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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-01-12

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

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

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 Issue No: 5099

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras chairs meeting on social security reforms and the Greek programme
  • [02] Social security bill may exceed government's majority, says State Minister Pappas
  • [03] Greece's proposal on social security reforms under evaluation, EC spokesman Schinas says
  • [04] Kyriakos Mitsotakis elected president of main opposition New Democracy party
  • [05] The party needs renewal, says newly elected ND leader Mitsotakis
  • [06] Tsakalotos says talks with Finland's Stubb were 'constructive'
  • [07] Finance Minister Tsakalotos meets with his French counterpart in Paris
  • [08] Alt. FM Xydakis starts European tour to brief counterparts on refugee crisis
  • [09] Refugee crisis discussed between Alt. FM and Dutch envoy
  • [10] Dep. FM Amanatidis meets Belgian, Venezuelan envoys
  • [11] Public sector union ADEDY to demonstrate on Jan 16 against increase in social security contributions
  • [12] Greek seamen prepare strike against social security reform bill
  • [13] Foreign investors raise participation Greek stock market's capitalization
  • [14] Greece to open offers for Piraeus Port on Tuesday
  • [15] Taxpayers to use credit cards to pay their obligations in Taxis system, Alternate FinMin Alexiadis says
  • [16] Sarantis Group begins production of Noxzema products in Greece
  • [17] Tourist arrivals up 8.6 pct in Jan-Sept
  • [18] Greek stocks fall for fifth successive session
  • [19] Greek bond market closing report
  • [20] ADEX closing report
  • [21] Number of refugee arrivals in Lesvos in spring could exceed 2015 numbers, says police source
  • [22] Two more ferries with refugees dock at Piraeus port
  • [23] Partly cloudy on Tuesday
  • [24] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras chairs meeting on social security reforms and the Greek programme

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday chaired a meeting on government work as well as the coordinated actions within the framework of the negotiations for social security reforms and the Greek programme.

    The meeting was held at the prime minister's office in parliament with the participation of members of the government and associates of the prime ministers.

    SYRIZA parliamentary group is scheduled to convene on Monday afternoon. Labour Minister George Katrougalos will be present at the meeting that will focus on the social security system. The government has left open the possibility for corrections in its proposal for social security reforms.

    Meanwhile, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos continues his tour in Europe aiming to highlight the need for the restructuring of the Greek debt.

    On his part, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos will visit Moscow this week while next week he will be in Berlin and Frankfurt.

    Tsipras will have a series of important meetings on the future of the Greek programme in Davos.

    [02] Social security bill may exceed government's majority, says State Minister Pappas

    The draft law on social security reforms may pass with a higher percentage than the government majority, State Minister Nikos Pappas said in an interview with Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper on Monday.

    The government's proposal puts an end to the "disaster" scenarios as cuts are avoided and additional resources are ensured, he added.

    He harshly criticised main opposition New Democracy (ND) accusing it of not having submitted new proposals. "It continues to support the proposals clearly stated in the institutions' proposals that were rejected in the referendum," he stated.

    Asked to comment Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem's statement that the first evaluation can take months, he said: "Some may wish for a new game of delays. But the agreement is being implemented and the fiscal figures are positive."

    [03] Greece's proposal on social security reforms under evaluation, EC spokesman Schinas says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    Greece's proposal on social security reforms received by the European Commission last week is under evaluation, EC spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Monday.

    "The evaluation of the proposal is underway. The institutions will further discuss the issue during their visit to Athens later in the month," he added. He made clear that the process has not yet been concluded and any reference to the Commission's stance is speculations.

    Schinas underlined that the evaluation will be carried out in close cooperation with the Greek authorities and the other institutions.

    [04] Kyriakos Mitsotakis elected president of main opposition New Democracy party

    Kyriakos Mitsotakis was elected president of main opposition New Democracy (ND) in runoff elections on Sunday, defeating Vangelis Meimarakis, who had served as interim party leader over the summer after Antonis Samaras stepped down.

    With 75.02% of the party member votes counted, Mitsotakis collected 51,6% of the votes and Meimarakis 48,4%. Nationally, there are 400.000 registered party members who voted.

    Messages of congratulations came in, among others, from prime minister Alexis Tsipras, with whom Mitsotakis is expected to meet this week, former prime minister and former ND leader Samaras, interim ND president Yiannis Plakiotakis, Democratic Left leader Thanassis Theocharopoulos and Mitsotakis' fellow contestants Meimarakis and regional governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas. Junior coalition party member (Independent Greeks) spokeswoman Marina Chryssoveloni criticised the party, charging that it would become a "tough neoliberal party serving the oligarchy".

    In a brief message, Mitsotakis, who later on Sunday paid a visit to his father, former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, thanked his voters, party volunteers and his family. He also made particular reference to Meimarakis, whom he called "a valuable colleague", and underlined his intention to work with all candidates for the unity of the party and its revival.

    "Now the time of great responsibility begins," he said, "We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the hope of citizens gives us strength - a hope that something can truly change in this country. Citizens who had turned away from politics got off their couches and participated (in voting) because they believed in the power of our arguments, and this is perhaps the most optimistic message." He also expressed the certainty that ND would be able to unite the Greeks as it had done in the past.

    [05] The party needs renewal, says newly elected ND leader Mitsotakis

    Newly elected New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday sent a message of renewal during the hand-over ceremony at the party offices.

    Mitsotakis thanked Ioannis Plakiotakis, who served as interim leader, for his work adding that the party has deep roots in the society.

    "We will renew New Democracy with respect to its history and based on the present needs. It is our duty New Democracy to become the great centre-right party and to close the circle of populism. No one is redundant, but the party needs opening," he underlined.

    [06] Tsakalotos says talks with Finland's Stubb were 'constructive'

    Talks with Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb in Helsinki were constructive, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Monday after the meeting.

    "We discussed the Greek road map for exiting the crisis which started with the successful recapitalization of the banks and now continues with the successful conclusion of the first program review," Tsakalotos said.

    Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Stubb said there's no "Grexit" issue. "I hear good things about Greece everywhere and from other countries and in the Eurogroup," he said.

    After Helsinki, Tsakalotos is travelling to Amsterdam where he's scheduled to meet his Dutch counterpart Jeroen Dijsselbloem and then to Berlin for talks with Wolfgang Schaeuble.

    [07] Finance Minister Tsakalotos meets with his French counterpart in Paris

    Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos met with French Finance Minister Michel Sapin in Paris for an hour on Sunday, in the framework of the Greek minister's European itinerary.

    At a joint press conference, Tsakalotos said that trust had been built around the strategy Greece is following, leading him to believe that a "responsible agenda" would be put together. He also noted the necessity of balancing obligations and viability, which would lead to the creation of a "virtuous economic cycle."

    Commenting on negotiations over Greece's debt, Sapin said that "the sooner negotiations over the debt begin, under good conditions, the better for all of us. This is France's position." He expressed the certainty there are solutions to the issue, as long as they don't transcend the "red lines" drawn by other European countries.

    Asked to comment on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the French minister said, "The IMF is here and we cannot chase it away," and said a conclusion must be reached about its participation (in talks over the debt). A quick resolution over the debt would be beneficial to Greece, he said, because it will allow the country to manage itself independently and to develop.

    [08] Alt. FM Xydakis starts European tour to brief counterparts on refugee crisis

    Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis, will visit three European capitals in the coming days to meet with his counterparts and brief them on Greece's positions on matters of European interest, such as the migration and refugee crisis.

    The visits will be carried out in parallel and in collaboration with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, who will be briefing his eurozone counterparts on the progress in the Greek programme.

    On Tuesday, 12 January, Xydakis will travel to Amsterdam, where he will meet with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders. On Wednesday, 13 January, the minister will be in Berlin to meet with German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth. Finally, on Thursday, 14 January, he will be in Brussels, where he will meet with the Greek MEPs.

    [09] Refugee crisis discussed between Alt. FM and Dutch envoy

    Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis, met at the Foreign Ministry today with the Netherlands Ambassador to Greece, Caspar Veldkamp, ahead of his meeting tomorrow with the Dutch Foreign Minister.

    During the discussion the two sides focused on the presentation of the programme of the Netherlands Presidency, with particular emphasis on confronting the refugee and migration crisis and the need to find a European solution, with a strengthened relocation system. Reference was also made to Greece's efforts towards economic recovery.

    [10] Dep. FM Amanatidis meets Belgian, Venezuelan envoys

    Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis met with the Belgian and Venezuelan Ambassadors to Greece to discuss bilateral relations with the two countries on Monday.

    In the meeting with Belgian envoy Luc Liebaut, both sides reaffirming the exceptional level of bilateral relations and discussed mainly on current developments. The Belgian Ambassador praised the role of Belgium's Greek community in developing relations and recognized the significant progress our country has achieved in implementing the reforms.

    In the meeting with the Venezuelan Ambassador Farid Fernandez, a convergence of views was ascertained with regard to the positive dynamic that has been gained in Greek-Venezuelan bilateral relations, particularly in the past year, and shared will was reaffirmed for the further deepening of those relations and the practical manifestation of the progress made in a number of sectors of mutual interest, with emphasis on the sectors of education and culture, which are within Amanatidis portfolio.

    [11] Public sector union ADEDY to demonstrate on Jan 16 against increase in social security contributions

    Public sector union ADEDY will hold a demonstration on Saturday, January 16, at 12:00, to protest against the bill on social security reforms.

    ADEDY along with other labour unions also decided to intensify their mobilisations ahead of the submission of the bill to the Parliament.

    Both the public and the private sector unions express their opposition to the increase in social security contributions.

    [12] Greek seamen prepare strike against social security reform bill

    Greek seamen warned on Monday they will strike in the coming days as a protest to the government's proposed social security reform bill.

    Their union, PNO, described the new bill as "a cause of war" and told ANA-MPA it will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to participate in labour action planned by private sector union GSEE or to protest independently.

    POE-OTA federation representing municipal workers also warned of strikes and said it will participate in the rally organized by the civil sector union ADEDY on Jan. 16 in Athens and Crete and on Jan. 30 in Thessaloniki. More labour unions are also expected to intensify their labour action ahead of the submission of the bill to Parliament.

    Financial News

    [13] Foreign investors raise participation Greek stock market's capitalization

    Foreign investors raised their participation in the capitalization of the Greek stock market in December to 60.3 pct (including the participation of Hellenic Financial Stability Fund) and to 64.2 pct (excluding the participation of HRDAF), from 59.2 pct in November. Greek investors held 32.5 pct of the market's capitalization in the last month of 2015.

    Foreign investors were net buyers in December, with capital inflows amounting to 997.58 million euros, while Greek investors were net sellers with capital outflows totaling 997.11 million euros. Foreign investors accounted for 65.1 pct of market transactions (up from 58.2 pct in November but down from 65.1 pct in December 2014). The value of transactions totaled 3.942 billion euros in December, up 331.5 pct from November and up 92 pct from December 2014. Average daily turnover was 187.73 million euros, up from 43.51 million in November and 102.68 million in December 2014.

    The number of active investor codes totaled 26,322 in December from 25,151 in November. The market's capitalization amounted to 39.2 billion euros in December, up 13.8 pct from a month earlier, but down 14.2 pct from December 2014.

    [14] Greece to open offers for Piraeus Port on Tuesday

    Greek authorities on Tuesday will open financial offers submitted in a tender to buy 67 pct of Piraeus Port Organization, a process characterized as the country's biggest challenge so far in its drive to put Greece again in the map of international investment funds.

    Despite the fact that Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund has not published the number of binding offers submitted with Morgan Stanley in London, Merchant Shipping ministry sources told ANA-MPA that the only bid submitted to the Fund was by Chinese COSCO, while the other candidate, Danish Maersk, was seemed to be interest more in the Thessaloniki Port, with binding offers expected to be submitted in three months.

    Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund is expected to ask for an improved offer if COSCO was the only candidate for Piraeus Port, depending on the offer submitted by the Chinese company. Port authority officials told ANA-MPA that the market value of Piraeus Port Organization was currently around 250 million euros and noted that regardless of the price offered to buy a 67 pct of the port, the candidate investor would also undertake a large investment risk. Under the terms of the tender, any possible buyer of Piraeus Port was committed to make investments worth 340 million euros in the port, mainly to boost sea cruise services, new tanks for ship repair and new infrastructure in the ship-building zone.

    [15] Taxpayers to use credit cards to pay their obligations in Taxis system, Alternate FinMin Alexiadis says

    Taxpayers will be able to use their debit/credit cards through the Taxis system to pay for their tax obligations from this year, Alternate FinanceMinister Tryfon Alexiadis said on Monday.

    Speaking in Parliament, responding to deputies' questions, Alexiadis said the ministry plans to have everything prepared in the first half of 2016 so that taxpayers would be able to pay their taxes through the Taxis system. He noted that this service will facilitate tax payment.

    [16] Sarantis Group begins production of Noxzema products in Greece

    Sarantis Group on Monday announced that production of Noxzema products was transferred to its factory in Inofyta, Viotia, at the end of 2015, following an agreement to purchase Noxzema's activities in Greece from Procter & Gamble in October 2014.

    Noxzema's products in Greece include body deodorants, bath soaps, shaving foams, all enjoying significant market shares in Greece. Sarantis Group invested around 1.0 million euros to purchase the necessary machinery equipment and raised its workforce by 20 positions to meet increased production levels.

    [17] Tourist arrivals up 8.6 pct in Jan-Sept

    Tourist arrivals grew 8.6 pct in the January-September period this year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said in a report on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report based on a survey conducted by the Bank of Greece, said that arrivals from Europe -which accounted for the biggest part of arrivals (88.4 pct)- grew 7.9 pct, while arrivals from the EU jumped 17.1 pct. Tourist arrivals from Bulgaria jumped 56.8 pct, from FYROM rose 26.1 pct, from Germany 17.8 pct, from the UK 17.5 pct), from Italy 26.1 pct and from Poland rose 27.1 pct. On the other hand, arrivals from Russia dropped 62.1 pct and from Serbia fell 26.5 pct.

    Tourist arrivals from the US grew 3.2 pct in the nine-month period, while arrivals from Turkey rose 4.5 pct.

    Arrivals in the Athens airport accounted from 16.1 pct of all arrivals in the country, followed by the Heraclion airport (10.8 pct) and Rhodes (8.2 pct).

    [18] Greek stocks fall for fifth successive session

    Greek stocks remained under pressure for the fifth successive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday. The composite index failed to hold on to its initial gains to end 0.73 pct lower at 581.68 points, down 7.87 pct so far this year. The index was up 0.44 pct early in the session.

    The Large Cap index fell 0.94 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.84 pct. Turnover shrank to 48.756 million euros, in volume of 63,814,015.

    PPC (1.63 pct), Piraeus Port (1.41 pct) and National Bank (1.06 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Folli Follie (4.08 pct), Ellaktor (3.60 pct) and Jumbo (3.23 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Among market sectors, Chemicals (5.15 pct) and Technology (0.43 pct) scored big gains, while Commerce (4.08 pct) and Food (3.07 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 47 to 46 with another 17 issues unchanged. Ekter (29.02 pct), Perseus (19.86 pct) and G.E. Demetriou (16.67 pct) were top gainers, while Forthnet (20 pct), Boutaris (18.42 pct) and PC Systems (16.67 pct) were top losers.

    [19] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank to 7.91 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 8.24 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.45 pct and the German Bund yielding 8.75 pct. Turnover was a thin 4.0 million euros, all buy orders.

    In interbank markets, interest rates moved slightly lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.050 pct from 0.051 pct, the nine-month rate fell to -0.004 pct from -0.003 pct, the six-month rate eased to -0.052 pct from -0.051 pct, the three-month rate was -0.143 pct and the one-month rate was -0.219 pct.

    [20] ADEX closing report

    The January contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.28 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 5,598 contracts with 15,840 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 22,934 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (11,674), followed by Alpha Bank (2,376), Piraeus Bank (4,814), Eurobank (690), MIG (615), PPC (698), OPAP (505), Mytilineos (817), Hellenic Petroleum (187), Jumbo (121) and Motor Oil (64).

    General News

    [21] Number of refugee arrivals in Lesvos in spring could exceed 2015 numbers, says police source

    The number of refugees and migrants that authorities on Lesvos will have to manage this spring are likely to be so high that those recorded in 2015 may appear small in comparison, a source from the island's police department told ANA-MPA on Monday.

    "The numbers [of arrivals] we will be called to manage may be small compared to those of 2015," the police source said responding to a question on the increased number of people recorded in Lesvos' identification centers in the last few days. "It seems that our Turkish neighbors, despite the pressure they are under, do not want or cannot control their compatriot traffickers who naturally make huge profits for the Turkish economy through the management of so many people," he added.

    According to data from Moria's identification and registration center, 1,600 people arrived at the island from Sunday morning until Monday morning, while last Saturday and Friday the numbers climbed to 2,000 migrants per day.

    [22] Two more ferries with refugees dock at Piraeus port

    "Ariadni" ferry carrying 1,104 refugees from Mytilene and 635 refugees from Chios docked at Piraeus port on Monday morning.

    "Nissos Mykonos" carrying another 505 refugees from Mytilene and 107 from Chios arrived late on Sunday.

    Weather forecast

    [23] Partly cloudy on Tuesday

    Clouds, light rain and southerly winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy with possibility of rain in the northern and the western parts of the country and temperatures ranging from 05C-19C. Scattered clouds in the eastern parts with temperatures between 07C-19C. Scattered clouds over the Aegean islands and Crete, 13C-21C. Mostly fair in Athens, 10C-19C. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon in Thessaloniki, 06C-16C.

    [24] The Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    DIMOKRATIA: Mitsotakis again - The first challenges

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Evangelos Meimarakis loses the battle

    ETHNOS: Kyriakos' (Mitsotakis) victory turns a new page

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Kyriakos' triumph

    ESTIA: Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the new New Democracy leader

    NAFTEMPORIKI: A credible governance solution

    TA NEA: New Democracy's 100 days

    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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