|Friday, 23 April 2021|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-08-28
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Voutsis to ANA: Commission's letter over former ELSTAT chief 'raises major questions'A secret fear that the "central narrative" which permitted the harsh policies imposed on Greece might be even partially overturned was behind the European Commission's "excessive" and "beyond all bounds" support of former ELSTAT chief Andreas Georgiou, Parliament President Nikos Voutsis suggested in an interview with the ANA on Sunday. Voutsis was commenting on the Commission's letter to Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos concerning a court case currently underway against Georgiou for allegedly inflating Greece's deficit to justify the Greek bailout programmes.
"If the Commission thinks it can contribute to an objective evaluation of that period and specifically with regard to ELSTAT's figures, it can ask to appear before Greek justice and bear witness in support of Mr. Georgiou correctness. That is the essence. At the same time, the tone and absolutism with which this blatant intervention in the country's interior is being attempted raises major questions, since it clearly exceeds the expression of an opinion," Voutsis said.
He noted that Georgiou was, in any case, a "controversial" figure that had for years continued to be employed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while acting as the head of the Greek statistics agency. "There was, in other words, a clear conflict of interests," Voutsis added, noting his surprise that this had not concerned any of those backing Georgiou's version concerning the case.
Asked what could be concealed behind the Commission's letter, Voutsis said this partly fear that the central narrative allowing the mistaken policies imposed on Greece could be cast into doubt but also an "open and without limits support" of an agent that could be chalked up to those that worked, without a trace of sensitivity regarding the repercussions of the policies they followed.
"In other words, an immediate and in all ways excessive support of the choice of this way of behaving toward the country."
Commenting on the television broadcasting licences tender, Voutsis again defended the decision to restrict the number of licences given to four. A greater number could not be supported by the country's advertising turnover and would necessarily push such channels into seeking political patronage and corruption in order to survive, he said.
Regarding the issue of war reparations from Germany, Voutsis said that if Parliament approves the relevant report at the end of September, the greater part of the democratic political forces in Greece will back efforts to pursue this claim, either diplomatically or through the courts, for an issue that was a "loud moral and historic residue and that the Greek side therefore has an obligation to raise in the most intense and authoritative way."
 Greek, Turkish FMs Kotzias and Cavusoglu have unofficial meeting in CreteGreece's Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed their intention to strengthen ties between the two countries, following a friendly and informal meeting at Crete's Elounda resort on Sunday. In joint statements after a three-hour meeting and dinner, both ministers said it had been a constructive opportunity to discuss ways to further deepen bilateral ties and enhance dialogue on the major problems in the region.
Kotzias noted that it was an opportunity to find ways of cooperation such that both sides contributed to their solution.
The minister again expressed the Greek people's solidarity with the Turkish people's fight against the attempted coup in Turkey and said they decided with Cavusoglu to further explore avenues for dialogue and cooperation in economic affairs, transport, Confidence Building Measures and political dialogue.
"Greek foreign policy continues to do its work intensely, developing our relations with neighbouring countries and throughout Europe and the wider region, but Turkey is a country with which we have special relations and special interests. For this reason our meeting has great importance for both countries but also for the wider region," Kotzias said.
Cavusoglu thanked Kotzias and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for their support during the difficult hours of the attempted coup, noting the Turkish people were greatly pleased with the support shown by the Greek people and the "clear stance of the Greek government".
"Our effort is all focused on strengthening relations between Turkey and Greece even more," the Turkish foreign minister said, with references to the High-level Cooperation Council and CBMs, as well as the exploratory talks between the two countries. He expressed satisfaction with Kotzias' initiative for regular unofficial meetings like the one held on Sunday.
Referring to the Cyprus issue, Cavusoglu expressed hope that "this time both sides in Cyprus will make use of this opportunity that they have," promising support.
The Turkish minister, in his first visit to an EU country after last July's failed coup attempt in Turkey, was visiting Crete in response to an invitation extended by Kotzias some months earlier.
 Kedikoglou to ANA: government aims to manipulate the mediaThe government's goal in the TV broadcasting licences tender is to manipulate the media, main opposition New Democracy MP Simos Kedikoglou asserted in an interview with the ANA on Sunday. He also suggested that the law on which the government had based the process could be contested as unconstitutional.
Kedikoglou accused the government of seeking "enemies within along the lines of Stalinist models" and that the issue of elections remained open, even though ND cannot trigger elections itself.
The country needs a change of policy, he said, while he rejected reports of internal strife between various factions within ND, saying they must stop.
 Kretsos talks to ANA about TV licence tender: 'Everything ready by Tuesday'Everything will be ready and running smoothly next Tuesday, when the next stage in a tender for the issue of four national television broadcasting licences will take place, the General Secretary for News and Communication Lefteris Kretsos said in an interview with the ANA on Sunday.
Referring to problems in the first part of a training session for the participants, he said that "some people turned up with the intention of making trouble."
"The system does not require more than half an hour of training or, if we assume one is working with scenarios, two additional hours," he said, noting that the members of the committee organising the tender had shown incredible patience in the face of provocations and intimidation.
He said the next step in the process was the completion of the training on Monday, after which the rooms will be sealed in the presence of television channel representatives, so that the tender auction can begin on Tuesday. He admitted that this could turn out to be a lengthy process lasting several days, noting that there will be two stages for each of the four broadcasting licences.
"In the first stage, the Committee for Conducting the Tender will determine the steps of increase of up to 500,000 euros each time, from a starting prices of 3.0 million euros. When only two contenders are left, the second stage of the auction will begin. The two candidates will then be invited to submit their final offer in a sealed envelope, two times. At this stage, there is no limit to the amount offered. Whichever of the two offers the most gets the licence."
Kretsos made it clear that he would not be in the building while the auction was taking place, stressing only those with specific work to do and accredited in advance will be given access, while the building has been turned over to the Greek Police to guard while the auction is underway.
"Absolutely no one can affect the result of the auction and all those engaging in a witch hunt over the electronic system or whatever else are doing this because they don't want to pay," he said.
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