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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 14-12-15

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

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

Monday, 15 December 2014 Issue No: 4836

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Samaras asks all MPs to vote in favour of a new President of the Republic
  • [02] FM Venizelos confident current Parliament shall manage to elect a new President
  • [03] PASOK leader Venizelos cautions party executives to be alert for the eventuality of early elections
  • [04] New Democracy party secretary says agreement with PASOK to end in case of general elections
  • [05] EU Commissioner Moscovici suggests Greece should stay the reforms course in order to continue to receive support
  • [06] FM Venizelos participates in the EU Foreign Affairs and General Affairs Council
  • [07] SYRIZA's Tsipras says Greeks can already welcome a "Happy New Year" with his party in power
  • [08] President of Republic election is carried out in a climate of blackmail and fear, SYRIZA MP Dragasakis says
  • [09] "Independent Greeks" leader Kammenos says his party won't vote in favour of a new President
  • [10] Communist Party secretary general sees general elections coming, says the party won't vote for President
  • [11] Greece needs new consensus, 'To Potami' party leader says
  • [12] "Potami" party leader in favour of electing a new President from the current Parliament
  • [13] Moody's warns premature elections in Greece would constitute a "credit negative event"
  • [14] Two opinion polls show SYRIZA's lead over New Democracy diminishes
  • [15] Defence Minister Dendias calls on the army to help flooded areas in Evros
  • [16] Low possibility of systemic threat to eurozone, but vigilance needed, BoG governor Stournaras says
  • [17] G4S Secure Solutions SA to carry out the tender for the supply of electronic bracelets
  • [18] Eight persons detained for intruding into the Education ministry courtyard and causing damage
  • [19] Stores to open on the last Sunday of the year, ESEE head says
  • [20] Super League results
  • [21] Scattered clouds on Monday
  • [22] The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Samaras asks all MPs to vote in favour of a new President of the Republic

    In an article with "Real News" newspaper, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sent a message to all MPs to set aside the "clouds of political uncertainty and instability" by voting in favour of a new President of the Republic during the imminent three consecutive votes scheduled to take place in Parliament by the end of the month.

    Failure of the Parliament to elect a new President would, according to the Greek Constitution, automatically lead to general elections, for the formation of a new Parliament which would then vote another three times for a new President.

    PM Samaras blamed main opposition SYRIZA party that its stance and rhetoric is causing fear in the markets. "There is uneasiness and it's justified, SYRIZA is causing it" wrote Samaras, who added that "Democracy has the weapons to neutralize this climate of fear".

    The Premier sees Greece exiting the crisis and ready to forge an agreement with Greece's bailout creditors regarding the day after the country's financing programme will end. In his view, SYRIZA pursues to block this course. Samaras concluded, that "The only thing left to do is to [...] elect a President of the Republic. It is a national duty and a genuine redemption".

    [02] FM Venizelos confident current Parliament shall manage to elect a new President

    In a political rally on Saturday at Kastoria, western Macedonia, the Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos - also the leader of junior coalition government partner PASOK party - blamed main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party for "cultivating a climate of political uncertainty, which led to the prolongation of negotiations with partners and creditors".

    Venizelos appeared confident the current Parliament shall manage to elect a new President of the Republic - thus, averting premature general elections - but was also quick to note that PASOK is not afraid of elections if it comes to them and stands ready.

    He also noted that he, personally, will act as the guarantor of unity within PASOK party, as long as others keep a responsible stance. Venizelos warned, that the sacrifices of the last five years could be lost in a matter of only five days.

    For him, the country must choose between the completion of negotiations with Greece's bailout creditors' representatives - known as the troika - or "fall again in the Memorandum".

    [03] PASOK leader Venizelos cautions party executives to be alert for the eventuality of early elections

    During a meeting on Saturday with about 80 party executives at the western Macedonia city of Kastoria, the Government Vice President, Foreign Minister and junior coalition government partner PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos commented that "All is hanging by a thread, which is the will of Greek people and, if cut, could lead the country to absolute disaster".

    Venizelos explained the reasons why the government decided to hasten the election of a new President of the Republic by the Parliament. In all cases, he cautioned party executives to be alert for the eventuality of premature elections, should the current Parliament prove unable to elect a new President.

    [04] New Democracy party secretary says agreement with PASOK to end in case of general elections

    In an interview with newspaper "Agora" (Market), the senior coalition government partner New Democracy party secretary Andreas Papamimikos said that his party ought not to be identified with junior coalition government partner PASOK party.

    Interestingly, Papamimikos suggested that in case the country resorts to general elections - due to a possible inability of the current Parliament to elect a new President of the Republic - "our agreement with PASOK is [should be] over". Nevertheless, he appears confident the current Parliament will manage to elect Stavros Dimas as the new President, the presidential candidate of the incumbent coalition government.

    [05] EU Commissioner Moscovici suggests Greece should stay the reforms course in order to continue to receive support

    In an interview with the newspaper "Proto Thema" only a few hours prior to a visit in Athens, EU Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici acknowledged that Europe has supported and will continue to support Greece in the framework of the country meeting its commitments towards fiscal responsibility, as well as developing and reinforcing reforms. "That is the message I intend to convey in my meetings with the country's authorities", he said.

    Moscovici added, that "The European Commission, in the last few weeks, has begun intensive discussions with the Greek authorities, the IMF and the ECB. [...] The Commission's approach has been steadfast but constructive. Open, but also resolute.".

    The commissioner said that the EU Commission's target was to complete the current assessment of Greece as soon as is possible, with a reliable, balanced bundle of reforms and tax measures, "so as to contribute to the reinforcement of the economic recovery in Greece and intensify the creation of jobs".

    [06] FM Venizelos participates in the EU Foreign Affairs and General Affairs Council

    Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is in Brussels to participate in the in the EU Foreign Affairs and General Affairs Council (FAC/GAC) on December 15-16, according to a ministry's announcement.

    On Sunday, Venizelos participated in an informal Meeting convened by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on the margins of the FAC to discuss developments in Syria, with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in attendance. A working dinner with the External Relations Commissioners is scheduled to follow, at which there will be an exchange of views on the strengthening of coordination between the Council and the Commission regarding external relations issues.

    On Monday morning, at about 08:00, Venizelos will take part in a meeting of the Friends of Ukraine group.

    The agenda for the FAC, which will take place on Monday, December 15, includes developments in Iraq and the situation in Syria (conclusions will be adopted), in the shadow of ISIS actions. During the working luncheon, there will be a discussion of developments in Libya and the prospects for a ceasefire and dialogue within the framework of the efforts of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative, Bernadino Leon.

    There will then be a discussion of the security situation in Ukraine - ahead of the EU High Representative's visit to Kiev - and of developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, on which subject conclusions will be adopted.

    On December 16, Venizelos will participate in the GAC, during which Conclusions will be adopted regarding Enlargement and the Stability and Association Process. The GAC will also look at preparations for the European Council of 18 and 19 December 2014, the main subject of which will be the European Investment Plan, in implementation of Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's initiative for bolstering investments and growth.

    Finally, the GAC agenda includes strengthening of the inter-institutional annual and multiannual legislative programming, the makeup of the Committee of the Regions, the interim revision of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the roadmap for the Latvian Presidency's European Semester 2015 and the discussion regarding the implementation of the European Council's strategic agenda.

    SYRIZA's Tsipras reckons end is nearing for the coalition gov't, calling PM Samaras "a Premier of chaos"; gov't spokeswoman quick to strike back

    In a public speech offered on Saturday at Heraklion, Crete island, the leader of main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras called Prime Minister Antonis Samaras a "Premier of chaos", underlining that "the countdown for the coalition government and the policies of destruction has already begun", in reference to the imminent successive votes in the Greek Parliament for the election of a new President of the Republic which could lead to general elections.

    For Tsipras, "the time for the great Democratic party of the Left [meaning SYRIZA] has come". He appeared hopeful, that "a new page is turning for the homeland".

    In a more aggressive tone, he noted that "the cores of domestic interlacing interests and of international usury [sic.] are terrorizing and bark, but in vain, as their political time is over". SYRIZA leader described the hastening of the procedure for the election of a new President of the Republic as a "convulsion before the end" of the coalition government. Moreover, he talked about "Samaras exit", in response to being accused of dragging Greece to a potential "Grexit".

    According to Tsipras, SYRIZA's platform for a way out of the crisis "costs 12 bln euros and we have located its financing sources". He warned that Greeks are "tough" and that "Greeks cannot be blackmailed or terrorized easily. They, instead, become stubborn".

    The government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi was quick to respond to Tsipras on Saturday, that "the only architect of chaos in this country is Mr Tsipras and the only convulsion there exists, is the one he, himself, promises: The convulsion before the end of European Greece [Greece in Europe]".

    Voultepsi made a reference to the rise of Greek bond spreads, the tumbling of stock prices in the Athens Exchange and warnings issued by credit ratings agencies as regards the political developments in Greece [SYRIZA is seen by many as leading the polls] in making fun of the "toughness" Tsipras talked about. She said it was "unbelievable statements" made by him and his party's "components", which practically provoke the markets to attack Greece. She concluded that "...the only pursuit of Mr Tsipras is to lead the country to insolvency".

    [07] SYRIZA's Tsipras says Greeks can already welcome a "Happy New Year" with his party in power

    Escalating the tone of his rhetoric, the leader of main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras accused on Sunday the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of being "afraid of losing power", charging him with openly calling MPs who are not sympathetic to the coalition government to nevertheless "defect" and vote in favour of a new President of the Republic.

    Addressing SYRIZA supporters at Larissa, central Greece, Tsipras was highly critical of the content of an article by PM Samaras in a Sunday newspaper. SYRIZA leader commented that the people already are in command of the political developments, saying that the MPs - who will vote in three successive Parliament votes for a new President, in a fortnight - are called to either "accept the new labour regime of absolute barbarity, or send the country to general elections of deliverance and redemption".

    He also invited any political parties and personalities "who wish to put an end to demolition", to align with SYRIZA's efforts. "We reach out to every Greek, irrespective of the political party they supported up until yesterday", said Tsipras, who defended his party's platform as realistic, feasible, fiscally balanced and unattached to the course and duration of future negotiations with Greece's bailout creditors.

    Inter alia, Tsipras described PM Samaras as a "propagandist of his country's insolvency", while noting that "the word fear is mentioned 15 times in one article, that's how much he is afraid", in commenting on the Premier's Sunday article.

    He also said, that Greeks can already welcome a "Happy New Year" with a government by the people, policies for the people, power in the name of the people, with SYRIZA at the core of the new government and a driving force of the "great change".

    [08] President of Republic election is carried out in a climate of blackmail and fear, SYRIZA MP Dragasakis says

    Parliament Vice-President and SYRIZA deputy Yiannis Dragasakis on Sunday said that the election of a President of Republic is carried out in a climate of blackmail, fear and doomsday rhetoric.

    The political conditions to find the 180 deputies needed for the election of a President do not exist, Dragasakis said during a party conference in the Peloponnese, adding that "in the same way they imposed the memoranda, they made deputies vote for them without having read them, in the same way they will elect a President of Republic."

    Dragasakis estimated that the government will not meet its target and the country will go to elections and that is why SYRIZA is trying to convert its programme into concrete plans of governmental and social action.

    "We want to govern together with the people. We want to find a way so that people participate in the decisions as well as the monitoring of the decisions, because things are difficult and there are no easy solutions," he underlined.

    Dragasakis also stressed that the situation is reversible and it's time we paved the way for recovery.

    [09] "Independent Greeks" leader Kammenos says his party won't vote in favour of a new President

    In an interview with TV channel "Skai" on Saturday, the leader of Independent Greeks (ANEL) party Panos Kammenos said that his party does not intend to vote in favour of a new President of the Republic during the imminent three consecutive votes in the Greek Parliament scheduled to have finished by the end of the month.

    According to Kammenos "...We won't vote for a President of the Republic in any of the three votes, that should be clear, it's finished".

    ANEL leader grasped the opportunity to verbally attack Premier Antonis Samaras, saying that "Mr Samaras cannot negotiate with anyone, because he has signed that he will execute the orders, having given up our homeland".

    Kammenos suggested that a "government of national unity" ought to be formed after the elections, which have not yet been called by PM Samaras (in the event of Parliament's inability to elect a new President).

    [10] Communist Party secretary general sees general elections coming, says the party won't vote for President

    In a speech at the city of Chania, Crete island on Saturday evening, the secretary general of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoubas called on the Greek people to intervene in the latest political developments, through reinforcing his party.

    Koutsoubas voiced his assessment, that the current Parliament as it stands shall not manage to elect a new President of the Republic. "That's what we see, up to now. We need to wait and see.", he added.

    He also called on the citizens not to be caged in the "pre-arranged" conflict between senior government coalition partner New Democracy party and main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party, as well as not to submit to bourgeoisie and monopoly interests, which are foreign to them and the popular interest.

    Koutsoubas expects the measures commanded by the bailout memorandum to continue to be applied, irrespective of whether New Democracy or SYRIZA will be in power. He accused both parties of giving up on some of their promises to the Greek people, such as the restitution of 14 - instead of currently 12 - pensions and wages a year.

    The secretary general of KKE reiterated that his party will not vote in favour of any candidate for new President of the Republic, as the party is highly critical of this institution for having solely an executive role in the political system, without any room for maneuvers in the spirit of protecting the people's interests.

    [11] Greece needs new consensus, 'To Potami' party leader says

    Greece needs new consensus, "To Potami" party leader Stavros Theodorakis on Sunday said during his two-day tour on Crete, adding that people want coalition governments.

    Theodorakis estimated that February will be the most critical month of the crisis.

    After stressing the need for new consensus, he argued that "as Samaras was unable to negotiate. So would be Tsipras and so would be Theodorakis. A successful negotiation with Europe, he said, could be achieved only by one, the Greek, that is someone who would go there and say I have an alliance of 51 percent, and I ask for that."

    [12] "Potami" party leader in favour of electing a new President from the current Parliament

    The leader of "Potami" party Stavros Theodorakis suggested on Saturday that the current Parliament should come to agreement to elect a new President of the Republic and, in return for averting immediate general elections, the coalition government should commit itself to calling general elections at a later point in time during 2015, after the end of the summer season. Potami party is not represented in the Parliament, as it is a new political formation. In its premiere political appearance during the latest European Parliament elections, it managed to amass 6,60% of the votes in Greece and elect two MEPs.

    In Theodorakis' view, as PM Antonis Samaras could not solve the country's problems and Government Vice President, Foreign Minister and PASOK party leader Evangelos Venizelos could not solve his party's internal problems, the election of a new President of the Republic was brought forward in time.

    [13] Moody's warns premature elections in Greece would constitute a "credit negative event"

    In a note published on Friday, credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service warned that in case Greece was obliged to call early general elections due to an inability of the Parliament to elect a new President of the Republic in three scheduled successive votes by the end of the month, this would be considered a "credit negative event".

    If called, premature elections in Greece would be viewed by Moody's as jeopardizing negotiations with Greece's bailout creditors' representatives - known as the "troika" - as regards Greece's financing needs after the current programme ends shortly.

    Moody's said that the latest political developments in the country limit investor trust and increase liquidity and financing risks for Greece.

    [14] Two opinion polls show SYRIZA's lead over New Democracy diminishes

    Opinion polls conducted separately by Alco and Kapa Research companies on behalf of "Proto Thema" and the Sunday edition of "Vima" newspapers respectively, showed that the distance separating the incumbent coalition government's senior partner New Democracy party and main opposition Radical Left Coalition SYRIZA party is diminishing. SYRIZA continues to lead New Democracy in the opinion polls, as the political battle for electing a new President of the Republic from the current Parliament - thus, averting early general elections - rages.

    Specifically, Kapa Research found that SYRIZA's lead over New Democracy now stands at 2.8 percentage points, from 3.6 percentage points last month. SYRIZA gets 25.5 pct of voting intentions, New Democracy (senior coalition gov't partner) 22.8 pct, PASOK (junior coalition gov't partner) 6.7 pct, Potami party 6 pct, Golden Dawn 5.9 pct, Communist Party 5.8 pct and Independent Greeks (ANEL) 2.7. Democratic Left (DIMAR) appears to have suffered catastrophic vote losses, to the point of disappearing from the voting intentions map. In the same poll, 57.8 pct of those asked, required the election of a new President by the current Parliament, while a hefty 59.1 pct thinks the danger of Greece exiting the euro-zone has not been averted.

    In Alco's opinion poll, SYRIZA appears to be leading New Democracy by 3.6 percentage points (27.6 pct over 24.0 pct, respectively), with Golden Dawn getting third spot with 5.6 pct of voting intentions, followed by PASOK with 5.0 pct, Communist Party 4.4 pct, Potami party 4.1 pct and Independent Greeks (ANEL) 2.9 pct..

    [15] Defence Minister Dendias calls on the army to help flooded areas in Evros

    Defence Minister Nikos Dendias on Sunday ordered the Greek Army to help people in the Evros region with all possible means.

    The General Secretariat for Civil Protection has declared a state of emergency in several areas of Evros in northeastern Greece, due to extensive flooding caused by the collapse of levees and controlled high-flow releases to reduce the volume of water in the Evros River.

    Financial News

    [16] Low possibility of systemic threat to eurozone, but vigilance needed, BoG governor Stournaras says

    The elimination of the fragmentation of financial markets will contribute to the easing of the tight credit standards in the member states of the periphery, allowing banks to finance investments, Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras said on Sunday speaking to the international conference "2014 Multinational Finance Society Winter Conference" entitled "Global Financial and Economic Crisis: Challenges and Prospects."

    The financing of business investments is currently of utmost importance for economic development both in the euro area as a whole and in the countries of the periphery, which have been particularly affected by the deep and prolonged recession, he added.

    "Today we observe that, despite occasional turbulence in financial markets, the systemic tensions have abated. And this is due to concerted actions taken. However, this does not justify complacency. The search for higher yields in an environment of very low interest rates, the growing use of leverage in the non-bank financial sector, the persistent pressure on the profitability of banks in conditions of weak and uneven macroeconomic recovery, the recurrence of concerns about the sustainability of public debt in an environment of low growth rate of nominal GDP growth, the reluctance to implement reforms and indications that some investors may underestimate the probability of losses and volatility in the coming period, these are all issues of major concern," Stournaras underlined.

    The possibility of a systemic threat to the eurozone right now is low, but increased vigilance is needed, the Bank of Greece governor noted.

    Despite the progress achieved since the start of the financial crisis, challenges and risks still exist, Stournaras noted, citing the slow rates of the economic recovery. The GDP growth rate at a global level is expected to be relatively low in 2014 for the third consecutive year. Moreover, the recovery in the EU is weak and fragile, with low GDP growth and persistently high levels of unemployment, as European leaders pointed out in October, he noted.

    In addition, he estimated that political and geopolitical risks will continue to negatively affect the further course of recovery.

    However, he underlined the efforts made to improve the institutional framework and enhancing productivity in the eurozone have also created favorable conditions for a sustainable recovery.

    [17] G4S Secure Solutions SA to carry out the tender for the supply of electronic bracelets

    According to the decision no. 613/2014 of the Administrative Court of Appeal of Athens, the company "G4S Secure Solutions SA" will carry out the international tender for the supply of the electronic surveillance system (electronic bracelet) of 250 prisoners and detainees, amounting to 1,000,000 euros.

    General News

    [18] Eight persons detained for intruding into the Education ministry courtyard and causing damage

    Eight persons were detained on Sunday outside the Education ministry after unknown individuals intruded into the courtyard of the building early this afternoon.

    More specifically, a group of about forty people intruded into the courtyard of the ministry and threw stones breaking windows and security cameras.

    [19] Stores to open on the last Sunday of the year, ESEE head says

    Stores throughout Greece will open on December 28 as a relevant amendment has been attached to the omnibus bill tabled to Parliament by the Development ministry, the head of the Greek commerce confederation ESEE Vassilis Korkidis said in a statement on Sunday.

    The amendment is expected to have been voted by December 23, he added.

    Therefore, stores will open on Sunday, December 21 and probably on Sunday, December 28 from 11.00 am to 08.00 pm.

    "If there is one Sunday that the Development ministry and commerce representatives agree that stores should be open that is the last Sunday of the year," Korkidis underlined in the statement.

    Soccer

    [20] Super League results

    Games played for the Super League had the following results:

    Platanias-Niki Volou 3-1

    Kalloni-Panetolikos 0-0

    Levadiakos-Olympiakos 1-2

    Panionios-OFI 2-0

    Asteras Tripolis-Veria 2-0

    Ergotelis-Xanthi 0-2

    PAOK-Kerkyra 2-1

    PAS Yiannina-Atromitos 1-0

    Panathinaikos-Panthrakikos 4-0

    Standings after 13 games:

    PAOK 31

    Olympiakos 27

    Panathinaikos 26

    Asteras Tripolis 24

    Veria 21

    Xanthi 21

    Kalloni 20

    PAS Yiannina 20

    Atromitos 19

    Panetolikos 18

    Kerkyra 15

    Platanias Chanion 15

    Panionios 14

    Levadiakos 14

    OFI 13

    Panthrakikos 10

    Niki Volou 7

    Ergotelis 7

    Weather forecast

    [21] Scattered clouds on Monday

    Cloudy weather and southerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 4 on the Beaufort scale. Some clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 3C to 14C. Same weather in the western parts with temperatures ranging from 5C to 18C. Scattered clouds in eastern parts with temperatures ranging from 5C to 18C. Partly cloudy over the islands, 9C-16C. Scattered clouds in Athens, 7C-16C; the same for Thessaloniki, 7C-13C.

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

    AVGHI: SYRIZA is coming to change things

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 6 out of 10 Greeks say 'no' to early elections

    KATHIMERINI: The certain "yes", the critical "present" and the fear of "no"

    KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: Shocks at foreclosures

    LOGOS: End of game at town halls

    TO VIMA: Fear triggers reversals to the President and the elections

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: ANTONIS SKYLLAKOS


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