|Tuesday, 20 February 2018|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-01-11
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Samaras in Cyprus to attend EPP's meetingAMNA--Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will be in Cyprus on Friday to attend an extraordinary meeting of the European People's Party (EPP) to be held later in the day in Limassol.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, leaders of parties belonging to the Europarliament's EPP grouping and prime ministers, among them those of Portugal and Ireland, will attend the meeting, the agenda of which includes the European Parliament elections in 2014 and the long-term fiscal framework
The meeting is taking place in the aftermath of Merkel's statements on Cyprus' loan contract that raised concern and reactions in Nicosia.amna
Police have taken stringent security measures, with 180 police patrolling the area while the streets around the hotel where the meeting, which is hosted by the Democratic Rally (DISI) party, is taking place will be closed off.
 SYRIZA leader to meet German FinMin next weekAMNA--The leader of the main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party, Alexis Tsipras is to have his first ever meeting with Germany's Federal Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schauble, next week in Berlin.
The meeting was arranged before Christmas in consultation with Germany's left-wing party Die Linke.
According to a non-finalised programme, Tsipras will arrive at the German capital on Saturday and will stay for four days, which may be extended by one or two days. amna
He is scheduled to have a series of contacts with Social Democratic Party (SPD) officials, intellectuals, and will also speak at a Die Linke event.
 Tax bill discussion opens in ParliamentAMNA--Discussion of the new tax bill opened in Parliament on Thursday, with criticism by deputies of parties in the governing coalition and the opposition.
Coalition partner PASOK's sponsor, Paris Koukoulopoulos, said that the bill "does not satisfy the request for the fair distribution of tax burden" and warned that "the discussion that ended ingloriously in February 2012 with the walkout of all parties over the national tax bill will start again in the next few days on PASOK's initiative."
Coalition partner DI.MAR's sponsor, Asimina Xyrotiri, criticised the Finance Ministry for not putting down the initial necessary steps to fight tax evasion and establish a process to stop it, but added that the party would vote for the bill "as a necessary prerequisite under the country's circumstances."amna
The main opposition sponsor, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputy Dimitris Yelalis, said the tax bill had "only a revenue-collecting feature" and charged that the bill "punishes freelancers, trades people and small businesses by taxing them from the very first euro they make, and destroys farmers, since it makes no disticntion between small-scale farmers and large enterprises."
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) sponsor, Nikos Karathanasopoulos, charged that "the state budget contains 31 pages of tax exemptions," which he said "reflects what's happening in shipping, where profits from the exploitation of ships is exempted; this will happen to all sectors of the economy, with the free movement of capital set out by the EU's Maastricht Treaty."amna
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras are hoping for the bill to be voted into law before the upcoming Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on January 21. The bill is part of a prerequisite to receiving the next loan tranche by March.
 Juncker makes strong support pitch for GreeceAMNA--European members must help the Greek government in stemming tax revenue loss from capital leaving the country, outgoing Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday in Brussels, and charged countries of the European North with having become arrogant about Greece and forgetting European history.
Addressing the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Juncker spoke of what had not been achieved during his tenure and of delays in decisions made, but also said that the eurozone was saved from breaking apart in 2012.
He spoke in support of the Greek government's measures to prevent capital from fleeing abroad and said that "Germans are pretending as if there is no such issue; governments must collaborate in the best way possible, to help the Greek government uncover this unpatriotic stance of some millionaire and billionaire Greeks. We are not here to take advantage of the austerity policies applied to certain countries."amna
Juncker warned that despite the progress stability of the eurozone achieved "we are facing a difficult future, problems remain serious and their solution requires strong political courage."amna
Expressing support of Greece and Greek people, the Eurogroup president said that "For me, the European Union and eurozone would be incomplete without Greece. We have become arrogant. We do not know history. We do not sympathize with those who are not like us, we ignore what the Greek democracy and Greeks have given Europe. I will support this country to the end, I am a friend of Greeks," he said.amna
Juncker mentioned the "crushing problem" of unemployment among youth, and said the European North and South should collaborate with each other and the former recognize the achievements of the latter in gaining EU membership. "The countries of the North are not more virtuous than those of the South," he said.
 FinMin on reforms, economic prospectsAMNA--The government's ongoing work on reforms is progressing at a steady pace, in a sense of responsibility and with a view to restoring the real economy and financial markets' trust, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Thursday evening.
Addressing an event of the Greek-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Stournaras stressed that "the Greece's destiny is linked unbreakably with that of the euro zone's. The country, with the support of its partners, has rallied together on the European path, leaving behind it the choice of a return to the drachma. Participation in the euro zone is not considered a compulsory choice of a fearful and defeated people, but a decision of growth, self-confidence and prospect".amna
The Finance minister also said that over the next two years and with the measures that have already been taken, the country shall have accomplished the titanic task of economic consolidation. However, he pointed out that the problem of liquidity remains a main source of concern even to healthy businesses.amna
Referring to the question of growth in particular, Stournaras assessed that in the second half of 2013, and towards the end of the year in particular, the country's GDP will have a positive indicator.amna
Lastly, commenting on the privatisations programme, the minister expressed his conviction that it will attract the interest of German businesses and Greek-German joint ventures.
 Half of the Greeks prefer to be self-employedThe latest poll by Eurobarometer on entrepreneurship shows that 50 percent of Greeks would like to be self-employed and this is the second biggest percentage (behind the Lithuanians) in the EU scale of the 27. The percentage remains high in Greece, although with the similar question in 2009 the positive reply garnered 60 percent.
However, as appears in the probe, the general trend among Europeans follows a downward course. In 2009 the positive response was 45 percent (among Europeans) and in 2012 it was 37 percent.
As regards Greece in particular, Eurobarometer (in cooperation with ICAP) showed that the Greeks prefer to be: self-employed (50 percent) or employees (43 pc). They select self-employment as against being employees because they believe that it offers: independence and self-confirmation (66 percent), freedom in the choice of location and time of work (23 pc), better income prospects (26 pc), favourable financial climate (7 pc), utilisation of a business opportunity (5 pc), avoidance of uncertainty entailed in being an employee (3 pc) etc.
 Greek budget deficit down to 15.9 billion euros in 2012AMNA--Greece's state budget deficit totaled 15.908 billion euros in 2012, down from a budget target for a deficit of 16.312 billion euros, the Finance ministry said on Thursday.
In a report, the ministry said that the budget showed a primary deficit of 3,684 billion euros, down from a budget target of 4.577 billion. The budget deficit was down by 6.866 billion euros compared with 2011, while the primary deficit was 2.742 billion euros lower over the same period, with the state budget balance shrinking by 30.1 pct from 2011.
The Finance ministry said that net budget revenues totaled 51.706 billion euros, down 4.1 pct from 2011, but lacked 687 million euros from a revised budget target due to lower community inflows. Net regular budget revenues totaled 48.116 billion euros in the January-December 2012 period, up 0.9 pct from a budget target reflecting higher income tax proceeds, higher property tax revenues and other non-tax revenues.amna
The Public Investment Program's revenues totaled 3.590 billion euros in 2012, down 183 million euros from a revised target, although higher payments in December are expected to raise community inflows in the first two months of 2013.amna
Regular budget spending fell by 355 million euros from a budget target due to lower primary spending, lower defense spending, lower subsidies to hospitals although spending on interest surpassed a budget target to 12.223 billion euros in 2012. State budget spending fell by 11.9 pct compared with 2011.
 Hotel rates in Greece in January 2013 record highest decline in the last four yearsAMNA--Hotel rates in Greece in January 2013 have fallen to the lowest level in the last years, according to www.trivago.gr search engine.
Specifically, in January 2013 the average daily rate for a double room was 72 euros while the most expensive rate in the last years in Greece was marked in August 2009 with a daily average rate of 132 euros.amna
The same condition prevails in most European countries with hotel rates moving downwards with the highest decline (8%) recorded in Romania with average daily rate at 61 euros.
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