|Wednesday, 21 April 2021|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 13-11-06
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Wednesday, 6 November 2013 Issue No: 4504
 Commissioner Rehn optimistic over an agreement on Greek fiscal gapBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/Maria Aroni)
Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn sounded reassuring and optimistic on Tuesday that Greek authorities and the troika will reach an agreement on a fiscal gap for 2014 and that Greece will meet its fiscal targets.
During a news conference to present the European Commission's autumn economic forecasts, Rehn, who is also Commission vice president, said: "The troika's assessment began only today. Let's let them work. We know from the past that negotiations with Greece are never easy when they cover fiscal issues or structural reforms, but I think that this time they (the negotiations) are not more difficult than usual. I am certain we can reach a satisfactory solution both on the fiscal gap and on fiscal targets".
Rehn added that both the spring and autumn assessments of the Commission forecast that Greece will achieve a primary surplus this year and noted that fiscal gaps in 2014 and 2015 will be covered by combined measures to be merged in an ongoing assessment.
 Greek economy to return to growth rates in 2014, Commission saysBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/V.Demiris)
The Greek economy is expected to shrink by 4.0 pct this year, from 6.4 pct in 2012 and to return to positive growth rate in 2014 (0.6 pct) rising to 2.9 pct in 2015, the European Commission said in its autumn forecasts report released here on Tuesday.
The EU's executive arm, in its spring forecasts had predicted a 4.2 pct economic recession in Greece and a 0.6 pct recovery next year.
The Commission said Greek unemployment was expected to rise to 27 pct this year (unchanged from May's forecasts) from 17.7 pct in 2011 and 24.3 pct in 2012, falling to 26 pct in 2014 and to 24 pct in 2015.
The country's fiscal deficit is projected to rise to 13.5 pct in 2013 (reflecting a bank recapitalization cost) falling to 2.0 pct in 2014 and 1.1 pct in 2015, while the Greek public debt is expected to rise to 176.2 pct of GDP this year, from 156.9 pct in 2012, falling to 175.9 pct in 2014 and 170.9 pct in 2015. Greece is expected to remain in a deflation trend this year (-0.3 pct) and 2014 (-0.4 pct) and to return to positive inflation rates in 2015 (0.3 pct).
 Improved tax revenue a strong card in Greek government's handsGreek authorities are seeking to convince the troika to lower their demands over the need for additional measures in 2014 basing their case on the improved course of budget revenues in the first 10 months of the year.
"The numbers are satisfactory to base our case, given the commitments made by the Greek government," a top Finance ministry official told ANA-MPA on Tuesday, at the end of a meeting between Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and the troika of Greece's lenders at the Finance ministry.
The official declined to comment, however, whether this rising trend of state revenues will continue until the end of the year and whether the primary surplus could be higher than the 344 million euros envisaged in the 2014 draft budget.
The official said that a first meeting with the troika -Paul Thomsen and Matthias Morse- was a "good, classic, satisfactory cooperation," which focused on the chapters to be reviewed in the coming days.
The negotiations focused on the 2014 budget -due to be tabled to Parliament by November 21-, actions needed for 2014 such as interventions by the Labour ministry, tax revenue, tax administration and finally structural reforms, privatizations and the course of the banking system.
The first day of talks did not focused on the prior actions needed to approve the loan of 1.0 billion euros, a funding gap and a unified property tax.
 Meeting between labour ministry leadership and troika concluded in 'good climate'A meeting between the EU-ECB-IMF troika representing Greece's lenders and the Labour ministry's political leadership was concluded on Tuesday evening, with ministry sources saying that there had been a "good climate" in the talks.
"A substantive discussion was held on the labour ministry's previously known and innovative proposals and the mechanisms being introduced by a draft bill now in consultation, as well as other initiatives that have already been announced, such as yesterday's [initiative] with the governor of IKA, through which the collection of contributions is increased while considerable amounts are saved for social insurance funds," they said.
According to ministry officials, the discussion will continue on Wednesday with the troika's technical delegations.
 Government insists draft budget realisticThe government is insisting on the draft budget that it has presented to the troika. According to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, the draft budget is realistic and an effort will be made to persuade the troika to make a positive proposal at the Eurogroup.
After his meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the Maximos Mansion on Tuesday evening, Stournaras said that the new data on revenues and the social insurance contributions for October were given to the troika earlier in the day, stressing that Tuesday's discussion was an overall one.
As regards the discussion on the Greek Defence Systems, the Finance minister reiterated the government's position that they must also have an export character.
 Prime Minister Samaras to attend "Suddeutsche Zeitung" leadership meetingsBERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will attend the annual "Suddeutsche Zeitung" leadership meetings on November 23.
The meetings on November 21-23 will be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Deutsche Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, analysts and entrepreneurs.
Referring to Prime Minister Samaras, the conference website points out that he "has undertaken the toughest reform job in the Eurozone," noting that all of Europe is watching his reform efforts, while underlining that "recently he had amazing successes" in this sector "with positive news for the state budget and economic growth".
 Greek, Latvian FMs meet ahead of Greece's EU presidencyRelations between Latvia and Greece have room for further development, especially in the fields of investments and tourism, government Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos said on Tuesday after a meeting with Latvia's Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, and noted that Latvia has gone through a "difficult experience" to gain membership in the eurozone.
Referring to the Greek presidency, he said Greece would support the eastern and southern partnership and thanked Latvia for its significant contribution to the EU's border agency Frontex's effort to combat illegal immigration.
Rinkevics thanked Greece for the support it offered Latvia when it joined the eurozone as well as for the support it is offering ahead of its accession to the OECD.
At the same time that Greece will hold the EU presidency, Latvia will become the 18th member of the eurozone, and this time next year the EU presidency will pass to Latvia.
 President Papoulias concludes visit to TiranaTIRANA(ANA-MPA/I.Patsos)
President of Republic Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday concluded his two-day visit to Tirana with a meeting with Tirana mayor and leader of the main opposition Democratic Party Lulzim Basha.
Basha thanked Papoulias for his contribution in the strengthening of Greek-Albanian relations and the friendship between the two countries' people.
The two officials underlined the importance of the further development of the bilateral economic cooperation under a new prospect and the new opportunities offered by the development in the energy sector, particularly with the implementation of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline(TAP) for natural gas.
On his part, Papoulias expressed his happiness to be again in Tirana and reiterated Greece's will to play an active role and to support Albania's accession efforts to the EU, particularly ahead of Greece's assumption of EU presidency in the first six months of 2014.
Earlier, Papoulias visited the monument of Mother Albania at the cemetery of the Nation's Martyrs' Cemetery where he laid a wreath.
 President Papoulias wraps up visit to AlbaniaGJIROKASTER (ANA-MPA / P. Barkas)
President of Republic President Karolos Papoulias wrapped up his two-day visit to Tirana and Gjirokaster on Tuesday evening.
President Papoulias was declared honorary citizen of Gjirokaster and, addressing the city mayor, he referred to the European course of Albania, the role of the Greek minority in the country and the Greek soldiers killed in Albania during WWII.
President Papoulias also met with Greek minority representatives in the village of Dervician (Dervitsani).
Earlier, he laid a wreath in the cemetery of Kelcyre (Klisoura), where Greek soldiers are buried.
 Government spokesman Kedikoglou on comments made by SYRIZA spokesmanGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou on Tuesday responded to the comments made by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) spokesman Panos Skourletis concerning the prime minister's televised interview, saying "we understand why he is hiding and is shying away from giving a response".
"(SYRIZA leader) Mr. Tsipras' loquacious spokesman forgot to comment on the revelations made by the prime minister as regards the fringe political parties, and their positions, who back his leader's candidacy for the European Commission presidency," the government spokesman noted.
 SYRIZA criticises premier's TV interview; gov't spokesman respondsGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou early on Tuesday criticised the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) for not tolerating any criticism.
"SYRIZA cannot tolerate the slighest criticism. But, as we are informed from the US, this does not prevent its leader from frequently changing his position on the euro," Kedikoglou said following SYRIZA's comments on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview at Mega, which the party called "a monumental example of bigoted and divisory speech."
"The prime minister failed to rise to the occasion even after the recent murders," SYRIZA said in an announcement, referring to the shooting of three Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) member. "On the contrary, he adopted a dangerous way of thinking - based on false and unfounded allegations - that undermines the democratic debate and takes one back to other times," it added.
Regarding the government's financial policy, the main opposition party criticised the prime minister for choosing to speak of his financial policy's success from the safety of a TV interview instead of addressing parliament. "It's rare to see someone so distanced from economic and social reality," the party concluded.
 SYRIZA spokesman Panos Skourletis' on PM's interview on ANA-MPA, web TV"The prime minister stands at a crossroads but no matter what path he chooses he will find himself before a dead end; whether it is the path of new measures or the path to general elections, eventually handing over power," main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) spokesman Panos Skourletis on Tuesday said.
Speaking in ANA-MPA, Skourletis commented on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' interview with Mega private television station, aired on Monday night, describing it as a "monument of divisive speech that sends the wrong messages to society".
"One would have expected from the prime minister to rise to the occasion and not adopt and present once again the unfounded theory of the two extremes, which does nothing less than undermine the democratic debate, which is imperative in a modern democracy," he noted.
Referring to the resumption of negotiations with the troika representing the country's creditors, Skourletis said that "there has been no negotiation in the past or now" and wondered "what kind of negotiation are we talking about when it does not question the rationale of the memorandum, when it does not draw a line and say enough is enough".
Commenting on the position expressed by SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras during his visit to Texas, USA that "leaving the eurozone would be disastrous," as opposed to SYRIZA's earlier position that "the euro is not a fetish," Skourletis said that "our political analyses on the nature of the crisis do not look at the situation from a nationalist-centered perspective," adding that they "incorporate the view that the field of contest is united Europe".
Referring to what the prime minister said about Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, Skourletis said that "the solidarity and coverage offered to Venizelos is unprecedented. Obviously it is solidarity among villains. They know something and they are covering for each other."
 Independent Greeks party leader criticises PM's press conferenceIndependent Greeks party leader Panos Kammenos on Tuesday sharply criticised Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's press conference, while indirectly but clearly referring to the coalition government's junior member PASOK as "the most corrupt party in Europe".
Kammenos said "it is pitiful for the prime minister of a country with 2,100,000 unemployed and 6,000 suicides, who is supported by and supports with immunity the most corrupt party in Europe, to be promising in his proclamation free access to the Internet to the people, whose homes he is seizing."
 Tsipras presents SYRIZA's national plan on Greece's reconstruction at Texas conferenceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras told a conference on Tuesday that his party had "a comprehensive national plan on the country's economic, social and ecological reconstruction." He added it was a plan providing for "an immediate response to the humanitarian crisis facing the country."
Tsipras participated in a panel discussion on "Advice to Governments to Come", as part of a two-day conference organized by the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, titled "Can the eurozone survive?"
Greece's main opposition leader referred again to some points of his speech on Monday at the first day of the conference, stressing that SYRIZA will put forward its own programme for the reconstruction of the country.
He expounded on what he called "three pillars" that would form the basis of his party's programme, stressing at the same time that just a few days ago, Greek Finance minister Yannis Stournaras had defended the bailout memorandum as "the only credible political plan," which was "a political apology, rather than a reflection of political reality."
The three pillars that will govern the national plan, according to Tsipras are:
- Stabilizing the economy. This will be achieved by increasing public revenue through the reorganization of the tax system aiming at taxing high incomes and wealth and tackling tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax havens. "We will put an end to public spending cuts and reorganize spending in such a way as to address the humanitarian crisis."
- Addressing the humanitarian crisis, through a public fund to finance this emergency.
- Restructuring the productive base of the economy. The goal will be to formulate a growth model that will create decently paid and stable jobs, very different from past practices that plunged Greece in its crisis.
Tsipras specifically emphasised the problem of unemployment among the young, layoffs and reducing pensions. "The country is plagued by unemployment of up to 30 percent, a figure which rises to 60 percent among young people. Nevertheless, the government and the (EC/ECB/IMF) troika (of lenders) have focused on redundancies in the public sector and the removal of barriers to layoffs in the private sector," he added.
 Any member's exit from the eurozone 'a catastrophe for Europe,' SYRIZA leader tells UTexas audienceNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
A country's exit from the euro will not benefit anyone, and will create new problems, Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said at a two-day conference organized by the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, titled "Can the eurozone survive?".
The main opposition leader delivered the conference's keynote address on Monday and responded to questions during a discussion following later in the day (local time).
Regarding the eurozone, he said that the founding agreements of the European Union were wrong and have to change, but the question of whether some countries should have been allowed to become members "is best left to historians."
"Today, the eurozone exists," Tsipras said. "We have an economic union and a common currency. The immediate alternatives are worse, and an exit will not benefit anyone. On the contrary, it will create serious new problems - management of an unstable, new currency; inflation; and flight of capital and people. For this reason alone, Greece should not and will not do it, will not leave the eurozone voluntarily."
Besides jeopardising its own economy, a possible exit by Greece or any other country in crisis "would be a catastrophe for Europe. Deep down, everyone knows this," the SYRIZA leader said. "At this time, if one country leaves, markets and speculators will start asking who the next one in line is...It doesn't matter how small the departing country is. It doesn't matter if it leaves voluntarily or not."
Referring to the European Parliament's questioning of fiscal policies followed by the troika of lenders in countries of crisis, like Greece, Tsipras said, "European Parliament president (Martin Schulz) mentioned that someone should assume responsibility for what has happened in countries that followed the policies of the troika. We agree with this stance and will contribute towards this. But he must also respond to the question of why the fiscal adjustment programme must continue."
Monday's panel discussion was moderated by Monica Frasoni, European Green Party co-president at the Europarliament. Panelists included Harvard lecturer and economist Richard Parker, New York Times journalist Landon Thomas, Jr., and Georgetown University emeritus professor of law Norman Birnbaum. SYRIZA deputy Giorgos Stathakis and economics professor Yannis Varoufakis also participated in Monday's proceedings.
 DIMAR says the country cannot tolerate any new measuresThe risk of new measures under the name of "structural" or "targeted" is visible, resulting in further impairment of income and the dismantling of social services, Democratic Left (DIMAR) said on Tuesday as the meeting of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras with the representatives of the troika of Greece's lenders is under way.
"The government must make absolutely clear during the negotiations with the troika that the country cannot tolerate any new measures, under whatever name," DIMAR said in an announcement.
 New austerity measures are coming, KKE comments after PM's interviewNew austerity measures targeting the working classes are on the way, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) warned on Tuesday in an announcement commenting on a televised interview with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras broadcast on Monday night.
"The prime minister's promises for an exit from the memorandum and better days for the people cannot conceal the fact that, at the same time, new anti-popular measures are being prepared, with a tax-annihilation of working-class households, new cuts to social insurance rights, worker lay offs and blows to small business owners," the announcement said.
It also pointed to the premier's references to permanent European Union supervision mechanisms, saying this confirmed that there was no 'expiry date' to the EU measures "since this serves the profits of capital" and repeated its call that people "turn their back to the EU".
The announcement was issued in response to an interview given by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to the private television channel Mega, broadcast on Monday night.
 Court of Audit president delivers 2012 report on state finances to ParliamentGreece's Court of Audit President Ioannis Karavokyris on Tuesday presented the court's annual report for 2012 to Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis, saying that the absolute amount of Greek national debt had been reduced by 62 billion euros, from a total of 365 billion euros.
"This year we are in the pleasant position of saying that the efforts and deprivation of the Greek people has not been for nothing because some points have started to improve," he said.
Karavokyris said that shortfalls remained in terms of revenues and collecting debts from fines, taxes and other reasons.
Accepting the report on the final accounts for 2012, Meimarakis expressed his conviction that the Court of Audit had done good work and stressed that cooperation with the Parliament was fully harmonious, though there were margins for closer relations.
 Greek UN representative calls for an end to Turkish occupation on CyprusNEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P.Panagiotou)
Ambassador Michael Spinellis, Greece's permanent representative of Greece to the United Nations (UN), said on Tuedsay that if Turks want to prove their dedication in finding a solution to the Cyprus's problem, they should end Turkish occupation on the island and respect human rights.
Spinellis was speaking at the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee (Third Committee) on the "promotion and protection of human rights, with main reference to the violation of human rights in Cyprus."
Spinellis referred to the problems of missing persons, refugees, and the illegal passage of Turkish settlers in the occupied areas, as well as the destruction of cultural and religious heritage in the occupied area of Cyprus.
He also stressed that Greece supports the ongoing efforts of the UN to resume negotiations.
 Merkel meets UN envoy for Macedonia name disputeBERLIN (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday had a brief meeting here with United Nations special envoy Matthew Nimetz, the UN mediator in negotiations between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over the ongoing name dispute.
An announcement issued by the Chancellor's office said that Merkel thanked Nimetz for his efforts to mediate the dispute over the years and discussed the present stage of the negotiations. It said the two officials "agreed that the obstacles can be overcome given the necessary political will from the capitals Athens and Skopje," while Merkel assured Nimetz of the German government's support for his efforts.
In an explanatory note attached to the announcement, the Chancellor's office clarified that Germany observes the wording that arose from the 1995 Interim Agreement between the two countries concerning the name issue. It also notes that both the European Union and NATO have repeatedly reached unanimous decisions that a mutually agreed solution to the name issue is a condition for the start of accession talks with FYROM.
 Gov't spokesman meets with St. Petersburg University head of Greek programmeGovernment spokesman Simos Kedikoglou had a meeting on Tuesday with Fatima Eloeva, head of the department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at St. Petersburg University in Moscow.
During the meeting, they discussed the remarkable and longtime contribution of the department to the maintenance and spread of the Greek language and the history of Greek civilization, and they agreed on the need to strengthen the programme in every way possible.
 24-hour strike Wednesday to affect public sector, banks, hospitalsA 24-hour strike called by Greece's largest labor unions of the private and public sectors, GSEE and ADEDY, for Wednesday will affect public services, hospitals and related services including the first-aid ambulance services (EKAV), banks, seamen, teachers, some transportation means and local government.
According to GSEE, the unions want the reinstitution of labor law and collective labor agreements, the end to the property taxes and home foreclosures, a reduction of taxation, measures to relieve unemployment, and an end to privatisations of public agencies and businesses.
Unions will rally at 11:00 at Pedion tou Areos, where Alexandras Avenue and Patission Street meet, except for PAME, the labor union affiliated with the Communist Party of Greece, which is meeting at 10:30 at Omonia Square.
 ANA-MPA work stoppage on WednesdayANA-MPA will not be transmitting news from 10:00 to 15:00, in support of the national strike in the private and public sector announced for Wednesday.
During the stoppage, the only coverage exempted will be news from the field related to the mobilisations, the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists' Unions (POESY) said.
The union also issued a call to all journalists to participate in a rally on 11:00 at the Pedion tou Areos park, on the corner of Patission Street and Alexandras Avenue.
 SYRIZA deputy Manolis Glezos taken to hospital after fainting in ParliamentMain opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) deputy Manolis Glezos was rushed to hospital on Tuesday evening after he fainted in the Parliament.
He was escorted to the ambulance by the Parliament doctor, Parliament President Evangelos Meimarakis and former Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis.
"Manolis, we are expecting you at the session tomorrow," Kaklamanis told him before the ambulance drove off.
Glezos was taken to the 251 General Air Force Hospital, and was diagnosed with a gallstone, according to reports.
He will remain in hospital for conservative treatment.
 FM Venizelos to receive Cyprus, Egypt envoys on WednesdayGovernment Vice President and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos will receive on Wednesday the ambassador of Cyprus Phaedon Anastasiou (at 10:30) and then the ambassador of Egypt Ahmed Fouad El Bidewy (at 10:30), at the Foreign Ministry in Athens, it was announced Tuesday.
 MEP Marilena Koppa participated in European Parliament meeting on November 4MEP Marilena Koppa participated on Monday, November 4 in a European Parliament meeting with a House of Lords delegation, as a representative of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group.
The meeting was held to discuss the negotiations for the EU-US Free Trade Agreement, focusing on the progress of talks, the European Parliament's priorities and the risks and dangers.
According to a press release, the Free Trade Agreement with the USA is an ambitious commercial and investment agreement that could have important financial benefits for the EU.
The negotiations concern copyright, protected geographical indications, the agricultural sector, genetically modified organisms, cloning and consumers' health, where the US and EU rules diverge.
 Parliament ratifies article on broadcasting mediaThe Parliament ratified on Tuesday evening article 18 included in a draft bill on broadcasting media, with 154 deputies (New Democracy, PASOK and Democratic Left) voting in favour and 115 against .
The article was passed through a roll call vote that had been requested by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA).
Former premier George Papandreou caused a sensation as he voted against the article, while former premier Costas Karamanlis did not attend the parliament's session.
Earlier, government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou tabled an amendment to the provision which brings forward by six months, i.e. until Dec. 31, 2014, the deadline given to television stations to settle their pending legal cases and thus be allowed to get digital licenses.
 Golden Dawn leader tables question to premier on phone tappingNikos Michaloliakos, the leader of the extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avghi) party being detained pending trial on criminal charges, tabled a question in Parliament on Tuesday on "illegal tapping of phone conversations of Golden Dawn deputies."
Calling on "media reports and police and judicial leaks," Michaloliakos said the evidence shows "that Greek security and secret services have been involved in surveillance of parliamentary representatives."
Michaloliakos also said that when he and his lawyers were called by prosecutor Kalliopi Dagianta to be read their charges, she mentioned to him that courts "have in their hands the content of phone-tapped conversations of Golden Dawn deputies which she considered lawful and which she said were carried out before September 17, 2013."
However, he said, there were no transcriptions of any such tappings in the copies of the case files he got. Therefore, he asks the premier to disclose who gave the order for the phone tapping and whether an urgent investigation will be conducted into identifying who is responsible for the illegal surveillance, he said.
Michaloliakos along with other deputies were arrested on October 3 on charges of running a criminal organisation. Their detention followed an investigation by prosecutors into the party's activities, set off by the murder on September 17 of Pavlos Fyssas, a leftist rapper. The detained deputies have been stripped of their immunity by parliament vote in order to stand trial on criminal charges.
 Culture Minister Panagiotopoulos introduces improvements to copyright and related rights legislationCulture and Sports Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos on Tuesday tabled a draft law in Parliament on copyright and related rights that seeks to introduce improvements in the relevant legislation while facilitating internet access to the country's cultural heritage and ensuring increased revenues for artists by extending their right to claim royalties from 50 to 70 years.
The new law constitutes an attempt to ensure that those eligible for related rights will, up to a point, be equally protected as the artists themselves. At the same time, it facilitates digitization and public access to library collections, archives, museums, educational institutions, film or audio heritage institutes and public radio & television stations.
The draft law incorporates two recent European Union directives into national legislation.
 Ministry blames mayor for delay in Thessaloniki metro archaeological digs.Infrastructure, Transport and Networks ministry general secretary Stratos Simopoulos on Tuesday blamed Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris for delays in the progress of archaeological digs within Thessaloniki's metro, which is currently under construction.
"If the Municipality of Thessaloniki hadn't blocked the works at Venizelos station through the Council of State, the continuation of archaeological excavations would occupy 220 persons today," said Simopoulos, commenting on a protest by workers in the digs.
 Wellbeing of Greeks declined considerably because of the crisis, OECD report saysThe average household in Greece was severely affected by the economic crisis according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on wellbeing that measured the human cost of crisis, which was unveiled on Tuesday.
Compared with other OECD countries, Greece performed well in only three of the 11 criteria that the OECD considers essential to a good life (income and wealth; jobs and earnings; housing conditions; health status; work-life balance; education and skills; social connections; civic engagement and governance; environmental quality; personal security and subjective well-being).
Greece ranked above the OECD average in the dimensions of health status, work-life balance and personal security, but below average in education and skills, income and wealth, civic engagement, jobs and earnings, social connections, housing, subjective well-being and environmental quality.
From 2007 to 2011, Greece recorded a cumulative decline in real household disposable income of around 23 pct, the largest decline among the OECD countries. Between 2007 and 2010, market income inequality (before taxes and transfers) increased by 2 pct, well above the OECD average of 1.2 pct.
The largest impact of the crisis on people's well-being has come through lower employment and deteriorating labour market conditions. Between 2007 and 2012, the employment rate decreased by almost 10 percentage points in Greece, while the long-term unemployment rate increased by 10 percentage points.
The poor employment situation had a major impact on life satisfaction. From 2007 to 2011, the percentage of Greek people declaring themselves very satisfied with their lives fell from 59 pct to 34 pct, the lowest share in the OECD area.
People's trust in institutions and in the way democracy works has also declined during the crisis. The percentage of Greek people reporting that they trust the government fell from 38 pct to 13 pct between 2007 and 2012.
Also, 31 pct of Greek workers reported being in a poor working environment, a share significantly above the average in European countries.
Gender gaps in well-being, typically in favour of men, have declined in most OECD countries over the past few decades, including Greece. Despite these gains, Greek women are still less likely than men to have a paid job or be elected to parliament.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the OECD report concluded that despite the decline in well-being in Euro-zone, a number of European countries remain among the best places to live, with Switzerland, the Nordic countries and the U.K. in the top 20 pct of countries, alongside Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Most other European countries still fall into a group that includes the 60 pct of countries that have average levels of well-being, alongside the United States and Japan. Among Eurozone members, only Greece and Estonia are part of a group that represents the 20 pct of countries that display relatively low levels of well-being, alongside Turkey, Brazil and Mexico.
 Tourism minister sees 10 pct increase in tourism in 2014NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)
Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni predicted that Greece's tourism sector will grow by 10 percent in 2014, building on its rapid growth during the current year.
In an interview with the U.S. television network CNBC, Kefalogianni was optimistic about the country's tourism prospects in the following year, seeing significant growth that would boost the country's economy.
The tourism minister emphasised the help tourism provides in the country's fiscal adjustment effort, stressing that last summer's reduction in VAT for restaurant and catering services had bolstered demand and benefited the economy.
"Overall, I would say that not only has it been proved that tourism is a very durable sector of the economy, but it is also one of the sectors that has contributed to the efforts of the Greek government for fiscal restructuring," Kefalogianni said.
Greek tourist officials also said that 2013 was an "excellent year", stressing that the tourism sector could constitute "Greece's vehicle to recovery".
 New page in energy relations between Greece and AlbaniaThe environment ministry on Tuesday said that energy relations between Greece and Albania had entered a new phase of cooperation with the TAP natural gas pipeline as its main axis, following a visit to Tirana by Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis, who accompanied President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
The ministry highlighted the importance of the TAP pipeline for economic growth in the two countries and Greece's support for Albania's efforts to align its legislation and its energy market with the European Union's acquis communautaire, saying these would be the main axes of bilateral cooperation and strengthening relations between the two countries.
Maniatis met in Tirana with Albanian government vice president Niko Peleshi, discussing energy policy issues relating to joint initiatives launched in the Ionian Sea, the Adriatic and the southeastern Mediterranean.
The minister also met with Energy and Industry Minister Damian Gjiknuri, with whom he discussed the next steps in the implementation of the project for construction of the TAP pipeline, with emphasis on the transfer of know-how from Greece to the Albanian side. They also agreed on the need for coordination at political leadership level for the plan's smooth and unimpeded execution.
Lastly, he met Environment Minister Lefter Koka and Deputy Minister Olijana Ifti, reaching agreement on the need for closer bilateral cooperation in the protection of the environment, forests, water resources and waste management and on drawing up a cooperation document between the two countries in the above sectors to be signed in the coming period.
 Albanian, Greek Energy ministers meet in Tirana over TAP pipelineTIRANA (ANA-MPA/ I.Patsos)
Albanian Energy and Industry Minister Damian Gjiknuri received on Monday evening Greek Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis within the framework of the official visit to Albania by Greek President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
According to Gjiknuri's press office, the two ministers noted the importance of the Trans-Adriatic (TAP) natural gas pipeline project for both countries.
Gjiknuri said that TAP is a project that will offer new opportunities for economic cooperation between Albania and Greece.
Both ministers pointed out the need for coordination between the two countries government in order to facilitate the project's implementation.
Maniatis and Gjiknuri expressed their will to create mechanisms necessary to promote TAP and also expressed the wish to extend their cooperation to other energy sectors.
Deputy Minister Christofilopoulou calls for accelerated procedures to reduce administrative burdens for enterprises
Deputy Administrative Reform Minister Evi Christofilopoulou on Tuesday called for accelerated procedures in the selection and announcement of "direct and selective interventions before the end of November to ensure that the ministerial decisions for their implementation will be issued by the end of the year to reduce administrative burdens for enterprises".
Christofilopoulou attended a working meeting on the course of the assessment of administrative burdens in laws and regulations in selected sectors of the Greek economy held in the presence of an OECD work group, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and officials from the ministries of administrative reform, tourism, rural development, competitiveness, health, infrastructure, finance and environment.
The specific project assesses the administrative burdens for 13 sectors of the economy while also including suggestions for their reduction in an effort to raise funds for the public administration sector while, at the same time, boosting entrepreneurship.
Christofilopoulou expressed appreciation to OECD project representative David Bates stating that cooperation between the Greek government ministries and the OECD is imperative to ensure that the effort will bring specific policy results that will be implemented to assist in an structural manner in boosting entrepreneurship.
 Regions must focus on 'smart specialization', EU Commissioner Hahn says at IoanninaEU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn stressed the need for "smart specialisation" at a press conference in Ioannina on Tuesday.
Hahn, who is paying a two-day visit to the northwestern Greek city of Ioannina, met with manufacturing organizations and the prefect of Epirus Alexandros Kachrimanis. The visit is part of a tour of several Greek cities to promote information on better absorption of the new EU structural funds for 2014-2020.
"Our goal is to promote the economy, and the investment plans of the prefectures should reflect that goal", Hahn said. "What we ask from the prefectures is to follow a strategy for 'smart specialization', which can lead to programmes for tourism, agricultural food sector, even health," he added.
The EU Commissioner also stressed the need for infrastructural works and proper use of funds for better results.
According to the Commissioner, EU is planning to double the funds, from 70 billion to at least 140 billion, for the period 2014-2020, in order to boost the economy in the prefectures.
At a seperate event in Corfu late on Monday, the Commissioner stressed the need for "developing an entrepreneurial spirit, proposing solutions to ensure the creditworthiness of businesses, and finding alternative ways of management, aimed at economic recovery and fighting unemployment."
 Five ruling party MPs write to Finmin, opposing new tax on farm landFive Parliamentary deputies with the New Democracy party, which leads Greece's ruling coalition, expressed their opposition to a planned new property tax on agricultural land in a letter sent to Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday.
The MPs Giorgos Karasmanis, Giorgos Konstantopoulos, Konstantinos Tsiaras, Theophilos Leontaridis and Alexandros Kontos emphasised that the possession and use of agricultural land was not taxed in any other country in the world, only the income that such land generated.
In addition, they said that 'easy' revenue-raising measures imposed simply to levy taxes will result in strong reactions from farmers and multiple problems in agricultural production.
 Nothern Greece businessmen more optimistic in OctoberNorthern Greece businessmen were more optimistic in October, encouraged by a very good tourism season this year, but their intention to hire remained weak, a survey by Interview said on Tuesday.
The survey said that the Northern Greece Business Index 500 (NGBI 500) rose to -20 in October from -23 in September, -32 in August, -49 in December 2012 and -35 in October last year. The survey showed that a 19 pct of businessmen said their condition was good, up from 15 pct in September, another 45 pct said it was satisfactory and a 35 pct said it was bad.
A 14 pct of Northern Greece businessmen said they expected their condition to be better in the next six months, down from 17 pct in September, while a 37 pct expected a deterioration (up from 35 pct in September).
Dismissals intention rose to 21 pct in October from 20 pct in September, while hiring intentions rose to 11 pct from 9.0 pct over the same period respectively and the majority of enterprises (68 pct) said they planned to maintain their workforces. A 44 pct said their turnover fell in October (down from 56 pct in September), while a 17 pct said their sales grew in the month.
 Greece raises 1.3 bln euros from T-bill auctionGreece on Tuesday successfully auctioned a six-month Treasury bill issue, raising 1.3 billion euros from the market, the Public Debt Management Organization (ODDIH) said in a statement.
The organization said that the interest rate of the issue was set at 4.15 pct, unchanged from the previous auction of same T-bills in October. Bids submitted totaled 1.860 billion euros, 1.86 times more than the asked sum.
 Greek state overdue debt to private sector down to 5.989 bln euros in Sept.The general government's overdue debt to the private sector fell to 5.989 billion euros in September from 6.167 billion euros in August, official figures showed on Tuesday.
A report by the Finance ministry said that pending tax returns by the state totaled 643.2 million euros in September from 409.4 million euros the previous month.
Overdue debt by government ministries totalled 370 million euros in September, up from 362 million in August, local authorities' overdue debt was 712 million euros (down from 760 million euros), state hospitals' debt fell to 1.095 billion euros from 1.150 billion euros, pension funds' debt eased to 3.547 billion euros from 3.609 billion euros and other legal entities' debt fell to 265 million euros from 286 million euros.
 Eurobank announces voluntary exit program for at least 700 workersEurobank on Tuesday announced a voluntary exit programme for at least 700 of its workers. The program will begin on Tuesday, 5 November and will last until Friday, 15 November. "The particularly crucial economic conditions prevailing in the last few years, combined with rapid developments in the banking sector, are making it necessary for the Group to further adjust to a new reality," Eurobank said in a statement.
The programme will cover all workers in Eurobank and its Greek subsidiaries including New Proton Bank, while workers in Hellenic Postbank and its subsidiaries will be excluded. The program will not cover workers in Eurolife, Eurobank Properties, Eurobank Equities and contract workers.
 Greek livestock breeders to decide future movements at Tempi meetingNational Breeders Association President Dimitris Kambouris announced to the ANA-MPA on Tuesday that Greek livestock breeders will meet on November 10 in protest against a series of issues, especially the new tax regime, to decide their future movements.
"We do not rule out closing the road in this specific spot, cutting the country in two", said Kambouris. The breeders have asked that Rural Development and Food Minister Athanasios Tsaftaris be present at the meeting and talk to them, with Kambouris adding that "It's time for Tsaftaris to face us."
Kambouris commented on the problematic payment of farmer subsidies, rebates and other assistance, stating that "We denounce and condemn the new blow against the industry," and called for the immediate intervention of the prime minister, leaders of the political parties and a discussion in Parliament.
 Sea cruise passenger traffic up 20.2 pct in OctoberSea cruise passenger traffic jumped 20.21 pct in October in the port of Piraeus, compared with the same month last year, with homeporting passengers up 45.79 pct and transit passengers rising by 15.98 pct in the month, a report by Piraeus Port Organization said on Tuesday.
The report said that sea cruise passenger traffic grew 13.71 pct in the January-October period (transit up 17.07 pct, homeporting -3.62 pct).
"Our forecasts are confirmed," George Anomeritis, chairman and chief executive of the Organization said commenting on the figures, adding that "the most important thing is that the sea cruise port has made a significant upgrade in the quality of its services and safety, a quality expected to be further enhanced next year with the introduction of two new docking stations and the operation of the third international passenger terminal".
Meanwhile, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Maritime and Aegean Minister, announced a decision to begin works of building a new sea cruise pier in the south part of the port.
 Aegean Airline announces flight changes due to strike action on Wed.Aegean Airlines announced changes in its flights for Wednesday due to the three-hour work stoppage of air traffic controllers, who are participating in the widespread private and public sector strike the same day.
According to the airline, the work stoppage from 12:00 noon to 15:00 will result in the cancellation of six domestic flights - affecting Iraklio and Thessaloniki schedules - and a change in time for another 31 flights - 12 domestic and 19 flights abroad.
Aegean said information is available on its site, www.aegeanair.com or 801 11 20000 (from a landline) or 210 6261000 (from a cell phone).
 New flights by Turkish aircraft over Greek islandsFour Turkish Phantoms and 2 F-16s flew once again this year over the Fourni island complex in the eastern Aegean, on Tuesday.
According to an announcement by the National Defence General Staff, the 4 Phantoms flew over Makronissi at an altitude of 500 to 2,500 feet at 15:48 p.m. while the s F-16s flew over Strongyli isle of the same complex at 4,000 to 5,000 at 15:52.
All the Turkish aircraft were intercepted and identified, according to international rules and according to standard practice.
On September 5 and August 20, Turkish formations also comprised of 4 Phantoms and 2 F-16s had flown over Agathonissi and Anthropofaghi of the Fourni island complex.
 Budget revenues surpass targets by 24 pct in OctoberGeneral government budget revenue - pre tax returns - surpassed budget targets by 24 pct in October, Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Tuesday.
A ministry statement said that "the general government budget's data for the first nine months of the year supported the estimate that 2013 will end with a primary budget surplus. Additionally, the October figures surpassed targets." The statement noted that pre-tax return revenue totaled 4.8 billion euros in October, up by 750 million euros, or 24 pct compared with the budget target for the month. Budget revenues continued to surpass targets for the fourth consecutive month, helping the 10-month figure to surpass budget targets. "With the painful contribution of households and enterprises the country is approaching its fiscal targets," the statement noted.
 Greek stocks end significantly lowerGreek stocks ended significantly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange, extending their decline for the third consecutive session and pushing the composite index of the market below the 1,150 support level. The index dropped 2.10 pct to end at 1,138.35 points, after falling as much as 2.40 pct early in the day. The index has lost 4.19 pct in the last three sessions. Turnover remained a moderate 83.74 million euros.
The Large Cap index fell 2.17 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 1.83 pct lower. Eurobank Properties (0.22 pct) and Folli Follie (0.18 pct) were the only blue chip stocks to end higher, while Intralot (5.0 pct0, OTE (4.05 pct), Piraeus Bank (4.0 pct), Motor Oil (3.76 pct) and PPC (3.50 pct) were top losers. The Commerce sector (0.16 pct) was the only one to move higher, while Telecoms (4.05 pct), Health (3.68 pct) and Food (3.03 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 96 to 40 with another 17 issues unchanged. Logismos (29.85 pct), Varvaresos (20 pct) and Spider (20 pct) were top gainers, while Dias Aquaculture (19.74 pct), Pasal (19.38 pct) and G.E. Demetriou (18.37 pct) were top losers.
Sector indices ended as follows:
Oil & Gas: -2.84%
Personal & Household: -1.12%
Raw Materials: -1.79%
Travel & Leisure: -1.19%
Food & Beverages: -3.03%
Financial Services: -2.11%
The stocks with the highest turnover were OPAP, Piraeus Bank, OTE, PPC and EXAE.
Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE-20 index closed in euros as follows:
Alpha Bank: 0.647
Public Power Corp (PPC): 9.65
Coca Cola HBC: 20.62
Hellenic Petroleum: 9.30
National Bank of Greece: 4.10
Eurobank Properties : 9.10
Piraeus Bank: 1.44
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds remained almost unchanged at 6.26 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Tuesday from 6.24 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.99 pct and the German Bund yielding 1.73 pct. There was no turnover in the market.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was 0.53 pct, the nine-month rate was 0.44 pct, the six-month rate was 0.34 pct, the three-month rate was 0.224 pct and the one-month rate was 0.129 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.32 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday, with turnover remaining a low 19.248 million euros. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 6,410 contracts worth 12.204 million euros, with 49,999 open positions in the market.
Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 13,015 contracts worth 7.044 million euros, with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (3,134), followed by National Bank (2,218), Alpha Bank (846), MIG (170), OTE (1,459), PPC (2,540), OPAP (292), Mytilineos (719), Hellenic Petroleum (233), GEK (188), Ellaktor (201), Viohalco (126) and Eurobank (136).
 Foreign Exchange rates - WednesdayReference buying rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:
U.S. dollar 1.369
Pound sterling 0.852
Danish kroner 7.570
Swedish kroner 8.925
Japanese yen 134.58
Swiss franc 1.248
Norwegian kroner 8.172
Canadian dollar 1.428
Australian dollar 1.436
 To ANA-MPA's Subscribers - New ServicesThe ANA-MPA S.A. strengthens its multimedia production by offering a new range of audiovisual services, produced by a team of specialists using state of the art technical equipment.
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 Security camera footage from Neo Iraklio fatal shooting releasedFootage from last Friday's fatal shooting outside the ultra-right Golden Dawn (GD) offices in Neo Iraklio, that resulted in two GD members being killed and a third seriously injured, was released by the counter-terrorism squad on Tuesday.
In the security camera video footage, that can be watched at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt77fPDPzQQ, the two culprits are seen getting off their motorcycle. One of them opens fire and then both flee the scene on foot.
A police announcement called on citizens with information relating to the footage released to contact the telephone numbers: 1014 and 10414 or the counter-terrorism squad email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Greece among countries with little protection for whistleblowers, TI report saysLegislation to protect 'whistleblowers' revealing incidents of corruption and graft in their workplace is woefully inadequate in Greece and several other European countries, according to a report unveiled by Transparency International on Tuesday.
In its "Whistleblowing in Europe" report, Transparency Interna-tional points out that most EU countries are unable to offer adequate legal protection to those reporting incidents of corruption, who are faced with reprisals that include losing their jobs.
Some countries offer partial protection, while Greece is among seven countries where laws to protect whistleblowers are either nonexistent or very inadequate. In Greece, specifically, there is disagreement on whether laws relating to such issues have ever been implemented, while political will to deal with the shortcomings is described as weak or non-existent, in spite of repeated financial and political scandals.
The figures for Greece are based on a survey carried out by the Greek section of Transparency International and an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report.
Only four countries - Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and the UK - are described as having adequate legislation to protect workers that reveal corruption.
 Nafplio police announce arrest of gang helping migrants illegally exit GreeceNafplio Security Police on Tuesday announced the dismantling of a seven-member criminal gang involved in assisting the illegal movement of migrants across the Greek border.
A 58-year-old Greek man was arrested in Kandia, Argolida and charged with forming a criminal organisation facilitating the exit of non-legal migrants from the country.
Charges have also been drawn up against another six individuals, including a 43-year-old Greek man and another five whose identity has not yet been fully confirmed and are now being sought.
 Tripoli-Kalamata national highway section temporarily shut down Wedn.-Thurs.A section of the national road between the southern cities of Tripoli and Kalamata will be shut down in both directions from Wednesday at 22.00 toThursday at 06.00, it was announced Tuesday.
The section between Tripoli Notia interchange to the Athineou interchange will be shut down and vehicles diverted to the old Tripoli-Kalamata highway.
 Kalamata vying for 'Cultural Capital of Europe 2021' voteThe municipality of Kalamata will officially present its candidacy on Wednesday to become "Cultural Capital of Europe 2021". The municipality has already started its preparations by briefing prominent local personalities to gain their support.
Kalamata mayor Panagiotis Nikas noted that the Messinian prefecture capital has substantial advantages, given that "it is where the Greek revolution against the Ottomans started in 1821." Moreover, Nikas pointed out Kalamata's important decades-long cultural experience, bringing as example the International Dance Festival, held in the city annually.
 'Life in Indonesia' photo exhibit opens in Nafplio on Nov. 10The municipality of Nafplio and its tourism and culture agency have organised a photo exhibition in cooperation with the Embassy of Indonesia titled "Life in Indonesia".
The exhibition will be held from November 10 to 13 at the Vouleftiko, the building that housed the first parliament of modern Greece. The inauguration of the exhibition will take place on Sunday, November 10 at 19:30.
On the opening day visitors will be able to watch traditional Indonesian dances, sample Indonesian food and beverages and watch a video on the Asian country.
 Two workers die in accident on Hydra islandTwo workers died in an accident on the Saronic island of Hydra on Tuesday afternoon. A 43-year-old Georgian national and a 62-year-old Greek, who worked with a cleaning crew for the island's sewage network, fainted suddenly as a result of fumes and fell down a well.
A Fire Brigade group from Trizina arrived at the scene to remove the two men from the bottom of the well, while the doctor examining them ascertained that they were already dead.
An autopsy is expected to detect the cause of their death.
 Minor quake jolts EviaA minor earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale was recorded a few minutes after midnight in the region of northern Evia island.
The quake's epicenter was located 3 km southwest of Istiea and according to Athens National Observatory's first estimations its depth was 5km.
 Rainy on WednesdayRainy weather and southerly winds are forecast in most parts of the country on Wednesday. Winds 4-7 beaufort. Temperatures between 12C and 22C. Rainy in Athens with southerly 5-7 beaufort winds and temperatures between 16C and 22C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 14C and 21C.
 The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: New antisocial measures a one-way.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: New cutbacks in pensions.
ELEFTHORTYPIA: Automatic 'Financial Crimes Squad' in bank deposits.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The list with the 27,948 hirings in wider public sector.
ETHNOS: The 28,000 job positions with five-month contracts.
IMERISSIA: 'Battle' with the troika.
KATHIMERINI: Government starts negotiations with troika of lenders with weapon the state revenues.
LOGOS: Troika 'widens' the fiscal gap.
NAFTEMPORIKI: Over 500,000 companies at Tax Bureau's 'red'.
RIZOSPASTIS: Strike on Wednesday - All to PAME (Labour organisation affiliated to Communist Party) rallies.
TA NEA: IKA (major social security fund) blocks 200,000 enterprises.
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