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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Pension reforms finalised in 1st review, Labour minister insists after finance ministry meeting
  • [02] 'State Hermitage Museum: Gateway to History' exhibition opening at BCM in Athens on Wednesday

  • [01] Pension reforms finalised in 1st review, Labour minister insists after finance ministry meeting

    The issue of Greece's pension system was settled during the first review of the Greek programme, Labour Minister George Katrougalos insisted on Tuesday, as he emerged from a meeting held at the finance ministry.

    "What is happening now is to check the implementation of the law and the operation of the Single Social Insurance Agency," Katrougalos told reporters, noting that the necessary decisions and circulars were still pending. This was a very difficult task, he added, but all decisions and circulars will be issued in time.

    The labour minister further explained that there will be a "clean-up" of welfare benefits, stopping those that "overlapped" with the Social Solidarity Income, but without cuts to special categories of welfare payments, such as those to the disabled or family benefits.

    Alternate Finance Minister George Chouliarakis, replying to questions, ruled out an abolition of heating benefits and noted that the 105 million euros earmarked for this had already been added to the 2017 budget.

    In addition to Katrougalos and Chouliarakis, the meeting included Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and Alternate Labour Minister for Social Solidarity issues Theano Fotiou.

    In a statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) and in response to a document that Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem sent to the Dutch Parliament regarding the second review of the Greek programme, Katrougalos said there had been an "extensive misinterpretation of these statements."

    "Others say that it will be a separate issue at the Eurogroup on November 7, others say that the pensions issue is opening again. None of that is the case. The pensions issue has finalised and will not reopen in the context of the second review," he said, repeating that the focus of the institutions was on the implementation of the measures, through the necessary ministerial decisions and circulars.

    "This must be what the Dutch finance minister was referring to and, in any case, no one has raised a repetition of a review of the social insurance system," he added.

    Finance ministry sources backed up the minister, saying that the pension system had not been among the issues for the second review and was not raised in meetings with the institutions held in Athens last week. The Social Solidarity benefit was among the issues included in the second review and this was presumably what Dijsselbloem was referring to, they added.

    [02] 'State Hermitage Museum: Gateway to History' exhibition opening at BCM in Athens on Wednesday

    The "State Hermitage Museum: Gateway to History" exhibition opens its doors at the Byzantine and Christian Museum (BCM) in Athens on Wednesday, following an official inauguration ceremony by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.

    In a press conference also attended by Hermitage Museum Director Mikhail Borisovich Piotrovski on Tuesday, culture and sports ministry general secretary Maria Andreadaki-Blazaki said the exhibition illustrated the "encyclopaedic spirit" of the St. Petersburg-based Hermitage Museum through the presentation of a great variety of works from different cultural environments spanning an extended period of time.

    BCM Director Aikaterini Delaporta said that part of the exhibition, which was designed by the BCM, aimed to introduce Greek visitors into a period in the history of art from the Renaissance in the 15th century to the present day, based on the Hermitage collections. It also includes some archaeological artifacts and works of art, including paintings, miniatures and sculpture, that are representative of Hermitage Museum collections dating from the 5th century B.C. to the 20th century.

    The exhibition is divided into two main sections, the first of which is devoted to miniatures and the personal objects of the Russian czars but also the Hermitage Museum itself and will be held in the main building. The second, featuring works of art from the Renaissance to the 20th century and would be held in the BCM's temporary exhibitions gallery.

    Among the most notable items were the gold decorative buckles and other jewellery made by the peoples on the north shores of the Black Sea, Scythian artifacts with a strong Greek influence, Hellenistic-era items and richly decorated personal items owned by Russia's royalty, included gifts presented by foreign diplomats. The second section includes works representative of all trends in European art, including masterpieces by El Greco, Rubens, Caravaggio, Canova and Rodin.

    The exhibition is considered the foremost event marking Greece Russia Year 2016 and will run until February 26, 2017.

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