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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-20

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Commissioner Avramopoulos says refugee relocation from Greece must move ahead
  • [02] FinMin Tsakalotos: Greece and creditors 'close to quite good solution,' on debt
  • [03] Government publishes invitation to tender for sale of TV licenses
  • [04] New public transport strike over the weekend

  • [01] Commissioner Avramopoulos says refugee relocation from Greece must move ahead

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni) - Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Friday it is imperative to speed up the refugee relocation program from Greece, in statements made after the end of the meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels.

    "There's no alternative to the relocation, or a plan B. Relocation from Greece must move ahead and urgently," Avramopoulos said, adding that tens of thousands of refugees remain trapped in Greece, while the overall number of asylum seekers who relocated from Italy and Greece barely exceeds 1,500.

    He also said he expressed his disappointment to the EU's interior ministers for the poor performance of member-states in the relocation program.

    [02] FinMin Tsakalotos: Greece and creditors 'close to quite good solution,' on debt

    Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was upbeat about the prospects of finding a solution with regard to Greece's debt on Friday, while addressing the Parliamentary committees processing the draft omnibus bill to be voted on this Sunday. The omnibus bill legislates for all 17 prior actions and "contingency" spending cuts mechanism needed to conclude the first review of the Greek programme.

    "We are close to quite a good solution. It is very significant that everyone now understands that Greece needs to emerge from the vicious cycle of recessionary measures that lead to more recession and new adjustment measures," he said.

    The finance minister said that the road map made in the summer after the signature of the agreement had envisioned the recapitalisation of Greek banks followed by a conclusion of the first review - where he admitted there had been some delays - and then an agreement on the debt.

    "We are now seeing a parallel discussion on the review and the debt," he pointed out.

    Talking about the automatic mechanism for spending cuts, Tsakalotos said the idea of "contingency" measures had been around since 2012 but was only now taking on definite shape, with a first definition of what this actually meant. The minister also emphasised the "symmetry" that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was now seeing for the first time between an automatic fiscal correction mechanism and an automatic debt mechanism, noting that this "greatly changes the landscape and gives us more time to negotiate."

    "What matters is not the technical solution but the result. It must be accepted that Greece has turned a new leaf and that there must be a clean, political, economic and investment corridor so that investors can invest without the additional risk of default," he said.

    [03] Government publishes invitation to tender for sale of TV licenses

    The government announced an auction for the sale of four nationwide, digital TV licenses on Friday, with a starting bid of three million euros each, according to the published document.

    Commenting on the tender, State Minister Nikos Pappas described it as "an important moment" because "Greece will no longer holds the embarrassing 'exclusivity' of being the only European country that never held a tender for its private television stations."

    "The tender ensures transparency, a level playing field for the participants and the economic viability of the companies that will be licensed," the minister said. "It also ensures jobs, the high quality of the program, it maximizes the price for the Greek State, and ensures transparency over the ownership structure of the television stations and the providence of the capital that will be invested," he added.

    Pappas noted that the publication of the tender followed after an extensive debate both in the stage of its preparation and its drafting and now the tender is opening, "despite some people's predictions and desire for the opposite".

    [04] New public transport strike over the weekend

    Employees in public transportation will strike over the weekend in protest to the omnibus bill tabled by the government that includes the prior actions required by Greece's lenders to close the program review.

    Metro employees announced they will hold a 48-hour strike starting on Saturday morning, while busses, trolley busses and the urban railway will join the labour action on Sunday and end it on Monday morning.

    Trains and suburban railway will operate normally as the Greek federation of railway employees said travellers have already bought tickets for the weekend. On Sunday, striking transport employees will hold a rally on Syntagma square, at 17.00 (local). On Monday (May 23), the unions will convene anew to decide on their next moves.


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