|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 10-10-11
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 11 October 2010 Issue No: 3615
 FinMin: Greece to return to markets sometime in 2011WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA / A. Lidorikis)
Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou predicted here that Greece will return to international markets "some time in 2011" in terms of state bond issues. In striking a distinctly optimistic tone in statements on the sidelines of the annual World Bank-IMF fall meetings here, Papaconstantinou cited the drop in spreads by some 200 points over the last few days.
"However, we cannot return to the markets at the moment with bond issues, as the cost of borrowing will be high; in any case, there is no such need as yet, as the agreement with the troika has guaranteed us the capital we need until 2012," he said.
Moreover, the Greek FinMin referred to a distinct reversal of the country's image in international markets, as he cited the achievement of policies over the past five months, one envisioned in the closely watched three-year economic adaptation programme.
"We made a strong start, we're regaining our lost trustworthiness, which will allow us to again enter the markets; nothing however, has been won yet," he underlined.
In fielding other press questions, Papaconstantinou said the Eurostat-revised, upwards, Greek budget deficit for 2009 does not affect the government's three-year plan to get its finances under control. "... We're achieving our goals despite whatever revision."
Moreover, referring to the domestic banking system, Papaconstantinou merely referred to a "restructuring", noting that alternative proposals will be submitted to the government at the end of the month by a group of advisers before any decisions are taken.
"The Greek banking system is, essentially, in private hands, and it will remain in private hands. We stand by our position over a state pylon in the banking system; this pylon can be shaped in various ways," he added.
Acknowledgment to US
On Saturday, Papaconstantinou used a "night versus day" analogy to describe the difference in attitudes towards Greece at the current meeting, as opposed to the organisations' spring conference last April.
Papaconstantinou also underlined the strong support provided by the United States that, being the IMF's biggest shareholder, contributed decisively towards such a big loan being approved for Greece.
"Without America the stability programme would not exist," he said.
Speaking at the same event, Bank of Greece (BoG) Governor George Provopoulos referred to a significant change in the stance of institutional investors and international analysts vis-à-vis the Greek economy.
According to BoG officials, institutional investors appear well-informed over the course of the ongoing readjustment programme, with the emphasis now on data concerned specialised sectors, such as steps to combat rampant tax evasion, structural reforms and developments (mergers, buy-outs etc.) in the Greek banking sector.
On his part, Provopoulos echoed Papaconstantinou's comments, saying the Greek economy is continuing to show improvement, although no let up can exist.
 FinMin meeting with Strauss-Kahn in D.C.WASHINGTON (ANA-MPA / T. Ellis)
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou expressed satisfaction over a meeting here on Sunday with IMF general director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, stressing that the positive development of the Greek economy's stabilisation programme was confirmed during the meeting.
Papaconstantinou said he received the IMF's positive assessment and that it constitutes a common evaluation that if Greece continues in the right direction markets' trust will begin to return.
Conversely, he noted that problems continue to exist, such as the need for a more effective curbing of tax evasion, as well as conditions allowing Greece's return to positive growth rates.
 PM in Corfu: 'I won't let Greece collapse'Prime Minister George Papandreou, speaking on the Ionian island of Corfu on Sunday evening, stressed that the "dilemma in the (upcoming) November elections is whether we lead the country forward or backwards".
The Greek prime minister said that he is aware that many are suffering, as well as the criticism against his government, stressing however, that "I prefer this criticism rather than letting Greece go bankrupt. The difficulties are nothing before the consequences of a bankruptcy, particularly for the weaker strata and the middle class ... I shall not let Greece collapse; it is my patriotic duty."
Papandreou also sharply criticised the opposition, saying that many from the right or left speak out against the memorandum, while merely counter-proposing a vote of exit from supervision, "because Greece is changing".
The prime minister raised the dilemma of what he called "bragging or projects", "denial and defeatism or optimism", and a "new start for an exit from the memorandum or conserva-tism."
Referring to the New Democracy party, Papandreou said it is "the same with yesterday's ND", while charging that when in power it "consciously deceived the Greek people, even on Oct. 2 2009 it was sending false data on the deficit."
"The magic solution for ND was for a time bomb to explode in the hands of others, but this did not happen because we did all that we could for the country not to go bankrupt."
Papandreou said that 2011 will be a difficult year as well, stressing on the other hand, that the sacrifices of the people are not in vain, while making a brief account of the government's work and underlining that PASOK "is here for work and not for words."
 PM tours Ionian island of CorfuPrime Minister George Papandreou visited the northern Ionian island of Corfu on Sunday, where he toured a local township and spoke with local residents on the popular holiday isle.
In discussions with local residents, the issues of agriculture production, particularly of specialised brand name products, as well as a more comprehensive policy for island regions was discussed.
On his part, Papandreou said the upcoming step of decentra-lisation -- with the institution of 13 regions as opposed to the current 54 prefectures -- will solve many of the problems now faced in the provinces, especially the lack of coordination between the central government and local government entities.
Additionally, Papandreou called for the support of local farm production, from the planting to the shipment of the final product, as he said.
Papandreou, who is accompanied by his wife, leads a high-level government delegation on the visit to the island.
 ND leader Samaras concludes Peloponnese tourMain opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras concluded his tour of the Peloponnese, in southern Greece, with a visit to the city of Megalopoli on Saturday, where he toured the market, spoke to inhabitants and went to the election centre of the candidate supported by ND for the city's mayorship.
Samaras reassured that "we are waging a struggle for the country's hope, a struggle against the policy of PASOK, that wants the people fearful, with a mentality that wants shops to be gradually extinguished. And the production forces to succumb. For there to be no optimism for young people. We are waging a struggle for young people to have the right to hope."
The ND leader went on to say "I want to request from you to forge ahead in this struggle together. And I am not requesting a vote for myself, not even for the party. I am requesting your vote for you and your families. For us to get away from desperation. For a clear future, with a struggling spirit and creativity. For us to build a better tomorrow."
Samaras also said "the elections are the first step and we must send the message to the government. Because if we send the message that all is well you can expect 2011 to be a tax storm year. Abstention is not permissible. Because abstention is in PASOK's favour."
He stressed as well that "the '80s is the decade of PASOK. It is the decade for which we are calling for the Factfinding Commission's probe to begin. PASOK for reasons that everyone understands and realises does not want this."
 ND leader Samaras visits DimitsanaMain opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras began a tour of mountainous regions in the Arcadia prefecture early on Saturday morning, accompanied by party officials.
Samaras arrived in the city of Dimitsana and speaking to inhabitants he reiterated that "this election struggle must constitute the beginning of a general change, a change in page and in course for the creation of Greece of hope and this change will take place with the vote in the November elections."
He further said that the people are pinned down but want optimism to forge ahead and stressed that "I am here for this reason, to convey the message that there is another path, of growth and of the exit from the crisis."
The ND leader called on inhabitants to support in the elections the candidates backed by ND and to vote for the candidate for the Peloponnese regional governor's post, Dimitris Drakos.
 Government spokesman replies to Samaras statementsGovernment spokesman George Petalotis, commenting on statements made on Saturday by main opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras, called on him "to leave evasions and efforts aimed at offsettings at last and prove that he realises, even now, the consequences of the disastrous policy of the ND government, of which he was a select member."
Petalotis added that Samaras "evidently does not yet realise that the replacement of political speech, vision, plan and proposal with the vagueness he is attempting is in no way profitable."
He concluded by saying that "our plan for the salvation and reshaping of Greece is producing positive results. So that we can achieve a healthy economy at last that is based on our forces and not loaned ones."
 Opposition reaction on Juncker statementMain opposition New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras charged on Saturday that the previous day's statement by Eurozone head Jean-Claude Juncker "fully vindicates the positions that I have been setting out over the past seven months."
Juncker was reportedly quoted as saying that he was aware of Greece's fiscal problems in 2008 although he said nothing in order not to harm French and German exports to the east Mediterranean countries.
"That means that either: 1) If we want to find out who is to blame for the economy we must go back to 1981 -- Something that PASOK wants to avoid for obvious reasons. 2) The European Union and mainly Germany and France must 'help out' and not the IMF."
The ND leader concluded by saying, "I supported this position at the EPP's conference, but unfortunately, I was alone ... the government not only backed their arguments, downgrading the country for petty partisan reasons, but in essence it accepted unconditionally an option that is strangling Greece and Greeks today. Let everyone draw his own conclusions."
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) stressed in an announcement that "the heads of the EU and the IMF are saying half the truth and big lies ... they are concealing that the policy of PASOK and of New Democracy that led to the country's looting by big capital had the support and the guidance of the EU and that the crisis dealt a blow at all the countries of the EU."
The Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party said that "our European friends who are jointly responsible for the derailing of the Greek economy, who were overlending us, despite the fact that they were aware of our pitiful economic state, so that we could purchase their products, usually weapon systems, and are supposedly helping us now with a 5 percent interest rate. If you have such friends, you have no need for enemies."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) party said that "what is being proved by the Juncker statements is that all were aware of the problems of the Greek economy but each for his own reasons concealed them."
Finally, former prime minister Costas Simitis reacted sharply to reports of another controversial statement attributed to Juncker, namely, that he had raised the problem of the Greek economy with a Greek prime minister, who replied to him that he can do nothing because "he is ruling a corrupt country".
Simitis spoke of "nonsense", in statement to the state television.
"It is nonsense. In my days the country had growth at a rate of 5 percent (annually) and a 4-percent deficit. I had no reason and I would not accept any discussion whether my country was corrupt or not."
 KKE leader critical of PASOK, NDCommunist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Sunday was quoted as reiterating that "big capital", no matter what its origin, will decimate the working classes and SME owners.
In comments carried in the Sunday edition of an Athens daily, the general secretary of the communist party charged that whatever development under the two mainstream parties -- PASOK and ND -- merely translated into huge profits from "big capital", whereas the situation for wage-earners and SME owners deteriorated, along with an explosion in the budget deficit.
Moreover, she was critical of a recent flurry of investment interest by China in Greece, referring to "very few (promised) jobs" linked with the new investments.
 Avramopoulos: Signs of econ crisis evident in '08Former ND minister Dimitris Avramopoulos on Sunday was quoted as saying that he repeatedly attempted to inform former prime minister Costas Karamanlis of the upcoming dire economic crisis, noting that his letters were not answered.
"All of the indications of 2008 showed that the coming economic crisis, primarily problems of fluidity in the financial system and recession. Do did not have to be an economist to predict this, and Greece did not escape (this crisis)," Avramopoulos was quoted as saying in published comments in the weekly "Proto Thema" on Sunday.
Asked about swirling speculation, mostly by the press, of the establishment of a "national unity government", the former minister and Athens mayor said the current memorandum signed by the Greek government with the EU-ECB-IMF "troika" has essentially killed any such prospect.
 Latest opinion poll resultsThe difference in support between ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy stands at 14.5 percent, according to a monthly poll carried out by the firm Public Issue and published in the Sunday edition of the daily "Kathimerini".
The poll shows PASOK losing 1.5 percentile points since September, its lowest 12-month figure, or 42.5 percent, while ND gains one percentage point to reach 28 percent of respondents' preferences.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) garnered 11 percent, while the Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.OS) party garners 5.5 percent. The Coalition of the Left party stands at 4.5 percent, while the out-of-Parliament Ecologists are picked by 2.5 percent of respondents.
As regards the question who is best suited for prime minister, George Papandreou leads with 40 percent as opposed to 21 percent for Antonis Samaras. Moreover, 29 percent of respondents believe that the best government for the country is that of PASOK; 9 percent is the figure for ND, whereas a significant 59 percent of respondents picked "neither of the two".
Another poll by the statistics faculty of the Athens Economic University, published in the newspaper "Free Sunday", gives a 3.4-percent lead to ND's candidate for the Attica region, Vassilis Kikilias, over PASOK candidate Yiannis Sgouros.
Kikilias polls 21.7 percent; Sgouros garners 18.3 percent and now independent Yiannis Dimaras 16.4 percent. "No one" is preferred by 15.9 percent, while the remaining candidates received support below 8 percent.
On the question of who is expected to win, Sgouros leads with 31.3 percent, followed by Kikilias with 21.4 percent and Yiannis Dimaras, with 14.9 percent.
 Loverdos participates in OECD conferencePARIS (ANA-MPA/O. Tsipira)
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a two-day ministerial conference here on the theme of "the priorities of the health system after the crisis" and in which Greek Minister Andreas Loverdos participated.
Speaking in an interview with the ANA-MPA on the sidelines of the conference, Loverdos admitted the difficulty of being a Greek health minister today, but added that provided that the first targets are achieved by March he will be "free" to proceed with drastic policies on the restructuring of the entire system.
Referring to the conference, the minister said "it was a very good option for me to come because these ministerial conferences do not take place often, the previous one was in 2004."
Loverdos also stressed "I wish to put the question to the policitians, the doctors, the trade unionists, the paramedics and primarily the politicians and the doctors: How did we manage to make things in health that cannot be worse."
 DM: Actions, not words needed by Turkish sideDefense Minister Evangelos Venizelos was quoted in a newspaper interview appearing on Sunday as replying to recent eyebrow-raising statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who recently claimed that Greece's economic crisis was fueled by heightened defence spending to ward off imaginary enemies.
"... it would be very important if we saw specific initiatives on the part of Turkey to decrease its own armaments programmes, particularly in military means related directly to the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. This would have a greater significance than many statements."
Venizelos stressed that the crisis is making the country more sensitive to national issues, stating that "the fiscal crisis is making us even more sensitive and careful on issues of foreign and defence policy. Nobody should believe that Greece has decreased strength in these sectors."
 Constitutionality of naturalisation law disputed, CoS to ruleThe Council of State (CoS), the country's highest administrative court, will rule on the constitutionality of certain clauses of a controversial law concerning the allocation of citizenship and political rights of repatriated Greeks and legal non-EU migrants in Greece.
A CoS rapporteur has questioned the constitutionality of Law No. 3838/2010, which gives the right to vote and stand in election for certain municipal position to repatriated Greeks and legal migrants. Next week, rapporteur will recommend that a ruling be issued by the CoS, maintaining that only through a constitutional revision can repatriated Greeks and legal migrants acquire the right to vote or run in municipal elections.
As regards a provision in the same law that provides for the naturalisation of the foreign nationals living in Greece, the recommendation leaves all options open.
The CoS' involvement comes after a lawsuit filed on April 4, 2010 by a Greek citizen requesting that the ministerial decision and all accompanying institutional procedures as unconstitu-tional.
Law No. 3838/2010 modifies and supplements existing legislation, re-defining the terms and conditions under which the children of non-EU foreign nationals may acquire Greek citizenship. It also alters the terms under which an adult foreign national may apply for Greek citizenship through naturalisation and the supporting documentation that must be submitted and includes provisions and clauses concerning granted political rights for repatriated Greeks and legal immigrants.
 FinMin Papaconstantinou ascertains considerable change in climate at IMF, World Bank annual conferenceWASHINGTON (ANA-MPA/T. Ellis)
Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou ascertains a considerable change in climate at the annual conference of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington, compared to the negative environment that had been shaped during the two organisations' spring conference last April.
"It is day with night," the minister stressed, although admitting that "the alert is not over."
The Finance minister assessed that the biggest institutional investors recognise the progress that has been achieved and stressed that the discussion is now being focused on the country's medium-term growth prospects.
Papaconstantinou also underlined the strong support provided by the United States that, being the IMF's biggest shareholder, contributed decisively for such a big loan to be approved for Greece.
"Without America the stability programme would not exist," he said.
The minister avoided commenting on Friday's statement by Eurogroup president Jeane-Claude Juncker, saying that "Greece has chronic competitiveness problems, that are known to all, that are being handled today."
Later on Saturday, the minister will be meeting his U.S. counterpart Tim Geithner and the Chinese alternate Finance minister, while he will also be meeting representatives of the Moody's firm and addressing the Institute of International Finance.
 25th International 'KOSMIMA' Exhibition opensJewellery, watches, precious and semi-precious stones will be on display as of Saturday and until October 11 at the 25th International "KOSMIMA" Exhibition that is titled "Born Precious" and is being held in Thessaloniki by HELEXPO.
Professionals in the sector will be displaying all that is new and will be having the opportunity of selecting from among thousands of pieces of jewellery and getting ideas for decorating shop windows.
Exhibitors from Greece, Italy, Turkey, India and Poland are participating in the exhibition and, through Greek representatives, Hong Kong, Austria, France, Germany, the United States and Korea.
 8th annual 'Dialogue of Cultures' con'f ends on RhodesThe 8th annual conference of the social forum "Dialogue of Civilisations" concluded on Sunday on the Dodecanese island of Rhodes, with the adoption of the "Rhodes Proclamation 2010". More than 450 delegates from 57 countries attended this year's event.
"This was a significant forum because it contributes to the dialogue between peoples and civilisations, resulting in the promotion of understanding, a foundation of peace, particularly in our wider region," Minister of State Haris Pamboukis said.
One of the co-founders of the annual event, the influential head of the state-run Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, praised the participation of several high-ranking Greek government officials at this year's forum, while he also met successively with Greek Deputy Tourism & Culture Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis.
The latter stated the Greek side's efforts to offer the maximum amount of support towards facilitating tourism visas for Russian citizens wishing to visit Greece, while praising the forum's role in showcasing the popular holiday island in the Russian market.
 Macedonian Struggle Day commemorated in ThessalonikiA memorial service was held at the Aghia (St.) Sophia cathedral in Thessaloniki on Sunday on the occasion of the commemoration of Macedonian Struggle (1904-1908) Day.
Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos officiated at the service.
The government was represented by Deputy Infrastructure, Transport and Networks Minister Yiannis Magriotis, while Thessaloniki Prefect Panayiotis Psomiadis, MPs, municipal officials and military representatives were on hand.
Similar events were held in other cities across northern Greece.
 Man arrested for cultivating 470 cannabis treesPolice arrested a 49-year-old man for having a plantation with 470 cannabis trees on property of his in Sevastiana, in the northern prefecture of Pella. The trees had a height ranging between 30 centimetres and four metres and were uprooted.
Cut trees were also found on the premises that were to be dried, as well as various packets of hashish having a total weight of about 15.5 kilos and a hunting rifle that he possessed illegally together with cartridges and a bayonet.
 Greece beats Latvia 1-0 in 2012 European Championship qualifierGreece beat Latvia 1-0 in a 2012 European Championship Group F qualifier played at Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus on Friday night. The only goal of the game was scored by Torosidis 58'. Greece now has one win and two draws in the group and its next game is with Israel.
 Rainy on MondayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday, with wind velocity reaching 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures will range between 4C and 24C. Cloudy with local showers in Athens, with southerly 3-4 beaufort winds and temperatures ranging from 15C to 23C. Same in Thessaloniki, with temperatures ranging from 9C to 17C.
 The Sunday editions of Athens' dailies in a glanceSpeculation over new and possible even harsher economic measures, unemployment and ubiquitous coverage of the domestic political scene mostly dominated the front pages of Athens' dailies on Sunday.
ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Tenure collapsing in public sector despite constitutional 'thorn'."
APOGEVMATINI: "State subsidization for 200,000 job spots following shocking prediction of 14.5% unemployment in 2011."
AVGI: "Government wants vote on memorandum".
CHORA: "The 'fireman' is setting fires via a firestorm of taxes. Greece experiences atmosphere of Parliamentary dictatorship".
AVRIANI: "Throw out the (EU-ECB-IMF) 'troika' immediately so country isn't destroyed".
ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Unemployment looms ominous. They're reducing (social security fund) contributions".
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "New memorandum for another five billion euros worth of savings. Civil servants' bonuses in the cross-hairs".
ETHNOS: "Government studies (tax, legalisation) plans for one million illegally built buildings".
EPOCHI: "Re-negotiation with new, harsher measures. Government surrenders unemployed to insurance companies."
KATHIMERINI: "The State: the great debtor. Payment delays worth 3.5 billion euros to utilities, businesses and individuals."
PARON (weekly): "We played the Americans' game, saving the dollar but sinking ourselves ... "
PROTO THEMA (weekly): "Earth and 500 truck licenses to Chinese in return for low-interest purchase of Greek bonds".
Realnews (weekly): "Top ministers dispute economic policies, decry high taxes".
RIZOSPASTIS: "Take back Power Company rate hikes".
VETO (weekly): "Nikos (Papandreou, the PM's brother) a mine under the government house. Ministers enraged with his interventions".
VIMA: "Vote of disappointment: PASOK loses ground; ND fails to pick up loss."
VRADYNI: "New objective real estate tax rates".
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