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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 15-02-12

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM rejected final text of Eurogroup joint statement, government sources say
  • [02] 'EU's success is based on finding compromises,' Merkel says
  • [03] 'My aim is to ensure the country's European course,' Samaras says
  • [04] Defence minister Kammenos concludes visit to Cyprus

  • [01] PM rejected final text of Eurogroup joint statement, government sources say

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / S. Sideris) -- The final joint statement at Wednesday night's Eurogroup, asking the Greek government, among others, to accept the completion and extension of the current programme with changes proposed by Athens, was rejected by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the recommendation of Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragassakis and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.

    Government sources said that a previous joint statement text that was more compromising was rejected by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and was followed by an intense game of tactics involving the tabling of more texts that were also rejected.

    At the EU Summit meeting on Thursday, the prime minister will present his positions in detail and will defend his refusal to accept the texts tabled in the Eurogroup. He will call for broader consensus and repeat that the current programme does not exist for him and his government, insisting that a new programme is necessary.

    Last night's negotiations were marked by an intense exchange of positions and views that was strongly confrontational at times.

    Athens unveiled its positions regarding a bridge-programme, on which the Greek government insists, that was presented during last night's meeting. The same sources said that ahead of the meeting, Varoufakis met with IMF head Christine Lagarde in a good atmosphere. Meetings were also held on different levels during the Eurogroup. All meetings focused on finding ways and wordings that couldn't be disputed in order to reach a solution.

    During the lengthy Eurogroup meeting, different positions were expressed, the sources said, underlining the support offered to Greece by France and Italy, while on the opposite side were the eastern European countries, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, but mainly Germany demanding that the current programme - and the review - should be completed and continued through a new agreement.

    In the meeting, the Greek side said that a bridge-agreement should be reached in the form of an interim agreement which Greece needs, noting that the old programme is over and a four-year interim agreement is necessary.

    The same sources said that the Greek government suggested that financing should be ensured without the ESM tranche of 7.5 billion euros, calling for the ECB to return 1.9 billion euros in profits made on its Greek bond holdings, a rise om the T-bill cap by 10 billion euros and the channelling of 11.4 billion euros in the HFSF to the reform of the Greek banking system, to deal with the non-performing loans.

    Greece also suggested the streamlining of the fiscal framework to have a primary surplus corresponding to 1.5 pct of the GDP and a national reform plan that has common reference points with the partners and concerns the taxation system, the property registry and the speedier administration of justice, among others. The government clarified that other issues, such as labour law and putting ending the humanitarian crisis will not be subject to negotiation.

    [02] 'EU's success is based on finding compromises,' Merkel says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni) In a comment made ahead of the European leaders' summit, the first that will be attended by Greece's new prime minister Alexis Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said that she looked forward to welcoming him and noted that "Europe's success is based on finding compromises".

    "Compromises can be achieved when the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Germany is ready to do something on those lines," she said.

    At the same time, she underlined that it was necessary for Europe's credibility that the rules were observed. These were things that will be discussed by the EU finance ministers' at the next Eurogroup, she added, noting that "we still have a few days time".

    [03] 'My aim is to ensure the country's European course,' Samaras says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Spinthourakis) "My aim is to ensure the country's European course," main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said on Thursday in Brussels, where he is representing ND at the European People's Party (EPP) group summit.

    "A sense of deadlock obviously doesn't help," the main opposition leader noted.

    [04] Defence minister Kammenos concludes visit to Cyprus

    NICOSIA (ANA-MPA/ A. Viketos) Greece's Defence Minister Panos Kammenos concluded his two-day visit to Cyprus on Thursday and returned to Athens.

    Shortly before his departure, Kammenos and his Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides had a meeting with the Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian and Overseas Affairs Fotis Fotiou and a spokesman for the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus Nestoras Nestoros. This focused on the progress of investigations to determine the fate of those missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus but no statements were made afterward.

    Earlier, the minister had met with family members of slain journalist Theophilos Georgiades, who was murdered in the 1990s for his acton in support of the Kurds, and also laid a wreath at the Makedonitissa Tomb monument. He then visited the base of the Hellenic Force in Cyprus (ELDYK) where he was briefed on its operational capability and laid a wreath at the monument for the fallen.

    The minister was accompanied on his visits by Deputy Minister of State Terens Quick, Cyprus defence ministry General Director Christos Malikkidis, Hellenic National Defence General Staff chief Gen. Mikhail Kostarakos, Cyprus National Guard General Staff chief Lieut. Gen. Georgios Basiakoulis and Greece's Ambassador to Cyprus Vassilis Papaioannou.

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