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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-02

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] FinMin Tsakalotos: Success of Greek program jeopardized due to delays in review
  • [02] Greece to get extra cash for refugees under EU's new Emergency Assistance instrument, Commission says

  • [01] FinMin Tsakalotos: Success of Greek program jeopardized due to delays in review

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki) – The success of Greece's economic reform program is in jeopardy due to the delays in its first review, for which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is mainly responsible, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Wednesday, during a hearing in the European Parliament's economic committee.

    "It's the government's strategy to complete the review as soon as possible. If it doesn't end soon, there will be no investments, no stability and we'll end in square one. We don't have a lot of time," he told MEPs, noting he has a difficulty understanding the IMF's stance.

    He also hailed the initiatives of the EP for its bigger involvement in the Greek program, saying a mediator is needed to examine the economic and social impact of the program and who will also play a role in the disagreements between the institutions and the Greek authorities.

    Commenting on the main issues of the first review that are still open, Tsakalotos said they are the fiscal gap until 2018, the reform of the income tax, non-performing loans (NPLs) and the pension reform. He also said that the state's spending for pensions looks a lot because revenues have dropped by 25% in the last 5 years.

    [02] Greece to get extra cash for refugees under EU's new Emergency Assistance instrument, Commission says

    The European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a proposal for an additional 700 million euros to be made available in 2016-2018 through an Emergency Assistance instrument that member-states can use to cope with humanitarian crises within the EU, including the refugees crisis.

    European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides noted that the initiative comes as the refugee crisis reaches an unprecedented scale with the need to provide immediate emergency support in several member states hosting large amounts of refugees on their territories.

    "With this proposal, we will be able to deliver emergency assistance for crises much faster than before, inside the European Union. Right now, there's no doubt that this will be particularly needed to support refugees. No time can be lost in deploying all means possible to prevent humanitarian suffering within our own borders. Today's proposal will make 700 million euros available to provide help where it is most needed. I now look to European governments and the European Parliament to quickly back the proposal," he said.

    In a press conference, Stylianides said a large part of this emergency assistance would be sent to Greece, where the humanitarian crisis was now the most severe as a result of the conditions created there.

    "At Idomeni there must be 12,000-15,000 people in need of humanitarian aid at the moment. We want to restrict the problem and help people feel better," the Commissioner said.

    Stylianides clarified that the emergency assistance given for the refugees in Greece will be in addition to the already existing funds to be spent on hotspots, relocation procedures, returns and social integration. He said the European Commission will be working closely with the Greek government to pinpoint the needs of refugees and begin providing assistance immediately, either in kind or through the use of coupons distributed by Greek banks.


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