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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-01-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] SYRIZA leader calls for elections before German polls
  • [02] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies
  • [03] FinMin sees 'light at end of tunnel', growth in 2014

  • [01] SYRIZA leader calls for elections before German polls

    AMNA--Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras called for general elections in Greece, saying they should be held before the German elections -- scheduled for September -- in order to halt Greece's catastrophic course, pledging that SYRIZA, as the new government to emerge, would seek a viable solution for the country.

    In a late-night interview on state NET television channel, Tsipras opposed the government's privatizations policy, calling it a looting of the state, and called for a clampdown on corruption and for the problems of bureaucracy and the environment to be dealt with.

    Tsipras said his party opposed the "looting" of the state, adding that any privatizations made should have social reciprocity.amna

    He further said that the problems of bureaucracy, corruption and the environment need to be tackles and a climate of stability is needed in order for the country to attract investments, while the "local oligarchy comprised of a few families that control the country's political and economic life" also must be dealt with.

    On his recent meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin, Tsipras said he presented the latter with the "numbers proving the failure of the (austerity) programme".amna

    Questioned on latest opinion polls showing a rise in the popularity of the coalition government and its supporting parties, Tsipras opined that after the disbursement of the recent tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan a false expectation was created by the government "while all around us there is a harsh reality: the tranches the country is receiving are barely sufficient to keep the banks from going bankrupt, but are not enough for the Greek people not to go bankrupt".

    He said that SYRIZA would form an alliance "even with the devil" to achieve results for the country, while adding that the International Monetary Fund must clash openly with Germany instead of mincing its words.amna

    Tsipras also said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not telling the truth to the German people, in light of the upcoming elections, that the programme for Greece has failed.

    The interview drew the reaction of the government, with government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou accusing Tsipras of "political opportunism".amna

    "In a new show of political opportunism, Mr. Tsipras, now that he sees that the ship is saved, appears to have changed course. Even if he teams up with the devil, though, he still remains without a compass," Kedikoglou commented.

    [02] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: "Government demolishes real estate and pensions".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Troika (EC, ECB, IMF) tightens the noose".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Pupils in despair".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "New massacre in civil servants' pensions".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Two-speed taxation for houses and land".

    ESTIA: "The Americans on Mr. Tsipras (Alexis, main opposition SYRIZA leader)".

    ETHNOS: "The plan for a single tax on real estate".

    IMERISSIA: "15 bln euros returned from banks abroad - Vote of confidence in the economy".

    KATHIMERINI: "Single tax on real estate".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Implementation of the single tax on real estate with hurdles".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Struggles with radical demands aiming at radical political change".

    TA NEA: "Time bomb to pensions".

    6 DAYS: "Government ‘auctioning off' the country's real estate property".

    [03] FinMin sees 'light at end of tunnel', growth in 2014

    AMNA--Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournars opined that the worst is over for Greece, with growth returning in 2014, in an interview with the BBC released on Tuesday. "There is definitely a glimmer of hope; light at the end of the tunnel," he said, adding that the probability of a Grexit -- Greece leaving the eurozone -- "is now very small".

    "We have managed to turn the economy around. From the markets, there's much more optimism. Deposits are coming back to the banks, the government is paying its arrears to the private sector and there is a change in how Europe sees us. So all the leading indicators are positive," he said.amna

    "We are two-thirds of the way towards our target, so people can have hope," he added.

    Stournaras expressed conviction that growth will come in 2014. "Towards the last quarter of 2013, we are going to have recovery," he said, adding that he feels "100 percent certain that this will be the last year of Greece's recession."amna

    On the sustainability of the Greek debt and responding to a relevant question, Stournaras said that "I would welcome a reduction of the level of debt -- but there are many ways to achieve that -- but it should happen in a way that minimizes the loss to other parties".amna

    Asked on the possibility of more spending cuts, Stournaras replied that "if we implement this year's reform programme, there will be no more austerity more cuts to wages, benefits and pensions", but was critical of the policy of harsh austerity imposed on Greece, underlining though that without the bailout money Greece would have found itself outside the eurozone, which would have meant disaster.amna

    "Greece was forced to cut too far, too fast. In hindsight, we should have placed more emphasis on structural reform and privatizations at the start," he said.

    "But we can't go back. There's no point crying over spilt milk. The eurozone was not prepared for the crisis," Stournaras added.

    On the talk of "Brexit" -- a potential departure of Britain from the EU -- which was sparked by British Prime Minister David Cameron's speech last week, Stournaras warned that "it would be a grave mistake for Britain to leave the EU".

    "Britain belongs to Europe politically, financially and from a cultural point of view," he continued.

    Asked if Greece would accept Britain renegotiating the terms of its EU membership, Stournaras warned: "That would open a Pandora's Box. Everybody would like to do the same. So that would spell the end of the European Union."

    Six months after assuming the Finance Ministry, Stournaras is convinced that Greece will make it. "Now that Greece has turned a corner, I'm actually enjoying the job," he said.

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