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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-06-26

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Friday, 26 June 2015 Issue No: 4986

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras: 'I am convinced we can reach a compromise...to overcome the crisis'
  • [02] New Eurogroup meeting probable on Saturday, sources say
  • [03] Greek issue discussed for two hours at summit meeting in Brussels
  • [04] PM Tsipras contacts Greek president on the phone about negotiations
  • [05] Greek president steadfastly supports prime minister's negotiating efforts, gov't sources say
  • [06] Greece insists on its positions which will submit to Eurogroup, gov't sources say
  • [07] Two proposals discussed at the Eurogroup
  • [08] Institutions propose changes in VAT system
  • [09] Eurogroup chief: Greece has not agreed with the institutions' proposal
  • [10] Hollande: Agreement on Greece is possible and necessary
  • [11] Moscovici says solution can be reached
  • [12] EU's Tusk: 'I have good hunch... this Greek story will have a happy end'
  • [13] Belgian PM: Talks must continue until solution is found
  • [14] Varoufakis says some finmins have criticised the institutions' proposal, talks to continue
  • [15] Defence Min Kammenos posts message on government determination
  • [16] Very bad agreement would be worse than non agreement, SYRIZA Parliamentary spokesman says
  • [17] Bundesbank chief says Eurosystem should not provide bridge financing to Greece
  • [18] ND's Samaras: Greece's future in Europe is non-negotiable
  • [19] PES leaders state 'absolute commitment' to keeping Greece in the eurozone
  • [20] Potami party leader: Solution is not in additional taxes
  • [21] No room for 'vindictiveness' in politics, Theodorakis replies to ND's Samaras
  • [22] Health Minister Kouroumblis says deal will be approved by SYRIZA
  • [23] The government will not succumb to creditors' audacious proposals, Alternate Social Insurance Min Says
  • [24] Alt. Culture Minister: Athens has done everything
  • [25] We need a specific commitment as to what will happen with debt, Alternate Administrative Reform Min says
  • [26] FM Kotzias in Serbia
  • [27] Bank of Greece governor rejects request to appear before parliamentary committee on Friday
  • [28] Pensions will be paid as normal, ministers say in joint announcement
  • [29] Parliament plenum passes migrant naturalisation bill in principle
  • [30] New Democracy criticises parliament head for summoning Greek central banker
  • [31] ECB assesses Greek banks' liquidity condition on a daily basis
  • [32] Hellenic Petroleum to submit offer for exploration rights in field 1 in northwestern Ionian Sea
  • [33] IMF doesn't expect Athens to miss 1.5 bln euro debt repayment on June 30, spokesman says
  • [34] Greece needs national strategic development plan for sea cruise
  • [35] Greek budget primary surplus up in Jan-May
  • [36] Greek stocks end flat
  • [37] Greek bond market closing report
  • [38] ADEX closing report
  • [39] Stavros Niarchos Foundation to allocate 100 mln euros to ease adverse effects of the crisis
  • [40] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] PM Tsipras: 'I am convinced we can reach a compromise...to overcome the crisis'

    "I am convinced we can reach a compromise so that Greece and the Eurozone can overcome the crisis," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said going into an EU leaders' summit in Brussels on Thursday, as talks in a bid to reach an agreement on Greece continued.

    "European history is full of disagreement and negotiations that end in a compromise," Tsipras said and expressed his conviction that the Greek proposals will make this possible.

    [02] New Eurogroup meeting probable on Saturday, sources say

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ Ch. Vasilaki)

    Eurozone member-states are gravitating toward convening a new Eurogroup meeting on Greece this Saturday, while negotiations will continue on Thursday and Friday to achieve an agreement on a technical level, well-informed sources said.

    European sources noted that it would be desirable if this agreement was ratified by the Greek Parliament as soon as possible, within the next few days.

    [03] Greek issue discussed for two hours at summit meeting in Brussels

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    European leaders discussed the Greek issue for two hours during the Summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday evening, although the topic was not on the agenda, European diplomatic sources said.

    According to the sources, leaders concluded that the issue of Greece must be resolved at the level of the institutions and the Eurogroup. They also decided that there's no need for another Eurozone summit meeting today or on Friday.

    The first one to speak at the meeting, the same sources said, was Eurogroup Chairman Jeroan Dijsselbloem who presented the progress made in the negotiations and was then followed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    Other leaders presented their views, according to the sources.

    [04] PM Tsipras contacts Greek president on the phone about negotiations

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras contacted President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the telephone on Thursday afternoon to brief him on the latest developments in the ongoing negotiations with Greece's creditors for an agreement on Greece.

    [05] Greek president steadfastly supports prime minister's negotiating efforts, gov't sources say

    President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos steadfastly supports the prime minister's negotiating efforts, government sources said on Thursday.

    Earlier, the premier's office announced that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had contacted Pavlopoulos on the phone and briefed him on the developments in the ongoing negotiations.

    [06] Greece insists on its positions which will submit to Eurogroup, gov't sources say

    "The Greek government insists on its positions which were accepted a few days ago as a basis for discussion," government sources on Thursday said after the conclusion of the meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the representatives of the institutions.

    The same sources added: "The proposals were specialised and submitted to the institutions and will be submitted to the European Union's institutional bodies too. They constitute a realistic approach for an immediate agreement in the framework of February 20 Eurogroup. The Greek government has shown responsibility and willingness for a political solution. Now it is time to judge the accountability and the willingness of everyone."

    [07] Two proposals discussed at the Eurogroup

    Two proposals discussed at the Eurogroup meeting - one submitted by the Greek government and one submitted by the institutions - according to government sources.

    The same sources said that one of the changes is the exclusion of the VAT on islands.

    [08] Institutions propose changes in VAT system

    The institutions -the representatives of Greece's creditors- on Thursday presented a new revised proposal to the Greek government which envisages changes in VAT rates.

    Under the new proposal, the creditors included all basic food (milk, bread, olive oil, etc) in the 13 pct VAT rate, along with energy and water, revising a previous proposal which included only fresh food products in the 13 pct rate. They also transferred to the 23 pct VAT rate hotels, restaurants and catering businesses, keeping medicines, books and theater in the low 6.0 pct VAT rate.

    The proposal also envisages the abolition of a reduced sales tax in Greek islands, while it offered the option of revising VAT rates at the end of 2016 if a program to combat tax evasion offered solid results.

    The document also proposes raising farmers' tax rate and raising advance tax payment for enterprises to 100 pct, keeping an existing property tax for 2015 and 2016 with the same annual revenue (2.65 billion euros) even if the government decided to lower property values.

    It also envisages a revision of income tax policy from September 2015 to simplify tax credit system and introducing a new tax scale which will integrate an extra solidarity tax. The creditors also suggest raising corporate tax rate to 28 pct, from 26 pct and a luxury tax rate to 13 pct.

    [09] Eurogroup chief: Greece has not agreed with the institutions' proposal

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    The Greek side has not agreed with the text the institutions have submitted to the Eurogroup, said Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

    "We will present to the ministers the documents that the institutions have jointly drafted. We do not have the Greek part's consent at the moment," he said adding "I would like to listen to the points the Greek side agrees and the points it does not agree and we will start from there."

    Asked on what he expects from today's meeting he said "hard work".

    [10] Hollande: Agreement on Greece is possible and necessary

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    A deal on Greece is possible and necessary, French President Francois Hollande said as he arrived for the EU summit here on Thursday, while he stressed that it should not be left until the last minute.

    Hollande said that the "sticking points" in the negotiations had already been identified and there were ways they could be dealt with.

    "We are not far from this," he commented, adding that the negotiations must be concluded when Greece, Europe and the eurozone were at stake.

    The quicker an agreement was reached the better, Hollande added.

    [11] Moscovici says solution can be reached

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    Arriving for the Eurogroup on Thursday, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici stressed that there is the political will to reach an agreement on Greece.

    He said talks had continued around the clock and the technical teams had met overnight to hammer out a solution.

    The two sides now know each other very well and understand each other's needs, he added, stressing that the views of the two sides were now "closer" and that talks will continue until an agreement is reached.

    He noted that there was now a document that would allow the euro area finance ministers to evaluate the situation, he said, while stressing that time was running out.

    [12] EU's Tusk: 'I have good hunch... this Greek story will have a happy end'

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ Ch. Vasilaki)

    In an upbeat message as he arrived at the building where the European leaders' summit will be held later on Thursday, European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters he had a "good hunch" that the talks on Greece will have a good outcome.

    "The last hours have been really critical. But I have a good hunch that unlike the Sophocles tragedies, this Greek story will have a happy end," he said about the ongoing negotiations.

    For the moment, Tusk noted that work was underway and that "for sure it will need still many hours," adding that more information will be available after the meetings.

    [13] Belgian PM: Talks must continue until solution is found

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ Ch. Vasilaki)

    Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel expressed hope that an agreement for Greece will be reached on Thursday but stressed that talks must continue in the following days, especially over the weekend, if this proved impossible.

    A solution for Greece and the Eurozone must be found, he said, stressing that it was important for Eurozone countries for Greece to be able to pay off its debts to them.

    "I am those who believe that we must do everything possible to find a solution," he said.

    [14] Varoufakis says some finmins have criticised the institutions' proposal, talks to continue

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki)

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Thursday that two documents have been submitted at the Eurogroup, one by Greece and another by its creditors, adding that talks will continue until there's a solution.

    "Two documents at the Eurogroup. Interestingly, several colleagues disagreed and criticised not only our text but also the text of the institutions," Varoufakis told journalists after the meeting of eurozone's finance ministers in Brussels ended without any conclusion.

    "We shall continue our deliberations, the institutions are going to look again at the two documents - our documents and their own, there will be discussions with the Greek government, and we'll continue until we find a solution," he added.

    [15] Defence Min Kammenos posts message on government determination

    Defence Minister and leader of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) Panos Kammenos on Thursday posted a message on Twitter regarding the government's determination.

    Kammenos, who is in Brussels, wrote that the government is giving a battle with the creditors and the representatives that came to "help."

    [16] Very bad agreement would be worse than non agreement, SYRIZA Parliamentary spokesman says

    Greece would be better off with no agreement than accepting a very bad deal dictated by its creditors, SYRIZA Parliamentary spokesman Thanasis Petrakos suggested in a speech at an Athens conference on "Kickstarting Growth" on Thursday.'

    "A very bad agreement, which the lenders are pushing and blackmailing for, will be a much worse development than non agreement," he said and accused the creditors of applying "asphyxiating pressure in order to humiliate the government and the Greek people."

    He repeated a call for an agreement without austerity and with a partial write-off of the debt, as well as measures to kickstart the economy.

    [17] Bundesbank chief says Eurosystem should not provide bridge financing to Greece

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA/ F. Karaviti)

    The eurosystem should not provide bridge financing to Greece, Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann said on Thursday at an economic forum in Frankfurt.

    "The Eurosystem must not provide bridge financing to Greece even in anticipation of later disbursements," said Weidmann, who also sits on the European Central Bank's Governing Council, which approves such funding to Greece.

    He criticised the fact that Greek banks used Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) funding to buy the short-term debt of the Greek government, warning that this triggered a risk of 'state funding' that was forbidden.

    Weidmann also noted that the emergency loans from the Bank of Greece were the only source of funding for Greek banks and this gave rise to doubts about their solidity.

    [18] ND's Samaras: Greece's future in Europe is non-negotiable

    Greece's future in Europe is non-negotiable, main opposition leader Antonis Samaras said during a speech at the meeting of the European People's Party (EPP) in Brussels on Thursday.

    The leader of New Democracy told his counterparts that the vast majority of the Greek people want the country to remain an integral part of Europe and the eurozone and despite "the glaring mistakes of the current government," European partners should stand on the side of Greeks wit solidarity as people "have paid a great cost."

    Samaras described the times Greece is going through as difficult noting that the country "now faces the dilemma of a very bad deal versus an uncontrollable bankruptcy."

    "Six months ago we came very close to permanently exiting the crisis and now we have returned to a much worse situation ... with all the mistakes that have been made, with all the lies which have been said, we won't let the country and our children's future be destroyed," he added.

    [19] PES leaders state 'absolute commitment' to keeping Greece in the eurozone

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Spinthourakis)

    European heads of state and governments in the Party of European Socialists (PES), in an announcement issued after meeting in Brussels on Thursday, called on Greece and its European partners to reach an agreement concerning the country's public debt.

    The same announcement acknowledged the problems that exist and repeated the leaders' absolute commitment to keeping Greece in the euro zone.

    [20] Potami party leader: Solution is not in additional taxes

    I think that the solution is not on the taxes as there are margins to limit expenses in the public sector, Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis early Thursday told Mega TV.

    Theodorakis oppposed to the possibility of elections in summer adding that this would harm tourism, which is the only certain source of income for Greeks. "We have to cooperate on a parliamentary level and avoid elections in summer. Potami party is not afraid of elections as long as they are held with clear terms and responsibility," he underlined.

    [21] No room for 'vindictiveness' in politics, Theodorakis replies to ND's Samaras

    Opposition Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis on Thursday adopted a critical position to a proposal for a 'national unity' government put forward by main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras.

    "A vindictive spirit has no place in political life, especially at this crucial time," Theodorakis said, in response to Samaras' proposal for an "ecumenical" government, in which neither Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras nor Samaras himself will participate, in order to clinch an agreement.

    "Alexis Tsipras has a fresh mandate from the Greek people. The issue is that he should himself decide now, that the time has come to do politics realistically, for the benefit of the many and not to benefit his party," Theodorakis said.

    Potami's leader also commented on the difficulties in the negotiations with Greece's creditors shortly before ending his trip to Brussels, stressing that "logic must prevail and not the extreme voices within and outside the country. Greece needs Europe but Europe also needs the Greeks," he said.

    [22] Health Minister Kouroumblis says deal will be approved by SYRIZA

    Health and Social Insurance Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis said on Thursday that the potential agreement between Greece and its creditors will be approved by SYRIZA's parliamentary group, but if it doesn't, the only solution will be to resort to elections.

    "SYRIZA is not threatened by the opposition. The opposition has its own problems and if there was a deal, you'll see what happens to the opposition and especially New Democracy. If perchance something happens, from the parliamentary group, then things will lead to elections, there's no other solution," he told private radio station Vima.

    Commenting on the ongoing negotiations, Kouroumblis said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is "making an exhausting effort" to find the best possible deal. "I believe reason will prevail."

    [23] The government will not succumb to creditors' audacious proposals, Alternate Social Insurance Min Says

    Alternate Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis on Thursday described the creditors' proposals as "audacious" adding that they will not be made acceptable.

    "There is not one in a million chance for the government to succumb to the audacious demands of the institutions," he underlined speaking to Parliament.

    [24] Alt. Culture Minister: Athens has done everything

    Alternate Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis expressed the opinion that Athens has exceeded its limits with its proposal for reaching an agreement.

    "The prime minister said that the ball is now in Europe's court. Let Europe speak. It spoke two days ago. Even German Chancellor Merkel said something but she excluded that debt issue" said Xydakis speaking to national broadcaster ERT.

    At a query what will happen if there is no deal today and if the possibility of elections exists, Xydakis said "We have time to see it until Tuesday. The Greeks are facing their history. Either they will succumb and crush to those the extreme conservative circles are demanding or seek a better life. We have taken all steps. The Greek prime minister submitted a scenario, a working plan. It is the only one that can be applied. With lots of pain and blood."

    [25] We need a specific commitment as to what will happen with debt, Alternate Administrative Reform Min says

    "We need a specific commitment as to what will happen with the debt," Alternate Administrative Reform Minister George Katrougalos on Thursday said in statements to radio Athina 9.84.

    "If we have an agreement, this means that we will have an honest compromise even it has a lot of painful elements," he said and estimated that "an honest compromise will be voted in Parliament. The issue is whether we will have a deal."

    "An honest compromise is the one that will deal with the debt issue and give to the Greek economy the possibility to recover as well as time to implement our policy," he underlined.

    [26] FM Kotzias in Serbia

    Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is paying an official visit to Serbia where he will meet with First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

    Kotzias and Dacic will make statements to the media after the conclusion of the meeting.

    Finally, Kotzias will be received by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.

    [27] Bank of Greece governor rejects request to appear before parliamentary committee on Friday

    Greek central bank Governor Yiannis Stournaras rejected on Thursday a request by Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou to appear before two parliamentary committees in the coming days citing developments in the Greek crisis, noting that he will be available from July 6th onwards.

    "As I inform you in my last letter, the comprehensive carrying out of my duties does not allow me to come in the next few days at a hearing in the Committees to which I have been called to attend," Stournaras said in his letter.

    He pointed to the daily teleconferences with the governing board of the European Central Bank (ECB) to discuss liquidity to Greek banks.

    "The continuous monitoring of developments by the Governor is absolutely necessary. I am sure that you are following the difficulties and the efforts of the Bank of Greece and the European Central Bank to address them," he said, adding he also has two trips abroad.

    "From Monday June 6, and throughout the week, I'll be at your disposal," he continued.

    The letter was a response to another one sent by Konstantopoulou in which she requested his presence on Friday at noon, to brief a parliamentary committee on a document accompanying the bank's annual monetary report which he sent on June 17.

    [28] Pensions will be paid as normal, ministers say in joint announcement

    All pensions will be paid on time as normal, Alternate Minister for Social Insurance Dimitris Stratoulis and Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said in a joint announcement on Thursday.

    "Payment of IKA pensions and those of the other funds will be carried out normally and on time," the announcement said, responding to press reports that the government was "scrambling" to collect money to pay IKA pensions.

    [29] Parliament plenum passes migrant naturalisation bill in principle

    The interior ministry's bill on citizenship and naturalisation of migrants was passed in principle by the Parliament plenum in a roll call vote on Thursday, with 172 votes in favour, 91 against and four MPs voting 'present'.

    The bill was supported by ruling coalition leader SYRIZA and the opposition parties Potami and PASOK, as well as Independent Greeks (ANEL) MP Costas Zouraris, who broke ranks with the rest of his party. Votes against were cast by New Democracy, Golden Dawn and the ruling coalition's junior member ANEL, while the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) voted present.

    [30] New Democracy criticises parliament head for summoning Greek central banker

    Main opposition New Democracy accused Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou of pursuing "personal objectives" after a parliamentary panel decided to summon Greece's central banker Yiannis Stournaras on Friday.

    "New Democracy will not contribute to the tension pursued by the parliament president," the party's parliamentary group secretary Giannis Plakiotakis said, while accusing Konstantopoulou of pursuing "personal objectives".

    Plakiotakis questioned the timing of her decision to summon the Bank of Greece governor, saying it is "fanning the flames" at a critical phase of the negotiations and showing "resentment" for the independence of the institutions.

    Financial News

    [31] ECB assesses Greek banks' liquidity condition on a daily basis

    A European Central Bank' board teleconference meeting on Thursday reassessed liquidity conditions in Greek banks. Bank sources told ANA-MPA that the Bank of Greece "took as much ELA it requested". However, there is no official information over if and how much the ELA ceiling was raised. Liquidity situation in Greek banks will be reassessed in the next 24 hours if necessary.

    [32] Hellenic Petroleum to submit offer for exploration rights in field 1 in northwestern Ionian Sea

    Hellenic Petroleum will submit an offer in a tender for hydrocarbon exploration rights in field 1 in Northwestern Ionian Sea, which has raised doubts from Albanian authorities, Grigoris Stergioulis, chief executive of the Group said on Thursday.

    Addressing a general shareholders' meeting, Stergioulis said that Hellenic Petroleum has discussed the issue of field 1 with the Foreign Affairs ministry and has decided to submit an offer -although it is not the most interesting project- to avoid any questioning of the country's territorial rights.

    Efstathios Tsotsoros, chairman of the Group, addressing the shareholders' meeting expressed the group's full support to the families of the four workers who lost their lives during a fire accident "the worst accident in the company's history" as he noted. Referring to current developments, Tsotsoros said that completion of negotiations would limit uncertainty, although the measures currently discussed would possible affect economic growth.

    Stergioulis said that with a euro-bond issue in 2014 Hellenic Petroleum is prepared to face any difficult situations and underlined the challenge of operating in international markets while the domestic banking system was facing liquidity problems.

    Tsotsoros said the group's strategy envisages a further strengthening of export activities (Hellenic Petroleum already exports 50 pct of production), evolving into a significant energy group in Eastern Mediterranean, strengthening safety, raising retail market shares from 30 pct to 40 pct over the next five years. Domestic market losses total 42 pct since 2009.

    Hellenic Petroleum plans to lower its debt by selling non-strategic participations by 2017.

    [33] IMF doesn't expect Athens to miss 1.5 bln euro debt repayment on June 30, spokesman says

    The International Monetary Fund expects Greece to make a 1.5 billion euro debt repayment on June 30 as scheduled, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said during the regular press briefing on Thursday.

    He dismissed talk of default as "speculation," and said that Greek authorities have publicly said they will meet the payment.

    In the case that the payment is missed, Rice added, the Fund will not consider the country in default but will place it in 'arrears' status, after which IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde must notify the Fund's executive board within 30 days on the nonpayment.

    Rice refused to comment on the negotiations currently underway in Brussels, noting only that strenuous efforts were being made to reach an agreement. He pointed out, however, that the proposal presented by the institutions (IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission) was unanimous and "fiscally and socially balanced," while promoting growth.

    Rice said that an agreement on Greece must ensure the economy's financing and promote structural reforms, urging Europe to undertake initiatives to ensure the sustainability of Greece's debt.

    He also stressed that the IMF does not present 'take it or leave it' ultimatums during the negotiations, while stressing the need for reforms to Greece's pension system while providing for the more vulnerable social groups.

    [34] Greece needs national strategic development plan for sea cruise

    Greece could gain a large share in the sea cruise market if the country implemented a national development strategy plan which would include a network of 6-7 ports said Kyriakos Anastasiadis, executive member of CLIA in Europe and chief executive of Celestyal Cruises, on the occasion of the release of the annual report on sea cruises on Thursday.

    Anastasiadis said this was the right time for Greece to take advantage of the will of European companies to participate in this development prospect. CLIA Europe said that Italy, Germany, UK, Spain and Italy controlled 83 pct the passenger market share.

    In 2014, Germany had 1,771,000 passengers, the UK and Ireland 1,644,000, Italy 842,000, France 593,000, Spain 454,000, Scandinavia and Finland 305,000, Sweden 143,000, Austria 122,000, Norway 109,000, Belgium/Luxembourg 77,000. Greece ranked at the bottom with 18,441 passengers in 2014, up 10 pct from 2013. Italy was the champion in revenues with 4.6 billion in 2014, up 0.7 pct, followed by Germany 3.254 billion euros (-1.4 pct), France 1.117 billion (3.9 pct), the UK 3.155 billion (1.0 pct), Spain 1.208 billion (-2.5 pct), Finland 582 million (12.4 pct), Greece 506 million euros (-11.8 pct) and Holland 399 million (11.8 pct).

    Italy was also the champion in employment in the sector (102,284), followed by Germany (49,559), UK (71,022), Spain (25,483), France (15,101), Norway (14,745), Finland (8,473), Greece (10,136), Holland (6,481) and Sweden (3,022).

    Europe remains the centre of sea cruise vessel building. The industry expects 29 new shipbuilding orders, worth 16 billion euros. European shipbuilding revenue grew 12.8 pct in 2014, with sea cruise companies spending 4.55 billion euros in new buildings and renovations in Europe. A total of 442 sea cruise companies are based in Europe, operating a fleet of 123 vessels with a capacity of 146,000 beds.

    Another 60 sea cruise vessels, with a capacity of around 89,000 beds are operating in Europe from 18 non-European companies. The industry's contribution to the European economy reaches 40.2 billion euros.

    Europe is a significant destination for sea tourism, attracting 5.85 million passengers in 2014, down 3.6 pct from 2013, of which around 1.0 million came from outside Europe.

    [35] Greek budget primary surplus up in Jan-May

    The Greek budget showed a primary surplus of 1.506 billion euros in the January-May period this year, from a surplus of 707 million euros in the corresponding period in 2014 and a budget target for a primary surplus of 556 million euros.

    State budget figures, on an amended cash basis, showed a deficit of 1.399 billion euros in the five-month period, from a deficit of 1.990 billion last year and a budget target for a shortfall of 3.481 billion euros.

    Net budget revenue totaled 18.626 billion euros in the first five months of 2015, down 2.8 pct from targets, while regular budget net revenue totaled 17.048 billion euros, down 5.4 pct from targets. This development was attributed to a 94.5 pct fall in corporate income tax revenue and a 6.4 pct decline in VAT revenue. On the other hand, property taxes surpassed targets by 18.4 pct and other non-tax revenue were up 22.3 pct in the January-May period. Public Investment Program revenue reached 1.577 billion euros, up 417 million from targets.

    In May, state budget net revenue fell short of targets by 24.6 pct, while regular budget net revenue were down 24 pct from monthly targets. This development was attributed partly to the non collection of the first installment of corporate taxes (555 million euros) and the non collection of ANFAs (132 million euros).

    State budget spending totaled 20.025 billion euros in the five-month period, down 2.628 billion euros from targets, while regular budget spending totaled 19.053 billion euros, down 1.939 billion from targets. Regular budget spending were down 3.8 pct from the same period last year. Public Investment Program spending reached 971 million euros, down 689 million from targets and down 809 million euros from the same period last year.

    In May, state budget spending reached 3.7 billion euros, down 591 million from targets, while regular budget spending totaled 3.55 billion euros, down 311 million from targets.

    [36] Greek stocks end flat

    Greek stocks ended flat in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, after moving nervously in highly volatile trading on concern over developments in negotiations between Greek authorities and the country's creditors. The composite index of the market rose 0.10 pct to end at 781.68 points, after falling to 763.49 points and rising to 794.77 points during the session. The Large Cap index rose 0.63 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.61 pct higher. Turnover was a moderate 96.87 million euros.

    Jumbo (4.40 pct), OTE (4.25 pct), Athens Water (3.97 pct) and OPAP (2.97 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while Folli Follie (4.80 pct), Grivalia Properties (1.95 pct), Eurobank (1.46 pct) and Piraeus Bank (1.05 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    Among market sectors, Insurance (5.84 pct), Telecoms (4.25 pct) and Personal Products (3.64 pct) scored big gains, while Commerce (4.77 pct), Health (2.74 pct) and Chemicals (1.40 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 48 to 47 with another 17 issues unchanged. Inform Lycos (23.47 pct), Altec (20 pct) and Medicon (20 pct) were top gainers, while Nexans (20.35 pct), Teletypos (19.42 pct) and AEGEK (18.75 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -0.59%

    Insurance: +5.84%

    Financial Services: -0.44%

    Industrial Products: +1.02%

    Commercial: -4.77%

    Real Estate: -0.25%

    Personal & Household: +3.64%

    Food & Beverages: unchanged

    Raw Materials: -0.55%

    Construction: +0.01%

    Oil: +1.29%

    Chemicals: -11.40%

    Travel & Leisure: +2.77%

    Technology: -1.31%

    Telecoms: +4.25%

    Utilities: +1.24%

    Health: -2.74%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, Eurobank and OPAP.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE

    Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.285

    Eurobank 0.135

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 4.45

    Coca Cola HBC: 20.49

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 4.67

    National Bank of Greece: 1.14

    OPAP: 7.98

    OTE: 8.34

    Piraeus Bank: 0.378

    Titan: 20.78

    Grivalia Properties: 7.05

    Aegean Airlines: 6.08

    [37] Greek bond market closing report

    The two-year state bond yield eased further to 21.52 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 22.13 pct the previous day. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds rose slightly to 9.64 pct from 9.47 pct on Wednesday, with the Greek bond yielding 10.50 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.86 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

    In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate eased to 0.162 pct from 0.163 pct, the nine-month rate rose to 0.1 pct from 0.099 pct, the six-month rate was 0.048 pct, the three-month rate was unchanged at -0.014 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.066 pct from -0.065 pct.

    [38] ADEX closing report

    The July contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 1.74 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 15,821 contracts with 22,341 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 65,858 contracts with investment interest focusing on Eurobank's contracts (18,507), followed by Alpha Bank (13,334), Piraeus Bank (16,597), National Bank (11,347), OTE (1,211), PPC (1,280), OPAP (809), Hellenic Exchanges (403), Mytilineos (269), GEK (165), Jumbo (720), Titan (168), Folli Follie (135) and Frigoglass (141).

    General News

    [39] Stavros Niarchos Foundation to allocate 100 mln euros to ease adverse effects of the crisis

    The Board of "Stavros Niarchos" Foundation announced it will allocate an additional 100 million euros to help ease the adverse effects of the crisis in Greece, its chairman Andreas Drakopoulos said during the opening of the 4th International Conference on Welfare Action, the takes place in Athens.

    The new donation programme is aimed at non-governmental organizations in Greece and will last one year. In the first initiative against the crisis, the Foundation had allocated another 100 million euros, making over 220 donations to the sectors of social welfare, health, education and culture.

    [40] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    AVGHI: D-Day. Europe decides on its future

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Enough. The prime minister rejected the creditors' extravagant demands

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Conflict of memoranda

    ESTIA: The country pays for the early elections

    ETHNOS: Battle for the debt

    IMERISSIA: Everything is in the air

    KATHIMERINI: It's time for the final negotiation

    KONTRA NEWS: Germans' coup d' etat to bring (PM Alexis) Tsipras down

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Negotiation to the limits

    RIZOSPASTIS: The government's anti-popular proposal is the continuation of the memoranda

    TA NEA: (PM Alexis) Tsipras does not take a step back on debt

    TO PONTIKI: The Europe of shame

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