Science Fiction", an experimental concert by the Modern Music Research Centre and short films by International Science Fiction & Fantasy Film Festival of Athens (SFF-rated Athens).
Entrance to all events will be free to public.
 Greek university rectors in Brussels on ThursdayA delegation of Greek universities' rectors will go on Thursday to Brussels to present to the Europarliament "the problems Greek universities are facing after recent developments in the field of higher education and after the implementation of the reserve labour scheme in universities' staff", an announcement said on Monday.
 Fugitive Maziotis identified as one of the culprits in a bank robbery last JulyFugitive Nikos Maziotis, wanted by authorities for his participation in the "Revolutionary Struggle" terrorist group, was identified by the counter-terrorism squad as one of the two suspects in an armed robbery last July that targeted the National Bank of Greece branch in Methana, Trizinia in southern Greece, it was announced on Monday.
The culprits had made off with 108,359 euros and 2,000 AUD.
Police gave to publicity 15 photos from the robbery with Maziotis appearing in nine of them.
Maziotis was sentenced to 50 years in prison and fined him 2,000 euros by an Athens' Criminal Court for his participation in the "Revolutionary Struggle" terrorist group.
 Serbian candidates in Kosovo municipal elections visit Mt. Athos monasterySerbian candidates of the Citizens' Initiative Srpska (CI Srpska), who will run in the forthcoming local administration elections in 10 municipalities in Kosovo, and Serbian government minister without portfolio Aleksandar Vulin, responsible for Kosovo, visited the Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Hilandar in the monastic community of Mount Athos, Halkidiki Peninsula, in northern Greece on Sunday.
The Serbian delegation was welcomed by Hilandar Abbot Methodios.
 Generally overcast on TuesdayGenerally overcast, with limited visibility on the mainland in the early morning hours and intermittent rain in the western part of the country, from Macedonia to Thessaly. Fair weather over the Aegean Islands and Crete, with variable winds from 3 to 5 Beaufort. Temperatures from 13C in the north (19C at the Aegean) to 29C. In Athens, generally fair, with variable winds 2 to 4 Beaufort. Temperatures from 17C to 28C. In Thessaloniki, foggy in the morning and slightly overcast throughout the day, with rain possible in the evening. Variable winds 2 to 4 Beaufort, with temperatures ranging from 19C to 24C.
 The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceEFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Maximos Mansion (government's headquarters) sets up scenery of abnormality.
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: Public Health to Task Force.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: One million women one step before pension.
ESTIA: The taxes society is not creative.
ETHNOS: The way to the central left.
NAFTEMPORIKI: The gap problem will be solved in two moves.
TA NEA: Manifesto for a Central-Left.
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