|Sunday, 24 May 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-04-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 6 April 2015 Issue No: 4928
 Varoufakis-Lagarde meeting expected after Sunday midnightNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
The meeting between Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde in Washington has been scheduled for 1.00 on Monday morning (Athens time).
Varoufakis is expected in the US capital a few hours before the meeting. He is accompanied by Panagiotis Roumeliotis, Greece's former representative to the IMF.
On Monday, he will meet with US Treasury Undersecretary Nathan Sheets in Washington - US Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew is on planned vacation.
Later in the day, Varoufakis will meet Deputy Assistant to the President on National Security and International Economics Caroline Atkinson.
 Gov't spokesman: Negotiations continue smoothlyThe negotiations with Greece's lenders proceed smoothly, noted on Sunday government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis speaking to private TV MEGA.
Referring to Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' visit to Washington, he said that is part of the negotiation. Asked on Varoufakis' meeting with IMF chief Christine Lagarde on Sunday evening he said "the visit is part of the Greek government's negotiations with all the institutions.
Sakellaridis reiterated that the government "does not discuss cutbacks in pensions and tax increase on pensioners".
On the social security, he said that it must open for viability reasons and this will be performed on the Greek government's conditions"
Referring to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' visit to Moscow, Sakellaridis clarified that "Mr. Tsipras' visit to Moscow is relevant with the Greek-Russian bilateral relations" and noted that "Greece's European orientation is firm". He also added that this "does not mean that within the framework of a multidimensional foreign policy, Greece should not discuss, visit other countries or proceed to the strengthening of bilateral relations".
He made clear that "the visit has been arranged a long time ago" and that "the date has no special symbolism'.
 Alt. Finance Minister: The money for IMF's payment is in the State coffersAlternate Finance Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas reassured that the money for the payment to IMF is in the State coffers, speaking to private MEGA TV on Saturday.
Mardas noted that "the payment to IMF will take place on April 9. After that, there are several problems of political context. Money exist for the payment of salaries, pensions and whatever else needed in the next week. This does not mean that there are not money for the week after. This is a political decision that will be taken and we will follow whatever political decisions" said Mardas.
He also added that "there are some political decision and provided that there is no announcement from Maximos mansion (prime minister's office) we are the treasury administrators. I have specific orders that I will execute on the relevant time. All orders will be given on April 8".
 Minister of State: ECB will restore the regularityState Minister Nikos Pappas appeared certain that finally "all sides will fulfill their commitments and ECB will restore on time the regularity in the financing" he stated estimating that "nobody wants to provoke an accident".
In an interview to RealNews Sunday newspaper, the State Minister rejected main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' position for a government of national unity saying that ND leader wants "a memorandum government and seeks personal vindication via the restoration of the memoranda".
Referring to the radio and TV frequencies he underlined that "nobody is above the law and of the tax obligations".
 Economy Minister: Agreement with lenders within the next daysEconomy Minister George Stathakis appeared certain that an agreement with Greece's lenders will close within the next days, in an interview to the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper.
The minister left open the possibility of a special law for borrowers in Swiss franc and insists on the debts' haircut via a special fund that will be established especially for the 'bankrupt' households.
He said that the major motorways will be completed in 2016 and aims to link the new development law that he will bring to parliament before summer with the so-called "Juncker package".
He also preannounced that shops will not open on Sundays (except in special cases).
Moreover, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis in an interview to the same newspaper, made clear that the installment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be paid on April 9 and called 'midnight summer dreams' the scenarios of an "ecumenical government".
 We stay loyal to our principles and values, Greek President Pavlopoulos saysWe stay loyal to our principles and values and we do not lower the flag," Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Sunday after the memorial service in the Garden of Heroes in the western Greek city of Messolonghi as part of events for the 189th anniversary of the heroic Messolonghi exodus.
"We, Greeks, have the duty not to forget the principles and values that form the foundations of our history. The commitment to freedom, as an experience, is something that has governed Greeks since the very distant past. The fight for freedom continues even today not only in Greece, but throughout the world, because other forces, beyond those that traditionally threatened freedom, may today prevent man from developing his personality in accordance with his capabilities," Pavlopoulos said.
"We, Greeks, know the value of freedom; we have learned to conquer it and teach it. This is what we must do now; being faithful to our ideals and having on our side all those peoples who are committed to the same ideals that nowadays are complemented, apart from freedom, with social justice and humanitarianism, which are essential components of the value of man. From the sacred site of Messolonghi we send out a message once again that we stay loyal to these principles and our values, and we do not lower the flag."
After the end of the commemorative events, the Greek President said that "the historic light, which springs from the heroic exodus and the sacrifice of the "Free Besieged" of the city is a never-failing one for Greeks and the whole world and particularly for Europe."
"This lesson has to be assimilated primarily by the Greeks," he said adding that Greeks should contemplate on their duty for the present and the future and finally become the example to their partners in the international community and the European Union.
"Obviously, they should not ignore their debt towards Greece, either. And not just for Greece but particularly for the future and the prospects of the European Union," he concluded.
 'We will deal with difficulties with more optimism, hope and confidence,' Alternate Social Insurance min Stratoulis saysThis historic day can help us overcome the difficulties that our people, our government and our country face," Alternate Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis said on Sunday during the events to commemorate the 189th anniversary of the heroic exodus of the "Free Besieged" in the western Greek city of Messolonghi.
"It can also help us to overcome with determination, courage, unyielding and dignified stance, the difficulties caused to us by the economic suffocation practices of the economic and political powers of Europe, which are implemented at the expense of the people and the country," he said.
"We will deal with the difficulties with more optimism, hope and confidence," he said "We will make it."
"The country has never been and will never become a protectorate and a colony," the minister stressed.
"Our message to those who now treat our country as such is that we are a sovereign and independent country and a people with a long history and remarkable culture and mainly heroic struggles for dignity, social justice, freedom...and democracy."
"We are a people that, when we decide for ourselves, can proudly say "No" and can carry out the most heroic exodus," he said and added: "They need to know that they must respect the recent free democratic choice of the world, to move forward without destructive memoranda and austerity policies but with development and a regenerated society and economy."
 PM Tsipras' phone contact with Cyprus President AnastasiadesPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras had a phone contact with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades late Saturday.
According to government sources, the two leaders discussed the latest developments.
Anastasiades will visit Athens on Friday 17 April to brief Tsipras on the talks he will have earlier with UN special adviser on Cyprus issue Espen Eide.
 PM Tsipras to visit Belgrade early May, said government sourcesPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Belgrade early May following Serbian Prime Minister Alexandar Vucic invitation, according to a government source.
Tsipras visited Serbia when SYRIZA was main opposition on December 6, 2014 and had a meeting with Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.
The meeting's agenda will focus on the further development of the bilateral relations and Athens' support in Serbia's European prospect along with the condition in the Balkans.
 The government in a short period of time restored the prestige of the country and the dignity of the Greek people, SYRIZA sec Koronakis saysThe government's aim is for the Greek people to find out the truth, namely who and why chose to bind the country to the memoranda, SYRIZA Central Committee secretary Tassos Koronakis told "Vradyni tis Kyriakis" newspaper in an interview.
"This is a serious political act and must be taken seriously. It does not have any revanchist rationale...Our proposal is specific on the specific periods of the memoranda and the responsibilities of those who chose them," he said referring to SYRIZA proposal for a parliamentary investigating committee into the bailout programmes.
Regarding the prime minister's upcoming visit to Russia and the meetings of Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragasakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in China, he said the government has inaugurated a new era of multi-dimensional foreign policy, while making use of every opportunity "and from the country's geopolitical position for new development-oriented alliances."
Asked on the government's red lines in the reform list it will send to the Eurogroup, he said the government "does not provide for and will not implement any cutbacks in wages and pension. It does not provide for and will not implement new recessionary measures."
He added that the government's limits were set with the February 20 decision and then the reforms were specialized.
Moreover, He ruled out the possibility of the new agreement-contract with the partners in June being along the lines of the memoranda "which ended with the January 25 elections."
"We want decisions and agreements, which will treat our country equally as a member of the EU and the eurozone recognizing our sovereign rights. We are not asking for special treatment, but an equal one which will respect democracy and guarantee the European solidarity by giving us the right to development planning."
Asked to assess the work of the government, he stressed that "the Greek government in this short period of time has achieved something very important, to restore the prestige of the country and the dignity of the Greek people."
Asked whether the government would have to resort to elections or a referendum if an agreement with the partners and the institutions is not reached, Koronakis said: "Right now, the government is negotiating within the context of the popular mandate. We have repeatedly said the people entrusted SYRIZA to put an end to the memoranda and have a comprehensive settlement of the Greek issue in the EU. However, apart from a context, this is also a limit. And both the Greek people and our partners are aware of this; because as everyone knows, it takes two to tango. "
 Deputy State min Quick on government bills"I am tired of listening to the same scaremongering over our country, that we are moving towards catastrophe," Deputy State Minister Terens Quick said on Sunday, representing the government at the celebrations for the anniversary of the so-called Battle of the Forts in the northeastern region of Komotini.
The loan obligations that the memoranda of the previous governments burdened Greece with "will be met and as of July a new government programme, without any poisonous recipes, will be implemented," he stressed and added: "In the first four years that we will govern, all promises by Independent Greeks and SYRIZA will be fulfilled so that the Greek family can be relieved and the Greek market can recover."
On the former state broadcaster ERT, he said the relevant bill will be submitted to the parliamentary committee for debate on Tuesday and that it will re-operate after Easter.
On the 100 installment settlement for overdue debt o the tax bureau, he said that the system will be made accessible after Easter and admitted he would also make use of the regulation.
"I am one of the thousands of citizens with debts...I am no different from the other taxpayers who got into this memorandum ordeal," he said and urged other ministers and deputies to follow his suit.
 Defence Minister Kammenos: No cutbacks in pensions and salariesDefence Minister and Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos send a message to Greece's lenders that the government will not make cutbacks in salaries and pensions in an interview to Sunday newspaper RealNews.
Kammenos clarified that even if Greece's partners insists on painful measures, the government will remain adamant and left open the possibility of a rift "Agreement if we are in the framework of the orders we have received from the Greek people in the general elections. Rift if the European Union and the 'institutions' or the International Monetary Fund decide they want a rift" he noted.
He said he is against early elections and sternly attacked main opposition New Democracy leader and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and ruled out the possibility of an ecumenical government.
 Government sources on maritime patrol aircraftsThe decision of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) concerns the modernization of five 'P-3 Orion' maritime patrol aircrafts for 500 million dollars as part of an interstate agreement with the US government.
These aircraft had been acquired for free from the US (in 1991-1992); they are now 25-years-old and their modernization will extend their life span for another 15,000 hours. Their upgrading program was activated by a KYSEA decision in 2012, government sources said.
They also noted that the modernization of aircrafts will be carried out by Lockheed Martin in the Greek Aerospace Industry (EAB) and other Greek companies as subcontractors. This outsourcing ensures jobs over a seven-year period.
The same sources said those aircrafts were flying without any problems until 2009 and were withdrawn by decision of the Defence minister of the time since they were considered rather old.
If their modernization was carried out at that time it would not cost as much while any thoughts for the purchase of new aircrafts did not materialize as a result of the expected economic crisis, government sources noted.
The government sources said their modernization was considered necessary as their reconstruction cost provides work for hundreds of workers and there is border control and stressed that the money will be given in parts and over the longer term, while their reconstruction will bring decreases in the total budget of the armed forces.
 We should not forget Greece's difficulties, Austrian Chancellor saysVIENNA (ANA-MPA / D. Dimitrakoudis)
No one should forget how hard things are in Greece, where on one hand there is high child poverty rate and on the other rich people sent their money to Switzerland and don't pay taxes, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said on Sunday in an interview with Oesterreich newspaper.
Faymann, who has repeatedly asked a 'honest opportunity' to be given to Greece, said that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his government are not "magicians" and that despite criticism no one should forget how hard things are in Greece.
In his view, the Greek government underestimated the problems, it promised too much thinking it could deliver on its commitments and many of those that negotiate with it often believe they are not dealing with politicians but with academics.
"We have no reason to celebrate for being so good when at the same time South Europe is experiencing a humanitarian catastrophe," he noted.
 We do not allow Greece to blackmail us, Finland's FinMin saysBERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)
"We do not allow Greece to blackmail us," Finland's Finance Minister Antti Rinne said in statements to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"The decisions are clear and Greece will get extra money only when the reforms are not just decided but also implemented," he said.
"The release of loans requires a unilateral decision by the Eurogroup and Finland will give its consent only if the terms have been met," he said and added that this applies regardless of which party the Finance minister comes from, as his country holds elections on April 19.
 KKE leader Koutsoumbas: The agreement is an extension of the memorandumCommunist Party (KKE) secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas said that SYRIZA-Independent Greeks co-governance is now finalising with the partners the last details on the measures that accompany 20 February Eurogoup's agreement adding that the agreement contains all the memorandum measures because typically and essentially is an extension of the memorandum, it is (an agreement)" that bridges the old with the new memorandum that the government will bring in the next months" he said in his address late Saturday at a KKE of Central Macedonia event held in Thessaloniki.
He also said that the government calls "national effort" its policy in order to secure more hot state money for the domestic monopoly groups, while the 'proud negotiation' refers to the interests of the bourgeois that the government wants to serve.
Koutsoumbas also said that the people should not be trapped in managing rationales and underlined that until today the contrasts in the eurozone are being surpassed with compromises, noting that the possibility "these contrasts in the eurozone to not be able to compromise anymore and huge rifts to be created in eurozone's cohesion" remains open.
 Event on the establishment of the Investigating Committee for the debtParliament president Zoi Konstantopoulou called the Investigating Committee for the debt a ?debt for the truth and accountability to the Greek people and to the society" in her opening speech in parliament during the procedure for the establishment of the committee.
"The debt is not a sign of the times but the result of omissions, loan agreements with extremely high interests, contracts of corruption that skyrocketed the debt and that are depicted in a series of cases that are sent to parliament or to Justice. The debt is not indisputable and as long as it has not passed through an audit control, the question what percentage or part of it is legal and which part is illegal, burdensome and shameful remains" said Konstantopoulou.
President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos noted "Greece has commitments that derive from its participation in the eurozone and the fiscal targets we have undertaken but it also has rights that derive from the national sovereignty that has not been granted to the European institutions. Among them, is the right to control the condition under which the debt has been created, not only to find the truth but to prevent such phaenomena in the future".
State Minister for Corruption Panagiotis Nikoloudis noted that "there is no doubt that corruption is one of the main reasons that the country is in this condition, which appeared as an endemic phaenomenon in all state contracts."
All opposition parties are absent from the event.
 FinMin Varoufakis addresses parliament event on the Investigating Committee for the debtThe investigating committee for the debt can and should bring into the light the procedures through which the debt of the European countries has swollen, a result of eurozone's architecture and of the selections of the European financial system "which, however have been found legal from Eurostat and from the European Commission" said Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis during his address to parliament at an event held on the establishment of the committee for the debt.
Moreover, Varoufakis expressed skepticism over the recourse to investigating committees in order to cover 'the political and judicial system's failure'. "Yes to transparency. I am afraid that there is a tension in Greece every failure of the political and the legal system to be sent to examining committees in parliament" he concluded.
 Opposition parties' reaction on parliament's eventTo Potami party in an announcement on Saturday attacks parliament president Zoi Konstantopoulou saying that she did not invited Potami party and its leader Stavros Theodorakis in the event for the establishment of the Investigating Committee for the debt. "Ms Konstantopoulou continues to consider parliament her domain, and did not invite To Potami and as we are informed and other opposition parties to the event".
PASOK also called the event "an institutionally mischievous play" and refers to an 'alleged committee' calling the event a joint SYRIZA-Independent Greeks party event.
 Deputy National Defence min attends celebrations for Battle of the Forts anniversaryDeputy Defence Minister Nikos Toskas on Sunday represented the government at the celebrations for the 74th anniversary of the Battle of the Forts in the northern Greek region of Drama.
Toskas said that today we honour those who fought and "showed us the path of dignity, resistance, sacrifice as well as of the reason and courage."
"The current government is negotiating with the same dignity to improve the economic situation and pave the way of development for the Greek people," he added.
 Productive Reconstruction Minister: New chapter in Greek-Russian relations"The meetings I had in Moscow and their results may open a new chapter in the two countries energy, economic and political relations " said Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis referring to his visit to Moscow.
Lafazanis in an interview to the Sunday edition of Avghi newspaper stated that "this new hopeful potential will become reality with specific agreements not only for the Russian pipeline but for other issues... I believe that Alexis Tsipras' visit to Moscow and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin may be a landmark towards this direction" noted Lafazanis.
Referring to the Russian pipeline, he said that "a new chapter of upgraded cooperation in the Greek-Russian relations that will include and the Russian natural gas pipeline in Greece may change positively the political image and form of our region and of Europe" adding that "a Greek-Russian agreement will assist Greece in its negotiations with EU at the moment that EU is facing the new Greek government with unbelievable prejudice and the country as half-colony'.
The minister said that the privatisations in the energy sector belong to the past and announced that the natural gas rates will drop significantly, up to 15 percent, in April.
Finally, Lafazanis reassured that the protection of the environment and the sustainable development are very crucial and non-negotiable priorities for the government and are totally compatible with the country's productive reconstruction.
 Productive Reconstruction Min: SYRIZA government must be a government of progressive reversals"Either our government will be a government of huge rifts and progressive reversals or it will not have a future" stated Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis in an interview with Saturday newspaper Agora.
The minister underlined that the government will not make a single step back from its commitments not for reasons of in-party pressure, but because such a retreat will mean a real 'waterloo' for the government and mostly for the country.
Lafazanis said that the 'institutions' and mostly the German establishment face with dogmatic prejudice the government and the country as a half-colony "They are not interested in the context of our proposals but that it comes from a radical left government that wants the country to be independent and to have a progressive course. That's what bothers them up to hysteria" he said and warned that if the deep conservative and neoliberal Europe continues on the same course and does not change thoroughly it will confront decadence and dissolution.
Referring to his recent visit to Moscow, Lafazanis estimated that it may open a new historic chapter not only in the energy but also in the economic and political relations of Greece and Russia which, as he said, it is possible to be sealed during Tsipras-Putin's meeting on April 8 in Moscow.
Finally, the minister reiterated that privatisations, particularly of strategic companies and excellent properties will not take place.
 President Pavlopoulos meets with Alternate Tourism Minister KountouraPresident of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos received on Saturday Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura at the presidential mansion.
Kountoura briefed the president on the course of the tourist sector.
On his part, Pavlopoulos said that tourism is a national issue noting that all are national but tourism is something special.
Kountoura underlined that it is a huge responsibility and tourism is a national product and estimated that everything will go very well".
 Detained members of "Conspiracy of Cells of Fire" stop hunger strikeThe incarcerated members of the terror group "Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire" stopped on Saturday the hunger strike.
In their announcement they say that "after 32 of hunger strike and with their health at serious condition, the eight members of the group decided to stop the hunger strike because "the mother of Christos and Gerasimos Tsakalos and the companion of the last will soon be released from jail" referring probably to Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos statement according to which he is considering to table an amendement that will foresee the release on conditions for the relatives of the detained.
Ten members of the "Conspiracy of Cells of Fire" group, have been on a hunger strike since March 3, 2015 demanding the release of their detained relatives.
 Tension in protests at Skouries minesTension escalated earlier on Sunday in the Skouries area of Halkidiki, when two groups of protesters - mine workers and citizens against the operation of the mines - hurled stones at each other with the police making use of tear gas.
Tension also flared in the afternoon, when anti-establishment protesters, who were supporting the locals, hurled stones and petrol bombs at the police officers who used chemicals to disperse them.
 Nationwide protests against toll postsCoordinating Committees against Toll Posts organized protests across the country, demanding among others the abolition of toll stations that are close to cities.
Activists and citizens gathered at several toll stations of the country, raising the toll bars and allowing vehicles to go through free of charge for roughly two hours.
 Light quake jolts CephaloniaA light quake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was recorded at 7:38 on Saturday on Cephalonia.
The quake's epicentre was located 14km north-northwest of Cephalonia and 282km west of Athens.
 Super League ResultsGames played for the Super League had the following results:
Panathinaikos-Asteras Tripolis 2-2
Levadiakos-OFI 3-0 (without game)
Kalloni-Niki Volou 3-0 (without game)
PAS Yiannina-Olympiakos 3-1
Atromitos-Kerkyra April 6
1. Olympiakos 67 (29 matches)
2. Panathinaikos 59 (30 matches)
3. PAOK 57 (30 matches)
4. Asteras Tripolis 52 (30 matches)
5. PAS Yiannina 50 (30 matches)
6. Xanthi 46 (30 matches)
. Atromitos 46 (29 matches)
8. Panetolikos 43 (30 matches)
9. Kerkyra 40 (29 matches)
. Kalloni 40 (30 matches)
11. Panionios 38 (30 matches)
12. Veria 37 (30 matches)
. Levadiakos 37 (30 matches)
14. Panthrakikos 34 (29 matches)
. Platanias 34 (30 matches)
16. Ergotelis 28 (30 matches)
17. OFI 13 (30 matches)
18. Niki Volou -6 (30 matches)
 Rain on MondayRain and southerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Rain and thunderstorms in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 07C-16C. Clouds and rain in the western parts with temperatures between 11C-17C. Unstable weather with clouds, rain and possibility of thunderstorms in the eastern parts and temperatures between 08C-20C. Clouds and rain over the Aegean islands and Crete, 13C-20C. Clouds and rain in Athens, 13C-20C. Rain in Thessaloniki, 10C-16C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Greece claims its position.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Civil war among ministers.
EPOCHI: Government has to take now the initiative and act.
ETHNOS: Holy week and hope for resurrection.
KATHIMERINI: Multiple impasses and elections in the background.
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: Lies come to an end. No end to the antisocial commitments.
PROTO THEMA: Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' confessions: I do not sign.
Reanews: New general elections on the horizon.
TO ARTHRO: Government reshuffle now.
TO PARON: Double currency. Tsipras' plan B if the lenders do not disburse the tranche.
TO VIMA: From the honest to the painful compromise with new measures.
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