"The legislation of 'contingent' measures - as insisted on by the IMF - moves outside the boundaries of the Greek constitution and outside the boundaries of the European legal system," she noted. The "fiscal correction" mechanism proposed by the Greek side, by contrast, met all the conditions raised by the Eurogroup last week in terms of being automatic, objective and reliable, while it was also legal to vote into law, she added.
Consequently, the Greek government considered that the agreement to conclude the review can be achieved by accepting the fiscal correction mechanism, which will be accompanied by a specific solution for relieving Greece's debt, Gerovasili said. She noted that the Greek side was prepared to discuss all the legal and economic details of its proposed mechanism but "cannot go beyond it," adding that the talks with the institutions will resume later on Wednesday on this basis.
Referring to the discussion between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Council President Donald Tusk, the spokeswoman said Tsipras had expressed his displeasure at the IMF's insistence on measures going beyond the July 2015 agreement and the inability to convene the Eurogroup. The prime minister asked Tusk to convene an emergency EU summit if the inability to convene a Eurogroup meeting is confirmed in the next few hours, she said.
The Greek government welcomed Tusk's statement underlining the need to set a firm date for the next Eurogroup within a few days, considering it extremely positive, she said. It also welcomed a statement by Gianni Pittella, the head of the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament, who had referred to "hawks" attempting to "blackmail" Greece and said there should be an extraordinary Euro summit if the Eurogroup fails to find a solution.
Gerovasili also announced that the chairman of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee was calling an emergency meeting of the Working Group on the Greek programme.
"The Greek government, fully meeting its commitments to both the Greek people and the lenders, has presented a reliable package of measures. The Greek government is honouring to the letter all that was agreed in July and signed in August with the institutions," she said.
The specific contingency measures demanded from Greece by its creditors are unreasonable and unconstitutional, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, according to a report by German MNI agency
Quoting unnamed sources, the agency said European Commission's VP Valdis Dombrovskis and Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici briefed their colleagues during a meeting of the College of Commissioners on the stalemate of the negotiations between Greece and the institutions, explaining why they were halted.
In an intervention, Juncker accused the IMF of undermining the Eurozone, saying that no democracy would accept such a demand for contingency measures. "No parliament in the world would accept that," he said.
He also added that the two sides are 95 pct close to an agreement and that work is needed to reach 100 pct, and criticized the IMF for its harsh criticism towards the Eurozone.
According to the report, Juncker will also have a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras later in the day during which he will offer his support to the idea that a preemptive plan must be acceptable by all sides.
Greece has made great progress in the ongoing negotiations with the institutions and an agreement is just one step away, Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told ANA-MPA on Wednesday after a meeting of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee at the European Parliament.
The Commissioner said Greek authorities and the institutions are "practically in agreement" concerning the measures Greece has to vote as part of its bailout program, such as the pension and social security reforms, taxation, non-performing loans, the privatizations fund and privatizations. "There, we're literally just one step from a deal, what we've always wanted," he said, adding however that issues remain, such as the mechanism that will be "automatic, official" and will allow for action to be taken if these measures are not enough to achieve the primary surplus goal for 2018.
Moscovici also said that work needs to be done to create the conditions for a new Eurogroup meeting as soon as possible.
Tsipras told Tusk he was disappointed by the IMF's insistence on measures not included in July's agreement as well as the fact that there would be no Eurogroup meeting.
According to a statement, the Greek prime minister asked Tusk to take the initiative for an emergency eurozone summit in case the Eurogroup does not convene in order to avert further uncertainty in the eurozone.
Tusk reassured Tsipras that he would take an initiative within the day to examine the possibility of a Eurogroup meeting soon.
Tsipras and Tusk will speak again on the phone on Thursday to reassess the situation.
The European Commission is irked by the International Monetary Fund's rigid position in relation to the Greek budgetary issues that are being negotiated, a senior Commission source in Brussels told ANA-MPA on Wednesday.
According to the source, the issue was raised during a meeting of the College of Commissioners by EC head Jean-Claude Juncker, but noted that the differences between the European institutions and the IMF are not insurmountable.
The same source said a Eurogroup may be held next Tuesday.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Wednesday said that he does not see a reason for an emergency EU summit to resolve the disagreements between Greece and its creditors on the reforms.
When asked about a relevant report published in "Der Tagesspiegel", he replied: "The answer is no."
The same view was also expressed by German finance ministry spokesperson Friederike von Tiesenhausen, who noted that the Eurogroup is the organ that makes decisions after institutions conduct negotiations with Greece.
"The head of the Eurogroup said yesterday that the progress in the talks between the institutions and Greece is not such that he can convene the Eurogroup. How long it will be before these talks are completed, I cannot tell you now. It is clearly so; there is still a need for talks," she said, noting that Tusk had also said that there could be no EU summit.
The chancellor's spokesman Steffen Seibert, asked to comment on Schaeuble's position, said that the chancellor and finance minister have the "closest possible cooperation".
"We have a process that is successful and gives the finance ministers a specific role. We are sticking with this," he said.
Von Tiesenhausen also noted that the four institutions and the Eurogroup reached an agreement in Amsterdam last Friday that there was progress in talks on the four main elements of the review (pensions, taxes, NPLs and privatisations) but also that "a package of contingent measures was necessary in case did not achieve som of the budget targets".
"That was the agreement of the participants in Amsterdam and there is discussion on this at this time but the agreement is not questioned," she said.
Delaying the completion of Greece's first program review is "irresponsible", the chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), Roberto Gualtieri, told ANA-MPA on Wednesday, adding that the Eurogroup should be held soon.
He also said he expects that, if not on Thursday, then in the next few days and not weeks the Eurogroup will be held. "We cannot handle another crisis. It would be irresponsible to cause something like this," he added.
Regarding the IMF's rejection to accept the proposal of the Greek government for the creation of a balancing mechanism instead of adopting contingent measures, government sources said that it proves its intention to implement another programme with additional measures and not the one agreed in July, they said adding that the other institutions agree on the Greek positions.
"The IMF has adopted a policy of constant delays, a policy that has also been confirmed by Wikileaks," the same sources said.
The Thomson Reuters team of Yiannis Behrakis, chief photographer for Greece and Cyprus, Alkis Konstantinidis and Alexandros Avramidis were the winners in the Breaking News Photography category "for gripping photographs, each with its own voice, that follow migrant refugees hundreds of miles across uncertain boundaries to unknown destinations."
Addressing his guests, Tsipras said that apart from doing their mission, they're also creating art which has a special value when it presents the hard reality but is also of a high level. He also took the opportunity to hail the way Greek islanders have handled the risisng refugee flows, saying they have created a very positive image for the country and its values.
"Along with the professionalism of Greek photojournalists, the value of solidarity is also highlighted. We warmly congratulate them," Tsipras tweeted after the meeting.
The talks focused on the Greek government's proposed mechanism for a 3.6-billion-euro package of additional 'contingent' measures that the IMF considers necessary.
The aim of the meeting was to make sufficient progress so as to enable the conclusion of Greece's review at an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting next week.
According to sources, the government has proposed a mechanism for automatically cutting spending in response to any failure to meet budget targets that is confirmed by Eurostat.
The so-called contingent measures and the debt issue were the reasons why the Greek economic staff and the institutions did not reach an agreement, a eurozone official told ANA-MPA on Wednesday.
Greece and the institutions, he said, have agreed on all measures of the package that correspond to 3 percent of GDP. However, they have not agreed on contingent measures (2 percent of GDP) that the institutions are asking to be implemented in case the 2008 fiscal targets are not met.
The same official said that the "huge discrepancies" between the institutions and Greece on debt is another reason why the Eurogroup will not take place on Thursday as it was planned. The debt issue will be discussed for the first time at Eurogroup level when Athens and the institutions agree on the whole package of measures as well as the contingent measures.
"There is a way to agree on the contingent measures," another eurozone official said to ANA-MPA and added: "Provided that Greece presents more specialised measures, not one by one, but at least there is a general idea on spending cuts and state revenues."
As he said, the institutions need to examine all the options of debt relief based on the latest economic figures released by Eurostat.
The head of the European Parliament's Socialists & Democrats Group Gianni Pittella on Wednesday objected strongly to the demands that Greece adopt an extra set of "contingent" measures in order to conclude the first review. Calling the demands "blackmail", Pittella said that EU leaders should step in to find a solution if the Eurogroup "cannot find a way out".
"We cannot ask Greece to take additional measures. This would mean that some 'hawks' want to kill Greece and we cannot allow this blackmail. The stakes are too high for Europe. We should all work to prevent a crisis in Greece in the run-up to the British referendum, especially now that - under extraordinarily difficult conditions - Greece has over-performed on its primary balance target for 2015.
"If the Eurogroup cannot find a way out, despite the efforts of the European Commission, then the political leadership of Europe should take the lead at an extraordinary Euro Summit next week. We want a fair deal for Greece which also includes a discussion on debt relief," Pittella said.
"If the Eurogroup cannot find a solution, then the European political leadership needs to lead a special EU summit next week," he underlined.
Pittella added that everyone should work so that the crisis in Greece is averted ... especially now that Greece has outperformed in the 2015 budget targets. "We cannot ask additional measures from Greece. This would mean that some 'hawks' want to kill Greece and we cannot accept that blackmail."
"The issue of debt haircut should be negotiated with the creditors," he underlined.
"This haircut should be properly made so that the economy grows and Greece can serve its debt," he explained and added: "However, only a haircut will not be enough."
Lafontaine estimated that the austerity policy has failed and Europe risks to collapse mainly because of the Monetary Union's wrong planning.
The former Finance Minister said that Greece needs to return to the existing European Monetary System (EMS) adding that Denmark also participates in the EMS.
The European Monetary System allows revaluations and devaluations and obliges the European Central Bank to intervene if there is a high depreciation or revaluation of a currency. "I am convinced that this way the Greek economy would slowly recover."
The full interview of Oskar Lafontaine is available at ANA-MPA website.
Mitsotakis said that the meeting signals a new course for New Democracy adding that the party will open to society. "We want the citizens with us so that the worst government of the post-Junta period goes away," he underlined.
"Our historic mission is the recovery of Greece ... under the condition that this incompetent government leaves," he added.
The measures the creditors are asking for is a result of the prime minister's lack of credibility, Mitsotakis stressed.
"With [the government's] irresponsibility and unreliability it left room to its creditors and the IMF to demand additional onerous - and not accepted by ND -measures," party spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos said in a statement.
He also said the additional burden is the result of the government's amateur handling of the negotiations.
"It is the former EXELKA factory at Oreokastro and three sites in Kalohori, a former factory, a former logistics firm and a former supermarket chain warehouse. At these locations and at the centre created at Lagadikia we hope to move at least 4,500 people in the next 10 days, or more than a third of those at Idomeni today," he said.
He noted that refugees and migrants would also be moved to other locations, in addition to those near Thessaloniki.
"We are still in the initial phase of the process, in other words the effort to find a temporary shelter for all the refugees trapped in mainland Greece. In the second phase our goal will be a proportional distribution of refugees throughout the country in smaller and more easily handled facilities that will not be 'in the middle of nowhere' and will not look like army camps with tents," Kyritsis added.
Talking to the ANA-MPA radio station 'Praktorio 104.9 FM', however, Oreokastro Mayor Asterios Gavotsis said that the news of a refugee centre in his municipality had 'taken him by surprise', with the first people due to be transferred there on Thursday. He said that he will be meeting the head of the refugee coordinating committee Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Vitsas on Thursday morning.
Delta Mayor Mimis Fotopoulos, in a written statement, asked for the prime minister to intervene and said he would not accept "any unilateral action" by the government with respect to hosting refugees and migrants, noting that the area was already hosting a number disproportionate to its population.
More specifically, 62 migrants arrived at Lesvos and nobody at Chios and Samos over the last 24 hours.
The F-16 entered Athens FIR at 14.28 east of Rhodes without submitting a flight plan and flew over Ro at 27,500 feet at 14.44. It exited Athens FIR at 14.45 east of Rhodes. The Turkish aircraft were identified and intercepted by two Greek fighter jets.
Speaking to ANA-MPA, Jennett said: "We enhance our presence in Greece, we are here to finance Greek business activity, business ideas with a perspective that will contribute in the recovery of the Greek economy and create permanent job positions".
"We do not have a ceiling on total funding to Greece, specially after the activation of the Juncker investment plan. As a bank we invite private businessmen seeking funds for their investment plans to knock on our door and to cooperate. Total funds for 2016 will depend exclusively on demand for funding by the private and public sectors in Greece," the banker said.
He noted that EIB has no limitations or priorities on which business sectors it planned to finance. "In any sector, contributing in the development of the country, such as energy, tourism, food industry, technology and innovation and in general sectors related with export activity and create sustainable job positions are open to financing," Jennett said.
"Our goals is to finance not to reject funding requests," Jennett said, adding that emphasis will be given to finance investment plans located not only in Athens and Thessaloniki but in regional Greece as well.
"Greece has a very high quality human resource, part of which left the country because of the crisis and the aim is to bringing it back with growth," he said.
Jennett said that EIB will respond to all funding requests, even those outside its jurisdiction, offering direction. "We are here to contribute in offering technical support for projects suitable and sustainable, particularly in the private sector, to small- and medium-sized enterprises which are the back bone of the Greek economy," he noted.
EIB plans to further strengthen its cooperation with Greek systemic banks, particularly on funding of SMEs which are not directly funded by EIB.
A newly-set up Investment Team Greece is part of a special initiative and the first step signalling a more dynamic presence of EIB in the country. The Investment Team Greece will be based in Athens, ensuring that the bank will be able to contribute in the economic recovery of Greece. The team will have a staff of 30, all EIB Group staff, of which around half will be based in Athens.
European Investment Bank has offered more than 12 billion euros to Greece since 2008, in the form of loans and guarantees, of which 1.4 billion euros in 2015.
The central bank, in a monthly report, said that the monthly net flow of credit to corporations was positive at 224 million euros in March, compared with a negative net flow of 48 million in the previous month, while the annual growth rate of credit stood at -1.4 pct, against -1.9 pct in the previous month. In particular, the annual growth rate of credit to non-financial corporations stood at -0.9 pct, from -1.6 pct in February 2016, while the monthly net flow of credit to non-financial corporations was positive at 263 million euros, against a negative net flow of 49 million in the previous month. The annual growth rate of credit to insurance corporations and other financial intermediaries stood at -8.7 pct in March 2016, from -6.1 pct in the previous month, and the monthly net flow of credit was negative at 40 million, compared with a positive net flow of one million in the previous month.
In March 2016, the monthly net flow of credit to sole proprietors and unincorporated partnerships was negative at nine million, compared with a negative net flow of 20 million euros in the previous month, while its annual growth rate remained at -1.0 pct, unchanged from the previous month.
In March 2016, the monthly net flow of credit to individuals and private non-profit institutions was negative at 361 million euros, compared with a negative net flow of 226 million euros in the previous month, and its annual growth rate stood at -3.0 pct, from -2.9 pct in the previous month.
The statistics service, in a report, said that cargo traffic in Greek ports fell 5.4 pct in the third quarter of 2015, after a 6.6 pct increase recorded in the same period in 2014.
The composite index of the market dropped 2.51 pct to end at 584.55 points, off the day's lows of 570.11 points. The Large Cap index fell 3.39 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.86 pct lower. Turnover was an improved 71.582 million euros in volume of 133,911,558.
Folli Follie (2.77 pct) and Lamda Development (1.04 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while Eurobank (11.10 pct), National Bank (7.88 pct), Piraeus Bank (7.41 pct), Viohalco (6.67 pct), Ellaktor (5.93 pct) and Alpha Bank (5.21 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities. Among market sectors, Banks (7.46 pct), Health (6.92 pct) and Financial Services (4.72 pct) suffered heavy losses while only the Commerce sectors scored gains (2.77 pct).
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 71 to 28 with another 12 issues unchanged. Galaxidi (29.45 pct), Creta Farm (17.69 pct) and Boutaris (17.65 pct) were top gainers, while Evrofarma (29.84 pct), Viokarpet (20.99 pct) and Progressive (20 pct) were top losers.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 60,160 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (20,691), Alpha Bank (5,940), National Bank (16,719), Eurobank (9,909), MIG (3,354), OTE (980), PPC (1,012), OPAP (398), Hellenic Exchanges (118), Viohalco (120), Mytilineos (145), Hellenic Petroleum (252), Motor Oil (130), Ellaktor (163) and Titan (59).
The flame was presented to the Hellenic Olympic Committee and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee during a ceremony, attended by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The handover ceremony again featured 'high priestess' Katerina Lechou and the 'priestesses' in costume, performing a ceremonial 'ritual' designed by choreographer Artemis Ignatiou to music by composer Yiannis Psimadas.
Greek singer Sakis Rouvas then took over, followed by Greek and Brazilian dancers performing signature songs and dances from the two countries.
The flame will now be carried to Brazil for the second leg of the Olympic Torch relay, ahead of the Rio Games on August 5, when it will enter the Maracana stadium for the official opening ceremony of the 2016 summer Olympic Games.
Representing the city of Rio was the head of the Brazilian organising committee Carlos Nuzman, who took it from HOC President Spyros Kapralos.
The Rio Olympics are the first Olympic Games held in Brazil and the first in South America.
"Yesterday, Syrian athlete and refugee Ibrahim Al-Hussein brought the Olympic flame in Eleonas, in Athens. Tolerance in the framework of peaceful societies, less violence and competition are the values of Olympism we must defend today," he tweeted.
"The flame was handed over today to the hosting city of the Games, Rio de Janeiro, with our warmest wishes for success," he added.
DIMOKRATIA: The universe collapses
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Impasse: Tsipras is asking for an emergency EU summit
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Memorandum and elections
ESTIA: Ninth year of continuous recession
ETHNOS: Decisions to be taken at the EU summit
IMERISSIA: Eurogroup cancelled
KATHIMERINI: The negotiations in the shadow of 2015
NAFTEMPORIKI: The deadline for agreement before Easter lost
RIZOSPASTIS: Battle position
TA NEA: A new circle of uncertainty opens
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