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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-29

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Draghi: ECB waiting for measures that will make Greek debt sustainable long-term
  • [02] Effort for Cyprus solution will continue, Eide says after meeting Kotzias
  • [03] Talks on Greek debt relief measures continuing, says FinMin official
  • [04] Tilos among finalists for EU sustainable energy award for switching to renewables

  • [01] Draghi: ECB waiting for measures that will make Greek debt sustainable long-term

    BRUSSELS (ANA/M. Aroni) – The European Central Bank (ECB) is waiting for the measures that will make Greek debt sustainable in the long-term in order to decide on its participation in the quantitative easing program, central banker Mario Draghi said on Monday, testifying at the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in Brussels.

    Draghi said the central bank and its governing council need the sustainability report to evaluate it independently and expressed regret that the last Eurogroup wasn't able to reach a clear definition on the debt relief measures.

    Responding a question by independent MEP Notis Marias on the bank's quantitative easing program, Draghi said "if and when" the program is extended to Greece, some Greek businesses could be included in the company bond buying program, if they fulfill the relevant criteria.

    [02] Effort for Cyprus solution will continue, Eide says after meeting Kotzias

    Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Monday urged Turkey to be "sufficiently wise" as to discuss preparations for a new round of talks in Geneva on the Cyprus issue, following his meeting with United Nations special envoy on the Cyprus issue Espen Barth Eide in Athens.

    "Let it be sufficiently wise and talk with us, so we can prepare an international conference in Geneva on the security of Cyprus and how to rid the island of the 1960s treaties, those of Zurich and London, on guarantees and the so-called Alliance," Kotzias said after lengthy talks with the UN envoy.

    Eide, on his part, offered assurances that the effort to find a common ground for the Geneva talks will continue: "It is an ongoing process. It is not easy but we are not giving up," he said after the meeting.

    The UN envoy said his talks in Athens had been "constructive and useful" and that he would now go to Ankara to continue his efforts there.

    "We must be prepared because it is an international issue but the final decision must be taken in Cyprus by the two leaders on whether they are prepared to find a common platform for a new Geneva Conference," Eide said. The focus now was not so much on the substance of the talks but how these will be organised and on deciding the agenda, he added.

    On the issue of security and guarantees, where the talks have stumbled, Kotzias said this was an issue "linked to the necessity and the demand that Turkey understand that it must withdraw its troops from Cyprus." Ankara will also have to give up rights to intervene on the island for its own ends, he said.

    "Unfortunately, Turkey continues to put forward its own needs and not the needs of the two communities and their three minorities," he said, while Ankara simply refused to discuss the proposals put forward by the Greek side on these issues.

    "Turkey must stop seeing the Cyprus issue as a means for serving its own geopolitical interests or its interests with respect to the European Union. It must accept that Cyprus has to be transformed and exist as a normal state. A state that is a member of the EU and the United Nations," Kotzias said.

    The foreign minister said that Greece concerned itself only with the international aspect of the Cyprus problem - namely, the guarantees and security issues - and that its demand for the withdrawal of Turkish troops was "simple and clear".

    Regarding his meeting with Eide, Kotzias said it was made clear that all sides "must focus on a solution of the Cyprus issue and not on protecting Turkey's geopolitical and European interests."

    According to Eide, the UN was "ready...for more thoughts on the issues that concern the guarantor powers," while noting that "we are not there yet."

    The envoy said he was not asking "anyone to put pressure on anyone" but also voiced his concern that "the process is in serious trouble" and his conviction that its failure "is not in the interests of Greece, Turkey or any other international actor."

    Even though it concerned the Cypriots, he added, failing to find a solution could have international repercussions, impacting relations between Greece and Turkey, Turkey's relations with the EU and the general situation in the Mediterranean. This was happening at a time when the situation in the region was difficult and when there were opportunities for cooperation in energy, he added.

    Eide also pointed out that the two sides had covered a lot of ground and were "very, very close" to an agreement, "actually more close than most people seem to understand."

    [03] Talks on Greek debt relief measures continuing, says FinMin official

    Negotiations between Greece and its lenders on the medium-term measures for the country's debt pile are continuing, a senior finance ministry official said on Monday, commenting on the ongoing talks on the debt and the next Eurogroup on June 15.

    "Talks are continuing. We want a clear pathway in order to be able to access the markets," the official said.

    Commenting on what will happen if June's Eurogroup doesn't provide a clear solution, the official said it is best "not to speculate" adding the government is "aiming for a clear solution".

    Asked the possibilities that Greece may join the European Central Bank's quantitative easing (QE) program, the official said "we'll see".

    According to information, the issue of Greece's inclusion in the QE is expected to be held on May 31, on the sidelines of the Economist conference in Frankfurt. Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will address the conference while other speakers include ECB's Executive Board member Benoit Coeure, Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras, Alternate Economy Minister Alexis Charitsis and representatives of the institution.

    [04] Tilos among finalists for EU sustainable energy award for switching to renewables

    The Greek island of Tilos has been selected to be among the three finalists for the 2017 European Union's Sustainable Energy (EUSEW) Awards in the 'Energy Islands' category for the introduction of an hybrid energy system that aims to switch the island entirely renewable energy sources after the summer.

    The system is to be installed by the end of June and the first tests will begin in September.

    The vote to select the winners of the EUSEW awards will take place on June 19, while the first prize is a cash award of 20,000 euros that the island authorities will use to install photovoltaic and solar panels at the refugee camp situated on the island. The final results will be announced on June 20, the launch of EU Sustainable Energy Week.

    The Tilos project involves 13 partners from seven EU countries led by the Piraeus University of Applied Sciences Soft Energy Applications and Environmental Protection Laboratory (SEALAB). Greek participants include the Western Macedonia Technical Education Institute, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator S.A, the companies Eunice and Eurosol and WWF Hellas. The total cost of the project was 15 million euros, with 11 million euros provided by European programmes.


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