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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-03-10

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

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

Tuesday, 10 March 2015 Issue No: 4905

CONTENTS

  • [01] Government VP Dragassakis' office refutes Irish FinMin statement
  • [02] Eurogroup's meeting on Greece completed, results are positive for Greece
  • [03] FinMin Varoufakis: Greek gov't hopes for agreement before April 20
  • [04] 'We agreed there is no time to waste, Talks must start Wednesday' Greek FinMin Varoufakis says after Eurogroup
  • [05] Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem: Greek gov't reforms must begin urgently
  • [06] Irish FinMin statement that Government Vice-President Dragassakis' office leads negotiations with creditors is refuted
  • [07] Nat. Defence minister meets with PM Tsipras: 'Eurogroup results positive'
  • [08] Greek reform plans 'far from complete,' Dijsselbloem says
  • [09] Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem: 'Greece not close to eurozone exit'
  • [10] Commissioner Moscovici says technical level talks on the suggested measures by the Greek authorities are necessary
  • [11] 'Our political goal is to keep Greece in the eurozone,' Merkel says-Reuters
  • [12] Schaeuble: Athens must implement its obligations and refrain from unilateral changes
  • [13] No decisions expected for Greece in Monday's Eurogroup, Schaeuble's spokesperson says
  • [14] Technical consultations between Greece and institutions to be held in Brussels, EU Commission spokesman says
  • [15] ND on Eurogroup results: 'We're still far from achieving our goal'
  • [16] PASOK leader Venizelos: Government losing valuable time
  • [17] PM Tsipras chairs meeting to discuss investigating the memoranda
  • [18] PM Tsipras to meet OECD's Gurria, EU Commission President Juncker
  • [19] SYRIZA Eurodeputy Manolis Glezos appeals to Europarliament to stop Greece's 'strangulation'
  • [20] Seven out of 10 Greeks in favour of a decent compromise with a commonly accepted solution with the Europeans-opinion poll
  • [21] Alt. Min. for European Affairs Chountis on rising migration flows
  • [22] Parliament to decide on re-establishment of Committee on German reparations on Tuesday
  • [23] Govt's has a deep sense of priorities, Alt. Minister Tsakalotos told British MPs
  • [24] Meeting on German war reparations held at defence ministry
  • [25] Draft bill on reestablishing ERT goes on public consultation until Thursday
  • [26] ANEL submit their proposal for setting up investigating committee on memoranda
  • [27] ND leadership issue closed, Mitsotakis says; Leader irrelevant if ND becomes 'far-right groupuscule,' Dendias warns
  • [28] ANEL lashes out at former finance minister Hardouvelis
  • [29] There is nothing illegal in my activities, former FinMin says
  • [30] Extreme-right Golden Dawn criminal organisation case to open on April 20
  • [31] Long-term unemployed a priority of OAED, its new director tells Parliament
  • [32] Productive Reconstruction Minister Lafazanis meets with ministry employees
  • [33] U.S. President Obama thanks Archbishop Demetrios for Greek church's support of civil rights
  • [34] Athens mayor and Civil Protection Minister discuss central Athens, municipal police
  • [35] Lazard is offering its services free of charge-FinMin
  • [36] Sixty-four indicted to stand trial over Siemens bribery case linked to OTE
  • [37] State health system doctors to receive back-pay owed since 2012
  • [38] Minister of State Flambouraris accuses former ND minister Mitsotakis of 'audacity'
  • [39] ECB to re-examine liquidity to Greek banks this week
  • [40] Eight Greek companies to participate in international industrial fair Hannover Messe
  • [41] Marinopoulos Group announces new CEO
  • [42] NGBI 500 index down in February
  • [43] Alternate Environment Minister says 'yes' to eco-ticket initiative
  • [44] Car sales up 26.8 pct in February
  • [45] Greek stocks end sharply lower
  • [46] Greek bond market closing report
  • [47] ADEX closing report
  • [48] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday
  • [49] Water levels at Evros River stable, authorities remain on alert
  • [50] Greek Independence Day military parade to take place without railings
  • [51] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to visit northern Greek town April 17-21
  • [52] Public prosecutor orders investigation into National Technical University's graffiti
  • [53] Painting on the walls of the Polytechnic crosses the line, Education ministry says
  • [54] Alternate FinMin Valavani admitted to hospital with pneumonia
  • [55] Deaths from flu outbreak in Greece reach 78
  • [56] Greek seaman reported missing on tanker travelling to India
  • [57] Anarchists' protest at SYRIZA offices ended
  • [58] Brazilian national arrested at Athens International Airport for cocaine trafficking
  • [59] Overcast, rain on Tuesday
  • [60] The Monday edition of Athens dailies at a glance Politics

  • [01] Government VP Dragassakis' office refutes Irish FinMin statement

    The office of Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragassakis on Monday refuted a statement by Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan that the government vice-president's office will lead the talks with the institutions.

    Referring to the technical talks that will be held in the immediate future in the context of the specification of the structural reforms presented by Greece, Noonan said upon his arrival for the Eurogroup that a meeting was scheduled to take place earlier between the Greek authorities and that Greece decided that the government vice-president's office will lead the negotiations with the country's creditors.

    [02] Eurogroup's meeting on Greece completed, results are positive for Greece

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni) -

    The Eurogroup's meeting on Greece was completed on Monday evening and Greek authorities will begin talks with the institutions' technical teams on March 11 (Wednesday) in Brussels, government sources said.

    Technical consultations will also begin, but no team of the institutions will visit Athens. The same sources said Eurogroup expressed its will to cover the country's funding needs, if deemed necessary.

    The government said the results of the meeting were positive, as implementing the agreement of February 20 could allow the European Central Bank (ECB) to ease its stance towards Greece.

    According to government sources, the points that were agreed were:

    1.The process to implement the February 20 Eurogroup decision is beginning

    2.In spite of the misinformation diffused in the past few days, the Greek proposals were accepted politically by the Eurogroup.

    3.Discussions between the technical teams of Greece and the institutions will start on Wednesday (March 11). The joint talks with the institutions will take place exclusively in Brussels and not in Athens. The troika as a mechanism belongs officially in the past.

    4.The institutions expressed their will to resolve promptly the country's funding problem.

    5.The Greek government will continue to enrich the list of reforms with additional refined proposals.

    [03] FinMin Varoufakis: Greek gov't hopes for agreement before April 20

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    The Greek government hopes to reach agreement with institutions a lot sooner than April 20, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in Brussels on Monday, calling the Eurogroup meeting he attended "an important step to the successful application of the February 20 Eurogroup decision."

    Varoufakis said details would be fleshed out for the reform programme the Greek government would apply during the four "bridge" months and said that it was important to create the circumstances to reach a negotiation agreement for the period following June that would include economic growth and recovery.

    The Februay 20 agreement was not expected to be completed in one day, he noted, and added that in his letter to Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem he had requested the immediate start of technical negotiations with the institutions. "Negotiations with the institutions will begin in Brussels on Wednesday, and we are waiting with great anticipation for the start of the real work," he said.

    Asked to comment on statements related to a referendum he mentioned in an interview by an Italian daily, Varoufakis said there is no such issue and one must not encourage yellow journalism. "I responded to a hypothetical question, what would we do if the eurozone rejected all of the Greek government's proposals for reform," he explained.

    To another question the Greek finance minister said that Greece would be able to cover its fiscal needs in March and April, and that the application of the Eurogroup agreement was going into effect. The issue of liquidity, he added, will be guaranteed by the Greek government in tandem with the institutions, he added.

    On the sidelines of the Eurogroup meeting, he told the press he had met separately with EU Economy and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, European Central Bank governor Mario Draghi and head of European affairs for the International Monetary Fund Poul Thomsen. Following the Eurogroup meeting, he said, he met with EFSF head Klaus Regling and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

    He declined to give further details, saying these talks were held on a confidential basis and that the common theme to all is how to move forward as effectively as possible the four-month grace period in order to get a positive result.

    [04] 'We agreed there is no time to waste, Talks must start Wednesday' Greek FinMin Varoufakis says after Eurogroup

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ V. Demiris)

    "It was agreed that there is no more time to waste. The talks must start and will start on Wednesday, with a view to the rapid and successful conclusion of the review," Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a press conference held on Monday, after the conclusion of the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.

    "Where it is judged necessary, technical teams from the institutions will be welcome in Athens," he added.

    "We underlined the need for cooperation between Greek authorities and the institutions and at the same time that unilateral actions will not be taken by Greece," the Greek minister said.

    [05] Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem: Greek gov't reforms must begin urgently

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    Negotiations between Greece and its loan partners will begin in Brussels on Wednesday, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said at a press conference after a Eurogroup meeting in the same city on Monday, adding that time is running out.

    Dijsselbloem said that the creditors' review had to be carried out soon, and that even if there are some changes in the fiscal adjustment programme Greece has, it must remain within the framework already agreed in the fiscal programme and in the reforms.

    If there is agreement on the reforms and their implementation begins, there will be a partial release of the loan tranche, as in the past, he said, but "we cannot go into talks for further disbursement of money" if there is no agreement and reforms have not begun. He said negotiations will take place in Brussels, while some technical teams will come to Greece.

    "The main message I want to send is that we wasted two weeks discussing who will meet whom and where, and that's a clear waste of time," he said. According to the February 20 agreement, he added, it was clearly stated that Greek authorities would begin immediate talks with the creditors in order to reach agreement by the end of April. "The real talks have not begun yet," he said, "but will begin in Brussels on Wednesday."

    The Eurogroup is ready to support Greece as long as there is agreement on all reforms and that their introduction begins very soon.

    EU Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that the Greek government must begin implementing the measures and reforms with parliamentary and administrative procedures. There was no detailed discussion in the Eurogroup about the list of reforms presented by the Greek finance minister, he said, but this is "a technical job" that institutions are responsible for.

    [06] Irish FinMin statement that Government Vice-President Dragassakis' office leads negotiations with creditors is refuted

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demitris)

    The office of Government Vice-President Yiannis Dragassakis on Monday refuted a statement by Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan that the government vice-president's office will lead the talks with the institutions.

    Referring to the technical talks that will be held in the immediate future in the context of the specification of the structural reforms presented by Greece, Noonan said upon his arrival for the Eurogroup that a meeting was scheduled to take place earlier between the Greek authorities and that Greece decided that the government vice-president's office will lead the negotiations with the country's creditors.

    Noonan also said that considerable progress has been made and underlined that Greece will secure a part of the 7.2 billion euro tranche if it meets part of its commitments. He also said that the Eurogroup will focus on the political guidelines that will have to be given and not on processing technical details.

    [07] Nat. Defence minister meets with PM Tsipras: 'Eurogroup results positive'

    Greece's European creditors on Monday in Brussels have "begun procedures to resolve the issue of liquidity, which is a great success of the Greek government and the finance minister," National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said, after a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who told him the results of the same day's Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.

    The next few days will see meetings of technical representatives with Greece, he said, adding that he also discussed with Tsipras the setting up of a committee to examine how Greece entered a loan agreement.

    Kammenos is leader of Independent Greeks (ANEL), the junior ruler coalition party.

    [08] Greek reform plans 'far from complete,' Dijsselbloem says

    A list of reforms proposed by Greece last week in return for further financial aid was "far from complete", the Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Sunday in a discussion organised by the centre-left daily De Volkskrant, according to AFP.

    "It's far from complete. The Greeks know this," Dijsselbloem said.

    Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister, was commenting on a letter received from his Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis on Friday.

    "Those six that's a first six, they absolutely will not be accepted as the 30 percent that they (Greece) want to replace," Dijsselbloem said referring to the percentage of change Greece wants made to the current financial package.

    The proposal is "serious" Dijsselbloem said but he added: "We don't accept everything in the Eurogroup."

    Agreeing on the reforms is "a difficult process that's going to take a long time," Dijsselbloem added.

    [09] Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem: 'Greece not close to eurozone exit'

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Spinthourakis)

    Greece is not close to any exit from the eurozone, Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Dutch daily Volksrant in an interview published Monday.

    Dijsselbloem said that Greece had made significant progress in its public finances, and that in the present phase the talks are focusing on the 30 percent of the reforms in the fiscal adjustment programme that in the Greek government's opinion can change.

    Because of majority ruling party SYRIZA's unfriendly to Europe campaign, it was necessary to take the time to talk, he said, adding, "SYRIZA is especially focused on changes for those Greek people who live in a state of poverty. This is not a problem, we can discuss it, but they must also make other choices - this is what we are currently focused on."

    Asked whether Greece is close to an exit, he said, "No, we are not close to a Greek exit from the euro. The truth is that the Greek government attacked heavily the support it got from Europe. Some countries were offended by this. For example, some Baltic countries and Slovenia are less prosperous than Greece. Despite that, these countries had to borrow money from elsewhere to help Greece. In Slovakia several governments fell because of the support to Greece, they even held elections about this. As a result, Greece's statements that Europe had only pain to offer the Greeks did not go down well in some countries."

    [10] Commissioner Moscovici says technical level talks on the suggested measures by the Greek authorities are necessary

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris)

    The need to start talks on a technical level on the measures proposed by the Greek authorities, was underlined by European Commissioner on Economy Pierre Moscovici on Monday, upon his arrival for the Eurogroup meeting here.

    Moscovici said that it is important that Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will clarify today the direction toward which he will work and how he will proceed with the next moves.

    Moscovici underlined that last week, there was a list that was detailed enough, which in some way was ratified by the institutions and was accepted by the Eurogroup through a telephone communication, adding that now is the time to enter into more detail.

    He said that the technical teams will review and specify the way the proposals will be implemented and underlined that the technical level reviews will have to be carried out within a context of mutual confidence, adding that confidence is built through the adoption of specific actions. He underlined that what comes first now is to implement the announced reforms with legislative proposals that will have to be approved by the government and the Greek parliament.

    Moscovici concluded that today's Eurogroup will hold a political discussion and political guidelines will be given in a procedure, during which reforms in Greece are jointly produced.

    [11] 'Our political goal is to keep Greece in the eurozone,' Merkel says-Reuters

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday during a visit to Japan said that Europe faces a formidable challenge in reaching a financial aid agreement with Greece that would keep it in the eurozone, according to Reuters news agency.

    Asked at a news conference in Tokyo about whether she would rule out a so-called "Grexit", as European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to do in an interview over the weekend, Merkel said: "I have said time and time again, and I can say it again here, our political goal is to keep Greece in the eurozone. We have been working on this for many years."

    "But it's also true that there are two sides to this coin - on the one hand solidarity from European partners, and on the other the readiness to implement reforms and other commitments at home. On this, we clearly have a very difficult path ahead of us," she added.

    [12] Schaeuble: Athens must implement its obligations and refrain from unilateral changes

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/ M. Aroni)

    Greece will not be the central issue at Monday's Eurogroup, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters on his arrival for the euro zone finance ministers' meeting.

    According to Schaeuble, there was "not much new" to discuss since not a lot had been done since the joint statement issued at the end of the previous Eurogroup meeting. He said that Athens must start implementing its obligations and refrain from unilateral changes to its commitments.

    He declined to comment on Varoufakis' statements concerning a referendum, saying that there was "freedom of expression in Europe but that is not the issue of our meeting".

    [13] No decisions expected for Greece in Monday's Eurogroup, Schaeuble's spokesperson says

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA / F. Karaviti)

    The possibility of a referendum is an internal issue of the Greek government, deputy spokesperson for the German government Christiane Wirtz said on Monday and declined to comment on Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' statements to Corriere della Sera.

    "You will not be surprised that I, as a spokesperson for the German government, cannot adopt a position on Mr. Varoufakis' internal politics thoughts. Negotiations are underway, primarily with the Greek government, which performs its duties and beyond that, anything that concerns internal policy issues in Greece is a question that the Greek government should respond to, not the German one," she said.

    Asked whether Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Chancellor Angela Merkel, she noted that right now Tsipras "is not on the list of those invited but as always he is welcome to Germany and especially Berlin."

    Regarding Monday's Eurogroup, the Finance Ministry's spokesperson Juerg Weissegerber noted that no decisions are expected but stressed that the decisions of the February 20 Eurogroup are still in effect along with the commitments for Greece resulting from them.

    "Greece has announced reform measures. Now, the issue is to implement those measures. This is in Athens' hands," he said.

    Responding to a question on whether the statements by Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos on migrants and the asylum constitute an effort by Greece to exert political pressure, Wirtz declined to comment but stressed that Europe offers Greece help on certain terms and added there is a clear road map for this, a way-station of which, he said, is Monday's meeting in Brussels.

    Earlier in the day, Deputy Finance Minister Steffen Kampeter, in statements to the German radio, noted he did not expect any decision for further payments from Monday's Eurogroup meeting as the pre-conditions are not met, as he said, and urged for "more pace" in the implementation of the agreed reforms.

    Athens could have used the last weeks in a more effective way, he said and underlined that "non binding" letters to the European partners are not enough.

    "Greece should at last negotiate with the institutions and discuss in an honest way. Letters with non binding proposals should not be enough," he stated and wished that Athens shows at last some "clarity" on the true fiscal situation of Greece and the reforms that the Greek government wants to put forward.

    "It is not that the partners are asking the Greek government for something, but the Greek government is asking for more financial aid," he noted. Asked on speculation on the so-called Grexident, he said this was not the Eurogroup's intention and described journalists who come up with the terms as "very very creative."

    "If Greece does implement the reforms, we don't need to think of alternative scenarios. But the important thing is the implementation of reforms, this is what Europe expects of Greece," he said.

    Regarding the possibility of new elections in Greece, Kampeter said when and how often Greece holds elections is an issue for the country itself but reckoned that this would bring even bigger delays and noted that another Greek government would still be bound by the same agreements with the European partners.

    [14] Technical consultations between Greece and institutions to be held in Brussels, EU Commission spokesman says

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M. Aroni)

    The technical negotiations between the Greek authorities and the institutions are expected to take place in Brussels after a request by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Commission's spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.

    When asked if the Commission expects the technical consultations between the Greek authorities and the institutions to start this week, Shinas said that the issue will be discussed among others at the Eurogroup on Monday. Schinas also said the president of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who is in close contact with the President of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, asked for the discussions between the technical staff of the institutions and the Greek Authorities to be held in Brussels. However, Schinas added that some parts of the discussions should be held in Athens.

    Finally, Schinas stated that the place where the discussions will be held does not matter, but their substance does. "The institutions should assess the Greek proposals and at the same time technical discussions between the institutions and the Greek authorities should be held on certain points, in Athens," he underlined.

    [15] ND on Eurogroup results: 'We're still far from achieving our goal'

    Greece is still very far from achieving its goals and the country is wasting time, the main opposition New Democracy's spokesman said on Monday evening, commenting on the results of the Eurogroup meeting which ended earlier.

    "We are still very far from achieving our goal. The bottom line is that the country is wasting time, uncertainty remains and the bill that citizens will have to foot keeps rising," Kostas Karangounis said.

    "After the nonsense about part-time tax officials on the islands which caused hilarity, SYRIZA started adopting some of the previous government's proposals, like providing people motives (lottery) to ask for receipts and the measures for triangular transactions," Karangounis noted.

    [16] PASOK leader Venizelos: Government losing valuable time

    The government is "losing valuable time and eating away at the economy," PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Monday on the occasion of the Eurogroup meeting which discussed Greece's proposals for reforms.

    "We are not offering any help to small and medium-sized enterprises, which need us, to the everyday person on the street who looks toward the state" for help, he said, calling on the government to "return to the point we were at before the elections the soonest possible, and let us go into substantial talks, as we had prepared them," he said, referring the previous government, where his party was junior coalition member.

    Venizelos made the statements in response to a question at a book presentation at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaro Moussikis) in Athens.

    [17] PM Tsipras chairs meeting to discuss investigating the memoranda

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday chaired a meeting at Maximos Mansion to discuss initiatives to establish an Investigative Committee for the bailout programmes, according to government sources.

    During the meeting, officials discussed speeding up the process for the files that have already been submitted to Parliament and concern Greece's entry into "memorandum guardianship", but also issued that concern possible criminal responsibilities for PSI and the first and second bank recapitalisation.

    The meeting was attended by National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos, Minister of State for Combatting Corruption, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, the Government Secretary General Spyros Sagias and the General Secretary of the prime minister, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.

    [18] PM Tsipras to meet OECD's Gurria, EU Commission President Juncker

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras this week is expected to meet OECD head Angel Gurria and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

    According to an announcement by the premier's office, Tsipras on Thursday, March 12 will deliver a speech at the OECD, in Paris, on the reforms to be made in Greece in order to reorganize the public administration so as to tackle tax evasion and restore social justice. He will also meet the head of the OECD Angel Gurria.

    On Friday, March 13 (09.00 local time) he will meet the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss how Greece can make use of the EU funds in order to address the humanitarian crisis.

    [19] SYRIZA Eurodeputy Manolis Glezos appeals to Europarliament to stop Greece's 'strangulation'

    STRASBOURG (ANA-MPA/N. Roussis)

    Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) MEP Manolis Glezos, addressing the European Parliament on Monday ahead of its plenary session, reminded his colleagues that the Greek people have already elected a new government, noting that Greece's creditors want its "strangulation".

    "I appeal to all of you to help stop Greece's 'strangulation' by its creditors. This is my request," he underlined.

    [20] Seven out of 10 Greeks in favour of a decent compromise with a commonly accepted solution with the Europeans-opinion poll

    Seven out of 10 Greeks are in favour of a decent compromise with a commonly accepted solution between the Greek government and the European partners, a nationwide opinion poll by March for "Efimerida ton Syntakton" showed.

    Asked what should happen in case the gap between the Greek government and the European partners is not bridged, 69.6 percent of the participants said they were in favour of a decent compromise with a commonly accepted solution, while 27.4 percent were in favour of a definite rupture, even if that means going back to drachma. Three percent of the participants did not answer.

    On the government's proposals to address the humanitarian crisis, 88.3 percent assess them in a positive and rather positive way. There is also a positive view on the protection of primary residence against foreclosures (93.5 percent of the participants) as well as for the settlement of overdue debts (88.8 percent).

    On setting up an investigation committee as to how the country got to the memorandum, 84.2 percent of respondents said they agreed with that and 12.9 percent disagreed.

    One out of two (50.4 percent) estimated that "there is a possibility of Greece going bankrupt in the next period of time" with 45.5 percent having the opposite view.

    The gallop was conducted between March 3 and 5.

    [21] Alt. Min. for European Affairs Chountis on rising migration flows

    Figures forwarded to parliament on Monday by Alternate Minister for European Affairs Nikos Chountis show an upward trend in migration flows in the country's eastern sea borders.

    According to a relevant document issued in response to a current question by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party MP Lefteris Avgenakis, in the sea region of the Dodecannese Islands, southeastern Aegean, migrant arrivals quadrupled in the first eight months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, whereas in the sea region of the island of Chios in the eastern Aegean, arrivals increased threefold, in the sea region of the island of Samos, also in eastern Aegean, they increased 150 pct, while in the sea region of the island of Lesvos they increased 123 pct.

    The alternate minister for European affairs clarified that the European Regulation for the monitoring of the sea borders was adopted recently, introducing binding rules for search and rescue operations and explicitly banning illegal push backs of third country nationals to third countries. He noted, however, that "the adoption of further actions, ensuring that border control is in compliance with our country's international obligations, is necessary."

    The minister underlined that action will be taken on a national level to coordinate moves in cooperation with the General Secretariat for Human Rights to improve the effectiveness of border operations, seek community funding and improve personnel training.

    Chountis pointed out that the rising violence and instability in recent years in the greater Middle East region and North Africa have contributed to the sudden increase in the number of displaced individuals both inside and outside the borders of the regions in crisis. The immediate consequence was the increase in the number of illegal migrants, particularly, in the region of the Mediterranean.

    According to UN figures, the number of undocumented migrants that crossed the Greek borders increased 223.22 pct, while the individuals who illegally crossed the Mediterranean in the period of January - October 2014 are estimated at 165,000, compared to 60,000 in 2013. More than 3,000 people lost their lives in their attempt to illegally cross the borders.

    The alternate minister referred to the Common European Asylum System and underlined that Greece seeks the adoption of measures to promote in practice the principle of solidarity and fair burden sharing between member-states.

    Greece also supports the establishment of a binding system of proportional distribution of refugees or individuals who are entitled to international protection based on specific criteria, such as the size of mixed migration flows, the size and the population of member-states and the special ties third country nationals could have with a specific EU member-state.

    [22] Parliament to decide on re-establishment of Committee on German reparations on Tuesday

    The Parliament plenum on Tuesday will hold a debate and a voting on a proposal submitted by Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou for the re-establishment, reassembly and upgrading of the Parliament's Cross-Party Committee to claim the German reparations and compensations, to pursue the repayment of the so-called occupation loan and the return of looted artifacts.

    With her proposal, Konstantopoulou is asking for the re-establishment of the Committee which will be responsible for gathering and documenting of the indisputable historical data in an organized way that will effectively strengthen the Greek arguments for claiming what is owed to the country and get other European powers and international organizations involved in this effort.

    Konstantopoulou proposed the participation of the Parliament's President and Vice-Presidents or those filling-in for them in the Committee and in such a way that all parliamentary groups would be proportionally represented in it. She also proposed that the members of the Committee do not get any compensation for their participation in it and that July 15, 2015 be set as a deadline for the submission of its report, while there would be the option for the renewal of its mandate and term.

    According to Konstantopoulou, this is a national issue and everyone acknowledges the need for the parliament to get involved in it.

    [23] Govt's has a deep sense of priorities, Alt. Minister Tsakalotos told British MPs

    LONDON (ANA-MPA/I. Karapidis)

    The party leading the government coalition, SYRIZA, is not a populist party and has a deep sense of priorities, Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations, Euclid Tsakalotos told lawmakers and other attendees in the British Parliament on Monday.

    "[SYRIZA] doesn't promise everything to everyone, but finds ways of connecting politics with people's wishes," Tsakalotos said during his speech.

    The purpose of his speech was to inform British lawmakers, economists and representatives of British parties about what the Greek government intends to do to tackle the economic crisis, not just in Greece, but in the rest of Europe too.

    Tsakalotos said a Greek exit from the euro would be extremely costly, while it would probably destabilize the entire Eurozone. "In that sense, SYRIZA is strategically a pro-European party and this is not just an issue of tactics." He also added that if a country exits the euro that would irreparably undermine the credibility of the single currency as there would always be a suspicion that this could happen to another country.

    He also noted the country is trapped in a vicious circle of debt which is continuously increasing in relation to its GDP and this is a trap to which all four countries which implemented a bailout programme have fallen into.

    "We know very well that even if a large part of our debt is deleted, we will very soon return to a problematic situation," he said.

    Answering a relevant question, Tsakalotos said a conference on the debt is absolutely necessary and could provide solutions as it has happened in the past.

    The event was organized by Greece Solidarity Campaign.

    [24] Meeting on German war reparations held at defence ministry

    Alternate Defence Minister Kostas Isichos on Monday convened a meeting at the national defence ministry to examine the prospects for holding an international conference on German war debts and reparations, as well as mobilising the Greek diaspora abroad for this purpose, involving all relevant services and organisations.

    The meeting also discussed initiatives that might be taken in schools and the armed forces to restore historic memory and protect younger generations against nazi and fascist ideology.

    According to the meeting's organisers, Greece's claims for war reparations from Germany were not just a bilateral difference but an international issue.

    A ministry announcement said that initiatives it planned to take, in collaboration with other ministries and bodies, will include various events in Athens and areas of Greece where Nazi atrocities have taken place, as well as areas where Greece's national resistance forces were active, continuing the Greek Army's efforts against the Italian and German invasions.

    These will include events at the national War Museum, in central Athens metro stations, at the defence ministry for armed forces and ministry personnel and in military academies, and plans for a Greek war reparations pavilion in Moscow during celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the victory against fascism, to be attended by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

    Among others, the meeting also discussed the return of archaeological treasures taken by German occupation forces during the war.

    [25] Draft bill on reestablishing ERT goes on public consultation until Thursday

    A draft bill to reestablish defunct public broadcaster ERT was released to public consultation on Monday afternoon, under the title "Regulations on issues of the state radio and television agency, Hellenic Radio and Television SA, and amendment of article 48 of Law 2190-1920."

    The consultation period will end at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.

    ERT was shut down abruptly by the previous government in June 2013. The consultation announcement said that the event caused "an extremely problematic state in the operation of public radio and television in labour issues, and economic and legal issues raised during its liquidation."

    It also said it was reinstating all the ERT staff who had permanent contracts by June 11, 2013 and said a fee of 3 euros would be introduced for ERT on PPC bills and the present name of the public broadcaster ("NERIT S.A.") be replaced by ERT S.A.

    A special review committee would also be set up to control the ERT assets under liquidation, including those of its affiliated stations.

    [26] ANEL submit their proposal for setting up investigating committee on memoranda

    Independent Greeks (ANEL) parliamentary spokesman Nikos Nikolopoulos on Monday submitted the party's draft proposal for the setting up of a committee to investigate how Greece entered the memorandum to the secretary general of SYRIZA's parliamentary group Christos Mantas.

    The aim of the Independent Greeks is to find common ground for submitting a joint proposal for setting up an investigation committee.

    [27] ND leadership issue closed, Mitsotakis says; Leader irrelevant if ND becomes 'far-right groupuscule,' Dendias warns

    Rumblings continued within main opposition New Democracy on Monday, despite ND leader Antonis Samaras successfully fending off calls for his resignation over the weekend, including outspoken critic Dora Bakoyannis.

    "Today, as we talk, there is no leadership issue within ND. This [issue] is closed," said former minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in statements to the radio station "Vima". The brother of Bakoyannis, he said there was a need for a more open decision-making process within the party, so that decisions were not take by the party president and a small group.

    "The president's statement that he will immediately set up a Political Council is positive," he said.

    Mitsotakis also noted that ND had "nothing to fear" from an emergency congress, which Samaras has refused, saying it would help ND reconnect with its grassroots and allow ordinary members to express their opinion freely.

    More cutting in his comments was former minister Nikos Dendias, who told Skai channel that the identity of the party leader was "irrelevant, if ND has become a far-right groupuscule of 4-5 pct."

    "The bill should be presented to him who allowed society to consider us a far-right formation," he said, stressing that the party must re-examine its ideological message.

    "I see a constant slide...is it negative introversion if someone talks about things?" he added, while also charging the presence non-party members acting as "applauders" at the ND Political Committee meeting on Sunday.

    [28] ANEL lashes out at former finance minister Hardouvelis

    Independent Greeks (ANEL), the junior ruling coalition party, on Monday lashed out at former finance minister Gikas Hardouvelis in response to his comments to a television station as regards the money he has transferred abroad, saying that his statements "expose him more."

    ANEL spokesperson Marina Chryssoveloni said that "Hardouvelis' case reflects the views and morality of the Samaras-Venizelos government alliance's submissiveness to the creditors' demands, which forced the overwhelming majority of the Greeks to make unbearable sacrifices when its patrons and servants were left untouched."

    Speaking on STAR TV earlier today, Hardouvelis said that there was nothing illegal and irregular in his activities insisting that the money transferred was declared and taxed. "In June 2012, I was as scared as all Greece was and I did what most Greeks did: I transferred an amount of money abroad to be able to financially support my children amid fears that the country may collapse," he admitted. He also revealed that he had transferred small amounts of money through the internet.

    [29] There is nothing illegal in my activities, former FinMin says

    There is nothing illegal and irregular in my activities, Former Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis on Monday said in reply to reports that he had transferred money abroad that was not declared in his source of wealth reports.

    The money was transferred in May 2012 when he was in charge of former Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' economic office.

    "The money has been declared and taxed," Hardouvelis underlined in an interview with Star TV. "In June 2012, I was also scared as the whole Greece was. I did what most Greeks did. I transferred an amount of money abroad to be able to financially support my children amid fears that the country may collapse," he admitted.

    He also revealed that he was transferring small amounts of money through the internet.

    Government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis commented on Hardouvelis' statements saying that the only thing he achieved with his interview was to raise further queries.

    More specifically, he said that if Hardouvelis declared these amounts in 2014, that means they were declared with a two-year delay. Sakellaridis also said that Hardouvelis had stated he transferred the money in 56 installments below 10,000 euros each since this was the ceiling for online bank transactions and not because he wanted to avoid an audit by the Bank of Greece which checks capital transfers above 10,000 euros. However, the government spokesman stated, the ceiling set by the bank he used for the transfer is 50,000 euros.

    Finally, Sakellaridis said that Hardouvelis claimed that he sent the money to Britain. That is correct in a sense, according to Sakellaridis, but to be accurate he sent the money to a branch of the specific bank on Jersey island, which is the 7th most important tax haven in the world and a favorite destination of untaxed Greek capital.

    [30] Extreme-right Golden Dawn criminal organisation case to open on April 20

    The trial on the extreme-right Golden Dawn (Chryssi Avgi) criminal organisation case will open on April 20 in a specially modified hall in Korydallos Prison in the greater Piraeus area, where they are held, it was announced on Monday.

    Seventy defendants will stand trial, among them a girl who will be tried in a juvenile court, according to Judicial Council decision No 215/2015.

    The defendants in the GD criminal organisation case include 18 current and former GD deputies, among them party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos, and 52 party cadres, members of the organisation's units in Nikea, Perama and Piraeus.

    The charges vary for each defendant and include, among others, joining a criminal organisation, possessing arms illegally, and attempted murder.

    [31] Long-term unemployed a priority of OAED, its new director tells Parliament

    The Manpower Employment Organisation (OAED) will focus on serving first the long-term unemployed - comprising 75 percent of all unemployed - its new director Maria Karamesini told Parliament on Monday during her confirmation proceedings.

    Karamesini, an economics professor at Pantion University specialising in labour market issues, was voted in on the votes of ruling SYRIZA and ANEL coalition along with Potami, while New Democracy and the Communist Party of Greece voted "present" and PASOK cast a blank vote.

    She said that public benefit work programmes will go into effect in 10 days and will occupy 54,000 unemployed. There will also be a restructuring of programmes, such as the voucher one, to benefit more unemployed.

    Deputy Labour Minister for Combatting Unemployment Rania Antonopoulou called the issue of unemployed was "terrible" and pointed out that even if the OAED programmes operated at ideal levels and everyone was trained perfectly, people would still not be able to be absorbed by the market. "We are faced with Calgary and must change direction," she warned.

    [32] Productive Reconstruction Minister Lafazanis meets with ministry employees

    Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis pledged on Monday to implement organizational, administrational and legislative measures to best utilize the human resources available in his ministry.

    Lafazanis made the statement following a meeting with representatives of the ministry's Association of Industry and Energy Employees.

    The representatives focused on various problems affecting employees.

    [33] U.S. President Obama thanks Archbishop Demetrios for Greek church's support of civil rights

    NEW YORK (ANA-MPA/P. Panagiotou)

    Archbishop Demetrios of America had a brief discussion with U.S. President Barack Obama in the margins of the events and the march held in Selma, Alabama on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday".

    The American president thanked the Archbishop for his presence and for the "struggle of the Greek Orthodox Church in support of civil rights."

    "On this anniversary we commemorate the heroic faith and hope of those who struggled, of those who upheld human dignity through powerful yet peaceful protests and demonstrations against racism, prejudice, fear and hatred," the Archbishop said, adding that the city of Selma has become a symbol.

    He also underlined that his predecessor, the late Archbishop Iakovos - a staunch supporter of the Civil Rights Movement - was the highest-ranking religious leader to march alongside Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma in 1965.

    [34] Athens mayor and Civil Protection Minister discuss central Athens, municipal police

    Athens Mayor George Kaminis on Monday had a meeting with Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Yiannis Panoussis, discussing policing in the centre of Athens and the responsibilities that were handled by the now disbanded municipal police force, such as parking violations, illegal street trade, noise pollution or use of public spaces by businesses (cafes and restaurants).

    The mayor noted that a solution to these issues was urgent and suggested that their management be taken over by the municipal police staff transferred to the regular Greek Police (ELAS), or for dialogue on legislative measures.

    He also stressed that the city centre had made progress in the last two years that must not be lost and urged solutions that combined protection of human rights with guarantees for safety.

    [35] Lazard is offering its services free of charge-FinMin

    Financial advisory and asset management firm LAZARD is offering its services to the Finance ministry free of charge, according to a document submitted to the Parliament by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.

    The document was submitted after a question tabled by PASOK deputy Ioannis Drivelegas asking details on the criteria and the procedures followed in order to appoint LAZARD at a time when the government is announcing budget cuts.

    [36] Sixty-four indicted to stand trial over Siemens bribery case linked to OTE

    A total of 64 defendants are to stand trial before a criminal appeals court on charges of bribery in exchange for a multi-million contract given to Siemens to digitise Greek phone company systems, based on an indictment issued on Monday by the Appeals Justices' Council. The defendants includes former executives of both Siemens and the then largely state-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), among them 17 German nationals.

    The appeals justices accepted the proposal made by the Financial Crime Deputy Prosecutor Galinos Bris that the 64 should stand trial on various charges involving bribery and money laundering, in many cases aggravated by laws for the embezzlement of public funds, which can carry a maximum term of life imprisonment.

    The indictment marks the culmination of a nine-year investigation by justice into the Siemens case and the company's contract OTE, including the so-called "useful expenses" paid out by Siemens.

    Bris delivered a 2,368-page report into a 1997 multi-million agreement, known as the "8002 contract". The "8002 contract" is considered to be the biggest case of corruption involving large amounts of money over a long period of time. The investigation into the case was started in 2006 by the then prosecutor for financial crimes Panagiotis Athanassiou.

    According to the report, the estimated 70 million euros in "n?tzliche Aufwendungen" or "useful expenses" - as the multinational company's officials referred to kickbacks - are considered a loss for the state, as the kickbacks were then rolled into the cost of implementing the project. The report specifically accused former OTE executives of not protecting the interests of the company and, in addition, of not acting based on the real needs of the company, which was a largely state-owned company at that time.

    Of the 64 indicted, 19 face charges of active bribery aggravated by the provisions of the law for public-sector embezzlement, which is punishable by life imprisonment, as well as money laundering.

    A further 14 defendants and former OTE executives are charged with passive bribery, also aggravated by the provisions of the law for public-sector embezzlement, and money-laundering.

    Eight consultancy firm employees face charges as accessories in passive bribery, 14 are accused as direct accomplices in passive bribery and money-laundering, eight are accused as direct accomplices in active bribery and money laundering, and one woman is accused of money laundering.

    Among the defendants is Thodoros Tsoukatos, an erstwhile advisor of former prime minister Costas Simitis, and senior Siemens executives Ilias Georgiou and Prodromos Mavridis, as well as two fugitive former Siemens executives with outstanding arrest warrants, Michalis Christoforakos, who has taken refuge in Germany, and Christos Karavellas.

    Based on the Appeals Justices Council ruling, the charges against another 80 accused have been dropped, including Karavellas' family, who had been arrested when he fled the country.

    [37] State health system doctors to receive back-pay owed since 2012

    Monday owed to doctors in state hospitals for overtime and emergency duty shifts since 2012 has been disbursed, while the system for processing these payments has changed so that they are paid more quickly, the health ministry announced on Monday.

    The move follows a joint decision by the health and finance ministry, approving the disbursement of 24 million euros to pay sums owed to doctors in the National Health System, Primary Healthcare System and ambulance services for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014. Other health system staff will also receive money owed for overtime and holiday shifts.

    [38] Minister of State Flambouraris accuses former ND minister Mitsotakis of 'audacity'

    Minister of State Alekos for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris on Monday accused main opposition New Democracy (ND) party MP and former minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of "audacity" for asking "the replacement of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis" like "the most extreme memorandum supporters in Europe."

    Flambouraris also wondered whether ND supports negotiation, asking, "Will they vote for the draft bills aimed at dealing with the humanitarian crisis, protecting primary residence from foreclosure and settling overdue debts?"

    Financial News

    [39] ECB to re-examine liquidity to Greek banks this week

    The European Central Bank's (ECB) managing board will convene this week (Wednesday or Thursday) to re-examine the level of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to Greek banks, an ECB official said on Monday.

    The ECB's managing board used to renew emergency liquidity to Greek banks every two weeks and only in exceptional cases on a weekly basis. ECB approved additional liquidity of 500 million euros to Greek banks through ELA mechanism last week. Greek banks' borrowing from ELA was raised to 68.8 billion euros.

    The ECB official said the decision to re-examine this policy on a weekly basis reflected the central bank's will for a closer monitoring of policies and economic developments in Greece.

    [40] Eight Greek companies to participate in international industrial fair Hannover Messe

    Greece will participate in the international industrial fair Hannover Messe ( www.hannovermesse.de/home ) to be held in Hannover, Germany, on April 13-17 with eight companies, five of which are new exhibitors.

    The Greek companies, along with more than 6,500 exhibitors from around 60 countries, will have the opportunity to present their products to 225,000 visitors.

    The exhibition is the most important technology event on recent developments of industrial know-how and the power of innovation in the industry.

    India has been designated the official Partner Country at this year's exhibition.

    [41] Marinopoulos Group announces new CEO

    George Voyatzakis will take over as chief executive and general manager of Marinopoulos SA, the company said on Monday.

    The Greek supermarket company said the Jerome Loubere, the previous CEO, will work as advisor to the Group and its shareholders on issues of planning and implementing strategy in the retail commerce market.

    Voyatzakis was working as deputy general manager of Greece, Albania and FYROM in Marinopoulos Group.

    [42] NGBI 500 index down in February

    Northern Greece Business Index 500 (NGBI 500) fell for the third successive month in February, reflecting a negative climate prevailing in the economy and in the market amid conditions of shrinking liquidity and insecurity of current developments.

    The NGBI 500 index fell to -22 points in February, from -18 in January, -11 in December 2014 and -1 in February 2014.

    Expectations over developments in the next six months were slightly better, but the labour market showed signs of collapsing and turnover fell to its lowest levels since late 2012-early 2013.

    An 18 pct of enterprises in Northern Greece said their condition was good in February, down from 26 pct in January. A 14 pct said their situation was satisfactory and a 41 pct said it was bad (up from 30 pct in January). For the next six months, a 21 pct said the situation will be better, a 38 pct believed conditions will remain stable and a 41 pct expected a deterioration.

    In addition, northern Greece enterprises said plans for new hirings fell to 2 pct in February from 4.0 pct in January, while intentions to lay off workers grew to 30 pct from 20 pct over the same periods, respectively. Turnover expectations deteriorated, with 10 pct saying their turnover grew in February, up from 5.0 pct in January.

    Sales fell a 59 pct of enterprises said (up from 52 pct in January), while a 31 pct said sales were unchanged.

    [43] Alternate Environment Minister says 'yes' to eco-ticket initiative

    Alternate Minister for the Environment Yiannis Tsironis on Monday gave his support to the idea of 'eco-tickets' to help promote and raise awareness of recycling, in a meeting with the "Ecological Ticket" initiative representative Dimitris Niatsikas. The idea, which is daily gaining ground in Greece, is for members of the public to pay for their ticket to cultural events in recyclable materials, such as cans, paper, glass or plastic, instead of cash.

    "It's a clever, zero cost effort to raise public awareness about recycling and for this reason we see it very positively," Tsironis said, welcoming the initiative and urging more similar initiatives "since protecting the environment is everyone's business."

    [44] Car sales up 26.8 pct in February

    Car sales grew 26.8 pct in February this year to a total of 8,424 units (new or used ones), from 6,644 in the corresponding period last year (a rise in passenger cars was 23.5 pct), Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Monday.

    The statistics service, in a report, said that car sales were up 16.6 pct in February 2014. Car registrations in the January-February period totalled 18,173 units, from 15,765 in the same period last year, for an increase of 18.7 pct (in passenger cars the increase was 15.6 pct).

    Motorcycle registrations totalled 1,697 in February, down 0.1 pct from the same month in 2014, while in the first two months of the year motorcycle registrations were down 3.4 pct to 3,765 units.

    [45] Greek stocks end sharply lower

    Greek stocks came under strong selling pressure in the first trading session of the week in the Athens Stock Exchange on Monday, to end sharply lower. Traders said investors seemed to discount a negative outcome in today's Eurogroup meeting.

    The composite index of the market fell 4.18 pct to end at 814.70 points, off the day's lows of 812.18 points. The Large Cap index dropped 4.38 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 3.65 pct lower. Turnover was a low 71.79 million euros. The market's capitalisation fell by 2.2 billion euros compared with Friday's closing prices.

    All blue chip stocks ended lower, led by Piraeus Bank (12.35 pct), Eurobank (11.29 pct), GEK Terna (9.69 pct), PPC (8.94 pct), Alpha Bank (7.67 pct), Ellaktor (7.02 pct) and Viohalco (6.91 pct).

    Among market sectors, only Insurance (2.22 pct) ended higher, while Banks (8.72 pct), Utilities (7.25 pct), Health (6.58 pct) and Financial Services (5.43 pct) suffered heavy losses.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 84 to 27, with another 18 issues unchanged. Hatzikraniotis (27.45 pct), Sato (20 pct) and Sfakianakis (19.64 pct) were top gainers, while Hellenic Fish Farms (20 pct), AEGEK (17.65 pct) and Teletypos (17.39 pct) were top losers.

    Sector indices ended as follows:

    Banks: -8.72%

    Insurance: +2.22%

    Financial Services: -5.43%

    Industrial Products: -4.00%

    Commercial: -0.33%

    Real Estate: -4.07%

    Personal & Household: -2.33%

    Food & Beverages: -1.23%

    Raw Materials: -5.13%

    Construction: -2.74%

    Oil: -5.13%

    Chemicals: Unchanged

    Mass Media: Unchanged

    Travel & Leisure: -2.94%

    Technology: -1.34%

    Telecoms: -1.87%

    Utilities: -7.25%

    Health: -6.58%

    The stocks with the highest turnover were National Bank, OTE, Piraeus Bank, OPAP and Alpha Bank.

    Selected shares from the FTSE/ASE

    Large Cap index closed in euros as follows:

    Alpha Bank: 0.32

    Public Power Corp (PPC): 5.60

    Coca Cola HBC: 16.00

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE): 4.03

    National Bank of Greece: 1.19

    OPAP: 8.70

    OTE: 8.93

    Piraeus Bank: 0.426

    Titan: 22.40

    Grivalia Properties: 7.92

    Aegean Airlines: 7.33

    [46] Greek bond market closing report

    Greek state bond prices were strongly pressured on Monday, hit by uncertainties over the outcome of another crucial Eurogroup meeting for Greece scheduled the same day.

    The three-year bond yield jumped to 15.8 pct from 14.11 pct on Friday and the five-year bond yield rose to 13.53 pct from 12.06 pct, respectively. The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds widened to 9.53 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Monday, from 9.17 pct on Friday, with the Greek bond yielding 9.84 pct and the German Bund yielding 0.38 pct. Turnover was a thin 4.0 million euros.

    In interbank markets, interest rates continued moving lower. The 12-month rate eased to 0.222 pct from 0.225 pct, the nine-month rate fell to 0.155 pct from 0.158 pct, the six-month rate eased to 0.105 pct from 0.107 pct, the three-month rate was unchanged at 0.036 pct and the one-month rate fell to -0.008 pct.

    [47] ADEX closing report

    The March contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.23 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Monday.

    Volume on the Big Cap index totalled 10,581 contracts with 36,390 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totalled 37,503 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (10,208), followed by Alpha Bank (5,583), Piraeus Bank (8,906), Eurobank (9,672), OTE (620), PPC (750), OPAP (426), Mytilineos (173), MIG (140), GEK (135), Ellaktor (137) and Jumbo (117).

    [48] Foreign Exchange rates - Monday

    Reference rates per euro released by the European Central Bank:

    U.S. dollar 1.086

    Pound sterling 0.7186

    Danish kroner 7.4504

    Swedish kroner 9.1865

    Japanese yen 131.31

    Swiss franc 1.0691

    Norwegian kroner 8.5785

    Canadian dollar 1.3674

    Australian dollar 1.4043

    General News

    [49] Water levels at Evros River stable, authorities remain on alert

    The water levels at Evros River in northeastern Greece remained stable on Monday despite the latest intense rainfall, but authorities remain vigilant as Bulgaria has informed Greece of its intention to open Ivaylovgrad Dam to release water pressure on their side.

    Several mountainous regions of Xanthi and especially Mykis municipality continue to face problems from the rainfall, with road traffic being limited and conducted only with the use of snow chains.

    Authorities are also gradually restoring damages caused at the electricity network on Sunday night, due to fallen trees. Many elementary and secondary schools in the municipality of Mykis will remain closed on Tuesday, following a decision of the town mayor.

    [50] Greek Independence Day military parade to take place without railings

    The military parade to mark Greek Independence Day on March 25th will take place without railings and there will not be an elevated platform for the officials, National Defence Minister Panos Kammenos said on Monday during a meeting with journalists.

    The minister said the parade will include two National Guard battalions from the border region of Evros and the Dodecanese Islands. Flights of Armed Forces aircraft and helicopters are part of the staff training programme and will not burden the budget.

    Kammenos also announced he will be visiting the United States from March 27 to April 3, to represent the Greek government in the Independence Day celebrations organized by the Diaspora. He also said the ministry along with the Armed Forces will organize an event at Goudi Park for the unemployed and the homeless and urged citizens to volunteer.

    The minister also announced a series of official visits abroad. Kammenos will join Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on a visit to Russia on May 9.

    Deputy Defence Minister Nikos Toskas will also travel to Moscow ahead of Tsipras and Kammenos, on April 17-21. On March 18-20 Alternate Defence Minister Kostas Isichos and Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura will also travel to Moscow. Isichos will also participate in an international defence weapons exhibition in Brazil on April 14-17.

    Kammenos also announced the prosecutor on issues of corruption, Eleni Raikou, sent the file prepared by the ministry on armaments procurement to Parliament, which will have to decide whether politicians were involved.

    Ministry officials also discussed German reparations during their meeting which was also attended by Isichos, Toskas and the Vice President of the Committee for claiming German debts, Stefanos Limneos.

    Kammenos is also scheduled to meet Parliament Speaker Zoi Konstantopoulou on Tuesday at the ministry, at 15.00 and he will then visit Larisa to attend hand-in ceremonies in two army units.

    [51] Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to visit northern Greek town April 17-21

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will pay a five-day visit to northern Greece, following an invitation by the Metropolitan of Serres and Nigrita Theologos to celebrate the festival of Agios Nikitas at the church in Nea Serron.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch will arrive at Serres on the afternoon of April 17 and leave on April 21.

    [52] Public prosecutor orders investigation into National Technical University's graffiti

    The head of the prosecutors' office Ilias Zagoraios on Monday ordered an urgent preliminary examination to find those responsible for the large black and white graffiti on the historic building of the National Technical University of Athens.

    According to a prosecution's statement, the investigation will focus on finding those who committeed the offence, classified as a misdemeanor, of causing "serious damage to an object used for public benefit."

    [53] Painting on the walls of the Polytechnic crosses the line, Education ministry says

    Painting a graffiti on the walls of Athens' Polytechnic University crosses the line, the ministry of Education said in a statement on Monday.

    "The spontaneous artistic expressions of the young generation, no matter how respected they might be - demand limits and a sense of measure," the ministry said.

    "In the case of the Polytechnic, one of the country's historical buildings which holds a particular symbolism relating to recent history and struggles of the new generation, but which also has an aesthetic value, the ministry believes the aforementioned action crossed the line," it added.

    The ministry also noted the issue of guarding university buildings is being discussed by the ministry and the university community.

    [54] Alternate FinMin Valavani admitted to hospital with pneumonia

    Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani on Sunday was admitted to an Athens hospital suffering from pneumonia, ministry sources said on Monday.

    [55] Deaths from flu outbreak in Greece reach 78

    The total number of people who have died from flu in Greece has come to 78, authorities said on Monday.

    Patients who have been hospitalized in intensive care units since the start of the flu season have reached 167. Of those, 28 continue to be monitored in those units.

    [56] Greek seaman reported missing on tanker travelling to India

    A 40-year-old Greek sailor, the first ship's mechanic on the tanker "Maran Kleio" currently sailing from Venezuela to India, has been reported missing from the vessel. A search has been launched in the sea 400 nautical miles west of Mumbai in India and southwest of Karachi in Pakistan, by 12 commercial vessels in the area, as well as an aircraft sent by India.

    The ship's captain notified the Greek coast guard search and rescue coordination centre on Sunday.

    [57] Anarchists' protest at SYRIZA offices ended

    The group of anarchists that had occupied SYRIZA's headquarters on Sunday ended their protest around midnight, without causing any damage or tension.

    According to sources, a group of 50 anarchists entered the offices of SYRIZA in downtown Athens and hung banners asking for the abolition of maximum-security jails, the release of Savvas Xiros, serving a sentence as a member of the November 17 terrorist group, as well as friends and relatives of 'Conspiracy of Cells of Fire'.

    [58] Brazilian national arrested at Athens International Airport for cocaine trafficking

    A 38-year-old Brazilian national was arrested at Athens International Airport (AIA) when he attempted to smuggle roughly 6 kilos of cocaine into the country, it was announced on Monday. Police said that he is allegedly a member of an international cocaine trafficking ring based in Latin America.

    The suspect, carrying a total of 5,940 grams of cocaine packed in five metal boxes in his backpack, arrived in Athens from Sao Paulo via Dubai.

    Weather forecast

    [59] Overcast, rain on Tuesday

    Clouds, rain and variable winds are forecast for Tuesday. Wind velocity will reach 5 on the Beaufort scale. Overcast with local showers in the northern parts of the country and snowfall in mountainous areas; temperatures ranging between 0C and 10C. Clouds and local showers in the western parts with temperatures between 2C and 15C. Same weather in the eastern parts and temperatures between 4C and 15C. Clouds and local showers over the islands, 6C-17C. Overcast and light rain in Athens, 8C-14C; clouds and local showers in Thessaloniki, 6C-9C.

    [60] The Monday edition of Athens dailies at a glance

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Games of fear

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Plan for 5 changes in IKA's early retirements

    ESTIA: A regime worse than the troika

    ETHNOS: Transfer for public sector employees

    ?

    NAFTEMPORIKI: Low expectations for the Eurogroup meeting

    TA NEA: Under siege

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