|Wednesday, 13 December 2017|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-05-23
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece must remain in euro - Hollande, Rajoy reiteratePARIS (AMNA) / French President Francois Hollande and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy clearly signalled their determination to keep Greece in the euro on Wednesday, in statements following their meeting here to prepare for the EU summit in Brussels.
"I will do whatever I can from my position to convince Greeks to choose to remain in the eurozone, honouring their commitments. I will also do everything that I can to convince Europeans that might be having doubts about the necessity of Greece staying in the euro," he said.
Addressing the press, Hollande appealed to them to convey his message to Greek voters and convince them that they can trust his stance in favour of Greece. He also underlined that, for him, there was no alternative plan to Greece remaining in the euro area.
"This is not an important matter for the Greeks alone, it is an important matter for the eurozone, for Europe and for conditions for growth in the world. While this may seem disproportionate, if we have a new crisis in Greece such as might be caused by the elections of June 17, it will necessarily affect growth in Europe and subsequently the rest of the world. I do not want to overestimate the event but neither do I want to underestimate it," he said.
Asked whether he had information on a 'contingency plan' preparing for Greece's exit from the euro, Hollande denied either having or wanting knowledge of such a plan, since that would give the impression that he was preparing for such an outcome and this was not the case.
"Through [the media's] intervention, the Greeks must know that they must trust in my behaviour in relation to Greece. At the same time, however, we have the demands that have been made arising from the commitments between Greece and Europe and there must be no doubts, either as to Europe's intentions nor as to the intentions of Greece. We must be together and I have no other outcome to prepare for apart from that," Hollande told reporters.
Similarly, Rajoy underlined his desire for Greece to remain in the eurozone, saying that this would be "best for Greece and for Europe".
Replying to question concerning a request that Greece be given more time to carry out the measures, the French president noted that Europe could be taking immediate action, in addition to the measures of the bailout agreements, to support growth in Greece. He said this could happen through the transfer of greater sums via structural funds that would secure better living conditions for the Greek people through the direct intervention of Europe.
All this could be done without casting Greece's obligations in terms of the agreements it signed into doubt.
"We cannot let the Greeks think that there will be no accompanying support. This support will exist from the moment they choose to give their presence in the eurozone a consistency and strength that will inspire confidence in Europeans," Hollande said.
Concerning the way Europe's leadership has handled the crisis over the past two and half years, Hollande talked about a problem with decision-making mechanisms in the EU, which he said needed to act more quickly and decisively and deal with more than just the financial aspect.
He said this must be complementing with a pact for growth and a 'political direction', so that Europeans would know which direction Europe was heading in.
"If there has been indifference among people at European elections, it is because Europe has not replied quickly, as it should, to a number of problems and especially the problem of unemployment and economic activity. But it must give answers for our common future," he stressed, saying that this would be among the issues he would raise at the EU summit.
"The issue is political because I do not want Europe won by populist movements, who are becoming stronger in the North around the idea that the South must not be helped and in the countries of the South because the people can no longer put up with being subjected to austerity policies. It is a political and democratic issue of primary importance," Hollande stressed.
 Caretaker PM meets with Merkel, HollandeBRUSSELS (AMNA) - Caretaker Prime Minister Panagiotis Pikrammenos held separate meetings with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel here on Wednesday, ahead of an EU informal summit.
According to diplomatic sources, in the 20-minute meeting with the French president, Hollande committed to the continuation of the EU's aid on condition that Greece will observe its commitments.
Hollande stressed that EU aid should have been given earlier and expressed the hope that a stable government will be formed after the Jume 17 elections in Greece. Pikrammenos delivered a memorandum to Hollande containing Greek positions on the growth issues.amna
In the meeting with the German Chancellor, which lasted 40 minutes, Merkel stressed the importance of Greece staying in the eurozone and expressed Europe's readiness to support Greece on condition that Athens will observe what has been agreed. The Greek prime minister referred to the difficult social situation in Greece. www.amna.gr
 Eurobank flatly denies claim by SYRIZAAMNA / Eurobank, in a statement on Wednesday evening, categorically denied claims aired earlier in the day by the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), which cited "warnings" by the bank's management over a possible SYRIZA victory in the June 17 election.
"The allegations of supposed interventions by management in employees' political preferences and vis-a-vis our customers are unfounded," a Eurobank announcement said. www.amna.gr
"Since its founding it (bank) has unwaveringly observed the principle of non-involvement in political processses and respect for democratic institutions, which constitutes a paramount issue of principle for the management and its staff." amna
 Stocks end 1.79 pct downAMNA / Stocks remained under heavy pressure to end significantly lower amid fears over the country's future in the Eurozone following comments made by former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos over a real risk of Greece leaving the euro. These comments made to Wall Street Journal undermined sentiment in European stock markets and pressured the euro's rate. The composite index of the market fell 1.79 pct to end at 526.39 points, with turnover remaining a low 30.525 million euros.
The Big Cap index fell 2.16 pct, the Mid Cap index ended 0.98 pct lower and the Small Cap index rose 0.51 pct. Banks (0.62 pct) and Industrial Products (0.58 pct) were top gainers, while Telecoms (9.43 pct), Commerce (8.88 pct) and Constructions (5.38 pct) were top losers. Alpha Bank (6.06 pct), Eurobank (4.84 pct), Piraeus Bank (2.74 pct) and Hellenic Postbank (1.88 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OTE (9.43 pct), Folli Follie (9.09 pct), Titan (6.06 pct) and PPC (5.06 pct) were top losers.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 76 to 40 with another 21 issues unchanged.
 Origami White Tower in Thessaloniki eyes Guinness recordAMNA / A replica of Thessaloniki's trademark, the White Tower monument located on the city's waterfront, will be created on Aristotelous Square using the origami technique, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.
The White Tower origami mosaic, aiming for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, will be created on May 31 from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. It will cover an area of 400 square meters and will be made of 40,000 paper lotus flowers. amna
The largest origami mosaic is 320.87 square meters (3,453 square feet) and was created in Hong Kong on July 26, 2008.www.amna.gr
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