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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-01-25

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Programme review can be achieved by February's Eurogroup, top eurozone official says
  • [02] Gov't does not have plan or vision for the next day, says ND's Lazaridis
  • [03] New Infrastructure Fund to begin with 400 mln euros in capital
  • [04] Verwey satisfied over result of EU-Turkey agreement
  • [05] National tourism policy bears fruit, Tourism Minister Kountoura says

  • [01] Programme review can be achieved by February's Eurogroup, top eurozone official says

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni) - The conclusion of the second programme review can be achieved by the Eurogroup in February, a senior eurozone official on Wednesday said adding that the participation of the IMF in the Greek programme is a prerequisite.

    He also said that the Eurogroup on Thursday will discuss the progress made in the second programme review and the continuation of the negotiations between the government and the institutions in the near future.

    The EU official estimated that there are good chances for the four institutions to find common ground so as to return in Athens for the conclusion of the review. He also said that the Greek authorities will be in a position to agree on the basic parametres and therefore the conclusion of the second review be achieved by February's Eurogroup.

    As regards the IMF demand to legislate in advance measures for the period after 2018, he acknowledged that it is a great issue that needs to be dealt with in order to find a solution.

    Regarding the IMF, he stressed that its full participation in the programme is a sine qua non. Otherwise, he said that the non-participation of the Fund in the programme would bring significant technical problems and long delays.

    Finally, the official noted that February is the last month in which a solution can be found, as he said in March, as a "long electoral period" starts for a number of member states.

    [02] Gov't does not have plan or vision for the next day, says ND's Lazaridis

    The government is incompetent and this costs to the Greek people, if it can't complete the second review it should leave, stated main opposition New Democracy (ND) chief of the press office Makarios Lazaridis in an interview with SKAI TV on Wednesday.

    "We have reached this point because the issues that remain pending are those the government does not complete because it is obsessive. It does not have a plan or a vision for the next day. For this reason we ask for a political change in order for the country to breathe. Our plan foresees tax reductions and cut in expenses, Lazaridis said.

    Referring to the second review, he said that ND's position is that "the government must complete the review in the best possible way for the citizens" adding that "the review should have been completed from February 2016...every time it delays the citizens pay the cost. The first review was concluded with 14 months delay and 9 bln euros on taxes, an eternal superfund and a 3.5 bln euro contingency mechanism on salaries and pensions".

    [03] New Infrastructure Fund to begin with 400 mln euros in capital

    Two new significant funding tools will be launched in the first quarter of 2017, Alternate Economy Minister Alexis Charitsis told ANA on Wednesday.

    In an interview, Charitsis said that a new Infrastructure Fund will be able to fund specific infrastructure categories, such as energy saving in public buildings and tourist infrastructure development, while a Micro-funding Fund will focus on supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises, individuals and social economy.

    The minister said that a rational planning of infrastructure projects, focusing on transport, energy and environment is one of the elements that will lead to an efficient management of European funds. According to the planning of Economy ministry, the creation of an Infrastructure Investment Fund -which will focus on synergies between public and private sector- is an additional tool to maximize the exploitation of available funds, particularly in the current period with a lack of liquidity putting a break to the planning and implementation of infrastructure projects.

    European Investment Bank (EIB) will act as the manager of the fund. The initial capital of the fund will be around 200 million euros, while through leverage additional funds were expected to be raised from public and private sources to raise the initial capital of the fund to 400 million euros.

    [04] Verwey satisfied over result of EU-Turkey agreement

    European Commission coordinator for the EU-Turkey agreement, Maarten Verwey, visited the island of Lesvos to present the Commission's actions plan for the implementation of the agreement to the local authorities.

    Verwey toured the refugees and migrants camp in Moria and was briefed by Lesvos municipal authorities.

    Speaking to the press, he informed them on the action plan and referred to the results of the EU-Turkey agreement.

    According to the Commission's representative, EU is satisfied by the implementation of the agreement because the flows have posted a significant drop. The arrival of refugees was reduced to 25,720 after the agreement from 960,681 arrivals in ten months before the agreement. Moreover, the number of dead or missing has fallen. 1,064 dead or missing before against 69 after the agreement.

    The Commission aims at the decongestion of the islands until April, one month before the start of the tourist season.

    Maarten Verwey also met with the mayor of Lesvos, Spyros Galinos.

    According to a municipality's announcement, "the mayor briefed Verwey on the actions of the mayors of Kos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Lesvos as well as on their meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He stressed the need for the island to be immediately decongested. The social cohesion on the remote Greece island is a major issue in order for the local communities to return to normality.

    According to Lesvos municipality announcement, Verwey referred in detail to European Commission's action plan with the cooperation of the Greek government and all the involving European and national agencies for the acceleration of the asylum procedures as well as the transfer of the weaker groups and people with delinquent behaviour, something that will contribute to the gradual decongestion of the refugees hosting centers. "Our common aim is the continuation of the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement in order to control the arrivals while 4,000 people have been transferred from the islands to the mainland since September 2016 with the help of EU funds."

    [05] National tourism policy bears fruit, Tourism Minister Kountoura says

    The extension of the tourist season, the high number of arrivals (almost 28 mln in 2016) and the expansion to new markets are some of the results of the national tourism policy of the last two years, Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura on Wednesday said in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency's radio station Praktoreio 104.9 FM.

    "Our target is quality tourism," she underlined and added: "We managed to triple our arrivals from the US and Canada in 2016, a market that was strengthened thanks to the contribution of the Diaspora."

    Tourist arrivals from the United Arab Emirates have also increased by 55 percent, she said.

    Commenting on the reluctance of some hoteliers to accommodate refugees, the minister said that we should all "help to calm things down" adding that there are other hoteliers who want to accommodate refugees and make deals.

    Finally, Kountoura stressed the importance of respecting the human rights.


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