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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-04-01

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Athens Mayor in Beijing to drum up business for Greece's capital
  • [02] Feverish preparations ahead of troika's return to Athens
  • [03] Recapitatlisation of systemic banks enters final stage
  • [04] SYRIZA: Gov't receives the troika with hands down

  • [01] Athens Mayor in Beijing to drum up business for Greece's capital

    AMNA--Athens Mayor George Kaminis has led a large delegation from Greece on a lengthy visit to Beijing, in a bid to drum up Chinese business for Athens and help the Greek capital's transition to a more open economy. The Athens mayor has been in Beijing since last Wednesday, meeting Chinese officials and giving interviews to the Chinese media in order to highlight the city's advantages for potential investors, the Greek capital's many attractions as a tourist destination and also to encourage Chinese graduate students to study at the city's universities.

    In an interview with the Chinese newspaper "China Daily" printed on Sunday, he additionally referred to the prospects for Greek-Chinese cooperation in the trade of agricultural produce.

    Kaminis arrived at the head of a delegation including representatives of 20 Greek businesses and organisations, as well as 60 Chinese businesses operating in Greece in tourism, manufacturing, foods and construction.

    He was received by Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun, the chairman of the Beijing People's Congress Du Deyin and addressed the first meeting of the Athens-Beijing Cooperation Committee.

    The meeting with Wang was concluded with the signature of a bilateral cooperation memorandum in tourism, trade transactions and culture, as well as individual 'memorandums of shared understanding'. Both sides agreed that there were no more margins for "missed opportunities", Kaminis said, stressing the need for Athens to "come out of its shell" and unlock its great potential.

    During interviews with the Chinese news agency Xinhua and the Chinese media, Kaminis outlined initiatives taken by Athens to make become an autonomous tourism destination and called for a direct flight between Athens and Beijing, as well as the city's intention to provide support for post-graduate courses for Chinese students in Athens.

    In comments on the potential for attracting more Chinese visitors to the Greek capital, Kaminis said it was not inconceivable that the current 50,000 Chinese that visited Athens each year might be increased by as much as six times, if the appropriate groundwork was done by the various bodies involved.

    [02] Feverish preparations ahead of troika's return to Athens

    AMNA--The government continued feverish preparations for the arrival next week of experts representing Greece's troika of lenders (the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund), in a succession of meetings chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras before Sunday. Meanwhile, a meeting of the three party leaders in the coalition government to discuss the troika's return is to take place next Wednesday.

    The prime minister had yet another meeting with government officials on Saturday at his offices at Maximos Mansion, meeting Minister of State Dimitris Stamatis and the premier's office director Kostas Bouras to schedule the coming week.

    At noon the prime minister had also chaired a meeting with the head officers of the state privatisation agency Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) to discuss the progress of privatisations and action to exploit state assets. amna

    The Saturday meetings had been preceded by marathon sessions with the government's economic team on Thursday and Friday, with central Bank of Greece (BoG) governor George Provopoulos participating.

    Emerging from the second such meeting chaired by the premier late on Friday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras assured reporters that the government was ready for the upcoming troika visit.

    "We continued and completed yesterday's (Thursday) meeting on the budget, the better payoff of overdue debts, and, of course, the coming of the troika," he said.amna

    In earlier statements to reporters, Stournaras had denied that there was any "black hole" in state revenues and said that a single tax on real estate was still under discussion, while there would be no extension for the recapitalisation of banks.

    The Friday morning meeting of the government's economic staff came on the heels of marathon session chaired by Samaras on Thursday evening, lasting more than four hours, and concluded discussion on the recapitalisation of the banks, mergers, and the repercussions of the economic crisis in Cyprus.

    The prime minister is now scheduled to hold talks next Wednesday evening with the leaders of the two junior partners in his three-party coalition government, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis, ahead of the return of the troika to Athens and a new round of inspections by Greece's creditors later the same week.

    Samaras' intention is that solutions will have been found by that time to all the outstanding issues between the Greek government and the troika, especially a controversial mobility programme for public sector staff and the collection of the real estate surtax.

    [03] Recapitatlisation of systemic banks enters final stage

    AMNA--The process of recapitalisation of the major systemic banks in Greece enters into its final stage on Monday, the successful completion of which will render the banking system capable of contributing to the great wager of restarting the growth of the economy.

    Already, the central Bank of Greece (BoG) has sent letters to the systemic banks asking the administrations of National Bank (NBG), Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank to proceed at a rapid pace with the procedures for completion of their recapitisation, asking that by the end of next week at the latest they will have proceeded with the convening of their General Assemblies to approve share capital increases in the context of the recapitalisation.amna

    The BoG has asked the banks to detail, by mid-April at the latest, their strategy on how they will cover the 10 percent private participation, in other words to indicate whether or not they will be in a position to put together the 10 percent in private participation, to finalise the terms of the increases and to submit the relevant Informational Letter to the Capital Market Commission by the end of April.

    The banks have a time margin of up to mid-June to complete the share capital increases, at least those banks that have grounded hopes of putting together the 10 percent private participation. The banks that do not collect the 10 percent private participation, the total of the share capital increase will be covered by the Fiscal Stability Fund (FSF), and thus will pass into the full control of the FSF.

    [04] SYRIZA: Gov't receives the troika with hands down

    AMNA--Main opposition SYRIZA on Sunday charged the government was once again" receiving the EC, ECB, IMF troika with "its hands down, helpless to demand any differentiation from the memorandum plan of cutbacks in pensions and salaries, layoffs, the dissolution of the social state, and privatisations".

    According to an announcement, SYRIZA noted that "despite the weight of the clear failure of the memorandum programme, the search for new and more devastating measures indicates the troika's and government's determination to continue on the same disastrous course, regardless of the repercussions this has on the economy and society. amna

    The government shuts its eyes to the collapse of the economy, the unprecedented unemployment and the thousands of closures, and continues to implement the same policy.

    SYRIZA also said that the government's "only compass is the lenders' interests, and will stop nowhere in order to satisfy them".

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