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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 14-11-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Nationwide strike on Thursday
  • [02] Greek FinMin sees 'significant progress' in negotiations with troika

  • [01] Nationwide strike on Thursday

    ANA - MPA -- A 24-hour nationwide strike called for Thursday by the country's public and private sector unions. The mobilization is in protest against austerity policies and the measures to be passed in the 2015 draft budget, currently in Parliament. ANA-MPA services will not be available to subscribers from 11:00 in the morning to 14:00 on Thursday. This will affect the update of stories on the subscribers' online service, the renewal of the website and the issuing of the twice-daily Bulletins.

    Protests rallies have been organised by the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), the largest umbrella trade union group representing private sector workers, and the civil servants' union federation ADEDY, starting at 11:00 at Klafthmonos Square in central Athens. A rally in Omonia is being organised by the PAME trade union affiliated to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), with gathering spots planned in Kaningos, Karaiskaki, Vathis and Kotzia Squares and the Hafteia area near Omonia Square.

    Staff in public transport services are to join the strike with work stoppages at the start and end of their shifts on Thursday, though services will keep running during the middle of the day to allow workers to participate in strike rallies.

    The strike on Thursday will affect transportation as follows:

    Trains (Athens Metro, the suburban railway/proastiakos serving the airport and the electric train/Isap) will not be running throughout Thursday.

    Athens electric railway (Isap) and Athens Metro: No runs from the start of the shift until 10:00 in the morning and from 16:00 in the afternoon until the end of the shift.

    Tram: Work stoppages, from the start of workers' shift until 9:00 in the morning and from 17:00 in the afternoon until the end of the day. (Passengers are advised to check schedules, as there will also be cancellations in some runs the day before and the day after, particularly in long-distance trains or TrainOSE.)

    Buses, trolleys: Running between 9:00 in the morning until 21:00 at night.

    Airlines: Cancellations of flights because of air-traffic controllers joining the strike action. Aegean Airlines has already announced it will cancel 97 domestic and 65 international flights, and change flight times for others. Olympic Air has cancelled all flights.

    Ships: Docked from 00:01 until midnight on Thursday, by decision of the National Seamen's Federation (PNO).

    Shops: Closed, according to the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (HCCE) representing Greece's traders and small businesses.

    Banks: The staff union (OTOE) has declared a strike on Thursday as well.

    The Athens journalists' union ESIEA has called a three-hour work stoppage from 11:00 to 14:00 on Thursday and a rally outside ESIEA's building at noon.

    [02] Greek FinMin sees 'significant progress' in negotiations with troika

    ANA - MPA -- Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis on Thursday said there was "significant progress" in negotiations with the troika in Paris. During a speech on the 2015 budget in Parliament's Economics Commission, the Greek Finance minister said that "in a negotiation you cannot exactly say where you are and where the others stand, you don't want to show your strategy. The only thing I can say is that we are doing a hard negotiation. The fact that we sat down until four-and-a-half in the morning in Paris is evidence of this."

    Hardouvelis reassured that "the country will not roll back to uncertainty. We are working hard in negotiations with lenders to avoid this uncertainty. There is significant progress in negotiations, there is agreement on a series of issues and we continue negotiations with fully documented arguments and I believe we will achieve a future will fewer burdens and more prospects for everyone".

    Hardouvelis, commenting on the provisions of the 2015 budget, said it signaled the completion of a big effort made by Greek citizens and the results "confirmed that there is a commitment in the country to fiscal policy," adding that the challenge from now on was creating the necessary growth conditions with crucial factors such as political stability and focused reforms. "The economy is changing chapter and we leave the difficult years behind," Hardouvelis said, adding that "the big difficulties, the bad situation, I think they are over."

    "In 2015 we will be able to cover all state spending – including interest - without resorting to new borrowing, which signals that the country approaches its fiscal independence, while the government will continue restoring injusticies and lowering tax burdens on the level it can afford," the Greek Finance minister said.

    Responding to opposition parties' criticism on the reduction of social spending, Hardouvelis reassured that "this will change someday, but first the country must stand on its own two feet". He noted that the 2015 budget will be executed as planned leading to the achievement of high primary surplus for the third successive year, based on a rational spending cut, combating tax evasion, boosting revenues and improving tax collection mechanisms.

    He stressed that the key to achieve a 2.9 pct GDP growth rate was an expected 11.7 pct increase in investments, a 5.2 pct rise in exports and a 6.0 pct increase in private consumption. Higher revenues "will come from higher taxation but from economic growth", he said.

    "We hope that Greek banks will return to their traditional role, lending to enterprises, following their recapitalisation. And because money will be injected in the market, liquidity will be boosted and the state will also benefit," Hardouvelis said.

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