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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-03-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Weekend News Bulletin
Monday March 21, 2016
 The refugee crisis proves the center of the European Union is human being, President Pavlopoulos says"The strident refugee crisis proves that the center of the European Union is not the currency, but the human being," President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said during his address to the President and members of the Permanent Synod of the Church of Greece on Sunday.
"On this basis it will ultimately be determined whether the European Union will continue to exist or it will dissolve," he underlined.
Referring to the role of the Church in the Greek society and especially in the current difficult times, the President underlined that in our country, it is the Church that has prevented the rupture of social tissue and our society.
 Tsipras: Europe must change course"Europe cannot continue on the same course and it cannot keep its borders open to dead-end policies that widen social injustices and keep the borders closed for persecuted people, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in the international conference "Alliance Against Austerity - for Democracy in Europe."
He underlined that a Europe unable to deal with the crisis facing, it will be a Europe without future.
"Europe should either be refounded on the basis of its founding principles and political parity between member states or it will not exist united for long," he warned.
The Greek prime minister stressed that Europe needs to disengage from the neoliberal concept of competitiveness adding that a new social contract, a new solidarity pact for growth, redistribution and social cohesion are needed.
Referring to the agreement of the summit on the refugee issue, he said that it was a first tentative step towards a decision that will deal collectively with a crisis that does not only concern the countries of origin and destination, but the international framework as a whole.
He noted that "taken into account the correlations and difficult conditions, we have reached a positive agreement, and strongly condemned the closure of the Balkan corridor from unilateral actions.
Tsipras also noted that the agreement is based on the European acquis and international law.
 Labour Min Katrougalos reassures no cuts on main pensionsThe heads of the institutions will come to Athens on April 2 and a new round of negotiations will start on April 4, Labour Minister George Katrougalos said after a meeting between Greece's economic staff and the representatives of the institutions earlier on Sunday.
The aim of the government is to have the negotiations concluded by April 11, Katrougalos stated, when the next Euro Working Group (EWG) will take place.
He noted that both sides have agreed on keeping the national pension at 384 euros and not imposing further cuts on main pensions.
 Energy Min Skourletis estimates program review can be completed in March"The coalition with ANEL is based on honesty despite the great differences that exist. I do see any reasons right now to tell that the cycle of this cooperation has closed," Energy Minister Panos Skourletis said in an interview with Sunday's Avghi newspaper.
Skourletis also called the incident with Alternate Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas "politically funny" and added: "There was no consideration that such a fact could undermine the coherence of the current ruling majority. If this was the case, it would be associated with much deeper and more serious problems."
Regarding the refugee problem, he stressed that this does not concern only Greece. "At this critical juncture it will be proved if Europe eventually follows the path of solidarity and European values or make choices that will lead to the development of centrifugal trends and far-right voices and potentially its decomposition."
The Greek minister estimated that the program review can be completed in March and reassured that the implementation of the government's parallel programme is an integral part of the entire government programme.
 Deputy Foreign Min Amanatidis optimistic over the implementation of the agreement on refugeesThe government is proceeding based on the mandate of September 20, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis said and expressed optimism over the implementation of the agreement achieved for addressing the refugee crisis.
"The Greek people has chosen us to deal with the difficult issues. That is what the government is doing right now. There is an agreement on the refugee issue, an international problem that we managed to solve on a European basis, the program review will soon be completed and we will achieve sustainable development to the benefit of the employees through the development law," Amanatidis said in statements to ANA-MPA.
Regarding the agreement on refugees, he said that all the details are not yet known, but there is optimism because among others it provides for the return of undocumented migrants to Turkey. As he said, with the updating of the readmission agreement between Greece and Turkey at least 800 people have already returned to the neighboring country.
 Governments do not fall from verbal errors, says gov't spokeswoman Gerovassili"Governments do not fall from verbal errors," government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili on Sunday said in an interview with "RealNews" newspaper and added that the parliamentary cohesion remains solid.
Asked whether Alternate Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas remains on the government, Gerovassili said that any estimates before the meetings between the prime minister and the two ministers are pointless. She stressed that Mouzalas is one of the most tireless, efficient and with broad social acceptance government members.
She also accused main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis of misguided statements and inconsistency.
 Progress achieved in tax reforms and pension reforms, says EU CommissionThe representatives of the institutions will depart from Athens on Sunday and come back on April 2 to resume the negotiations.
Meanwhile, a European Commission spokesman stated that significant progress has been achieved in tax reforms and some aspects of the social security system.
"The mission was productive. Significant progress has been achieved on the reforms regarding income taxation. Further progress has been achieved on the main issues of pension reforms. Works are in progress and will be completed during the Catholic Easter holidays.
The heads of the institutions will return to Athens on April 2 to resume negotiations."
 NBG head Katselli rules out deposits haircut and banks recapitalizationHellenic Bank Association president and National Bank's chief Luca Katselli on Sunday in an interview with Kathimerini newspaper ruled out the possibility of a deposits haircut and a new banks recapitalization.
"Greek systemic banks just came out from a successful recapitalization process ... and offer a very strong capital base," she reassured.
On non-performing loans, she said that this is a priority for the Greek banking system and important initiatives are being taken towards that direction.
Katselli estimated that capital controls can be lifted in 2016 provided that all conditions are met and added: "The restoration of confidence in the banking system takes time. The successful recapitalization is a first important step. Political and financial stability are also needed as well as a signal that the economy returns to normality and is financed like other European countries, through the usual ECB liquidity channels. These conditions can be met within the next few months."
 A total of 48,141 migrants and refugees are currently in GreeceThere are an estimated 48,141 migrants and refugees currently in Greece, according to the latest figures released on Sunday while 875 new arrivals were recorded until 7.30 am.
A total of 25,994 refugees were recorded in northern Greece, 12,000 at the camp of Idomeni, 3,855 at Cherso, Kilkis, and 3,500 at Polykastro of Nea Kavala.
As regards the rest of Greece, 7,316 are hosted on the islands and 13,010 in Attica region.
 Two refugee girls drowned off Ro islandGreek Coast Guard on Sunday collected the bodies of two little girls, aged 1 and 2 years old, off the island of Ro in the south Aegean Sea. The children fell off the boat carrying 35-40 refugees from Turkey under unclear circumstances.
 "Terra Jet" with 1,169 refugees aboard docks at Elefsina port"Terra Jet" ferry docked at the port of Elefsina on Sunday morning carrying 1,169 refugees and migrants.
Another 604 arrived at Piraeus port on Saturday night. All of them have been transferred to temporary hosting facilities.
According to the Greek Coast Guard, a total of 4,458 persons are currently hosted at the four passenger stations of Piraeus port and the storehouse.
"Eleftherios Venizelos" is expected to carry 1,372 refugees from the port of Mytilene to Kavala.
 Wada declares Greece's anti-doping agency compliant with international codeThe World Anti-Doping Agency announced on Sunday the full and on time compliance of the Greek Legislation with the International Code of WADA.
"The national anti-doping organizations of Belgium, Greece, Brazil and France resolved all issues related to the Code and are now considered fully compliant with its provisions. The Spanish and Mexican national organizations have not solved similar problems and therefore are still considered non-compliant."
Commenting on the news, Deputy Sports Minister Stavros Kontonis said: "The Greek government fully implemented its commitments to the international sports community, showing responsibility and absolute political consistency between words and actions, and modernized, after years of indifference, the national system in the battle against doping. The Olympic 'family' of our country has now all the modern weapons to fight the greatest scourge of modern sports."
"We will continue the efforts of modernization, consolidation and democratization of Greek sports, both at amateur and professional level, with legislation and reforms that will restore the sports movement within its social mission," he added.
 Weather ForecastClouds, rain and southerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 6 on the Beaufort scale. Cloudy in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 05C-19C. Clouds and rain in the western parts with temperatures between 08C-19C. Clouds in the eastern parts with temperatures between 07C-20C. Fair weather over the Aegean islands and Crete, 11C-18C. Clouds in Athens, 09C-19C. Clouds, possibility of rain in Thessaloniki, 09C-17C.
 Athens Headlines at a glanceKATHIMERINI: The secrets of the EU-Turkey agreement
?O VIMA: Europe's Ellis Island
ETHNOS: IMF... exit
AVGHI: Give a solution to our problems, not yours
RIZOSPASTIS: Refugee issue - negotiation: Two sides of the same anti-people policy
?LEFTHEROS TIPOS: The first left government that imposes so many taxes
REAL NEWS: The "union" of the crime!
PROTO THEMA: 81% SYRIZA lost the moral advantage
DIMOKRATIA: Secret dinner for new liberal party
PRIN: Midnight express for refugees
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