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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-10-11

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New 500 million euro shortfall
  • [02] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies
  • [03] COSCO rejects allegations of special tax regime

  • [01] New 500 million euro shortfall

    AMNA--A new 'black hole' of 500 million euros turned up during the government's financial staff's meeting with the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika on Wednesday evening, after which the country's international lenders asked that this shortfall be covered through either a new extraordinary contribution or application as of this year of the cuts in holiday benefits to civil service employees and pensioners.

    According to sources, the shortfall concerns the obligation of domestic banking institutions to return this year to the state the sum of 500 million euros. The sum must be returned in the form of dividends and concerns the state reinforcement, through preferential shares, that the banks had received in 2008.

    Financial staff sources said that the Troika heads asked that the 500 million euros not be returned to the state, which drew reactions from finance minister Yannis Stournaras and alternate minister Christos Staikouras, who argued that this money represented revenues included in the 2012 budget. Indeed, on September 7, Staikouras, in a letter to central Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos and chairman of the Hellenic Banking Association George Zanias, had asked for the payment of the 500 million euros by the banks.amna

    The Troika initially responded to the Greek objections by proposing that either a new extraordinary contribution be imposed or that the holiday benefits of the civil servants and pensioners be effective as of this year, so as to cover the 'black hole' with an immediate fiscal yield. The Troika proposals were rejected by the Greek side, after which the Troika counter-proposed either a new cutback in salaries or the imposition of an extraordinary contribution on banking employees. The counter-proposal was also rejected by the financial staff, and remains open.

    As for the other open issues in the negotiation of the package of 13.9 billion euros, sources said the discussion is focusing chiefly on the measures for 2014, with the Troika insisting on 9 billion euros in measures for 2013 and the financial staff saying it was trying not to diverge greatly from the 7.8 billion euros foreseen by the budget in additional measures for 2013.amna

    Negotiation of these issues will resume on Thursday afternoon, when the finance minister is due to meet again with the Troika chiefs at 18:30.

    [02] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The government's sudden 555 bln euros blockage with the EC, ECB, IMF troika and the Finance Ministry's plan for a uniform tax on real estate properties, mostly dominated the headlines on Thursday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "The Greek expectations now at the EU Summit".

    AVGHI: "Return to para-state, government humiliates the country internationally".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Troika: Cut now the civil servants' and pensioners' holiday bonuses".

    ESTIA: "Let's make the 'Greek miracle'".

    ETHNOS: "The looting with the illegal pensions".

    IMERISSIA: "Uniform tax on real estate".

    KATHIMERINI: "Blockage with troika due to banks".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Tax storm in real estate in the search for new revenues".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "In the battle for the strike on October 18 with PAME (Labour organisation affiliated to Communist Party of Greece)".

    TA NEA: "Tax on all real estate properties".

    VRADYNI: "They impose taxes even on privately-owned fields in order to collect 3 bln euros".

    [03] COSCO rejects allegations of special tax regime

    AMNA--COSCO on Wednesday rejected press reports alleging that the European Commission has asked the Greek government to present a report over complaints made with European authorities over the tax regime offered to the Chinese company –the operator of Piraeus Port's cargo terminal.

    COSCO officials told reporters that COSCO enjoys the same tax regime as all other companies which have signed concession contracts with the Greek government to build infrastructure projects in the last 20 years in Greece.amna

    According to sources, the European Commission's inquiry on the issue was based on complaints made by the Prefect of Piraeus Yiannis Mihas and the Union of Dockers in 2009.

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