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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-06-18

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't spokesman Sakellaridis rules out a capital control
  • [02] If Greek politicians demonstrate political will, a deal is still possible, Chancellor Merkel says
  • [03] Thousands of people rally in central Athens against austerity
  • [04] Eurogroup meeting on Thursday
  • [05] Bank of Greece urges swift conclusion of an agreement with the country's partners‏
  • [06] ANA-MPA to sign cooperation agreement with Rossiya Segodnya

  • [01] Gov't spokesman Sakellaridis rules out a capital control

    ANA/MPA---The Greek banking system is strong and the deposits are ensured, government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis reassured late on Wednesday.

    Speaking to Mega TV, Sakellaridis also ruled out the possibility of imposing a capital control.

    He underlined that the government aims to reach a mutually beneficial agreement and that is why it is discussing proposals that could give society a breather. Sakellaridis noted that the institutions' insistence on a proposal that has not been approved by any parliamentary group of the Hellenic Parliament is not reasonable and added: "In any case we do not intend to leave the country uncovered."

    He stated that Greece and the institutions are aware that bridging differences is in the interest of both sides. "Nobody wants a rift right now," he stressed.

    Regarding the rejection of the central bank report by the Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou, he said: "The government respects the independence of the central bank and what it asks from the central bank is to also respect its independence," he said and claimed that there were wordings in the report which are not consistent with the role of the central bank.

    He added that Stournaras has so far cooperated well with the government so that there are no problems in the banking system. He estimated, however, that the BoG report creates problems in relation to whether he serves his role of ensuring the stability of the banking system.

    [02] If Greek politicians demonstrate political will, a deal is still possible, Chancellor Merkel says

    ANA/MPA---"Germany's efforts aim at keeping Greece in the eurozone, so that the people in Greece have the prospect of a better future,", as in Ireland, Cyprus and other countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Parliament ahead of the EU summit next week.

    "I remain convinced that, where there is will, there is a way. If the politically responsible in Greece demonstrate this political will, then an agreement with the three institutions is still possible. That would be the necessary basis for subsequent decisions at the Eurogroup and the German parliament, " Merkel added and reiterated that solidarity goes hand in hand with the same responsibility and the same efforts.

    She pointed out that Greece is on a good course, but certainly (this course) has not yet been completed.

    "Unfortunately, some necessary structural reforms were again and again postponed ... In the monetary union, solidarity and responsibility go hand in hand. Therefore, the finance ministers agreed on February 20 with the Greek government on the basis for the further work. This agreement will allow the Greek government, under the current program and its terms, to set its own priorities. The Greek government has pledged in this agreement to implement broad structural reforms. These reforms must now be implemented and the three institutions need to ratify them. In the same agreement, the Greek government reaffirms the "clear consent to the full and on time fulfillment of its financial obligations towards its creditors," she said.

    [03] Thousands of people rally in central Athens against austerity

    ANA - MPA -- A rally was in full swing on main Syntagma square in Athens on Wednesday evening where thousands of Greeks gathered to support the government in its ongoing negotiations with the country's lenders. 

    With the main slogan being "We take negotiations in our ands – We tear down austerity", leftist groups, main coalition parties SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks, local groups and workers' unions met in Athens' central square at around 19.30. Protesters chanted "A rift with austerity", "our lives don't belong to the lenders" and "dignity cannot be bought". 

      "Being here today can be read in two ways," Giannis M. who rallied at Syntagma told ANA-MPA. "On the one hand we pressure the government not to give in. The people will always be here, like they were five years ago on Syntagma. On the other hand, we show our lenders that the government is not alone, people support it," he added. 

      People held banners in English and German to send messages abroad, such as "Democracy in Europe, Demokratie fuer Europa".  

    [04] Eurogroup meeting on Thursday

    ANA/MPA---The Eurogroup convenes on Thursday in Luxembourg amidst international concern over the negotiations between Greece with the eurozone and the IMF. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will represent the Greek government. The Greek issue is first on the agenda without expecting, however, anything to be decided as negotiations at technical level has not closed yet.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had a phone contact with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late Wednesday, according to Commission's officials who did not want to make further comments.

    Meanwhile, international media do not exclude the possibility of the upgrading of the issue from the ministers to country leaders level and estimate that there will be an emergency summit in the following days.

    At the moment, these rumours are categorically denied by the representatives of the European Council president Donald Tusk.

    [05] Bank of Greece urges swift conclusion of an agreement with the country's partners‏

    ANA - MPA -- The Bank of Greece on Wednesday urged for the conclusion of a new agreement with the country's partners and said it was of the utmost importance to fend off the immediate risks to the economy, reduce uncertainty and ensure a sustainable growth outlook for Greece.

    In the Governor's Report for the year 2014, tabled to Parliament, the central bank said that failure to reach an agreement would, on the contrary, mark the beginning of a painful course that would lead initially to a Greek default and ultimately to the country's exit from the euro area and – most likely – from the European Union. A manageable debt crisis, as the one that we are currently addressing with the help of our partners, would snowball into an uncontrollable crisis, with great risks for the banking system and financial stability. An exit from the euro would only compound the already adverse environment, as the ensuing acute exchange rate crisis would send inflation soaring, the bank's governor Yiannis Stournaras said in the report.

      He noted that all this would imply deep recession, a dramatic decline in income levels, an exponential rise in unemployment and a collapse of all that the Greek economy has achieved over the years of its EU, and especially its euro area, membership. From its position as a core member of Europe, Greece would see itself relegated to the rank of a poor country in the European South.  

    "This is why the Bank of Greece firmly believes that striking an agreement with our partners is a historical imperative that we cannot afford to ignore. From all the evidence available so far, it seems that a compromise has been reached on the main conditions attached to this agreement and that little ground remains to be covered. Besides, the lowering of the primary surplus targets is a decision of paramount importance that significantly extends the time needed for fiscal adjustment and allows for additional degrees of freedom in the conduct of fiscal policy. Equally important will be the reaffirmation and articulation in more specific terms of our partners' willingness to provide debt relief, as initially stated at the Eurogroup meeting of 27 November 2012. What we need today is a viable debt deal which will spare future generations burdens that we have no right to saddle them with," the report said.

      In late 2014, there were serious indications that the Greek economy had overcome the recession and was returning to positive growth. At the time, the Bank of Greece, as well as all the international organisations, were projecting positive GDP growth in 2015 and a further pick-up in 2016. These projections have since been revised downwards, as the latest GDP data point to a sharp slowdown in annual growth and to quarterly contractions of GDP in two consecutive quarters, the central bank said, adding that the deterioration of economic sentiment indicators and financing conditions in the private sector suggest that the slowdown of the economy is likely to accelerate in the second quarter of 2015, putting the economy at risk for a renewed bout of recession.

     "The most serious and direct impact of the prevailing uncertainty in recent months has undoubtedly been the loss of confidence," the report noted, adding that this was reflected in rising Greek bond yields and the exclusion of Greek businesses from financing on the capital markets. Meanwhile, impaired confidence has hampered negotiations, strengthening the arguments of those who want Greece out of the euro area. On the domestic front, heightened uncertainty was reflected in the deterioration of economic sentiment and confidence indicators and in bank deposit withdrawals by businesses and households. Indicative of the overall climate was the fact that the outflow of deposits (amounting to some 30 billion euro in the period October 2014-April 2015) has largely taken the form of cash withdrawals and hoarding, while flight of capital has also been recorded.

    The outflow of deposits significantly squeezed the lending capacity of the banking system, forcing banks to resort to emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the Bank of Greece. Recourse to ELA also became necessary as a significant category of assets in banks' portfolios (debt instruments issued or guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic) became ineligible, as from February 2015, for Eurosystem monetary policy operations. A factor that further aggravated the liquidity situation was the postponement of payments mainly to the suppliers of general government entities and the tapping into the reserves of General Government entities through short-term borrowing. Thus, the primary balance of general government, on a cash basis, was still in surplus in the first four months of 2015, but has worsened relative to last year.  

    The adverse developments described above can for the most part be attributed to the uncertainty prevailing since the last months of 2014. Initially, this uncertainty was associated with the political standoff that ultimately led to a snap election. The Bank of Greece, in a public intervention by its Governor on 15 December 2014, had warned of the serious risks for the economy and liquidity. In 2015, uncertainty heightened on account of the difficulty to predict the outcome of negotiations on a new agreement with our partners. The decision of the Eurogroup on 20 February 2015 provided the framework for such an agreement, which produced a positive impact on the overall climate. However, the dragging-on of negotiations on the details of the framework dissipated the initial optimism and refuelled uncertainty. Against this background, all sorts of scenarios once again came to the fore, both in Greece and abroad, about the future course of the country, the possibility of default and Greece's exit from the euro area.

    As detailed in the present Report, it is not possible at present to make any safe projections about the future course of the economy. Given that the greatest problems for the Greek economy today stem from uncertainty and the loss of confidence, it is reasonable to assume that, once the climate improves, the economy will get back on track and resume an upward trajectory. For this to happen, however, the risk of a credit event must be averted once and for all and the country must remain in the euro area. And this can only be achieved if, first, a realistic agreement is concluded soon and, thereafter, if the terms of this agreement are adhered to without any wavering or delay, in conditions of political stability.   An agreement would generate positive prospects and help to make up for the ground lost in the first half of 2015. In particular, an agreement with our partners would:   ' avert the risk of very adverse developments and ensure that the sacrifices made so far by Greek citizens will not have been in vain; ' restore trust between the Greek authorities and our partners; ' secure financial support for the Greek economy from our partners and the IMF; ' provide tangible proof of our commitment to continue and deepen the necessary structural reforms and to consolidate the fiscal achievements; ' allow for milder fiscal consolidation, based on lower and more realistic targets for the general government primary surplus, while boosting growth prospects; ' create the conditions for a transition to a new medium- to long-term agreement with our partners, geared towards Greece's smooth return to the international markets and accompanied by the Eurogroup's delivery on its commitment of 27 November 2012 to provide debt relief, so as to ensure a definite exit from the crisis and a path of sustainable growth. ' In addition, an agreement would allow Greece to benefit from the favourable global environment and the ECB's quantitative easing programme.  

    "Today, five years after the first loan agreement of 2010, Greece is once again seeking financial support from its partners, as it remains excluded from financial markets. The indications from the negotiations so far are that the conclusion of an agreement would allow for a slower pace of fiscal consolidation by way of lower primary surplus requirements, in exchange for the implementation of necessary reforms. A large part of these reforms has already been carried out, while the fiscal and the current account deficits have been eliminated. Therefore, if the overdue reforms can be completed and if all other reforms under the new agreement can be implemented and fiscal balance is maintained, providing space for growth-enhancing initiatives, then the positive outlook should prove true. Our top priority right now should be to create, as soon as possible, those conditions that would enable the Greek economy to benefit from the favourable global economic environment and the highly accommodative monetary policy at the euro area level and would speed up a sustainable return to global capital markets. Such a return to markets could be accelerated provided that, first, financial support from our partners is secured. Equally important, however, is the need for the new financing agreement to be based among other things on our European partners' delivery on their commitments in November 2012 to Greek debt relief, which now need to be specified in greater detail," the central bank said.

    [06] ANA-MPA to sign cooperation agreement with Rossiya Segodnya

    ANA-MPA will sign on Thursday a cooperation agreement with the Russian news organisation Rossiya Segodnya in St. Petersburg on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been invited.

    The agreement provides for the development of bilateral cooperation in the news sector with the view to upgrading the relations between Russia and Greece. For this reason ANA-MPA and Rossiya Segodnya will jointly implement programmes that will cover the news on political, financial, cultural, tourism and sports sectors. Additionally, the agreement includes the creation of a service that will focus on the cooperation between Greece and Russia in the sectors of energy, commerce, investments, tourism and culture.

    Rossiya Segodnya is the largest news group in Russia and includes the broadcaster Russia Today, the news agency RIA Novosti and the international radio station Voice of Russia.

    The contract will be signed by ANA-MPA president and general director Mihalis Psilos and the general director of Rossiya Segodnya, Dmitry Kiselyov.

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