|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-03-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Prime Minister in BudapestVIENNA (ANA-MPA/D. Dimitrakoudis) - Prime Minister George Papandreou will be in Budapest on Tuesday on a one-day working visit at the invitation of his Hungarian counterpart, Gordon Bajnai. Later, he will meet with Hungarian Parliament President Bela Katona and the main opposition leader and former prime minister Viktor Orban.
The Greek prime minister and his Hungarian counterpart will participate and will be the main speakers at the "Forum on the handling of the Economic Crisis".
Papandreou, in his capacity as Socialist International (SI) president, will be taking part in an event of the ruling Hungarian Socialist Party and will be having a meeting with the head of the party's candidates (candidate for prime minister) in the Hungarian general elections on April 11, Atila Mesterhazi.
 Samaras to attend EPP meeting in BrusselsMain opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras on Tuesday will attend a meeting of European People's Party (EPP) Finance Ministers in Brussels.
An ND announcement said that the meeting will be chaired by EPP president Wilfried Martens and include several key members of European governments, such as French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble and Italy's finance minister Julio Tremonti.
The main topic under discussion will be the problems created by the economic crisis in Europe and ways in which Europe can emerge from the crisis in the fastest and safest way.
 OECD review calls for more green taxes in GreeceANA-MPA/Greece should make more extensive use of green taxes and reduce the tax burden on employment, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria said in Athens on Monday.
Gurria made the recommendation while presenting the OECD environmental performance review for Greece in 2000-2009, stressing that the country should make action on the environment a part of its economic recovery plan. He said that he would push for such a policy during his meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, in spite of Greece's currently high government debt.
The OECD chief suggested that revenue from higher fuel tax should be directed to providing financial relief to the poorer sections of the population. He noted that taxes on fuel had been reduced relative to the overall cost, while road tolls were not fully aligned with inflation and vehicle taxes did not reflect vehicle fuel efficiency to a satisfactory degree.
Another point raised by Gurria was the need to introduce protection of biodiversity into agriculture and other economic activities.
 Government dismisses rumours of cabinet reshuffleGovernment spokesman George Petalotis on Monday dismissed rumours of a pending cabinet reshuffle, saying that Prime Minister George Papandreou was not considering "any such issue".
"There is an express and categorical government denial that there is any issue of a reshuffle," he told reporters, while stressing that there was no ministry that was failing to 'perform'.
"The government is working hard, the number of formal and informal government meetings that are taking place daily shows that there is no comparison with the amount of work done under the New Democracy government," he added.
ANA-MPA/The spokesman confirmed, however, that the government expected its members to "toe the line" over certain issues and not express dissent.
"Everyone can express their own views in some way but when there is a government decision on certain matters, then we must all fall into line with that decision," he said.
Petalotis also took the opportunity to reply to main opposition ND leader Antonis Samaras over his reference to an alleged "PASOK system" the previous day.
 Rich archaeological findings in Logas regionThe riverside region of Logas, in Elati, northwest Greece, was a residential settlement until the Hellenistic Period while the first dwellings date back to the Neolithic Period, based on the findings unearthed during excavations conducted for the Ilarion Dam that is under construction.
The archaeological site spans an area of more than 455 stremma and this year's excavations focused on Bronze Age and Neolithic Period findings that include, among others, 81 pottery items, 24 clay statuettes and tools.
The findings will be presented at the 23rd Scientific Meeting on the Archaeological Work in Macedonia and Thrace to be held at Thessaloniki Aristotle University (AUTH).
 President urges plan for old airportPresident of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday received Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Tina Birbili.
Greeting Birbili, the president pledged his backing and urged her to proceed with plans to make use of the old Athens airport site in the southeastern Athens suburb of Elliniko, which successive governments since 2004 have promised to turn into a massive metropolitan park.
The environment minister is due to unveil a comprehensive environmental plan for Athens in the coming week that will include plans for the old airport.
 PPC employees on strikeThe union representing employees of the state-run power company, listed Public Power Corp. (PPC) announced a 48-hour strike nationwide on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The union, GENOP-DEH, is vociferously objecting to recent pay cuts affecting PPC's workforce and a projected decrease of 10 percent of the state's funding towards the utility's insurance fund.
Meanwhile, the civil servants' union ADEDY has decided to follow up this Tuesday's rally with further protests the following week, on Tuesday March 23. The ADEDY Executive Committee announced that an evening rally will be held on that day and has also decided further strike action on a date that will be announced shortly.
 Eurogroup on GreeceBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Spinthourakis/M.Aroni) - Eurozone finance ministers, who convened here on Monday evening with Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou representing Greece, have not taken any decision regarding a possible financial aid to Greece to deal with its financial difficulties, but as the eurozone's president Jean-Claude Juncker said, the issue will be referred to the next European Union Summit, on March 25.
Juncker appeared optimistic saying that after the important measures taken by Greek authorities aiming at reducing the country's deficit, markets will calm down and interest rates for Greek loans will gradually decrease. If this does not happen, he added, then a commitment underatakn by EU leaders on February 11 regarding an aid to Greece will be activated.
Juncker added that such aid will be through bilateral loans by euro zone member states.
Statement by eurozone finance ministers
"The eurogroup reaffirmed the commitment by euro area member states to take determined and coordinated action, if needed."
"The objective would not be to provide financing at average euro area interest rates, but to safeguard financial stability in the euro area as a whole."
"The proposals ... would provide strong incentives to return to markets as soon as possible."
"The eurogroup underlines that the Greek authorities have not asked for financial support."
 ASE opening: DeclineEquity prices were declining at the opening of trade on Tuesday on the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE), with the basic share price index down 0.11 percent, standing at 2,120.80 points at 11:15 a.m., and turnover at 12.079 million euros.
Individual sector indices were moving mostly downward, with the biggest gains in Raw Materials, up 1.18 percent; and Telecoms, up 1.08 percent.
The biggest losses were in Chemicals, down 1.53 percent; and Travel and Recreation, down 0.54 percent.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks was down 0.10 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index was down 0.47 percent, and the FTSE/ASE-80 small cap index was down 0.27 percent.
Of the stocks moved, 27 were up, 31 were down, and 33 were unchanged.
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