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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-04-17

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM: no decision yet on EU-IMF aid
  • [02] Dep. Foreign Minister at Greek-Americans parade in New York
  • [03] Police find terror group's safehouse
  • [04] Papaconstantinou at ECOFIN
  • [05] Flights cancelled due to ash

  • [01] PM: no decision yet on EU-IMF aid

    Greece will decide whether or not to activate the EU-IMF economic support mechanism within the next few weeks, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said in an interview with the magazine Newsweek.

    The Greek prime minister stressed that no official decision had yet been made and that the country was preparing so that it was ready, "when we need to press the button."

    Papandreou said that the aid package was not a programme for rescuing the Greek economy but would give Greece some "breathing space" in which to carry out necessary reforms, giving a margin to manoeuvre as it made changes that would make the economy sustainable.

    He also predicted that Greece would not find it difficult to borrow from markets in the coming month, stressing that the country will not default.

    According to the Greek premier, the problem Greece currently faced was the high cost of borrowing and how long it could continue to borrow at this rate.

    Papandreou said he did not expect any problems, even in May, but that this did not mean that the Greek government had ruled out the possibility of activating the support mechanism.

    Papandreou-Erdogan confirm mid-May visit

    A mid-May date for a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was confirmed in a telephone conversation held by Erdogan and Papandreou on Friday evening, the Greek government announced.

    The call was made in view of Erdogan's upcoming visit to Greece, at the invitation of the Greek prime minister.

    They also agreed that the Greek and Turkish ministers participating in the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council decided on earlier this month should soon hold meetings in order to better prepare for the Turkish premier's visit, especially in the areas of European and foreign affairs and those relating to economic cooperation.

    [02] Dep. Foreign Minister at Greek-Americans parade in New York

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA - P. Panagiotou) "Greece will emerge from the crisis," Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Spyros Kouvelis assured New York's Greek-American community on Saturday, while speaking at an even organised at a central New York hotel in honour of the sponsors and officials for this year's Greek Independence Day parade organised by the city's Greek community in honour of the March 25 national holiday.

    Kouvelis is in New York to attend the celebrations and the parade, which will be held on Sunday along Manhattan's 5th Avenue.

    [03] Police find terror group's safehouse

    The Greek police counter-terrorism squad on Saturday announced the discovery of an apartment and a basement garage used by the terrorist group 'Revolutionary Struggle' in Athens' Kareas district.

    Police sources said the apartment was found on Saturday afternoon and contained a cache of gas canisters laced with the explosive ANFO, while stolen motorbikes were stored in the garage.

    Investigating officers believe the apartment was used as an intermediate safehouse. It had been rented two years earlier by one of the people arrested as suspected members of the group, using a fake ID found in a car that was located in Nea Philadelphia two days ago.

    Further announcements concerning the find are due to be made later on Saturday at the headquarters of the Greek Police (ELAS)

    [04] Papaconstantinou at ECOFIN

    MADRID (ANA-MPA - V. Demiris) In statements after an EU ECOFIN Council held here on Saturday, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told reporters that he had briefed Eurogroup ministers meeting on Friday about the contents of his letter to the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    He stressed that the letter did not in itself activate the mechanism and that there were no deadlines for its activation.

    The important thing at present was to clarify the size of loans available and on what terms these would be given if Greece decided to activate the support mechanism decided on by Eurozone member-states, the minister added.

    He also clarified that the multi-year economic programme referred to in the letter was essentially the three-year Stability and Growth Programme that included fiscal adjustment and structural reforms.

    Papaconstantinou appeared confident regarding the outcome of the talks between representatives of the Greek government, EU and IMF in Athens on Monday, saying he was certain that a common ground would be found between all the sides involved and a satisfactory agreement reached.

    He stressed that the programme that the Greek government will agree to with the Euro area and the IMF will be "what is necessary, that which the country needs".

    Papaconstantinou said the programme worked out would help stabilise public finances and introduce the major changes that would make the country stronger and more competitive while protecting social services and society's gains.

    The minister also briefed his counterparts on the progress in implementing the stability programme for the Greek economy, such as the 40 percent reduction in the public deficit during the first quarter of 2010.

    "We also discussed the structural changes the government intends to carry out, beginning with reforms of the tax and social insurance system and the opening of closed professions," he added, noting that all these will have been passed into law before the summer if things went as planned.

    He noted that neither the EU nor the IMF have asked for additional cost-cutting measures to be taken within 2010.

    Questioned about a statement attributed to ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet about possible liquidity problems faced by Greek banks, Papaconstantinou said Trichet had made no such statement during the ECOFIN Council.

    He also pointed out that the Greek banking system did not have particularly serious problems since the exposure of Greek banks to toxic products was very small and the banking system stable, though currently suffering from a climate of uncertainty partly cultivated by international media.

    Questioned about the possibility of a deeper-than-expected recession in Greece, the minister said that Eurostat estimates were still pending but that the measures taken by the Greek government were designed to cut the deficit by 6 percent of GDP, meaning there would be no problem with meeting a target of cutting the deficit by 4 percent of GDP by the end of 2010, even if the recession was deeper.

    [05] Flights cancelled due to ash

    Several flights in Greece were cancelled on Saturday as the cloud of volcanic ash that has brought air travel to a virtual standstill in Europe crept southeast across the continent to reach neighbouring Italy and Belgrade. As the volcano in Iceland continued to spew a huge plume of ash into the air, it was unclear when normal air travel might resume.

    The cloud of dust has not yet reached Greece but the civil aviation authority and other authorities were on standby in case they needed to ground planes over Greece as well.

    At the moment, the only foreign flights leaving Greece are those heading to destinations around the Mediterranean, such as Albania, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus, the Middle East and African countries.

    Athens International Airport announced that 144 flight departures and arrivals have been cancelled on Saturday, with this number set to increase on Sunday.

    Several passengers for flights to Europe remained stranded at Thessaloniki's international airport, where another 13 flights were cancelled before the evening.

    Airport authorities and airlines have requested that passengers for destinations in northwest Europe should not go to the airport until flights can be resumed.


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