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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-05-15

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] ATEbank aims for 10% credit expansion in '09
  • [02] Top Croatian FM official meets with SE European envoys in Athens

  • [01] ATEbank aims for 10% credit expansion in '09

    ATEbank focuses its strategy on ensuring adequate liquidity with the lowest possible cost and adopting business policies that would allow the bank to contributing as much as possible in strengthening the real economy through maintaining bank credits, Dimitris Miliakos, the bank's governor told an annual general shareholders' meeting on Friday.

    Miliakos said the bank's aim was to maintain a 10-pct minimum credit expansion growth rate this year, focusing on retail banking and financing of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

    Commenting on the condition of the Greek economy, in general, he said the biggest challenge was to create the necessary preconditions to return to satisfactory growth rates, namely, by effectively dealing with long-term structural weaknesses such as high public debt and fiscal deficit, high current accounts deficits, low rates of savings and investments and high unemployment rates, particularly among young people.

    Miliakos stressed that Greek banks have been able, so far, to absorb pressures from a global financial crisis and said that most banks reported profits in 2008.

    ATEbank operates a network of 479 branches in Greece and 28 abroad.

    [02] Top Croatian FM official meets with SE European envoys in Athens

    A handful of ambassadors and diplomatic mission heads of SE European countries accredited to Greece met on Thursday afternoon in Athens with the visiting director of the Croatian foreign ministry's important SE Europe and neighbouring countries' bureau, Davor Vidiš.

    The invitation-only meeting, hosted at the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) offices, came amid the nagging and up-until recently obscure impasse between EU member-state Slovenia and candidate-state Croatia over the Piran Bay issue. The latter primarily involves the maritime delineation between the three countries of the sea region where the coastline of Trieste, Italy converges with Croatia's northern-most Adriatic littoral -- the famed Dalmatian coast -- and the 42-kilometre Slovenian "window" to the Adriatic.

    In short, Slovenia wants access to international waters in the Adriatic, while Croatia wants to retain its maritime border with Italian territorial waters. During the meeting, alternate points of view were aired, especially over the seminal question of whether to resolve whatever differences between EU candidate states and full members before or after the latters' accession.

    The candid but amicable discussion also touched on similar instances of "political vs. legal" considerations vis-à-vis bilateral differences, while it was pointed out that a prospective adjudication of the Piran Bay issue by the International Court of Justice could take years, a prospect that would delay Croatia's EU accession, given that the one-time Yugoslav republic figures as the closest of all current candidate-states to attaining membership.

    The ambassadors of Slovenia and Croatia attended the meeting, along with charge d'affaires of Serbia, the head of the liaison office of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) in Athens and the first councilor of the Bosnia & Herzegovina embassy in Athens.

    One of the main points heard during the meeting was the fact that the current difference should not "poison" public opinion in the two countries or their close relations.

    In brief statements to the press after the meeting, Vidiš emphasised that his government believes international law backs its arguments, while he said Zagreb hopes the Ljubljana government returns to the position it promoted when it held the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2008.

    Croatia's all-important relations with Serbia and Bosnia were also discussed.

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