|Tuesday, 22 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-04-27
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 27 April 2015 Issue No: 4944
 PM Tsipras has phone contact with Chancellor MerkelPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday had a phone contact with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to government sources.
Tsipras and Merkel expressed their common desire for constant communication throughout the course of the negotiations in order to achieve a mutually beneficial solution.
The Greek prime minister also spoke on the phone with the president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
The president of the Council of Economic Advisors (SOE) Giorgos Chouliarakis had a phone contact with the European Commission official Declan Costello. The two officials agreed to start immediately the procedures of the Brussels Group.
A teleconference of the Brussels Group has been scheduled for Monday and a meeting will take place on Wednesday.
Earlier on Sunday, the Prime Minister met with the Government Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Alternate Foreign Minister for International Economic Relations Euclid Tsakalotos and other officials.
 PM Tsipras: Europe considers migration issue of huge importancePrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday referred to the migration issue underlining that it is one of the most important issues that concerns Europe and unfortunately it burdens, as he said, the reception countries more than other countries.
Tsipras upon the arrival of the regional governors at the Maximos mansion for a meeting also said that in the southern Aegean and in Evros region there is less inflow of migrants because EU focuses mostly on the southern Mediterranean on the Libyan side and asked EU to also focus on the eastern Aegean.
 FinMin Varoufakis: We are close to an agreement"I believe we are close to an agreement. The most important is to be done correctly. Not only to sign whatever agreement in order to have an agreement but to manage to achieve something that will be a genuine growth model for Greece" said Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis speaking to euronews on Saturday and expressed the certainty that the differences with the institutions can be bridged.
Asked if some of his colleagues in the Eurogroup referred to a plan B if the negotiations fail, Varoufakis said "It is true that one of my colleagues in the Eurogroup, unintentionally, probably from anger, referred to that. My immediate answer was to say that there is no plan B, there can't be a plan B and whatever reference to a plan B is clearly anti-European and finally against the interests of the particular country which is represented by the particular colleague'.
Yanis Varoufakis also referred to the liquidity problem "The fact that in the last two years we received liquidity injections in regular periods, only added more fuel to the fire. What is of vital importance is to put a halt to this vicious circle and to create a healthy circle. That means that for a little while, and for as long as these important negotiations continue we are under pressure regarding the liquidity issue, let it be. It is an investment for a better future for Greece and for a better future for Europe" concluded Varoufakis.
 FinMin: Our partners must leave behind the sterile fixation on the failed memorandum rationaleFinance Minister Yanis Varoufakis sent a message to Greece's lender after the criticism he received on Friday at the Eurogroup meeting, in an interview to Realnews newspaper. "Our duty is to persuade our partners that we are struggling for real rifts, deep reforms and prudent fiscal policy. Their duty is to release themselves from the sterile fixation on the failed memorandum 'rationale' "he said.
 EU Finance Ministers: There is not other plan but Greece to remain in the eurozoneEuropean Union and eurozone Finance Ministers meeting in Riga was concluded with the common position (regarding Greece) that there is no other plan but Greece to remain in the eurozone.
"There is no plan B or C or D for Greece (exit from the eurozone)" said French Finance Minister Michel Sapin after the end of the EU Finance Ministers meeting in Riga on Saturday. The same statement made upon his arrival to Ecofin, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici.
The Slovenian Finance Minister Dusan Mramor said that with his reference on Friday for a plan B he did not referred to a possible Greek exit form the eurozone but to the difficulties that exist in the deliberations and the need for another procedure.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble when asked if he agrees with Chancellor Angela Merkel that she will do everything in order Greece to remain in the eurozone, he answered positively adding that it is not certain that the Chancellor's determination is enough.
At a question on the so-called plan B he did not give a clear answer.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was sharply criticised on Friday on the delay that according to his counterparts, exists in Greece's negotiations with the institutions. Varoufakis said that Greece is not responsible for whatever delays and insinuated that some dogmatic obsessions of specific countries of the eurozone are also responsible for the delays.
However, diplomatic sources recognised on Saturday in Riga that the procedure followed recently in Greece's negotiations with the lenders is at a point problematic and there must be corrective actions as soon as possible in order the agreement to be reached until May 11. "The solution is not of course the return to the troika" said the same sources adding however that "even eternity does not last forever".
On his part, Austrian Finance Minister Hans Georg Schelling speaking on Saturday to the press expressed the certainty that within the next weeks will be an agreement with Greece "It is up to Greece" he said adding "I hope Mr. Varoufakis to have received the message Eurogroup sent him yesterday".
Finally, diplomatic sources said that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had a meeting with European Commissioner Moscovici on the sidelines of the Ecofin in Riga. The governor of the Bank of Greece Yannis Stournaras is also in Riga who had the opportunity to meet with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and with Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
 Defence Minister on negotiations: We are willing to cooperate, not to translate draft laws"Some want to hit Greece and to subordinate it and do not have the political will to find a solution" stated Defence Minister and Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos referring to the negotiations and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble's stance towards Greece.
In an interview on Sunday to Mega private TV, Kammenos referring specifically to Wolfgang Schaueble said that he has "a hostile stance towards Greece".
"Mr. Schaeuble with a 3 percent he holds in the international market is trying to pass that Europe is his own store and will play with the big. This is his personal policy which follow a number of countries of the north and is not interested in what is happening in the south of Europe" he said and estimated that "if Mr. Schaueble's opinion is imposed there will be no solution"
The agreement will depend, as Kammenos said, on if our partners really understand that Greece is an independent country to which was imposed a wrong policy and the people have decided that this policy must not continue. "We are willing to cooperate but not to translate draft laws" he noted adding that "Some do not have the political volition a solution to be found. Whatever steps we take there are some that want to sabotage them'.
Asked on reports that some European ministers and officials are complaining for Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis he underlined "they believe that they can change government regardless of the people's volition...now they don't want Mr. Varoufakis, before the did not want me as partner in the government. It is not possible, in any case to let them intervene to the country's internal affairs. It is absurd and against democracy".
Kammenos rejected the possibility of early election saying that such a matter does not exist while on the possibility of a referendum he stated "in case the agreement is violated and some say that we must follow Schaeuble and we must illegally kick Greece out of the eurozone, then probably it will be necessary".
 FinMin Varoufakis on Twitter: "I welcome their hatred"Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Sunday posted on Twitter US President Franklin Roosevelt's phrase "they are unanimous in their hate for me?and I welcome their hatred" calling it a "phrase that is very close to my heart (and to reality) these days".
With this comment, probably, Varoufakis describes the climate that is forming against him by international circles.
Finance Ministry sources estimate that as the hour for an agreement comes closer, the pressures will also intensify.
 Controversial act of Parliament passes on ruling coalition vote amid stiff oppositionParliament on Friday passed on ruling coalition votes a controversial parliamentary act obliging cities and state-related entities to transfer the majority of their operational capital to Greece's central bank for use by the government.
The act, which exempts health and pension funds, unleashed a fury of opposition that included verbal abuse and heavy charges of wasting valuable time while the economy was worsening.
Ruling coalition parties Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and Independent Greeks (ANEL) passed the act under emergency voting procedures with 156 votes.
A total of 260 deputies took part in the roll-call vote (in principle and on article 1), as proposed by main opposition New Democracy and Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Voting down the act were 104 deputies of ND, Potami, Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi), KKE and PASOK.
 FM Kotzias: Do they want to support us to have growth or they want to punish us because we have a left governmentGreek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Friday set the dilemma "Do they want to support us to have growth... or do they decide to have Greece struggle, to punish Greece and to create an example of what happens to a country that has a left government," Kotzias said to Reuters on Friday, last day of his five-day visit to USA.
Kotzias also clarified that he respects Germany just not German politics, nor the way Berlin views Greece's economy, which faces the prospect of running out of money if it cannot agree to new bailout terms with creditors. Kotzias said Greece and its euro zone partners need to compromise on creating political policies that will foster growth and allow the country to pay its debts.
Asked if he is simply asking the rest of Europe to trust Greece, he said: "No. To be pragmatic. Trust is a very important thing but they have to be pragmatic. It is like a game of chicken, but not the kind of game you know. What our friends are forgetting is that we don't have gas to move... We like to come back to compromising and at the end we will do it," said Kotzias adding "So you are not giving a solution to Greece, you press the Greek government? What can be the solution? Golden Dawn is coming. Nobody has an interest in that, so that is why they will find a solution," he said.
Referring to the cooperation with Russia on the construction of a natural gas pipeline that that passes through Turkey, Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and then into Hungary and perhaps include Austria he said that a technical group will meet in May to discuss financing and logistics for the pipeline. According to a Russian calculation, an investment in the Greek portion of the pipeline could be between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, Kotzias said stressing that western companies and banks rather than the Russian government would fund the pipeline building under EU rules.
As for money Greece might collect in advance on future profits from the pipeline's operations, Kotzias said the Russians told Greece it was a figure close to what Bulgaria would have earned from South Stream. "I'm not very sure exactly, but it is about $5 billion," Kotzias said.
 PM Tsipras' meeting with regional governors completedPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras' meeting with the regional governors was completed at the Maximos mansion earlier on Saturday.
The president of the Union of Greek Regions Constantinos Agorastos said after the meeting that the regional governors received from the prime minister the political reassurance that the measure to turn over the majority of their liquid assets to the central bank for use by the government is provisional and that in a reasonable period of time it will become optional through an amendment.
Agorastos underlined that Tsipras spoke honestly adding "we are here for the national effort".
The prime minister will meet on Tuesday with Attica regional governor Rena Dourou that is currently abroad.
 Gov't sources: Society has understood the way the former government was negotiatingGovernment circles commenting New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' statements on Saturday in Patras said "Mr. Samaras insists on constructing windmills. Memorandums and new recession measures".
The same circles said that Mr. Samaras is charging the government as the only one responsible for the unprecedented wave of refugees when at the same time EU is having an extraordinary Summit for the issue by recognising its pan-European dimension. Moreover, ND leader calls the government to agree with all the harsh measures for a 'drop of liquidity'. "The society has totally understood how the former government was negotiating. There is no need to confirm it every time he speaks" said Maximos mansion sources.
 Gov't Vice President: Financial stranglehold is applied deliberatelyThe liquidity problem is the "result of settlements of the past" stated to the Sunday edition of Avghi newspaper, government's vice president Yiannis Dragasakis adding that the cash reserves' impasse in February and in March was faced with the intensification of the revenues and the shifting of payments, however, this can't continue because it creates conditions of recession "If this happens we may be obliged to undertake measures that today we are trying to avoid and this is something some would wished for. That's why the tackling of the liquidity problem must become part of the negotiation and of the solution. Currently, this danger is reversible, provided that there will be cooperation of the European institutions and even more acceleration, intensification and coordination of the government's action".
Dragasakis estimated that the problem intensifies due to ECB's restriction measures and the imported uncertainty "a practice of financial stranglehold is applied deliberately" and underlined that if the issue is not faced jointly with the institutions "the smooth facilitation of the country's external obligations will become more and more against the needs of the Greek people's survival". He also noted that the continuous uncertainty is not of anyone interest and that we must work for an agreement based on the spirit of 20 February Eurogroup's agreement and not to return to the 5th evaluation of the memorandum "there is a clear prospect as well as an imperative need the transition agreement to be completed in the first days of May if not in the last days of April".
He reiterated that "there is no issue of new memoranda" and explained that "the settlement for a sustainable and performing debt, a fiscal policy without outrageous primary surpluses, reforms that will reduce the inequalities, a powerful investment programme and sources that finance them for the transition to a new productive model, are what the government wants".
Concluding, Dragasakis said "the most strong reactions for the government's new economic policy may not come from Europe but from inside, from the domestic elite, the spoiled children of the story".
 Alt. FinMin appears optimistic over the cash reserves in MayAlternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas appeared optimistic over the cash reserves in May, speaking on Saturday to private TV ALPHA. "It is estimation, an expectation not a position" he noted estimating that there will be developments on European level.
"We seek to meet our commitments on time, that's our job" he said. Referring to the legislation on the liquid assets he noted that it is necessary to cover the State's needs and not only the salaries and the pensions and added that in other countries the turn over of the liquid assets to the central bank in other countries is the law.
 ND leader Samaras: Exit from the crisis still possible without any sacrificesNew Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras addressed on Saturday a party meeting on the migration issue at the port city of Patras. The former prime minister noted that the migration problem is a reason for which, an agreement that will safeguard Greece's presence in Europe, becomes even more necessary.
Samaras charged the government that it stopped the country's effort to exit from the crisis which was as he said on an exit course before the general elections, and estimated that the exit is still possible without more sacrifices but with political interventions that will give a breather to the people.
"We have succeeded to receive a precautionary support line" said Samaras adding "during our governance never occurred salary or pension payment issue. We have sent away these ghosts" he said adding that "these ghosts destroy the country's image".
Referring to speculations on early general elections he said "Elections mean mandate for the drachma. Even if they (SYRIZA) win them, they will tell you the same, 'we will continue the dialogue from where we have stopped'. Elections mean drachma and that will be our catastrophe. We will prevent it and we will press the government to change policy. The country needs prospect and hope. We were not scaremongering, we were telling the truth. SYRIZA said a lot of lies" he said.
Moreover, Samaras estimated that "we can exit for good from the memorandum and the crisis provided we change policy" adding that "if the good course was not interrupted we would have already got out of the crisis'.
 Independent Greeks on ND leader's charges"The political desolation in which former prime minister (Antonis Samaras, New Democracy leader) has fallen into after the devastating defeat in the general elections makes him delirious and launching stupidities" said Independent Greeks spokeswoman Marina Chrysoveloni in response to Samaras' charges during his address to an ND's event in Patras on Saturday.
"Despite the fact that he sank the country into poverty and squalor and left behind a devastated country with over 1.5 million unemployed, speaking to a party audience he once again proved that he has the slightest feeling of self-awareness only audacity".
 Potami leader: National consensus necessaryPotami leader Stavros Theodorakis referred to the need for consensus among the political parties in this crucial period for the country, during his meeting with President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Sunday at the presidential mansion.
Theodorakis underlined the need for a meeting of the political party leaders chaired by the President of the Republic in order a national consensus for the country's remaining in the eurozone to be formed.
"Everyone must assume his responsibilities in order the country to remain in Europe's heart" he said after the meeting adding "Hours are crucial, crucial decisions are necessary and not recklessness in order accidents to be avoided'.
 PASOK leader Venizelos: Government is strategically trappedThe government is strategically trapped because it does not have a mandate for rift and is unable to handle neither the rift nor the parliamentary in-government correlations that will allow the shift" estimated PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos in an interview to the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper.
He also said that government's officials nurture political development scenarios of early elections and of a referendum and supported that the "country will go in very bad conditions either to a referendum or to elections."
Venizelos expressed concern over 'a national tragedy' within the eurozone claiming that the danger for the country is not the Grexit but the "bankruptcy, the humiliation and the marginalisation in the eurozone with result, maybe, to beg to get rid of the eurozone member's commitments.
 Health Minister to ANA-MPA: Gov't determined to support the public health systemThe current government is determined to support in any way the public health system and to exhaust not only all possible option of the surplus but of every cent, stated Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis in an interview with ANA-MPA on Sunday.
The minister underlined that in May, after his contacts his visits to the public hospitals throughout the country are completed, he will be able to have a picture of the real problems and he will proceed to their solution with targeted hirings.
"We received a tragic condition. For five years the system was deteriorating. The government is determined to support the health system and will exhaust all possibilities" said Kouroumblis describing the condition in the public health sector.
Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis' interview is available for subscriber on ANA-MPA website
 SYRIZA leads by 15.2 pct over ND, says opinion pollSYRIZA has significant lead over main opposition New Democracy (ND) according to an opinion poll conducted by Kappa Research for the Sunday newspaper VIMA.
According to the poll results, SYRIZA leads with 36.9 percentage points followed by ND with 21.7, To Potami with 7.3 pct, Golden Dawn with 5.7 pct, the Communist Party (KKE) with 5 pct, Independent Greeks with 4.6 pct and PASOK with 3.9 pct. 4.8 pct of the respondent express support to another party and 9.1 of the respondents did not answer.
71.9 pct of the respondents said that an agreement with Greece's lenders is the best for the country while 68.8 percent said that the exit from the eurozone is a possible danger. 72.9 percent said that they want the country to remain in the eurozone and 50.2 percent said they agree with the government is negotiating.
In the case of an impasse, 44.2 pct said they would prefer a government of national consensus, 32.7 percent wants a referendum and 18.7 percent general elections.
 Opinion poll shows SYRIZA lead by 14.1 pct over NDSYRIZA leads by 14.1 percentage points over main opposition New Democracy (ND) according to an opinion poll conducted by ALCO for the Sunday newspaper Proto Thema.
According to the poll results SYRIZA is preferred by 35.9 percent of those asked followed by ND with 21.8 pct, to Potami with 5.1 pct, the Communist Party (KKE) with 5.1 pct, Golden Dawn with 5 pct, Independent Greeks with 3.6 pct and PASOK with 3.3 pct. The undecided voted reached 16 pct.
27 percent of the respondents said they want a referendum if the negotiations fail, 51 percent that the government must handle the issue and 15 percent want elections.
 Alt. Defence Minister lays wreath to ANZAC memorial in GallipoliAlternate Defence Minister Costas Isychos represented the Greek government in the commemoration event held at Gallipoli peninsula, Turkey, for the 100-year anniversary of the ANZAC landing.
Isychos, who was accompanied by the ambassador of Greece to Ankara Kyriakos Loukakis, laid a wreath to the memorial of the fallen Australian and New Zealander soldiers and held talks with officials.
On Sunday, the minister visited Zoodochos Peghe at Baloukli monastery in Istanbul and met with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
 Super League resultsKalloni-OFI 3-0 (no game)
Niki Volou-Veria 0-3 (no game)
PAOK-PAS Giannena 1-1
Asteras Tr.-Panthrakikos 2-1
Standings after 32 weeks of play:
1. Olympiakos 73 - champion (31 games)
2. Panathinaikos 62
3. PAOK 61
4. Asteras Tr. 55
5. PAS Giannena 52
6. Atromitos 50
7. Xanthi 46
8. Panetolikos 46
9. Kalloni 43
10. Veria 43
11.Panionios 41 - (31 games)
12.Kerkyra 40 - (31 games)
16.Ergotelis 31 - (31 games)
18.Niki Volou 6
 Trapped undocumented migrants on an Evros river islet rescuedAn operation to rescue 69 undocumented migrants that were trapped on an islet in Evros river was completed successfully on Saturday.
Police was informed on Thursday that a group of people were trapped on an islet and their lives were in danger.
A special police unit searched the area and finally located the trapped migrants (42 men, 10 women and 17 children).
The preliminary investigation revealed that an unknown individual brought the migrants from Turkey to Greece with a boat and abandoned them on the islet.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Hour of responsibility for Europe.
EPOCHI: Assets bankruptcy in the eurozone
ETHNOS: Walking on a minefield.
KATHIMERINI: Fed report: Increased danger of Grexit
KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: In Tsipras' (Alexis, prime minister) mind
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: No more sacrifices for the capital and EU.
LOGOS: 3.3 million euros tax evasion from house rentals to tourists.
PRIN: Working classes counterattack, no more delay.
PROTO THEMA: Merkel (Angela, German Chancellor) and Schaueble (Wolfgang, German Finance Minister) are 'playing chicken'.
REAL NEWS: Ultimatum from Washington's club.
TO PARON: Schaueble wants to overthrow Tsipras.
TO VIMA: Zero hour for Mr. Tsipras.
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