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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-03-09

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM requests off-the-agenda debate on justice issues in Parliament
  • [02] Coordinating body spokesman says evacuating Idomeni is a priority
  • [03] Council of Europe representative says Greece cannot carry alone the burden of refugee crisis
  • [04] Greek banks further cut borrowing from ECB, ELA in February
  • [05] Passenger traffic in Greek airports up 15.3 pct in Jan-Feb‏

  • [01] PM requests off-the-agenda debate on justice issues in Parliament

    In a letter to Parliament President Nikos Voutsis on Wednesday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked for an off-the-agenda debate in Parliament focusing exclusively on the latest developments concerning justice and the government's policies in this area.

    "Over the recent period, public debate has been inundated and poisoned by groundless and insincere claims concerning the manner of exercising government policy in the justice sector. These claims are being promoted by specific centres that have reasons to fear an unobstructed and independent judicial process," Tsipras said, accusing the opposition parties of reproducing the same claims.

    The prime minister noted that the government's goal was to restore the citizens' faith in the justice system, which he said had been especially damaged by the irregular and unconstitutional interference in justice by recent governments. As examples, he cited the progress in investigating the "Borjans List" and the previous "Lagarde List" of Greeks with substantial deposits abroad, the bank loans issued without any collateral and other financial crimes at the expense of the Greek public sector.

    "Given the above, it is our obligation to open a relevant public dialogue in a substantive way within Parliament and at the highest possible level, without evasions and ruses in the manner attempted by the opposition in the past few days," Tsipras said.

    According to sources in Parliament, the date for the off-the-agenda debate will be announced on Thursday, after the Conference of Presidents meeting, and will probably be set for the coming week.

    [02] Coordinating body spokesman says evacuating Idomeni is a priority

    The Coordinating Body for the Management of the Refugee Crisis rejected on Wednesday press reports claiming the police will evacuate the refugee camp in Idomeni in the coming days, saying that the body will instead distribute flyers explaining to people the situation.

    "Our priority is to evacuate Idomeni in the coming days," spokesman Giorgos Kyritsis told ANA-MPA. "We plan to have in Idomeni plenty of people who speak the languages of the refugees and distribute flyers explaining the situation to the refugees and that there are centers available for their accommodation," he added.

    Kyritsis also said he believed that as weather conditions worsen, the refugees themselves will want to leave Idomeni.

    [03] Council of Europe representative says Greece cannot carry alone the burden of refugee crisis

    Greece cannot carry alone the burden of the refugee crisis and the EU must show its solidarity both on a legal and practical level, the special representative of the Council of Europe's secretary general on migration and refugees, Tomáš Boček, said on Wednesday during a visit to Greece.

    In statements to the press after a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Mardas, Boček congratulated the Greek people, the authorities and the volunteers for the hospitality they offer to the refugees and migrants who arrive to the country, adding that "we have to work to improve the situation".

    "There's still room for improvement especially concerning the welcoming facilities, the living conditions, the underage [refugees] and other points, but, as I said, this cannot happen without more solidarity," he said.

    He also said that after visiting identification centers in Athens and Chios he now has a clearer picture of what is happening and how the Council of Europe can help.

    On his side, Mardas said that the existence of a special representative on migration at the Council of Europe shows the international dimension of the problem "which is a given". He thanked Boček for the interest shown by the Council of Europe and for the fact that the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) stands by Greece to help tackle the problems facing the refugees.

    [04] Greek banks further cut borrowing from ECB, ELA in February

    Greek banks in February further reduced their dependence on borrowing from the European Central Bank and the Emergency Liquidity Assistance mechanism of the Bank of Greece.

    The central bank said that borrowing from these mechanisms at the end of February fell to 104 billion euros, from 106 billion a month earlier. This development reflects a reduction in borrowing from the Emergency Liquidity Assistance mechanism (ELA) to 67.9 billion euros in February from 68.8 billion in January, and a decline in borrowing directly from ECB to 36.2 billion euros from 37.2 billion, over the same periods, respectively.

    [05] Passenger traffic in Greek airports up 15.3 pct in Jan-Feb‏

    Passenger traffic in Greek airports grew 15.3 pct in the first two months of 2016, compared with the same period last year, the Civil Aviation Authority said on Wednesday.

    In a report, the authority said that passenger traffic amounted to 3.53 million in the January-February period, from 3.10 million last year. In February, passenger traffic was 1.75 million, up 19.6 pct from February 2015, with the biggest passenger traffic recorded in the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Chania, Heraklion and Rhodes.

    Air flights in Greek airports totaled 38,500, of which 24,209 domestic and 14,291 international flights, up 7.3 pct compared with the same period last year.


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