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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-01-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Weekend News Bulletin
Monday, January 4 2016
 PM Tsipras: The government will not succumb to unreasonable demandsPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday in an interview with Real News newspaper sent the message to Greece's creditors that the government will not succumb to unreasonable demands.
"We will fully meet our commitments, but we will not accept injustices," he underlined.
The Greek prime minister said that 2016 will mark the return after six years of recession. "A new page will open for Greece," he noted. "In 2016, Greece will exit the crisis and will recover," he stressed adding that major institutional reforms will also be implemented.
Regarding the scenarios for an ecumenical government, he described them as "midsummer night dream," assuring that the parliamentary majority is firm and that the government will complete its four-year term. He added that these scenarios are promoted by the bankrupt political system and will be proven wrong.
He estimated that the deputies that will vote for the bill on the social security reforms will be more than 153. "The voting of the bill is a vote of confidence to the next generations that are entitled to social protection," he stressed.
 In the negotiations there will be victories and defeats, FinMin Tsakalotos saysFinance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Sunday in an interview with Kathimerini expressed optimism that the government will overcome the obstacle of the negotiations with the creditors.
"In the negotiations there will be victories and defeats," he said and confirmed that the institutions are asking for additional measures for the period 2016-2018.
On the social security system, Tsakalotos said: "There are distortions that must be corrected, specific cases that should be reviewed so that the social security system becomes sustainable in the medium term."
Regarding the possible withdrawal of the IMF from the program, Tsakalotos underlined that "the issue is not a Greek problem." He noted that on one hand the IMF has very harsh neoliberal positions on the economic and social issues so it would be difficult to support a left government and on the other hand it puts pressure on the Europeans for a favourable solution on the Greek debt.
 BoG head Stournaras optimistic that Greece will succeed"The successful conclusion of the first evaluation will have a significant impact on the confidence climate as it will mark the return of deposits to the banks and the beginning of discussions on a series of positive acts," Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras said in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper on Sunday.
The Greek economy at the beginning of 2016 is at a critical crossroad, Stournaras said and explained: "It is ahead of the first evaluation of the new financial program which includes two very important and sensitive prior actions: the completion of the social security reforms and the rationalisation of taxes on farmers."
He also said that the negotiation for the conclusion of the evaluation will have to be completed at a Eurogroup level as the situation in the European Union makes it highly dangerous to transfer it at an EU Council summit level.
Stournaras expressed optimism that Greece is very likely to succeed despite the mistakes of the past by both the Greek side and the creditors.
 Labour Min Katrougalos certain than bill on social security reforms will be votedThe draft law for the social security reforms will be tabled in Parliament in January because it is a prior action for the first evaluation, Labour Minister George Katrougalos said in an interview "Ethnos" newspaper on Sunday.
"I am in close and constant contact with the deputies of the government majority and I am certain that they will vote for a fair and necessary reform," he underlined.
The Greek minister, however, said that the negotiation will be difficult as some of the lenders are particularly obsessed with cuts and so the government looks for a foothold on the diplomatic level.
 Labour Min Katrougalos to brief President Pavlopoulos on social security reforms on MondayLabour Minister George Katrougalos on Monday will brief the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the social security reforms planned ahead of the negotiations with the creditors.
Katrougalos will start his meetings with the political leaders in Parliament, at 11:00. The meeting with Pavlopoulos has been scheduled for 18:00.
The draft law is expected to be submitted to Parliament in January, the minister confirmed in an interview with "Ethnos" newspaper.
 2016 will be a milestone for the Greek economy, Alternate FinMin Chouliarakis says2016 will be a milestone for the Greek economy as suffocating austerity measures will be lifted and a sustainable recovery will begin, Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis on Sunday said in an interview with "To Vima" newspaper.
According to Chouliarakis, the recovery is expected in summer after liquidity has returned to normal levels and confidence has been restored and these will result from the lifting of capital controls - at the end of the first half - and the management of the public debt.
The programme for the exit of the economy from the crisis will be implemented step by step, he said, starting with the tough round of negotiations on the social security reforms and savings of 1.8 billion euros from the system.
The social security reforms and the fulfillment of the budgetary targets, without new measures, "are prior actions for the conclusion of the evaluation", which will be accompanied by lower borrowing costs of the banks, the disbursement of 2 billion euros and the beginning of the debate on debt restructuring.
Asked on the medium-term fiscal policy framework 2017-2020, he replied that the intention of the government is to link a balanced budget with the economic recovery, in a socially fair way that will redistribute the adaptation cost and the benefits of the upcoming recovery in favor of the socially vulnerable. "This is a great challenge for a left government amid a crisis," he added.
 2007-2013 NSRF funds successfully absorbedThe absorption of the 2007-2013 National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds was successfully completed, according to the data of the Economy Ministry.
Moreover, the new programmes for the 2014-2020 NSRF funds will be issued in the immediate future, it added.
"We achieved the full implementation of the 2015 Public Investment Program, and in just three months (October to December 2015), 5 billion euro funds were allocated to the real economy, exceeding even the optimistic target of 4.5 billion euros until the end of 2015 we had set in the government policy statements. Overall, 6.4 billion euros were allocated in 2015," Deputy Economy Minister Alexis Charitsis stated.
These major developments for the Greek economy, despite the particularly difficult fiscal climate, are a result of hard work and concerted effort to enhance the absorption of structural funds as well as of the successful negotiation of the Economy Ministry with the European Commission.
 HRADF: Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund signs new agreement for Astir Palace VouliagmeniThe Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) announced that on December 31, 2015, Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV LP, signed the new agreement to submit the amended Special Zoning and Spatial Plan (ESHADA) for the development of the "Astir Palace Vouliagmeni SA".
The agreement ensures that the plan is adjusted to the Council of the State's opinion and has the same price of 400 million euros.
The whole process is expected to be completed within the first half of 2016.
 Coast Guard rescues 50 refugees north east of OinoussesCoast Guard rescued 50 refugees in the sea region north east of Oinousses when their vessel capsized due to adverse weather conditions. Winds with velocity 8 on the Beaufort scale are blowing the area.
A vessel of the Coast Guard and a super puma rushed in the area to assist in the rescue efforts.
 Weather ForecastLow temperatures and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Rainy weather in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from -04C-06C. Clouds, rain in the western parts with temperatures between 04C-08C. Clouds, chance of rain in the eastern parts with temperatures between -02C-07C. Clouds, chance of rain over the islands, 04C-08C. Clouds, chance of rain in Athens, 04C-07C. Same weather in Thessaloniki, -04C-04C.
 Athens Headlines at a glanceKATHIMERINI: (BoG governor Yannis) Stournaras: Greece at crossroads in 2016
TO VIMA: Vague hopes for Greece and Europe
ETHNOS: How the pensions will be formed
TO ARTHRO: Third war idealogies
REAL NEWS: ?lexis Tsipras: "We will not succumb to unreasonable demands"
PROTO THEMA: The first home at the hands of funds!
KONTRA NEWS: 2016: A critical year for Alexis Tsipras
O LOGOS: Difficult game with the creditors
PRIN: 2016 will be a year of counter-attack and reversals
EPOCHI: Open borders, safe people
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