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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-01-23

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Foreign minister praises Christofias' approach on Cyprus issue but sees slim hope of solution
  • [02] Authorities intercept truck carrying 32 illegal migrants
  • [03] Central banker opposes debt restructuring
  • [04] Finmin: no new taxes
  • [05] Australia's Rudd to visit
  • [06] Greek-Bulgarian joint patrols
  • [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines 

  • [01] Foreign minister praises Christofias' approach on Cyprus issue but sees slim hope of solution

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA - A. Viketos) The approach taken by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias was the only way to make any progress in negotiations to solve the Cyprus issue, Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in an interview to the Cyprus-based newspaper "Haravgi".

    "There is no other way apart from that being followed by President Christofias," Droutsas said to the newspaper. Just four days before a meeting between Christofias, Turkish-Cypriot community leader Dervis Eroglu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon in Geneva on January 26, the Greek minister did not appear to hold much hope for a breakthrough, however, noting that the stance of the Turkish-Cypriot side did not allow "great expectations".

    Droutsas appealed to Ankara to act responsibly and withdraw its occupation troops from Cyprus, rejecting Turkish arguments that a military presence was needed to protect the Turkish-Cypriots.

    "There is no point in Turkey continuing to hide behind the referendum [on the Annan Plan in 2004] and treating the Cyprus issue as a communications game. The time has come for a solution," the minister stressed.

    He also underlined that Christofias' proposals touched on the essence of the Cyprus problem and sought to speed up the process for its solution. Those of the Turkish-Cypriot proposals that had been made public, by contrast, "appear to move in the direction of division".

    Commenting on Greece's relations with Turkey, the foreign minister emphasised that there could never be any dialogue on Greece's sovereign rights.

    "The regime in the Aegean is not changing. Nor will Turkey's tactics in order to 'force us' into such a dialogue be tolerated," he underlined.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [02] Authorities intercept truck carrying 32 illegal migrants

    During a stop and search at dawn on Sunday, Greek police found and arrested 32 illegal migrants hidden in a truck travelling down the national highway near Corinth, as well as the 26-year-old Ukrainian driving the vehicle.

    The truck was taking the migrants from Athens to the port of Patras, where it would have boarded a ferry sailing to Bari, Italy.

    The 32 migrants arrested included 26 men from Afghanistan and six Iraqis, including two adult women and two minors, a boy and a girl.

    The truck driver displayed a German vehicle registration, license plates and insurance that all proved to be fake. The truck's Vehicle Indentification Number (VIN) was later found to belong to a truck owned by a company in Agious Anargyrou in Attica.

    The migrant-trafficker and the migrants were detained and will appear before a Corinth public prosecutor while the vehicle has been confiscated. An investigation is being carried out by the Corinth police.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [03] Central banker opposes debt restructuring

    Stern warnings against the possibility of restructuring Greece's debt were voiced by Bank of Greece governor George Provopoulos during an interview published by the Athens-based Sunday newspaper "Ethnos tis Kyriakis".

    "Even simply discussing restructuring harms the country," he stressed and warned that such a move would trigger "uncontrolled chain reactions that would open a new, long-lasting cycle of mistrust in the future of the Greek economy".

    According to Provopoulos, the political and economic cost would be much greater than the short-term cost of the fiscal adjustment that the country now had to make.

    The central banker said that an extension of the repayment period of Greece's debt would be a positive development but not a cure-all, pointing out that no extension could "relieve us of the obligation to proceed absolutely steadfastly and at a fast pace down the road of fiscal and structural reform."

    He also underlined that the discussion underway for a comprehensive European response to the crisis in the eurozone did not mean that Greece could relax its efforts but, on the contrary, that it needed to intensify them further.

    The banker stressed that the goals laid out in the Memorandum for the EU-IMF loans were the "bare minimum" that Greece needed to achieve in order to tackle the crisis effectively, while straying from these goals would have "catastrophic consequences".

    "On the other hand, the memorandum is not a overall policy framework. It merely makes provision for what is absolutely necessary. This is why I support the parallel existence of an equally binding, cohesive action plan for growth, basic aspects of which have been presented in detail in the last monetary policy report," he added.

    Concerning the banking sector, Provopoulos predicted that Greek banks will face serious challenges after the crisis, in which mergers and strategic alliances could prove a useful tool. He also appeared sanguine that the 'correction' now seen in the Greek real estate market would not turn into the kind of "open crisis" seen elsewhere.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [04] Finmin: no new taxes

    The 2010 fiscal austerity programme will continue for the next three years, with emphasis on lowering state spending, broadening the tax base and cracking down on tax evasion, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said in an interview published by the Athens-based newspaper "Eleftherotypia" on Sunday.

    The finance minister said he did not expect any further increases in either overall taxes or VAT and that the higher state revenues needed would be collected by combating tax dodging and by cutting back spending in order to avoid burdening wage-earners and pensioners.

    Papaconstantinou appeared confident that Greece would manage to avoid restructuring its debt. He said the country would be able to do this if it could create and sustain primary surpluses of around 5-6 percent for several years and also make major structural reforms and changes that would raise the real growth rate of the economy to above 2 percent, in combination with an extension of the repayment period for the 110 billion euro EU-IMF loan and "more favourable funding terms in the framework of new European decisions that will be taken."

    The minister said that Greece hoped to return to borrowing from financial markets within the year, starting with a 'diaspora bond' that would be offered to Greek expatriates living abroad and have an interest rate smaller than the current market rate.

    Papaconstantinou said he was opposed to the prospect of early elections and all-party governments, saying that experience had shown that strong governments were needed in order to make real changes.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [05] Australia's Rudd to visit

    MELBOURNE (ANA-MPA - S. Hatzimanolis) Australia's foreign minister Kevin Rudd is due to visit Greece on February 1. This will be the first visit by an Australian foreign minister to Greece since 1997, when Alexander Downer had visited Athens.

    Rudd, who formerly served as Australia's prime minister, is to hold talks with Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas on bilateral relations, global security, fighting terrorism, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the economic crisis.

    He will also have a meeting with Prime Minister George Papandreou.

    Apart from Greece, Rudd will visit a number of countries in order to drum up support for Australia's bid for a place on the UN Security Council, attending a summit of the 53 African Union member-states in Ethiopia, visiting Ankara in Turkey and also Switzerland, where he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [06] Greek-Bulgarian joint patrols

    Greek police officers are to carry out joint patrols with their Bulgarian counterparts in the Bulgarian ski resort of Bansko as of Monday, under a bilateral cooperation agreement signed by the two neighbouring countries.

    Greek Police Chief Lieutenant General Yiannis Rahovitsas is due to visit the Bulgarian resort on Monday in order to meet his Bulgarian counterpart and inaugurate the project, which is taking place for the first time.

    Two Greek police officers have been in Bansko since January 16 and their presence aims to assist Greek tourists in Bansko, ensuring their safety and security, while also helping to tackle organised crime.

    European Union rules allow joint patrols by the police forces of two neighbouring countries for a radius of 10 kilometres on either side of the border line but the agreement between Greece and Bulgaria extends the jurisdiction of joint action further.

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form

    

    [07] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The conclusion of a Parliamentary investigation into the Siemens scandal, continued austerity measures and fallout over the prospect of restructuring Greece's debt mostly dominated the headlines in Sunday's papers.

    APOCALYPSES: "Turkish Invasion (article on takeovers of Greek businesses by Turkish interests)"

    ARTHRO: "The restructuring and the elections"

    AVGHI: "A parody of cleansing with cross-party consensus in view of the new Memorandum of 2012-2014".

    AVRIANI: "Controlled bankruptcy with the new harsh long-term Memorandum".

    CHORA: "A 20 percent 'trim' of public-sector staff salaries".

    LEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Government restructuring with a ministerial haircut".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "The unveiling of a cover-up"

    EPOCHI: "Austerity for life".

    ETHNOS: "The mandarins of the state are still partying."

    KATHIMERINI: "Rage over the inability to achieve cleansing".

    NIKI TIS DIMOKRATIAS: "4+1 secrets to beat the tax man"

    LOGOS ON SUNDAY: "Renegotiation of road tolls under fears of popular revolt."

    PARON (weekly): "The Irish hung tough." [makes (unfavourable) comparison between Memorandum drawn up for EU loans to Ireland with that for Greece].

    PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Tax 'snitch' for everyone".

    REAL News (weekly): "Silence over the party coffers"

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Sovereign rights sacrificed to the profits of monopolies".

    VIMA (weekly): "From the church and piano lessons to...the dock for the 'Cells of Fire'. They were all of them boys and girls from next door."

    VRADYNI: "Shock measures for pensions".

    More details on the subscriber's page of ANA-MPA | Subscription request form


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