|Wednesday, 28 September 2016|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-09-23
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 23 September 2016 Issue No: 5253
 PM Tsipras and President Erdogan's meeting focuses on refugee issueThe refugee issue dominated a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday in New York, and according to government sources the two leaders reaffirmed the need to support the EU-Turkey agreement.
The Turkish President said the agreement also depends on the relationship between the two countries, while the same sources said that the Greek side "welcomes it."
They also referred to Turkey's efforts to reduce refugee flows as last year there were 5,000-7,000 arrivals every day and now refugee flows have been reduced to 150.
"However, efforts must continue from all sides so that the agreement will be implemented in full," government sources said.
Greece still supports Turkey on the issue of visas, provided - as indeed for any other similar issue - that the criteria set by the European Union are followed, while it supports the EU accession process of Turkey, always provided that Turkey meets those provided in the roadmap.
Moreover, Greece supports the assistance to Turkey to address the refugees in its territory.
The two leaders confirmed that at this stage it is extremely useful all the issues to be solved through dialogue and understanding.
Erdogan also referred to the eight military officers who have sought asylum in Greece. Tsipras said that Greece had initially made clear that the issue is dealt with on the basis of those provided by international law.
Regarding the Cyprus issue, Tsipras raised the issue of security, saying that the aim is to form a solution which, according to the firm positions expressed by Greece and which the prime minister reiterated the issue of security of all Cypriots will be examined provided that the Turkish forces will withdraw from the island.
The issue of guarantees was not discussed.
The Greek side noted that progress has been recorded in the Cyprus problem, but there are still important open issues in the dialogue between the two communities.
According to government sources, Erdogan did not reply to issues concerning the Cyprus problem, adding that the overall response was to continue with cooperation and closer talks to address all open issues.
 Tsipras meets Iranian president, Archbishop Demetrios, in New YorkPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday, on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
According to government sources, Tsipras and Rouhani discussed the further strengthening bilateral cooperation, following a recent visit of the Greek premier to Tehran. They also discussed economic and trade issues.
Tsipars also met with the Archbishop Demetrios of America, to whom the prime minister hailed the contribution of the Archdiocese and the overall work of the Diaspora and noted its important role in promoting and defending human values in the midst of the refugee crisis.
 Tsipras to Greek-American community: You should be proud to be GreeksNEW YORK (ANA/ G. Milionis)
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday visited the Greek school Agios Dimitrios in New York's Astoria district and talked to the pupils, urging them to be proud of Greece not just for its past but also for its present. In its current handling of the refugee and migrant crisis, Tsipras noted, Greece was showing the humane face of Europe.
Addressing the children, he said they are the followers of an old tradition where every Greek family has one desire, for its children to study and become better than their parents. Tsipras thanked the children and their teachers for the arm welcome and said he was moved to see the young generation maintain their origins.
"I also want to say that it is very touching to see that second, third and fourth generation Greeks keep Greece deep inside their soul, care for it perhaps even more than we who stay in Greece do," he added.
The prime minister's speech was briefly interrupted when one of the children in the school choir fainted and had to be given first aid. The young girl came to and got up to extended applause, with the prime minister reassuring her that "these things happen" and wishing her a speedy recovery.
Joint communique issued after the Trilateral Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, Greece and Palestine
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, H.E. Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, H.E. Mr. Nikos Kotzias and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Riad Malki, held their first trilateral meeting on 21 September 2016 in New York, in the margins of the High Level segment of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, according to the Greek Foreign ministry.
The three Ministers held a wide-ranging discussion on issues of mutual interest, including developments in the Middle East and their impact on the wider region, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Cyprus issue, as well as areas for future trilateral cooperation. They underlined the strength of their countries' historical relations and their determination to enhance these relations within bilateral and multilateral frameworks.
They reaffirmed the commitment of their Governments to mutually acceptable, political and inclusive solutions on the basis of international law and the relevant resolutions of the UN and to joint cooperation for the promotion of peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean region.
They stressed the urgent need for intensification of efforts by moderate actors to tackle the regional challenges, jointly fight against terrorism, extremism and incitement to violence, increase information sharing and promote regional security, long-term stability and prosperity.
They called for just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the Madrid principles including land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative. They expressed their support for a two-State solution on the basis of the 4 June 1967 lines, leading to a sovereign, independent, viable and contiguous State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours. They expressed their serious concern that current trends on the ground threaten to make a two-state solution impossible, reiterated in this regard that all settlementactivities are illegal under international law, and stressed the need for affirmative steps to halt and reverse these trends. Welcoming, in this respect, current efforts, including by France, to revive the peace process, they concurred that a permanentsolution to the Israeli - Palestinian conflict in accordance with international law would greatly boost security and stability across the region and beyond.
They reaffirmed their unwavering support to the ongoing negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem that will reunify the island in accordance with international law and the relevant UNSC Resolutions. They highlighted that the solution of the Cyprus problem must address the concerns and aspirations of the Cypriots themselves,without any rights of military intervention, and must respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
They stressed that peace agreements in all their aspects, including as regards security arrangements, must be in line with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law.
Convinced of the potential of their trilateral cooperation, Cyprus, Palestine and Greece will continue working together, for the benefit of their peoples and the wider region, to effectively promote their common values and interests, including cooperation in international fora and organizations as well as on projects inter-alia in the fields of tourism, education and training, environment, conservation and management of water resources, energy and agriculture. It was decided that in order to explore further and in more detail the potential of cooperation in these fields, a meeting of the Permanent Secretaries of the Foreign Ministries of the three parties will take place in the near future.
 FM Kotzias to attend Greece-Cyprus-Egypt trilateral meeting in NY on FridayGreek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will have meetings with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Hassan Shoukry on Friday, in the context of trilateral cooperation between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, during the 71st Session and the high-level Week of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Kotzias will later have the opportunity to present Greece's positions on regional and international issues at the "Council on Foreign Relations" think tank and then meet the UN Special Representative for the 'Macedonia' name dispute Matthew Nimetz.
Kotzias and Kasoulides are also due to attend a dinner given by the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations, along with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, later on Friday.
 FM Kotzias and FYROM's Poposki discuss CBMs in New YorkForeign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his FYROM counterpart Nikola Poposki discussed the implementation of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and developments in the region in a meeting on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
During the meeting, the two ministers also focused on the second quadripartite meeting between Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and FYROM, which is expected to be held in Thessaloniki in October with the participation of foreign and interior ministers of the four countries.
 FM Kotzias discuss Syrian crisis, Cyprus with OIC head in New YorkInternational and regional issues, such as the Syrian crisis, were discussed in a meeting between Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and the Secretary General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani in New York on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the high-level Week of the UNGA.
The two officials exchanged views on issues related to the object of OIC and are of particular interest to Greece, while Kotzias also presented the Greek positions on Cyprus.
 Measures on Greek debt relief must become specific, says europarliament VP Papadimoulis"Our ambition to specify the measures on the relief of the Greek debt in the next months founds recognition and response and in the lenders' camp", SYRIZA Eurodeputy and Europarliament vice president Dimitris Papadimoulis said to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency radio "Praktoreio 104.9FM".
"Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' contacts in the US proved that this idea has matured for many of our lenders, apart from Berlin and its very close allies, and that is it will be beneficial for all the measures agreed at 25 May's Eurogroup to become specific," said Papadimoulis.
The third memorandum should be the last one, this is the government's target and the lenders' wish, for their own reasons, he noted and explained: "In order to succeed in this, we must be able to have access to the markets in 2018, as all the other countries, with low and reasonable interest rates."
Papadimoulis clarified that "we do not ask for more than what was decided at the Eurogroup, but we want all these to become specific; not only the short-term measures but also the mid-term ones. This will give a sign of further stabilisation of the Greek economy and will facilitate the investments that the Greek economy needs in order to return to a sustainable development path and tackle unemployment."
Papadimoulis estimated that "there is an effort on Berlin's part and particularly on the right side, and for reasons of political purposes, so that everything regarding the Greek debt relief is postponed after the German elections."
 Deputy FM Amanatidis meets Greek community organisations in CairoCAIRO (ANA/ N. Katsikas)
Paying a visit to the Egyptian capital on Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister for Expatriate Affairs Yiannis Amanatidis met members of the Greek community in the city and was briefed on the problems they face. During the meetings, Amanatidis emphasised the government's determination to help Greeks abroad.
The minister started by visiting the city's two Greek schools, noting the importance of supporting Greek-language education as much as possible, and announced that the World Council of Hellenes Abroad will soon resume operations. He urged members of the Cairo community to submit their proposals when the relevant discussion begins. He also announced plans for a cross-party committee to be set up by Interior Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis, to discuss giving expatriates the right to vote abroad.
Amanatidis then attended a meeting with the Management Committee of the Greek Community of Cairo, where the chairman Christos Kavalis presented the issues that concern Greeks living in Cairo and their demands from the Greek state. This included help in preserving Greek schools in areas where Greeks live, and issues realting to pensions and healthcare. He also met members of the community at the Ilioupolis Greek Club, in the presence of the Cyprus ambassador in Cairo Haris Moritsis.
Later on Thursday, Amanatidis is to accompany Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and other officials on a visit to Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II, and meet the Greek community Alexandria.
 296 refugees relocated from Greece, EU Commision spox Schinas saysBRUSSELS (ANA/Ch. Vassilaki)
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas on Thursday announced the relocation of 296 refugees from Greece over the last two days.
The total number of people relocated from Greece have reached 4,140.
He also said that EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos will represent the European Commission in the summit of Western Balkans to be held on Saturday in Vienna.
 Lesvos mayor opposes plan to house refugees on shipsIn a letter to Shipping and Aegean Minister Thodoris Dritsas on Thursday, Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos presented his objections to using a ship in order to temporarily house refugees on the island. According to the mayor, chartering a ship to act as a reception centre can only be an emergency stop-gap solution, in response to problems caused by unrest at the camp, and not a medium- or long-term solution.
Such a floating refugee centre that will spend large amounts of time docked in the centre of Mytilene was not acceptable, Galinos added, while a long-term solution for relieving the pressure on the island must be the partial transfer of the refugee population to the mainland.
He asked the government to arrange a meeting on the issue between the ministries involved and local authorities on the island, to decide what should be done.
 First time asylum seekers in Greece up 132 pct in Q2During the second quarter of 2016 (from April to June 2016), 305 700 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), up by 6% compared with the first quarter of 2016 (when 287 100 first time applicants were registered).
With nearly 90 500 first time applicants between April and June 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Afghans (50 300 first time applicants) and Iraqis (34 300). They represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU Member States over the second quarter 2016, accounting for almost 60% of all first time applicants.
During the second quarter 2016, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 187 000 first time applicants, or 61% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (27 000, or 9%), France (17 800, or 6%), Hungary (14 900, or 5%) and Greece (12 000, or 4%). Among those Member States with high numbers of asylum seekers, numbers of first time applicants in the second quarter 2016 more than doubled compared with the previous quarter in Greece (+132%) as well as in Hungary (+118%), and rose notably in Poland (+65%) and Spain (+37%). In contrast, decreases were recorded in particular in the Nordic Member States - Denmark (-59%), Finland (-53%) and Sweden (-42%) - as well as in the Netherlands (-47%), Belgium (-44%) and Austria (-22%).
Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the second quarter 2016 was recorded in Germany (2 273 first time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Hungary (1 517), Austria (1 241) and Greece (1 113). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (2 applicants per million inhabitants), Romania (11), Portugal (15), Lithuania (24), the Czech Republic and Estonia (both 26). In the second quarter 2016, there were in total 599 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
 10,266 migrants and refugees trapped on the Aegean islandsA total of 69 migrants and refugees arrived on the northern Aegean islands in the last 24 hours.
50 arrivals were recorded on Lesvos and 19 on Samos.
According to police figures, the number of migrants and refugees that have sought asylum and are trapped on the islands reached 10,266.
 Schools for refugee children will go ahead as planned, says government spoxRefugee children will attend schools as planned, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said on Thursday during a visit to the city of Ioannina in western Greece.
"The program of integration of refugee children in education has been organized and will be implemented," she told journalists when asked about the reactions by parents in the cities of Filippiada and Oreokastro, adding that their schooling will be held at different times because of the different needs of the children.
Asked by parents about the lack of information on the issue on behalf of the government, Gerovassili acknowledged there's a gap in official information but added there are state bodies which can clarify the education plan. "There's a clear line between saying 'I don't know' to reacting, which changes things," she said.
 State minister: 'We cannot guarantee anyone he will get a TV license'The government does not guarantee that any of the four successful bidders who won the four nationwide TV licenses in a tender he will get it if at any point of the procedure they do not meet the criteria set up by the government, State Minister Nikos Pappas told private radio station "Parapolitika" on Thursday.
"We are not in a position to guarantee anyone of the four [business groups] that he will get a license; there are other conditions too," he said when asked about the ongoing procedure.
He said the first installment of the bidding money will be paid on Monday and that the procedure is tested every step of the way. Pappas also criticized past governments for not issuing legal TV licenses.
"Now we are in the process of considering appeals. There is a chance some of the successful bidders will not continue to the next stage. If someone is not OK, he will leave the next second. We are not fraudsters. A hijacking has been committed in Greece all these years. They took the country's air with dark means," he added.
 Citizen protection minister unveils plan to reorganise police forceAlternate Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Toskas and the chief of the Hellenic Police Lieut. General Konstantinos Tsouvalas on Thursday presented the ministry's plan for a restructuring and reorganisation of the police force.
The plan calls for abolishing or merging various police departments with other services but also the founding of new departments where necessity arises. It also frees police officers from the guarding of potential targets and other internal jobs in order to increase its efficiency in preserving order and combatting crime.
Toskas announced that a presidential decree legislating for the changes will be ready in about a fortnight and that orders reassigning some 700 police officers now guarding individuals to new duties will be sent out by the end of this month. The minister said he would give details and figures about these transfers himself and that the officers made available will be used to create new crime prevention and repression units, doubling their numbers in Attica.
He said the planned changes will generate savings in the number of police services and their cost, which can then be used to buy new patrol cars, fuel and other running expenses of the police force.
The minister noted that the changes were the best possible at the current time, though further more radical changes were theoretically possible. He did not rule out the possibility of further changes in the future, if this was judged necessary.
 BoG report on Attica Bank delivered to parliamentA report by the Bank of Greece and the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) on the ailing Attica Bank was delivered to parliament, the central bank said in a press release on Thursday.
The report was handed to Sokratis Famellos, president of the Committee investigating loans granted to political parties and media from banks.
 Central banker categorically denies he intervened in probe over wife's firmBank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras categorically denied press reports claiming he intervened or obstructed an investigation into his wife's business activities.
"The projects mentioned in the delirious and slanderous reports were awarded to his wife's company long before he became a minister and following an international tender," Stournaras says in his statement adding that his and his wife's assets and the manner in which they were acquired are included in the wealth statements submitted regularly since he first took public office.
"Some people feel that they are threatened or that they are losing privileges they had fraudulently obtained. It is time for them to realize that the Bank of Greece and its governor are staying away from political games and will continue their work to ensure the proper operation of the banking system, as unpleasant as this may be for some," he added.
 First meeting between OASA and LG CNS on installing Athens transport e-ticket systemThe president of the Athens urban transport organisation OASA Tasos Tastanis and OASA CEO Yiannis Skoubouris on Thursday had a first meeting with LG CNS CEO and President Young Shub Kim to discuss the delivery of an electronic ticketing system that will gradually replace paper tickets on Athens public transport. Both sides said they were confident that the project will be delivered on time and with optimal financial, managerial and quality criteria for passengers.
The project is expected to unfold over two years and replace the current tickets with electronic 'smart cards' that will permit a more flexible pricing policy reflecting the length of journeys, while greatly reducing currently high levels of fare dodging.
S. Korea-based LG CNS won the contract after forming the consortium HST SA with Terna Energy to build the Automated Fare Collection System. The project takes the form of a Public-Private Sector Partnership (PPP) that is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
 Dep. Economy Minister Charitsis at last day of 11th Greek Roadshow in LondonDeputy Economy Minister for NSRF issues Alexis Charitsis on Thursday was keynote speaker at the panel debate "Greek Capital Markets speeding up the real economy" held on Thursday in London, during the last day of the 11th Annual Greek Roadshow. The issues covered at the event included the prospects of the Greek economy and investment opportunities, as well as the major reforms being carried out to achieve sustainable growth.
"From our participation in the Roadshow and the meetings we had with the Greek and international business community, we see there is intense interest in political and economic developments in Greece, as well as the emerging investment prospects. On our side, we presented in detail the Greek government's strategy on a fiscal, macroeconomic and developmental level, so as to ensure stabilisation of the economy and a return to growth," Charitsis said.
Hellenic Exchanges CEO Socrates Lazaridis said his meetings during the two-day roadshow revealed that European investors were closely watching Greek companies and preparing to take up positions in the Greek market. "The completion of the review and developments concerning the banking sector appear to be the points that will decide their investing behaviour. There was also confirmation of an international trend for using capital markets not only for financing but for an efficient distribution of resources in an environment where there is an urgent need to reduce leverage," he said.
Hellenic Capital Markets Commission chief Charalampos Gotsis said it was very important for investors that there was currently political, social and banking stability in Greece. "This fact improves confidence in the Greek economy and the country," he added, noting that Greek stock promised potentially generous returns.
The three-day 2016 Roadshow, with 27 of the largest Greek listed companies taking part, was seen as a success. There were a total of 550 individual meetings between the Greek companies, some 80 investment funds and 120 analysts and portfolio managers.
 President Pavlopoulos opens investors conference in AthensPresident Prokopis Pavlopoulos called on investors to trust Greece as he opened the "European Regional Conference Athens Crossroads" in Zappeion on Thursday.
"We Greeks know how to reciprocate a vote of confidence by honest and financially sound investors like you," he said and assured them that Greece is an "open society" in all its forms and specifically on business.
The conference will run from September 22 to the 25th.
 Completing the program review is crucial for Greece's credibility, says ChamberIt is crucial for Greece's credibility to complete the program review without delays, as well as implement measures to boost growth, the head of the Economic Chamber of Greece said in a statement on Thursday.
"It's crucial for the country's credibility to conclude the review, without unnecessary delays, towards the implementation of measures for the recovery and the development of the Greek economy, without any more restrictive policies," said Konstantinos Kollias.
"Also the inclusion of the country in the ECB's quantitative easing program must be high in the Greek agenda of negotiations," he added.
Kollias also said Greece's return to the markets must be done in an orderly fashion to ensure the maximum degree of success, noting that fore this to happen in 2017, the credibility of the economy must be restored.
 Trade unions, IMF confirm gap in views on labour issuesGreek trade unions and the IMF confirmed a gap in views between the two sides on labour reform issues during their meeting on Wednesday.
The meeting between IMF representative Delia Velculescu and representatives of GSEE -Greece's largest trade union umbrella- headed by president Yiannis Panagopoulos, lasted one-a-half hour and was in the framework of the annual report drafted by the IMF on the Greek economy.
The meeting was held after a request by the IMF representative.
Speaking to reporters, after the meeting, Panagopoulos said that the IMF representative offered no answers to the issues put on the agenda and that there was no point of convergence. However, Mrs Velculescu agreed on the classist nature of measures implemented in the country. "She was forced to admit that the program was classist hitting mostly workers and pensioners. But she did not say what will happen with the other market forces that enjoy wealth and prosperity at the expense of workers and pensioners. She also admitted that because of the measures implemented, a recession and high unemployment it was not possible for the Greek economy to produce primary surpluses for a long period of time," Panagopoulos said.
"We expect to see whether this acknowledgement will be reflected in the Fund's report, which will surely play a big role in negotiations and labour issues," Panagopoulos said.
 ECB lowers borrowing ceiling for Greek banksThe Bank of Greece on Thursday said it has further lowered the borrowing ceiling of ELA to Greek banks after the European Central Bank approved a relative request by the Greek central bank.
The borrowing ceiling of ELA fell to 51.9 billion euros, down 900 million euros. The Bank of Greece said this development reflected an improvement in Greek banks' liquidity as uncertainty eased and deposit flows stabilized in the private sector.
 Economic crisis shrank Greek citizens' assetsA prolonged crisis shrank Greek citizens' assets, Allianz said in its Global Wealth Report, which noted that the total financial assets of Greeks at the end of 2015 was almost 30 pct lower compared with the highest level before the crisis, while in other Western European countries, household position was better in 2015 than in 2007.
"The crisis left lasting scars in Greece, in particular: whereas around half of the Greek population were members of the euro middle wealth class when the euro was launched, the figure today stands at only 20%," the report said.
The average net financial assets of Greeks -representing the difference between assets (bank deposits, securities and holdings in insurance programs) and their debt, totaled 11,231 euros in 2015, significantly lower compared with other Eurozone states with the exception of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia.
Swiss citizens ranked first with an average net wealth of 170,589 euros, followed by US citizens (160,949) and UK citizens (95,600). Germans ranked 18th with 47,681 euros, below the Italians (15th with 53,494) and the French (16th with 53,425).
Bank deposits dominate the asset portfolios of households in Greece (64.1%), Portugal (44.9%) and Spain (42.2%), a feature that is not only due to a conscious investment decision, as these shares were much lower before the outbreak of the financial crisis (52.3% in Greece, 38.6% in Portugal and 37.9% in Spain).
The financial asset statistics of Greek households are still in negative territory. While securities assets bounced back after the pronounced slump in the previous year (+5.0%), bank deposits fell by 8.1% for what is now the sixth year running. People in Greece had already started pulling their savings out of their accounts back in 2010, either sending their money abroad, or - as is currently the case - stashing it under their mattresses. According to figures released by the Greek central bank, households pulled a total of almost EUR 33bn out of banks in 2015 alone. Since January 2010, a total of more than EUR 97bn or an average of EUR 8,860 per capita has been diverted from the country's banks. During this period, bank deposits dropped by almost half. According to official statistics, total Greek financial assets at the end of 2015 were down by almost 30% on the pre-crisis high. In all other western European countries, households were better placed than they were back in 2007.
Nowhere in Western Europe was average per capita debt as low as in Greece (EUR 10,630), although debt levels skyrocketed during the boom years leading up to the outbreak of the global economic and financial crisis, the report said.
 Greece granted 1,326 residence permits to non-EU investors in last six monthsGreece has handed out 1,326 new residence permits to investors from third countries (outside the EU) who bought property in Greece, a report by Enterprise Greece on the past six months showed on Thursday.
According to the state body, the majority of those investors were Chinese (547), Russia (331), Ukraine (62) and Lebanon (59). If we add the relatives of the investors who received residence permits as part of the program, then the number rises to 3,120.
"We assessed and approved direct strategic investments totaling 700 million euros, we supported private investments while we also organized targeted missions for attracting investment," the president of Enterprise Greece said in the report. "Our goal is to enhance the visibility of our country as an attractive investment destination and send international investors a message of confidence in Greece's potential."
Enterprise Greece under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, and its aim is to promote investment, exports, and make the country more attractive as an international business partner.
 Vikos SA expects 8.0 pct increase in sales this yearA shrinking market of consumer goods this year has not left unaffected the bottled water market in the country, which fell by 5.9 pct in the June-July period, but grew 2.4 pct in the January-July period this year.
On the other hand, Vikos SA, a bottling company, said its sales grew 0.6 pct in the June-July period and by 4.6 pct in the seven-month period this year, Constantinos Sepetas, sales and marketing manager of the company told ANA. Practically, this means that the company gained more share, to around 20 pct in the so-called warm market (supermarket and small sales points) and of course is the largest water bottling company in Greece. Sepetas said the company will record an 8.0 pct increase in sales this year. He noted that Vikos had a market share of around 30 pct in the private label product market through partnerships with large supermarket chains (Sklavenitis, Metro, etc.).
Vikos has also established activities in the beverage market and currently holds a more than 2.1 pct market share in Attica and an 1.2 pct share in the cola category in the same region. Vikos began its activities in the beverage sector in 1995, producing private label products for Lidl, and currently owns a 25 pct equity stake in EPSA.
Sepetas said sales will reach 70 million euros this year, from 65 million in 2015. Exports account for around 6.0 pct of total sales, mostly in Cyprus, Malta, Germany, US, China and Australia.
 Microsft invites Greek enterprises to ReGeneration programMicrosoft invited Greek enterprises to embrace a ReGenera-tion program, offering young people the opportunity to "unlock" their abilities and to excel in the labor market.
The invitation was made by Jan Mulfheit, former president of Microsoft Europe during a Global Shapers Athens Hub and the ReGeneration program event held in Athens.
The program is addressed to graduates of all specialties interested to have their intern practice in Greece. It is the first holistic practice exercise program, which offers professional and personal development for a dynamic professional start, after a six-month practice (payment included) along with an intensive training and social work program in cooperation with non-government organizations. A total of 67 enterprises in Greece are already participating in the program, while more than 6,000 young people have participated in the program.
In a constantly changing labor environment, the program contributes in combating the brain drain phenomenon which has taken worrying proportions in the last few years.
 Vacant job positions down 10.7 pct in Q2The number of vacant job positions in the Greek economy (excluding the primary sector and household activities) fell 10.7 pct in the second quarter of 2016, compared with the corresponding period last year to 15,178 from 17,000 in 2015, after an 8.6 pct decline recorded in the 2015-2014 period, Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Thursday.
The statistics service, in a survey released for the first time, said the number of vacant job positions to be covered in the near future was down 10.7 pct in the second quarter of 2016, compared with the same period last year.
 Think Tank on agronutrition policy and tourismA new "Agronutrition-Industry-Tourism Forum" is created under the supervision of the General Secretariat of Industry and the General Secretariat of Tourism Policy and Development of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism and the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food.
It is a coordinating body of an advisory nature for short-term and long-term policy making.
The forum will act as a key support tool for processing, formulating and submitting proposals and positions to the state, linking tourism with the primary sector and manufacturing industry, with special focus on the agronutrition sector.
More specifically, it will process and propose policies to gradually change the tourism model of the country and transform it into a contemporary, combination model that utilizes modern forms of business operations, through the creation of value chains, networking and other collaborative forms of tourism and productive businesses of the primary and secondary sectors, achieving to improve economic performance by increasing local added value, openness, employment and regional development.
 Travel receipts down 4.8 pct in Jan-JulyIn?January-July 2016, travel receipts decreased by 4.8% to 6,783 million euros, relative to the same period of 2015, according to the Bank of Greece.
This development is attributed to lower receipts from both within the EU28 (down 4.2% to 4,445 million euros) and outside the EU28 (down 7.4% to 2,120 million euros).
The number of inbound visitors in?July 2016?rose by 5.8% year-on-year to 4.6 million.
In?January-July 2016, the number of inbound visitors rose by 1.1% to 12.111 million, from 11.974 million in the same period of 2015. Specifically, arrivals by air rose by 6.9%, while those by road fell by 10.0%.?
In the period under review, arrivals from within the EU28 increased by 7.2% year-on-year to 8,085 thousand, whereas those from outside the EU28 fell by 9.2% to 4,026 thousand. Arrivals from the euro area rose by 5.8% and those from the non-euro area EU28 countries by 8.7%.
 Kri Kri to invest 10 million euros in 2017-2020Kri Kri, a Greek dairy industry, plans to invest 10 million euros in new production lines in the period 2017-2020 to meet the demands of the domestic and mostly the external market. The company invested a total of 30 million euros in the period 2012-2016.
Panagiotis Tsinavos, chairman and chief executive of the company said the new investments will focus on increasing and modernizing production and facilities, maximizing workers' safety and hygiene, and a dynamic launch of innovative products covering the latest food trends in the market.
"Even with the collapse of Marinopoulos supermarket, which hit the Greek economy and the retail sector, Kri Kri had a stable annual growth," Tsinavos said, adding that "We believe that by aiming higher we will be in a position to offer to consumers high quality products with high nutrition value, taking advantage of the comparative advantages of our land. This way we create real added value to our shareholders, workers, suppliers and the Greek economy and society in general".
Kri Kri is exporting in 23 countries, mainly the UK, Germany, Holland and Italy. Kri Kri produces its yoghurt using fresh Greek milk from the Serres prefect within 24 hours from collection.
Tsinavos said exports account for 25 pct of total sales. The company expects this year's turnover to reach around 70 million euros, of which 70 pct from yoghurt sales and 30 pct from ice cream sales. Kri Kri has a 14 pct market share in the domestic yoghurt market, in volume, ranking second, while in the ice cream market it has a 13 pct share.
 Athens Medical Group invested 31 mln euros in 2010-2015Athens Medical Group invested 31 million euros in the period 2010-2015 on new equipment and new specialized depart-ments, Dr Vasilis Apostolopoulos, chief executive of the group said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters, during a news conference on the occasion of an international medical conference titled "Athens Medical Leadership and Innovation Conference", Apostolopoulos said that the Athens Medical Group treated more than 3.5 million patients during the last six years, payroll spending totaled 492 million euros, while the group paid more than 170 million euros to pension funds as social insurance contributions and 150 million in taxes. Foreign currency inflows from international patients totaled 202 million euros, while its workforce rose to more than 2,700. The group continues its expansion abroad, focusing in the Balkans, with the launch of a fourth unit in Bucharest, Romania. Athens Medical Group is also emphasizing on medical tourism and expands in new markets.
The medical conference in Athens, September 23-25, more than 150 top speakers will present the medical innovation practices implemented by the group's clinics in Athens and Thessaloniki and the latest developments in significant sectors of the medical science, such as oncology, robotics, orthopedics, cardiology, neurology, pathology, cosmetics, and a scientific cooperation between Athens Medical and the University of Yale.
 Bank of Greece appoints administrator in International LifeThe Bank of Greece on Thursday announced the appointment of an Insurance Administrator who will take over the management of International Life, replacing its board and stripping its members of all executive powers.
The central bank appointed Mr Ioannis Peristeris as Insurance Administrator after a decision by the Commission of Credit and Insurance Issues meeting in September 19.
International Life, in a circular issued on Thursday, said that the company's life will end soon on the best possible and model terms for everyone, with the least possible consequences for the domestic insurance market. The circular, signed by Fokion Bravos (chairman) and Yiannis Bravos (chief executive), stressed that the management of International Life managed to protect the company's customers by transferring the majority to other companies, either at no gain or at a loss, in order to preserve these portfolios. It noted that the management will build a new company, a sales company - a model for the Greek insurance market.
 Kleemann to delist from ASE, production base unaffectedKleemann, the biggest lift industry in Greece, plans to delist its shares from the Athens Stock Exchange through an obligatory public offer to acquire free-floating shares of the company by a holding company -owned by Kleemann's main shareholders- which currently owns 67 pct of the listed company shares.
In an announcement, Kleemann said this move will not affect its main production base and all job positions in Kilkis, Northern Greece.
Kleemann is the dominant player in the lift industry sector in Greece, with a market share of more than 70 pct in the domestic market, while exports account for 90 pct of its activities in the last few years. It is one of the few Greek industrial enterprises that has managed to raise its workforce in the last three years.
The Group has a workforce of 1,242 workers and has hired 234 workers in the last years, mostly in its main production base in Northern Greece. The company completed the construction of a modern test tower, with a height of 61 meters, the fourth tallest in Europe. Kleemann exports in 15 countries while its sales include 102 countries around the world.
The public offer will be made at a price of 2.02 euros per share, a premium of 30 pct compared with Wednesday's closing price of 1.55 euros.
 Greek stocks end significantly higherGreek stocks ended significantly higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday amid a positive climate prevailing in international markets after the Federal Reserve announced there would be no change in monetary policy on Wednesday. The composite index of the market jumped 1.78 pct to end at 572.15 points, surpassing the 570-point level for the first time after 10 sessions.
The Large Cap index rose 2.22 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.37 pct. Turnover was an improved 45.78 million euros in volume of 83,527,943 shares. Piraeus Bank (6.67 pct), Eurobank (6.13 pct), National Bank (3.57 pct) and Alpha Bank (3.21 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Lamda Development (1.89 pct) and OTE (0.75 pct) suffered heavy losses.
Among market sectors, Banks (4.36 pct), Food (2.80 pct) and Construction (2.45 pct) scored big gains, while Real Estate (0.76 pct) and Telecoms (0.75 pct) suffered losses. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 73 to 38 with another 19 issues unchanged. Kleemann Hellas (30.32 pct), ANEK (17.19 pct) and Lavipharm (11.27 pct) were top gainers, while Pegasus (20 pct), Nexans (19.81 pct) and Sidma (19.57 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose to 8.48 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 8.41 pct and the German Bund yielding -0.07 pct. Turnover was an improved 11 million euros, of which 7.0 million were buy orders and the remaining 4.0 million euros were sell orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates moved lower. The 12-month rate rose to -0.058 pct from -0.059 pct, the nine-month rate was -0.127 pct, the six-month rate was -0.160 pct, the three-month rate rose to -0.261 pct from -0.262 pct and the one-month rate was -0.371 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe October contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.22 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 1,358 contracts with 5,792 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 32,014 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (12,198), followed by Alpha Bank (6,697), Piraeus Bank (7,769), Eurobank (7,418), MIG (2,516), OTE (807), PPC (1,035), OPAP (169), Mytilineos (113), GEK Terna (62).
 Central Athens closed to traffic on Sunday for '8th Greece Race for the Cure'Traffic police on Thursday announced that a series of roads in central Athens will be closed to traffic this Sunday, for the 8th Greece Race for the Cure Against Breast Cancer. The race begins at 11:30 on Sunday morning outside the Zappion building and runs a five-kilometre course through the city centre up to Mavilis Square on Vassilisis Sofias Avenue, then back to Zappion. There will also be a two-kilometre walk starting on the Vassilisis Olga Avenue exit from Zappion, which skirts the park and archaeological site housing the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus and returns to the starting point.
Registration and associated events for the race will begin at Zappion at about 8:00, while police will successively close roads around the centre between 9:30 and 14:00. Vehicles will also be forbidden to stop or park on Vassilisis Olga Avenue from 22:00 on Saturday night until 14:00 on Sunday.
Organisers will also be in Zappion on Saturday to register participants in the race and walk, from noon until 18:00, while women lacking health insurance will be offered free mammagrams, by appointment, from 9:00-17:00. Meanwhile, on both Saturday and Sunday, organisers will set aside a special area where volunteers can cut their hair and donate it for making wigs.
 Elderly man threatens migrants with shot gun at Moria hotspot in LesvosAn 84-year-old man from the Moria region in Lesvos threatened migrants at the local hotspot with a hunting shot gun, fortunately without firing against them. The man, who owns an orchard with olive trees in the vicinity of the camp, came up to the migrants unprovoked on Wednesday night, as they were sitting outside a canteen near the entrance of the camp.
Authorities stepped in and confiscated the weapon, which the 84-year-old had a legal permit to hold, while he was charged with violating fire arms laws. A first-instance court prosecutor on Thursday ordered that the 84-year-old be released and appear before a regular court at a later date to be tried.
The same elderly man had in the past attacked Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos during an assembly at the village, throwing the head of a sheep that he claimed had been killed and eaten by the migrants.
 Air traffic safety electronics personnel announces work stoppages, strikesThe air traffic safety electronics personnel of the Greek Civil Aviation Authority will hold work stoppages and strikes as of Friday and until September 29 to protest the "assigning of Greece's national airspace to private interests", according to a press release on Thursday.
The labour action is expected to affect some flights in regional airports.
The work stoppages have been scheduled as follows: On Friday, from 11:00 till 15:00 and from 19:00 till 23:00; on Saturday and until Tuesday, from 03:00 till 07:00, from 11:00 till 15:00 and from 19:00 till 23:00.
They also announced two 24-hour strikes on September 28 and 29.
 Members of anti-establishment group 'Rouvikonas' releasedPolice released on Thursday evening ten members of the anti-establishment group "Rouvikonas" who had been detained earlier today after invading the offices of the Transport ministry in central Athens.
The group said it did this to demand free public transport for all citizens.
 Half marathon at the ancient temple of Poseidon at SounioA new half marathon race, the Poseidon Challenge, will be held for the first time on October 2 at the southest part of Attica, at Sounio Cape. The race will link the Temple of Poseidon with the ancient theatre of Thoricus near Lavrio, the most ancient theatre in Greece.
The route, a of unique beauty, will cover the coastline of Sounio and will offer a wonderful view of the ancient temple of Poseidon.
The running event includes three races, of 21.1 km, 10 km and the 2km Fun Run and is organised under the auspices of General Secretariat of Sports, of the Economy Ministry, Attica prefecture, the municipality of Lavreotiki, www.visitgreece.gr, the Center of Olympic Truce, the Association of Greek Olympic champions and the sports clubs of Lavreotiki and Mesogea.
 Mostly fair on FridayMostly fair weather and northerly winds are forecast for Friday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Mostly fair in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 12C to 27C. Partly cloudy in the eastern parts with temperatures between 16C and 26C. Partly cloudy over the Aegean islands and Crete, 19C-28C. Cloudy in Athens, 16C-26C. Mostly fair in Thessaloniki, 15C-23C.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: Delia Velculescu at the funeral of the middle class
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Threats, lies and conspiracies
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Supplementary pensions cut by 50 euros
ESTIA: A different proposal by Britain on the refugee issue
ETHNOS: Higher contributions approved
IMERISSIA: "Investigation" in City. Concerns over bad loans and banks capital adequacy
KATHIMERINI: Revenues from VAT on islands more than doubled
RIZOSPASTIS: The capital's plans are implemented, the people's rallies are strengthened
NAFTEMPORIKI: Company with one stop
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