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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-28

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papadimitriou discusses Greek economy with U.S. official
  • [02] Greece needs to support its 'creative entrepreneurs', U.S. Ambassador Pyatt says
  • [03] The refugee crisis is not over; relocations must be accelerated, said EU Commissioner Avramopoulos
  • [04] Reduction of ELA exposure credit positive for National Bank, Moody's

  • [01] Papadimitriou discusses Greek economy with U.S. official

    Developments in the Greek economy were discussed by Economy Minister Dimitris Papadimitriou and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Jonathan Cohen during a meeting in Athens.

    Papadimitriou spoke about the recent economic data noting that the economy is showing signs of recovery from the second half of the year, while it is forecast to expand by 2.7 percent in 2017. He also noted Greece's comparative advantages in attracting foreign investments, such as Greece's geopolitical position, the highly skilled human resources and its monetary stability.

    On his side, Coen reiterated the United States' wish to contribute to this effort by creating the necessary synergies and expertise when needed.

    [02] Greece needs to support its 'creative entrepreneurs', U.S. Ambassador Pyatt says

    U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Monday presented the U.S. perspective on the prospects of the Greek economy, echoing U.S. President Barack Obama's emphasis on democracy, innovation but also the responsibility of government's to protect equality and those "left behind" by globalisation.

    Addressing the 27th annual Greek Economy Conference "Greece and the Global Disruptive Environment: A look into the future" oganised by the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens, he also praised the indomitable Greek spirit and noted that Greeks had not allowed the long years of crisis to break them:

    "Instead, what I have seen, throughout the country are creative people making changes in their communities. They're building networks, both in Greece and internationally, they're crowdfuding, seeking ways to attrack foreign investors," he said.

    The Greek government had to find ways to support and encourage this entrepreneurship and innovation, provide incentives for young people to invest their talents and put their "business roots down in Greece" by creating a good environment for starting a business, he said.

    Citing Obama again, Pyatt emphasised that countries could not "shy away from globalisation" but must embrace the new technology and the new kinds of jobs this will create, looking forward, not back.

    Pyatt also pledged the support of the U.S. in this effort, outlining embassy initiatives toward this goal and urged the Greek government to continue the reform process, by improving the regulatory environment, cutting red tape and making it easier to start and do business.

    Initiatives leading to "concrete improvements in the business and regulatory environment," a stable tax system and the repayment of tax arrears would signal to both local business people and foreign investors that the Greek government was a "good partner" and that there are opportunities for successful investment in Greece, he said.

    He repeated Obama's message that austerity alone cannot be an adequate prescription and that Greece needs a growth strategy as well, in order to increase revenues and relieve debt.

    Pyatt said that current Greek-U.S. bilateral trade was "lower than it should be" and pledged to try and reverse a trend for declining U.S. investment in Greece, calling on the Greek government to give private U.S. firms the support they need to "grow and prosper in this country.

    The ambassador also emphasised the importance of energy and a secure energy supply for the economy, as well as Greece's role in this area.

    "Greece has made great strides in developing its renewable energy sources and is a key player in efforts to ensure diversity of supply for natural gas in southeast Europe. Greece and its partners have taken important steps toward the completion of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is a key element of the southern gas corridor," Pyatt said, adding that the U.S. will continue to provide strong support for these regional energy projects.

    TAP, LNG terminals and other critical energy projects around Greece will provide "true diversification for the first time in southeast Europe," and greater security, he added.

    He expressed hope that 2017 will be the turning point for Greece and lead to a recovery in which small businesses and entrepreneurs will be the "backbone" of the new Greek economy, "powered by new ideas and transformative technology".

    [03] The refugee crisis is not over; relocations must be accelerated, said EU Commissioner Avramopoulos

    European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopulos called on the EU state members to continue and accelerate the refugee relocations from Greece and Italy and to send more experts to assist in the elaboration of the asylum requests.

    In statements to the press in Athens on Monday, Avramopoulos referred to the need of "real solidarity not only in words and not a la carte".

    He expressed his sorrow over the tragic incidents in the hospot of Moria "The Greek authorities are taking the necessary measures to prevent such incidents in the future" he noted and praised the Greek citizens' for their patience and compassion.

    The Greek commissioner said that the condition (on the migration issue) in Europe "remains fragile" and that the "refugee and migration crisis is not over". The condition has improved but the the condition on the Greek islands is still difficult, he said.

    He reiteratied that "EU-Turkey agreement must continue at any cost" adding that it is "our priority".

    Avramopoulos participated at a press conference on the occasion of the 6th EASO Consultative Forum Plenary Meeting which is held in Athens on Monday and Tuesday.

    [04] Reduction of ELA exposure credit positive for National Bank, Moody's

    A reduction of National Bank's exposure to the ELA mechanism to 4.5 billion euros at the end of September, or around 5.5 pct of its assets, is credit positive for the bank, Moody's credit rating said in a report released on Monday.

    The reduction is credit positive because it improves liquidity and National Bank's credit profile and reduces its dependence from central bank's funding mechanism, a prior action for every positive credit rating in the next 12-18 months, Moody's said. National Bank reduced its ELA exposure to 4.5 billion euros from 17.6 billion in June 2015, without using state guarantees as collateral, Moody's said, adding that ELA exposure was the lowest in the Greek banking system. The bank achieved this reduction through the sale of assets such as the Turkish subsidiary Finansbank and the Astir Palace Vouliagmeni Hotel. Other positive factors were a return in deposits, a securitization of loans to SMEs and a decision by ECB to restore a waiver on Greek bonds. National Bank used more the interbank repos market, with liabilities reaching 4.8 billion euros, Moody's said.

    National Bank's deposits grew 1.6 pct in September, on an annual basis. A partial relaxing of capital controls led to an increase in deposit by around 400 million euros in the third quarter, Moody's said, adding that a further relaxing of capital controls could lead to capital inflows worth more than 15 billion euros in cash that households (mostly) continue holding outside the banking system. National Bank is in a good position to absorb a significan part of these new deposits, Moody's noted.

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