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Athens News Agency: News in English, 12-03-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Eurogroup welcomes 'sufficient progress' recorded by Greece
  • [02] EU, Greece sign Memorandum for new loan agreement
  • [03] Gov't launches int'l tender for sale of natural gas utility

  • [01] Eurogroup welcomes 'sufficient progress' recorded by Greece

    BRUSSELS (AMNA) -- Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday welcomed an EC-ECB-IMF troika assessment that Greece has made sufficient progress.

    In a written statement, Juncker pointed out that “a few pending implementing acts should be completed shortly”, adding that “all required legislation by the Parliament and the Ministerial Cabinet has been adopted”.

    He underlined that the Eurozone “ministers note with satisfaction that Greece thereby undertook decisive and swift legislative action in the areas of fiscal consolidation, revenue administration, pension reform, financial sector regulation and supervision and growth-enhancing structural reforms.

    This will allow the Greek adjustment effort to regain momentum, which - together with a rigorous implementation of the agreed policy package for the new programme - constitutes the basis for putting the public finances and the economy of Greece back on a sustainable path. The Troika will finalise in the next few days the detailed assessment of the quality of the transposition of prior actions in Greek legislation. Against this background and in view of the completion of the relevant national procedures in Member States, Ministers authorise the EFSF to implement the Eurosystem collateral enhancement facility. This entails the provision by EFSF of a buyback scheme for the eligibility of marketable instruments issued or guaranteed by the Greek Government for use as collateral in Eurosystem monetary policy operations.

    Ministers also agreed on a backstop facility for the recapitalisation of Greek banks in case of financial stability concerns. In addition, Ministers authorise the issuance by EFSF of bonds to finance the euro area’s contribution to the PSI exercise and the repayment of accrued interest on Greek government bonds. The Eurogroup, however, reiterates that a successful PSI operation with high participation and a final positive assessment of the complete set of prior actions are necessary conditions both for the disbursements of these EFSF bonds and for the second programme.” amna

    The statement concludes that “the Eurogroup therefore looks forward to a high participation of private creditors in the debt exchange. Ministers are confident that the terms described in the Greek authorities’ Invitation to holders of Greek government bonds include sufficient attractive and unique features that should appeal to private creditors and ensure the broadest participation.” amna

    [02] EU, Greece sign Memorandum for new loan agreement

    AMNA / Greece and the European Union on Thursday signed a cooperation memorandum for a new loan programme for the country. The memorandum is also countersigned by the Bank of Greece (BoG) and binding letters by the leaders of New Democracy and PASOK parties to the Eurogroup president, which are attached to the deal.

    The agreement was signed by government Vice-President and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and EU Commissioner Olli Rehn.

    Additionally, Venizelos signed, together with the head of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) Klaus Regling, the five crucial contracts for the implementation of the PSI. They are for:

    - The contract for the recapitalisation of Greek banks.

    - The contract for the guarantees provided by the EFSF to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Eurosystem, for the provision of fluidity to Greek banks during the implementation of the PSI.

    -The contract for the 30 billion euros, with which the exchange of the bonds is financed by the official sector.

    -The contract for the coverage by the EFSF of the Greek public debt interest so far.

    -The contract for the joint financing formation between the official and private sector, that constitutes one of the crucial structural characteristics of the PSI. amna

    According to a relevant announcement by the finance ministry, the signing of these contracts sends a message to the private sector, the markets and the international community that the official sector supports Greece from every aspect and believes in the implementation of the decisions of Oct. 26 2011 and Feb. 21 2012.

    [03] Gov't launches int'l tender for sale of natural gas utility

    AMNA--Greece on Wednesday launched an international tender for the sale of DEPA, the state-owned gas company- as part of an ambitious privatization programme.

    The Greek state has a 65 pct equity stake in DEPA while Hellenic Petroleum SA has the remaining 35 pct. Both shareholders and the State’s Private Property Fund have agreed to jointly sell their stakes in DEPA. Under the terms of the tender, all interested parties will submit bids on a bundle or unbundle basis and stressed that the state will retain 34 pct of DESFA, the gas grid operator.amna

    The deadline for invitations ends in March 22, 2012. Preselected investors will then submit indicative bids in the second phase of the tender before a short-list is drafted. The tender procedure is scheduled to be completed in August 2012.amna

    DEPA is active in the wholesale, trading and supply of gas both to retail and industrial clients and participates in international gas pipeline projects, such as the Greece-Italy project (ITGI), the Greece-Bulgaria project (IGB) and the SouthStream project.

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