|Monday, 25 March 2019|
Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-05-30
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Moscovici hopes for agreement at June 15 EurogroupBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni) - European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici expressed the hope on Tuesday that an agreement on Greece will be reached at the Eurogroup on June 15.
In reply to a question of European Parliament government vice president Dimitris Papadimoulis, Moscovici said that Greece needs to meet more than 140 "ambitious" prior actions in the framework of the second programme review and stressed that we are "on the right track."
He added that there are certain issues that need to be solved before the decision on the debt. The Commission, he noted, will try to play the role of a sincere mediator so that a final agreement on Greece is reached at the following Eurogroup.
As to when Greece will exit the excessive deficit procedure, Moscovici underlined the country's positive economic performance, saying that Greece has exceeded its goals and expressed the belief that this "positive performance" would continue and in the next year. "This is good news," he said adding that the negotiations on the conclusion of the second review continue and are focused on the fiscal course that Greece needs to follow.
At the last Eurogroup, significant progress was reached but a final agreement was not eventually reached, he noted. He expressed confidence, however, that this will happen at the next Eurogroup on June 15.
 Greece needs national plan to exit the crisisGreece must make it clear, ahead of a crucial Eurogroup meeting in June 15, that a debt relief cannot be postponed constantly to the future without consequences, Yiannis Dragasakis vice-president of the Greek government said on Tuesday.
Addressing a 5th Greek Export Forum, Dragasakis said: "Debt sustainability is not something related only with the capability to service borrowing needs, but a country's capability to exit a crisis and to make the necessary leap towards production reconstruction and extroversion. That's why it is necessary and feasible that a Eurogroup meeting in June 15 to make, even in the last minute, what it did not do in the previous meetings, without any fundamental excuse and without any responsibility of the country, since everyone acknowledged that Greece has more than fulfilled its obligations".
Dragasakis noted that a turn towards a productive reconstruction and extroversion was imperative for Greece, adding that the country must do in a relatively short period of time what it failed to do for decades. He stressed that Greece needed a new national plan for the future, its own stragegy for development and prosperity and noted that this needed everyone's involvement.
He said Greece must implement a new strategy to improve competitiveness of Greek exports and criticized previous policies based on a drastic reduction of wages, reducing labour rights and collective bargaining.
He underlined that the government, despite fiscal and other limitations, was creating the terms to strengthen structural competitiveness, which is based on higher added value, integrating research and innovation, exploiting knowledge, emerging models for a new socially-responsible, extrovert and innovative entrepreneurship.
Dragasakis also referred to the need for a institutional reconstruction of the state and of a new strategy to achieve the extroversion of Greek economy. "The Greek state needs a promotional role, wide and fundamental in planning, regulating, supporting, funding, organizing partnerships and synergies within the wider public are and between state, private and social agencies," he said. He added that these changes cannot be made on terms of external imposition.
 Greece and China can learn a lot from each other, Culture Min Koniordou saysGreece and China can learn a lot from each other by joining forces in culture, Greek Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou told Xinhua.
A few weeks after the official launch of the China-Greece Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year in Athens, the Greek official talked about the prospects of Greek-China collaboration in this field and culture's role in facilitating and promoting relations among peoples.
She shared her experience from her three visits to China and her dream about bringing younger generations closer to Greece's rich cultural heritage.
An acclaimed actress and director specializing in ancient Greek drama, Koniordou first visited Beijing in 2004 with the National Theater of Greece to perform "Antigone" of Sophocles. She will never forget the standing ovation the audience gave to the Greek artists, she said.
In 2014 and 2015 she was invited by Shanghai Theater Academy to do a workshop on ancient Greek drama and then direct a performance of ancient Greek drama by third-year students.
"We believe that our ancient culture, Greek tragedy is part of the world heritage now and can really throw a light to different cultures. It is not just Greek," she told Xinhua.
"So we applied this play into Chinese reality and that was a wonderful experience," she said.
Koniordou started learning Chinese for this course and gradually discovered more and more links between the two countries. She found analogies in culture, philosophy and art, and felt like home in her Chinese world.
"We believe that there are a lot of things that we can learn from each other. When I was in Shanghai the proof that we have so much in common is how I communicated especially with the younger generation, but also the teachers and the faculty in a very immediate way," she noted.
"We had no barrier in our communication and this was wonderful. I felt we have so many things that we can exchange," she stressed.
For Koniordou, the Greece-China Cultural Exchanges and Cultural Industry Cooperation Year offers a great opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties in the cultural sector and pave the way for the enhancement of collaboration in other fields in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative.
She sees culture as a vital bridge supporting creative dialogue, understanding and the welfare of citizens.
"We are now in a position that the whole world is re-evaluating its course. We want to know where we want to head as humanity, what kind of world we want to live in. So this is a very important moment and we believe that culture is a way to help us understand who we are and where we want to go," the Greek official said.
"Also culture can really connect with sustainable growth, can be connected with the welfare of the citizen," she underlined.
"This is what we are trying to do in Greece, to connect culture with the education of the younger generation. Because it is very important for each generation to know the value of culture and to know what it can offer to their lives," Koniordou said.
On Sino-Greek connection through culture, the framework is already there, she noted, referring for example to two MOUs signed recently on co-production of films and the translation of literary works.
The two sides also plan exchanges of treasures between museums, theater and musical exchanges, as well as collaboration in restoration and preservation of antiquities and the battle against illicit trafficking of cultural heritage treasures, she said.
"We really look forward to knowing Chinese culture and the different expressions of Chinese culture in Greece. I think the Greek people are very interested in this. I felt also the same in China," Koniordou said.
The Greek minister believes that culture can help make the world a better place.
"Greece is going through a difficult period, but we need to stress the importance of keeping open this dialogue and exchange of culture, because we believe that in difficult moments citizens -- and we see this happening now in Greece -- want to connect with their identity more than ever," she stressed.
 Alternate Energy Min announces Greece, Cyprus, Egypt cooperation on climate changeAlternate Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos, after his visit to Cairo, announced a strategic cooperation with the establishment of a task force with Cyprus and Egypt to agree on indicators on climate change
He also said that Greece aims to do the same with Cyprus and Israel.
As he said in an event on the sustainable mobility in local administration organised by the Training Institute of the National Centre of Public Administration and Local Administration "The mediterrenean is one of the most vunlerable areas in issues of climate change something very important for the economy, society, public safety, farming and biodiversity."
The offered natural, economic and social sources should be used in a sustainable way. In order to achieve it, we must make use of the new technologies and ideas that will lead to the restructuring of the economy, said the minister.
According to the ministry, Greece-Egypt-Cyprus cooperation plan that includes that sectors of sea pollution, the management of coastal zones, biodiversity and waste management is ambitious but feasible. Each country has the responsibility for specific actions that must bring tangible results before the trilateral meeting at country leaders' level that will take place in September 2017.
 OTE to upgrade OPAP's network of agentsOPAP Group on Tuesday said it has selected OTE Group as a strategic partner to upgrade telecommunication infrastructure of its agent network.
In an announcement, OPAP said this partnership is consistent with the Vision 2020 launched by OPAP and its strategic priorities to invest on network, taking advantage of the latest digital and technological breakthroughs and developing a portfolio of product and services of global standards.
Under the agreement reached, OTE Group will install new network infrastructure in OPAP's network offering higher availability and more efficiaency in the operation of the network along with better quality of services.
The new infrastructure, to exploit OTE's New Generation Access networks will allow OPAP to introduce new products and services, such as VLTs and SSBTs and to improve the performance of its existing products.
Damian Cope, OPAP's CEO, commenting on the agreement said: "I am in the pleasant position to announce a strategic partnership with OTE Group. This is an important project for us as it lays the technological foundations for the future development of our company and will play a pivotal role in introducing new products and services".
Mihalis Tsamaz, OTE's chairman and CEO, said: "OTE Group, with its advanced ICT services and solutions can contribute in the dynamic transition of every company to a new digital era. Our stragegic partnership with OPAP confirmed that OTE Group has the know-how and credibility to implement large and complext IT projects".
 Energean Oil & Gas signs supply contract with DaliaEnergean Oil & Gas on Tuesday announced the signing of the first contract for the sale of natural gas to be produced from the Karish and Tanin offshore fields -located in the Economic Zone of Israel- with Dalia -the biggest private producer of electricity in Israel.
Under the agreement, Energean will supply 23 billion cubic metres of natural gas to Dalia Power Energies and its sister company Or Power Energies, covering part of their needs for the operation of the Dalia electricity power station, the largest private power station in Tzafit (Southeast Israel) and of futurel stations to be build by the Israeli company.
Energean Oil & Gas acquired the Karish and Tanin fields in December 2016. These filds have potential reserves of 2.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and the investment to fully develop these fields is estimated at 1.3-1.5 billion US dollars.
Energean is currently negotiating with other customers to sign new supply contracts and it is expected to submit a comprehensive plan to develop the two fields to the Israeli government -for approval- within the next few weeks.
 There is no intention to call a political leaders' meeting, gov't sources say"It must become crystal clear to all the political forces, even to those that some time ago spoke of sustainable debt, that the battle for the debt relief is of national character. There is no intention to call a political leaders meeting at this phase," government sources on Tuesday noted responding to scenarios referring to a political leaders' meeting on the negotiation issue.
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