|Monday, 25 January 2021|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-11-29
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece aims to wrap up 2nd review, has no 'Plan B', government spokesman saysThe government's plan is to wrap up the second review of Greece's programme before December 5, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos repeated on Tuesday, stressing that there was no 'Plan B'.
"We are working hard for an agreement by the end of the week...it is possible, doable and desirable to reach an agreement by December 5," he said, adding that neither Greece nor any other party had any alternative plan of action. This would be followed by the "formal" conclusion of the review by the end of the year and the inclusion of Greek bonds in the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme in the first quarter of 2017, he said.
"This is the plan on which the Greek government is working. Its aim is to capitalise on the momentum of the negotiations," he said.
Asked what will happen if an agreement proves elusive, Tzanakopoulos said that the government will persevere with the negotiation effort so that a solution is found by the end of the year. He also pointed to the very rapid progress made in the second review.
"There is a very good climate in Europe for taking short-term measures for the Greek debt, while the discussion on the medium- and long-term measures has progressed. An extension of the talks would create complications for all sides at a time that is unstable, not only in Europe but for the entire world," he noted.
Referring to the areas where the Greek government has drawn "red lines" and is not prepared to back down, Tzanakopoulos said that the agreement will not include concessions on labour issues and will "bridge the gap" in fiscal issues. He also pointed out that an agreement has been clinched on some 90 pct of the issues under discussion.
"We cannot accept a solution that is contrary to the European social model. Our position is to restore collective labour bargaining and to not accept a higher limit for mass layoffs. On no account will we agree to take unfavourable measures and to postpone restoring collective negotiations until some future time," Tzanakopoulos said. Among others, he cited European court rulings that bind European officials to negotiate within the framework of Community laws.
The spokesman also made it clear that the government was not prepared to discuss additional austerity measures after the current programme ends in 2018 and that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) "make up it's mind what it wants to do" regarding the Greek programme and realise that Greece's economy cannot withstand yet more measures.
"The IMF must put pressure on the side of the European partners to reduce the debt and primary surpluses. The demand for measures after 2018 cannot be accepted by the government," he said.
The spokesman attacked main opposition New Democracy's demand for early elections, saying this was a "dangerous plan for the Greek economy and the country" and accused ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of wanting a "fourth memorandum" and further harsh austerity.
On the Cyprus issue, Tzanakopoulos said the top priority for all sides must be a resumption of the talks while he clarified that no meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been set at this time.
"This will happen at the right time, if the talks start again," he added.
 Greek GDP figures revised upwards in Q3Greek economy grew faster than initially expected in the third quarter of 2016 after Hellenic Statistical Authority revised upwards its estimates for the country's GDP to 1.8 pct on an annual basis, from a previous estimate of 1.5 pct, while on a quarterly basis, the Greek GDP grew 0.8 pct in the July-September period from a 0.5 pct growth rate initially estimated.
The statistics service attributed this positive development to the use of data not originally available, such as monthly figures on balance of payments in September or quarterly data on the turnover of services and workforce.
The statistics service also revised upwards previous quarters' data due to the adjustment of quarterly national accounts to revised annual figures and updated figures by the general government.
According to non-seasonally adjusted data, the country's GDP grew 1.6 pct in the third quarter of 2016, compared with the same period last eyar, up from an initial estimate of 1.2 pct.
 Higher tobacco taxes will hit demandA new increase in the taxation of tobacco products will lead to a significant increase of prices (by 40-50 cents per package of 20 cigarettes and by 50 centrs per package of 30 grams of tobacco), a big decline in the consumption of legal tobacco products and finally will not have expected results on tax revenue, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said in a report.
The report noted that with an increase in the special consumption tax on cigarettes from 20 pct to 26 pct and of the special consumption tax on tobacco from 156.7 euros to 170 euros per tax unit, the government hopes to collect an addtional 121.8 million euros in taxes annually.
IOBE noted, however, that a decline in tax revenue due to lower demand for legal tobacco products is expected to eraze any increase in tax revenues from higher tax on per unit product. Particularly, tax revenue on cigarettes are expected to be lower than expected. The report said that tax revenue from tobacco products were expected to be more than 100 million euros short of budget targets in 2017.
IOBE said higher taxes on tobacco was expected to boost smuggling of tobacco products, unless more efficient measures were introduced and noted that penetration of illegal cigarettes in the market was expected to rise by more than five percentage points to 30 pct of total cigarette consumption.
The report said that the tobacco industry offered around 1.2 billion euros in added value in the Greek economy and 28,500 job positions (in terms of equal full employment) directly or indirectly related with the industry.
 Eco-friendly investments to have attractive tourism product, says TEE president StasinosThe president of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) George Stasinos presented the basic guidelines for modern town planning in the tourism sector in early 2020. Stasinos was speaking at a scientific conference "Tourist Exploitation of Real Estate - Town Planning and Tourism Development" organized in the framework of the 3rd International Tourism exhibition "Greek Tourism Expo", at the exhibition centre "Metropolitan Expo" Athens.
"We have to avoid extreme choices for tourist investments," he underlined and added: "We have to move based on common sense and take decisions that we all agree on. We want more tourists. We want higher income tourists. We want more revenue. In order for Greece to have an attractive tourism product, it must provide for units integrated to the environment."
Referring to tourist investments, Stasinos explained that "we need units relatively low in height, integrated in the natural environment and the identity of each area, based on green design, at least in the use of natural resources and energy."
"We expect new record of tourist arrivals for the new year," the general secretary of Tourism Policy and Development, George Tziallas, said and presented in detail the work of the tourism ministry, which are:
- The increase in tourist arrivals and tourism revenue,
- The extension of the tourist season,
- The development of new thematic forms of tourism,
- The promotion of new tourist destinations across the country.
 Holiday opening hours for shops in Athens to start on Dec. 15Shops and department stores in Athens will switch into holiday gear on December 15 with extended opening hours from 09:00 to 21:00 while they will also open two Sundays, on Dec. 11 and 18, ahead of Christmas weekend, the Athens Trade Association said on Tuesday.
The suggested opening hours are the following:
Dec. 11: 11.00 - 18.00
Dec. 15: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 16: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 17: 09.00 - 18.00
Dec. 18: 11.00 - 18.00
Dec. 19: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 20: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 21: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 22: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 23: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 24: 09.00 - 18.00
Dec. 25: Christmas, Closed
Dec. 26: Boxing Day, Closed
Dec. 27: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 28: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 29: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 30: 09.00 - 21.00
Dec. 31: 09.00 - 17.00
Jan. 1: New Year's Day, Closed
Jan. 2: Closed
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