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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-11-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 4 November 2013 Issue No: 4502
 FinMin starting new round of negotiations with troika heads on TuesdayFinance Minister Yannis Stournaras and the heads of the troika will be starting on Tuesday, with considerable differences between them, a new round of negotiations that will be among the most important so far. The government's primary target is to convince the lenders' representatives that additional measures amounting to 2-2.5 billion euros are not required for the next year and aims in parallel, among other things, to achieve immediate acceptance on the primary surplus amounting to at least 344 million euros this year.
Two of the four prerequisites also remain a "thorn" until now, on the basis of which the tranche for 1 billion euros that has been pending since last July will be disbursed.
The first concerns the restructuring plan for the country's defence industries (EAS, ELVO) and LARKO. The government has proposed the separation of the military from the civil part for the defence industries and the continuation of the operation of the former, while for LARKO it is calling for the privatisation of the enterprise to go ahead, with the preservation of a section of its employees. On the contrary, the troika is seeking in essence the "padlock" for EAS and ELVO, disputing the implementation of the orders from abroad, as well as the defence reasons invoked by the government. As regards LARKO, it accepts its privatisation but on the basis of the "ERT model".
On the question of suspension, the government must convince the troika that on the one hand the target of 12,500 civil servants has been achieved with the employees joining the AEI, that constitutes the first "wave" (it had to be implemented, on the basis of the memorandum, by the end of September). On the other hand, there must be a two-month extension for the second "wave" (with 12,500 civil servants as well) that, also according to the memorandum, must be implemented by the end of December. At the same time, it wants the layoffs of employees at ERT, those having unacceptable conduct and the employees of legal entities of private law that will merge or close to be added on to the total number of layoffs. However, the troika appears not to be accepting the government's demands.
However, it is a fact that the government is going to the negotiating table with specific positions that it considers to be strong negotiating "cards" for the troika to be convinced that the image of the Greek economy has changed now: That there shall be a primary surplus in 2013 (the budget's draft plan anticipates 344 million euros, while the Finance ministry believes that it can ultimately reach 1 billion euros), due to the better than expected course of tax revenues. Consequently, according to the government, the agreement must be activated for decisions to be taken in April 2014 on the public debt. (The troika is insisting that the discussion on the public debt will begin after the ratification by Eurostat in April of the surplus and possibly after the Greek presidency).
That recession this year will be smaller than the initial assessment and given even the limited growth in 2014 and interventions on handling tax evasion and contribution evasion, next year only structural measures of 500-700 million euros can be taken. (This includes, among other things, the full implementation of the unified salary scale in the narrow public sector and public utilities). In parallel, the government states, according to reports, that it is committed to tabling a supplementary budget in April, if it is ascertained that additional measures are necessary that, however, has not been discussed with the troika.
The lenders' representatives, however, are insisting, according to reports to date, that in 2014 there shall be a gap amounting to 2-2.5 billion euros. They believe that in the social budget (social insurance and care) there shall be a "hole" totaling 1.8 billion euros, while a point of friction is also the fact that the government believes that from the performance of the measure of an increase in pensioning levels (it was decided at the end of 2012) more than 600 million euros will be saved over the 2013-2014 period, while the troika estimates the specific size at about 300 million euros.
However, the troika believes that the target of increasing tax revenues will not be achieved in 2014 from the restructuring of the tax collection apparatus and the implementation of the measures already ratified. Some are mentioning as an example the bill on the unified tax on real estate (it anticipates certified taxes amounting to 3.5 billion euros and revenues totaling 2.85 billion euros), that is taking "fire" from the deputies of the two parties participating in the government.
Consequently, the troika is calling for:
-On the one hand, measures amounting to 2-2.5 billion euros to be taken in 2014 (the memorandum mentions that with the budget for 2014 all the necessary measures must be taken to achieve a primary surplus amounting to 2.5 percent of GDP).
-On the other hand, all the measures for the 2015-2016 two-year period must be determined precisely as of now and be ratified by Parliament (possibly through the new Medium-Term Framework).
A "bras de fer" will be taking place at this point as well. With the government claiming that the discussion must not start now on the measures for the 2015-2016 two-year period, since it is not possible for the effect on the economy's growth to be determined clearly yet, from the interventions in the public debt and from the performance of the reforms from 2015 onwards. And with the troika "replying" that as many pending issues as possible must be closed as of now, before Greece enters an election cycle.
 FinMin: Flexibility and common sense required from all sides"There are solutions to all issues if realism from all sides exists along with flexibility and common sense" said Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in an interview with Sunday newspaper Kathimerini, a few days before the start of the new round of negotiations between the Greek government and the troika of Greece's lenders.
"Cool-headedness is required from us and from our partners to see the reversal of the course of the Greek economy. Something that the markets have recognised" stated Stournaras and expressed his optimism that "we will find solutions as we have done for very difficult issues in the past".
Moreover, in a statement to VIMA newspaper, Stournaras noted that "the moments are crucial" adding that "we have climbed the Kilimantzaro and in the 100 meters left we are facing the danger of falling" and concluded "the healthy political powers must understand that the effort for the economy is close to a successful end".
 Troika in Athens next weekBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)
A representative of the European Commission stated late Friday that the troika of Greece's lenders will return to Athens next week.
According to the same representative, Athens has sent additional information on Friday afternoon that will assist on the continuation of negotiations between the troika and the Greek government.
 SYRIZA on negotiations with troika and austerity measuresThe main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), in a statement on negotiations with the troika, said that "we have lost count of how many times the government will back down from the policy of 'tough negotiating' to the 'realism' of the memorandum and the austerity measures".
It added that "the only thing certain is that no matter how it baptises communicatively every time the strategy of submission towards the lenders, it remains the same in essence with its results in Greek society and the economy becoming, however, all the more disastrous".
 DIMAR leader: Gov't must not accept troika's demands for new measuresDemocratic Left (DIMAR) leader Fotis Kouvelis on Saturday urged the government not to yield to troika's demands for new measures that will burden the society and to proceed in a substantial political negotiation and to claim a total solution for the Greek issue, in his opening speech on Saturday to DIMAR's Central Committee two-day conference.
"The government must not accept any new measures, horizontal of vertical, direct or indirect, that will further burden the economy and the society and will breed the crisis" said DIMAR leader adding that there should not be any "secret" burdens that will reduce the incomes.
According to Kouvelis the aims of the political negotiation should be: No additional austerity measures, the substantial decrease of the debt and of its burdens that will contribute and in the decrease of the fiscal gap as well as the creation of growth conditions and a strong development programme that will offer job positions. "The memorandum must be replaced by a development agreement with economic democracy, employment and social cohesion" said Kouvelis.
 Democratic Left party's Central Committee conference endsThe two-day conference of the Democratic Left (DIM.AR) party's Central Committee was concluded on Sunday afternoon with the approval of positions for the party's 2nd regular congress that will be held on December 13-15. Voting in favour were 76 members of the Central Committee, while 24 members cast blank votes, including party secretary Spyros Lykoudis. The criticism text submitted by the minority cadres on the pullout from the government and the dialogue with the Centre-left was not raised for voting.
Summing up, party leader Fotis Kouvelis made special reference to intraparty dialogue in view of the congress, saying that "strengthening the party is the obligation of all of us and not entrenchments, no subjectiveness, no egocentrism. Respect for collective agreements. This is the path that will lead us to a more dynamic presence by DIMAR in political developments".
On the question of the creation of the so-called third pole against New Democracy and the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA), the DIMAR leader said that "the bipolar game will only be averted by a strong third pole. A wide democratic, progressive and socialist lineup that repels neoliberal policy and leftist populism".
 Condition of injured in deadly attack outside GD's offices crucialThe condition of 29 year-old Alexandros Gerontas, who was shot on Friday by unknown individuals outside Golden Dawn offices in Neo Iraklio, remained crucial according to a new medical announcement issued on Saturday.
Gerontas is hospitalised in ICU of "G.Gennimatas' hospital in Athens following a surgery in his chest and his abdomen.
The medical staff also said that the patient will not undergo a new operation, however said that his health condition is crucial.
Gerontas was seriously injured and two young men were killed in a drive-by shooting in the Athens suburb of Neo Iraklio on Friday evening, outside the offices of the far-right party Golden Dawn.
 Police find one more 9 mm cartridge case outside Golden Dawn party's Neo Iraklio officesOne more 9 mm cartridge case was found at the location of the two homicides and the serious injury outside the offices of the Golden Dawn party in the Athens district of Neo Iraklio on Friday, during police investigations at the location that were concluded.
Two youths were shot dead and a third was seriously injured during the drive-by shooting outside the party's offices.
 Golden Dawn MPs hand over gun licencesGolden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) MPs Eleni Zaroulia, Panagiotis Iliopoulos and Panagiotis Zisimopoulos on Saturday handed over their gun licences to Pefki police station following an Citizen Protection Ministry order.
 PM Samaras on death of journalist Yiannis KalamitsisPrime Minister Antonis Samaras, referring to the death of well-known journalist Yiannis Kalamitsis, termed him a "good friend" and a "free spirit" and extended his condolences to his family.
Samaras said in his statement, among other things, "a good friend, a free spirit, the journalist, playwright and songwriter Yiannis Kalamitsis left us today".
 Venizelos on murder of French journalists in MaliGovernment Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Sunday expressed his abhorrence for the 'barbarous action' of the abduction and murder of the two French journalists in Mali.
"We strongly condemn the terror and murderous attack against Radio France Internationale journalists" stated Venizelos adding ?The Greek government and the Greek people offer their deepest condolences to the families of the victims and their support to the French government".
 FM Venizelos to meet European Parliament president on MondayGovernment vice president and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will be having a meeting with European Parliament President Martin Schulz at the Foreign ministry at 13:30 on Monday, November 4. Brief statements to the press will follow.
 SYRIZA leader on visit to Austin on MondayMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras will be travelling to Austin on Monday November 4, to participate as a guest speaker in a two-day conference being held by the LBJ School of Public Affairs of Texas University in Austin on the theme of "Can the Eurozone be saved".
Personalities of international prestige will be participating in the conference, European politicians and officials, economic analysts and university professors in political and economic sciences sectors.
 President Papoulias in AlbaniaPresident of Republic Karolos Papoulias is paying a three-day official visit to Albania from Sunday to Tuesday.
On Monday, the Greek President will meet with the political leadership of the neighbouring country while on Tuesday he will travel by helicopter from the capital Tirana to Gjirokastrer and will tour areas populated by the Greek minority.
 Constantine Tzavellas Union of Prosecutors of Greece new presidentConstantine Tzavellas is the new president of the Union of Prosecutors of Greece, who was the Union's second vice president until now, while Board Member Paraskevas Adamis was elected unanimously to take the vacated post of second vice president.
It is noteworthy that since August 2012, by a decision of the Supreme Court's Supreme Judicial Council, Constantine Tzavellas has been appointed supervising prosecutor of the Counter-terrorism Service, in the place of Panayiotis Angelopoulos.
 Council of State Plenum to discuss university administrative employee suspensionsSuspension appeals by universities and the Athens University's Administrative Staff Union will be discussed at the Council of State's Plenum on Monday.
The appeals call for the annulment, as being unconstitutional and illegal, of the decision by the Administrative Reform and Education ministers with which 1,349 administrative staff organic positions in universities were abolished and the employees were suspended.
The Plenum's decision will be issued in the coming days.
 Ecologists Greens party holds 10th Regular Congress in PiraeusThe 10th Regular Congress of the Ecologists Greens was held in Piraeus over the weekend and the party's new Executive Secretariat was elected that will also shoulder the weight of preparation in light of the self-administration elections and the Euroelections in May.
The Executive Secretariat's composition that is shaped as follows:
Yiannis Tsironis (coordinator),
Maggy Dousi and Mihalis Tremopoulos (Press spokespersons),
Nikos Gangiolakis, Costas Kalogranis and Dimitra Lymberopoulou (regular members) and
Constantine Bouras-Maria Petinaki (supplementary members), signals a new course with many new persons that will strengthen the relations and the bonds of the ecologist-green political sector with society even more.
 Development minister, SYRIZA on opening of stores on Sunday of first sales periodDevelopment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis said, in relation to the opening of stores on the Sunday of the first sales period, that "our cities are changing image today. The consumers embraced both the idea on the new sales 10-day periods and the opening of stores on Sunday. Therefore, we did very well in not listening to those fearing what is new".
He added that "we are following what is taking place in most European countries. Why should it not take place in Greece as well".
The main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) stressed in a statement that "the opening of stores on Sundays constitutes an unacceptable and reactionary decision from every point of view" and accuses the government of "being outside place and time when on the one hand it cuts the incomes of employees and pensioners and on the other hand it increases the days and hours that consumers can buy".
SYRIZA says that "the only who will gain are the big department stores and the multinational chains that will benefit from the redistribution of the reduced turnover" and calls on the government "to take back this measure now".
Replying to SYRIZA, Development ministry sources said that "SYRIZA's cassette stuck on the past. It understood nothing even from today's festive climate. Its announcement today proves that in reality it is a force of reaction and misery".
 Development minister to address 'South for Growth' conference on MondayDevelopment Minister Kostis Hatzidakis will address the international conference on the theme of "South for Growth" at 9:30 a.m. on Monday November 4, that is being held by the European Parliament's office in Greece in cooperation with the EP's offices in Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. The conference will be taking place at the Athens Concert Hall.
 National Confederation of Greek Trade president on Sunday opening of storesNational Confederation of Greek Trade president Vassilis Korkidis, in a statement to the ANA-MPA on the occasion of the Sunday opening of stores, said that "many people are taking a stroll in the market today with the commercial stores open, but those who make purchases are few".
Gatherings and limited tension took place at the beginning of work hours outside department stores in Athens and in other big cities by members of trade unions as well as employees who are protesting the voluntary opening of stores seven Sundays a year.
Korkidis said "from information I have on the voluntary functioning on the first Sunday, the trade movement of stores only increased in downtown Athens and Thessaloniki, Piraeus and Glyfada".
He added that "generally speaking, however, Sunday's results did not confirm the expectations of shopowners, in contrast to Saturday November 2, when movement increased by about 30 percent compared to Friday, the first day of the 'mini' autumn sales".
The Federation of Private Employees of Greece has called a strike in the trade sector but stores opened ultimately, while the overall picture in the market so far is that consumers "honoured" stores. The main commercial street in Athens was full, as well as of Piraeus with a considerable number of stores opening and functioning as normal, but those holding bags with purchases were fewer compared to those out for a stroll.
 Independent Greeks party on opening of stores on SundaysIndependent Greeks party Growth sector chief Rachel Makri, referring to the opening of stores on Sunday, said among other things that the coalition government "after draining the market of liquidity with approaches and communication tactics delivered the final blow to the small and medium size enterprises to the benefit of the lenders' multinationals" and that "consumption depends on the citizens' income, income that the coalition government annulled, serving the recession policies of the memorandums".
 Labour minister: "All must realise that there is a state and the laws are functioning"Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, in an interview with the newspaper Realnews, said that "all must realise that there is a state and the laws are functioning. We shall put an end to the contribution evasion party". He warns that confiscations for those who do not pay will also concern "real estate and confiscations in the hands of third parties, that means that if the state owes them, confiscation will take place for the payment of the debts" and added that "for debtors who do not pay off or do not arrange their debt the agencies are obliged to seek its compulsory collection with the taking of the measures that are anticipated by the Public Revenues Collection Code".
On the question of the lumpsum, he notes that "in no way shall there be a retroactive adjustment of lumpsums" while regarding auxiliary pensions, as of mid-2014 the mathematical formula will be implemented for the assessment of the auxiliary pensions so that every pensioner will receive an auxiliary pension in accordance with the contributions he has made during his working life.
Lastly, Vroutsis said that "by the end of the year there shall be a new institutional framework for mass layoffs".
 Captain of motorship that sank near Karpathos still missingThe captain of the motorship STELLA that sank on Saturday, 19 nautical miles west of Karpathos island, was still missing on Sunday.
The other six members of the crew, all foreign nationals, were all rescued by a super puma helicopter.
The Sierra-Leone motorship sailed free of cargo from the Turkish port of Aliaga for Cyprus.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Way out with democracy - Release from the memorandum's vise and of the dark mechanisms.
EPOCHI: The murderous attack (against Golden Dawn (far-right Chryssi Avghi) members complicates the political situation.
ETHNOS: Democracy before the firing squad - The circle of blood undermines normality.
KATHIMERINI: Political normality targeted.
KYRIAKATIKI ELEFTHEROTYPIA: At the extremes - The double murder and the crimes that led us to that.
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: Nationwide labour strike on November 6.
PROTO THEMA: Tax Bureau: New data of incredible tax evasion.
Realnews: Revelation: A 'company' had tapped former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis phone.
TO ARTHRO: Rebels with 'clientelism' cause.
TO PARON: They want to bring a mess- Memorandum and lenders lead to anomaly regime.
TO VIMA: Democracy a shield against the circle of blood
TYPOS: Government 're-builds' the real estate tax.
 Rainy on MondayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Monday. Winds 3-6 beaufort. Temperatures between 8C and 25C. Cloudy in Athens with southerly 3-5 beaufort winds and temperatures between 11C and 25C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 12C and 21C.
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