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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-10-14

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

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

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 Issue No: 5043

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM chairs KYSEA council, government meeting on refugee crisis
  • [02] Government meeting discusses progress in refugee-related projects
  • [03] PM Tsipras to meet EU Commissioner Moscovici on Wednesday
  • [04] Cypriot President Anastasiades, PM Tsipras discuss regional issues in phone call
  • [05] Omnibus bill on prior actions eliminates risk of Grexit, says Alt. FinMin Chouliarakis
  • [06] Greek opposition parties reject measures of omnibus bill on prior actions
  • [07] Potami's predictions about harsh taxes coming true, Theodorakis says
  • [08] State Minister Pappas discusses TAP, IGB pipelines with U.S. energy envoy Hochstein
  • [09] FM Kotzias to visit Nicosia on Oct 26-28
  • [10] Commission has not asked for joint Greek-Turkish coast guard patrols, Commission spokesman says
  • [11] Motorbike police unit 'Delta' to be abolished, says minister
  • [12] Energy minister meets Austrian, Iranian envoys to discuss cooperation
  • [13] Greek banks' capital needs are limited, Katseli says
  • [14] Econ minister denies reports regarding non-performing loans as 'fantasies'
  • [15] Government aims at ending dependence on coal by 2030, says minister
  • [16] Greek CEOs slightly more optimistic in Q3
  • [17] Greek state's overdue debt to private sector up in Aug
  • [18] Greek GDP lost 23.82 bln euros in 2011-2014
  • [19] Greek stocks end slightly lower
  • [20] Greek bond market closing report
  • [21] ADEX closing report
  • [22] Derveni papyrus becomes first Greek item to be included in UNESCO's Memory of the World program
  • [23] Trafficker arrested for transporting 1,000-plus refugees to Lesvos last weekend
  • [24] Civil servants' union federation ADEDY to hold anti-war rally on Thursday
  • [25] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM chairs KYSEA council, government meeting on refugee crisis

    Greece's strategy on major issues of foreign policy, the refugee crisis and developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans dominated a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) held on Tuesday, government sources said. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    KYSEA is Greece's top decision-making organ for foreign policy and defence issues, chaired by the prime minister, and is also responsible for selecting the chiefs of the armed and security forces in the country.

    Following the KYSEA meeting, the prime minister chaired a government meeting on the refugee crisis that is still underway at the government headquarters at Maximos Mansion. The meeting's aim is to review the action taken so far and plan the government's actions going forward.

    Among those participating were Minister of State Alekos Flambouraris, National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas, Shipping and Island Policy Minister Thodoris Dritsas, Alternate Civil Protection Minister Nikos Toskas and Deputy Minister of State Terens Quick.

    [02] Government meeting discusses progress in refugee-related projects

    The completion of the projects and infrastructure in refugee reception centers and of the identification process was discussed in a government meeting on the refugee crisis chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Mansion on Tuesday.

    According to a press release by the prime minister's office, the ministers also discussed how to coordinate the management of refugee flows and appointed coordinators in the islands which receive the refugees.

    The meeting also focused on the government's position in the upcoming Summit meeting on the refugee crisis.

    [03] PM Tsipras to meet EU Commissioner Moscovici on Wednesday

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet visiting European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici at the Maximos Mansion at 17:00 on Wednesday.

    [04] Cypriot President Anastasiades, PM Tsipras discuss regional issues in phone call

    Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday before his departure for Beijing where he will participate in an Asian Political Parties' special conference on the "Silk Road", organized by the Communist Party of China (CPC).

    According to the Cypriot government spokesman, Anastasiades and Tsipras discussed the Cypriot issue, regional developments and the imminent meeting of the European Council. The Greek premier will represent the Cypriot President at the Council meeting as he will still be in Beijing.

    [05] Omnibus bill on prior actions eliminates risk of Grexit, says Alt. FinMin Chouliarakis

    The voting of the omnibus bill will restore Greece's credibility and the trust of its lenders as well as eliminate the risk of the country's exit from the Eurozone, Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Chouliarakis said on Tuesday, opening the debate in the joint meeting of the three relevant parliamentary committees.

    "The measures included in the bill are an important part of the agreement signed between the Greek government and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and constitute a prior action for its implementation," the minister noted.

    "Despite the difficult implementation of some measures, its approval will allow the smooth funding of the Greek economy in the short-term, but also during the three years [of its duration] it eliminates the risk of an exit from the single currency, restores confidence in the country and brings stability and an end to the five-year recession," he added.

    The debate continues with speeches from the party rapporteurs.

    [06] Greek opposition parties reject measures of omnibus bill on prior actions

    The minor opposition parties - except junior coalition partner ANEL - expressed their opposition to various measures included in the omnibus bill on the prior actions Greek parliament will vote on Friday, during its discussion at a joint parliamentary committee meeting.

    The rapporteur of the Democratic Coalition, Giannis Koutsoukos, said the provisions of the bill constitute a "tangible proof that refutes the entire pre-electoral rhetoric of SYRIZA and ANEL of the so-called tough negotiation which ended in unconditional surrender."

    The Communist Party's rapporteur Nikos Karathanasopoulos described the bill as "barbaric" and added it has "clear class characteristics".

    Haris Theoharis of Potami accused the government of including in the bill provisions that do not constitute bailout obligations to pass them "without any debate" and added that the party will vote against it.

    Independent Greeks' (ANEL) rapporteur Dimitris Kammenos said the party is in favour of the bill but asked to allow the settlement of business debts against debts of the State and the assignment of debts from rents to the State.

    Union of Centrists' rapporteur Marios Georgiadis said it reserves its final opinion on the bill and "maintains the hope that logic and realism will prevail."

    [07] Potami's predictions about harsh taxes coming true, Theodorakis says

    Potami's predictions of harsh taxation was imminent were about to be confirmed, party leader Stavros Theodorakis said on Tuesday.

    "Unfortunately, people will understand that Potami was right last March, when it called for an agreement to be concluded soon," Theodorakis said after a meeting with expert bodies in Parliament, who outlined their fears that the new taxes included in the omnibus bill will have serious repercussions.

    If Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had listened to Potami at the time, "we would have been spared much of the tax storm that is coming," he added.

    [08] State Minister Pappas discusses TAP, IGB pipelines with U.S. energy envoy Hochstein

    Minister of State Nikos Pappas met on Tuesday with the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, responsible for Energy Diplomacy, Amos Hochstein and U.S. Ambassador to Greece David Pearce at Maximos Mansion, according to sources.

    The three officials discussed the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB Pipeline), as well as other energy issues, the sources said.

    [09] FM Kotzias to visit Nicosia on Oct 26-28

    Cypriot government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides confirmed to ANA-MPA that Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will pay an official visit to Nicosia on October 26-28.

    The Greek minister will be received by President Nicos Anastasiades, he will hold talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides and meet with leaders of political parties.

    Mr. Kotzias will remain in Nicosia on October 28 to attend events for the national anniversary.

    [10] Commission has not asked for joint Greek-Turkish coast guard patrols, Commission spokesman says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    The European Commission at no time asked for joint patrols by the Greek and Turkish coast guards in the Aegean, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas clarified on Tuesday, in response to questions regarding the handling of the refugee issue.

    Schinas said that the action plan for EU cooperation with Turkey on the refugee issue urges Turkey to enhance controls along its land and sea borders and notes the need for cooperation between Greece and Turkey on the refugee issue.

    He noted that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be visiting Turkey on Sunday, while a Commission mission led by European Commission Frans Timmermans was due to visit Ankara on Wednesday and would discuss these issues.

    At the same time, parallel actions will be taking place in Greece, with European services and teams from the Commission working with Greek authorities to handle the refugee issue.

    "We are satisfied with the work taking place on both sides of the Aegean," he added.

    [11] Motorbike police unit 'Delta' to be abolished, says minister

    Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Toskas announced on Tuesday the abolition of Greek police's motorbike unit "Delta" and the merger of police stations as part of the reorganization and redeployment of its forces.

    Delta Unit was created in 2009 as a quick response team to address criminality at a neighbourhood level.

    Speaking during a press conference, Toskas said the unit will be divided in three parts and that smaller police stations mainly in the periphery will be merged to improve effectiveness of security forces. He noted however that any outstanding disciplinary procedures against Delta's police officers will continue.

    The minister also announced similar actions for the Fire department.

    Financial News

    [12] Energy minister meets Austrian, Iranian envoys to discuss cooperation

    The possibility of further cooperation on energy issues between Greece, Austria and Iran was discussed in separate meetings between Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis and the Austrian and Iranian Ambassadors on Tuesday.

    In the first meeting, Austrian Ambassador Andrea Ikic-Bohm expressed her country's interest in Renewable Energy Sources (RES) in which Austria boasts top performance on a global level, while Skourletis outlined the government's main energy priorities and the steps that have been taken in producing energy from RES.

    In his meeting with Iranian Envoy Behnam Behrouz, the minister noted that there's a lot of room for collaboration for the two countries and that the lifting of the embargo against Iran will allow the strengthening of bilateral relations on energy issues. On his side, Behrouz also noted the important possibilities for cooperation and the good relations between the two countries.

    [13] Greek banks' capital needs are limited, Katseli says

    The president of Hellenic Bank Association and National Bank governor Louka Katseli in an interview with Handelsblatt estimated that the capital needs of the Greek banks are limited.

    "My personal view is that banks will not need the entire 25 billion euros", Katseli said.

    The third economic programme provides for a total of 25 billion euros for the recapitalization of the four largest Greek banks. The exact amount needed will be determined after the ECB's stress tests.

    In general the Greek banks are healthy, she noted. "We are not Iceland, Ireland or Cyprus," she added.

    "None of our banks is in danger of collapse," Katseli stated, explaining that the difficulties faced by Greek institutions have systemic causes.

    "There are external shocks: the recession, the outflow of funds, the reduction of deposits, the non-performing loans," she explained.

    Katseli appeared optimistic that capital controls imposed on Greece will be lifted next year.

    [14] Econ minister denies reports regarding non-performing loans as 'fantasies'

    Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis on Tuesday strenuously denied making any reference to the handling of non-performing loans during a press conference the previous day, dismissing reports on the issue as "fantasies" of main opposition New Democracy and certain journalists.

    "The issue is in the process of being negotiated with the partners and is of course linked to the process for recapitalising the banks. Consequently, when this process is completed there will be the relevant legislative measures. For the time being, there is no question of making announcements," he said in a statement to the ANA-MPA.

    The government had "established a more protective framework for dialogue and had averted solutions that would have had disastrous consequences," he added.

    The minister pointed out that the 'Katseli' law had been modified over the summer so as to include debts to the tax office, as well as to banks, and the criteria widened to take in the self-employed and entrepreneurs, while its general framework had been rationalised.

    He also pointed to improvements in the legislation for company loans in terms of settlements both in and outside the courts.

    Stathakis said the government had plans to set up an independent authority to monitor the creditworthiness of individuals and legal entities, with full respect for the handling of personal privacy. He also noted that after negotiations with the institutions and relevant studies, the government will examine the possibility of establishing a management body for NPLs, under certain conditions, in combination with other legal tools.

    [15] Government aims at ending dependence on coal by 2030, says minister

    Ending dependence on coal by 2030, oil and imported energy are the three main aims where Greece's energy planning should focus, Alternate Minister for the Environment Yiannis Tsironis said in a speech at an energy conference in Athens.

    The minister said that while it is premature to set as an objective the immediate end to the use of coal, the aim should be put on the agenda for the period 2020-2030.

    He also said it is a paradox to import energy when Greece has twice the installed capacity it requires to meet its needs and that the country spends more than 1,490 barrels of oil per GDP unit daily, versus 900 barrels in Norway.

    [16] Greek CEOs slightly more optimistic in Q3

    Greek CEOs were slightly optimistic over economic developments in the country in the third quarter of 2015, with three out of 10 CEOs remaining troubled over the fact that the economy was still stagnant and seven out of 10 expecting the Greek economy to return to positive growth rates in 2017 or later, a survey by the Association of Chief Executive Officers and ICAP Group showed on Tuesday.

    The report, based on a sample of 3,020 CEOs and general managers of the largest Greek enterprises during the period September 28-October 9, 2015, said that the EASE/ICAP-CEO General Index grew slightly to 112 points in the third quarter of 2015, reflecting a stabilisation of the political situation in the country after the September general elections and the government's commitment to fully implementing a new adjustment programme agreed with the country's creditors. However, the survey said that a prolonged period of delay in implementing an adjustment programme would lead the Greek economy to recession in 2015 and 2016, as estimated by the IMF.

    [17] Greek state's overdue debt to private sector up in Aug

    The Greek state's overdue debt to the private sector totaled 5.105 billion euros in August, up from 4.955 billion in July, while pending tax returns to the private sector grew to 809 million euros in August from 781 million in July, the Finance ministry said on Tuesday.

    The state budget's overdue debt to the private sector totaled 728 million euros in August, while other state legal entities' debt grew to 264 million (251 mln in July) and municipal authorities' debt rose slightly to 317 million from 316 million euros. Social insurance organisations' overdue debt to the private sector totaled 2.571 billion euros in August, from 2.457 billion in September, while state hospitals' debt rose to 1.225 billion from 1.179 billion euros.

    [18] Greek GDP lost 23.82 bln euros in 2011-2014

    Greek Gross Domestic Product grew 0.7 pct in 2014, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday, revising downwards an earlier estimate for a 0.8 pct growth rate.

    The statistics service, in a report, revised its estimates for the period 2011-2013. The country's GDP shrank by 23.82 billion euros in the 2011-2014 period (from 205.389 billion to 181.569 billion, respectively). The Greek GDP fell 9.1 pct in 2011 (from -8.9 pct previously estimated),falling 7.3 pct in 2012 (from -6.6 pct) and falling 3.2 pct in 2013 (from -3.9 pct), while it grew by 0.7 pct (from 0.8 pct).

    Final consumption spending fell 0.2 pct last year, from a 0.9 pct increase previously estimated, while household consumption grew 0.5 pct (from 1.4 pct previously estimated) and general government consumption fell 2.6 pct (from -0.9 pct). Private investments fell by 2.8 pct in 2014 (from a 2.7 pct increase previously estimated), while exports of goods and services grew 7.5 pct (9.0 pct) and imports rose 7.7 pct (from 7.4 pct).

    Household consumption fell by 5.1 pct on average in the 2011-2014 period, while private investments shrank 14.05 pct in the same period.

    [19] Greek stocks end slightly lower

    Greek stocks edged lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday as investors found little new reasons to open new positions in the market. The composite index of the market eased 0.36 pct to end at 678.30 points, after falling as much as 0.90 pct early in the day. The Large Cap index fell 0.73 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.64 pct lower. Turnover was a low 34.219 million euros in volume of 70,636,786.

    National Bank (7.09 pct), Piraeus Bank (6.94 pct) and Jumbo (2.38 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Eurobank (4.17 pct), Coca Cola HBC (3.35 pct) and OPAP (2.67 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Among market sectors, Banks (4.26 pct), Personal Products (2.24 pct) and Constructions (0.67 pct) scored gains, while Insurance (4.03 pct), Food (3.34 pct) and Travel (2.44 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 46 to 40 with another 14 issues unchanged. Hatzikraniotis (27.5 pct), Attica Holdings (15.87 pct) and Sidma (15.36 pct) were top gainers, while Progressive (16.46 pct), Audiovisual (12.70 pct) and F.G.Europe (10 pct) were top losers.

    [20] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 7.35 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, with the Greek bond yielding 7.93 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.58 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.139 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.071 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.026 pct from 0.027 pct, the three-month rate was unchanged at -0.049 pct and the one-month rate was -0.113 pct.

    [21] ADEX closing report

    The October contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.23 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,879 contracts with 11,446 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 28,544 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (10,166), followed by Alpha Bank (6,742), National Bank (3,909), Eurobank (5,932), OTE (421), PPC (487), OPAP (250), Mytilineos (132), Motor Oil (99), Hellenic Petroleum (78) and Hellenic Exchanges (77).

    General News

    [22] Derveni papyrus becomes first Greek item to be included in UNESCO's Memory of the World program

    The Derveni papyrus, an ancient Greek papyrus roll considered as Europe's oldest surviving readable manuscript, is the first Greek item to be included in UNESCO's Memory of the World program, the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, where the item is kept, announced on Tuesday.

    The Memory of the Word aims at preserving against decay and oblivion the world's documentary heritage and highlighting its value by facilitating access to the works.

    The papyrus is a philosophical treatise and an allegorical commentary on an older Orphic poem concerning the birth of the gods and its author is a contested issue among scholars, who have proposed Euthyphron of Prospalta, Diagoras of Melos and Stesimbrotus of Thasos.

    It was found in pieces in 1962 in Derveni, an area near the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, among the remains of a funeral pyre of a tomb of the late Classical period (4th century BC) that yielded many artifacts. Experts believe the document was saved because of the incomplete burning, as Greece's climate doesn't favour the preservation of papyruses.

    The surviving part of the papyrus is from the top of the cylinder, which is the book that resulted from the uniting of many papyrus leaves. Of the 266 surviving fragments of the papyrus, only 26 columns were restored. The text dates to between 340 and 320 BC, during the reign of Philip II of Macedon, but the book which was reproduced in the document is much older - possibly from 420-410 BC.

    "The Derveni Papyrus is of immense importance not only for the study of Greek religion and philosophy, which is the basis for the western philosophical thought, but also because it serves as a proof of the early dating of the Orphic poems offering a distinctive version of Presocratic philosophers," UNESCO says about the papyrus.

    "The text of the Papyrus, which is the first book of western tradition, has a global significance, since it reflects universal human values: the need to explain the world, the desire to belong to a human society with known rules and the agony to confront the end of life," it added.

    The inclusion of the document was decided by the program's International Advisory Committee (IAC) which convened in Abu Dhabi on October 4-6. It has attracted international interest and is the subject of study of the CHS Derveni Papyrus Project, conducted by the Center for Hellenic Studies of Harvard University.

    The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki believes its inclusion in UNESCO's international list will contribute decisively to the further promotion and preservation of Greece's tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

    [23] Trafficker arrested for transporting 1,000-plus refugees to Lesvos last weekend

    A Turkish migrant trafficker was picked up by a coast guard patrol after transporting over 1,000 refugees and migrants to the island of Lesvos last weekend, authorities said on Tuesday.

    The suspect was so over-confident that he allowed amateur photographer Petros Tsakmakis to record his arrival on camera as he dropped off some 150 people, including women and children (photos attached). He had charged each migrant 1,500 euros for the journey.

    A Greek coast guard/Frontex patrol finally caught up with him on Monday, after the boat had been spotted travelling back and forth between the Turkish coast and Lesvos and placed under surveillance. The trafficker was first allowed to drop the refugees off on the island, to avoid putting people's lives at risk, and he was then pursued and arrested.

    [24] Civil servants' union federation ADEDY to hold anti-war rally on Thursday

    he civil servants' union federation ADEDY is organising an anti-war rally and march that will begin outside the gates of Athens university at 18:00 on Thursday evening, followed by a march to the European Union's offices on Vassilisis Sofias Avenue.

    [25] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: A 40-day crash test

    DIMOKRATIA: The minister who forgot to declare 1,000,000 euros in his tax declaration

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Two new ports to be built

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 5 bombs for low incomers

    ESTIA: Households under persecution

    ETHNOS: A banquet on the funds for migrants

    IMERISSIA: 'French key' for the banks

    KATHIMERINI: Constant tax surprises

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Debt visit

    RIZOSPASTIS: With the communist party in the struggle for power

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE * TEL: 210 64.00.560-63 * FAX: 210 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr * e-mail: anabul@ana gr * GENERAL DIRECTOR: MICHALIS PSILOS


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