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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-08-05

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Troika completes meetings with gov't
  • [02] Bank of Greece sees gradual ease of pressures on banks
  • [03] Three suspects charged with setting a forest fire on Samos
  • [04] Droutsas meets Albanian FM
  • [05] Illegal migrants' arrests

  • [01] Troika completes meetings with gov't

    ANA-MPA/Greek Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou completed a round of meetings with troika experts with a six-hour meeting on Wednesday. The experts from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will draft their recommendations over the Greek economy and will submit them to Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington, respectively.

    The results of the meetings between the government and troika experts will be presented during two press conferences on Thursday, by the troika in the morning and the Greek Finance minister at noon.

    Finance ministry officials said the recommendations will underline the need to open up the country's energy market, according to a recommendation by the European Commission, dated back in 2008.ANA-MPA

    The recommendations will also urge for speedier moves in deregulating closed professions, boosting tax proceeds and social insurance contributions, combating inflation, etc. Special mention will be made to the deficits of general government's agencies (municipalities, hospitals, pension funds), burdening the fiscal deficit and the public debt.

    The officials reiterated that the second tranche of a loan facility, worth 9.0 billion euors, is secured and was expected to be completed by September 13. The big challenge ahead is securing the third tranche of the loan in December.

    [02] Bank of Greece sees gradual ease of pressures on banks

    ANA-MPA/The Bank of Greece on Wednesday said it expected pressures on Greek banks' financial stability to ease gradually. In a report on the stability of the financial system, the central bank said it also expected markets' confidence to be restored gradually along with progress in adhering to timetables set by a government fiscal and structural adjustments program, and exploiting a financial support mechanism form Greece.

    The central bank urged Greek banks to take initiatives towards reaching strategic alliances and underlined that despite strong pressures suffered, the Greek banking system showed remarkable resistance thanks to its strong capital base. Particularly, in the first quarter of 2010, banks' profitability fell further, along with worsening of banks' lending portfolio quality. The percentage of bad debt rose to 8.2 pct of total loans by the end of the first quarter, from 7.7 pct at the end of 2009. Consumer loans were the most problematic category.

    The report included the results of a recent stress test, held in July throughout Europe. According these, under the extreme scenario, five out of six Greek banks included in the test, managed to successfully pass the test, with the exception of ATEbank, which showed a lower capital Tier I rate. The six banks showed a net capital surplus of 3.3 billion euros.

    The central bank underlined it would continue to closely monitor developments to make sure that all necessary actions to boost banks' capital adequacy will be taken. It added, however, that a restructuring of the banking sector was necessary to strengthen Greek banking groups in order to regain more rapidly their access in international capital markets.

    [03] Three suspects charged with setting a forest fire on Samos

    ANA-MPA/The Samos prosecutor charged three beekeepers on Wednesday with intentionally setting a fire in a forest region in Kakoperato on the eastern Aegean island of Samos two days ago.

    Meanwhile, three stockbreeders accused of deliberately setting another wildfire on July 28 in Kokkari, Samos, are currently testifying before an examining magistrate.

    [04] Droutsas meets Albanian FM

    ANA-MPA/Alternate Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on Wednesday held talks in Athens with Albanian deputy prime minister and foreign minister Ilir Meta.

    In statements afterward, Droutsas said their discussion covered bilateral relations but especially the latest developments in the Balkans.

    "I would like to emphasise the importance we place on the European approach, on the European perspective of the whole region, and of course of Albania. And, as you know, Greece is a staunch supporter of this perspective. And may I once again mention our Agenda 2014 in this respect," the minister said.

    Meta underlined the excellent relations between Greece and Albania, which he said were also relations "based in particular on the European perspective of the whole region," and noted Greece support for Albania's efforts to meet its European integration goals.

    [05] Illegal migrants' arrests

    ANA-MPA/Police in the norther Greek prefecture of Evros on Wednesday reported the arrest of 42 illegal immigrants and seven migrant-traffickers caught in Ferres following a surveillance operation.

    Officers of the Ferres Border Police Illegal Immigration Special Squad spotted the 42 migrants in the Doriskos area, near the Evros River delta. Soon afterward, a truck followed by a car arrived at the same spot, while a second vehicle waited at the Doriskos junction. As soon as the two vehicles arrived, about half the migrants boarded the truck while others waited where they were. Police followed the vehicles and stopped them at Feres.

    During a search of the truck, it was found that the driver was transporting 21 illegal migrants and that three more people were travelling in the two cars that were acting as lookouts that might inform the driver of police check points.

    Further investigation showed that the truck was stolen and had the licence plates of another vehicle


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