|Friday, 17 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-06-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Weekend News Bulletin
 Tsipras has phone contacts with Merkel, Hollande and JunckerPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday had phone contacts with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Tsipras presented to the three leaders the Greek proposal for a mutually beneficial agreement that will give a final solution to the problem.
The prime minister briefed the government council meeting, which is still underway, on the talks with the European leaders.
Tsipras will leave on Sunday evening for Brussels.
 Monday's Eurogroup brought forward by 2-1/2 hoursThe Eurogroup meeting on Monday has been brought forward by two and a half hours, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said.
The eurozone Finance ministers will therefore meet at 12:30 (Brussels time).
Dijsselbloem gave no explanation for the move.
The summit will take place as scheduled at 19:00 (Brussels time).
 The emergency summit on Monday shows it is high time a political solution was found, State Minister Pappas saysThe emergency summit on Monday is a positive development and it demonstrates that it is high time a political solution was found, State Minister Nikos Pappas said in an interview with Sunday's Ethnos newspaper.
In that framework, he underlined: "We will reach an agreement based on the regulations, the democracy and the social cohesion."
Greece is seeking a solution that will help it return to growth in the eurozone without the mistakes of the past, Pappas noted adding that those betting on the country's destruction will be once again proved wrong.
"We are not just asking for an agreement, we are asking for a solution. In order for an agreement to be reached, this should beneficial for the people," the State Minister pointed out. He also added that this agreement should be a long-term agreement that will establish trust. It cannot be a short-term agreement that will extend uncertainty, he said.
Asked on government red lines, Pappas noted: The government red lines are those that have prevented a negative for the vast majority of the society agreement. The reinstitution of the labour rights, the non cuts of pensions and salaries, the disengagement from the devastating austerity policy and a comprehensive solution of the problem remain our red lines.
 Everything shows we will seal a deal on Monday, Alternate Finance Min Mardas estimatesSalaries and pensions will be paid normally at the end of June, Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said in statements to state broadcaster ERT on Sunday.
Referring to the IMF payment, Mardas said that the prime minister has linked the IMF payment with the funding protocol underway. "It is not an issue of liquidity, it is a matter of political decision," he underlined.
Moreover, he estimated that the government will reach an agreement on Monday's summit. "If partners did not want an agreement, they could have caused us a problem. Everything shows that we are going for an agreement," he stressed.
 An agreement will be reached next week, Alternate Admin Restructuring Minister Katrougalos estimatesAn agreement will be reached next week, Alternate Interior and Administrative Restructuring Minister George Katrougalos said in an interview with French radio Europe1 on Sunday.
He underlined that austerity does not concern only Greece, but all Europe and added:
"Greece is not a separate case. In today's Europe there are two contradictory positions - social Europe and austerity."
Katrougalos also noted that Greek banks will not impose a capital control and stressed the importance of the coming week. "Next week is crucial. It is not just Monday. It is an ongoing effort," he said.
As for the possibility of an extension, he said that technically is feasible, but he is against that prospect.
 A rift with the partners would be a national disaster, Alternate Citizen Protection Min Panousis says"A rift with the partners would be a national disaster," Alternate Citizen Protection Minister Yiannis Panousis said in an interview with 'Proto Thema' newspaper on Sunday.
The minister also said that he is favour of Greece's stay in the eurozone and stressed: "A rift would be a rift with all countries. There is no other solution. I find all these reports about China and Russia ridiculous."
Referring to migration, he said that "control is being lost" and "Europe does not help."
"It is a vicious circle which cannot be solved by Greece," he noted and added that "the international community should stop them in Turkey, before arriving here. After they have come, there is no solution."
 Government delegation to visit Russia to boost Greek exportsThe issue of removing Russian countermeasures for agricultural products exports was raised by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis during their meetings in Russia.
"What has been agreed," Lafazanis added "is that in the coming days a government delegation will visit Russia to discuss a series of specific measures and alternative solutions proposed to legally boost Greek exports."
In that framework, Lafazanis expressed his optimism over a positive outcome soon.
 Clear lead for SYRIZA in Public Issue pollPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the ruling coalition's leading party SYRIZA retained a clear lead over the opposition, according to a barometer poll conducted by Public Issue and published in the Sunday edition of the newspaper "Avghi".
Estimated voter support for SYRIZA was at 47.5 pct compared with New Democracy at 19.5 pct, Golden Dawn at 6.5 pct, Potami also at 6.5 pct, Communist Party (KKE) at 5.5 pct pct, PASOK at 4.5 pct, junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) at 4.0 pct and 4.0 pct for other parties.
Asked who is considered best prime minister, 62 pct of respondents said Alexis Tsipras, 20 pct said Antonis Samaras and 15 pct said none of them.
On the government's stance in the negotiations, 62 pct of respondents said that the government should not retreat, a 34 pct said that it should retreat, and a 4 pct did not express a view.
 Main opposition leader Samaras proposes national consensusGreece's stay in the eurozone is non negotiable, main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras said in an interview with Sunday's Kathimerini newspaper.
"Greece's exit from the eurozone," he said "it would have serious repercussions."
Samaras also stressed the importance of changing policy. "We can still get out of that impasse," he said "by implementing reforms, speeding up privatisations and reducing the state instead of imposing new taxes."
In that framework, Samaras proposed "great national consensus."
The former prime minister also attacked the government accusing it of "having received a country with surpluses and on recovery course, but it lost valuable time and plunged the economy again in deficits and recession while it cannot resist the creditors' demands."
"It downgraded its negotiating position," he stated. "It managed to isolate Greece," he said adding that now it is faced with the dramatic dilemma of a really bad agreement or a devastating default.
 Greece is before a dangerous blackmail - to accept a painful deal or default, KKE sec gen saysAhead of the emergency summit on Monday, the Greek people is once again before a dangerous blackmail. Either to accept a painful deal or lead the country to default, communist party KKE secretary general Dimitris Koutsoumbas said in an article to Real News newspaper on Sunday.
Koutsoumbas noted that in both cases additional anti-popular measures will be implemented that will reduce the income directly or indirectly, through taxation, as well as further cuts in social benefits, privatisations, and exploitation while the high debt will continue to suffocate the Greek people.
 Athens Headlines ...at a glanceAVGHI: The people on the side of the government
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Zero hour for Greece and (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras
ETHNOS: Agreement or adventure
KATHIMERINI: Anxiety over Greece's future
KONTRA NEWS: "Great" Monday for the negotiations
KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: What will Monday bring for Greece
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: A way out for the people or a rift with the capital and the EU?
PROTO THEMA: Agreement with extension and measures
REAL NEWS: (Prime Minister Alexis) Tsipras' plan on debt; the Greek proposal to be discussed on Monday's summit
TO PARON: Avoiding the crash
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