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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-06-01

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

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

Wednesday June 1, 2016

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras proposes SYRIZA Central Committee meeting to set date for 2nd Congress
  • [02] Government to ban any involvement of politicians in companies based outside Greece
  • [03] FinMin and IFC Vice-President Dimitris Tsitsiragos discuss IFC's plans in Greece
  • [04] Amendments to conclude review to be debated on Wednesday and Thursday in Parliament
  • [05] Economy Minister Stathakis in Paris for OECD ministers' meeting on Wednesday
  • [06] FM Kotzias notes need for common dream and cooperation in Balkans
  • [07] Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Lesvos
  • [08] Mouzalas: Refugees will be allocated around Greece
  • [09] We are building trust, enhancing stability and development in our region, Deputy FM Amanatidis says
  • [10] Deputy FM Mardas meets New Zealand's Trade Min McClay
  • [11] Cooperation agreements with Egypt, Israel ratified at Parliament Committee stage
  • [12] Greek, Bulgarian FMs discuss collaboration in transport, energy, tourism in Sofia meeting
  • [13] Previous ban on offshore ownership 'practically unenforceable,' gov't sources claim, clarifying new measures
  • [14] Social Solidarity Income programme to be launched on Wednesday
  • [15] Problems with the issue of visas to Russians resolved, Alt. FM Xydakis says
  • [16] Commission warns of action against countries that don't participate in relocation program
  • [17] Potami party urges politicians to repatriate bank deposits
  • [18] Greek bond market closing report
  • [19] ADEX closing report
  • [20] Greek stocks end 0.93 pct up
  • [21] Greek banks' deposits slightly down in April
  • [22] Bank credit to private sector at -1.9 pct in April
  • [23] Greek retail sales volume down 1.6 pct in March
  • [24] Exports of fruit and vegetables up 25 pct in Q1
  • [25] Frigoglass says sales down 15.1 pct in Q1
  • [26] Intralot extends contract with POSC
  • [27] Marie-Pierre Poirier explains to ANA-MPA what UNICEF plans for refugees in Greece
  • [28] PACE President visits refugee and migrant facilities on Lesvos
  • [29] 55.7 pct of Greeks are in favour of welcoming refugees in the country- poll
  • [30] More than 110 irregular migrants rescued off the coast of Crete
  • [31] 52,674 identified migrants and refugees in Greece on Tuesday
  • [32] Boat with migrants and refugees runs aground on Cretan beach
  • [33] One migrant injured in scuffle at Piraeus port
  • [34] Greek unemployment rate eased to 24.2 pct in Feb, Eurostat
  • [35] New Archaeological Museum of Thebes to be inaugurated on June
  • [36] Workers at Thessaloniki, Piraeus ports determined to continue strikes
  • [37] Athens Ledra Hotel closes amid economic woes
  • [38] Couples from all over the world to get married at the Catholic Church of Mytilene
  • [39] Skiathos island to offer floating berths for large cruiseships
  • [40] Ellinair Airlines restart flights to Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, inaugurate new ones
  • [41] 53 cruise ships docked at the port of Corfu in May
  • [42] Old Athens Stock Exchange building to host Athens Fine Drinking by World Class
  • [43] Traffic accidents causing deaths or injuries up in March 2016
  • [44] Culture ministry expresses condolences for death of British Hellenist Eddie O'Hara
  • [45] Weather Forecast
  • [46] Athens News Headlines at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras proposes SYRIZA Central Committee meeting to set date for 2nd Congress

    Addressing SYRIZA's Political Secretariat on Tuesday, Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras proposed that party's Central Committee be convened in the near future in order to set a date for SYRIZA's 2nd Congress at the end of September, party sources said.

    Tsipras said that the intervening time will be valuable in order to draw up a long-term strategic plan for the party and the country, with a five-year "horizon" outlining at the party's goals for Greece in 2021.

    The prime minister's proposed that the congress focus on five main goals, including an "opening" of the party to society and its grassroots electorate base and the major reforms and changes that a "Leftist governance strategy" for the country needs.

    He also referred to a reorganisation of the party, noting the need for well-planned work in every region of the country, with committees in every prefecture to expand the party's electoral base and tap into the vital forces of local communities.

    "Forming an open, modern, democratic party of the Left is a necessary prerequisite for the political and social changes that SYRIZA wants to bring to the country," Tsipras said, noting that the party's members must have a real say and the 'trends' must operate as idea flows and not as mechanisms.

    The party must also decide "what kind of Greece we want to create," he added, what productive and growth model will be followed and what reforms need to be made to the Constitution, the political system, rights and culture.

    [02] Government to ban any involvement of politicians in companies based outside Greece

    The government will table an amendment on Wednesday forbidding politicians from owning stocks or participating in management boards in any companies not based in Greece, spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said on Tuesday, responding to criticism from the opposition on amendments included in the omnibus bill on prior actions, approved by parliament last Sunday.

    The amendment will explicitly forbid and consider as incompatible the involvement of ministers, parliamentarians, leaders of political parties, MEPs, secretaries general, regional governors and mayors, from participating in the management or the share capital of companies based outside the country.

    "The ban will not concern generally and vaguely the participation in offshore companies, which was and still is impossible to define legally. The ban will now be general and universal," Gerovasili said.

    She added that the government will request a roll-call vote on the issue.

    [03] FinMin and IFC Vice-President Dimitris Tsitsiragos discuss IFC's plans in Greece

    Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Tuesday met International Finance Corporation (IFC) Vice-President Global Client Services Dimitris Tsitsiragos to discuss the IFC's activities and future plans in Greece.

    According to the ministry, Tsakalotos said that the conclusion of the Greek programme review and the agreement on the debt opened the way for attracting investments to Greece.

    He also thanked the IFC for its presence in Greece and for its role as guarantor of the more long-term commitments and private investments in the country.

    The IFC is an investment branch of the World Bank Group focused exclusively on the private sector, providing financial resources and expertise.

    [04] Amendments to conclude review to be debated on Wednesday and Thursday in Parliament

    The amendments needed to conclude the review of the Greek programme will be discussed by the Parliament plenum on Wednesday and Thursday, Parliament President Nikos Voutsis announced on Tuesday.

    Voutsis also informed the Conference of Parliament Presidents that the developmental law will be tabled late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday and will be discussed following regular procedures, being forwarded for discussion by the appropriate Parliamentary committees on Friday.

    In other business, the Conference of Parliament Presidents elected the three vice-presidents and 24 members of the Supreme Council for Staff Selection (ASEP), responsible for recruitments in the public sector. According to Voutsis, the goal was to fill the vacant positions in the rest of the independent authorities within June.

    [05] Economy Minister Stathakis in Paris for OECD ministers' meeting on Wednesday

    Economy, Development and Tourism Minister George Stathakis is to travel to Paris on Wednesday to take part in an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ministerial meeting and OECD forum on "Enhancing Productivity for Inclusive Growth" taking place on Wednesday and Thursday.

    [06] FM Kotzias notes need for common dream and cooperation in Balkans

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias stressed on Tuesday the need to form a common dream and cooperation in the Balkans during a speech at the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), in Pravets, Bulgaria.

    Kotzias noted the positive steps taken in the last 20 years of the SEECP Summit adding: "Today, we no longer live in the Balkans of war; peace has made progress, there is growth and understanding in the region," but pointed out the need for further steps.

    [07] Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Lesvos

    A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, headed by its president Pedro Agramunt, arrived on Lesvos on Tuesday.

    The European deputies will tour the refugee camps in Moria and Kara Tepe and will meet with non-governmental organizations operating on the island while late in the afternoon they hold a meeting with Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos.

    [08] Mouzalas: Refugees will be allocated around Greece

    The construction of new settlements with houses instead of tents on the model of Eleonas will begin at the end of June and the majority of temporary accommodation structures will be knocked down in September, Alternate Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said in an interview with public broadcaster ERT.

    He added that the allocation of the refugees will be carried out in Greece based on geographic and population data.

    Mouzalas underlined that the government's next priority is the transfer of refugees from former Elliniko airport. He explained that the asylum procedure is in progress adding that 50 cases are examined every day. The minister referred to the long delays in the accommodation of unaccompanied minors and promised 800 new positions by the end of June.

    He said he was satisfied with the progress made on the refugee issue provided that Greece had no facilities at all a year ago and was called to accommodate 55,000-60,000 refugees when the borders closed.

    The EU-Turkey agreement is crucial for the positive outcome of the refugee issue, he stressed. "We have delivered on our promises, the EU and Turkey need to do the same." He estimated that the presence of NATO has not reduced the refugee flows, but this was achieved as a result of the agreement.

    Mouzalas suggested that "the Western world must adopt a policy toward migration," because migration will continue for years because of wars, poverty and climate change.

    [09] We are building trust, enhancing stability and development in our region, Deputy FM Amanatidis says

    "We are building trust, enhancing stability and development in our region," Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis said in his speech at the Annual Meeting of RCC Cooperation Regional Council (Regional Co -operation Council) held on Tuesday in Pravets, Bulgaria, as part of the Southeastern Europe Cooperation Process- SEECP.

    "We believe that we should put aside our differences and invest in what unites us more to our common interests and our common agenda," he underlined.

    Amanatidis explained that common interests which unite the Balkan countries in infrastructure, European Integration, business opportunities, civil society, the fight against terrorism can be easily identified. He stressed that "the Regional Cooperation Council proposes to increase the scale and extend of the geographical scope of operations to include other member states of SEECP which are also EU member states."

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Amanatidis had a meeting with the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov.

    [00] bEU Commissioner Avramopoulos welcomes 31 refugees from Greece to Portugal as part of the relocation programme

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Ch. Vassilaki) - The migrant and refugee issue and EU security matters will dominate the contacts between the political leadership of Portugal and EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday in Lisbon.

    Commissioner Avramopoulos, the President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Interior Minister Constanca Urbano de Sousa will welcome 31 refugees from Greece under the European Commission's relocation programme at the Lisbon Airport.

    Earlier, the Commissioner participated in the presentation of the Annual European Report on Drugs of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which has its headquarters in the capital of Portugal.

    [10] Deputy FM Mardas meets New Zealand's Trade Min McClay

    The potential for further strengthening the cooperation between Greece and New Zealand at bilateral and multilateral level, with emphasis on investment, trade and tourism dominated the meeting of Deputy Foreign Minister responsible for International Economic Relations Dimitris Mardas with New Zealand's Trade Minister Todd McClay.

    During the meeting, held at the Foreign Ministry, in the presence of the accredited ambassador of New Zealand in Greece Patrick Rata, Mardas referred to the possibilities for strengthening bilateral trade volume and investment between the two countries, despite the great geographical distance that separates them.

    According to a statement of the Foreign Ministry, special attention was given to areas of economic cooperation, such as tourism and construction projects in third countries, and special reference was made to the need to protect geographical indications, as well as the removal of tariff barriers to exports of Greek canned peaches.

    The Trade Minister of New Zealand emphasized on the prospect of signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, welcoming the support of Greece on this issue.

    [11] Cooperation agreements with Egypt, Israel ratified at Parliament Committee stage

    A draft defence ministry bill ratifying the cooperation agreements signed by Greece with Israel and Egypt were on Tuesday passed by overwhelming majority in the appropriate Parliamentary committee.

    The agreement with Israel was backed by all the parties except Golden Dawn and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which both voted against. The military cooperation agreement with Egypt was backed by all parties, except KKE that voted against and Golden Dawn, which abstained.

    MPs also ratifed the Programme Arrangement on MIOS and military implementation of SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research), with Defence Minister Panos Kammenos assuring MPs that ratification of the agreement will change nothing with respect to the limits of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR).

    [12] Greek, Bulgarian FMs discuss collaboration in transport, energy, tourism in Sofia meeting

    Possible collaborations in transportation projects such as motorways and railways, as well as in tourism and energy were discussed in a meeting between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov in Sofia on Tuesday.

    "There are many meetings with the Bulgarian side that will increase in the coming months, as Greece and Bulgaria, as agreed with Mr. Borisov, constitute an anchor of stability and security in Southeast Europe," Kotzias told the Independent Balkan News Agency after the meeting.

    He also said both sides agreed in the need to organize more unofficial meetings between the leaderships of the two countries. "The first one is the meeting of the two governments with the participation of several ministers; the second is a visit of the Bulgarian prime minister to Greece and the third is the repetition of the SEECP in October," he added.

    [13] Previous ban on offshore ownership 'practically unenforceable,' gov't sources claim, clarifying new measures

    Government sources on Tuesday provided further clarifications regarding an amendment banning politicians from ownership or involvement in all firms based outside Greece, as well as the government's reasons for changing a previous version of the same legislation included in the recently passed omnibus bill for prior actions.

    According to the sources, the term "offshore company" was legally weak, making the previous legislation voted in by the PASOK government of 2010 practically unenforceable.

    This had prompted the government to bring a new version of the same law that banned politicians from owning shares in companies based in uncooperative tax havens, included in the omnibus bill.

    In response to the subsequent outcry "and a surfeit of hypocrisy," the same sources added, the government was bringing yet another amendment that will universally and generally ban, without exceptions, any participation or involvement by political figures and their family members in the share capital or management of any firm based abroad, regardless of its nature or character.

    "We await with interest to see how many, who and from which parties will rush to pull out their shares from companies abroad or to withdraw their family members from offshore firms," the sources said.

    [14] Social Solidarity Income programme to be launched on Wednesday

    The first phase of the Social Solidarity Income programme will begin with a meeting at the labour, social insurance and social solidarity ministry on Wednesday afternoon, in order to prepare for its implementation. The meeting will include the 30 municipalities selected for the first phase, which starts in July and ends in December 2016, during which the SSI will be given to an estimated 40,000 households.

    Speaking in Parliament, Alternate Labour Minister Theano Fotiou said the programme will take into account the experience gained during the programme to tackle the humanitarian crisis, as well as the pilot programme for distributing a minimum income in 13 municipalities.

    In the second phase, the programme will be implemented throughout Greece, providing benefits in the form of cash and services to beneficiaries, as well as assistance for their inclusion in working and social life.

    The municipalities chosen for the first phase of the programme include: Orestiada and Kavala in Eastern Macedonia-Thrace, Nea Ionia, Aspropyrgos, Elefsina, Fyli, Agioi Anargyroi-Kamatero, Egaleo, Keratsini-Drapetsona, Nikea-Ag. Ioannis Rendis and Perama in Attica, Lesvos in the Northern Aegean, Kastoria in Western Macedonia, Aigialeia and Pyrgos in Western Greece, Arta in Epirus, Elassona and Trikala in Thessaly, Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands, Veria, Pavlos Melas, Kilkis and Katerini in Central Macedonia, Lamia in central Greece, Gortyna and Rethymno in Crete, Kalymnos and Leros in the Southern Aegean and Sikyonia and Kalamata in the Peloponnese.

    The 30 municipalities will be a testing ground for any adjustments needed ahead of the SSI's implementation on a nationwide basis from January 1, 2017. In the remaining 295 municipalities not included in the first phase, the programme against the humanitarian crisis will continue until December 31.

    [15] Problems with the issue of visas to Russians resolved, Alt. FM Xydakis says

    The Greek consulate in Moscow has resolved the problems regarding the issue of visas to Russian citizens and is now able to issue more visas than are requested on a daily basis, Alternate Foreign Minister Nikos Xydakis said on Tuesday. The three Greek consulates in Russia have issued more than 85,000 visas in May 2016, he reported, representing a 50 pct increase compared with the same month last year.

    Speaking after a meeting at the Greek embassy in Moscow, attended by the ambassador and general consuls in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novorossiysk, Xydakis said that a plan drawn up after December to meet the heightened demand had brought results.

    "In 120 days [we] implemented technical and organisational improvements that should have started two years ago. And we are still not done. There are other steps that will be taken so that we don't face similar problems in the future," he said.

    In the event of the "Greece in Russia, Russia in Greece" cross-cultural year and the generally very good use of visas by Russians, Xydakis said that the option of issuing long-term visas of three or five years was also being used in cases where this was possible.

    "The reasonable expectation for an increase in tourist flows from Russia is already becoming a reality," he added, noting that more and more Russians were now able to visit Greece in comfort and safety to enjoy their holidays and get to know the country, if they wished.

    [16] Commission warns of action against countries that don't participate in relocation program

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni) - The European Commission warned on Tuesday it will not hesitate to bring proceedings against member-states that refuse to participate in the refugee resettlement program, its deputy chief spokesperson Mina Andreeva said during a press conference in Brussels.

    Andreeva said the Commission has already sent wanring letters to those member-states and noted that, as a guardian of the Treaties, the Commission will not hesitate to exercise its power.

    [17] Potami party urges politicians to repatriate bank deposits

    The government was forced to withdraw the law on offshore companies but politicians must take it a step further and agree to repatriate bank deposits, Potami party said in a press release on Tuesday.

    "After making a virtue of necessity, the government is changing the provision of the offshore companies. It is a step. We will insist on the next one. We cannot have ministers with bank deposits abroad and ideas in Greece," the party said, adding that parliamentary groups must now agree at least to a voluntary pledge to do so, as MPs and politicians cannot keep their main deposits protected outside the country.

    "We must change too, if we're asking Greeks to change."

    Finacial News

    [18] Greek bond market closing report

    The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 7.19 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday, from 7.12 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.34 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.15 pct. Turnover was a thin 2.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was -0.015 pct, the nine-month rate was -0.085 pct, the six-month rate fell to -0.155 pct from -0.153 pct, the three-month rate was -0.265 pct and the one-month rate was -0.354 pct.

    [19] ADEX closing report

    The June contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.80 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,760 contracts with 26,610 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 57,020 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (20,504), followed by Alpha Bank (5,996), National Bank (15,804), Eurobank (4,185), MIG (2,745), OTE (420), PPC (4,641), OPAP (1,205), Viohalco (104), Mytilineos (412), Hellenic Petroleum (257), Intralot (99), Ellaktor (75), Athens Water (92), Jumbo (78), Hellenic Exchanges (73) and GEK (61).

    [20] Greek stocks end 0.93 pct up

    Greek stocks ended higher, but off the day's highs, in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday as a wave of profit taking focused on bank shares late in the session prevented the market from closing above the 650-point level. Turnover was a huge 205.204 million euros, boosted by a restructuring of the MSCI index. PPC will be delisted from the MSCI Greece Standard index will be added to the MSCI Greece Micro Cap index along with Hellenic Petroleum and Attica Bank. The Greek market's weight on the MSCI Greece Standard index will be reduced from 0.49 pct to 0.46 pct.

    The composite index rose 0.93 pct to end at 646.97 points, after rising as much as 656.15 points during the session. Volume was 244,085,877. The Large Cap index rose 0.55 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.48 pct higher.

    Athens Water (6.31 pct), GEK Terna (5.79 pct) and OPAP (4.25 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Alpha Bank (3.94 pct), National Bank (2.71 pct) and Terna Energy (1.38 pct) suffered heavy losses. Among market sectors, Travel (3.96 pct), Telecoms (3.52 pct0 and Constructions (3.06 pct) scored big gains, while Banks (1.77 pct) and Chemicals (0.68 pct) suffered losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 76 to 40 with another 25 issues unchanged. Intertek (29.66 pct), Motodynaic (21.17 pct) and Boutaris (20 pct) were top gainers, while Kyriakidis FHL (10.56 pct), Moda Bagno (10 pct) and Space Hellas (9.91 pct) were top losers.

    [21] Greek banks' deposits slightly down in April

    Greek banks' deposits eased slightly in April, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday. The central bank, in a monthly report, said that deposits by households and enterprises eased to 121.4 billion euros in April, from 121.5 billion in March. On an annual basis (April 2016 - April 2015), Greek banks' deposits outflow amounted to 12.4 billion euros.

    [22] Bank credit to private sector at -1.9 pct in April

    The annual growth rate of total credit extended to the domestic private sector remained negative at -1.9 pct in April, from -2.1 pct in the previous month, the Bank of Greece said on Tuesday.

    The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the monthly net flow of total credit to the domestic private sector was negative at 117 million euros, compared with a negative net flow of 146 million in the previous month.

    In April 2016, the monthly net flow of credit to corporations was positive at 118 million euros, compared with a positive net flow of 224 million in the previous month, while the annual growth rate of credit stood at -1.0 pct, against -1.4 pct in the previous month. In particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial corporations stood at -0.6 pct, from -0.9 pct in March 2016, while the monthly net flow of credit to non-financial corporations was positive at 175 million euros, against a positive net flow of 263 million in the previous month. The annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries stood at -7.7 pct in April 2016, from -8.7 pct in the previous month, and the monthly net flow of credit was negative at 57 million euros, compared with a negative net flow of 40 million in the previous month.

    In April 2016, the monthly net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative at 46 million euros, compared with a negative net flow of 9 million in the previous month, and its annual growth rate stood at -1.3 pct, from -1.0 pct in the previous month. In April 2016, the monthly net flow of credit to individuals and private nonprofit institutions was negative at 189 million euros, compared with a negative net flow of 361 million in the previous month, and its annual growth rate stood at -2.9 pct, from -3.0 pct in March 2016.

    [23] Greek retail sales volume down 1.6 pct in March

    Greek retail sales volume fell 1.6 pct in March this year, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Tuesday. The statistics service, in a report, said that the volume of sales grew in department stores (15.5 pct), food/beverage (7.0 pct), clothing/footwear (5.9 pct) and supermarkets (1.3 pct), while volume of sales fell in furniture/home equipment (10.5 pct), pharmaceuticals/cosmetics (7.7 pct), fuel/lubricants (3.0 pct) and bookstore (1.5 pct).

    The volume sales index (turnover in fixed prices) fell 1.6 pct in March compared with the same month last year, but grew 4.0 pct from February 2016. The seasonally-adjusted index rose 3.2 pct.

    The turnover index (current prices) fell 4.3 pct in March compared with the same month last year, but rose 6.8 pct from February. The seasonally-adjusted turnover index grew 2.5 pct in March.

    [24] Exports of fruit and vegetables up 25 pct in Q1

    Exports of fresh fruit and vegetables grew 37.8 pct in volume and 25 pct in value in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same period last year, Incofruit-Hellas said in an announcement released on Tuesday.

    Incofruit-Hellas, in an analysis of the latest data released by Hellenic Statistical Authority, said it expected exports of fresh fruit and vegetables to surpass 1,500,000 tons this year, exceeding 2015.

    George Polychronakis, special adviser to the Union said that exports of fresh fruit and vegetables grew 37.8 pct in volume to 450,544 tones in the first quarter of 2016, while value grew 25 pct to 241.226 million euros. Exports of vegetables rose 31.4 pct in volume to 66,976 tons and by 21.2 pct in value to 54.061 million euros.

    Exports of fresh fruit jumped 39 pct in volume to 383,568 tons and rose by 26.1 pct in value to 187.163 million euros. Export of strawberries soared 161 pct, tangerines rose 85 pct and apples rose 27 pct in the January-March period, while exports of tomatoes rose 71.9 pct and cucumbers rose 11.7 pct.

    Imports of vegetables fell by 13 pct in volume and 7.4 pct in value, while imports in fresh fruit rose 7.1 pct in volume and 12.2 pct in value in the first quarter.

    [25] Frigoglass says sales down 15.1 pct in Q1

    Frigoglass SAIC on Tuesday said its sales totaled 101.889 million euros in the first quarter of 2016, down 15.1 pct compared with the same period last year, while losses jumped to 8.344 million euros from 3.868 million over the same periods, respectively.

    Operating earnings totaled 2.452 million euros in the January-March period, from 3.150 million in 2015, for a decline of 22.1 pct, while EBITDA fell 10.6 pct to 10.699 million euros and EBITDA margin improved by 50 basis points.

    Nikos Mamoulis, chief executive of Frigoglass, commenting on the results attributed a decline in sales in the first quarter to a shrinking of investments in professional freezers in Russia and adverse macro-economic conditions in Nigeria which affected glass packaging demand. However, EBITDA margin improved by 50 basis points because of the efficiency and low energy cost of the glass sector in Jebel Ali and cost-cutting efforts in the Group.

    [26] Intralot extends contract with POSC

    Intralot on Tuesday announced the signing of a contract to extend -until August 31, 2018- its partnership with Pacific Online Systems Corporation (POSC), the organizer of the Philippines Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO).

    It is the fifth contract extension signed between the two companies since 2006. Under the contract, Intralot will continue the supply of its advanced and credible Lotos system, along with 1,200 terminals and 800 main units.

    General News

    [27] Marie-Pierre Poirier explains to ANA-MPA what UNICEF plans for refugees in Greece

    UNICEF's Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe Marie-Pierre Poirier was recently in Athens and the Aegean island of Lesvos for four days, accompanied by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and singer Nana Mouskouri, to assess what Greece is doing for roughly 22,000 refugee and migrant children trapped in the country.

    The scope of Poirier's visit was to organize along with the Greek authorities a short-term and long-term plan to provide refugee children with access to a better health and education.

    Talking to the ANA-MPA, Poirier said that UNICEF was collaborating with the Migration Policy Ministry and the Social Solidarity Ministry to provide protection to unaccompanied children and teens, as well as the health ministry on an immunisation programme. Poirier emphasised the issue of vaccinations and UNICEF's concern that a large number of children has not had a normal life due to the population movements, not going to school and not getting vaccines. "These children have a sort of life in parentheses," she noted, adding that UNICEF will also give guidelines for protecting breastfeeding.

    "It is very important for me that the Greek side is already thinking very strategically about both sides of the approach; the immediate humanitarian action and the medium-term work to prepare those that will remain for a smooth transition into Greek society," Poirier commented.

    With respect to unaccompanied minors, she noted that UNICEF and various Greek ministries were discussing optimal solutions in line with international standards. "We must properly identify them, record them and help Greek institutions concerned with establishing their status how to examine what is best for each child. We would like to help with developing qualitative and efficient standards," Poirier said.

    She said that new standards and ideas would be drawn up, in collaboration with social workers and public prosecutors, including the care of the children in families or family-like homes, outside of institutions. Another of the issues raised by UNICEF on an international level was that of reuniting the families of these children and broadening the definition of family, which is currently restricted to the father or mother.

    "However, in many cultures, families include other relatives. We must, therefore, see family reunification in the context of a broader definition of family," she clarified.

    Asked about Greece's response to the refugee crisis, Poirier admitted there were "shortcomings and problems," such as reception centres that did not provide the necessary services and incomplete implementation of the law.

    With regard to their collaboration with the education ministry, Poirier explained that the first part of the plan concerned an immediate educational action at accommodation centres, starting with those that have the greatest number of children, such as that in Skaramangas.

    Poirier added that the ministry was starting to build up records of how many children were in each camp, as well as their ages and educational needs.

    The first stage of the plan will span educational facilities for very young children, organising child-friendly spaces and recreational activities for them, and then to give emphasis to teens, who need to learn a new set of "life skills" - such as cultural values, relations between the sexes and other issues of daily life in Greece - and join vocational training programmes. For young children, in particular, she noted that it was "very important to recreate a sense of normality... so they can again be children instead of refugees."

    Poirier said that a learning package will be set up, starting with the younger age groups, that is in the children's native language and in English, so children later relocated to other European countries can be integrated into the system there. This will involve training for teachers - the third part of the short-term educational plan - supplying them with material collected by UNICEF from the countries of origin and destination of the refugees, Poirier said.

    This ultimately aimed to create the conditions for the second stage of the programme, which was the integration of the children. Poirier estimated that this will begin in the autumn, by which time "we will have a clearer picture about who will stay and who will leave for other countries." She said that the integration of the children would take place by placing them in Greek schools.

    She related an incident that occurred when she was visiting the refugees staying in Piraeus port, when a 13-year-old boy had come up to her and showed her the multiplication exercises he was doing. "I use my time to practice because I don't want to forget, all these months that I don't go to school. I may have lost my friends and everything in my homeland but I don't want to lose my future as well," the boy had said to her.

    Commenting on the EU-Turkey agreement, Poirier said its "strategic intention to bring order" was a good idea and noted that there must be a European approach to mass flows of people. She stressed, however, that emergencies should not lead to the non-fulfilment of humanitarian standards.

    "The European Union was created on the basis of common values, not just a market," she said, such as those of human rights and solidarity. When the agreement was interpreted as leading to the return of people to Turkey, UNICEF had therefore warned that human rights must be respected and that to hold a person for being a refugee could not be justified, since escaping war and insecurity was not a crime. She also noted that such distinctions should not apply to children.

    "Yes, there are cases where unaccompanied children, chiefly on the islands, are kept in closed centres. Our approach, however, is to come and propose what must be done to improve the situation," she said. She noted, however, that there was recognition on the government's side that things were not as they should be so she felt reassured.

    "Greece did not say to me that all is well, it said that this is what we can do for now, help us do better," she added, while expressing admiration for the "immense generosity and solidarity that Greece, as a country, has shown refugees" in spite of its own economic problems.

    "A child is always a child, whether we are talking about refugees or migrants. Every child has a right to an individualised process to determine his or her status, which will find what is best for [the child]," Poirier said.

    [28] PACE President visits refugee and migrant facilities on Lesvos

    Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt on Tuesday said that responsibility for the refugee crisis must be equally shared between Europe's member-states, after visiting facilities for migrants and refugees on the Aegean island of Lesvos.

    Agramunt called for a transition "away from the Europe of fences, where the few struggle with the refugee crisis, to the Europe of solidarity."

    The PACE president, who visited a camp set up by the Lesvos municipality at Kara Tepe, the Moria hotspot and facilities set up by Caritas Hellas, said his visit was a fact-finding mission concerning the processes for implementing the EU-Turkey agreement. He praised the Kara Tepe camp as "impressive" and also spoke well of the facilities set up by Caritas Hellas, though he avoided commenting on conditions in Moria.

    "The purpose of our visit was to stress our concern over refugee flows and asylum seekers in the country. To focus on the living conditions for these people and what the European Union must do," he said. The efforts being made by Greece were plain to see, he added, noting that Greece needed "our full support and solidarity".

    "We must do more. The migration and refugee crisis is a European issue and that is how we must treat it, sharing responsibility more fairly with the members of the Union," he said.

    While the EU had already done much to help, Agramunt added, its member-states needed to do more and meet their obligations in terms of the relocation of refugees.

    He said that the conclusions of his visit to Greece will be presented at a PACE session on June 22 that will be attended by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    [29] 55.7 pct of Greeks are in favour of welcoming refugees in the country- poll

    More than half of Greeks (55.7 pct) support the policy of welcoming refugees in the country, according to a poll conducted by Kapa Research on behalf of Regional Association of Attica Municipalities and presented on Tuesday.

    However 60 pct of those questioned wants the government to "limit in every way possible the entrance of refugees," against a 37.5 pct that wants to facilitate their passage. At the same time, 93.6 pct said European leaders mishandled the refugee crisis and 86.9 pct have negative view of Turkey's demands incorporated in the EU-Turkey deal for migration.

    Asked whether they perceive the presence of refugees as a threat, 49.3 pct of respondents answered positively while only 23 pct see it as an opportunity for the country.

    Describing their feelings created by the refugee crisis, 67.4 pct said "anxiety", 48.5 pct said "solidarity" and 47.6 pct said "compassion", followed by "anger" (46.5 pct), "fear" (29.6 pct) and "tolerance" (12.9 pct). Those who said they are worried explained they believe the presence of refugees in the country will contribute to lower wages, an increase in crime and a change in national identity.

    [30] More than 110 irregular migrants rescued off the coast of Crete

    More than 110 irregular migrants, including 33 children, were rescued by the Hellenic coast guard from a sinking vessel spotted off the coast of Crete on Tuesday. Some of the migrants were collected by the coast guard, with the help of a ship from Iraklio and nearby private vessels, while others managed to get to the shore unaided.

    The migrants were then put on a coach and taken to a site where their registration and identification could begin, while authorities looked for a site where they might be accommodated, finally taking them to an indoor basketball court in Neapoli.

    Based on the migrants own report, they had set sail from Turkey three to four days earlier, bound for Italy. The traffickers had taken up to 8,000 euros per person but as the vessel was passing by Crete, they claimed the ship had developed engine failure and abandoned the migrants in waters off the coast of Milatos.

    According to sources, one of the two migrant traffickers has been arrested.

    Meanwhile, a ship arrived at the port in the Cretan town of Sitia on Tuesday morning in order to carry more than 65 migrants that have been staying in Sitia's port in the last few days, after they were abandoned by traffickers in the region of Kouremenos. All had undergone a medical examination, with doctors referring four children and three pregnant women to the Sitia hospital for observation and treatment.

    [31] 52,674 identified migrants and refugees in Greece on Tuesday

    52,674 identified refugees and migrants were on the Greek territory on Tuesday including 15 persons that arrived on the Greek islands in the last 24 hours.

    According to the Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body's figures, 27,212 of the refugees are in northern Greece, 14,510 are hosted in the region of Attica, 8,439 on the Greek islands and 2,513 are hosted in different areas in central and southern Greece.

    [32] Boat with migrants and refugees runs aground on Cretan beach

    A boat with a large number of migrants and refugees on board was located on Tuesday afternoon near the beach of Aghios Andreas at Milatos, Crete island.

    The boat run aground as a result of an engine failure. Coast Guard is currently on the spot and according to sources a large number of the boat's passengers are already on the beach.

    [33] One migrant injured in scuffle at Piraeus port

    A scuffle broke out for unknown reasons among migrants on Tuesday afternoon outside a warehouse at the port of Piraeus used to house refugees and migrants, resulting in the injury of an 18-year-old migrant, police said.

    The coast guard intervened and detained four people and an ambulance transferred the injured man to Thriassio hospital.

    [34] Greek unemployment rate eased to 24.2 pct in Feb, Eurostat

    BRUSSELS (AMNA/Maria Aroni) - Greek unemployment rate eased to 24.2 pct of the workforce in February, from 24.4 pct in January, Eurostat said on Tuesday.

    The EU executive's statistics agency, in report released here, said that the unemployment rate in the Eurozone was 10.2 pct in April, unchanged from March and remained at the lowest level since August 2011. In the EU-28, the unemployment rate eased to 8.7 pct in April, from 8.8 pct in March, the lowest level since May 2009. The unemployment rate in the Eurozone was 11 pct and in the EU-28 9.6 pct in April 2015. A total of 21.22 million people were unemployed in the EU and 16.42 million in the Eurozone in April.

    Greece (24.2 pct in February) and Spain (20.1 pct) in April recorded the highest unemployment rates in the EU, while Czech (4.1 pct), Germany (4.2 pct) and Malta (4.3 pct) recorded the lowest unemployment rates.

    In Greece, a total of 1.16 million people were unemployed. The unemployment rate among men was 20.6 pct and among women 28.7 pct. Unemployment among young people aged below 25 years was 51.4 pct in February.

    [35] New Archaeological Museum of Thebes to be inaugurated on June

    The new Archaeological Museum of Thebes with exhibits representing thousands of years of human creativity in Viotia will be inaugurated on Tuesday, June 7.

    At 1,000 sqm, the exhibition consists of 18 units, 11 of which follow a chronological order from the Paleolithic period to the establishment of the new Greek state and present the cultural life, every day life, politics and social development in Viotia.

    The history of the Archaeological Museum of Thebes and the first archaeological research in the area are exhibited in special departments as well as the myths associated with Viotia and the spiritual climate of Viotia from the antiquity to modern times, with particular reference to the tragedies of the Theban mythological cycle.

    President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos will inaugurate the museum in the presence of Culture Minister Aristidis Baltas and Archbishop Ieronymos.

    [36] Workers at Thessaloniki, Piraeus ports determined to continue strikes

    Thessaloniki and Piraeus port employees are determined to continue strikes in order to demand protection for their labour relations ahead of plans to privatise the country's two largest ports, their representatives said on Tuesday.

    Staff from the two port authorities organised a rally in Athens' Klafthmonos Square followed by a march to Syntagma Square opposite Parliament on Tuesday morning, when a delegation of workers met with finance ministry officials. The workers claimed many irregularities and problems in the procedures for the new concession agreement for Piraeus port, sources said.

    The workers then headed toward the Plaza Hotel where Piraeus Port Authority shareholders were in a meeting to approve changes to the company's charter and the new concession agreement to further privatise Piraeus port. On arrival, they found their way barred by police and minor tension ensued, with trade unionists protesting against being denied entry, noting that members of the board and staff owning shares in the organisation had not been allowed in.

    [37] Athens Ledra Hotel closes amid economic woes

    The owner and manager of the Athens Ledra Hotel in Athens announced on Tuesday it is closing down the establishment due to economic difficulties.

    ASTY Hotel and Tourist Enterprises (S.A.) said in a press release it will present more details on the closure and on its future once the company has news to announce.

    The hotel, known in the past as Athens Ledra Marriott, but lost its Marriot title after MARRIOTT International announced late in 2013 that the management agreement it had with ASTY S.A. would not be extended.

    [38] Couples from all over the world to get married at the Catholic Church of Mytilene

    The relics of St.Valentine that are kept at the Cathedral of Mytilene attract couples from all over the world that decide to get married on the island.

    Weddings at the city's Cathedral have not been carried out for an long time provided that there is not a Catholic community on the island. However, the restoration of the Cathedralmonument and the discovery of the St. Valentine's holy relics as well as the re-establishment of a small community of Catholic Christians on the island opened a new tourism potential and perpective: wedding tourism.

    Marek Gitrowski and Fiona Jeganaphan, a distinguished biochemist, decided to get married on Lesvos. As they stated, the refugees problem and the negative promotion of the island did not not affect their decision.

    The couple lives in England but they have friends and relatives across the world that arrived on Lesvos to attend the matrimonial ceremony.

    The Princess of Thailand and a large number of couples from all over the world have announced that they will get married at the Catholic Cathedral of Lesvos in 2016.

    [39] Skiathos island to offer floating berths for large cruiseships

    The municipality of Skiathos is planning a series of smart and innovative solutions that will promote the island's tourist development.

    Among these solutions is the constuction of floating berths for large cruiseships that will approach the island in order to relief the congestion that prevails in the port during the high season. It is a modern, innovative and low cost solution that will not disturb the environment or damage Skiathos' natural beauty.

    Moreover, maintenance works are underway in the port to repair the damages provoked by the adverse weather conditions that stroke the island during winter.

    Four large cruiseships will be able to dock at the same time and up to 3,000 tourists will be able to disembark with safety on the island.

    [40] Ellinair Airlines restart flights to Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, inaugurate new ones

    Ellinair Airlines, member of Mouzenidis Group, announced it is re-connecting the town of Thessaloniki with Athens, scheduling two flights per week, and with the island of Santorini, with four flights per week.

    Additionally, the airliner will connect for the first time Thessaloniki to the island of Rhodes and the island of Kythera, via two flights per week respectively. In the already existing itinerary Thessaloniki-Heraklion, a fourth flight per week will be added.

    Ellinair Airlines aims also at connecting Athens with Santorini with three flights per week, and Heraklion with Santorini, carrying out two flights per week. All the services mentioned will start on different dates during the summer.

    [41] 53 cruise ships docked at the port of Corfu in May

    53 cruise ships carrying 90,000 passengers docked at the port of Corfu in May, according to Corfu Port Authority.

    According to estimates, 62 cruise ships are expected to dock at the Ionian island of Corfu in June.

    [42] Old Athens Stock Exchange building to host Athens Fine Drinking by World Class

    The building of Athens old Stock Exchange in the historic centre of Athens will turn into an original multiplex with six 'pop up bars' to host the Athens Fine Drinking by World Class that will take place from 1-4 June 2016.

    The Athens Fine Drinking is co-organised by the Culture, Sports and Youth Organisation of the Municipality of Athens and the World Class, the top art of mixology platform worldwide.

    Twenty three Athens bars will serve for four days a collection of inspired cocktails while a number of cultural events, masterclasses and food tasting as well as a series of happenings aiming to acquaint the people with the philosophy of the fine drinking will be held at the same venue.

    [43] Traffic accidents causing deaths or injuries up in March 2016

    Traffic accidents causing deaths and injuries rose by 11.7 percent in March 2016 relative to the same month in 2015, the Greek Statistical authority ELSTAT reported on Tuesday.

    The total number of such accidents in the month were 872 and resulted in 56 deaths (1.8 pct down relative to March 2015), 59 serious injuries (31.4 percent drop relative to March 2015) and 962 lighter injuries (13.4 percent up).

    [44] Culture ministry expresses condolences for death of British Hellenist Eddie O'Hara

    The ministry of culture and sport expressed on Tuesday its condolences for the death of British politician and chairman of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), Eddie O' Hara, who passed away on May 28.

    "The former deputy of the Labor Party, a popular and pioneering professor of ancient Greek and Latin, passionate with the ancient Greek culture and heritance, passed away on May 28, due to chronic respiratory problems. He undoubtedly affected public opinion, creating a multitude of friends and supporters through his actions for the return of the Parthenon Marbles and their re-unification with the monument from which they were violently extracted", the ministry said.

    Eddie O' Hara's involvement with the unification project "proves the greatness of his contribution to the Greek struggle," the ministry added.

    [45] Weather Forecast

    Mostly fair weather and winds from variable directions are forecast for Wednesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 16C-30C. Scattered clouds in the western parts with temperatures between 14C-28C. Mostly fair in the eastern parts with temperatures between 16C-30C. Sunny over the Aegean islands and Crete, 19C-31C. Mostly fair in Athens, 17C-31C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 17C-29C.

    [46] Athens News Headlines at a glance

    AVGHI: Offside with the offshore companies

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The Judgment of Solomon

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: University entry requirements up

    ETHNOS: New regulations for transfers in the public sector

    IMERISSIA: Three contingent mechanisms on income

    KATHIMERINI: The cost of capital controls and the negotiation

    NAFTEMPORIKI: The economy's alarming messages

    TA NEA: The program review closes and opens again

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