|Tuesday, 23 July 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-09-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 4 September 2015 Issue No: 5015
 EU's Timmermans: 'Greece has been partcularly hit by the refugee crisis'Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou discussed the isssue of migration and the inflow of refugees in a meeting with the Vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos at Maximos Mansion on Thursday.
"Our government, albeit caretaker is called upon to tackle a very important issue, the wave of migrants, mainly refugee flows. We have already decided on further measures," Thanou said.
"The issue is European and international. Our government, throughout its term, will continue to work closely with the EU to address the issue," she added.
On his side, Timmermans noted that Europe is dealing with an unprecedented humanitarian and political crisis to which it needs to find European answers, adding that no member-state can deal with the problem alone.
"Greece has been particularly affected and hit, I would say, from this crisis; we all see it daily. I think there is no man with a soul who has not been terribly shocked by the photos of the baby we saw yesterday on the Turkish coast," he said.
The EU official also said that too many refugees arrive first in Greece adding that he and Avramopoulos are in Athens to try to find a way to help Greece deal with the problem.
Exiting Maximos Mansion, Avramopoulos said: "The migration and refugee issue has taken uncontrollable dimensions in Europe and Greece, as one of the main gateways, feels this pressure and is called on to take some measures with the full economic, political and technical support of the EU." He added he and Timmermans want to send a message of solidarity and support to the country.
Following the meeting with the caretaker prime minister, Timmermans and Avramopoulos will meet with government ministers, while on Friday the two officials will head to Kos where they will also hold a press conference.
 Greek President to meet with EU's Timmermans on Friday, then visit ThessalonikiGreek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos will visit Thessaloniki on Friday afternoon to inaugurate the city's 80th International Fair (TIF).
Before he leaves for Thessaloniki, the President will meet in Athens with the Vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, who will be accompanied by the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos. The three officials will discuss migration and developments on the issue.
On Saturday, Pavlopoulos will meet with Avramopoulos at 11.00 (local time).
 Timmermans, Avramopoulos' visit is a political message of support to Greece, head of EC office in Athens says"The visit of two leading members of the European Commission, Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, is a political message of support to our country in finding practical solutions to effectively confront the migration crisis," the head of the European Commission representation in Greece Panos Karvounis said in a statement on Thursday.
The European officials will take part in a meeting with caretaker prime minister Vassiliki Thanou and four ministers in order to set up a coordinating center in Piraeus with aim the acceleration of the management of the migration flow and on Friday morning they will visit the island of Kos, where they will give a press conference. Later on Friday they will return to Athens where they will meet at 16.30 with President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
 Economic support to islands receiving most migrantsCaretaker Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Thursday said islands receiving the bulk of migrants will be economically supported, including with EU funds.
During a press conference on the refugee issue, Christodoulakis noted that officials of the Economy ministry with experience in European programmes will be transferred to to the Migration Policy ministry from Friday, forming a team to manage programmes financed by the nine European funds linked to the refugee issues.
The bulk of such financing is expected to come from the EU Asylum Fund and the European Fund for Aid to the most Deprived, with Greece hoping to receive 400 million euros from the first and 330 million euros from the second, which were currently stalled due to delays and incomplete preparation, Christodoulakis said.
He also appealed to ship owners to voluntarily offer ships as temporary housing for refugees and called on NGOs to assist in providing them food and suitable conditions.
Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas earlier said that the measures taken by the caretaker government are decongestion measures of the islands in order to keep the flows to levels that local communities can deal with, without creating sites of congestion in Athens.
He said the defence ministry will also assist by providing army bases, staff and food to provide the refugees' basic needs.
"Four million refugees and migrants in Turkey may now be waiting to get across, and I am obliged to reveal these data and inform out partners," Alternate Shipping Minister Christos Zois said at the press conference.
According to Zois, 36 percent of the total of 240 vessels of the Coast Guard are immobilized, while four out of seven aircraft are also immobilzed, and only one out of six helicopters are able to fly.
Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Antonis Makrydimitris revealed that the Greek police owes nine million euros to suppliers for feeding refugees. He added that five Greek islands receive the bulk of the refugees: Lesvos (accepts 50 pct), Kos (28 pct), Chios (14 pct), Samos (12 pct) and Leros.
Makrydimitris said the ministry was looking into ways to speed up the process for recording newly-arrived refugees, making this a one-step rather than two-step process, so that documents classing newcomers as refugees can be issued more quickly.
Government spokesman Rodolfos Moronis said that the prerequisites for finding a solution to the crisis were political will, the cooperation of all European countries and the international community's determination to deal with the problem at its root.
"The European Union is obliged to develop a common position and work on common actions," he said.
 Caretaker government takes measures to decongest islands, Alternate Shipping Min Zois saysThe measures taken by the caretaker government are decongestion measures of the islands in order to keep the flows to levels that local communities can deal with, without creating sites of congestion in Athens, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said on Thursday during a press conference on the refugee issue.
"Four million refugees and migrants in Turkey may now be waiting to get across, and I am obliged to reveal these data and inform out partners," Alternate Shipping Minister Christos Zois said at the press conference.
According to Zois, 36 percent of the total of 240 vessels of the Coast Guard are immobilized, while four out of seven aircrafts are also immobilzed, and only one out of six helicopters fly.
Alternate Citizen Protection Minister revealed that the Greek police owes 9 million euros to suppliers for feeding refugees. He added that five Greek islands receive the bulk of the refugees, Lesvos (accepts 50 pct), Kos (28 pct), Chios (14 pct), Samos (12 pct) and Leros.
 Alternate Shipping Min Zois meets FRONTEX director LeggeriIssues of cooperation and coordination of FRONTEX and the Coast Guard operations in order to manage migration flows dominated a meeting of Alternate Shipping Minister Christos Zois and the Director of the Agency for the Management of Cooperation at the External Borders of Europe (FRONTEX) Fabrice Leggeri and his staff.
During the meeting, it was agreed to further intensify joint efforts to improve control and management of migration flows with priority given on protecting the safety of life at sea, as well as border security. On the Greek side, the need to strengthen both the resources and the means of the Coast Guard was stressed.
 Migration policy minister, Athens mayor discuss more temporary housing for refugees in AthensCaretaker Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas and Athens Mayor George Kaminis on Thursday discussed the possibility of creating more temporary housing facilities for refugees in Athens, such as that set up in the Elaionas district.
In a meeting at the interior ministry, they reviewed the operation of the Elaionas settlement to date and agreed to continue close cooperation between municipalities and the relevant ministries in order to provide assistance to refugees without disrupting the life of permanent residents in the city.
Mouzalas noted that the previous minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou, in collaboration with the municipality, had created a "model housing facility for refugee issues". He said the aim was to alleviate the problems faced by refugees without worsening the problems of the city, while adding that Kaminis' involvement was a "guarantee that this can be done."
Kaminis said that the way the issue was handled for Elaionas was "an example of how we should operate," and suggested that abandoned or underused army camps were a possible solution.
 Migration minister says 30 mln to tackle refugee crisis to be disbursed on Sept 15Greece is expecting to receive on September 15 the 30 million euros earmarked by the European Union to tackle the refugee crisis in the country, Alternate Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said on Wednesday during meeting with the country's union of municipalities (KEDE).
Mouzalas said the government has a specific plan to deal with the crisis and asked the members of KEDE to cooperate closely with the caretaker government. "Without the local government, [the crisis] cannot be resolved," he noted. The aim, he said, is to make the number of refugees on the islands sustainable, which is why more ships will be charted to transfer them faster to the mainland. He added however that it is necessary to create temporary reception centers to speed up their processing.
The minister also said that refugee flows from Turkey are expected to rise further in the next months.
 There is a constructive cooperation between Athens and Brussels, says Donald TuskBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)
European Council President Donald Tusk referred on Thursday to the 'constructive cooperation' that now characterises Athens and Brussels' relations.
Moreover, Tusk stressed that "the rapid and effective implementation of the new programme by the government that will be formed in Greece after the elections will allow to the Greek economy to return on the course of sustainable growth.
Addressing the EU ambassadors he said that the main axis of the European Stability Mechanism programme for Greece is the purification of the consolidation of the public finances, the strengthening of the competitiveness, the high employment percentages and the financial stability.
 European Parliament to seek more active involvement in Greek bailout programmes, Schulz saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)
European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Thursday announced that he expected to have a discussion with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on raising the European Parliament's level of involvement in the new Greek rescue programme and loan agreement.
He made the statement after a EuroParliament Conference of Presidents' meeting that discussed a request for a more active role for the EU Parliament made by Greece's former premier Alexis Tsipras, who asked that it be involved as a "5th player" in the so-called 'creditors' quartet' that is reviewing the Greek programme, following the addition of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to the so-called 'troika'.
Schulz said that Tsipras' request will likely be granted, given that the European Parliament had repeatedly pushed for a more active role in the member-state bailouts, with an overwhelming majority of presidents agreeing to the start of talks with Juncker on this issue.
 SYRIZA leader Tsipras: 'Greece is not turning back'Greeks will not allow the old establishment to return to power, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said during a speech in the municipality of Aegaleo, in western Attica, adding that his party requests a clear mandate from the people.
"Greece is not turning back ... On September 20 we discard the old and we win the new day," he told supporters. "They won't bend us and we won't let them materialize their plans for a 'left interlude'. We have new battles ahead of us, new challenges, new fights," the former prime minister said.
"We ask for a clear and strong mandate to get rid of yesterday and start the long march to win the future," he noted, adding that his aim is to "tear the country away from the mud".
"We won't let the old establishment which the people kicked out in January return from the window."
Responding to main opposition leader Vangelis Meimarakis who, he claimed, is trying to convince SYRIZA to form a coalition government with New Democracy, Tsipras said: "No way," and noted that he would not participate in a "zombie coalition".
"Let them find someone else to do it," he said.
 ND leader Meimarakis: 'Greece needs political stability to move ahead'Main opposition leader Vangelis Meimarakis said on Thursday that Greece needs political stability to progress, during his visit to Chania, Crete, as part of his election campaign. The leader of New Democracy met with local authority officials and members of local businesses.
"The country cannot move ahead if we have elections all the time," he said, noting the need for stable governance. "I believe stability can provide stable solutions to everything."
In a visit to Rethymno earlier in the day, Meimarakis called on all citizens to consider what kind of future they want and for what Greece they would like to fight for. He went on to criticize SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras for not knowing what the he would face problems were and how to deal with them adding that "instead of fighting for the best, he toured around saying he will tear up the bailouts and make our partners dance to his tune."
Commenting on his party's stance on the deal achieved with Greece's lenders, he said: "We voted the agreement because it keeps us in Europe".
Speaking to journalists after meeting members of the local chamber of commerce, he said that cooperation and concessions will be needed to govern the country, which apparently it is what the people want. Commenting on the recent polls, he said: "I read them and I take information so that I can turn them in our favour and not so as to be impressed, guided, celebrate or be disappointed - depending on what they say for us."
 Government spokeswoman: No chance of a coalition gov't between SYRIZA and NDGovernment spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili on Wednesday rejected outright any possibility of a coalition between SYRIZA and New Democracy after the elections on September 20, following a chance encounter between the two party leaders at an airport in Crete earlier in the day.
"We completely reject the scenario of a coalition government of New Democracy and SYRIZA which is the secret wish of ND and other circles who want to take advantage of the country. It won't happen. Absolutely clear," Gerovasili told journalists at the party's headquarters.
Alexis Tsipras and Vangelis Meimarakis ran into each other in the airport of Heraklion as the two leaders are continuing their election campaigns.
 SYRIZA dismisses reports of clientelist hirings as 'smear campaign'The SYRIZA party on Thursday refuted media reports accusing it of clientelist hiring ahead of the elections, claiming that the assertions were part of pre-election smear campaign. It rejected claims in these reports that the return of 12 employees to the public sector was a pre-election political favour, pointing out that thousands of laid-off public sector employees had gone back to their jobs on the basis of the same legislation, long before the elections.
The announcement stressed that the SYRIZA government's legislative and political message "was to do everything possible to correct the injustices of previous governments toward Greek citizens."
SYRIZA said that the case concerned the return of highly specialised employees that were initially placed on availability and finally laid off from the Institute of Audiovisual Media and the National Audiovisual Archives when these were scrapped in 2011. These were rehired on the basis of the 'Katrougalos' law on July 1, while the decision on August 27 simply modified the initial decision, based on the employees own choice to be hired by another public-sector agency.
The announcement also stressed that the sums quoted were the gross salaries and employer contribtutions of all 12 employees, which was made clear in the publication of the act, which it noted was also published on the Diavgia website.
 ND replies to SYRIZA, accuses it of seeking to artificially create tensionNew Democracy accused its main election rival SYRIZA of seeking to artificially create tension, in response to a SYRIZA announcement earlier on Thursday.
"It is to be expected that SYRIZA's leadership, in their panic, will distort, sling mud and create artificial tension," ND said, adding that it would not follow SYRIZA down the path it has chosen.
Clarifying statements made by ND leader Vangelis Meimarakis, ND stressed that his criticism had been confined to those public-sector employees that had been found derelict in their duties or corrupt.
"It has been made clear many times that we are fully opposed to ideas of revanchism. We respect the overwhelming majority of public-sector employees that fulfill their mission and we will try to coordinate our action with them for a state that is functional and friendly to the citizen," the announcement said.
 Independent Greeks leader: I will support Tsipras again"The Greek people must understand that now they turn page, they must decide if they want a government from the past or a government that will take them ahead," noted Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos speaking to ANA-MPA's "Praktorio 104.9" radio.
"When I say that the page is turned I do not mean that we will go to another memorandum that leads to recession and internal devaluation. I refer to a final solution that will offer the opportunity with fresh cash that will be sent to the market and money that will be given for growth from the so-called Juncker package in order to leave from the austerity policy and to start rebuilding our country" said Kammenos.
He called his cooperation with SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras honest and underlined "When I had the chance to become a hero and to overthrow the government, I preferred to support this man who fought like a lion in Brussels by himself. I supported the Greek prime minister and I will support him again."
Asked on Tsipras' statement that he would not participate in a goverment with New Democracy, Potami and PASOK, Kammenos clarified "Neither will I" adding "If SYRIZA is first in the elections and we are in the parliament we will be able to form a government together."
On the refugees issue, ANEL leader said he agrees Lesvos island to be declared in state of emergency and stressed the need for initiatives on international level to be taken so that the problem is effectively confronted.
 ANEL spokeswoman: 'Elections in Greece were unavoidable'The elections in Greece were unavoidable after the breakup within SYRIZA following the approval of the country's agreement with its lenders, Independent Greeks (ANEL) spokeswoman Marina Chrysoveloni said in an article in a Greek paper on Thursday.
"Elections were unavoidable after the political and psychological breakup within SYRIZA and the toppling of the government from [Panagiotis] Lafazanis' fraction for reasons clearly obsessional," she wrote to Efimeritha ton Syntakton.
She said that on a second level, citizens are invited to decide with the elections whether "it was a good choice to 'capitulate' and make a forced compromise, or whether they preferred a complete bankruptcy and return to the drachma."
 The memorandum is not enough to get us out of the catastrophe," Potami leader Theodorakis"The memorandum alone can't take us out of the catastrophe," Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis on Thursday said in an interview with ANA-MPA. "We have to respect the agreement and implement huge reforms," he added.
Theodorakis proposed a broad government with specific priorities.
He reiterated that he did not regret voting for the memorandum as Potami contributed in keeping Greece in Europe and underlined: "We do not support Tsipras. We do not support the memorandum. We do not support a bad parliamentary majority. But we support Greece, we support the country. There was no other way."
Referring to the polls, he said that they are not telling the truth and the sense he gets is that the Greek society wants Potami.
The full interview is available at ANA-MPA website.
 Potami leader to present party's electoral ticket on FridayPotami leader Stavros Theodorakis will present the party's electoral ticket on Friday at Alkmini theatre in Gazi, at 13.00 (local time).
 Potami's Theodorakis says CoS rulings for Skouries gold mine must be respectedThe head of the Potami party Stavros Theodorakis stressed that Greek authorities have an obligation to respect Council of State rulings concerning the gold mine at Skouries, asking the caretaker Productive Reconstruction Minister Ioannis Golias to intervene to uphold the law during a meeting on Thursday.
Theodorakis stressed that the request was "self-evident" in a European country and that the right to work must be combined with protection of the environment based on the judgement of state organs, not party committees.
He criticised the initiative taken by the previous minister Panos Skourletis to close down the mines a few days before the elections, saying the action targeted Skourletis' predecessor at the ministry, Popular Unity party leader Panagiotis Lafazanis.
Meanwhile, in addition to Drasi, a collection of former PASOK members that left the party to form the movement "Brosta" on Thursday announced their decision to join Potami's ranks.
 KKE and Popular Unity are like "day and night", says KoutsoumbasThe dividing line in politics is either the alignment with the capital, the monopolies, their power and their alliances, or with the economic development and the interest of the people, Communist Party leader (KKE) Dimitris Koutsoumbas said speaking on Thursday to private SKAI TV.
Koutsoumbas stressed that KKE's main objective is the biggest possible electoral reinforcement of the party.
Asked on a possible alliance with parties sharing similar ideologies, Koutsoumbas answered that the party's policy concerning this kind of alliances is known.
Referring to the newly founded party "Popular Unity" and its differences with KKE, Koutsoumbas stressed that they are like "day and night".
Koutsoumbas also described the dilemma of a choice between "drachma or euro" as fake because the people will ultimately pay the cost.
 Former SYRIZA MEP Glezos: 'If there's no united anti-bailout front I'll vote the Communist party'Former SYRIZA MEP Manolis Glezos said on Thursday he will not be a candidate lawmaker in the upcoming elections if the anti-bailout front is not united, while adding that if this doesn't happen, he will vote for the Communist Party.
"My candidacy will depend on whether there will be a single anti-memorandum front and if they hear my views for a direct democracy. If it does not happen to create a front based on the principle that the people decide on everything, I'll vote for the Communist Party despite my differences," he told journalists at a press conference.
Glezos criticized the former coalition government of SYRIZA and ANEL, saying they signed a deal forgetting that "whoever borrows money doesn't win anything". He also expressed his opposition to those who favour exiting the Eurozone. "We must not give Europe away," he said adding that the euro protects from inflation and that it is not to blame for Greece's economic woes. Instead he pointed to excessive borrowing as the root of all problems.
 Democratic Left (DIMAR) loses 111 members opposed to cooperation with PASOKIn a joint statement opposing cooperation between PASOK and the Democratic Left (DIMAR) on Thursday, 111 DIMAR members announced that they were leaving DIMAR and expressed support for a SYRIZA victory in the elections.
They criticised the party's leadership for what they called "anti-democratic methods foreign to the renewalist Left and DIMAR" and adopted a position in favour of the third memorandum as a stabilising factor for politics and the economy in the country, urging voters to express their opposition to cooperation with PASOK.
 Drasi to support Potami party in upcoming electionsThe Drasi party on Thursday decided to once again support the Potami party in the upcoming elections, as it did in January, with members of the party joining Potami's election tickets. Drasi leader Thodoros Skylakakis will be added to Potami's list of state deputies but not in one of the top positions that are likely to be elected to Parliament.
 ANTARSYA refuses cooperation with Lafazanis' Popular UnityThe far-left ANTARSYA party will not cooperate with SYRIZA or the Popular Unity party led by Panagiotis Lafazanis in the upcoming elections, ANTARSYA candidate Giorgos Grolios said in statements to the ANA-MPA radio 'Praktorio 104.9 FM' on Thursday.
He said that Lafazanis' offer to ANTARSYA essentially demanded that it be absorbed by Popular Unity while SYRIZA had "gone to the other side," becoming a bourgeois party like New Democracy and PASOK. ANTARSYA will seek election on a platform of exiting the EU and nationalisation of banks and big businesses, Grolios said.
 Golden Dawn trial on resume on September 8The trial of far-right Golden Dawn's leadership and other party members will resume on September 8, in the specially adapted courtroom in Korydallos prison, authorities announced.
Sources said that the justice ministry had set in motion preparations to transfer the trial to the Athens Appeals Court and that the building's multi-purpose hall will be ready to host the trial by September 20. The move was requested by the mayor of Korydallos, who complained that the trial would excessively disrupt daily life in Korydallos, especially for a number of schools in close proximity to the prison.
 Faster release of EU programme funds for Greece could begin in October, EU Commissioner Cretu saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)
A European Commission proposal to speed up financing to Greece from EU programmes can probably start to be implemented from October, pumping more than 35 billion euros into the Greek economy by 2020, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu on Thursday. If things go as planned, roughly one billion euros could be directed toward the Greek economy during the month, she said.
In a press conference at the European Parliament, Cretu said that MEPs had agreed almost unanimously with the emergency measures proposed by the Commission. She said approval was still pending from the European Council on September 11 and from the EuroParliament's regional development committee on September 17.
In a decision taken on July 15, the European Commission proposed ways to quickly boost liquidity in Greece through an early release of investment funds via EU programmes, such as the disbursement of the 5 pct of financing normally withheld until the programme ended, as well as a decision for 100 pct financing for 2007-2013. This will translate into an additional 500 million euros in additional liquidity and 2.0 billions in savings for the Greek budget.
 Greek gov't plans new property tax that will include real estate, bank deposits abroadThe Greek government is examining plans to introduce a new integrated property tax to replace the so-called ENFIA tax, which will incorporate citizens' real estate both in Greece and abroad, along with their deposits in foreign banks, Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis said on Thursday.
In an interview with daily financial newspaper Naftemporiki, Alexiadis underlined the need for a social dialogue - to begin right after the Sept 20 elections -with citizens and social groups that will result in the drafting of the new tax which will replace ENFIA in 2016, adding the ministry has already prepared proposals.
"I cannot understand why a property tax should be imposed on an apartment with a commercial value of 50,000 euros owned by two pensioners and not on a real estate property owned by someone in the Alps, in London or the French Riviera," Alexiadis said, adding that "Luxury property assets owned by Greek citizens in Switzerland, London and in other regions outside the country, along with capital deposited in foreign banks, will be taxed under the new law".
He noted that if the owner is a taxpayer in Greece and pays a property tax with a tax rate abroad, if the domestic tax rate is higher he will have to pay the difference in Greece, as it happens in double taxation avoidance contracts.
 Capital controls could be lifted by the end of 2015, Finance minister saysGreek Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Thursday said it was feasible to lift capital controls on bank transactions by the end of the year on the condition that economic stability was restored in the country.
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference, Christodoulakis announced a relaxation of electronic bank transactions for sums up to 5,000, which will be approved directly by commercial banks.
He also said that authorities were examining incentives and recommendations for the return of capital -kept in households or deposited abroad- to the Greek banking system and asked commercial banks to lower the commissions paid by customers because of the capital controls. He also announced that new students or students in the Erasmus program will be allowed to open new bank accounts, while candidate deputies will be allowed to open a short-term bank account for cover their pre-election expenses which must be made through credit cards.
Christodoulakis said that he will submit a report to the EU requesting a rise in funds envisaged in the 2014-2020 EU program, currently at 20 billion euros. Under the plan, the government aims to restructure and review all programs included in the previous EU funding program (2007-2014) by the end of September and to request an extension of the absorption period by 6-12 months. Greece will also request higher investment funds for the new EU funding program, a crisis dividend, as he described it. He noted that the employment criterion will be clearly stated in all funding programs.
The minister also noted that the government was drafting a new development law which will need creation of a fund -which will be listed in the stock exchange- using as capital all financial support to enterprises envisaged under the new development law. The new legislation will envisage the creation of a special credit ability certification mechanism, adding that the new law's main goal will be job creation.
 Greece's privatsation agency says will sell 51% instead of 67% stake in Thessaloniki's portGreece's privatization agency (HRADF) said on Thursday it will make some "minor amendments" to the conditions of the tender for the sale of a 67 pct stake in Thessaloniki's port (OLTH).
According to the board of directors' decision, the agency will initially sell 51 pct, while the other 16 pct will be sold to the highest bidder in five years and after it has completed the required investments.
HRADF also said the new conditions will be announced soon to all the investors who are currently in the second phase of the tender, adding that, according to the timetable, binding offers are expected within February 2016.
 ECB lowers ELA ceiling for Greek banks as liquidity conditions improveThe European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday lowered the ceiling for emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) Greek lenders can tap from the Greek central bank by around 600 million euros to 89.1 billion euros.
The situation in the Greek banking system will be re-assessed on September 16.
 Crete Plastics completes 5-mln-euro bond loanCrete Plastics on Thursday announced the successful completion of a five-million-euro bond loan, approved by a general shareholders' meeting in June 26. In an announcement, the company said the bond loan was covered by seven persons participating in its board council. The company issued 50 bonds worth 100,000 euros each.
 Greek stocks end 3.61 pct higherGreek stocks surged in line with other European markets on Thursday after Mario Draghi's comments which left the door open to an extension of the ECB's QE program, if necessary.
Market sentiment in the Athens Stock Exchange improved further as the ECB's president said it could buy Greek bonds on conditions, it could accept Greek banks' collaterals again and particularly his comments that the ECB insisted on excluding Greek depositors from a possible bail in. Bank shares were at the focus of buying activity.
The composite index of the market jumped 3.61 pct to end at 649.05 points, while turnover rose to 34.42 million euros with volume of 162,196,974. The market's capitalization grew by 1.3 billion euros. The Large Cap index jumped 3.55 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 2.77 pct higher.
All blue chip stocks ended higher, led by Alpha Bank (22.22 pct), Piraeus Bank (13.41 pct), PPC (10.38 pct), Viohalco (9.18 pct) and National Bank (9.05 pct). Among market sectors, Banks (12.39 pct), Utilities (7.98 pct) and Industrial Products (4.93 pct) scored big gains, while the Insurance sector was the only one to end lower (-1.35 pct).
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 79 to 25 with another 12 issues unchanged. Audiovisual (29.76 pct), Alpha Bank (22.22 pct) and Hellenic Sugar (20 pct) were top gainers, while Dionic (18 pct), Altec (17.39 pct) and Centric Holdings (11.76 pct).
 Greek bond market closing reportThe Greek 10-year bond yield rose slightly to 9.22 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 9.18 pct the previous day, with the yield spread against the 10-year German Bund -which yielded 0.72 pct- rising to 8.50 pct from 8.37 pct on Wednesday. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate rose slightly to 0.161 pct from 0.160 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.90 pct, the six-month rate was 0.038 pct, the three-month rate was -0.033 pct and the one-month rate was -0.103 pct from -0.102 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe September contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.79 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,596 contracts with 8,446 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 47,778 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contractse (14,436), followed by Alpha Bank (12,163), National Bank (5,040), Eurobank (13,769), OTE (438), PPC (556), OPAP (275), Mytilineos (234), Hellenic Petroleum (152), Motor Oil (234), GEK (143), Ellaktor (172) and MIG (85).
 Authorities conclude search on 'Haddad 1', find 4,881 carbinesGreek authorities on Thursday announced that they had completed a search of all 14 containers on board the Bolivian-flagged freighter "Haddad 1". The ship had been held at Iraklio port for inspection since Tuesday, when a coast guard patrol found undeclared weapons in one of the containers it was carrying.
Sources said authorities found a total of 4,881 carbines, of the type that could be used in urban warfare, as well as 491,881 9mm rounds of ammunition and quantities of contraband cigarettes.
The ship's seven-member crew will be led before a public prosecutor on Thursday evening. It had set sail from Iskenderum, Turkey on August 29 bound for Libya and was intercepted by a Greek coast guard patrol boat on Tuesday, 20 nautical miles off Ierapetra, Crete.
The shipping company that owns the ship is based in Alexandria, Egypt and does not seem to be involved with a Greek ship owner in any way, according to available evidence.
 Rare ancient octadrachm to be repatriated from SwitzerlandAn important ancient Greek coin will be repatriated from Switzerland in September following a Swiss court's ruling that the coin is a product of illegal excavation.
The coin, a silver octadrachm, was located on the website of an auction house in September 2009 by the Greek authorities. The coin dates back to the end of the 6th century BC at the era of King of Visaltia Mossi.
Ancient Visaltia was located in the northern Greek region of Serres.
The coin on one side depicts a man holding a spear next to a horse and on the back side the word "Mosseos" is carved. It constitutes a very important find because the coins from the specific era found until today were only silver drachmas.
 Body of Greek captain found from wreck off SenegalSenegalese authorities said they found on Thursday the body of the Greek captain who went missing after the trawler he commanded sank off the coast of West Africa on Tuesday.
Twelve crewmembers were rescued but another seven are still missing after the vessel "Dimitrios" sent out an SOS amid bad weather conditions in the area.
Greece has already started the process of transferring the body of the captain back to Athens, while Senegal is continuing the search operation.
 Coast Guard to receive open seas patrol vesselCoast Guard will receive a new open seas patrol vessel at the end of September. It is the fifth patrol vessel financed up to 95 pct by the European Commission External Boarders Fund. The cost of the vessel reached 28, 8 million euros and was constructed in the Netherlands.
The 58-metre long vessel can carry up to 30 persons and has a maximum speed of 30 knots.
The vessel will be used in Coast Guard's operations against the organised crime and in undocumented migrants rescue operations.
 Ship carrying 1,738 refugees to arrive in Piraeus at 21:30The Cyprus-flagged catamaran "Tera Jet" carrying 1,738 refugees is expected to arrive at Piraeus port at 21:30 on Thursday. The ship set sail from Lesvos at noon.
All necessary measures to ensure that the refugees disembark safely have been taken at Piraeus port.
 Mostly fair on FridayMostly fair weather and winds from variable directions are forecast for Friday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Fair in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 16C-37C. Mostly fair in the western parts of the country with temperatures between 17C-35C. Sunny in the eastern parts of the country, with temperatures between 16C-36C. Mostly fair over the Aegean islands and Crete, 22C-34C. Sunny in Athens, 20C-35C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki, 18C-35C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: (New Democracy leader Evangelos) Meimarakis: 'Useless' cleaners, teachers, school guards
DIMOKRATIA: Suffocation from undocumented migrants
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: What is it that you don't understand?
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Triple shock for Alexis Tsipras who is playing "hide and seek" in TIF
ESTIA: Debt relief on its way
ETHNOS: Neck to neck fight for the third position
IMERISSIA: 63,000 small enteprises in the red
KATHIMERINI: 'Gaps' at schools until December
KONTRA NEWS: New fraud from Mega TV. New Democracy first party and its leader Evangelos Meimarakis preferred prime minister
NAFTEMPORIKI: Foreign ENFIA (Uniform Real Estate Ownership Tax)
RIZOSPASTIS: No second chances to anti-popular dilemmas and illusions
TA NEA: 'No' to cooperation with New Democracy
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