|Wednesday, 16 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-08-12
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday August 12 2015
 Merkel speaks again with Tsipras on agreement with lendersGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras her reservations about an agreement on a new program on Tuesday, insisting instead on a bridge loan, during a telephone conversation which was made at her initiative, according to Greek government sources.
The two leaders also spoke on Monday on the same issue, during which call Merkel first expressed her concern.
Tsipras rejected both times Merkel's proposal arguing that the government, by implementing the decisions of July 12, came to an agreement with the institutions and this agreement cannot be annulled.
 PM Tsipras sents letter to Parliament head requesting immediate convening of plenumPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a letter to Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou on Tuesday requesting the immediate convening of the parliament's plenum to debate and approve the agreement achieved between Greece and its lenders, so that the loan installment can be disbursed, government sources said.
In order to avoid justified reactions to the pressing timeframe, the letter said, the premier expressed his intention to submit tonight the relevant draft bill so that it can be distributed in time to lawmakers. It would also allow the relevant committees to convene on Wednesday and complete the process with the debate in the plenum on Thursday, August 13.
 PM Tsipras briefs opposition party leaders on agreement with lendersPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras briefed earlier on Tuesday the political leaders of the opposition parties on the agreement with Greece's lenders which is expected to be voted in parliament.
Tsipras called the leaders of New Democracy, Vangelis Meimarakis, Potami's, Stavros Theodorakis, Communist Party's, Dimitris Koutsoumbas and PASOK's Fofi Gennimata.
According to information, the agreement is expected to be tabled tonight, after 22.30 (local time), while it will also be posted on the parliament's website.
 Today's deal is better that the measures demanded from the previous gov't - gov't documentThe Greek government argues it has achieved a better agreement with the country's creditors compared with the measures requested by the troika from the previous government, in a non-paper published on Tuesday which compares the result of this negotiation with the talks held in December 2014.
According to the government's document, this deal achieved:
1) Lower primary surpluses. The surpluses forseen in the agreement are lower than those in the fifth program review by 11 pct. This lowers the fiscal measures which will be implemented by about 20 billion euros.
2) Changes in the timeframe and amounts of the funding. With this deal, Greece covers its entire funding gap until 2019, as well as the arrears of the state. The full amount granted will be 86 billion euros instead of 4 billion as was stated in the fifth program review.
3) The recapitalization of the Greek banks is secured, up to 25 billion euros.
4) Collective labour agreements return.
5) Parallel with the implementation of the measures, the agreement provides for a growth package of 35 billion euros (the "Juncker package").
6) The legislation on the 100-instalment debt settlement scheme remains in place, with small changes which resulted from its implementation. Until today, 850,000 debtors have participated in the scheme.
This law is completely different from the similar law passed by the previous government, which no tax payer made use of.
7) We prevented the assignment of non-performing loans to distress funds.
8) Greece's public power grid operator ADMIE and the "small" electricity utility PPC will remain under state control.
9) The law to address the humanitarian crisis remains in force; it's provisions are being used by about 350,000 citizens.
10) State hospitals will continue to provide free medical examination, without a 5-euro ticket
11) Sunday will remain a holiday for retailers.
12) The provision allowing the sale of non-prescription drugs exclusively in pharmacies remains in force.
13) The new Fund for the Development of State Property will be founded in such a way so that 50 pct of revenues and profits from the development of public assets will return to the real economy and to provide growth.
This didn't happen with the privatization agency, HRADF, whose profits went 100 pct to the repayment of the country's debt.
14) The agreement does not provide for inclusion to the English Law or the country's resignation of its state immunity.
 The main points of the agreement with the institutionsGovernment sources gave on Tuesday more details regarding the Greek government's agreement with the institutions before the final draft law is tabled in parliament.
On fiscal issues the new agreement foresees a mild adjustment that leaves space for growth. - 0.25 pct primary deficit in 2015, +0.50 pct primary surplus in 2016, +1.75 pct primary surplus in 2017 and +3.5 pct primary surplus in 2018.
The agreement is under the International European Law and not the English Law as it was agreed by the former New Democracy-PASOK government and does not foresee abolition of the state immunity as the former agreements did.
Moreover, the agreement not only foresees refinancing of the debt until the first six months of 2018 but also enough money in order the overdue public debt to be paid, something that will bring fresh cash to the market.
The banks will be recapitalised until the end of 2015 while 10 billion euros will be given immediately to boost the bank liquidity. This will eliminate the danger of deposits' haircut.
The government accepted the sale of non- performing loans to companies while it will protect with legislation the auction of the first home until the end of 2015. Government will undertake initiatives in autumn in order the issue to be settled permanently.
The deregulation of the gas market is also part of the agreement as well as a 35 billion euros growth package the so-called "Juncker package'.
Regarding the labour issues it was decided the deliberations with the institutions, on the promotion of a legislation, to start in the near future, however, the deliberations will be held in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) something that ensures that there will be no exclusions in Greece from those existing in Western Europe.
The citizens will not pay the 5 euro ticket for check ups in public hospitals.
The measures foreseen in the current agreement are mostly the same with those envisaged in ND-PASOK government's agreement that was not implemented. In the former agreement,
ND-PASOK government should implement the measures in order the 5th evaluation to be completed and to receive 4 billion euros. In the current agreement and after the negotiations, the country covers its loan commitments as well as the state's overdue debts for the next three years with approximately 85 billion euros financing.
Finally, the agreement foresees a privatisation fund through which the State's wealth will not be sold, as in TAIPED (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) but developed.
 Greek police sends two riot police units in Kos to assist law enforcementGreek police sent two riot police units from Athens to the island of Kos on a C-130 military aircraft on Tuesday evening to assist the local police force, following clashes between police and refugees on the island this morning.
Authorities are also planning to send initially at least 250 policemen to other islands of the eastern Aegean which are bearing the brunt of increased immigration.
Earlier on Tuesday, hundreds of migrants and refugees waiting outside the police station of Kos tried to get into the building to demand their papers. They also refused to relocate into a local stadium, as they were requested, in order to speed up the process of identification.
As a result, policemen used fire extinguishers to repel the migrants.
 Greece to create open hospitality centres for 2,500 refugees by end of 2015, minister tells ANA-MPAGreece will create open hospitality centres for 2,500 refugees by the end of the year, a commitment that should have been undertaken by the previous government, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Tasia Christoidoulopoulou told ANA-MPA on Tuesday.
On Monday, the European Commission approved about 470 million euros in EU funds to support its efforts in tackling the surge in migration.
Christodoulopoulou said the ministry will use the funds to create those places for refugees and strengthen its asylum agency services, adding however that the total amount made available is not that big.
"It's not an important amount," Christodoulopoulou said. "The needs are urgent, pressing and many. The previous government should have submitted the request for this program since October 2014. It didn't, and we were forced to do it ourselves."
She noted that the pledge for an open hospitality center was made by the government during the first EU minister's meeting in May, when the timetable for the completion of the project was set for December 2015.
 Energy Minister Skourletis has phone contact with Russian counterpart NovakProductive Reconstruction and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis on Tuesday had a phone contact with the Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak. The two officials discussed the accelerations of the preparation procedures for the 9th Joint Interministerial Committee meeting in November.
Moreover, the two officials re-confirmed their common view on the promotion and implementation of those agreed between the two countries, said a ministry announcement.
The contact was held in the wake of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new Suez Canal last Thursday.
 New agreement between Greece and lenders is 'very bad', says main opposition leaderThe agreement signed by Greece and its creditors is "very bad", the leader of main opposition New Democracy said on Tuesday, and accused the government of wasting time in useless talks.
Speaking to private broadcaster SKAI, Vangelis Meimarakis accused Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of hypocrisy. "He kept saying he wouldn't vote because an agreement is tabled as one article and now he's blackmailing us. He's the one blackmailing us. It's not our partners blackmailing him. If there were separate articles we could improve a lot of points in the agreement," he said.
The leader of the main opposition said the party will convene and make its decision, so that when the deal is submitted to parliament, ND will be ready to vote as one. "It's not me who will decide, this is over," he noted.
"I heard proposals to abstain or to vote it down, or to set conditions such as not to hold elections etc," he continued but clarified that if the agreement is not voted, Greece will be led to disorderly bankruptcy, a national currency, a devaluation and wage cuts.
 Potami: Agreement with lenders is bad, but keeping Greece in the eurozone comes firstThe agreement achieved between the government and Greece's lenders is worse than what could have been achieved 2-3 months ago, but the country's stay in the Eurozone is what matters most, Potami party said in a comment on the deal secured earlier on Tuesday.
"Uncertainty must finally end," Potami said, and urged Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to "abandon adolescent behavior ('I don't want to but what can I do?') and defend the agreement which he's bringing," it added.
 Communist Party slams 'brutal' memorandum signed by the governmentThe third bailout program agreed by Greece and its creditors includes measures of such brutality that no other government in the past has dared implement, the Communist Party of Greece said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The third memorandum, agreed between the coalition government of SYRIZA-ANEL and the institutions, which will be brought to parliament for approval must meet the maximum resistance on the side of the workers and of the people," the party said.
"It includes measures of such brutality and harshness that no other government has dared to bring in the past, fearing a public outcry ... This is the great contribution of the SYRIZA government in the system. With the fairytale of the 'leftist government' and of the prime minister who 'fought but he wasn't allowed' the implementation of the barbaric measures - which were the requests of the big capital and the EU directives - proceeds tearing down everything that is left standing of the workers' rights," the party added.
 PASOK on government's agreement with the institutionsPASOK party on Tuesday charged the government that it has passed from "creative vagueness to unconditional surrender" and that "with selectional and arbitrary leaks" attempts to hide the reality and to present the new memorandum as a success.
"But the truth can't be hidden. Those that would tore up that memorandums they now sign the most onerous [memorandum] for the Greeks and particularly for the farmers, the small and medium-sized enterprises, the pensioners and the medium-salary earners" says PASOK in its announcement.
 Greece to announce dates of tenders for sale of two main ports in next two weeksThe Greek government and the country's privatization agency HRADF will announce in the next two weeks the dates for the tenders that concern the sale of majority stakes in Piraeus Port (OLP) and Thessaloniki Port (OLTH), according to information.
Speaking to ANA-MPA, an official from HRADF said the binding bids from interested parties are expected to be tabled by the end of October, while binding bids are also expected for Greek railway operator Trainose and rolling stock company ROSCO, by the end of December.
 New memorandum foresees gradual deregulation of natural gas marketReforms in the gas market and particularly in the natural gas that will lead to total deregulation in 2018 foresees the main context of the new memorandum.
It refers to the implementation of the community law and according to estimations the procedure will take place gradually in order the relations with private investors that participate in the three Gas Distribution Companies (Attica region, Thessaloniki and Thessaly prefecture) and have signed long term construction and exclusive use of the network to be settled.
 Forecast on WednesdayMostly fair weather and winds from variable directions are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 4 on the Beaufort scale. Scattered clouds in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 19C-36C. Partly cloudy in the western parts with temperatures between 20C-34C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts and temperatures between 19C-36C. Fair over the Aegean islands and Crete, 23C-33C. Mostly fair in Athens, 23C-35C; the same for Thessaloniki, 21C-34C.
 Athens News Headlines at a glanceAVGHI: End to privileges.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Agreement in installments.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Heavy package for bad loans and pensions.
ESTIA: Dangerous games with the Education.
ETHNOS: Germany sets obstacles at the last minute.
IMERISSIA: The third memorandum to be sealed on Tuesday.
KATHIMERINI: The draft-memorandum.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Tourism hikes without control
RIZOSPASTIS: Government ready to seal the antisocial agreement on summary procedure.
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