|Monday, 21 October 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-05-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 25 May 2016 Issue No: 5173
 Negotiations at Eurogroup focusing on Greek debt, says sourceBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki)
Negotiations at Tuesday's Eurogroup meeting are focusing on Greece's debt, a source from the European Commission said, adding that Eurozone's finance ministers are expected to approve the disbursement of the loan installment totaling 10.3 billion euros.
The same source said there are still some pending issues which will be included in the final statement. Commenting on these issues, a government source said they are not decisive and will be resolved summarily.
On the issue of the country's debt, the distance between the IMF and Germany is still great and the aim is to achieve greater convergence today. The Commission source said that after pressure by the IMF, the weight has shifted towards measures that will be taken in the short term. However, Eurozone officials hope some deal will eventually be achieved with the IMF tonight, as there's political pressure to avoid reviving the crisis.
 Critical Eurogroup on Greek program review and disbursement of next loan trancheThe Eurogroup on Tuesday is expected to confirm the conclusion of the Greek programme review and give the green light for the disbursement of the next loan tranche which will range between 9-11 billion euros.
The economic staff is also expected to examine the issue of Greek debt relief based on the proposals of the European Support Mechanism. According to sources, the measures proposed by the ESM for debt relief include, among others, the extension of the grace period for the repayment of loans, the longer loan repayment period, keeping interest rates at current low levels, and the early redemption of the IMF loan.
After the EuroWorking Group on Monday, a eurozone official stated that no agreement had been clinched with the IMF and expressed the hope for an agreement at the Eurogroup.
The same official suggested that the eurozone Alternate Finance Ministers have decided upon a draft agreement on the debt which, however, does not have the consent of the IMF.
 Agreement with IMF the goal of Tuesday's Eurogroup, Dijsselbloem saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki)
Arriving for a Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that the focus will be on reaching agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to "move on with" the Greek programme. Asked about the IMF's concerns about Greek debt, he said "a reason to look at debt relief" and appeared hopeful about the meeting's outcome.
"I think that the Greek government has done a lot of work, certainly since the summer and in the last couple of weeks, pushing forward reforms, difficult measures, and getting them through Parliament. So I hope that there is a full agreement between the institutions and that we can move on in the programme," he said.
Replying to questions, Dijsselbloem ruled out a "haircut" of Greek loans, noting that there is no support for that in the Eurogroup. "What we can look at is the annual debt burden: Can Greece on an annual basis, pay its debts? If not, we are ready to help them in the coming years and to take away some of those problems," he said.
Despite an apparent lack of agreement with the IMF on this issue, Dijsselbloem replied that "the purpose of today's meeting is to get that agreement" and ruling out the prospect of continuing without it.
"I think that will be very difficult and many countries in the Eurogroup have always expressed that they will like the IMF on board. The IMF is very experienced in running programmes, the IMF is very precise in assessing the situation in Greece and whether Greece sticks to its commitments, so there is a real added value to have the IMF on board. It's not an option to go on without the IMF," he said.
The Eurogroup president acknowledged the validity of the IMF's concerns on debt, adding that this would be another of the issues discussed at Tuesday's Eurogroup.
"I think there is a reason to look at debt relief, because the debt is very high and there will be some problems in the future. I think the debt analysis shows that. How big these problems are, how we can deal with them and when we can deal with them? That's today's topic," he said.
 Dombrovskis hopeful that Eurogroup will reach 'agreement in principle' on GreeceBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)
The Eurogroup meeting on Tuesday could be an "important step forward" in terms of concluding the first review of the Greek programme, European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said in a doorstep statement in Brussels as he arrived for the meeting.
Euro finance ministers hoped the meeting will allow them to "really reach an agreement in principle and which then, subject to fulfillment of certain conditions, will allow for disbursement of the next tranche within the Greek programme," he told reporters.
Dombrovskis noted, however, that this would first imply the implementation of prior actions by Greece and a full assessment by the institutions of the measures passed by Greece's Parliament in recent days and weeks. "Since those votes took place only a few days ago, we still need to prepare a full disbursement," he added.
Another important element of the discussions on Tuesday will be the IMF's participation in the programme, where Dombrovskis noted that the European side was "willing to work very constructively and assist the IMF's full participation" as well as the issue of debt restructuring and its exact composition in the short, medium and long-term.
Asked whether the creditors will consider debt relief for Greece, Dombrovskis said it would be "part of the discussions" but made it clear that the Eurogroup and creditors have "set certain conditions, excluding nominal haircut." He also pointed out that all decisions have to be taken with an ESM and EFSF legal framework.
 Moscovici: Eurogroup wants 'global deal' accepted by all institutionsBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)
Eurozone finance ministers will seek on Tuesday an agreement on Greece that will be accepted by all sides, European Commissioner for economic affairs Pierre Moscovici told journalists as he arrived for the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.
"We want an agreement as global as possible, involving all the institutions, to demonstrate that everyone made an effort," the Commissioner said and noted the reform efforts undertaken by the Greek government, particularly after the approval of the prior actions by the parliament which include the contingency mechanism.
All these elements should open the way for the disbursement of the next loan installment.
Concerning debt talks, Moscovici said the Commission is ready to support them technically and politically, adding there are "red lines", such as a nominal haircut.
 Schaeuble sees 'agreement in principle' at Tuesday Eurogroup, says IMF must stayBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble expressed hope for an agreement in principle on Greece, in a doorstep statement as he arrived for a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.
"The review is almost concluded," Schaeuble said, while he again insisted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) must participate in the Greek programme, including by contributing financing.
 Aim at Eurogroup is a good agreement, release of loans, French FinMin saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ C. Vasilaki)
Arriving for a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers that is expected to focus on Greece, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin on Tuesday noted that the goal of the meeting was a "good agreement," primarily for Greece itself.
He noted that the debt-stricken country had need to "breathe" and had made enormous efforts, including a very tough package of reforms passed by the Greek Parliament at the weekend.
With respect to debt relief for Greece, Sapin said that France had always supported a debt-relief plan that was as detailed as possible, while noting that France had always acted as an intermediary between the International Monetary Fund and Berlin. Asked if the Eurogroup will approve the disbursement of the next loan tranches in the Greek programme on Tuesday, Sapin replied that this was the goal.
 Socialists & Democrats want 'positive decisions' at Tuesday's Eurogroup, Pittella saysThe Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats wants positive decisions from Tuesday's Eurogroup, both for the disbursement of the next tranche of loans to Greece and on specific measures for debt relief, the head of the S&D Group in the European Parliament Gianni Pittella said on Tuesday.
"The Greek people and Greek government fulfilled their commitments by adopting a fundamental package of measures on Sunday, despite the difficult economic and social situation in the country.
"The S&D Group calls for a positive decision from the Eurogroup to both unlock the next tranche of bailout funds and to set out concrete measures on debt relief. It is high time for the Eurogroup to recognise that this is common sense and the only practical way forward," Pittella said, ahead of the Eurogroup session.
"Our Group has always held a very constructive position for the sake of Greece and the Greek people. We will never allow saboteurs and austerity hawks to reach their narrow-minded and short-sighted goals," he added.
 We must choose between the bad and the worse, says DragasakisGreece's participation in ECB quantitative easing programme will have a strong symbolism that will allow the opening of the debate on the access to markets, possibly in the following months, government vice president Yiannis Dragasakis on Tuesday said to a conference organised by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).
Regarding the Eurogroup meeting, Dragasakis noted that "we believe that the successful conclusion of the Greek programme will be certified and we hope that a binding road map on the sustainability of the Greek debt will exist."
Dragasakis said that we are entering into a new phase as for the first time from the beginning of the crisis the future is visible since all fiscal measures until 2018 have been voted. He added that 9-11 billion euros will be disbursed in the second half of 2016 for the payment of state obligations to enterprises.
"We are still faced with serious problems and these are problems of war that we must address in times of peace, however it is the first time from the beginning of the crisis that a window of hope opens that can give us the opportunity to put an end to the vicious circle of austerity, recession and unemployment," said Dragasakis.
In the new period, as he said, the government's priorities are investments, the creation of new jobs and the promotion of social protection and solidarity structures.
Dragasakis noted that the government policy is formed under the pressure of a suffocating guardianship and very often it does not have to choose between the good and the bad but between the bad and the worse.
Finally, he sternly criticised those enterprises surviving through tax evasion, or by sending their profits abroad and leaving their debts in Greece or by chipping away the EU funds.
 PM Tsipras to meet Cyprus President, Council of Europe Sec. Gen. on WednesdayPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras will have successive meetings at his offices in Athens on Wednesday with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades at 10:30 and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbj?rn Jagland at 13:45.
 Prime minister has meeting with Thessaloniki mayor, discusses city's portPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday had a meeting with Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris at the Maximos Mansion, with discussion focusing on issues relating to Thessaloniki port, its developmental prospects and ways to further enhance cooperation between central and local government.
 The government aims to evacuate Idomeni next week, Kyritsis saysThe government aims to evacuate Idomeni in the next week, the spokesman of the refugee coordinating body Giorgos Kyritsis on Tuesday said in statements to Mega TV.
2,500 refugees were transferred from Idomeni to Thessaloniki accommodation centres over the last week. He underlined that there are 7 covered facilities and 2 tents that provide decent accommodation to refugees.
As far as it concerns the situation in Piraeus and Elliniko, he said that more accommodation centres are being constructed in Elefsina, Nikea and Inofita.
The vast majority of the refugees do not want to stay in Greece and most of them are aware that it is difficult to continue their trip to Europe.
 Head of Europarliament's human rights committee requests quick and peaceful evacuation of IdomeniGreek authorities must ensure the peaceful transportation of refugees and migrants from Idomeni's camp to organized facilities with respect to their rights, the head of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights said on Tuesday.
"The evacuation of Idomeni began without the use of violence and according to statements of the spokesman for the coordination of the migrant crisis, Giorgos Kyritsis, it will be completed in ten days", Valenciano said.
"We urge Greek authorities to avoid any tension so as to maintain the calm situation. We emphasize the peaceful transport and transparent briefing of the refugees without the use of violence from the anti-terror police and with respect to the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers, as the Greek government has promised," she added.
She also referred to the responsibility of international organizations and the EU for the safety and care of the refugees at the new accommodation centers. "We expect the European Commission and the member-states to accelerate the relocation procedure to other countries, as they have pledged to do," she concluded.
 Police op to evacuate Idomeni ends for the day; 2,000 moved so farA police operation that began early in the morning to evacuate the refugee and migrant camp in Idomeni has now stopped for the night and will continue in the following days, authorities announced late on Tuesday.
Police said that 42 coaches carrying more than 2,000 refugees and migrants have left the camp, bound for various accommodation centres in Thessaloniki and nearby areas.
A strong contingent of police will remain on the scene while the evacuation process continues, until the camp hosting roughly 9,000 people in the last months has fully emptied.
 EU Commission awards 25 mln euros in emergency funding to the European Asylum Support Office for capacity building in GreeceThe European Commission has awarded 25 million euros in emergency funding to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to enhance its capacity to further support the Greek authorities.
These additional resources will be used to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and the EU emergency relocation scheme.
The funding is provided under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and will allow for the deployment of additional Member State experts and interpreters, and the set-up of mobile EASO offices in the hotspots to assist with processing asylum applications.
EU Commissioner Avramopoulos said: "EU Agencies are playing a crucial role in supporting the Greek authorities on the ground, providing practical expertise and operational support. The Commission is supporting these deployments through emergency EU funding. I call on Member States to quickly make available the necessary staff to help EASO deliver the planned support and give a boost to the EU relocation scheme. This is key to addressing the humanitarian situation on the ground."
The funding announced today is part of the emergency response plan developed together by the Commission, the Greek authorities and relevant stakeholders to address the ongoing humanitarian situation on the ground and implement the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March. Since the beginning of 2015 the Commission has awarded ? 262 million in emergency assistance to support the Greek authorities as well as Union agencies, international organisations and NGOs operating in Greece. Emergency funding comes on top of the ? 509 million already allocated to Greece under the national programmes for 2014-2020.
 Government has no intention of privatising Athens' transport, says Infrastructure ministerThe government is not planning to sell any public transport companies, Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Christos Spirtzis said on Tuesday in statements to private radio station Real FM.
"Who said public transports will be privatized?" he asked, adding that there's no intention on the government's part to sell them. He continued to say that Athens Transport (OASA) has no real assets apart from road transport (OSY) and Urban Rail Transport (STASY).
 Debt restructuring will have positive shock on Greek economy, BoG vice-governor says"A discussion starting for the restructuring of Greek debt is surely another positive shock to attract investments and towards the recovery of the Greek economy. A debt restructuring which will leave behind for good uncertainty over the long-term debt sustainability will facilitate both new investments with a long-term horizon and the access of the public sector and Greek enterprises to capital markets," Theodore Mitrakos, vice-governor of the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.
Addressing an 11th Red Business Forum, Mitrakos said that a debt restructuring will lead to restoring depositors' confidence and to a speedier return of deposits in the domestic banking system, allowing banks to fund the real economy. The central banker noted that a combination of a successful completion of a programme review with the positive shocks about to happen "is unique for the recovery of the economy to growth rates and the society could not afford to lose this opportunity".
Mitrakos added that an efficient management of non-performing loans, without prejudice and excesses according to the framework introduced, exploitation of state assets with the introduction of a new fund and money available from European programmes and initiatives could become the funding sources needed by the Greek economy and enterprises. "This is the only way to rebuild the economy's productive web and to safeguard employment and social cohesion," Mitrakos said, while he urged banks to focus on long-term nature solutions to the NPLs problem. He also stressed that banks should encourage and support investments in new innovative actions and strategic sectors of the economy.
Mitrakos said that in December 2015, the rate of NPLs in Greece was around 36 pct of total loans (from 4.5 pct in 2007), the second highest in the EU after Cyprus (around 39 pct) and almost six times more than the EU average rate. This rate jumped to around 44 pct of 108 billion euros if NPEs were added. He said that the construction and real estate management sectors accounted for around 16 pct of total bank lending to all enterprises. The quality of this portfolio is worse compared with the average rate of all other sectors, with a NPL and NPE rate of around 54 pct.
The central bank emphasized on the need to exploit alternative funding sources and said that an efficient and transparent exploitation of state assets would have a significant contribution.
 Greek banks will turn page, Eurobank chairman saysEurobank's chairman Nikos Karamouzis on Tuesday expressed his optimism that Greek banks will turn page and stressed he did not share or comprehend IMF's estimates that Greek banks will need further capital.
Addressing a congress organised by the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEB), Karamouzis said: "There is capital adequacy, high coverage of non-performing claims, indexes are among the highest in Europe and banks are returning to profitability after six years. They have passed three stress tests and were recapitalized under the adverse scenario. I do not comprehend the IMF's estimates and analysis".
He said that banks will accelerate a procedure to manage non-performing loans with transparency and not under the table, with the aim to support viable enterprises and to release funds for the economy. Karamouzis stressed that an agreement in today's Eurogroup was of great importance and that if this was accompanied by business-friendly policies there was a possibility that the economy would recover, closing a cycle of hardships and to enter a period of recovery.
The message that Greece was not alone, but has the support of its partners with capital and know-how sent Mr Eric Mamer, head of competition directorate of the European Commission, while Mrs Piritta Sorsa, an OECD official said greater effort was needed for the society to fell the benefits of reforms, adding that a Sunday opening of shops would lead to the creation of 30,000 new job positions.
Ivan Nimac, a World Bank official said the Greece will need to attract new foreign investments and to safeguard existing ones with a focused policy to attract investments and a predictable environment instead of general investment incentives.
 Piraeus Port says pre-tax earnings up 9.91 pct in 2015Piraeus Port Organization on Tuesday said its pre-tax earnings rose 9.91 pct in 2015 to 9.7 million euros, from 8.9 million in 2014, despite a continuing economic crisis, St. Hatzakos, managing director of the organisation said during the presentation of its results in the Athens Stock Exchange. After tax earnings jumped 23.83 pct to 8.37 million euros, from 6.76 million in 2014, while gross earnings rose 13.9 pct to 26.15 million euros.
Hatzakos attributed the improved results mainly to a reduction of spending, of which payroll costs fell 4.05 pct.
"Piraeus Port not only preserved, but improved its profitability in 2015, cutting its expenses, paying its debt while it is updating its provisions to restructure its balance sheet," Hatzakos said.
 Egyptian-Greek Tourism Forum in CairoThe first Egyptian-Greek Tourism Forum on the promotion of the tourist cooperation between the two countries was concluded on Tuesday in Cairo with the participation of the Egyptian Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed and the Greek Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
Kountoura stressed the importance of tourism in stability, welfare, security and growth in the wider region and presented the high performance of the Greek tourism. The Greek minister also expressed her support to the development of bilateral relations in tourism with Egypt.
A series of meetings between Greek and Egyptian businessmen in the sectors of tourism, tour operators and travel agencies were held on the sidelines of the forum with the view to signing partnerships and agreements. A meeting between Kountoura and Rashed was also held during which they discussed proposals regarding cooperation on cruise in southeastern Mediterranean and festivals for the promotion of culture and tourism.
 New four-star hotel opens in DrepanoThe Grove Seaside Hotel, a 4-star, 140-room hotel located in Drepano -a seaside town 10 km from Nafplio- will be added to the tourist market of the region this season.
The hotel was fully renovated after an 1.5 million euros investment, which will be completed in 2017 with works in the exterior location of the hotel. The Grove Seaside Hotel has signed a four-year partnership agreement with German tour operator FTI, safeguarding increased flow of German tourists.
 Greek stocks end lower on profit takingGreek stocks ended lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as investors took profits after a 4.13 pct rally in the previous two sessions which pushed the composite index of the market to new 2016 highs. The index ended 1.08 pct down at 642.08 points, off the day's lows of 631.81 points. The Large Cap index fell 1.83 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.45 pct lower. Turnover was a strong 158.974 million euros in volume of 276,503,570.
Lamda Development (4.39 pct), Ellaktor (2.96 pct) and PPC (2.69 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while National Bank (6.06 pct), Alpha Bank (4.14 pct) and Eurobank (3.42 pct) suffered heavy losses. Among market sectors, Utilities (1.52 pct) and Insurance (1.52 pct) scored big gains, while Banks (3.94 pct) and Health (3.30 pct) suffered losses. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 62 to 39 with another 14 issues unchanged. Forthnet (18.97 pct), Alpha Astika (18.94 pct) and Nakas (9.93 pct) were top gainers, while Motodynamic (29.68 pct), Kreka (20 pct) and ANEK (18.0 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to fall to 6.97 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 7.14 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.29 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.17pct. Turnover was a thin 1.0 million euros.
In interbank markets, interest rates were mixed. The 12-month rate was -0.012 pct, the nine-month rate rose to -0.079 pct from -0.080 pct, the six-month rate was -0.146 pct, the three-month rate was -0.262 pct and the one-month rate was -0.356 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.54 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,807 contracts with 27,987 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 117,806 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (63,270), followed by Alpha Bank (12,087), Piraeus Bank (23,316), Eurobank (9,349), MIG (5,550), OTE (614), PPC (1,857), OPAP (660), Hellenic Exchanges (102), Mytilineos (264), Hellenic Petroleum (165), Ellaktor (92), Jumbo (84) and Metka (80).
 Famous "Navaghio" calls for restorationThe worldwide famous "Navaghio" beach on Zakynthos that took its name from the freighter Panagiotis that run aground 34 years ago in the sand of Ai Giorgis beach and turned it into a beach of unique beauty calls for immediate restoration.
The adverse weather conditions, the sea salt and the humidity have left their marks on the shipwreck that remains stuck in the sand and needs restoration in order its life to be extended.
However, the weather is not the shipwreck's only enemy. The thousands of visitors want to take a small piece as a souvenir or leave their print or carve their names on the hull or use markers and other sprays.
Zakynthos tourism committee has recently made an inspection in order restoration works to start as soon as possible.
"We are expecting the results of the first autopsy in order the restoration study to start. In parallel the municipality launches a restoration, maintenance an promotion plan for this emblematic attraction, the Navaghio of Zakynthos," said to ANA-MPA the vice president the tourism committee of the municipality of Zakynthos Antonis Nikoloudakis.
 Piraeus and Thessaloniki port employees to hold 48-hour strikes as of ThursdayThe 48-hour repeated strikes of the Piraeus Port Organisation (OLP) and the Thessaloniki Port Organisation (OLTH) employees are expected to cause problems to the transport of containers and the luggage handling in the cruise terminals of the two big ports of the country.
The labour unions of OLP and OLTH have announced repeated strikes as of Thursday, May 26 to protest against the privatisation of the ports.
"The transport of the luggage of cruise ship passengers rests to the the ship crews' goodwill that decides to do so in order for the ship to depart," the president of the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members Theodore Kontes said in statements to ANA-MPA.
"The government goes ahead with the sale of the share capital of OLP and OLTH despite the employees' disagreements. At the same time, despite the repeated meetings, there has been no response from the government to the workers' demand for protection of their labour relations," port labour unions said in a joint statement.
Regarding labour relations, the president of OLP port employees Nikos Georgiou said to ANA-MPA that what they are asking for is the approval of the updated labour regulation in the new conditions to be formed.
"What we want is the strengthening of the labour relations framework, such as excluding certain contractors and protecting the current jobs," Georgiou added.
 29 refugees and migrants arrived at northern Aegean islands in 24hOnly 29 migrants and refugees arrived at the islands of northern Aegean over the last 24 hours.
More specifically, 23 arrived on Chios, 6 on Samos and nobody arrived on Lesvos.
 Sixty refugees leave from Derveni center, take taxi to Thessaloniki portAbout 60 refugees who arrived at the accommodation center of Derveni from the camp at Idomeni on Tuesday morning decided later to leave the center, police said.
The refugees headed for the Egnatia motorway and reached the flyover at Stavroupolis where they took a taxi to the port of Thessaloniki.
 54,124 identified refugees and migrants in Greece on Tuesday54,124 identified refugees and migrants were on the Greek territory on Tuesday including 29 persons that arrived on the Greek islands in the last 24 hours.
According to the Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body's figures, 28,699 of the refugees are in northern Greece, 14,490 are hosted in the region of Attica, 8,521 on the Greek islands and 2,414 are hosted in different areas in central and southern Greece.
 Lawyers to continue abstaining from providing legal services until June 6Greek bar associations meeting in Athens on Tuesday decided to extend a nationwide abstention of lawyers from providing legal services until June 6, in opposition to recent reforms affecting the profession. The presidents of Greece's bar associations are to meet on June 3 to decide on further action.
 Athens buses, metro announce work stoppages on ThursdayThe Athens public transport system will once again grind to a halt for several hours after 11:00 in the morning on Thursday, when the capital's bus, metro and tram workers will strike in order to attend union meetings. Athens' trams and lines 1, 2 and 3 on the Athens metro system will not be running from 11:00 until 16:00 in the afternoon, while buses and trolleys will not be running between 11:00 and 17:00.
Public transport workers object to the inclusion of the public transport companies in the new privatisation fund, oppose the prospect of privatisation and have called the meetings to decide their response. The metro workers' union has not ruled out repeated rolling strikes, combined with actions to inform the public about the consequences of privatisation.
 Wineries open their doors to visitors on Saturday and SundayWineries throughout Greece open their doors to visitors and invite all the wine friend for an aroma and flavour voyage on Saturday and Sunday.
The visitors will be toured in the vineyards, in the production area and the cellars while a series of events as wine tasting will be among the happening that will take place in the wineries, according to an announcement.
Further information are available on www.enoake.gr
 Mostly fair on WednesdayMostly fair weather and westerly winds are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon in the northern parts of the country and temperatures ranging from 10C-25C. Partly cloudy in the western parts of the country with temperatures between 13C-24C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts of the country and temperatures between 12C-27C. Sunny over the Aegean islands and Crete, 16C-25C. Mostly fair in Athens, 14C-25C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 12C-25C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Agreement-Political will in Brussels
DIMOKRATIA: Dark days
ETHNOS: IMF bombs for debt and measures
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Taxes on agriculture income
ESTIA: They are hiring instead of governing
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The IMF is shouting for (German Finance Minister Wolfgang) Schaeuble
KATHIMERINI: Eurogroup with obstacles
TA NEA: The devil hidden in the details
NAFTEMPORIKI: Compromising solution for debt
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