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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-04-27

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] President Pavlopoulos promises repayment of all debts in Spiegel interview
  • [02] No one insulted Varoufakis at the Eurogroup, Italian FinMin Padoan tells ANA-MPA
  • [03] European Commission to revise downwards its estimate for Greece's growth rate

  • [01] President Pavlopoulos promises repayment of all debts in Spiegel interview

    President of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos in an interview with Spiegel Online ruled out the possibility of a Grexit and promised that all the loans made to Greece will be paid back, but he was also critical of past austerity programs.

    "Some of the measures imposed on us go beyond EU law," Pavlopoulos said. "We want to be equal members of Europe," he added.

    Pavlopoulos feels that international lenders' criticisms of the minimum wage and other labour rights in the country are problematic. "We are not asking for anything more than for the Greek people to enjoy what Germany's Constitutional Court considers as an established social right for the German people," he said. He also claimed that parts of the austerity programmes "were not at all growth friendly, but rather would lead the Greek economy to a recessionary course."

    "Greece in the late 1970s fought a great battle to join Europe," the president noted. For him, he said, it was "not conceivable to see Greece outside of Europe." He also said that he views a Grexit, Greek's possible exit from the euro zone, as unthinkable. "The thought of Grexit does not even enter my mind," he said.

    Pavlopoulos stated that his country would fulfill all of its obligations. "We pay everything we owe to the last euro," he said. "We need to keep a balanced budget and gradually decrease our debt." The president also expressed optimism that the dispute over Greece's debt can still be resolved. Pavlopoulos said negotiations for a new economic aid programme are "entering the home stretch."

    Pavlopoulos argues that Greece's accession to the EU was made possible in large parts by former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing despite the reservations of the European Commission. He said the situation was similar when Greece later joined the euro zone. "I believe that, on, certain issues, Europe should sometimes operate on political decisions, bypassing technocrats, when the technocratic viewpoint is contrary to the grand, long-term goals of the EU," he said.

    Pavlopoulos has adopted a more conciliatory tone toward Germany. "I believe they want a European Germany and not a Germanic Europe," he said of Merkel and Schaeuble. He stressed the "very good" personal relations he had with Schaeuble, who used to be his counterpart when Pavlopoulos was Greece's Interior minister.

    The Greek president said he is also planning talks with his German counterpart Joachim Gauck. "I will expedite as soon as possible my visit to Germany," he said. Pavlopoulos said he also wants to use the visit to discuss the matter of German reparations payments for Nazi war crimes, which he has long supported. Gauck had asked forgiveness for German war crimes during a visit to Greece last year, although he did not openly support the call for reparations.

    Pavlopoulos called Gauck's statement an important one. But he added that both he and respected German legal experts consider Greece's claims to have "legal validity and it is also our right to use a legal process to satisfy them." He said the two countries should find a common forum to decide the issue, like the International Court of Justice in The Hague. "This is how civilized countries settle their differences," he said.

    Pavlopoulos clearly denied threats from other Greek politicians to confiscate property in Greece owned by the German state. "Let me stress that no reasonable person in Greece is thinking about Greece taking unilateral actions," he commented. The Greek president said the seizure of German property was not a consideration. "Such talk is nonsense," he said. Pavlopoulos also said he would be open to the idea of a trust fund through which Greek Nazi victims could receive individual compensation. "In principle, this is something we can discuss."

    [02] No one insulted Varoufakis at the Eurogroup, Italian FinMin Padoan tells ANA-MPA

    ANA/MPA---"No one insulted Yanis Varoufakis at the Eurogroup. The debate took place in a civilized and lively tone, but none of the participants ever expresses negative views of a colleague," Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan replied to an ANA-MPA question following a Bloomberg report.

    "Our personal relations with Yanis are excellent," Padoan noted.

    Regarding the negotiations with the institutions, the Italian Finance minister said: "The institutions say that the Greek government has not submitted detailed and substantive proposals to revise and supplement the ongoing programme. The message is that much time has been lost. I hope, and I am strongly in favour of it, a detailed programme to be presented in the short time left. I think there is room for an agreement and that we must work hard on this in the coming days. The aim should be, of course, for Greece to stay in the eurozone, but also to lay the foundations for economic recovery, increased family income and employment increase, in order the people stricken by the crisis to be supported."

    During an interview with the Foreign Press Association in Rome, he stressed that "there is no plan B for Greece" and that "the so-called selective default is a highly theoretical approach, while, of course, the solution lies in reaching an agreement."

    [03] European Commission to revise downwards its estimate for Greece's growth rate

    The European Commission plans to revise down its growth forecast for Greece this year, its Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis was quoted as saying to German newspaper Handelsblatt.

    "In winter we expected growth of 2.5 percent in Greece this year. Our spring forecast for Greece will turn out to be more pessimistic," Dombrovskis said.

    According to the newspaper, the Commission had based its winter estimates on expectations that Greece would have successfully concluded its existing economic aid programme.

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