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Athens News Agency News Bulletin, 16-04-27

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

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

Wednesday April 27, 2016

CONTENTS

  • [01] Talks between government and institutions halted, two sides may meet on Wednesday
  • [02] No additional Eurogroup for Greece on Thursday, says spox
  • [03] Social security and pension bill approved in parliamentary committees
  • [04] Completion of Greek programme review positive for economy, mixture of policy a concern - report
  • [05] Pilot program to allow Greek lawyers to have fixed presence in two refugee centers
  • [06] ND says government's non-paper on ongoing negotiations is 'crass propaganda'
  • [07] Parliamentary committee probing loans to parties will ask bankers to testify
  • [08] ADEX closing report
  • [09] Greek stocks edge higher
  • [10] Crew members of Dutch freighter that run aground off Lesvos rescued
  • [11] Refugees clash with riot police in Lesvos after pelting stones at visiting minister
  • [12] Greece sends 17 migrants back to Turkey in new round of readmissions
  • [13] No ferry routes on May 8 as seamen mark Labour Day
  • [14] Train and suburban railway employees to strike on Easter weekend Politics

  • [01] Talks between government and institutions halted, two sides may meet on Wednesday

    Negotiations between the government's economic team and the representatives of the institutions were halted on Tuesday after just half an hour of talks, as the quartet said they wanted to consult among themselves and with their political supervisors, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said.

    Speaking to journalists after the meeting, the minister said a new meeting may take place on Wednesday, adding that it is not certain if an emergency Eurogroup will be held on Thursday. He also said the Greek side will not accept specific measures to be included in the package of contingent measures totaling 3.6 billion euros which the institutions are requesting, noting that "this proposal has been rejected." He said however that the IMF may insist on spelling out concrete measures.

    According to government sources, the two sides discussed the establishment of a mechanism that would ensure Greece takes these extra measures if there are deviations from the targets on primary surplus.

    Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Choiliarakis and the head of the prime minister's office, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos also participated in the meeting.

    [02] No additional Eurogroup for Greece on Thursday, says spox

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/C. Vasilaki) - There will be no additional Eurogroup meeting this Thursday as more time is needed to achieve an agreement between the Greek government and the institutions, the spokesperson of the Eurogroup president, Michel Reijns, said on Tuesday in a tweet.

    "No additional Eurogroup on Greece this Thursday, more time needed. Meeting on first review, contingency package and debt at later stage," he said.

    [03] Social security and pension bill approved in parliamentary committees

    The government's social security and pension reform bill was approved in principle in the relevant parliamentary committees on Tuesday with the votes of SYRIZA and ANEL, while all the opposition parties voted against it.

    Individual provisions were also been heavily criticized by representatives of unions as well as social and professional bodies participating in today's meeting. The debate on the articles of the bill at the plenum has been set for May 5 (Thursday).

    [04] Completion of Greek programme review positive for economy, mixture of policy a concern - report

    The Greek government will complete negotiations with the institutions on a review of the Greek economic programme "unless sudden political surprises occurred", the Parliament's State Budget Office said in its quarterly report on the Greek economy, released on Tuesday.

    The report, although it expressed reservations over the final "policy mixture" of the first review, underlined that completion of negotiations would be positive for the Greek economy for several reasons. Among others, it will contribute to stabilize and improve the political and economic climate in the country, supporting banks and smoothening funding conditions of the economy from the banking system. At the same time, completion of a review will lead to the inclusion of Greece in European Central Bank's bond-buying programme.

    The report noted, however, that a package of measures on the pension and tax systems were expected to negatively affect the economy, but stressed that the final result would be positive. "With an agreement?conditions would be created to avert a prolonging of a condition characterized by increasing burdens on the private sector, reducing incomes in the public sector, limiting capital movement, an exit of enterprises to neighboring countries?", the report said, adding that the economy was not expected to recovery automatically soon after completion of the first programme review, unless uncertainty over future policy was eradicated, governance rules changed and the necessary reforms were made. "Greece has no other option but to implement a third memorandum (with the necessary improvements where possible," the report said.

    The Parliament's State Budget Office noted that a prolonging of negotiations -expected to be completed in October/November 2015 according to initial plans- had a significant cost, such as a recession in 2016, extending an economic contraction for the ninth successive year with an accumulated GDP loss of around 28 pct and an unemployment rate of above 24 pct. The report criticized lack of government policy on growth and said that a spending cut policy was focusing on the wrong points such as freezing payments to suppliers and tax returns, undermining the real economy.

    [05] Pilot program to allow Greek lawyers to have fixed presence in two refugee centers

    Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas agreed to allow the fixed presence of lawyers in two refugee hospitality centers in Eleonas, Attica, and in Moria, Lesvos, following a meeting with the head of the Athens Bar Association, Vasilis Alexandris, on Tuesday.

    The program will be launched tentatively under the responsibility of the Bar's committee for refugees and migrants issues, headed by Panagiotis Perakis, who also participated in the meeting. The ministry said the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has also expressed an interest in offering legal aid to refugees in Moria.

    Mouzalas also briefed the representatives on the current situation in the centers, the problems facing the government, while the association presented their proposals on the refugee issue.

    Before the meeting, members of the association visited the refugee centers in Ellinikon, Eleonas, Piraeus, Skaramangas, and outside Attica, in the city of Patras and the island of Rhodes, where they offered refugees a basic briefing on their rights and the current legal framework.

    [06] ND says government's non-paper on ongoing negotiations is 'crass propaganda'

    New Democracy described on Tuesday the government's non-paper on the ongoing negotiations with the country's lenders as "crass propaganda" saying it is "highly misleading".

    The main opposition said it is misleading because it claims to protect pensions, when in fact it is cutting them 10-35 pct, while the tax-free threshold which SYRIZA pledged to keep at 12,000 euros has dropped to 9,091 euros.

    It also said the non-paper is revealing because it admits the government's so-called "red lines" disappeared and gave way to "a noose for the economy and Greeks", noting that tax payers will be called to pay not 5.4 billion euros, but 9 billion, one way or another.

    "It is the 'present' of an extra 3.6-billion-euro bill brought by Mr. [Finance Minister Euclid] Tsakalotos from Washington," ND said in a press release. "At the same time, they're sweeping cash reserves wherever they find them. While this government remains in power, the country will continue to carry a heavy burden."

    [07] Parliamentary committee probing loans to parties will ask bankers to testify

    A parliamentary committee investigating suspect loan agreements between Greek banks, political parties and the media started on Tuesday, with representatives of all parties agreeing to request full details on loans from the country's central bank and its four systemic banks.

    Discussing procedural issues, committee members said they want the Bank of Greece and the other four lenders to send them any information on loans extended to political parties by Friday. After they review the data, the representatives of the five banks will be asked to testify before the committee.

    Depending on their testimonies and the information collected, they will then decide on who and when to invite other witnesses to testify.

    Finacial News

    [08] ADEX closing report

    The May contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.95 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 2,566 contracts with 15,197 open positions in the market.

    Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 53,957 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (21,339), followed by National Bank (10,793), Eurobank (9,578), Alpha Bank (6,137), MIG (1,931), OTE (538), PPC (1,742), OPAP (472), Viohalco (206), Mytilineos (158), Hellenic Petroleum (674), Ellaktor (64), Motor Oil (58), Folli Follie (95) and Hellenic Exchanges (51).

    [09] Greek stocks edge higher

    Greek stocks edged higher in the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, recovering from an initial sharp sell-off. The composite index of the market rose 0.34 pct to end at 599.59 points, after falling as much as 1.82 pct early in the session. The Large Cap index rose 0.24 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.41 pct higher. Turnover was a low 56.41 million euros in volume of 84,780,489.

    Ellaktor (8.0 pct) Piraeus Bank (3.85 pct) and Hellenic Petroleum (3.73 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (3.36 pct), Alpha Bank (1.86 pct) and Jumbo (1.13 pct) suffered losses.

    Among market sectors, Oil (2.67 pct) and Food (1.73 pct) scored big gains, while Travel (2.69 pct) and Insurance (1.25 pct) suffered losses.

    National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 64 to 34 with another 14 issues unchanged. ANEK (19.80 pct), Sato (18.75 pct) and Boutaris (18.60 pct) were top gainers, while Galaxidi (25.91 pct), Alpha Astika (19.90 pct) and G.E.Demetriou (18.18 pct) were top losers.

    Blue chip stocks ended as follows:

    ALPHA BANK: 2.11

    EUROBANK: 0.838

    FOLLI-FOLLIE: 17.70

    VIOHALCO: 1.20

    ??? ??R??: 1.72

    ?LLAKTOR:1.35

    PPC: 3.02

    COCA COLA HBC: 18.23

    HELLENIC PETROLEUM: 3.89

    NATIONAL BANK: 0.292

    ATHENS WATER: 4.67

    JUMBO: 11.37

    METKA: 7.02

    MYTILINEOS: 3.66

    MOTOR OIL: 10.0

    OPAP: 6.62

    OTE: 8.43

    PIRAEUS BANK: 0.270

    TITAN: 19.60

    LAMDA DEVELOPMENT: 3.86

    PIRAEUS PORT: 12.52

    HELLENIC EXCHANGES: 4.86

    TERNA ENERGY: 2.80

    GRIVALIA PROPERTIES: 7.53

    AEGEAN AIRLINES: 8.35

    General News

    [10] Crew members of Dutch freighter that run aground off Lesvos rescued

    Seven crew members of Dutch-flagged freighter "Nova Cura" which run aground on reefs north of Lesbos island last week were rescued by a Greek Air Force helicopter, it was announced on Tuesday.

    The vessel had sailed from Istanbul and was heading to Aliaga, Turkey, carrying steel pipes. All crew members were transferred to Lesvos' airport while they wait for authorities to assess damages.

    [11] Refugees clash with riot police in Lesvos after pelting stones at visiting minister

    Migrants clashed with riot police at the Moria detention center in Lesvos on Tuesday afternoon with several people injured, after a visit by Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas and Dutch counterpart Klaas Dijkhoff.

    According to police, tensions started after Mouzalas told a group of about 100 unaccompanied minors detained at one wing of the center that they could be hosted in other centers for minors which are currently being built around Greece. Refugees were angered by the news and after the two ministers left, they started breaking windows and setting fire to blankets and rubbish bins. Mouzalas returned to try to calm things down but was soaked with a garden hose and pelted with stones.

    The two ministers left the camp and the riots extended to other sections of the center where refugees and migrants remain detained as they wait for their asylum applications to be reviewed.

    Police efforts to evacuate women and vulnerable families were met with anger by mainly male migrants resulting to more than 10 injuries, according to unconfirmed reports. Riot police threw teargas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. One migrant was transferred to the island hospital for treatment.

    Riot police have partly restored order in the center but a large police force remains outside the center.

    [12] Greece sends 17 migrants back to Turkey in new round of readmissions

    Greek authorities sent 17 migrants for Pakistan and countries of northern Africa back to Turkey on Tuesday with two ferry routes from Chios and Lesvos.

    On Wednesday, 13 Syrian refugees who felt they were trapped in Greece requested to be sent back to Turkey to participate in the EU relocation program. They will fly from Mytilene airport to Adana.

    [13] No ferry routes on May 8 as seamen mark Labour Day

    Ships will remain docked at the ports on May 8 (Sunday), as Greek seamen's union PNO announced it will participate in the 24-hour strike called by private sector employees union GSEE, to mark Labour Day.

    According to the union's announcement, no ship routes will be made from Saturday midnight until Sunday midnight.

    [14] Train and suburban railway employees to strike on Easter weekend

    Trains and the suburban railway will halt services from Orthodox Holy Saturday afternoon until Easter Monday morning, following a strike called by employees in the Railway Organization of Greece (OSE).

    According to a press release, employees are demanding that the government drops its plan to privatize railway network operator TRAINOSE and hires more train drivers.

    The strike will take effect at 18.00 on Saturday (April 30) and will end at 10.00 on Monday (May 2). Metro services to and from the airport will not be affected by the strike.

    36, TSOCHA ST. ATHENS 115 21 GREECE - TEL: 64.00.560-63 - FAX: 64.00.581-2 INTERNET ADDRESS: http://www.ana.gr - E-MAIL: anabul@ana gr PRESIDENT & GENERAL DIRECTOR: MICHALIS PSILOS


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