|Wednesday, 22 May 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-01-28
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 28 January 2015 Issue No: 4871
 New SYRIZA cabinet sworn in at the presidential mansionThe members of the new government of SYRIZA was voted in before President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday afternoon at the presidential mansion.
The ceremony was delayed for protocol reasons because of the merging of ministries that had to be approved by the Council of State first. New Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos and two alternate interior ministers - Tasia Christodoulopoulou, for migration policy and Christos Spirtzis, for infrastructure and transport - were not sworn in on Tuesday because the relevant presidential decrees were not ready. They will likely be sworn in on Wednesday.
The to-be ministers took their oaths of office in two groups. First were those who took a religious oath before a representative of the Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece - Independent Greeks (ANEL) party representatives Panos Kammenos, Elena Kountoura, Maria Kollia-Tsarouha, Terens Quick, Panagiotis Sgouridis; as well as Yiannis Panousis, Dimitris Mardas and Panagiotis Nikoloudis.
The second group was sworn in based on a civil oath of office read by President Papoulias and repeated by the rest of the ministers, alternates and deputies. Based on the text, the members of government asserted on their honour and conscience to obey the Constitution and laws of Greece and to serve the general interests of the Greek people.
The whole process was attended by new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and candidate for Parliament president Zoi Constantopoulou and took over half an hour, as all had to sign in afterwards.
The new cabinet numbers 41 members, including Tsipras and Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis; fourteen of the cabinet members have not been elected to Parliament as deputies.
There are 13 ministry portfolios, 20 alternate ministers and 6 deputy ministers. The number of women serving totals 6; four of them are alternate ministers and two are deputy ministers.
 New cabinet to hold first meeting at 10:30 on WednesdayThe first meeting of Greece's new cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, will take place at 10:30 on Wednesday in Parliament. It will be followed by the ministry hand-over ceremonies.
 The new SYRIZA government on Tuesday announced the composition of its first cabinetPrime Minister: Alexis Tsipras
Government Vice-President: Yiannis Dragasakis
Interior - Administration Reconstruction Minister: Nikos Voutsis
Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform: George Katrougalos
Alternate Minister for Civil Protection:
Alternate Minister for Migration Policy:
Deputy Minister for Macedonia-Thrace:
Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Minister: George Stathakis
Alternate Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Networks: Christos Spirtzis
Alternate Shipping Minister: Thodoris Dritsas
Alternate Tourism Minister: Elena Kountoura
Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister: Panagiotis Lafazanis
Alternate Minister for the Environment:
Alternate Minister for Rural Development:
Deputy Minister for Rural Development:
Finance Minister: Yanis Varoufakis
Alternate Minister: Nadia Valavani
Alternate Minister: Dimitris Mardas
Education, Culture and Religious Affairs Minister: Aristidis Baltas
Alternate Minister for Culture: Nikos Xydakis
Alternate Minister for Education: Tasos Kourakis
Alternate Minister for Research and Innovation: Costas Fotakis
Deputy Minister for Sports: Stavros Kontonis
Labour Minister: Panos Skourletis
Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity: Theano Fotiou
Deputy Minister for Combatting Unemployment: Rania Antonopoulou
Health and Social Insurance Minister:
Alternate Minister for Health: Andreas Xanthos
Alternate Minister for Social Insurance: Dimitris Stratoulis
Foreign Minister: Nikos Kotzias
Alternate Minister for European Affairs:
Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations: Efklidis Tsakalotos
National Defence Minister: Panos Kammenos
Alternate Minister: Costas Isychos
Deputy Minister: Nikos Toskas
Justice Minister: Nikos Paraskevopoulos
Minister of State for Combatting Corruption: Panagiotis Nikoloudis
Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations: Alekos Flambouraris
Deputy Minister: Terens Quick
Minister of State: Nikos Pappas
Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister and Government spokesman: Gavriil Sakellaridis
Proposed Parliament President: Zoi Constantopoulou
 Small cabinet group to meet every week, gov't sources sayA 15-member cabinet council - including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis and the 13 ministers - will meet every week, the newly-established government said on Tuesday.
Government sources said following the swearing-in ceremony that the government had been planning the cabinet structure a long time before Sunday's elections, and kept to its campaign promises to reduce the number of ministries to 10 (instead of the previous government's 18), with 13 ministers (instead of 19) and with 5 deputy ministers (instead of 20).
The smaller and more flexible cabinet is something the previous governments "could not do all these years, and we did so in one day," government sources said, calling it a required step to reforming the state.
Among other announcements, they said that Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis will be responsible for coordinating the economy and finance ministries, and will chair the National Council of Economic Policy and the National Committee of Negotiation.
Minister of State for government coordination Alekos Flambouraris and his deputy minister Terens Quick will supervise the general secretariat of coordination.
Minister of State for Combatting Corruption Panagiotis Nikoloudis will supervise the public administration's supervisory mechanisms, while Minister of State Nikos Pappas will oversee the general secretariats of the prime minister and of the mass media.
 Independent Greeks: The country has turned pageIndependent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos on Tuesday welcomed and congratulated the newly elected party MPs in his opening address to ANEL parliamentary group saying that the "country has turned page."
Kammenos appointed MP Marina Chrysoveloni party spokesman and said that today is a different day adding that ANEL's mission is different because now they participate in the government adding that his party overthrew the previous government and today is the 'regulator'.
Finally, Kammenos said that "after two and a half years, democracy must operate again" because as he said "the outgoing prime minister (Antonis Samaras) did not answer to any political leader's question and yesterday refused to hand over the office to the new prime minister Alexis Tsipras".
According to ANA-MPA sources, Kammenos is expected to inform his deputies on the content of his agreement with Tsipras and the parameters of the cooperation.
 Europe will give reasonable time to the new government to submit its proposals, SYRIZA MEP Papadimoulis saysEurope will give reasonable time to the new government to submit its proposals for the programme that will replace the disastrous memorandum, SYRIZA MEP and European Parliament Vice-President Dimitris Papadimoulis on Tuesday told ANA-MPA in an interview.
"The Greek plan of reconstruction and development will respect the country's commitments under the European treaties, but it will replace the destructive recipe and troika's model, which does not exist anywhere in the European tradition and European Law," Papadimoulis said and added: "The reconstruction and development plan will be based on sound public finances, balanced budgets and the sustainable development of the Greek economy in the euro zone and the rapid decline in unemployment."
Regarding the effort of the new government to render the Greek debt sustainable, he stressed: "SYRIZA will submit its proposals, which are not easy, to the negotiation table and we are ready for a mutually beneficial solution. We are open to a 'propulsive compromise', as the scenario of rupture is not in the interests not only of the Greek side, but also of our partners and lenders. For this reason I am optimistic that, despite what is being said mainly by the German right wing, there will be pragmatism and realism on the basis of mutual benefit. We do not want these discussions to take much time, and as you can see, Alexis Tsipras is moving fast to implement the popular mandate, without any delays."
Asked about the apparent favorable change in the international climate towards Greece after SYRIZA's electoral victory, Papadimoulis said: "A large portion of the political spectrum in Europe and in the government understands the outcome of the elections in Greece and the great victory of SYRIZA as a defeat of the unilateral destructive austerity of Schaeuble and an opportunity for the EU as a whole and particularly the eurozone to turn to a development and investment policy, aiming at reducing unemployment and strengthening social cohesion. In spite of our domestic opponents and their bullying propaganda, important initiatives are being undertaken by leading European officials so that mediation initiatives and positive steps are prepared in the near future."
The full interview is available for subscribers at the ANA-MPA website.
 The government's programmatic announcements will form the programmatic agreement with SYRIZA, ANEL leader Kammenos say"What we are saying, we are saying it in public. It is an honest agreement. There is no bargaining and we do not exchange any posts. It is an honest agreement before the Greek people, which the Greek people rubberstamped with its vote," Independent Greeks (ANEL) Panos Kammenos said on Tuesday referring to his cooperation with Alexis Tsipras.
Kammenos - reportedly to be appointed Defence minister - announced that former MP Marina Chrysoveloni would be ANEL's spokesperson.
Referring to the cooperation with Tsipras, he said "as of now everything will be done differently. Everything will be out in the open and before the people."
On the programmatic agreement with SYRIZA, he said "the government's programmatic announcements will be binding for all of us in this common course after February 5 when the new Parliament will be sworn in."
Regarding ANEL's participation in the new cabinet, Kammenos did not want to refer to any names saying that Tsipras would soon announce the composition of the government.
 New Foreign Minister Kotzias says Greece will pursue 'active foreign policy'Newly appointed Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Tuesday he will pursue an active foreign policy that will build bridges with the rest of the world, during a hand-over ceremony at the ministry.
Kotzias described himself and his colleagues, Alternate Minister for European Affairs Nikos Choundis, and for International Economic Relations Efklidis Tsakalotos as Europeanists, noting that they hope to "build bridges with emerging nations."
"We don't believe that our relations resulting from our European integration are in conflict or contradict our relations with emerging powers," he said.
This transitional bridge between Greece and the EU and the emerging markets requires the development of our abilities, said Kotzias, adding the country can play an important role as a factor of stability.
"Greece is located within a triangle of instability and constitutes a bright beacon of stability. Any lack of the necessary instability in our region could signal many ills, both for the Greek people and the EU."
Commenting on the upcoming extraordinary Council of EU Foreign ministers in Brussels on Thursday, which will discuss a new set of sanctions against Russia, Kotzias said some EU partners violated EU rules and tried to present us a fait accompli before the new government was even sworn-in. "We made that clear from the beginning, it will not be accepted, he said.
"Anyone who thinks that Greece will resign from its sovereignty and its active contribution to European policy because of its debt is mistaken," he added.
On his side, outgoing Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos welcomed the new leadership of the ministry and said he delivered a personal 16-page letter to Kotzias with his notes and experiences concerning the open issues of Greece's foreign policy.
Venizelos also thanked his deputies and general secretaries, as well as the officials of the ministry for their cooperation, adding that foreign policy is the policy of achieving the widest possible consensus.
Chountis said he would focus on Greece's equal treatment in Europe, including its obligations and rights, while Tsakalotos said that SYRIZA would build on what was already there but bring new analyses and ideas that would be open to constructive criticism.
Both thanked outgoing Deputy Foreign Ministers Dimitris Kourkoulas and Kyriakos Gerontopoulos for their welcome and briefings. Gerontopoulos thanked the previous administration and expressed the hope that the new government "will be strict with us but fair."
 Outgoing Parliament President Meimarakis to brief his prospective successor on Wed.Outgoing Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis on Tuesday invited his prospective successor Zoi Constantopoulou to his office to brief her on current issues concerning Parliament before she takes up her duties.
The meeting will take place at 13.00 hours on Wednesday in the presence of the Parliament's general secretary and general directors and will be open to members of the media.
According to the Rules of Parliament, the presidium of the new Parliament session is elected by the 300 deputies as soon as they are sworn in.
 National Defence ministry hand-over is completedOutgoing National Defence Minister Nikos Dendias handed over the ministry to new minister Panos Kammenos at the ministry, following the new government's swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.
The hand-over ceremony was kept low-key due to a three-day mourning period declared after an accident of a Greek F-16 taking part in military exercises in Spain, during which the two Greek pilots died, along with eight others on the ground and several who were injured. A minute of silence was also kept before the start of the ceremony, while both outgoing and incoming ministers expressed their condolences to the families.
Kammenos said that the new government was concerned with restoring pay injustices in armed forces personnel, and listed the ministries priorities that include finding funds for new armaments programmes and maintaining current ones; restarting the defence industry, including its exports; expanding agreements with other countries; reviewing new threats to security; and reviving relations with countries not currently in NATO.
The ceremony was also attended by the outgoing alternate minister, deputy minister, secretary general, the new alternate and deputy ministers, armed forces personnel from all branches except the Air Force Staff chief who is in Spain because of the accident, and other officers.
 New government unveiled by PM 'lacks direction', ND spokesman saysMain opposition New Democracy (ND) party spokesman Costas Karagounis on Tuesday commented on the composition of the new cabinet unveiled by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, welcoming its relatively small size of 40 ministers but expressing "deep concern" about some of the individuals including in its ranks
According to Karagounis, the new government lacked direction and struck "delicate balances" between the various component factions within and outside SYRIZA.
"We express our deep concern over the participation of people in areas of responsibility that have expressed dangerous positions, such as on growth, on privatisations, on cancelling investments, on restoring asylum of lawlessness in universities and even about open borders for every illegal migrant," he said.
He also expressed ND's objections to the abolition in the new cabinet of the tourism and shipping ministries, which he said were crucial for growth and made the biggest contribution of GDP in the last two and half years. ND also slammed as "inconceivable" the demotion of the rural development ministry and said that SYRIZA's proposed candidate for Parliament president "should give a signal for consensuses and synthesis between all Parliamentary groups and clearly does not have these traits."
"ND will be present to judge, evaluate but also avert policies that are damaging for national interests and Greek citizens, especially in the crucial times that are coming," Karagounis said.
 ND complains about presence of proposed Parliament president at swearing-in of new cabinetNew Democracy (ND) sources on Tuesday complained about the fact the proposed parliament president Zoi Constantopoulou was present in the swearing-in of the new cabinet, calling it "unacceptable and unprecedented."
The sources said, "The parliament president expresses all political parties and blocs. Such behaviour is not promising at all."
 Potami slams new government unveiled on Tuesday as 'bad, with very few exceptions'The new government unveiled on Tuesday was "bad" with a "very few good exceptions" and built on the "unprincipled alliance" between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his junior coalition partner, Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, the opposition Potami party said in an announcement.
It criticised the "sharing out" of the ministries along the well-trodden "old-party recipe", including everything from former New Democracy ministers to "known to be inadequate party employees" and expressed particular surprise at the choice of Zoi Constantopoulou as candidate for Parliament President.
"Instead of choosing an individual that can bring about synthesis, the selection was for the perennial protagonist of Parliamentary squabbles," the announcement said.
"One would have expected that a party that spent 2.5 years as main opposition and demanded elections on the spot would have prepared better for its historic opportunity," it added.
 PASOK comments on new cabinet, sworn in TuesdayThe new government "will be judged by its acts, not its composition," PASOK party announced, commenting on the new cabinet of newly-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that was sworn in on Tuesday.
"The new faces are portents - disparate and contradictory, without political cohesion and clarity," PASOK said. It added, "Let us wish the best for the country... We must also note that some institutional choices of Mr. Tsipras denote a sense of humour."
 Foreign Minister Kotzias to attend extraordinary EU Foreign Ministers' CouncilGreece's new Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will depart for Brussels on Wednesday to attend Thursday's extraordinary EU Foreign Ministers' Council called by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, it was announced on Tuesday. The summit will focus on sanctions against Russia over Ukraine.
Responding to an ANA-MPA question on the Greek government's stance, the foreign minister said "it will be democratic."
 SYRIZA MP Kouroumblis to assume the Health ministrySYRIZA MP Panagiotis Kouroumblis on Tuesday, speaking to ANT1 TV, said he will assume the Health ministry.
Kouroumblis said that the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called him on Monday to assign him the portfolio of the Health ministry.
The first thing he will do, as he said, is to call the former Health Ministers asking them to brief him on all issues.
 US State Department congratulates PM Tsipras, says the country will continue supporting GreeceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou)
The US State Department's spokesperson Jen Psaki congratulated new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and expressed the US government's intention to work with the new Greek government.
"We congratulate SYRIZA and the new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, on their victory, and look forward to working with the new government in Greece," Psaki said during a press briefing on Monday.
"Greece is a historic friend and ally of the United States, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Government of Greece to the benefit of both of our nations," she said.
Psaki noted that "as the new government begins its work, the United States will continue to support domestic reforms and international efforts to foster Greece's economic recovery. The U.S. interest has been and remains that Greece emerge from its prolonged economic crisis stronger and more stable."
Responding to journalists' questions, Psaki noted that "we remain in regular contact with the IMF and European leaders on the measures necessary to secure the progress that Greece has achieved in its economic recovery, which has required great sacrifices by the Greek people."
She also stressed "There's no question Greece has made significant progress on a very difficult economic adjustment and reform program. There are indications that the economy is poised for renewed growth, but many challenges remain. So at this point, we're in touch with our European counterparts, with the IMF, and we'll see what happens from there."
 Chancellor Merkel congratulates new PM TsiprasBERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a telegram of congratulations to Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday.
"You are taking over your office in a difficult time in which you face a great responsibility. I hope to be able to firm up and deepen with you the traditionally good and deep friendship between our peoples," Merkel said.
"I wish you lots of strength and success in your future work as prime minister," Merkel added.
 British PM Cameron calls to congatulate Tsipras on his electionBritish Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday spoke on the phone and congratulated the new Greek premier Alexis Tsipras.
Cameron also welcomed Tsipras' intention to fight corruption and stressed the need for joint cooperation to combat terrorism.
According to an announcement by the British embassy in Athens, the spokesperson of the British prime minister's office said:
"Prime Minister Tsipras thanked the Prime Minister for the call and set out the immediate issues that his government would be focusing on, in particular in tackling Greece's economic challenges.
The Prime Minister welcomed Prime Minister Tsipras' intention to tackle corruption and increase tax transparency across Greece and said that as a key advocate of these issues, the UK was keen to work closely with the Greek government.
They also discussed foreign affairs, agreeing on the need to work together to tackle terrorism, in particular the threat of foreign fighters.
They concluded that they looked forward to meeting at next month's European Council in Brussels when they could continue discussions on these issues."
 PM Tsipras congratulated by Chinese counterpart on his appointmentPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras met on Tuesday with the Chinese ambassador to Greece, Z?u Xiaoli, who handed him a letter by the Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, congratulating the Greek premier on his appointment.
In the letter, the Chinese premier also stressed the importance his country places in bilateral relations and the prospect of strengthening them.
Tsipras was also congratulated by phone by the Prime Ministers of Kazakstan, Karim Massimov, and Finland, Alexander Stubb, as well as the former President of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias and the Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios.
 Austrian Chancellor says Greeks must be helped to live in 'human dignity'VIENNA (ANA-MPA/ D. Dimitrakoudis) Anyone that loves democracy and people must do what they can so that life in Greece has "human dignity," Austria'sChancellor Werner Faymann said in an interview with Austrian public radio on Tuesday. In statements after a Vienna cabinet meeting, meanwhile, he said that there must be an end to speculation about disaster through 'Grexit'.
The chancellor and head of Austria's Social-Democrats said that the new Greek government could impose order on things where necessary, so that the state was able to properly collect taxes from where it should, from those that had large wealth and either simply did not pay taxes or fled the country. He noted that much could be done to combat fraud, tax large property holdings and promote social justice.
He also ruled out a Greek exit from the euro and the European Union, noting that the resulting wave of poverty would "lead things to extremes".
Faymann criticised proposals made by the troika representing Greece's lenders -the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - in terms of privatisations and cuts to the smallest pensions, noting that it was impossible for someone to get by on these.
During a cabinet meeting earlier on Tuesday, Faymann said he expected 'movement' on both sides of the discussion on a write-off of Greek debt. He said that Greece must respect the agreements but that the countries of the EU must also take a step in Greece's direction, discussion an extension of the repayment deadlines and interest rates.
 Cuban President Raul Castro congratulates new Greek prime ministerRepublic of Cuba President Raul Castro sent a congratulatory letter to the new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, it was announced on Tuesday.
"Comrade Tsipras, I cordially congratulate you on the election victory of the Radical Left Coalition party. Be certain of my deep respect," the Cuban president underlined.
 FING congratulates the new prime ministerThe Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (FING) requested from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to plan and implement a specific policy on the industrial sector aimed at the country's production reconstruction, it was announced on Tuesday.
In its congratulatory letter to the prime minister, FING underlined that it has requested all Greek governments that took office in the past ten years to proceed with this planning.
The issues that need to be tackled in a short period of time to reverse Greece's bad image abroad and reform the country are to ensure cash flow to enterprises and the real economy, adopt measures to boost competitiveness, introduce a stable and fair taxation system, adopt economic growth measures for the real economy, reduce energy cost, reform public administration and consolidate a climate of security.
FING assured the prime minister that it will be at his disposal and participate in efforts that will contribute to the restart of the Greek economy and economic growth in this difficult period for the country.
 Schaeuble considers troika's work positive and any attempted renegotiation on tax issues a 'waste of time'BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, on Tuesday in his address to the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, described any attempted renegotiation of tax issues with Greece as a "waste of time." On this matter, Schaeuble suggested that in the past, the Greek authorities did not respond positively to the European exhortation for changes in the tax system.
On the Greek elections, he said the result was impressive and that the new government formation is interesting.
He noted, however, that the resolving Greece's problems was the main issue as the Greek people have suffered more than others in Europe. He also said this situation was the result of the failure of the political elites in Greece during the past decades.
He stated that he, as Germany's Finance Minister, and other Eurozone Finance ministers have offered great help for the support of Greece, which however did not make full use of that aid. He added we could not be saying that Greece's programme was not on track, as the country achieved a primary surplus. He also noted that the Greek people have a difficult way ahead of them, but at least they are on the right track.
Moreover, he said the decisions taken by the ECB in relation to Greece are fully aligned with the mandate given to the bank.
 Important for Greece to stand on its feet, says Eurogroup chiefBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V. Demiris)
It's important for Greece to stand on its feet, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Tuesday, adding he will visit Athens on Friday for a first meeting - and not to negotiate - with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
Speaking in Brussels, the president of the Eurogroup noted that if a country needs support there are always conditions and prerequisites, while concerning Greece, it is up to the Greek authorities to say how they want to move ahead.
Dijsselbloem also said it's important to rebuild the Greek economy and noted that any regression in reforms would be a step backwards.
 Eurogroup president: Too soon to speak about fiscal programmeBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
It is too early to speak about what will happen with the current fiscal programme of Greece, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said at a press conference following the group's meeting on Monday.
Congratulating SYRIZA, Dijsselbloem said that he looked forward "to working with them, the way we worked with the previous Greek government," adding that the Eurogroup "will support them in their quest for economic recovery of Greece. We are glad that their ambition is to realise this within the eurozone and that is exactly our ambition too."
He added however that "it is too early to say what their intentions, ambitions are in the short term" regarding Greece's fiscal programme and recommended patience.
"We must allow the new Greek government to take their positions and give their points of view on how to move forward, both in finalising the pending review and any other further suppport from the eurozone to Greece," he said, noting that the next Eurogroup meeting was in February.
Greece's leaders and the people must realize that the country faces serious problems that cannot be resolved overnight after the elections. He also said he had a 15-minute telephone conversation with the new minister of finance - whom he declined to name - who expressed his willingness to collaborate directly with the Eurogroup and who asserted the country's commitment to the eurozone. "That is a good start," Dijsselbloem said.
 Eurogroup chief Dijsselbloem in Athens on FridayBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
The representative of the Eurogroup chief on Tuesday confirmed that Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Friday will come to Athens to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Greek Finance Minister.
 PM Tsipras expresses discontent over HR/VP Federica Mogherini announcementPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a telephone communication he had on Tuesday with High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini expressed discontent over an announcement she made in the name of "EU heads of state and governments" without prior consultation with the Greek government. A similar move was made by the Permanent Representation of Greece in the EU.
"The statement of EU Heads of State and Governments published today, circulated after bypassing proper procedure necessary to ensure the consensus of the member-states and, specifically, without having the consent of Greece. In this context, it is underlined that it does not have our country's consent. Discontent over this approach was expressed in the context of a telephone conversation between the prime minister and HR/VP Federica Mogherini and on a proper level by the Permanent Representation of Greece in the EU," the announcement by the prime minister's office underlined.
 PM Tsipras probably to visit Cyprus next week, Cypriot gov't spokesman saysNICOSIA (ANA-MPA/A. Viketos)
The Cypriot government expects new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to visit the island at the beginning of next week.
"We estimate the visit will take place at the beginning of the coming week," government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides told RIK state radio.
He noted the visit has not been finalized yet, however Tsipras himself said before the elections that his first visit as prime minister would be to Cyprus.
 Potami leader Theodorakis to meet European Parliament head Schulz on ThursdayThe leader of To Potami party, Stavros Theodorakis, will meet with the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Thursday, at the offices of the European Parliament in Athens.
 PM Tsipras extends condolences to the families of the Air Force pilots killed in SpainMinister of State Nikos Pappas on Tuesday, before announcing the members of the new cabinet, first extended the condolences of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the members of his government to the families of the two Greek Air Force pilots killed in a NATO exercise in Spain and to the Greek Armed Forces that lost two outstanding officers.
 New Democracy spokesman Karagounis on Greek F-16 crash in SpainNew Democracy spokesman Kostas Karagounis expressed on behalf of the main opposition party and its leader Antonis Samaras deep sorrow at the loss of two pilots and those who died after a Greek F-16 crashed on Monday during a NATO exercise in Los Llanos, Spain.
"We express our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims. The president of New Democracy Mr. Antonis Samaras contacted the families of the Greek officers who lost their lives and expressed his sorrow and condolences," Karagounis added.
 KKE on Greek F-16 crash in SpainCommunist KKE party on Tuesday issued a statement expressing its grief over the death of two Greek F-16 pilots and the eight French military officers, who lost their lives during a NATO exercise in Spain and noted that the cause of the accident should be immediately investigated.
Meanwhile, the Hellenic Air Force announced that the Chief of HAF General Staff, Lt General Evangelos Tournas, will arrive in Los Llanos Air Base later on Tuesday.
 KKE receives congratulations on its performance in national electionsThe Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee has received congratulatory messages by communist and labour parties from different countries in Europe, it was announced on Tuesday.
The messages referred to the party's successful performance in Sunday's national election.
 Foreign Ministry statement on Holocaust Remembrance DayThe Foreign Ministry on Tuesday issued an announcement on the 70-year anniversary since the liberation of Auschwitz.
"Today, on its National Memorial Day for the Greek Jewish Heroes and Martyrs of the Holocaust, Greece is standing against forgetfulness and joining its voice with the conscience of humankind, honoring the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.
The Greek people pay homage to the thousands of their compatriots, Greek Jews, who fell victim to Nazi barbarity.
The Greek state attaches the greatest importance to the categorical condemnation of anti-Semitism and Nazism activities. It considers denial of the Holocaust to be flagrantly repugnant and expresses the certainty that neo-Nazi elements, which are attempting to undermine Democracy and the rule of law, will be marginalized from Greek society, the vast majority of which denounces hatred, anti-Semitism and intolerance.
The Greek state systematically and consistently assists in the international efforts towards respect for the memory of the Holocaust and towards the combating of anti-Semitism."
 PASOK leader addresses open letter thanking those assisting PASOK campaignPASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday sent an open letter to the candidates, secretaries and senior officials of local election campaign committees, thanking them for their contribution to PASOK's campaign. He also stressed that the statement he made on the night of the elections continues to "fully apply".
"Very soon we will have the opportunity to talk openly and in depth about everything. We are present. We alway raise [the banner of] responsibility high," he stressed. The priority at present was for the country's course to become clear, so that the mark of PASOK and the Democratic Faction in general might be determined in a clear and effective way, he added.
 PASOK denies its leader Evangelos Venizelos is resigningPASOK denied on Tuesday that its president Evangelos Venizelos is resigning, saying the so-called news circulating on the internet "lack seriousness."
"The president of PASOK's statement that he made on the night of elections," January 25, it said, "still holds... Everything, including the issue of party leadership will be discussed and decided on at the party congress."
It added, "What is of greatest priority is the country's course, which will affect the course of all political powers."
 Crosschecks for wealth statements of 17 at General Secretariat for Public RevenuesThe wealth statements (pothen esches) submitted by 17 employees at the General Secretariat for Public Revenues are being crosschecked with bank accounts they kept abroad, it was announced on Tuesday. They are 15 tax bureau officers and two employees of public companies, whose assets are being under investigation.
Another 167 employees are being investigated for disciplinary violations, among them, 148 General Secretariat for Public Revenues employees, including 126 tax bureau officers, 19 customs officers, a chemist and 2 financial inspectors. The remaining 19 are employees of finance-ministry supervised agencies.
The evidence presented was the result of the processing of findings of crosschecks conducted by the General Secretariat for Public Revenues Internal Investigation Office.
Based on the relevant report drawn up, the scheduled investigations into delinquent behaviour for 2014 were 50 with 92 findings issued, exceeding the 84 pct target set. Eighteen of the findings were forwarded to the prosecutor's office. Another seven cases, concerning criminal law violations were also forwarded to the prosecutor's office. Also, an internal investigation was ordered into 11 cases concerning 12 employees.
 New government's economic programme very favorable for SMEsThe new Greek government's economic programme will be very positive for small-and medium-sized enterprises as it focuses on combating a humane crisis, promoting a fair taxation of enterprises and private property, public investments which will create new jobs and raising salaries which will boost workers' income and consumer demand, the Professional Chamber of Athens said in an announcement released on Tuesday.
The Chamber said that the formation of a new government by SYRIZA and Independent Greeks political parties was a hopeful development because the two parties agreed to cooperate for the country's benefit on the basis of a principle agreement despite their ideological differences. The Chamber noted that the government should draft -in cooperation with the country's productive agencies and market representatives, chambers and social partners- a sustainable plan of reconstructing the country's productive web and expressed its satisfaction to the fact that several party members have expressed their confidence in the chamber institution and their will to further upgrade their role in the framework of a new National Development Plan.
Meanwhile, the president of Hellenic Association of Insurance Companies, Alexandros Sarrigeorgiou, speaking to reporters on Tuesday sent a message to the new government by saying that "no one should be left uninsured" and noted that the insurance industry could contribute towards this effort by offering supplementary insurance coverage. "We want to open communication channels with the new government with the aim to find, together, the ways that private insurance could operate in a supplementary way and to help not to leave any Greek citizen uninsured," Sarrigeorgiou said.
 Greek banks would face 'dire consequences' if bailout programme was questioned - BundesbankThe Greek banking system would face dire consequences should the new Greek government call the country's aid programme into question, Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel told the Handelsblatt newspaper.
"That would have fatal consequences for Greece's financial system. Greek banks would then lose their access to central bank money," Nagel was quoted as saying to the paper in an interview that will be published on Wednesday and added this consequence has been underestimated.
He also rejected the possibility of Eurozone's central banks participating in a haircut of the Greek bonds they hold.
"Even if we came to that, the Eurosystem wouldn't be able to agree. If we waivered our claims, that would constitute monetary state financing and this woud violate EU treaties," he added.
 Greece's election result 'negative' for credit rating - Moody'sSYRIZA's election victory is negative for Greece's credit rating, Moody's Investors Service said on Tuesday, because it intensifies the country's refinancing and liquidity risks, undermines depositor confidence and has an adverse effect on economic growth prospects.
The ratings agency pointed out that left-wing party's victory throws into question the new Greek government's ability to agree to a renewal of the financial support programme.
 Greek exporters call for national export strategyGreece needs a cohesive and efficient National Export Strategy to safeguard economic growth and establishing confidence among its trade partners, the Panhellenic Federation of Exporters said on Tuesday.
Christina Sakellaridi, president of the exporters' union, said that "economic growth, fiscal consolidation and keeping Greece in the core of developed countries in Europe passes through export growth," and added that a transformation of the country's economic model and servicing of its debt needed exports of goods and services of more than 35 pct of GDP annually, or exports worth more than 60 billion euros, from 55 billion currently. Sakellaridi noted that an international macro-economic environment seemed more favorable compared with previous years, because of a depreciation of the euro, higher liquidity and consumption in Europe, with international organizations predicting a 5-5.5 pct rise in Greek exports this year.
The Federation is recommending five priority policy steps to support exports:
boosting liquidity of enterprises, reducing tax burden of citizens and enterprises, aggressive promotion of Greek products abroad, transferring export know-how to small- and medium-sized enterprises and offering incentives to boost employment in the country, competing all necessary reforms to simplify business environment and external trade procedures.
 Greek tourism association hails appointment of new coalition governmentThe Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on Tuesday hailed the formation of the new coalition government and wished every success in implementing its work.
In 2014, Greek tourism achieved impressive results with 24 million arrivals which became a reference point on an international level, while, at the same time, injected 13.5 billion euros into the economy and created 100,000 jobs, SETE said in a press release.
"For 2015, the Greek tourism sector continues its hard work aiming to cover the lost ground of the last few months and set the base for an even better year than the last."
 Greek stocks remain under heavy selling pressureGreek stocks remained under heavy selling pressure for the second successive session in the Athens Stock Exchange, hit mostly by a rapid deterioration of climate in the domestic bond market. Bank shares suffered another blow pushing the bank index more than 11 pct down, while the market's capitalisation shrank by 2.8 billion euros.
The composite index fell 3.69 pct to end at 783.53 points, off the day's lows of 761.22 points. The index is down 6.77 pct in the last two sessions, while the bank index is down 23.38 pct. The Large Cap dropped 5.04 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.31 pct lower.
Turnover was a heavy 198.32 million euros.
Motor Oil (6.32 pct), Piraeus Port (3.75 pct), METKA (2.68 pct) and Mytilineos (1.62 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks, while Eurobank (12.90 pct), Piraeus Bank (12 pct), National Bank (11.81 pct) and PPC (11.17 pct) suffered heavy losses.
Among market sectors, Oil (2.83 pct), Raw Materials (0.93 pct) and Industrial Products (0.75 pct) scored big gains, while Banks (11.66 pct), Utilities (7.97 pct) and Insurance (6.99 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 87 to 24, with another 16 issues unchanged. Mathios (29.65 pct), Sidma (14.02 pct) and Centric Holdings (6.55 pct) were top gainers, while Kreka (20 pct), Dionic (18.99 pct) and Hellenic Sugar (17.28 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Financial Services: -3.20%
Industrial Products: +0.75%
Real Estate: -2.28%
Personal & Household: +0.31%
Food & Beverages: -0.38%
Raw Materials: +0.93%
Mass Media: Unchanged
Travel & Leisure: -6.29%
The stocks with the highest turnover were Alpha Bank, National Bank, Piraeus Bank and OPAP.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE
Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.370
Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.17
Coca Cola HBC: 14.42
Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 3.62
National Bank of Greece: 1.12
Piraeus Bank: 0.704
Grivalia Properties: 8.10
Aegean Airlines: 7.30
 Greek bond market closing reportThe Greek electronic secondary bond market came under pressure on Tuesday, pushing bond prices lower and bond yields higher. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 9.0 pct from 8.60 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 9.38 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.38 pct. The three-year bond yield jumped to 14.05 pct and the five-year bond yield rose to 11.79 pct.
Turnover in the market was a moderate 35 million euros, of which 31 million were sell orders and the remaining 4.0 million euros were buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved higher. The 12-month rate rose to 0.277 pct from 0.275 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.208 pct from 0.207 pct, the six-month rate was unchanged at 0.138 pct, the three-month rate rose to 0.055 pct from 0.054 pct and the one-month rate rose to 0.005 pct from 0.002 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe February contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.25 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday.
Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 19,942 contracts with 47.811 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 75,825 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (30,959), followed by Piraeus Bank (14,290), Alpha Bank (13,773), Eurobank (6,259), PC (3,334), OTE (1,887), MIG (1,291), Mytilineos (1,063), OPAP (1,003), Ellaktor (592), Hellenic Exchanges (280), Jumbo (189) and Sidenor (102).
 Foreign exchange rates - TuesdayReference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.1306
Pound sterling 0.74725
Danish kroner 7.4483
Swedish kroner 9.3089
Japanese yen 133.08
Swiss franc 1.017
Norwegian kroner 8.813
Canadian dollar 1.4085
Australian dollar 1.4233
 Greek F-16 pilot and co-pilot that crashed in Spain found deadThe pilot and co-pilot of the Greek F-16 that crashed on Monday during a NATO exercise in Los Llanos, nearly 260 km southeast of Madrid, have been found dead.
Ten people died and 19 were injured when the airplane fell on parked aircraft during takeoff.
A group of Greek Civil Aviation experts are already in the area, which has been cordoned off due to the presence of toxic chemicals, in order to assist Spanish authorities.
 Foreign national goes missing while on ferry from Crete to PiraeusGreek authorities on Tuesday reported that a search had revealed no trace of a foreign passenger on board the car-ferry 'Blue Horizon', who disappeared around midnight on Monday, while the ferry was en route between the port of Iraklio on Crete and Piraeus.
The Greek coast guard said a friend of the passenger reported him missing when the ship arrived in Piraeus at 6:40 on Tuesday morning, telling the ship's crew and port authorities that he had not seen him since midnight the night before.
No trace of the passenger was found in an extensive search on board the ship and a search using a rescue helicopter and two coast guard boats was immediately launched in the sea south of the Cyclades islands, along the route taken by the 'Blue Horizon' after midnight but the search has so far had no results.
 Two remanded in custody as alleged accomplices of terrorist Christodoulos XirosTwo men were remanded in custody on Tuesday after testifying before an Appeal Court special magistrate for terrorism issues, as alleged accomplices of convicted terrorist Christodoulos Xiros. The 29-year-old Albanian national and a second man aged 23 were arrested last week and face charges of participating in a terrorist organisation and other crimes.
According to sources, both deny the charges against them and told the magistrate that they are not in any way involved in terrorist actions.
Evidence against them includes the fingerprint of the 23-year-old found in a white van abandoned on Mount Egaleo, which has been recognised as the getaway vehicle used after a strike against Korydallos prison. The suspect said that he does not know Xiros and said his fingerprints may be the result of work he undertook on behalf of an acquaintance, who had called and asked him to help start a car. He said the car was brought to him at a location behind the Panathinaikos stadium on Alexandras Avenue, where he managed to start the car and was given 1,500 euros.
The second suspect told the magistrate, as he earlier told the counter-terrorism squad, that he had no connection with the case apart from driving wanted suspect Aggeliki Spyropoulou - who had introduced herself as Maria - to various locations without knowing anything more about her.
According to the charges against him, the 29-year-old's finger and palm prints were found in the house that Spyropoulou had rented under a false name in Perahora, Loutraki. He said that he had spent some nights in the house and that he stopped working with Maria when he saw she had a gun in her handbag.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Government of broad consensus.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: A new era dawns.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: First crash test for Tsipras (Alexis, Prime Minister) on February 12.
ESTIA: The centre-right failed to bring prosperity.
ETHNOS: They key-persons in the new government.
IMERISSIA: Economy is the wager.
KATHIMERINI: SYRIZA and Independent Greeks coalition government.
NAFTEMPORIKI: EU officials: Dialogue on conditions.
RIZOSPASTIS: We fight hard for strong popular opposition.
TA NEA: At the last minute.
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