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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-11-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Venizelos: Government not ruling out legal action against Turkey
  • [02] Papadimoulis: European Left wants censure motion against Juncker
  • [03] EU Commission: Troika return depends on progress in prior actions

  • [01] Venizelos: Government not ruling out legal action against Turkey

    ANA-MPA -- Government Vice-President Evangelos Venizelos on Tuesday did not rule out the likelihood for Greece and Cyprus to take legal action against "Turkey's extreme, blatant and provocative stance which violates international legality, and proves that the country does not respect international law following its decision to send the Turkish research vessel 'Barbaros' to Eastern Mediterranean in the Cypriot continental shelf".

    "Our reaction so far is politically strong, but may assume a legal nature as well," the government vice-president said, briefing the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Defense and Foreign Affairs on the latest developments.

    "Turkey has no substantive argument and there is no reason for concern as regards the mineral resources, which will belong to the central government that will safeguard the rights of both sides - Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike - in a way that will be not only equal but also friendlier to the Turkish Cypriot side to be able to advance financially and rise to an equal status," he said.

    Venizelos said that the positive solution of the Cyprus issue is the catalyst for the Greek-Turkish relations, adding "we have never abandoned our steadfast position that Turkey's European prospect depends on its (the Cyprus issue) solution".

    "We continue all contacts on all levels in all 58 exploratory rounds. We have never abandoned the dialogue with Turkey in the context of the foreign policy that has been shaped in the past 40 years," Venizelos said.

    [02] Papadimoulis: European Left wants censure motion against Juncker

    ANA-MPA -- The European Parliament's Left group is seeking the backing of 75 MEPs for a motion of censure against European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament vice-president and SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis underlined in an interview with ANA-MPA on Tuesday, following the Luxembourg tax revelations.

    "Juncker has pledged to limit tax fraud and tax evasion and as a prime minister he did the opposite," Papadimoulis said, adding "our euro-group numbers 52 members and to tabled a censure motion we need more than 75 signatures. For obvious reasons, we have ruled out any cooperation with extreme right voices like Marine Le Pen or other populist forces like Nigel Farage. We are seeking support from the Greens and from socialist MEPs who have criticised or did not vote for Juncker's Commission, and they were more than 30".

    Papadimoulis expressed hope that the case will be brought to the European Parliament and will not be put off. "Juncker cannot continue to hide and avoid providing explanations publicly on the issue. He has to give answers," he underlined.

    "Aside from Luxembourg's tax scandal - which has led to "legitimate" tax avoidance and tax evasion amounting to billions of euros - our main goal is to highlight the shortcomings and holes in the existing European reality that allows tax havens in the EU," he added.

    Papadimoulis noted that Cyprus, which was also accused of such phenomena, "was hanged on a hook", while "in the case of Luxembourg everybody turned a blind eye".

    He also noted that among those involved in the major tax avoidance scandal through Luxembourg are companies still operating in Greece which, at the time, belonged to powerful businessmen who continue to play a role in the country's political and economic scene.

    Papadimoulis said that he referred to specific names in a question to the European Commission he tabled a few days ago, adding that the Greek participation in Luxembourg's tax scandal was covered up completely.

    [03] EU Commission: Troika return depends on progress in prior actions

    ANA-MPA -- The last Eurogroup discussed the future of Greece's programme and the next steps in a positive way, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said on Tuesday.

    Andreeva underlined that the aim was to complete the current review before the Eurogroup meets on December 8.

    Asked about the troika's return to Athens, she said that further progress in certain issues, such as the 2015 budget, bad loans, tax collection and other sources of public revenues, is required.

    The spokeswoman said that contacts with Greek authorities are continuing, while adding that she cannot yet confirm a date for the troika's return to Athens. The troika will return as soon as there is progress in the aforementioned issues, she said.

    Moreover, she stated that the EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici welcomed the view expressed by Greek authorities on immediately addressing key issues for a sustainable economic recovery.

    A well-informed source in Brussels, meanwhile said that the troika may return to Athens in the next few days, possibly at the weekend, if things go as planned.

    The troika is expecting Greek authorities to respond within the week to a number of issues that have been raised, the European official said, and then the heads of the mission will return to Athens to continue the fifth review of the country's programme.

    The same official underlined that this review must have a positive conclusion by the end of the year, stressing that Greece needs to speed up its efforts.

    He noted that time is running out, pointing out that there were only two Eurogroup meetings scheduled before the end of the year (end of November and December 8) and that some decisions will need to be adopted by national parliaments. "If the completion of the fifth review is not ambitious, it will be pretty difficult to persuade certain member-states to continue funding the Greek economy," the official said.

    Regarding the "open" issues still under negotiation, the official noted there could be "relative flexibility" on the part of the member-states but that this would be "restricted", in the sense that the implementation of some issues could be postponed until 2015. While the troika realises - up to a point - that it's not possible to do everything in three weeks, there has to be a clear and specific timetable, he stressed.

    According to the official, the troika is not entirely satisfied with the 2015 draft budget and believes there is a fiscal gap. He noted that any fiscal gap in the budget will increase Greece's financing needs in 2015. He concluded by saying that the issue of the Greek debt's sustainability must be resolved by the end of the year.

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