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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-05-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Alt. Social Insurance Min. rejects media reports on penalties to those that apply for early pension
  • [02] VAT rates will not change in current tourist season
  • [03] Use of plastic money has favourable growth prospects in Greece‏
  • [04] Greece's bathing waters of 'excellent quality'
  • [05] Finds on Naxos indicate existence of Neaderthals on the island

  • [01] Alt. Social Insurance Min. rejects media reports on penalties to those that apply for early pension

    ANA/MPA---Alternate Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis on Thursday in parliament rejected media reports and leaks that the Greek delegation submitted a proposal to Brussels Group to impose penalties to those civil servants that apply for early pension and specifically to pay insurance contributions until the age of 62.

    "I categorically deny these leaks. The Greek delegation is giving a struggle so that the zero deficit clause will not be applied because if it is implemented the 90 percent of the supplementary pensions will be evaporated. This government will give this battle to the very end," said Stratoulis.

    [02] VAT rates will not change in current tourist season

    ANA/MPA---Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis promised to Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura that VAT rates will not change in the current tourist season, said a Tourism Ministry announcement on Thursday .

    "Any change occurs in the tourist package in the future will be designed so that Greece can remain competitive in the tourism sector," Varoufakis underlined.

    Any speculations over VAT rates while negotiations are underway hurt tourism and Greece's image, according to a Tourism ministry's announcement.

    [03] Use of plastic money has favourable growth prospects in Greece‏

    ANA/MPA---The use of plastic money has very favourable growth prospects in Greece, helping in a battle against tax evasion, as the use of credit/debit cards significantly lags behind the Eurozone and EU average rates.

    A report by ANA-MPA, based on bank figures, showed the number of credit and debit cards in Greece totaled 12,610,623, of which 9,845,258 debit and 2,765,365 credit. These figures do not include pre-paid cards and cards issued by cooperative banks. According to European Central Bank figures for 2013, Greece ranked at the bottom of EU member-states list in electronic payment numbers, with only 18 such payments per person, sharply down compared with an average rate of 197 payments in the EU. Portugal has 172 payments, Cyprus 106, Italy 73, Spain 129, Finland 451, Sweden 375 and Denmark 339. the value of non-cash payments in Greece was 199 million euros in 2013, of which 78 million were card transactions. Non-cash payments in Greece (per person) are 11.5 times less compared with the average rate in the Eurozone (202).

    Expanding the use of electronic payments will have positive results in the economy, by reducing black economy and combating tax evasion, Nikos Kampanopoulos, Visa Europe managing director for Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria told ANA-MPA. "Cash is the driving force of black economy. A Visa survey showed that the percentage of black economy in the Europe was 18.5 pct of GDP (around 2.0 trillion euros). In Greece, this percentage was 24 pct (around 40 billion euros). Around 10 pct of black economy in Europe (200 billion euros) could be wiped out through electronic payments," Kampanopoulos said.

    "Offering incentives to consumers and enterprises to choose electronic payments and plastic money instead of cash would lead to higher revenues for the state," he said while presented a package of measures recommended by Visa to boost card payments, such as: tax deductions, lower VAT for use of credit/debit cards, expanding the use of electronic payments, abolishing the use of cash throughout the public sector and municipal authorities and launching a promotion campaign.

    [04] Greece's bathing waters of 'excellent quality'

    ANA/MPA---"The quality of water in Greece's seas and lakes is known and constitutes a competitive advantage of the country," Alternate Environment Minister Yiannis Tsironis said.

    From the 1540 bathing waters, 1518 were assessed, as 22 points were monitored for the first time in 2014. The new points have not been evaluated for 2014 since the minimum number of samples required by the Directive has not yet been collected. However, from the initial results of 2014 it is evident that the concentrations of microbiological parameters remain below the respective criteria values of excellent quality. For the remaining 1518 bathing waters, the classification results are the following report:

    1495 bathing waters are classified as "excellent quality". One of them are located in inland waters and the 1494 in coastal waters.

    23 bathing waters are classified as "good quality", one of which is located in inland waters and 22 in coastal waters.

    None of bathing waters was classified as "sufficient quality".

    None of bathing waters was classified as "poor quality".

    "It is everyone's care and obligation - the state and the citizens - to continuously protect our seas and coasts in the best possible way. It is up to us to maintain the quality of our waters forever," Tsironis added.

    Bathing water quality for the year 2014 was monitored and assessed in the framework of the Monitoring Programme of Bathing Water Quality that was implemented under the supervision of the Special Secretariat for Water of the Ministry of Reconstruction of production, Environment and Energy.

    [05] Finds on Naxos indicate existence of Neaderthals on the island

    ANA/MPA---Did Neaderthals exist on Naxos island? Most probably, according to new research in Stelida, situated three km northwest of the capital of Naxos at a very developed tourist area.

    The Canadian Institute in cooperation with Antiquities Ephorate of Cyclades conducted an excavation in the area which brought into the limelight a series of objects that certify the existence of early humans in the area up to 260,000 ago.

    The majority of finds, located on the surface during the 2013 research, were mostly carved stones while a quantity of emery was found (a material that is widely found on the island but not at Stelida). The ceramics found in the area are very rare and are rather from a later era.

    The Central Archaeological Council approved the five-year programme for the continuation of the research that will focus on the dating of the finds that changes the prehistoric data on Cyclades.

    Until recently, the archaeologists believed that the human activity on the islands started very later, approximately in the 5th millenium B.C while only in 1981 with the discovery of Stelida emerged the possibility of an earlier dating.

    The new programme has multiple targets. One of them is the dating of the site with the use of scientific technics in order to clarify when the early humans migrated to Europe through the Aegean basin and if this migration was realised through the sea. Moreover, an in detail analysis of the artifacts will take place and the relations of the early humans, meaning the Neaderthals and the Homo Sapiens, will be examined.

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