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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-03-03

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't spokesman: Disbursement of 7.2 bln euro tranche an open issue
  • [02] FM Kotzias: Greece and Cyprus could play the 'bridge role' between EU and Russia
  • [03] State Min. Flambouraris: Nobody will lay hands on water supply and energy

  • [01] Gov't spokesman: Disbursement of 7.2 bln euro tranche an open issue

    ANA/MPA---"We have inherited this situation," government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis on Tuesday said referring to the financing problem, but reassured that there will be no problem and Greece's obligations towards the country itself and abroad will be paid.

    Speaking to private radio "Parapolitika", he said the disbursement of the 7.2 billion euro tranche is an open issue and expressed his optimism over a positive outcome. He noted that the government knew that March would be a difficult month as far as it regards the country's obligations, something that the former government also knew and former Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis has admitted.

    Asked on whether the government is working on new measures, he said that "it is engaged by the Eurogroup's decision that signed and co-formed and is not engaged for nothing more than that. Nobody has asked the Greek government to implement and conclude successfully the previous programme" adding that "at this moment there is no plan in the government for extraordinary contribution."

    Referring to the settlement of the overdue debts, he said that the draft law will be tabled soon and when it is ready the government will ask for the lenders' opinion in order everything to be held within an agreed framework.

    "The difference between this government and the former one is that we are in the position to legislate by ourselves," he said.

    On the abolition of ENFIA (Uniform Real Estate Ownership Tax), he said that the Finance ministry and Alternate Minister Nadia Valavani are currently examining its replacement with the large property tax.

    He also expressed the government's unconditional support to Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, saying that no problem exists with the Finance Minister and that the Greek government believes that he is carrying out his duty in the best possible way.

    [02] FM Kotzias: Greece and Cyprus could play the 'bridge role' between EU and Russia

    ANA/MPA---Greece and Cyprus could play the "bridge role" between the EU and a country such as Russia, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told Russian foreign-language news agency Sputnik in an interview.

    "We've never waged wars against each other, there have never been opposing powers, we've never had any kind of negative characteristics that exist between EU member states. This means that we are the country that could play the role of a ‘bridge,'" he added, noting that both Greece and Cyprus are not only members of the EU, but do not even reckon themselves outside the EU, despite their traditional relations with the BRICS countries.

    "We are especially connected with such countries as India (in the ancient times), China (when we were two big civilizations and cultures – China in Asia and Greece in Europe for three-four thousand years) and Russia with which we have always had deep historical, cultural and religious ties," he said.

    Referring to sanctions against Russia, Kotzias said that Greece spoke up as "In Athens we've stopped thinking that there is a European policy without us which would be coming from Brussels to us," adding that the EU must take Greece's interests into consideration.

    "Over the last 50 years, Greece did not have a voice in Brussels as there were no ears to hear it. I think that beginning with January 29 when we discussed the issues of sectoral sanctions [against Russia], the ears of the Europeans opened, and we now, respecting all other member-states, contribute to the creation of European politics," he said.

    According to the report, the minister "recalled an ancient Greek myth about Zeus abducting the beautiful Europa, daughter of the Mediterranean, and taking her to the mountains of Crete" as "without this abduction Europe would not have existed today."

    Greece believes that economic sanctions are useless in attempts to force another country to change its political motives, Kotzias said.

    "In the history of the international relations there are sanctions that actually served, but only in the sense that they eased or brought to negotiations. As I have already said, in most cases sanctions are not efficient, especially when they originate from a burst of anger or a wish to subordinate your opposing side," Kotzias noted.

    Kotzias said the new Greek government was against sectoral sanctions on Russia while "Other kinds of sanctions were imposed long before we set up our government."

    Kotzias referred also to past experiences by Greece: "We should remember the Greek experience. Greece laid sanctions and embargo against FYROM and as you know these measures led to a situation that the only winners were some oligarchs who committed raw materials smuggling. It was proved that sanctions are not an efficient instrument, and they are not efficient in any case," Kotzias said.

    Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias has also commented on the new gas pipeline that the Russian side has put forward to replace the South Stream one. "Greece is planning to be a connecting link including the ideas concerning the pipeline that comes from Turkey," Kotzias underlined.

    "We think that what is needed is the stabilization of peace in Ukraine and Europe should not come to rupture in its relations with Russia, as well as Russia should also avoid taking actions that do not lead to trust relations with the European Union," Kotzias added.

    "In the long-term perspective Russia has to be affiliated in the European security architecture and there should not be formed a security system against Russia," Kotzias noted.

    [03] State Min. Flambouraris: Nobody will lay hands on water supply and energy

    ANA/MPA---State Minister Alekos Flambouraris on Tuesday in an interview with private radio "Sto Kokkino" ruled out the possibility of water and energy passing over to private hands.

    On the extension of the loan agreement, he said that it will come to the parliament for discussion on the level of political leaders and there is no need to be voted.

    "We will be in time and we will succeed" stated Flambouraris while referring to the austerity policies in Europe he noted "There is no other way, Europe cannot continue to live in this way with citizens with no electricity and heating and searching in the bins for food. This will be reversed, we happened to be the first, others will follow. And we will have time and we will stay for many years because we have the people by our side."

    On the privatisations, he underlined that the water supply and the energy (PPC, EYDAP and EYATH) will not be touched by anyone. He pledged on the review of the privatisations and of the companies whose contracts have not been completed, for example for the 14 regional airports of the country. He also referred to the development of the State assets that reach 300,000 million euros and ruled out their sell off.

    Regarding the banking system, the State Minister reiterated that the government will proceed with the change of their management "The banks are a lever of development so they must have a management that will be under the state and the social control in order to be obliged to finance small and medium sized enterprises."

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