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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-09-16

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Invitation to Putin to visit Greece
  • [02] Higher fines have reduced 'black labour' rate, ministry reports

  • [01] Invitation to Putin to visit Greece

    ANA-MPA -- Prime Minister Antonis Samaras extended an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Greece, during his meeting on Monday with Russia's Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko, who is currently in Athens.

    Matviyenko presented Samaras with a personal message from Putin and, according to sources, referred to the strong interest expressed by Russian firms for investments in Greece, as well as the Russian government's intention to support such investments in every way.

    The Russian official said that Gazprom intends to participate in a new tender for the sale of Greece's public gas company DEPA, while expressing complaints over the stance adopted by the European Union on this issue. She noted that the EU had created problems over Gazprom coming to Greece when the company had activity throughout Europe.

    Matviyenko also referred to Russian interest in the privatisation of Greece's railway and said she appreciated the difficulties and the struggle faced by Greeks.

    "The decisions you have made demand courage," she was quoted as saying to Samaras, according to sources. The Greek premier, in turn, appeared confident that Greece was now in the "final stretch" of a difficult course.

    Samaras also raised the issue of his letter to Putin concerning the price of natural gas, with Matviyenko replying that there had been an immediate response, that two rounds of talks had already taken place, and that she hoped that an agreement will be reached after the third round.

    Matviyenko also held a meeting with Government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, ahead of the meeting between the Greek and Russian delegations at the Foreign Ministry.

    Referring to the agenda of the talks, Venizelos said in statements following the meeting that they will focus on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations including tourism, energy, investments and privatizations. Greece will utilize to the fullest its six-month term in the rotating EU Presidency in the first half of 2014 to upgrade relations with Russia on all levels, bilaterally and with the EU, he added.

    On her part, Matviyenko thanked Venizelos for the warm welcome and referred to the years she served as the Russian Ambassador to Athens, noting that since then Greece has a special place in her heart.

    Making a special reference to the 185th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations, she said that the long cooperation between the two countries is indicative of the ties linking the two peoples through centuries, noting that "the right conditions are present to take our relations to another level".

    Matviyenko said that relations between Russia and Greece constitute an essential factor of stability in the Balkans and the greater region and, referring to the forthcoming Greek EU Presidency, underlined the need for closer relations between the EU and Russia.

    Underlining Russian President Vladimir Putin's special interest in the relations with Greece, she said that he has given her a specific order to contribute to the reinforcement of bilateral relations on all levels.

    Matviyenko said that the Russian side is very pleased with the relations between the two foreign ministries and in this context she conveyed the greetings of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov ahead of his meeting with the Greek foreign minister in the context of the UN General Assembly in New York.

    [02] Higher fines have reduced 'black labour' rate, ministry reports

    ANA-MPA -- New higher fines for undeclared 'black' labour have already started to yield results, according to a labour ministry announcement issued on Monday. Teams of inspectors from the Labour Inspection Agency (SEPE), the Social Insurance Foundation's (IKA) Special Insurance Control Service (EYPEA) and the Financial Police carried out spot checks on 340 businesses for the detection of undeclared labour on Sunday, the first day when new high fines for cases of undeclared and uninsured labour came into force.

    The checks led to the detection of 75 uninsured employees and fines totalling at least 320,000 euros were imposed.

    Labour ministry officials believe that "the employers' tendency to comply [with labour legislation] is now clearly apparent, also under the threat of the very high fines, as well as the changing of a considerable part of 'black' labour into insured and legal jobs." The ministry stressed that "during the past days alone, according to the data of the 'ERGANI' informatics system, September's balance of hirings is positive by 17,858 hirings".

    The ministry's leadership also points out that "it has become understood by all now and the employers in particular who, despite the repeated warnings of the past days did not comply, that the Labour ministry's auditing services are not joking".

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