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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-06-12

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

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

Thursday, 12 June 2014 Issue No: 4680

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras to focus on accelarating government's work and attracting foreign investments
  • [02] PM Samaras contacts SETE president on high prices on some Greek islands
  • [03] BoG recommends Yannis Stournaras as new governor
  • [04] Venizelos: Our aim to strengthen the relations between Europe and the Arab World
  • [05] Third EU-Arab League ministerial meeting in Athens ends with joint declaration
  • [06] Venizelos, Palestinian foreign minister hold talks in Athens, agree on October ministers' meeting
  • [07] Foreign Minister Venizelos has succession of meetings with visiting Arab state foreign ministers
  • [08] FM Venizelos to meet with Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Thursday
  • [09] FM Venizelos condemns the seizure of the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul
  • [10] Italian FM: Greek EU presidency put Mediterranean at the centre of European foreign policy
  • [11] Former FinMin Stournaras spoke of efforts to reduce Greece's "liquidity constraint"
  • [12] German FinMin Schaeuble assures that "Greece has fulfilled its obligations"
  • [13] Gov't spokeperson: IMF lives in its own economic world
  • [14] Main opposition SYRIZA predicts new cuts in wages and pensions by the Samaras gov't
  • [15] Gov't spokeswoman Voultepsi: 'SYRIZA conducting a misinformation campaign'
  • [16] Independent Greeks party says 'Costas Simitis is here and ND brought him'
  • [17] KKE on the changes in government cabinet and BoG
  • [18] KKE leader expresses solidarity for struggle of former public broadcaster ERT employees
  • [19] Justice ministry bill to suspend perks and privileges of MPs facing criminal proceedings
  • [20] GD MEPs visit party leader Mihaloliakos in Korydallos Prison
  • [21] Athens to host two European conferences on research, innovation and development
  • [22] Tourism Minister addresses Food Expo Eridanous exhibition organised by Lidl
  • [23] SETE confident that 19 million tourists will visit Greece in 2014
  • [24] Greece to join single European power market as of 2015, LAGIE head tells forum
  • [25] Athens Exchange on roadshow in New York
  • [26] Increase in funds for Greece's fishery sector
  • [27] Kleeman Hellas optimistic over 2014 results
  • [28] Vivechrom reports improved results
  • [29] Jumbo Group says 11-month sales rise more than estimates
  • [30] Termination fees of calls to landlines to decrease by 83 pct by end-2014
  • [31] Greek stocks fall on profit taking selling
  • [32] Greek bond market closing report
  • [33] ADEX closing report
  • [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday
  • [35] National Defence ministry agreement with si-Cluster on aerospace engineering
  • [36] Journalists unions hold protests marking one year since ERT shutdown
  • [37] WABBA bodybuilding championship in Nafplio on June 14-15
  • [38] Moderate quake southeast of Karpathos island
  • [39] Rainy on Thursday
  • [40] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras to focus on accelarating government's work and attracting foreign investments

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to have a series of meetings over the coming week that are mainly focused on attracting foreign investments and further improvement of Greece's image abroad in terms of the political climate and its economy, the premier's office said in announcement of Samaras' schedule on Wednesday.

    These meeting will kick off on Thursday when Samaras is to meet the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah.

    On Monday, he will meet with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev who is paying a two-day visit to Greece. Energy issues will dominate the agenda of their talks, while two major agreements on the TAP pipeline and the National Natural Gas System Operator (DESFA) have been reached. Next Tuesday, Samaras is to travel to Portugal to address a working group meeting of the European People's Party. He will meet with his counterpart Pedro Coelho in Lisbon. The event will also be attended by the head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the candidate for European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Finland's premier Jyrki Katainen.

    China's Prime Minister Li Keqiang is expected on Thursday in Athens for a three-day official visit. Beijing has already proceeded with a series of investments in Greece and is particularly interested in new investments in transport. According to sources, the Chinese premier and Samaras will visit Crete, as there is intense interest for the new Herakleion airport in Kasteli.

    [02] PM Samaras contacts SETE president on high prices on some Greek islands

    Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Wednesday contacted Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) president Andreas Andreadis regarding the fact that prices are reported to have risen in a number of Greek islands that are considered as popular tourist destinations.

    Samaras told Andreadis that tourism is doing well and that it should be safeguarded and maintained at high levels both during the current year and for the years to come.

    The premier asked for the necessary inspections to be conducted in order to prevent high prices in the Greek islands.

    [03] BoG recommends Yannis Stournaras as new governor

    The General Council of the Bank of Greece (BoG) in its meeting on Wednesday, ahead of the expiry of the current BoG governor's term in office on June 19, made a unanimous decision to recommend that the government appoint former finance minister Yannis Stournaras as a replacement for George Provopoulos at the helm of the bank, pursuant to article 29 of the bank's founding charter.

    Shortly after the bank's general council decision and in an emotionally charged atmosphere, warmly applauded outgoing governor Provopoulos unveiled two reports drawn up under the bank's supervision focusing on the bank's history and the chronicle of the recent crisis. Provopoulos also underlined that Yannis Stournaras is the best possible choice for the post of the BoG governor.

    Referring to the two studies, Provopoulos underlined the bank's contribution to protecting fiscal stability and to a restructuring of the banking sector, which he said can be clearly seen based on the outcome.

    As a result of the bank's efforts and the support provided by the eurosystem through the adoption of crucial decisions, the banks were able to operate smoothly even in times of general uncertainty, Provopoulos said. This way an all-out crisis in the banking sector was prevented, as well as, the direct impact it could have on the country's course in or out of the eurozone, he noted, adding that the banking system despite the major damages it suffered, handled its problems effectively and was restructured on stable foundations under the active guidance of the BoG as the supervising authority.

    Soon after the BoG General Council decision was announced, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras thanked the outgoing BoG governor for his services, noting that he "contributed in a decisive way both to the stability of the banking system and to the recapitalisation of the Greek banks in the most difficult period for our country since WWII".

    On his part, government vice-president and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, one of the two partners in the coalition government, also referred to Provopoulos' "important contribution" to meeting goals, such as, the banks' recapitalisation and the protection of the country's banking system, noting that he exercised his duties "with great success in the toughest period of the past 40 years".

    The announcement was strongly criticised by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), however, which said the "arranged placement" of Yannis Stournaras at the held of the central bank was a "provocative action that does not take into account the political correlations and the need for consultation for such an important position". According to SYRIZA, the government lacked the political legitimacy to take such crucial decisions without the consent of the main opposition, nor to think that the next government was bound by such a decision.

    [04] Venizelos: Our aim to strengthen the relations between Europe and the Arab World

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday said that "Our aim is to strenghten the ties between Europe and the Arab world, which is a fundamental strategic partner for the European policy, particularly for the European policy of the so-called South Neighbourhood" on his arrival at the EU Ministerial meeting with country members of the Arab League.

    The meeting is held within the context of the Greek EU Presidency at the Zappeion Mansion in Athens.

    [05] Third EU-Arab League ministerial meeting in Athens ends with joint declaration

    The strengthening of the European Union's relations with Arab countries was at the center of talks at a meeting of EU foreign ministers with their counterparts from the League of Arab States (LAS) held on Wednesday in Athens' Zappeion Building in the context of the Greek EU Presidency.

    High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton described the meeting as "very successful", while government vice-president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos underlined that the Arab League is a strategic partner of the EU, noting that the common goal is "security, peace and prosperity."

    Secretary General of the League of Arab States Dr Nabil Elaraby said that the message of the Third Ministerial Meeting between the EU and LAS is the will for cooperation in order "to help each other".

    Morocco's Foreign Minister and LAS chair Salaheddine Mezouar underlined that the willingness for cooperation was renewed.

    The joint declaration adopted by the participants underlined the need for cooperation to face terrorism and both parties reiterated their efforts to establish the Middle East as "a zone free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction".

    The ministers welcomed the strengthening of relations between the European Parliament and Arab Parliament, the cooperation on translation and digitisation of heritage, cooperation in the protection of human rights, as well as the right to economic and social development, freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief and also the promotion of the values of tolerance and coexistence.

    They recognized the significant contribution of women as "a major force for change and development", the important role of civil society and free media, the need to reinforce institutional cooperation between business communities, trade unions and chambers of commerce, the importance of cooperation in the sector of energy and cooperation on climate change and environment, as well as the need to recover funds and assets that were misappropriated.

    As regards the Middle East issue, they reiterated that "a just, comprehensive peace is a strategic objective for stability and international peace," called for the removal of all obstacles in the UN-brokered peace talks, and underlined that they will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders. They welcomed the formation of the new Palestinian government, expressed concern about the grave humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, agreed on the need "to support the Palestinian state-building both politically and financially", and underlined that all agreements between the EU and Israel must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

    They underlined the "unprecedented effect of the Syrian refugee crisis on Lebanon's stability and on its economy and social cohesion", encouraged the settlement of regional conflicts between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, the democratisation process in Libya, the importance of maintaining unity in Yemen and the need for peace in Sudan, and also expressed concern about recent events in Mali and underlined their respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

    [06] Venizelos, Palestinian foreign minister hold talks in Athens, agree on October ministers' meeting

    The situation in the Middle East and the peace process, as well as future bilateral cooperation, were the focus of talks between Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his Palestinian Authority counterpart Riyad Al-Malki on the sidelines of an EU-Arab League Ministeral Meeting held in Athens on Wednesday.

    Venizelos offered his congratulations for the formation of a new Palestinian 'national unity' government "determined to move within the framework of the principles of the Quartet".

    "It is only through these principles that we can reach a viable, mutually acceptable two-state solution in the Middle East," he said.

    Venizelos stressed the need for a comprehensive strategic approach, noting that the problems and crises that have arisen in the region are interlinked. The two sides also agreed to convene a Joint Interministerial Committee in early October, saying that this will put "fresh emphasis on all the issues, but mainly on issues of trade and economic cooperation between the two sides."

    Al-Malki said their talks had revealed a "common outlook on many issues that require urgent solutions, like the Palestinian issue" and stressed the ties of support and friendship between Palestine and Greece.

    He expressed appreciation for Greece's efforts during its stint in the EU presidency, expressing certainty that the two countries can work to gether to resolve the issues and accelerate talks, "giving the opportunity for the founding of the independent Palestinian state and for our contributing, all together, to stability in the Middle East and throughout the world."

    [07] Foreign Minister Venizelos has succession of meetings with visiting Arab state foreign ministers

    Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Wednesday had a succession of meetings with visiting Arab state foreign ministers, who are in Athens for the EU-Arab League ministers' council.

    On the sidelines of the council, Venizelos received his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil for talks focusing mainly on political, economic and energy cooperation issues. They also examined developments in Iraq and Syria, while Venizelos underlined Greece's support for the unity and territorial integrity of Lebanon and for closer EU-Lebanese ties.

    During a meeting with interim Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi at the Zappion building, meanwhile, Hamdi invited Venizelos to participate in a forum taking place in Tunisia on September 7-9 on designing a Marshall Plan-style aid package for the region. They also discussed the organisational preparatory work for a conference in Athens where the business communities of Greece and Tunisia can meet and explore opportunities for development and investment in Tunisia.

    Meeting his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra, Venizelos praised Algeria's stabilising role in the region and said that he had accepted an invitation to visit the country in October, at the head of a Greek business delegation, in order to promote bilateral cooperation in the economic and financial sectors.

    [08] FM Venizelos to meet with Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Thursday

    Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday will meet with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

    The meeting, according to a Foreign ministry announcement, will take place at 12.00 at the Foreign ministry.

    Their one-on-one meeting will be followed by talks between the two countries' delegations, while around 13.00 Venizelos and Sheikh Al-Hamad Al-Sabah will sign bilateral cooperation agreements.

    The two officials will give a joint press conference at 13.15. Venizelos will then host a working luncheon in honour of his Kuwaiti counterpart and at 15.00 they will inaugurate the new premises of the Kuwaiti Embassy in Athens.

    [09] FM Venizelos condemns the seizure of the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul

    In response to the capturing of the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul by fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and their violent attacks to various cities in the last few days, the Government Vice-President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos issued the following statement on Wednesday:

    "The wave of violence and destabilization that has fallen upon the friend country of Iraq is a cause for great concern.

    We condemn in the most unequivocal manner the seizure of the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul and wish for the rapid release of the hostages and the immediate termination of all violent activities which aim to undermine the security, stability and prosperity of the Iraqi people.".

    [10] Italian FM: Greek EU presidency put Mediterranean at the centre of European foreign policy

    The forthcoming Italian presidency of the EU - which will immediately succeed the current Greek presidency - "will be a challenge," Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to ANA-MPA following the completion of the third EU-Arab League foreign affairs ministerial meeting in Athens, Mogherini noted, that "We worked together [with her Greek counterparts] very well during the months of the Greek presidency, once again placing the Mediterranean at the centre of European foreign policy."

    The 41-year-old Italian foreign minister explained that Italy intends to continue working in the same direction, with an emphasis "mainly on the direction of settling crises, of attention to the 'after-crisis' phase, because what both Libya and Iraq teach us is that there is a problem that goes beyond military interventions, rendering more important what happens afterwards".

    Mogherini concluded, that "possibly also Syria teaches us that some conflicts can be avoided, as someone could see beforehand that the situation was explosive".

    "Consequently, we take up the baton [of the Presidency], trying to do our best on the issues of preventing conflicts, managing the 'after-crisis' phase and stabilising the countries, in view also of the management of immigration issues," stressed Mogherini.

    [11] Former FinMin Stournaras spoke of efforts to reduce Greece's "liquidity constraint"

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)

    Greece's former Finance Minister and proposed Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras stressed that certain corrections in economic policy are only to be expected and referred to the country's fiscal successes, to the sacrifices of the Greek people and to the reforms that, as he said, will be continued in the direction of improving labour conditions and income, increasing GDP and the liberalization of the markets.

    "Greece made great sacrifices in the past years, but is beginning to produce results", Stournaras said and made a reference to the reduction of the available income by 30 percent as well as to the six-year recession from which, as he said, it appears that we are exiting since we shall return to growth.

    He stressed, however, that there is a serious limitation, liquidity, and said that the measures that the European Central Bank (ECB) took last week are in the right direction, particularly those that have to do with increasing bank liquidity so as to enable them to extend loans to enterprises.

    "In Greece even very good enterprises are finding it hard to access liquidity, even for exporting purposes. This is, therefore, a limitation that we are trying to lift, either through the European Investment Bank or through a new institution named Institute for Growth and in which the German KfW bank also participates", Stournaras said.

    Speaking of his experience at Eurogroup over the past two years, the former Finance minister thanked Schaeuble for his support and "his undivided help in crucial moments".

    Thanks to this support and mainly to the sacrifices of the Greek people "we were able to turn the ship on a growth and prosperity course", he added and, replying to a question concerning the debt's course, explained that the causes of its increase have been eliminated since the deficits were turned into surpluses.

    [12] German FinMin Schaeuble assures that "Greece has fulfilled its obligations"

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)

    The German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble commented on Wednesday from Berlin that "Greece has fulfilled its obligations... we are in the right path", in reference to the possibility that Greece might need a new round of funding when the current one expires.

    Schaeuble was speaking during a cultural event dedicated to Greece which was also attended by the former Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who noted that it is too early to discern whether or not Greece will need additional funding after 2015, adding that "there are ways to cover any potential financing gap".

    The German Finance Minister expressed great respect towards the efforts of the Greek people and the successes of Greece, "which has done a terrific job" and has achieved more than originally forecast.

    Schaeuble noted that he does not know his new Greek counterpart - Gikas Hardouvelis - and that he looks forward to meeting him soon, in the framework of a good cooperation.

    [13] Gov't spokeperson: IMF lives in its own economic world

    Newly appointed government spokeperson Sofia Voultepsi on Wednesday told private TV ANT1 that "infomation is a sacred issue and I will serve it the way I have had all these years".

    Asked about the troika of Greece' lenders, Voultepsi said that "the IMF has it own way to express itself, it lives in its own economic world. It has no jurisdiction to interfere in Court rulings. We do not do whatever troika says" she opined.

    Regarding the one-year anniversary from the closure of former National Broadcaster ERT, she said that "We have been through ERT issue before. My opinion is known. The public television is operating and will become better'.

    [14] Main opposition SYRIZA predicts new cuts in wages and pensions by the Samaras gov't

    The main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party issued a statement on Wednesday commenting on the government reshuffle and the findings of the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on Greece, noting that "Mr. Samaras, instead of 'tearing up' the memoranda [memorandum: bailout agreement], is preparing to sign new ones".

    Based on a report appearing in "Avgi" newspaper's Wednesday edition claiming that a letter was sent to the IMF by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in which he pledges to impose new austerity measures if necessary, SYRIZA stresses "that the only thing on which this government remains steadfast, irrespective of changes in faces and cabinets, is to keep taking new additional measures in the context of updating the memoranda."

    According to SYRIZA, the fiscal and financial gap up to 2017 that the IMF forecasts in its latest report on Greece, will be covered by new cuts in wages and pensions, the abolition of all impediments to collective dismissals, along with continued privatisations.

    [15] Gov't spokeswoman Voultepsi: 'SYRIZA conducting a misinformation campaign'

    In response to a damnatory announcement issued by main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA on Wednesday, government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi accused SYRIZA of "conducting a misinformation campaign and spreading false news".

    "Regrettably, for the orchestrator of lies, today's 'revelation' by Avgi newspaper [a letter to the IMF sent by PM Samaras, committing himself to new austerity measures, if these prove necessary] is dated 15th of April 2014 and regards the decision to distribute the 'social dividend' - or a portion of the 2013 primary budget surplus - to poorer citizens.

    Voultepsi said, that the people are aware the government remains focused on its target, which is none other than a final exit from the crisis and the bailout memoranda.

    [16] Independent Greeks party says 'Costas Simitis is here and ND brought him'

    The Independent Greeks party, in an announcement on Wednesday concerning news that Yannis Stournaras was unanimously recommended for the post of Bank of Greece governor, stressed the view that "[former Greek premier with the PASOK party] Costas Simitis is here and New Democracy brought him."

    Independent Greeks spokesman Terrence Quick said in a statement that "Simitis at the finance ministry, Simitis at the Bank of Greece. Costas Simitis is here, together with his policy and PASOK. New Democracy brought him again".

    Referring to the question of the country's "memorandum commitments", Quick noted that the finance ministry claims, on the one hand, that new measures are not necessary and government ministers talk about an exit from the memorandum, while the prime minister, on on the other hand, is secretly signing more written promises to the lenders to strictly observe the terms of bailout agreements and take as many additional austerity measures as are judged necessary.

    Lastly, referring to the first anniversary since the closure of the state broadcaster ERT last year, the spokesman spoke of a "black anniversary".

    [17] KKE on the changes in government cabinet and BoG

    Opposition Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Wednesday commented on the changes in the government cabinet and the Bank of Greece (BoG) leadership.

    Despite the attempts of the government staff to convince us about the contrary, it is certain that the changes in the cabinet and the central bank do not signal a change of policy in favour of the people, KKE underlined, noting that the anti-popular path will continue affecting incomes, social insurance and labour rights, while giving new privileges to capital holders as suggested by the IMF report and the standing EU bailout agreements.

    [18] KKE leader expresses solidarity for struggle of former public broadcaster ERT employees

    Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee Secretary General Dimitris Koutsoumbas, addressing a rally organised by federations and employees of the media sector on the first anniversary of the closure of the former public broadcaster ERT in front of the building in the Athens suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, said that "a year after ERT's closure by the then coalition government of ND-PASOK-DIMAR, we are here as we did from the first moment to express our solidarity, support the struggle of ERT employees and the struggle of all employees of the public and private sector for their right to permanent and stable work against the antipopular policies of the government, the EU and of the big capital."

    Koutsoumbas added that "ERT's closure and the laying off of its thousands of employees was the most resounding example of an antipopular barbaric policy that crushes working class income, privatises or closes down public enterprises, lays off employees, abolishes social insurance and other labour rights for one target only: To strengthen the monopoly groups."

    [19] Justice ministry bill to suspend perks and privileges of MPs facing criminal proceedings

    A draft justice ministry bill tabled in Parliament on Wednesday will immediately suspend the perks and privileges enjoyed by MPs in Parliament when they are irrevocably indicted to stand trial on criminal charges and for certain categories of misdemeanours. Such privileges will then be permanently removed in the case of a final conviction.

    The categories of misdemeanour offences for which the measure applies will include charges of theft, fraud, embezzlement, forgery, false certification, perjury, filing a frivolous lawsuit (based on false claims), breach of faith, bribery, dereliction of duty, slander, drug offences, illegal trade and gambling.

    The measure includes such privileges such as free phones or postal services, free tickets, office costs or a Parliament car but not the MP's salary.

    [20] GD MEPs visit party leader Mihaloliakos in Korydallos Prison

    Ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) leader Nikos Mihaloliakos on Wednesday received visits in jail - where he is held pending trial on charges that the party is a criminal organisation - by his party's three MEPs Eleftherios Synadinos, Lambros Fountoulis and Georgios Epitidios.

    Exiting Korydallos Prison, Synadinos spoke about "blatant violation of the parliamentary system in Greece and violations of the Constitution," describing it as a "shame" that he had just visited a parliamentary party leader in prison.

    On his part, Fountoulis said that they briefed the GD leader on issues pertaining to their election in the European Parliament, adding that they will publicise on a European and international level the fact that their leader "is in custody based on unfounded charges and not being allowed to exercise his duties in the Hellenic Parliament".

    GD MEP Epitidios noted that the GD leader and MPs, currently in custody, are held for "clearly political reasons," adding that it is "a shame for a civilised society".

    Financial News

    [21] Athens to host two European conferences on research, innovation and development

    Two European conferences will take place in Athens on Thursday and Friday as part of the Greek EU presidency with focus on the promotion of research, innovation and development.

    The Help-Forward Network (Diktyo Praxi) in cooperation with the General Secretariat for Research and Technology as well as the EU' Directorate General for Research and Innovation organizes a conference entitled "Access to Funding for Research, Innovation and Development."

    The aim of the conference is to offer information for the funding tools of the EU programme "Horizon 2020", which facilitates access to funding for research, innovation and development.

    During the conference, to be held at the Intercontinental hotel, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund will sign two agreements to mark the launch of two significant European funding tools, aimed at supporting European innovative enterprises.

    Furthermore, the National Documentation Centre and the European Commission in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Research and Technology organize the "Week of Innovative Regions in Europe -WIRE 2014", considered to be the most important European forum for regional strategies regarding innovation and development.

    The conference, which will take place at Aegli of Zappeion Mansion, is being held for the fifth consecutive year. Its participants include European Commission, OECD and World Bank officials, managers of structural funds and development programmes, local administration organizations, researchers and entrepreneurs.

    [22] Tourism Minister addresses Food Expo Eridanous exhibition organised by Lidl

    Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni on Wednesday addressed the first Greek goods exhibition organised by the discount supermarket chain Lidl - the "Food Expo Eridanous" - which will run until June 13 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens.

    Kefalogianni stressed that the ministry's target is the promotion of Greek goods in foreign markets, to enhance tourism and attract even larger number of tourists, who will choose Greek destinations to spend their holidays based on unique Greek products. In addition, the minister underlined that Lidl Hellas' Greek products exhibition focuses on the above-mentioned framework set by the ministry, as Greek products will be promoted in foreign markets through the company's stores abroad.

    "Food Expo Eridanous" targets executives and managerial staff from 26 European countries where Lidl operates its network of approximately 10,000 stores. Lidl focuses on promoting Greek products, while it cooperates with more than 1,500 Greek producers, while promoting Greek products worth more than 800 million euros annually.

    Lidl focuses on making Greek products known to Europeans and further enhancing Greece's economy and exports.

    [23] SETE confident that 19 million tourists will visit Greece in 2014

    According to the latest data available on tourism inflows in Greece for the current year, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on Wednesday said it remained confident that by end-2014 the total number of international arrivals will meet a target of 19 million.

    The association announced on Wednesday that during the first five months of 2014 international arrivals increased by half a million people or by 20.4 pct, compared to the same period of 2013. Notwithstanding some isolated exceptions, the mean average price per room has also increased, although only marginally.

    Athens saw a 30.4 pct increase in the number of tourists it welcomed during May 2014, with total arrivals increasing by 34.4 pct for the first five months of 2014, allowing SETE to remain hopeful its forecast of 750,000 more tourists in Athens during the current year will be verified.

    During the last three months, the association conducted a targeted publicity campaign for Athens - through "Marketing Greece" - in key tourism markets, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, greater Europe and the USA, with the Greek capital being covered positively by reports in the major media.

    [24] Greece to join single European power market as of 2015, LAGIE head tells forum

    Greece, along with Italy, Slovenia and France is to join the single European electricity market as of the beginning of 2015, president and CEO of electricity market operator (LAGIE) Anastasios Garis told the "8th South-East Europe Energy Dialogue," which opened on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

    "When you have a single market, you can operate your (power) generation plants at the least cost," Garis said.

    The head of Public Power Corporation's (PPC) regulation framework and foreign markets Pavlos Baxevanis told the same event that PPC can help create a sustainable electricity market in Southeast Europe, adding that the region's power market should be reformed as it requires a higher level of integration.

    The forum is being organised by the Institute of Energy for SE Europe (IENE), under the auspices of the Greek EU Presidency and with the support of leading international and regional organizations.

    [25] Athens Exchange on roadshow in New York

    Greece today presents investment opportunities, in the framework of significant improvements in its macroeconomic indicators and the return of its economy in growth mode.

    That was the comment to CNBC of the president of the Athens Exchange Sokratis Lazaridis, who spoke from New York on Wednesday on the occassion of a roadshow of the Greek capital market. Lazaridis noted that investors express trust in the future of the Greek economy, stressing that the Greek stock exchange helped raise the third largest cumulative funding capital for its listed companies during 2013, on a European level.

    The Athens Exchange roadshow includes representatives from 25 listed companies, who are scheduled to meet with over 100 fund managers.

    [26] Increase in funds for Greece's fishery sector

    Funds destined for the fishing sector in Greece are recording a considerable increase for the period 2014-2020, compared to the corresponding funding in the 2007-2013 period.

    According to proposals presented by EU commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki, Greece will be receiving 388 million euros from the relevant fund, compared to 207 million in 2007-2013.

    The funds are to be used for fisheries as well as projects for upgrading coastal and insular regions of the country in general.

    [27] Kleeman Hellas optimistic over 2014 results

    Kleeman Hellas is optimistic for 2014 and plans to launch the operation of its first logistics center in Istanbul, along with the opening of two new sales offices abroad.

    Constantinos Koukountzos, chief executive of the Greek-listed company, addressing a general shareholders' meeting in Kilkis, said that a new sales office in Saudi Arabia - which opened in late 2013 - was expected to have a significant contribution to Group's results in the next few years, as Kleemann exports accounted for 82 pct of sales.

    The Turkish market is the second largest after Russia, and its subsidiary in Turkey had an annual turnover of 17 million euros in 2013. The company also seeks to expand to China, where a production unit has been established.

    The shareholders' meeting approved a board plan for a share capital increase scheme and a cash return to shareholders worth 2.6 million euros, combined with a reduction of the company's share price.

    [28] Vivechrom reports improved results

    Vivechrom, a member of AkzoNobel Group, plans to further strengthen its position in the Greek market, Ioakim Provatas, chief executive of the company said on Wednesday.

    Speaking to reporters, Provatas said that Vivechrom's strategy plans to further enhance its position in the domestic market, significantly raising profitability and minimizing borrowing.

    The company aims to continue offering high-quality and innovative products to consumers and offering a stable labour environment to its workers. Vivechrom reported a 4.1 pct increase in sales in 2013, during a very difficult year for the Greek market. The company managed to boost its exports to Cyprus, Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania, raising exports by 68 pct in 2013, while sales were up 12.1 pct in volume and 5.1 pct in value in the first five months of 2014.

    Vivechrom said it raised its workforce by 4.0 pct to 211 workers last year.

    [29] Jumbo Group says 11-month sales rise more than estimates

    Jumbo Group on Wednesday said its sales growth rate in the 11-month period from July 2013 to May 2014 was unchanged at its six-month levels, but surpassed this year's estimates.

    The company said its sales grew at around 7.0 pct in the 11-month period, almost unchanged from a 7.23 pct growth rate recorded in the first half of the year, surpassing this year's estimate for a growth rate of 4.0-6.0 pct. Sales in Cyprus and Bulgaria continued rising at a double-digit rates in April and May, while sales in Greece grew slightly.

    [30] Termination fees of calls to landlines to decrease by 83 pct by end-2014

    The termination fees of phone calls to landlines will gradually decrease by up to 83 pct by end-2014, down to 0.0735 euros/minute.

    This is what the Hellenic Telecommunications and Posts Commission (EEET) announced on Wednesday, stressing that it expects this price decrease will benefit the final consumer, who is expected to now be offered new combined economical phone plans in landline and cellular networks, which will charge a smaller retail price for calls to all networks.

    EEET said, that the decrease of termination fees will continue through the years 2015, 2016 and 2017. The regulatory interventions of the Commission have already led to a 91 pct decrease in the termination fees for phone calls to landlines since 2006, when this type of calls used to cost a pricey 0.804 euros/minute.

    [31] Greek stocks fall on profit taking selling

    Greek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday, as investors took profits after a four-day rally in the market that had pushed the composite index of the market 7.15 pct higher. Bank shares were at the focus of selling activity. The composite index fell 1.18 pct to end at 1,307.26 points, after falling as much as 2.86 pct during the day. Turnover remained a strong 266.60 million euros.

    The Large Cap index fell 1.28 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.33 pct lower. Eurobank Properties (2.86 pct), OPAP (2.16 pct), GEK Terna (2.06 pct) and Eurobank (1.38 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (6.25 pct), Viohalco (3.46 pct), Athens Water (2.89 pct) and Intralot (2.84 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    The Media (3.57 pct), Travel (1.58 pct) and Real Estate (1.12 pct) sectors scored big gains, while Banks (2.69 pct), Technology (2.40 pct) and Raw Materials (1.81 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 77 to 55 with another 21 issues unchanged. Boutaris (13.64 pct), Forthnet (13.22 pct) and Varvaresos (11.89 pct) were top gainers, while Athina (20 pct), Sidma (19.42 pct) and Dionic (19.23 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -2.69%

    Insurance: -0.71%

    Financial Services: -0.93%

    Industrial Products: -0.60%

    Commercial: +0.23%

    Real Estate: +1.12%

    Personal & Household: -0.04%

    Food & Beverages: -0.30%

    Raw Materials: -2.18%

    Construction: -0.21%

    Oil: -1.81%

    Chemicals: +0.61%

    Media: +3.57%

    Travel & Leisure: +1.58%

    Technology: -2.40%

    Telecoms: -0.99%

    Utilities: -1.19%

    Health: -0.51%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Piraeus Bank, OTE and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.73

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 12.05

    Coca Cola HBC: 17.25

    Hellenic Petroleum: 5.91

    National Bank of Greece: 2.78

    Eurobank Properties : 9.35

    OPAP: 13.27

    OTE: 11.99

    Piraeus Bank: 1.80

    Titan: 26.68

    [32] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 4.19 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Wednesday, from 4.15 pct on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 5.58 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.39 pct. Turnover was a huge 108 million euros, of which 87 million euros were sell orders and the remaining 21 million euros were buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.525 pct from 0.528 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.433 pct from 0.437 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.348 pct from 0.353 pct, the three-month rate fell to 0.258 pct from 0.263 pct and the one-month rate eased to 0.179 pct from 0.18 pct.

    [33] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading around its fair value in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday, with turnover rising to 49.76 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 15,098 contracts worth 31.658 million euros, with 64,002 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 51,210 contracts worth 18.102 million euros, with investment interest focusing on GEK Terna's contracts (11,884), followed by Alpha Bank (4,711), National Bank (10,933), Piraeus Bank (4,577), Eurobank (9,773), MIG (1,088), OTE (2,069), PPC (1,211), OPAP (945), Titan (372), Mytilineos (329), Hellenic Petroleum (414), Athens Water (116), Metka (143), Ellaktor (102), Eurobank Properties (138) and Terna Energy (1,695).

    [34] Foreign Exchange rates - Thursday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.354

    Pound sterling 0.807

    Danish kroner 7.461

    Swedish kroner 9.046

    Japanese yen 138.19

    Swiss franc 1.217

    Norwegian kroner 8.108

    Canadian dollar 1.474

    Australian dollar 1.441

    General News

    [35] National Defence ministry agreement with si-Cluster on aerospace engineering

    National Defence ministry and Hellenic Space Technologies and Applications Cluster (si-Cluster) on Wednesday finalized a cooperation agreement during an event that took place in Athens.

    The agreement reflects efforts initiated one year ago, and targeted to the creation of a technical exchange on know-how between specialized ministry officials and the executives of 30 enterprises, universities and research institutes from which si-Cluster is composed of.

    Its target is to enhance aerospace engineering in Greece and develop technologies and applications which will attract an even larger research and entrepreneurial activity and innovation.

    The project includes three research programmes: ACRITAS which is related with borders security, MENELAOS that completes an inertial navigation system and CIDCIP that creates innovative algorithms that compress data.

    Dr. Jorge A. Sanchez, Dr. Athanasios Potsis and Lieutenant Colonel George Kanterakis, as well as professor Vasileios Makios and Colonel Georgios Delis stressed that the agreement sets a unique cooperation framework which promotes a new culture, whose results will be positive for the country.

    Hellenic Space Technologies and Applications Cluster (si-Cluster) is an emerging, industrially-led and user-driven innovation cluster in Greece, with a strong geographical concentration in the region of Attica and a sizeable potential to compete worldwide in the challenging and fast-growing sector of space technologies and applications.

    The agreement is co-funded by both national funds and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the 2007-2013 National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)

    [36] Journalists unions hold protests marking one year since ERT shutdown

    Various journalists and press unions on Wednesday organised protests and rallies marking the first anniversary since the Greek state broadcaster ERT was shut down, one year ago.

    The employees gathered outside the offices of Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) at noon, which alongside other mass-media employee unions proceeded with a four-hour work stoppage, while at 13:00 the protesters participated in a march heading from Klafthmonos Square to the finance ministry, where laid-off finance ministry cleaners were still gathered to protest at the ministry's refusal to rehire them, in spite of court decisions in their favour.

    In an announcement, ESIEA stressed that June 11 was "not a landmark day" for the public good of news access but "a black day of disgrace for democracy and the news media in Greece."

    Political leaders and local authorities representatives are expected to address a protest scheduled for 19:00 outside the former ERT headquarters.

    [37] WABBA bodybuilding championship in Nafplio on June 14-15

    The city of Nafplio in southern Greece will host the WABBA Bodybuilding & Fitness World Championship 2014 on June 14-15.

    The event will be held at the Nafplio Arena under the aegis of the local municipality.

    Roughly 300 amateur athletes from 20 countries have registered to participate.

    [38] Moderate quake southeast of Karpathos island

    A moderate earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale was recorded on Wednesday at 6.53 in the sea region 130km southeast of the island of Karpathos and 547 km southeast of Athens.

    Weather forecast

    [39] Rainy on Thursday

    Rainy weather and northerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Thursday. Winds 3-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 15C and 32C. Fair in Athens with northerly 4-7 beaufort winds and temperatures between 20C and 30C. Local showers in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 18C and 31C.

    [40] The Wednesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: Samaras (Antonis, Prime Minister) puts his signature for additional austerity measures.

    DIMOKRATIA: Continuous hell.

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: IMF's (International Monetary Fund) dynamite.

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: IMF has not changed.

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: One out of two under the pass-mark in university entry exams' Greek language test.

    ESTIA: Now government's aim is to complete its four-year tenure.

    ETHNOS: Drop of university entry pass-marks in two scientific fields.

    IMERISSIA: Government's 3 huge targets.

    KATHIMERINI: Government of two speeds and two messages.

    LOGOS: Swearing-in under IMF's shadow.

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Economy's adjustment with new 'social face'.

    RIZOSPASTIS: The antipopular policies will continue as long as the people do not rise up.

    TA NEA: University entry exams 2014: Overcrowding in the 'medium-ranked schools'.

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