|Thursday, 17 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-08-05
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, August 5 2015
 Very possible to achieve deal with lenders before August 20, concludes economic council meetingIt is very possible for the Greek government to achieve an agreement with the institutions before August 20, provided all sides comply with the commitments arising from the decision of the July 12 eurozone Summit, the Government Council for Economic Policy concluded on Wednesday during a meeting.
According to government sources, participants in the meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, discussed and reviewed in detail the targets of the Greek side in the current stage of the negotiations with the institutions.
 PM Tsipras unveils 6 bln euro programme for agricultureYou cannot repay loans without growth, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in statements after a visit to the ministry of Rural Development and Food on Wednesday.
He noted that there will be discrimination between the farmers whose main profession is agriculture and the farmers whose main job is another one. He also promised that the government will seek a 13 percent tax on farmers.
Tsipras talked about "a fair distribution of the tax burden and the implementation of good practices so that the next generation works in the primary sector of the economy," adding that "the aim is to promote new forms of collaboration and high quality products."
"We will proceed with combating the interests monopolizing the rural sector for years," he stressed.
The prime minister also announced a 6 billion euro agricultural policy until 2020 and the creation of 50,000 new jobs while stressing the importance of knowledge, training, and innovation to achieve these goals.
 Migration Commissioner Avramopoulos urges Tsipras to set up authority to receive EU fundsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Ch. Vasilaki) - European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos urged Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a telephone conversation on Tuesday to designate immediately the authority which will be responsible for collecting EU financial assistance to tackle immigration.
The emergency EU funds are to be allocated for the provision of asylum services, for managing migration flows and the hospitality centers, providing civil protection and more.
 EU chief Juncker expects Greek debt accord by Aug 20European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker believes an agreement on a third bailout for Greece is likely this month and preferably by August 20 when Athens must make a key debt repayment.
The negotiations in Athens are now making "satisfactory" progress, Juncker told AFP in an interview on Wednesday.
 Left platform deputies will not vote for a new memorandum, Lafazanis saysFormer minister Panagiotis Lafazanis on Wednesday said that he will not vote for the memorandum and expressed the view that all SYRIZA deputies of the left platform will probably do the same. He added that if the memorandum is voted, they will remain in SYRIZA's parliamentary group, however, committed to the pre-election programme and the policy statements of the government.
Asked if the support to the SYRIZA-ANEL government is a one-way road, Lafazanis said: "We support the government to implement its programme. We are committed to SYRIZA's pre-election programme. "That is what we push forward, that is what we support. We do not support prior actions for the memorandum, we do not support memoranda," he underlined.
"In case the agreement is voted, then we can do nothing," he stated. What we can do is distinguish our position from the memorandum concessions, he added. "The Greek people cannot tolerate any more pressure in pensions and salaries. Austerity does not lead anywhere, it only leads to recession, and recession brings new memoranda, to a vicious circle."
 FinMin Tsakalotos says '3-4 issues remain open' after meeting with institutionsThe meeting of Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Economy Minister George Stathakis with the representatives of the four institutions (EU Commission, ECB, ESM and IMF) concluded on Wednesday afternoon, with Tsakalotos stating that differences remain on the timetable of the implementation of the required reforms.
"There are 3-4 points which remain open at a technical and not political level," the minister said after the meeting, adding that one of them is the timetable for the implementation of reforms. "Which [reforms] will be implemented now, which in October, which will follow and what consequences they will have on the fiscal front and growth," he noted.
Tsakalotos mentioned agriculture as an example, saying that "there's a lot for farmers; we must see which will be implemented earlier and which can be delayed."
Another issue discussed was which state assets will be included in the new development Fund and how the body will operate, he said.
Tsakalotos also said the recapitalization of Greece's banks is an issue on which "all agree it should end by the end of this year," adding that "nobody wants to repeat the situation in Cyprus (haircut on bank deposits) which the institutions also do not consider a success."
On his side, Stathakis said the issue of non-performing loans wasn't discussed today as it is still being examined at a technical level and which is reviewed along with the recapitalization of Greek banks.
 Greece is very close to completing final draft of deal with lendersgov't spokeswomanGreece is very close to completing the final document of the agreement with its lenders, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili told private radio station Vima FM on Wednesday, noting the government is on alert after the completion of the first round of talks with the institutions.
Asked whether the government is satisfied with the content of the agreement which is being drafted, Gerovasili said: "We've said it from the start that the agreement which is being drafted, is a retreat for us. But a necessary retreat to help the country avoid the worse and a disorderly bankruptcy. Therefore, we have backed down from our program and our principles. This is a given and we have no reason to hide it."
The spokeswoman also clarified that the government will not draft a deal which will not be implemented, and that negotiations will not end and after this document is prepared. She said some prior actions will follow but also that it is possible negotiations will not conclude on some issues even by the end of the year, such as labour laws and non-performing loans.
 Finance Ministry's bill on legislative acts regarding bank holiday submitted to ParliamentThe Finance ministry's draft law on the approval of the legislative acts regarding the bank holiday was submitted on Wednesday to the Parliament.
 Prefecture of Southern Aegean takes action on irregular migrationThe prefect of the Southern Aegean, Giorgos Hatzimarkos is visiting the island of Kos on Thursday to discuss with local authorities the ways to address the massive inflow of undocumented migrants and refugees at the island.
Authorities estimate about 3,000 migrants and refugees are currently in Kos.
Speaking at a press conference, Hatzimarkos said the parliament finally approved an amendment he had requested himself from Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis, allowing local authorities to allocate their funds for tackling migration. Hatzimarkos, who said he had criticized the government for delaying the approval by the parliament, said the amendment will help the prefecture of the Southern Aegean to contribute decisively in relieving the problem.
"The amendment has passed; we're going to Kos with a wider ability to intervene," he told journalists and added that similar actions will take place in Leros and Kalymnos, where irregular migration has swelled.
 Parliament president says findings of Debt Truth Committee should be utilizedParliament president Zoi Konstantopoulou made a thorough review of the parliament's work during her six months in office in a press conference on Wednesday.
Asked about the work of the Debt Truth Committee and how this has been utilized by the government in its negotiations with its lenders, Konstantopoulou clarified that she was in full agreement with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from the beginning who had also expressed a need to create the Committee.
"The prime minister expressed the government's support to the establishment of this committee in a genuine and sincere way and I have no doubt that he recognized its importance. The same happened with the President of the Republic," the Parliament's president said.
She also noted however that the findings of the Commission "have not received adequate attention" and added: "this does not mean we'll do an autopsy. While we have the opportunity, my obligation is to insist that this government exploits it. The obligation of every competent authority and body is to take this finding into account."
Konstantopoulou also noted that a debate on the findings of the committee in the plenary is still pending, adding that the Conference of Presidents is already on board and this was also a request by many SYRIZA MPs.
 Meeting between PAME and Labour Min Katrougalos concludedThe meeting between Labour Minister George Katrougalos and the delegation of communist party affiliated trade union PAME on labour and social insurance issues was concluded on Wednesday. The union expressed its opposition to the measures under negotiation.
"This policy benefits the business groups and hurts the workers, the self-employed and the farmers. There is no other solution than the powerful alliance and the fight against monopolies and the policies that serve them," Christos Katsotis, deputy and communist party KKE central committee member Christos Katsotis said.
 State Minister Pappas: We must end lack of transparency in licensing of broadcastersThe Greek government wants to shield the licensing procedure for broadcasters legally, institutionally and politically, State Minister Nikos Pappas said in a written statement on Wednesday, adding that the current status is not the desired one.
"The lack of transparency, the permits handed overnight, the deafening silence of those responsible, the constant, almost tacit renewals of licenses and tenures, cannot and must not continue," he noted.
"We call on every institution and all political parties to contribute so as to finally put some order in television, by achieving conditions for a broad political consensus," he concluded.
 New Democracy leader Meimarakis meets General Confederation of Greek WorkersMain opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Evangelos Meimarakis on Wednesday had a meeting with the presidium and members of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE).
Meimarakis said that the main opposition is not well informed on the course of the negotiations and stressed the importance of being well prepared before going to negotiate.
On his part, the president of GSEE Yiannis Panagopoulos said: "We found from the help we offered the importance of all the forces being united and supporting the negotiation. This is our biggest problem."
 Communist Party slams Tsipras for 'trying to appease the farmers'The Communist Party of Greece said on Wednesday it is a huge lie that by closing the deal for the third bailout the tax weights on farmers will be lowered. The party was commenting on the speech made earlier by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the ministry of Rural Development and Food.
"Mr. Tsipras is trying to appease the peasantry, at a time when the government and the EU's policy - using a tax raid and the unpopular Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) - have wiped out farmers in order to develop entrepreneurship and competitiveness, as the Prime Minister himself said. That is, the capitalist exploitation of the farmers," the party said in a statement.
Concerning the six billion euros Tsipras has pledged by 2020, they are part of the program of the previous government of New Democracy and "will be handed out to farmers-capitalists, industrialists and manufacturers rather than the peasantry which is being destroyed en masse."
 Greek stocks end significantly lower, banks down 63.81 pct in three daysGreek stocks ended significantly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Wednesday hit by a total 63.81 pct fall in the banking index in the last three sessions which has pushed the market value of the four systemic banks to less than 5.0 billion euros. The composite index of the market fell 2.53 pct to end at 643.22 points, off the day's lows of 630.98 points. The index is down 19.35 pct since the market reopened on Monday, while the market's capitalization fell by 1.35 billion euros, losing 11.34 billion in three sessions.
The Large Cap index fell 2.86 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.22 pct lower. Turnover was an improved 81.390 million euros.
Piraeus Port (11.23 pct), Coca Cola HBC (7.60 pct), Athens Water (5.89 pct) and Hellenic Exchanges (5.67 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Piraeus Bank (29.59 pct), Alpha Bank (29.56 pct), Eurobank (26.76 pct) and National Bank (24.29 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Among market sectors, Food (7.59 pct), Utilities (3.91 pct) and Real Estate (3.90 pct) scored big gains, while Banks (27 pct), Health (6.0 pct) and Oil (4.56 pct) suffered losses.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 60 to 40 with another 17 issues unchanged. PC Systems (20 pct), Forthnet (19.73 pct) and Progressive (19.15 pct) were top gainers, while Piraeus Bank (29.59 pct), Alpha Bank (29.56 pct) and Attica Bank (27.78 pct) were top losers.
 ADEX closing reportThe August contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 2.45 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Wednesday.
The FTSE/ASE Large Cap index closed at 188.88 points, registering losses of 2.86 pct.
Volume on the Large Cap index totaled 2,789 contracts with 5,114 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 79,841 contracts with investment interest focusing on Eurobank (31,870), followed by Piraeus Bank (18,473), Alpha Bank (17,598), National Bank's contracts (5,990), MIG (2,489), PPC (861), OTE (480), GEK (270), OPAP (267), Hellenic Petroleum (262), Motor Oil (231), Viohalco (145), Mytilineos (103), METKA (98), Ellaktor (57), and Frigoglass (32).
 Greece raises 813 mln euros from T-bill auctionGreek authorities on Wednesday successfully auctioned a six-month Treasury bill issues raising 813 million euros from the market. The interest rate of the issue was set at 2.97 pct, unchanged from the previous auction last month.
Bids submitted totaled 813 million euros, 1.30 times more than the asked sum of 625 million euros. The auction was made with the market's primary dealers while settlement date was set for Friday, 7 August. The Public Debt Management Organization will also accept noncompetitive bids up to 30 pct of the asked sum by Thursday, 6 August.
 Metals and energy group Mytilineos reports lower turnover, higher profits in H1Mytilineos Group on Wednesday said its turnover fell 2.5 pct in the first half of 2015 to 636.5 million euros, from 653 million in the same period last year.
EBITDA eased 1.3 pct to 118.7 million euros, while net profits - after tax and minorities - jumped 35.9 pct to 32.8 million euros from 24.1 million euros in the first half of 2014.
The metals and mining sector recorded the best performance in the January-June period, compared with the same period last year. Turnover totaled 297.7 million euros, up 45 pct from last year, while EBITDA soared 176 pct to 65.4 million euros. This performance reflects a drastic cost reduction and rising competitiveness by Aluminium of Greece.
The EPC project sector recorded lower results with METKA reporting a decline in turnover to 257.6 million euros in the first half, from 361.9 million last year and EBITDA falling by 19.8 pct to 46.2 million euros. Net -after tax and minorities- profits totaled 29.2 million euros, down from 54.5 million euros in 2014.
The energy sector recorded a turnover of 86 million euros in the January-June period, down from 90 million euros last year. EBITDA plunged to 6.6 million euros from 42.4 million euros in 2014.
 Greek coast guard rescues 553 undocumented migrants in 24 hoursThe Greek coast guard rescued 553 undocumented migrants in the last 24 hours in 16 search operations in areas near the islands of the eastern Aegean, it was announced on Wednesday.
Authorities said they were involved in operations near Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Farmakonisi and Kos.
 Air traffic controllers hold four-hour work stoppageGreece's air traffic controllers' union will be on a four-hour warning strike from 14:00 until 18:00. They are demanding that a draft bill be tabled in Parliament that creates an Aeronautical Provider for the Civil Aviation Authority as an independent entity, in compliance with European rules.
The union said that strike action will escalate if there is no response from the transport ministry, starting on August 14.
 Passenger and commercial traffic from Attica ports down in JulyPassenger and commercial traffic from the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio fell in July, hit by the imposition of capital controls on banks, official figures showed on Wednesday.
Coastal shipping sources said they expected passenger traffic to improve in August, although no estimates could be made over whether there would be an changes compared with August 2014. Passenger traffic from Piraeus port totaled 474,498 in July, while commercial traffic was 57,755 cars, 14,223 lorries and 12,772 motorcycles, down from 567,037, 71,783, 17,323 and 15,393 respectively last year.
Passenger and commercial traffic from Rafina port fell to 169,343 passengers, 25,767 cars, 2,018 lorries and 4,172 motorcycles, while traffic from Lavrio port totaled 34,386 passengers, 7,781 cars, 584 lorries and 946 motorcycles.
 Athens News Headlines at a glanceAVGHI: Negotiation in 'red'
DIMOKRATIA: Suspicious income for 30 deputies
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The agreement closes, the polls open
ESTIA: Incredible sloppiness with the refugees
ETHNOS: Bad loans under the microscope
IMERISSIA: Bank waterloo
KATHIMERINI: Independent asset development fund (HRDF)
NAFTEMPORIKI: A block for 6.6 billion euro taxes
RIZOSPASTIS: Government and EU-IMF on the same side of the table
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