|Friday, 23 February 2018|
Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-21
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 PM: Prospects are positiveANA-MPA/Prime Minister and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou is in New York to chair a two-day SI Council taking place at the UN headquarters, while he will also meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday afternoon (NY time).
Speaking to journalists from the Greek American media and correspondents of the Greek media on Sunday night (Greek time) and before an SI working dinner, Papandreou said that prospects for Greece were positive, noting that "the hard work and the sufferings of our people bare fruit. We already have the first indications. When Greece wants, it can achieve its targets."
The prime minister also referred extensively to issues pertaining to relations between the Greek American community and Greece, to his government's policies regarding Greek expatriates, to the current economic crisis and foreign policy issues.Ana-Mpa
Responding to relevant questions, Papandreou said that the crisis could offer a unique opportunity to change Greece, adding that his government has started talks with overseas businessmen and scientific experts for them to contribute towards Greece's development
 Clampdown on tax evasionThe government is determined to clamp down on tax evasion and punish those who acquired wealth at the state's expense, regardless of "how high" they are, finance minister George Papaconstantinou stressed in an interview appearing in the Sunday newspaper "Proto Thema".
Papaconstantinou also stressed that every new measure will be enacted in order to put a stop to the impunity, and announced that "we will soon see shops being closed due to tax evasion".
He said that the next step for regaining the taxpayers' confidence in the inspection mechanism will be minimisation of their direct contact with the services.
He further said that the country's exodus from the economic crisis "tunnel" has already commenced, "from the moment we pinpointed the problems", and "we are proceeding, together with the society, in the implementation of a three-year program for the salvation and recovery of the country".
"We have already the first indications that the economy can cover more quickly than we had anticipated," he added.
 Shangai: Greek Day at Expo 2010SHANGHAI (ANA-MPA/E. Papadosifaki) -- Greece looks to greater cooperation with China in the areas of tourism and shipping and hopes to attract Chinese investment to Greece, Economy, Competitiveness and Shipping Minister Louka Katseli told on Saturday, during a press conference in Shanghai during Greek Day at the EXPO 2010.
According to the minister, her contacts with Chinese officials and business people in the city had revealed potential for further business activity between the two countries in these areas. During the press conference, she also presented the e-book "Invest in Greece" that provides information for potential investors on all the securitisation programmes planned by the Greek government in an upcoming privatisation drive.
Speaking at the Greek Pavilion in the Shanghai EXPO earlier the same day, China Ocean Shipping (COSCO) CEO and President Capt. Wei Jiafu stressed that China gave a vote of confidence to the Greek government's efforts to emerge from the crisis, adding that other Chinese companies had already shown interest in investing in Greece.
Katseli is also due to visit the Shanghai stock market on Monday as part of the effort to support and promote Greek business. During an event that the Greek Embassy, she had noted that Greece was hoped to promote cooperation with China in areas such as trade, by promoting products and services that could be sold to Chinese markets, by attracting investments from China, in the tourism and shipping sectors and in cultural exchanges.
The minister revealed that the two sides were currently considering a direct air link between Greece and Shanghai to assist tourism development, while China had expressed an interest in buying Greek products such as olive oil, wine, furs, jewellery, medicine and building materials.
Other areas of possible cooperation includr those of logistics, technology, construction and transport.
She appeared confident that Greece will be able to overcome the current problems and predicted that inflation would level off sometime in 2011, followed by economic growth.
Earlier on Saturday, Katseli had a meeting with Chinese Vice Minister for Transport Weng Mengyong, after which the two sides appeared confident that Greece and China can further extend bilateral cooperation.
 Tsipras letter to PresidentCoalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA parliamentary alliance) parliamentary group leader Alexis Tsipras sent a letter to President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias, which was released on Sunday, expressing concern over the developments with respect to the government's actions on labor relations and the social security system.
In the letter, Tsipras said that "the latest developments with the unveiling of the draft Presidential Decree on labor relations and the planned tabling in parliament of the draft law on the social security system are proposals that not only are not within the boundaries of constitutionality but blatantly alter the fundamental characteristics of the (country's) form of government".
Clarifying that he is not recommending the provocation of an institutional crisis, Tsipras calls on the President, as the regulator of the form of government, to check the adherence to and ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Constitution, at least, with regard to the procedures set out by the Constitution, and at the same time suggests that "before you sign the Presidential Decree on labor relations to await the issue of the report by the Council of State".
"The dramatic developments in the Greek economy and activation of the (EU-IMF) support mechanism have brought significant upsets to the economic, political and social life of the country," Tsipras said, adding that "according to statements, by you as well, the crisis is not exclusively an economic one, but an ethical and moral crisis".
"In our opinion, it is also a crisis of parliamentarianism as well," he added, indirectly charging discrepancies in the procedures followed in the passing of several related bills.
 More strikes aheadThe scene looks set for a long, hot summer, with a new wave of strikes ushering in the second half of June. This includes a 24-hour nationwide strike on June 29 called by the country's two largest umbrella union organisations - GSEE and ADEDY - against planned changes to pension and labour law and an ongoing strike by teachers marking the nationwide university entrance exams.
After a brief hiatus over the weekend, meanwhile, workers at the Athens Metro decided on Sunday to suspend a 24-hour strike initially planned for Monday, although it has not been clarified whether they will resume rolling work stoppages in protest over the management's refusal to renew the contracts of 286 workers hired before the elections. According to the Public Administration Inspector, their contracts were illegal because they were hired during the pre-election period. Metro workers are additionally demanding that they be exempted from the general public sector pay cuts imposed by the government.
The strike by examination markers will continue until next Tuesday, based on a decision by the board of the highschool teachers' union OLME. This strike is also held over cuts in pay. The strike has delayed the announcement of results in university entrance examinations, with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou reporting that one quarter of papers in Attica remained to be marked.
In a decision on Friday, meanwhile, the plenum of bar association presidents announced that lawyers will abstain from court appearances and other duties from June 23 until July 7.
 Metro strike offThe Athens Metro will operate normally on Monday, following the AMEL employees' unions' decision to suspend their scheduled 24-hour strike, it was announced on Sunday.
 Athens Newspaper HeadlinesThe Monday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance
The new social security and labour bill and reactions, and the Tax Bureau's meticulous investigation in order to clamp down on tax evasion dominated the headlines on Monday in Athens' newspapers.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Storm in parliament on the horizon - Discussion on social security and labour bill starts Tuesday".
APOGEVMATINI: "Prime Minister George Papandreou puts coercive dilemma to PASOK MPs: "Either you vote for the new social security bill or we will resort to elections, with candidate lists ...".
AVRIANI: "Alarm in Maximos mansion (government headquarters) over the mutiny in PASOK's parliamentary group - If an organised reaction against the social security bill exists then we will go full speed to (early) general elections".
CHORA: "The 'troika' in the role of prime minister".
ELEFTHEROS: "Russians foresee mini Greek bankruptcy".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Ratification of the new social security bill a survival test (for the government) - Papandreou fears new leak of PASOK MPs".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "PASOK deputies put heavy pressure on Employment Minister Andreas Loverdos over the labour bill : Withdraw it, we cannot bear it".
ESTIA: "Country in need of change of psychology - The negative climate poisons the economy".
ETHNOS: "Credit cards under the Tax Bureau's microscope".
IMERISSIA: "Crisis speeds up developments - Bank deals on the verge".
NAFTEMPORIKI: "Electronic checking of fake invoices".
TA NEA: "Social security: New halved pensions start from 2011".
VRADYNI: "Government's measures on social security and labour are even tougher than the IMF's".
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