|Monday, 11 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-03-02
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 2 March 2015 Issue No: 4898
 PM Tsipras: Plan to overthrow the government set by Europe's conservative powers in cooperation with SamarasPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred on Saturday to the plans for the government's overthrow by the European conservative powers in cooperation with Samaras' (Antonis, New Democracy leader and former prime minister) government, in his opening speech to SYRIZA's Central Committee.
"The most aggressive conservative powers of Europe in cooperation with Samaras' government had set us a trap to throw us to the rocks before even assuming the country's governance with aim the financial suffocation and the government's overthrow" said Tsipras. He also revealed that their aim was the creation of new government formation of "questionable moral and political legalisation, following the example of Papademos' government".
Referring to the negotiations on the bridge-agreement with the country's lenders, he underlined that the Greek people feels that they are regaining their dignity adding that the government said many 'no', during the few days of the negotiations despite the pressure that sometimes were unbearable and had a blackmailing character".
He said that the troika has finished and referred to three truths which he described also charging former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that when Greece was giving a battle, he urged the European Peoples Party to vote against the national effort.
Government's every single step in the European battle was on a minefield. They had set us a trap to send us to the rocks with aim the financial suffocation and the government's overthrow. An unprecedented popular unity that supported our struggle for dignity and national sovereignty ruined their plans and gave us the ground to avoid the trap, said Tsipras.
"Of course we had estimated and discussed this development before the elections but it did not reduce the difficulties. Preparations need time and we did not have any time so we did not have any weapon except for our determination to meet the people's will as it was expressed in the general elections" said Tsipras.
He explained that one of the government's most strong cards was the concern over the general destabilisation that would bring a non-agreement that would led to the implementation of the suffocation plan prepared by the most conservative political European powers. A concern that led countries as France, US, China and other to hold a more positive and responsible stance in comparison with the European axis of austerity. This gave us the opportunity to move between differentiated interests and strategies to the Greek positions' benefit. On the other hand we were found before an axis of powers with drivers the Spanish and the Portuguese who, for obvious political reasons, wanted to conduct the whole negotiation on the edge of the cliff in order to avoid the internal political risk.
According to Tsipras, the plan was and is to lead "SYRIZA government to deterioration and overthrow or without conditions surrender before the government's efforts bear fruits and before the Greek example has an effect to other countries' correlations and before the elections in Spain. Their aim was to put pressure on us in order to lead us to inadmissible retreats under the threat of a financial suffocation. To spread the feeling of disappointment and to cut us off the popular grass-roots".
Finally, referring to SYRIZA's duties from now on, he said that the party of course will stand by the government and support its efforts but always with criticism as is appropriate for a party of the Left.
 SYRIZA party meeting ends with vote of new central committee secretary generalTassos Koronakis was elected secretary general of the majority ruling SYRIZA party's central committee and the political secretariat on Sunday, bringing to a conclusion the central committee's two-day meeting.
Also elected were eleven who will serve on the newly-established political secretariat.
Addressing the meeting earlier, SYRIZA leader and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on all party officials to work to "expand the influence of the party in the working-class families parts of Greek society, and said it was "inconceivable to have weak organisations in those neighbourhoods that are mostly populated by working-class families and their support comes close to 50 pct."
He also said that SYRIZA should organise in every city and large village, and asked that the party become more operational and open to criticism.
The meeting's agenda included an amendment by one of SYRIZA's component groups (Leftist Platform), which opposed the agreement reached between the government and the Eurogroup on extending the Greek loan, and called on Tsipras to promote his campaign promises instead. The amendment was voted down by 92 members, while 68 supported it and 5 gave a blank vote.
 ND leader Samaras: Mr. Tsipras should be ashamedMr.Tsipras should be ashamed" state New Democracy (ND) leader and former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras referring to prime minister Alexis Tsipras' speech on Saturday to SYRIZA Central Committee.
"He charges me for the European People's Party announcement, which context he has co-signed in the last decision of the Eurogroup" said Samaras adding that EPPs announcement said that Greece had made a huge progress in the last years and should keep its commitments.
"He (Tsipras) must be in a great despair and fear to refer to such nonsense and to make up imaginary enemies to justify his own lies and impasses..." said Samaras.
Samaras noted that the 'bridge' Tsipras' prepares is for the next memorandum to which he is leading us and that for this reason, as he said, he will give account.
"If he believes that by attacking me and our partners he can become a European politician, he has not a single idea what's going on. He does wrong not only to himself but also to the country which is in Europe and will remain in Europe. Shame!" concluded Samaras.
 ND spokesman: PM Tsipras continues to be in a virtual realityMain opposition New Democracy (ND) spokesman Costas Karagounis on Saturday charged Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras that he gives vague promises when on the other hand Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced new taxes.
On the occasion of Tsipras' speech to SYRIZA Central Committee, Karagounis asked again "when and if the new agreement for the extension of the programme will pass from the Greek parliament" He also charged him that he "continues to be in a virtual reality and to lie openly" and that "by looking the new reality with fear he is making the unbelievable mistake to start a new round of attack against our partners".
Moreover, Karagounis said that "Tsipras' government has already officially co-signed the huge progress achieved by Samaras' government and the self-evident need the country to respect its commitments.?However, all the lies he says cannot hide the truth that now he is forced to accept. He is leading the country to a new memorandum when the previous government was taking the country off the memorandum. He is leading the country into a new need for loans while the former government took the country out of the compulsory lending".
Karagounis noted that ND "will of course vote the examining committee for the memorandum" but as he clarified "of course another examining committee will follow that will investigate who and why prevented Greece's exit from the memorandum this year and are leading us now rapidly into a new memorandum".
 SYRIZA minister Lafazanis responds to ND criticism as 'hilarious'When main opposition New Democracy refers to the government in terms of destabilisation, "it can only cause hilarity and sarcastic comments," Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said on Sunday, commenting on a statement by the former ruling party criticising debate and disagreements at SYRIZA's central committee meeting.
"The sorry state ND has reached ought to be taught in political science as the very definition of the complete political destabilisation a party can come to," Lafazanis added.
SYRIZA was, is and will be a radical political power with lively and guaranteed democratic functions, unlike ND and other parties, he said, as "different opinions in SYRIZA are not persecuted - as happens in other parties - but are expressed freely in its collective processes, and constitute an achievement and force for our party and for Greece and its democratic progressive prospects."
"ND, on the other hand, is not related to the normalcy it calls upon and the only thing it can guarantee is carrying out a base opposition, decaying leader-focused operation, memorandum anomaly and the continuous worsening of austerity," Lafazanis said.
 KKE: Real disengagement from memorandum means cancellation of the implementation laws"Real disengagement from the memorandums means cancellation of the implementation laws, as says Communist Party's draft law proposal and not their strengthening with new list of reforms, means restoration of the losses for the Greek people and rift with EU, the capital and their authority in Greece", said a Communist Party (KKE) announcement referring to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' speech to SYRIZA's Central Committee.
 Gov't responds to Spanish PM's comments on PM Tsipras' speech on SaturdayThe Greek government does not separate European countries and citizens into friendly and unfriendly, government sources at the Maximos Mansion headquarters said on Sunday, in response to statements by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who asked the prime minister to be "serious" after the latter's statements that Spain and Portugal had undermined Greece in its debt negotiations in Brussels.
Premier Alexis Tsipras was obliged to describe in detail to the Greek people the tough negotiations at the Eurogroup, the sources said about Tsipras' address to the SYRIZA central committee on Saturday, while the stance of all governments during negotiations are known. Any misinterpretation of the speech by the Greek prime minister does not help dialogue, they
 Greece will need new debt agreement after four-month extension is over, FinMin Varoufakis tells HandelsblattBRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/F. Karaviti)
Greece will need a new international agreement on the debt in order to meet nearly 11.5 billion euros in obligations between June and August, and without an agreement past the four-month extension of the current fiscal programme this payment will be impossible, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told German financial daily Handelsblatt, expected to be published in Monday's issue.
In excerpts released on Sunday, Varoufakis is quoted as saying, "Just as we do not want to hear the word 'troika' anymore, our creditors do not want to hear the word 'haircut', and I understand this." He added that there are "smarter solutions" than a debt cancellation and gave swaps as an example, also proposing the issuance of treasury bills whose yield would be linked to GDP numbers. "Then it would be in our creditors' interest as well to see our economy restart," he noted.
Among other things he said that the fact that wages and prices are still dropping is a sign of a deep recession, while he said that the return to growth in the nominal GDP is the only way for Greece to start facing its mountain of a debt, despite the low interest rates. "The way to reverse this is to have investments," he clarified.
Asked to comment on the government's plans to fight tax evasion, he said "success is not guaranteed... But what gives me hope is that none of us belongs to the old system - none of us has ever received a single euro. In that sense, we are independent" (of interests).
In terms of acquiring new friends since assuming the finance ministry, he said that "the Eurogroup is not a field where friendships are made quickly," but stressed that relations with Greece's creditors are "a lot more more civilised than some mass media report". The same holds true for his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, of whom he noted, "I find him a fascinating person and consider it an honour to have met him. I appreciate our open exchange of views."
 FinMin: Citizens can now live without the fear of mass layoffs, cutbacks and irrational overtaxationOur commitment on the extension of the loan agreement, with the specific reforms programme that we have agreed, removes and the last legal argument of the eurozone's institutions that demanded our subordination into a 'programme' in order to lift the restrictions from Greece's banking system financial support" said Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in an interview to the Sunday edition of Ethnos newspaper.
He noted that the two main demands for the smooth course of the country for at least the next four months is the "safeguarding of a sufficient liquidity in the internal market with immediate lifting of the restrictions imposed by ECB on the short-term banks and state lending as well as the normal flow of tax revenues.
The memorandum, said Varoufakis, as a text of troika's strict orders for perpetual austerity, internal devaluation and financial suffocations does not exist any more" he reiterated and noted that "the citizens can live now without the fear of mass layoffs, continuous cutbacks on salaries and pensions and of the irrational, abusive and unfair overtaxation on non- existent incomes or depreciated assets".
Varoufakis said that "there is not possibility to return to the debt serfdom state" adding that the "relief-solution for the debt that we will propose does not want any sacrifices from the Greek or the European tax payers.
 FinMin Varoufakis: It is part of our patriotic duty to pay our taxesThe government's priorities for the next four months, presented Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Saturday speaking to SKAI private TV.
First thing we will do is to 'tackle the humanitarian crisis, then we must solve the financial gap problem and afterwards to start legislating in order to heal the private sector, for example the settlement for overdue debts". He noted that the negotiation for the after June era will start immediately with main targets the debt restructuring, the next decade's primary surpluses and the investments.
Varoufakis sent a message that those who have and are part of the problem will be hit severely, noting that 'it is part of our patriotic duty to pay our taxes'. He also expressed the hope that an extraordinary tax will not be imposed, however, he did not rule out the possibility, if it is necessary to secure the balanced budgets, clarifying that "if it is imposed (extraordinary tax) I will do it for those that they have to pay".
"We have committed to have balanced budgets. This means that we want to restore the country's independence and the popular sovereignty within our walls by securing that, never again we will have primary deficits. If I have to impose an extraordinary tax for that, I will do it but to those that have and not to those that do not have to pay", he said.
The Finance minister reassured that "we do not have a cash flow problem before the Greek citizens. Where we have a problem is to pay the IMF in March but, we are already discussing the matter with our partners".
"The former governments accepted that even the profit rebates from ECB will take place after the evaluation. We say, do not give them to us give them directly to the IMF. They say that such a mechanism does not exist. I tell them, make it" said Varoufakis who appeared certain that a solution will be found.
He said that the tax free income band will return gradually to 12,000 euros, saying that he feels shame that there are poor Greeks that pay tax from the first euro of their income.
Regarding the VAT he ruled out increases on tourism, medicines, books and food. "We will find a product, somewhere a balance will exist" said Varoufakis.
 Euroworking Group chief: 100 installment settlement an 'unfortunate choice'Objections on the 100-installement debt settlement expressed Euroworking Group president Thomas Wieser calling it an 'unfortunate choice'.
He links the settlement with the liquidity problem saying that 'the policies that secure primary surplus also secure and liquidity for the government. Consequently, it reduces the need for external financing.
Asked on whether capital control would have been imposed in case there was no agreement at the Eurogroup or if a Grexit scenario existed, he said "I believe that the public opinion had underestimated the common will for cooperation and trust".
 Labour Minister Skourletis: Yes to a new financing package but under conditionsYes, under conditions to a new financing package to Greece but, within another policy framework" said Labour Minister Panos Skourletis in an interview to the Sunday edition of Kathimerini newspaper.
Skourletis opened his cards on the issue of collective contracts, mass layoffs and the union movement
"We say yes to a financing that will be based on an anti-recession, anti-memorandum rationale and always with respect to social justice and these talks links with the issue of the debt's sustainability" he said and underlined that with the agreement "we have not agreed a new memorandum" and that "none of the previous engagements and measures will be applied".
He said that the minimum salary will reach gradually 751 euros in 2016 and that the draft law on labour issues will not 'freeze' clarifying however that "of course we will ask the institutions' opinion".
On changes in labour issues he referred to a new institutional framework "Former collective contracts and salaries will not return to 2010 levels" adding that the aim is "the workers side to gain strength".
He also said the regime of mass layoffs will return to 2 percent and that the benefit policy will be totally re-designed.
 Greek gov't filing demarches over Turkish Notam concerning Aegean SeaThe Greek government will remonstrate with international organisations following the publication on Saturday by the Turkish government of a Notam that has designated a large section of the Aegean Sea - from the Greek islands of Skyros to that of Limnos - as an area where it will conduct armed forces exercises and use it as a firing range until the end of the year, violating international law and Greek sovereign rights.
According to sources, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias decided on Sunday to file demarches at the United Nations, NATO, the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), condemning Turkey. A demarche was also filed on Sunday evening at the Turkish Embassy in Athens.
 Foreign Ministry announcement on the murder of Boris NemtsovOn the instructions of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, on Saturday at 17:00, local time, Greece's Ambassador to Moscow, Ms. Danai Koumanakou, will visit the site of the murder of Russian opposition politician and former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, where, together with all of the EU member-state ambassadors accredited to Moscow, she will lay flowers.
 Alt. Administrative Reform Minister: Return of laid off civil servants is restoration of an injusticeThe procedures for the return of the laid-off civil servants are being accelerated, said Alternate Administrative Reform Minister George Katrougalos in an interview to the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper.
"I had a contact with the prime minister who told me to speed up the draft law on the return of the laid off. It is an injustice that must be restored" noted Katrougalos adding that "it will happen as soon as possible taking under consideration the prevailing conditions. The return will be combined with a mini voluntarily mobility. We will try to compromise two things. Restoration of the injustice by covering urgent needs in sectors that can be covered based on the profile of the civil servants that will return.
"The real reform work is to completely change the structure of the administration" he said adding that the evaluation of the civil servants should not have punishment characteristics".
 Defence Min. and ANEL leader lashed out at ND leader SamarasDefence Minister and Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos sternly attacked New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras for his statements on Saturday and called him "PASOK's orderly" and spoke of "degradation". "Mr. Samaras' statements show clearly that his political role is to compete with Potami party on who will be PASOK's best orderly and will protect it from memorandums and prosecutors"
On her part, ANEL spokesperson Marina Chrysoveloni charged PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos saying that "his insults against the government and particularly against ANEL shows that he can't really get over the shock of the people's verdict that send him and PASOK to the history's bin.
 PASOK: Gov't messed it up in the negotiationsPASOK party in an announcement on Sunday said that "the government messed everything up in the allegedly 'harsh' negotiations with the country's lenders" adding that "Greece was forced to make several steps back, to remain in the current memorandum with additional commitments under the continuous evaluation of the troika that is now called 'the institutions', without secured financing and is getting ready to enter into the Memorandum 3 in July".
"Now the new conspiracy scenario is that the new government was trapped by the previous (government).
 Palestinian envoy comments on burning of Bethlehem mosque, Jerusalem Orthodox ChurchPalestine's diplomatic mission to Athens accused on Friday the Israeli government of bearing sole responsibility for the burning of a mosque near Bethlehem and a Christian Orthodox Church in occupied Eastern Jerusalem and called on the Greek government to intervene.
"I'm convinced the Greek government will ask for clarifications from the government of Israel as an occupation force for these crimes, in order to end them and will ensure the protection of the Holy Land," Marwan Toubasi, the Palestinian ambassador said in an announcement.
"We call on the international community, including our friend, the Greek government, and all the Greek political parties, to help place the Palestinian people under International Protection regime and pressure Israel to abide by the United Nations' resolutions and International Law, so that an independent Palestinian State can be founded based on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital," he added.
 No cutbacks in pensions, says Alt. Social Insurance Minister StratoulisA national plan with reconstructive intervention on the level of operation and organisation as well as financing, upgrading of the quality of services, has ready SYRIZA for the social security, said Alternate Social Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis in an interview with the Sunday edition of Eleftheros Typos newspaper.
"The government put a halt to the cutbacks in pensions" clarifying that regarding the early pensions 'the fundamental rights of the working women with children of the disabled and those insured before 1983 will not be affected".
He also said that there will be no increase to the retirement age limits because the country is in Europe's early retirement average rate.
 Alt. Social Insurance Minister Stratoulis on Christmas bonusGovernment's commitment to give the Christmas bonus to 1,262,920 pensioners will be applied, said Alternate Insurance Minister Dimitris Stratoulis adding that the regulation is ready and its cost is exactly 545 million euros, speaking on Saturday to MEGA private TV.
He noted that the specific regulation is not included in the draft laws that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced on Friday and will be tabled in parliament next week, because, as he said, it refers to an expense that will take place in December 2015 and there were other issues that should be promoted, as the measures for the humanitarian crisis. Asked if the regulation will be voted within the next four months, he said that it does not matter if it will be voted in the next four months or in June; it is a benefit that will be offered in December.
He ruled out the possibility of cutbacks on supplementary pensions and announced that 'the retirement age limits will not be increased'.
On the financial gap, Stratoulis appeared totally reassuring and stated that "there is no reason for concern, because the government has "proposals and solutions" and referred to the regulations that Tsipras announced and that will be tabled in parliament next week.
 Woman arrested alleged to be involved in Xiros' case; two other suspects to testify in the weekA 36-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday alleged to be involved in convicted terrorist Chrystodoulos Xiros' case and in the so-called "Gorgopotamos plan" (attack against Korydallos prison) prepared by members of terror group "Cells of Fire".
According to police, the woman acted as a link between Xiros and other members of the case as well as between members of incarcerated Cells of Fire with their associates outside prison.
The suspect visited incarcerated leaders of the terror group and brought them letters and other material while she had also given a huge sum of money to wanted Angeliki Spyropoulou that is still at large.
The woman will be sent on Sunday to the prosecutor.
On Saturday, the Counter-terror squad arrested two suspects, alleged to be members of Cells of Fire that played a major role in Gorgopotamos plan.
Police chief Dimitris Tsaknakis announced on Saturday evening that the two suspects aged 39 and 32, whose DNA was found in the terror group's safe houses and on explosion devices are charged with participation in a terror group.
Additionally, the 39 year-old who's DNA was found on remains of three explosion devices is also being charged for construction and possession of explosion material and bombs as well as possession of weapons and for attempted murder.
Both suspects were sent on Saturday to the examining magistrate Eftyhios Nikolopoulos from which they asked and received an extension to testify within the week.
The 32 year-old who denies all charges will testify on Monday while the second suspect will testify on Thursday.
 Members of heroin trafficking ring arrestedPolice arrested 10 person among them a 36-year-old Albanian and 9 Roma (four men, three women and two girls aged 16 and 15) alleged to be members of a drug dealing ring.
The Albanian national, alleged to be the leader of the gang, brought into the country heroin and adulterated it with the help of his wife and his daughter in a laboratory they set up in the area of Aspropyrgos, south of Athens.
Drug squad found and confiscated in two Roma camps in Aspropyrgos and Zefyri 19 kilos of heroin, 773 grams of cocaine, 3 kilos of hashish, 4.5 kilos of pills of unknown substance, 2 semi-automatic guns, a hunting rifle, two pistols, cartridges and 2,260 euros cash as well as five cars.
Police said that the gang has distributed approximately 30 kilos of heroin in February in Greece.
The suspects will be sent to the prosecutor.
 Scattered clouds on MondayScattered clouds and winds from variable directions are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Partly cloudy in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 03C-15C. Same weather in the western parts with temperatures between 05C-17C. Scattered clouds in the eastern parts and temperatures between 06C-17C. Mostly fair over the islands, 09C-17C. Scattered clouds in Athens, 08C-17C. Partly cloudy in Thessaloniki, 06C-14C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Dynamically ahead.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Sweeping-operation to the State's deposits.
EPOCHI: From the negotiation to the governance.
ETHNOS: The draft law... express.
KATHIMERINI: Greece again on the razor's edge.
KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: English model to social insurance
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: The people can't become the applauder over the continuation of the antisocial policy.
PRIN: Movement to reverse the new memorandum.
PROTO THEMA: Major contractors through harsh interrogation FBI style.
REAL NEWS: Juncker, Schulz and Hollande warn Greece: It is your last opportunity...
TO ARTHRO: Left reforms, the end of populism.
TO PARON: They are trying to overthrow Tsipras (Alexis, prime minister).
TO VIMA: The 30 days that changed Alexis Tsipras.
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