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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-27

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek economy to return to growth in second half of 2016, PM Tsipras tells Sputnik
  • [02] ESM has favourable lending rates for countries like Greece, its SecGen said

  • [01] Greek economy to return to growth in second half of 2016, PM Tsipras tells Sputnik

    Athens expects the Greek economy to return to growth in the second half of 2016, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Russian news agency Sputnik on Friday, before he welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to Greece.

    "Economic indicators turned out to be much better than forecast. We expect that the Greek economy will be back on a path of growth in the second half of 2016. Especially after the recent positive outcome of the Eurogroup meeting and the expected increase in investment activity with the adoption of a new investment law, we are convinced that we will exceed expectations once again," Tsipras said.

    Commenting on EU-Russia relations, he said Europe cannot move forward while caught in a vicious circle of sanctions, militarization and Cold War rhetoric. "I don't believe that we can move forward or ensure compliance with international law while caught in a vicious circle of sanctions, militarization and Cold War rhetoric," Tsipras said.

    He also noted that EU sanctions against Russia and Moscow's reciprocal restrictions against EU countries affect cooperation between Russia and Greece, but positive results must be sought in several sectors, including energy.

    "EU sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions harm our trade, but we are convinced that there are sectors, such as investments in infrastructure, transport and ports, as well as energy and tourism, where we must focus our efforts in order to achieve substantial results," he explained.

    In the energy sector, Tsipras announced that Russia's Rosneft and Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) will sign a deal during Putin's visit. "As for the energy sector, in addition to the recent Edison-DEPA-Gazprom deal, another important agreement will be signed today between the Rosneft and HELPE companies," he said.

    On easing the EU visa regime for Russian nationals, the Greek premier said talks should be relaunched. In 2010, Russia submitted a draft deal to the European Union on visa-free travel between Russia and Schengen zone countries.

    "We overcame all the difficulties that arose due to changes in the issuance of Schengen visas, strengthened the work of our consulates in Russia by attracting dozens of new employees, and we are ready to meet the high demand of Russian nationals for travel to Greece. At the same time, I find it necessary, as I have already mentioned at a European level, that dialogue is relaunched on easing the visa regime for Russian citizens," Tsipras said.

    In October 2015, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow had fulfilled all the necessary conditions to abolish visas with the European Union, but Brussels had assumed a negative stance on the issue long before the deterioration in Russia-EU relations amid the Ukrainian crisis.

    Commenting on Russia's role in Syria, he said the country plays a crucial role, both diplomatically and militarily, and can make a decisive contribution in this direction particularly through the effective and coordinated fight against terrorism. "This is no easy task, but we must fight for its fulfillment. Therefore, during President Putin's visit we will have an opportunity to improve political dialogue on the regional issues like Syria," Tsipras said.

    In the same way, he noted that European security cannot be achieved without cooperation and dialogue with Russia.

    [02] ESM has favourable lending rates for countries like Greece, its SecGen said

    The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) have the current low interest rates with some long-term bond issues in recent months bonds, in favour of Greece, the ESM's Secretary General Kalin Anev Janse said in an interview with Market News International (MNI) on Friday.

    "The most important factor is how the EFSF and ESM are already helping the programme countries with our favourable lending rates. If you look at Greece for example, it currently pays the ESM/EFSF a rate of less than 1 pct, which is a very attractive rate for them. It is much less than what the IMF charges. We have done internal calculations, and we know that for Greece by borrowing through us - rather than going to the financial market - gives them an annual saving of around 8 billion euros, which is approximately 4 pct of GDP on an annual basis," Janse said.

    "With some of the longer-term bonds that we have issued in the past months, we have locked in the current low interest rates, which are another benefit. Of course the goal of the new ESM programme is that Greece must return to the bond market itself," he added.


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