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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-08-07

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

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

Friday, August 7 2015

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece to continue its historic role as the stronghold of European democracy, President Pavlopoulos says
  • [02] Tsipras, Hollande agree for need to implement July 12 agreement
  • [03] PM Tsipras meets with Palestinian President Abbas in Egypt
  • [04] Progress has been made in the negotiations between Greece and the institutions, EU Commission's Andreeva says
  • [05] Negotiations on technical level to continue on Friday and Saturday
  • [06] PM Tsipras to chair government meeting on refugee crisis on Friday
  • [07] Prime Minister's office denies Tsipras gave interview to Neues Deutschland
  • [08] Greece aims for 3-year agreement, government spokeswoman tells paper
  • [09] Ministers discusses migration and handling of refugee crisis
  • [10] Main opposition MP says Greek economy has returned to primary deficits and recession
  • [11] Greek stocks stage technical rebound
  • [12] ADEX closing report
  • [13] Greek general government's primary surplus sharply lower in H1
  • [14] Frigoglass reports lower H1 sales
  • [15] OTE says turnover down 1.0 pct in H1
  • [16] EBITDA fell 5.2 pct to 644.4 million euros from 679.6 million in the first half of 2014.
  • [17] Investments on fixed assets totaled 139.6 million euros in the second quarter of 2015. OTE
  • [18] Wildfire in Corfu burns out of control, authorities request assistance
  • [19] Greek unemployment fell to 25 pct in May
  • [20] Forecast on Friday
  • [21] Athens News Headlines at a glance Politics

  • [01] Greece to continue its historic role as the stronghold of European democracy, President Pavlopoulos says

    The President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Thursday expressed once again the need for unity.

    Pavlopoulos is visiting Samos where he was declared an honorary citizen of the island.

    He underlined his commitment to do his best so that "Greece, as part of the hard core of the European Union, continues its historic role as the stronghold of European democracy and European culture through the priceless, spiritual and institutional heritage of ancient Greece and of our ancestors."

    Earlier on Thursday, the President attended the doxology at the Church of the Savior Transfiguration on Samos and laid a wreath at the monument of the fallen.

    [02] Tsipras, Hollande agree for need to implement July 12 agreement

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Francois Hollande agreed on Thursday that the July 12 agreement must be implemented and that negotiations between Greece and its lenders can and should be completed soon after August 15, government sources said after a meeting of the two leaders in Egypt?s Ismailia, on the occasion of the inauguration of the extension to the Suez Canal on Thursday.

    According to the sources, the meeting was conducted "in a very friendly climate" with Tsipras and Hollande also discussing issues relating to the new fund which will handle state assets. They also discussed and agreed to do whatever necessary to allow the recovery of the Greek economy from the effects of the banking crisis.

    The Greek premier also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, with whom he discussed issues of economic cooperation between ports (Suez and Piraeus).

    They also decided to initiate in September meetings between officials to support Greek business activity in the Suez region. To this effect, the two leaders agreed to organize a tripartite meeting with Cuprus, while they also discussed delimitation of maritime zones.

    [03] PM Tsipras meets with Palestinian President Abbas in Egypt

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, on the sidelines of the ceremony to inaugurate the extension to the Suez Canal in Egypt's Ismailia.

    During their meeting, the two leaders agreed on the need for Abbas to visit Greece in the immediate future.

    [04] Progress has been made in the negotiations between Greece and the institutions, EU Commission's Andreeva says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ Ch. Vassilaki) - European Commission deputy spokeswoman Mina Andreeva on Thursday expressed her satisfaction over the progress made in the negotiations between Greece and the institutions.

    Asked on a German newspaper report that the German government has doubts over the possibility of a deal within the next two weeks, she said that "based on the Treaty of the ESM and the relevant mandate from member states, the evaluation of the progress is made by the European Commission and the ECB, together with the IMF and ESM in this case." She added that the teams in Athens have reported that "good progress" has been made.

    Andreeva noted that a teleconference of the Finance ministry chiefs will take place on Friday to take stock of the course of the negotiations.

    [05] Negotiations on technical level to continue on Friday and Saturday

    Negotiations at a technical level between Greece and the representatives of the four institutions (EU, ECB, IMF and ESM) will continue until Saturday, according to finance ministry sources on Thursday.

    Technical staff will discuss the minimum guaranteed income on Friday, without excluding continuing on Saturday if necessary, while fiscal and macroeconomic data will be discussed on Friday and Saturday.

    [06] PM Tsipras to chair government meeting on refugee crisis on Friday

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will chair on Friday a government meeting to discuss ways to handle the increasing the inflow of refugees in the country, it was announced on Thursday.

    The meeting will be held in the office of Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Tasia Christodoulopoulou at 12.15 (local time) and will be attended by Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, Minister of State for Coordinating Alekos Flambouraris, Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Yannis Panousis, Alternate National Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas and Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili.

    [07] Prime Minister's office denies Tsipras gave interview to Neues Deutschland

    The prime minister?s office denied on Thursday that Alexis Tsipras gave an interview to German newspaper Neues Deutschland.

    According to government sources, the newspaper has republished an interview the prime minister gave to Greek radio station Sto Kokkino last Thursday (July 30) and Deutsche Welle - which first republished the story - has clarified the issue in its Greek edition.

    [08] Greece aims for 3-year agreement, government spokeswoman tells paper

    The Greek government aims for a three-year agreement with its lenders to avoid requesting funding every few months, the government spokeswoman told Naftemporiki newspaper in an interview published on Thursday.

    Olga Gerovasili said the agreement that will be achieved will cover the past 15 months during which the country was not funded - an event for which the current government is not responsible.

    Asked whether an agreement is possible by August 18, the spokeswoman said: "We want that. If this is also a goal of our partners, then yes, we?ll have an agreement." She noted the negotiation started in a very good climate and expressed hope the government "will start drafting the document for the deal very soon, based on the points of convergence between the two sides."

    Gerovasili also said the government is determined to implement the agreement which will be achieved, adding its own compensation measures. She said by sticking to the agreement the county will avoid worst consequences.

    After the deal is achieved and once the program review is concluded, the government?s aim is to re-open the issue of the country?s debt, she added.

    Asked on the possibility of national elections, she noted that "the government will result to elections if necessary," adding however that this would happen only after the negotiations had been concluded and all parameters had been considered. Gerovasili also expressed confidence that if elections were held, the government would win the majority.

    [09] Ministers discusses migration and handling of refugee crisis

    Greek ministers and other officials reviewed plans to relocate refugees from the center of Athens to a new facility and discussed ways to tackle the refugee crisis in border islands in a meeting chaired by Minister of State for Coordinating Alekos Flambouraris on Thursday.

    "The government has focused on the ever-growing problems caused by the increasing influx of refugees and migrants arriving at our country?s border islands," a statement released by Flambouraris? office noted, adding it is moving ahead with drafting a plan to provide longterm solutions to the problem of migration and the refugee crisis.

    According to the statement, ministers discussed ongoing plans to prepare the imminent relocation of refugees currently living in Pedion tou Areos park in Athens to a housing center in Elaionas, as well as the progress made in preparing permanent refugee facilities around Greece.

    [10] Main opposition MP says Greek economy has returned to primary deficits and recession

    Greece?s public finances destabilized in the first half of 2015, main opposition MP Christos Staikouras said on Thursday, commenting on the budget execution in the first six months of the year.

    Staikouras, who comments on economic issues for New Democracy, said the economy has returned to primary deficits and estimated that, despite the new austerity measures, the target for a primary surplus of 1 pct in 2015 is unattainable.

    "In the past six months, because of the government?s actions and omissions, the economy has reversed course and entered into the ?downward spiral? of a big crisis," the MP said.

    Elaborating on the issue, he noted that tax revenues in the first six months of the year lagged by 2.4 billion euros from the target, the social security funds have shown since March primary deficits that exceed 1 billion euros and the domestic ?suspension of payments? has exceeded 4 billion euros.

    Staikouras also said the Greek economy has returned to recession after reporting growth of 0.8 pct in 2014 and is expected to remain in recession in 2016.

    Finacial News

    [11] Greek stocks stage technical rebound

    Greek stocks rebounded on Thursday after a three-day plunge which pushed the composite index of the market 19.35 pct down and the bank index 63.81 pct lower. Bank shares took a deep breath after a three-day hammering with analysts noting that a reappearance of buyers showed that the market was entering a balancing phase, without excluding a period of high volatility in the market until the market sees the results of a stress test round for Greek banks.

    The composite index of the Athens Stock Exchange rose 3.65 pct to end at 666.68 points, near the day?s highs of 668.64 points. The market?s capitalization grew 1.7 billion euros, after losing 11.34 billion euros in the previous three sessions. Turnover was a moderate 74.06 million euros. The Large Cap index jumped 4.81 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.86 pct higher.

    National Bank (27.47 pct), Eurobank (17.31 pct), Alpha Bank (11.61 pct) and OTE (9.28 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains among blue chip stocks, while Grivalia Properties (6.08 pct), Folli Follie (4.55 pct) and METKA (1.05 pct) suffered losses.

    Among market sectors, Banks (17.78 pct), Health (14.89 pct) and Telecoms (9.28 pct) were top gainers, while Commerce (4.47 pct) and Real Estate (3.66 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 77 to 22 with another 8 issues unchanged. Newsphone Hellas (29.83 pct), National Bank (27.47 pct) and Centric Holdings (23.68 pct) were top gainers, while Kekrops (24.53 pct), Pasal (19.77 pct) and Dionic (19.44 pct) were top losers.

    [12] ADEX closing report

    The August contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 1.41 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 4,041 contracts with 6,554 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 38,987 contracts with investment interest focusing on Alpha Bank?s contracts (15,581), followed by National Bank (3,632), Piraeus Bank (8,980), Eurobank (8,088), MIG (808), OTE (454), PPC (381), OPAP (202), Hellenic Exchanges (105), Viohalco (74), Mytilineos (78), Hellenic Petroleum (68), METKA (85), GEK (82) and Ellaktor (98).

    [13] Greek general government's primary surplus sharply lower in H1

    Greek general government figures showed a primary surplus of 238 million euros in the first half of the year, the finance ministry said in a report released on Thursday.

    This figure is significantly lower compared with the same period in 2014, when a primary budget surplus totaled 1.8 billion euros. The primary surplus, in central government level, was 1.7 billion euros in the January-June period this year, form 568 million in 2014.

    The report also showed that the state?s overdue debt to the private sector rose to 5.3 billion euros at the end of June, from around 5.0 billion a month earlier. Pension funds showed a deficit of 1.0 billion euros this year, from a surplus of 416 million in 2014, while pension funds also saw their debts to suppliers rising to 2.3 billion euros.

    [14] Frigoglass reports lower H1 sales

    Frigoglass Group on Thursday said its sales fell 1.7 pct to 197.672 million euros in the first half of 2015, from 201.059 million in the same period last year, while net losses rose slightly to 3.962 million euros from 3.381 million over the same period, respectively. EBITDA fell 10.2 pct to 20.052 million euros.

    Frigoglass said net losses totaled 94,000 euros in the second quarter of the year, from net profits of 22,000 euros in 2014, while sales rose 1.2 pct to 111.212 million euros and EBITDA fell 8.8 pct to 11.992 million euros.

    Nikos Mamoulis, chief executive of the group, commenting on the results said: "We are in a pleasant position to announce the continuation of a growing trend in sales to Coca Cola bottlers," and added that the sale of its glass manufacturing sector will enhance the group's

    balance sheet allowing Frigoglass to focus on its core business of professional freezers.

    [15] OTE says turnover down 1.0 pct in H1

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) on Thursday said its turnover fell 1.0 pct to 1.894 billion euros in the first half of the year, from 1.914 billion in the same period in 2014 and that adjusted net profits totaled 100.9 million euros, down 22.1 pct over the same period.

    [16] EBITDA fell 5.2 pct to 644.4 million euros from 679.6 million in the first half of 2014.

    Turnover grew 0.3 pct in the second quarter to 953.5 million euros, with domestic fixed telephony turnover rising 0.6 pct, remaining on an upward trend for the third successive quarter. Mobile telephony results were stable, with Cosmote reporting a 4.6 pct decline in service revenues. Adjusted net profits dropped 34.5 pct to 47.2 million euros while adjusted EBITDA fell 8.0 pct to 318.4 million euros.

    [17] Investments on fixed assets totaled 139.6 million euros in the second quarter of 2015. OTE

    Group said adjusted net borrowing was 1.1 billion euros at the end of June 2015, down 31.8 pct from a year earlier.

    Cosmote offered mobile telephony services to 7.4 million customers in Greece, with subscriber base remaining almost unchanged.

    Mihalis Tsamaz, OTE Group's chairman and chief executive, commenting on the results said that strong performance in Greece continued in the second quarter of 2015, leading to a very resilient first half...The stability of our performance in the coming months will depend on developments in the country, with higher taxation expected to affect consumer spending.

    However, our constant investment in growth make us more resilient and give us the possibility to minimize any external effects on our profitability and cash flows".

    General News

    [18] Wildfire in Corfu burns out of control, authorities request assistance

    A large wildfire which broke out earlier on Thursday in the Ionian island of Corfu is burning out of control, the head of the island?s fire service told ANA-MPA, adding that he has requested the assistance of Canadair aircraft.

    Apostolos Vardekis said 24 firemen, seven fire-fighting vehicles, several municipal water trucks and two Petzetel aircraft are battling the blaze which has burned an unknown size of forest lands near the area of Myrtiotissa.

    The fire has two main fronts in inaccessible areas, he said, adding that the cause of the blaze remains unknown. Vasdekis also noted that while the fire is far from inhabited areas, the strong winds deter the efforts of the authorities and could pose a risk if the wind changes direction.

    [19] Greek unemployment fell to 25 pct in May

    Greek unemployment rate fell to 25 pct of the workforce in May, from 25.6 pct in April and 27 pct in May 2014, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that the number of employed people totaled 3,604,102 in May, the number of unemployed people totaled 1,200,981 and the financially non-active population was 3,286,476.

    The number of employed people grew 81,832 in May, up 2.3 pct from May 2014 and up 1.8 pct from April 2015. The number of unemployed people fell 7.6 pct from May 2014 and 1.3 pct from April 2015.

    ANAMPA Midday Newsletter

    Stathis Giannopoulos

    Tel.6974507878

    [20] Forecast on Friday

    Fair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Friday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Fair in the northern and the western parts of the country with temperatures from 23C to 36C. Fair in the eastern parts with temperatures from 20C to 34C. Sunny weather over the Aegean islands and Crete, from 23C to 29C. Fair in Athens, from 25C to 34C. Same weather in Thessaloniki, from 22C to 33C.

    [21] Athens News Headlines at a glance

    AVGHI: Safety network for farmers

    DIMOKRATIA: Anxiety amid farmers for the new tax storm

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Bad loans in the hands of market speculators

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Pension cuts through the integration of main and

    supplementary pensions

    ESTIA: The Greek issue at the White House

    ETHNOS: A new tax system for farmers

    IMERISSIA: Reversals in three sectors

    KATHIMERINI: Insufficiency to the refugee problem

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Heavy tax burden

    RIZOSPASTIS: A massive popular reply is being prepared

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE ? TEL: 64.00.560-63 ? FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr ? E-MAIL: anabul@ana gr - PRESIDENT & GENERAL DIRECTOR: MICHALIS PSILOS


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