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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-02

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Meeting decides against giving Egnatia highway to new privatisation fund
  • [02] Savvidis causes stir with interview that praises Tsipras, pours scorn on Mitsotakis
  • [03] Passenger traffic up 6.6 pct at Greek airports in 1st quarter 2017, year on year
  • [04] Shopkeepers to strike next Sunday, in protest against new Sunday opening laws

  • [01] Meeting decides against giving Egnatia highway to new privatisation fund

    The Egnatia toll road spanning northern Greece will not be given to the new Privatisation Fund that is to be set up in Greece, a meeting held at the government's headquarters decided on Tuesday. The meeting, attended by ministers and Egnatia SA's management and workers, was chaired by Minister of State Alekos Flambouraris.

    It was also decided that Egnatia Odos SA will take over the job of monitoring the concession of the highway and that Egnatia Odos S.A. will be an organisation supervised by the infrastructure ministry.

    In addition to Flambouraris, the meeting was attended by Infrastructure and Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis and Deputy Economy and Development Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas.

    [02] Savvidis causes stir with interview that praises Tsipras, pours scorn on Mitsotakis

    Greek-Russian business tycoon Ivan Savvidis on Tuesday sparked controversy with an interview appearing in the Greek news website protothema.gr, where among others he compared Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Russian leader Vladimir Putin and attacked Greece's main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying that he "will never become prime minister".

    Savvidis praised the way that Tsipras handled the problems arising with the tobacco firm SEKAP and its outstanding fines, including the controversial amendment tabled by a SYRIZA MP allowing these fines to be written off. According to Savvidis, the prime minister was "a pragmatist and had acted with a high sense of morality and practicality."

    "He called for dialogue on the essence of the issues. He recognised that there was a problem that made investments in Greece difficult," the Russian magnate noted, adding that there were thousands of investors like himself.

    Savvidis pointed out that former prime minister Antonis Samaras, who had sold him the former state-run tobacco company SEKAP, "had been able to sell me his headache for very good money. Because SEKAP was his headache and now it has become mine."

    He was intensely critical of the stance adopted by main opposition New Democracy on the same issue, especially ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, saying that he had expected ND as a supposedly investor-friendly party to admit that a write off of the debts was necessary, or at least use "sound arguments."

    "That gentleman, however, said things that I cannot even call a joke," Savvidis added.

    "What investor would agree to take on such a burden? So many fines? They wanted to sell me a company and only then reveal the problems with the fines for illegal trading," he said.

    Savvidis said that he "takes his hat off" to Tsipras for his handling of the affair, which he said was the way that "prime ministers should act, protecting any investor."

    "We are not friends with Mr. Tsipras. There is no way that ND will win. SYRIZA has temporarily lost ground and ND is temporarily gaining. But ND has no idea how to shake things up," he said.

    The Greek-Russian businessman, who recently successfully bid for Thessaloniki port and owns a football club in the city, also made clear that he has not given up his plans to break into Greece's media sector.

    "One way or the other I will buy one of the central television channels. Whatever happens! Very soon. When I say soon it may possibly be over by May. As regards Pegasus and DOL, I do not hide my interest in both," he said.

    This was a very good time for someone to invest in Greece, Savvidis added, while noting that he should be treated as a foreign investor. "The market, at the moment, is rock bottom in all directions but I believe in the country's potential and that is why I am taking a risk. My belief is that the businessman who can correctly assess the dangers so that losses are lower than profits is the one that gains."

    [03] Passenger traffic up 6.6 pct at Greek airports in 1st quarter 2017, year on year

    Greece's Civil Aviation Service (CAS) on Tuesday unveiled figures showing that passenger traffic had increased 6.6 pct in the first quarter of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.

    According to the CAS, a total of 5,980,112 passengers used airports in the first quarter of 2017, up from 5,611,578 in 2016, for an increase of 328,534.

    In the month of March, passenger traffic was up 5.5 pct compared with the same month in 2016, with 2.23 million passengers taking flights.

    The airports with the highest increase in passengers during the 1st quarter were those of Paros (114.5 pct), followed by Mykonos (98.9 pct) and Skiathos (62.7 pct).

    [04] Shopkeepers to strike next Sunday, in protest against new Sunday opening laws

    The Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) on Tuesday announced plans for a strike by its members on Sunday, May 7 in protest against legislation that would increase the number of Sundays that retail outlets are allowed to operate in the year.

    The coming Sunday, which falls within the two-week mid-season sales, has been designated as a day when shops can stay open in most areas of the country.

    ESEE objects to the proposed legislation as a thinly-veiled "photographic" attempt to essentially abolish the Sunday holiday in all coastal areas from Piraeus to Sounio, the centre of Athens, the entire Thessaloniki sea front and the areas around the Athens and Thessaloniki international airports, including the large retail parks that surround them.

    It argues that the measure disproportionately favours large retailers and chains at the expense of small shops and businesses, who will lose market share and struggle to cover the costs of opening for an additional day.

    Under the deal agreed between the Greek government and the country's lenders in the early hours of Tuesday, Greece is to pass legislation extending the tourism season and the definition of tourism areas, effectively increasing the number of Sundays shops can open to 30, instead of the current eight.


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