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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Agreement on Greece by May 24 Eurogroup possible with hard work, Eurozone sources say
  • [02] 'Athens Garden Festival' programme unveiled
  • [03] New law seeks to prevent toll-free travel by vehicles over 3.5 tonnes on service roads

  • [01] Agreement on Greece by May 24 Eurogroup possible with hard work, Eurozone sources say

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni) With hard work there could be an overall 'package-agreement' on the review of Greece's programme, the role of the International Monetary Fund and the country's debt at the Eurogroup meeting on May 24, Eurozone sources said here on Thursday.

    The sources noted that the institutions were expected to announce the conclusion of a staff-level agreement within the next few days so that there was an agreement in principle for the disbursement of loans at the May 24 Eurogroup meeting. The disbursement of the loans would then require the approval of five national parliaments after which, in the space of at the most two weeks, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) board would disburse the loan tranches some time in June, the sources added.

    On the IMF's participation in the programme, the Eurozone sources noted that the working hypothesis was that the IMF would remain, since its involvement in the Greek programme in some way was also a requirement set by five member-states. They noted, however, that a new IMF programme with Greece was not practically possible before the end of the summer.

    Regarding the prospect of Greece attempting to borrow from international markets before the conclusion of the programme in the second of half of 2018, the sources said that the country could "test the waters" with smaller-duration bonds as early as 2017, noting that this had been successfully attempted in 2014.

    In a comment on Greece's ability of sustain high primary surpluses of at least 3.5 pct of GDP after 2018, the same sources said this feasible, pointing to similar examples in other countries, such as Belgium, Ireland and Italy.

    They said a proposal that the ESM buy the Greek debt held by the IMF had encountered "difficulties on a political level," while noting that political agreement would be needed in order to the ESM to give profits on Greek bonds back to Greece.

    [02] 'Athens Garden Festival' programme unveiled

    The programme and line-up of the "Athens Garden Festival" - featuring nine concerts of film scores and songs over three days on June 3-5 - was announced on Thursday by festival organisers Athens Art Network and OPANDA (Athens Municipality Culture, Sport and Youth Organisation). The music festival will once again take place in the National Gardens, situated in the heart of Athens.

    The Athens Art Network was set up in 2012 by a number of artistic groups and volunteers in order to make the maximum of use of volunteerism, both artistic and otherwise, and to highlight Greece's artistic potential, while supporting cultural tourism, cultural and social values and a cultural upgrading of Athens and quality of life in the city.

    In addition to the Athens Garden Festival, the Network also organises a 10-day "Petit Paris d'Athenes" festival held each year in October.

    The Athens Garden Festival Programme is as follows:

    Friday, June 3

    18:00 - Athens Municipal Wind Instruments Philharmonic Orchestra Promenade from Syntagma through the National Gardens, conducted by Dimitris Michas.

    Central Stage

    19:00 - Carousel in cinema

    20:15 - Eptaichon

    Saturday, June 4

    Small Stage

    18:00 'Dilemma' in cinematic musical narratives

    Central Stage

    19:00 N.P. Children and Youth Symphony Orchestra playing "Dream in the Garden", conducted by Nina Patrikidou

    20:00 Soundtrack composer Marios Strofalis with the Teti Kasioni Quintet

    Sunday, June 5

    Small Stage

    18:00 '8tetto' vocal group

    Central Stage

    19:00 The "Hellenic MusicaViva" ensemble playing "Love Stories from the Cinema" conducted by Ludmilla Limorova.

    20:15 Athens Municipality Big Band

    [03] New law seeks to prevent toll-free travel by vehicles over 3.5 tonnes on service roads

    The Parliament plenum on Thursday passed an amendment submitted by Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Christos Spirtzis that will ban heavy vehicles of over 3.5 tonnes from using toll-free service roads running parallel to highways, instead of Greece's national highway system.

    "We, the state, cannot continue to pay millions for the upkeep of the service road network used by foreign trucks," Spirtzis said in support of the amendment, which was attached to draft bill ratifying the agreement between the European Union and Iraq.

    He said that exceptions will be made for companies based near a service road and, under this regime, drivers of heavy vehicles with foreign licence plates will be provided with a special sign, after paying the relevant fee when they entered the country. Based on the amendment, the exceptions to the ban will be decided by the transport minister.

    Other exceptions will include the KTEL inter-city buses, agricultural vehicles and heavy vehicles owned by local residents.

    The same amendment legislates for an independent road fees service to electronically manage road infrastructure.

    The amendement was passed with the support of ruling SYRIZA and ANEL coalition MPs, while main opposition New Democracy, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Union of Centrists voted against and the Potami party and far-right Golden Dawn voted 'present'.

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