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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-01-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greek economy to grow by 1.5-2.0 pct this year, IOBE report
  • [02] FM Kotzias reacts to EP president Tajani's statement
  • [03] Alt. FM Katrougalos meets with chief of Euroasian Economic Commission Sargsyan
  • [04] Greek Finance ministry begins widespread controls to combat tax evasion

  • [01] Greek economy to grow by 1.5-2.0 pct this year, IOBE report

    The Greek economy is expected to grow by 1.5 - 2.0 pct this year, the Foundation of Industrial and Economic Research (IOBE) said in its latest quarterly report on the Greek economy, released on Thursday.

    IOBE said a budget target for a growth rate of around 3.0 pct this year was "very doubtful" and noted that a growth rate of around 1.5-2.0 pct "was not an insignificant level".

    The report noted that several of the economy's functions were gradually recovering after the hit suffered in the summer of 2015. A recovery should not surprise anyone, while reforms in the labour and product markets contribute positively, although with a delay.

    Strengthening of electronic payment means in the market is boosting GDP, along with tax revenue and reduces non-registered activity. "However, this positive reaction of the economy should not be misinterpreted of ensuring a course of sustainable growth in the medium-term," IOBE said.

    The report noted that the Greek economy, "although severely wounded, has not fallen below the level of Eurozone entrance and retains positive prospects. A new round of growth is feasible, but it cannot start automatically, as access to external capital will be limited. It needs a very clear political sign and social support. Then a significant increase in investments and a reversal of negative expectations will be visible".

    IOBE said the country needed a stable economic policy based on a credible direction without doubts for any possible deviations and warned that any delay in clearing the terms of economic growth created additional cost and risk on three issues: protecting those suffering from a drastic reduction in income, property and their living standards by creating a protection plan, raising the quality of health and education services. Secondly, uncertainty was freezing investment decisions and thirdly, the Greek crisis is evolving within a volatile and obscure European and international environment. Greece cannot afford to show a wait-and-see attitude towards any attempt to accelerate and deepen common policies in Europe (fiscal and banking).

    [02] FM Kotzias reacts to EP president Tajani's statement

    "We live in times when some people write history in their own way," Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said on Thursday in Parliament, responding to statements made by the new European Parliament President Antonio Tajani referring to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as 'Macedonia'.

    He informed a Parliamentary Committee discussing matters relating to the functioning of the foreign ministry that Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos will be handling the matter and that SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis had already sent a written protest.

    "From [Prime Minister of Albania Edi] Rama who 'discovered' [that the Albanians saved] the Acropolis and that Ali Pasha was responsible for the revolution of 1821, to the new president of the European Parliament. History is a battlefield and should be used as a school to teach the mind, not as a prison to imprison it," he added.

    During a visit to the capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) last February when he was European Commissioner, Tajani referred to FYROM as 'Macedonia' and told an enthusiastic local audience that they were descendants of Alexander the Great and his father Philip.

    [03] Alt. FM Katrougalos meets with chief of Euroasian Economic Commission Sargsyan

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos met on Thursday with the chairman of the board of the Euroasian Economic Commission Tigran Sargsyan.

    The meeting focused on issues referring to the relations between the European Union and the Euroasian Economic Union and the two officials exchanged views on the potential of regional economic cooperation in the future.

    Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan participate in the Euroasian Economic Union.

    [04] Greek Finance ministry begins widespread controls to combat tax evasion

    Greek Finance ministry is beginning widespread checks of electronic payment systems (POS) with the aim to protect consumers and to safeguard public interest, Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou said on Thursday.

    Speaking in Parliament, Papanatsiou said that inspection mechanisms were in full alert and all necessary instructions have been given to conduct spot prevention checks. The inspections seek to establish whether the controlled person engaged in economic activity has a POS payment receipt card machine, installed by a foreign payment services provider and requested quote evidence to establish the origin of the payment service provider.

    The issue raised by the MP of the Democratic Coalition party Vasilis Kegkeroglou, who, with timely question, pointed out that "there are fraud methods and the state need to shield transactions, so as not to break the confidence of consumers." Mr. Kegkeroglou also requested the government to arrange for the issue of excessive charges by banks on enterprises and consumers.

    The Deputy Finance Minister pointed out that under the existing institutional framework, the supplier is not entitled to impose charges to consumers for the use of the specific payment instrument. Therefore, additional charges in everyday transactions by electronic payment instruments are prohibited.

    Referring specifically to monitoring, Ms. Papanatsiou said that already, in collaboration with Economic Police, a company's clientele was under, after evidence found that the company was supplying Greek businesses with POS devices that were settling payment transactions in a foreign bank, while the contracts were signed after the imposition of capital controls, which was not allowed.

    On the question of bank charges, the Deputy Finance Minister stressed that commercial banks' pricing policy was formed based on the principles of free competition, within the limits of the social acquis.

    "In any case it is known that the collective market participants have signed agreements with financial institutions, which provide total commission significantly below 1%," Papanatsiou said.


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