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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 15-03-16
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Monday, 16 March 2015 Issue No: 4910
 Gov't sources: No problem with payment of salaries and pensionsThe Greek government "reassures the society that there is not problem with the payment of salaries and pensions" according to government's sources that added that all the necessary measures have been taken.
In an unofficial note the government noted that "in the one and a half month of its tenure the government has faced a very difficult situation that it inherited from Mr. Samaras' government" adding that "it is widely known how fake was the so-called 'success story' regarding the end of the memorandums, the exit to the markets and other drivels".
Moreover, the same sources said on Sunday that there will be no additional recession measures and the austerity's absurdity that Mr. Samaras government passionately honoured, will not continue.
For all the above reasons, said the same sources "the government has a plan and undertakes initiatives that will invigorate the State's liquidity and will offer a breather to an economy and a society that can't stand anymore pressure".
Moreover, it is noted that the scaremongering predictions on what would happen in Greece with a government of social salvation had started a couple of months before the general elections. One and a half month after we belie in practice those scenarios and that is what we will continue to do with determination and calmness and with loyalty to the people's mandate" underlined the government's sources.
 PM Tsipras: European leaders must respect the democracyPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred to the risk of the rise of the extreme right and populist forces in Europe if the European Union leaders do not respect the democracy, during his meeting with the president of the European Left and secretary of the French Communist Party Pierre Laurent on Saturday.
"I believe that the EU leaders should decide if they will respect the democracy or will take the risk of the rise of the ultra-right forces in Europe" he said and made a special reference to France.
"France's example is very serious, very crucial. You have rise of Mrs. Lepen's party and of other extreme right forces. So, if we want to support Europe, we must respect the democracy in Europe. That's the message" said Tsipras to Laurent.
The premier discussed with the president of the European Left the current geopolitical condition and the developments in the European Union.
 PM Tsipras discuss latest developments with FinMin VaroufakisPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras met on Sunday with Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in order to be briefed on the latest developments in the economic policy and on Varoufakis' meetings abroad.
On his part, Tsipras discussed with Varoufakis his meetings in Brussels with Europarliament president Martin Schulz and with European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker.
On Friday, Tsipras had consecutive meetings with the government's economic staff while the government's council for the economic policy convened on Saturday.
On Monday, the premier will receive Cyprus' AKEL party secretary general Andros Kyprianou at the Maximos mansion.
 PM Tsipras to meet AKEL sec gen Kyprianou on Monday at 10.00Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday will meet the secretary general of the Central Committee of AKEL party Andros Kyprianou.
The meeting will take place at 10.00 at Maximos Mansion, according to an announcement by the premier's press office.
 Jyrki Katainen: We want action not promisesEuropean Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen referring to the negotiations with the Greek government said "We want action not only promises. After the Eurogroup we will see how the disbursements can be held" speaking to Real News newspaper.
"The negotiations began in order a reliable reforms agenda to be formed which the Greek government will table and will be accepted by the other European taxpayers. Afterwards we want to see the implementation. Only then the support will continue".
Katainen said that "until winter things were going better. The country had 1.5 pct primary surplus and everybody talked of a precautionary credit line. Greece would leave from the programme only with a safeguard...I would not say that we are back to the beginning. However, the new government must do a lot of things to regain the trust...I believe that the facts can change again but this means that the government will take decisive measures to regain its access to the markets'.
 State Minister Flambouraris:Political leaders' council if necessaryMinister of State Alekos Flabouraris did not ruled out a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and main opposition New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras or a political leaders' council, if it is necessary, in an interview with the Sunday newspaper RealNews.
"Of course, he (Tsipras) can call Mr. Samaras and all the political leaders to discuss and to brief them, why not?" he said.
On the examination committee for the memorandum he said that it is important for the people to know who Greece got into the memorandum.
He noted that the government will not take a new loan in June, underlining that there will be a settlement for the debt "(if the negotiation for the debt) is not offer a solution and we are again in the need of a new loan to pay the previous loans, it is not a solution. We will not reach such a solution, which will not be acceptable because it does not solve the problem".
Flambouraris expressed his optimism that an agreement will be reach and noted that the government does not seek a solution outside the eurozone. "We are seeking for a solution in the eurozone and I believe that we will succeed. Maybe we will not find a solution 100 percent as we want it, but certainly a solution that will facilitate the situation".
Referring to the issue of general elections, he said that it is on the table, but that are not necessary.
He said he supports Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis adding that "The Germans will not do whatever they want. This is clear. There is no Varoufakis' issue and this issue have never crossed SYRIZA leadership's mind".
Finally, he stated that no state property will be sold "neither the ports nor the airports or the railways" but he referred to development with the participation of the State.
 FinMin Varoufakis 'tables' alternative Quantitative Easing proposalROME (ANA-MPA/ Th. Syngelakis-Andreadis)-
An alternative Quantitative Easing which will be funded up to 100 pct by the European Investment Bank's bonds in order ECB to buy them in the secondary market, proposed, according to the Italian media, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in his address on Saturday to the Ambrosetti Forum, an annual economic forum held at Villa d'Este in Cernobbio (Como) each year.
Varoufakis explained that "in this way the problems of the European Central Bank would be solved because it would buy only one paper with triple A evaluation, without being interested on the other countries' bonds and "the problems that the quantitative easing programme faced in other occasions and will continue to face more and more in Europe would be avoided because the investments sector is overrated and the efforts for the restart of the investments fails... This kind of Quantitative Easing in cooperation with the European Investments Bank would offer direct support to the investments".
He also said that he would like this proposed Quantitative Easing to be named "Merkel programme".
In his speech Varoufakis also noted "Loans were given to countries that have debts, as my country, under special procedures. The final result was the transition, in terms of losses, from the banks' audit books to the European tax payers. In this way, the whole burden of the crisis fell on the countries that were facing the biggest difficulties. The result was apparent in markets for approximately two years. Mario Draghi faced the condition in the summer of 2012 with great courage. Unfortunately, this successful intervention, even if it had calmed the markets, it fuelled the crisis that extended to the real economy. With an asymmetrical attack against the investments, at a period that a crisis of trust was developing with deflating forces throughout Europe. In this occasion Mario Draghi intervened via the Quantitative Easing. The crisis culminated in Europe and Europe lost its credibility in the eyes of its citizens as well as a large part of its credibility before the rest of the planet. Theoretically, Europe wanted a larger unity and stability but in essence its most serious problems were re-nationalised.
The Greek Finance Minister noted "An existential crisis which is completely irrelevant to Greece exists. A crisis which worsens and does not get better according to many evaluations. It is a challenge for all of us. Neither the tax 'virtuous' attitude, nor the Keynesian motives can solve the problem. To remain stuck to discussions of the past on the reduction or increase of the deficit, on Rome or Paris' budget are only sterile debates. We need something else, a new rationale. We must escape from the trap of the false dilemmas and the false selections between stability and growth. Such a dilemma should not exist".
 FinMin Varoufakis: I hope that Italian PM Renzi will take advantage of our workROME (ANA-MPA/ Th. Andreadis-Syngelakis)
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in an interview with the Italian newspaper "Il Messagero" on Sunday expressed the hope that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi would take advantage of Athens' work.
Varoufakis explained that "the finance minister of a country with high debts is considered a weak link. If they attack me, they reach the prime minister and the whole government. A character's assassination is a potential predictable culmination: I am not surprised or shocked".
Asked whether there are differences between him and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, he said ?that's what our enemies are trying to leak. That's the method. They have been trying to divide us for a long time but they will fail in a spectacular way because Alexis and I are very close. I got into this effort in order to help him and my country. I am not at all interested in the political leadership".
Asked on a possible check of his bank accounts, he said "they will not find a lot of money, I have been an academic all my life, I do not have many assets or money. They can even present my apartment in Athens as super luxurious, but those who have visited it know that it is not. It isn't even mine. I have only one mission and that's what I am trying to do: To change the false way in which Greece and the European crisis were presented; to tell the truth and that's what I will continue doing at all costs".
Referring to the Greek economic crisis, Varoufakis noted ?we are aware that for a series of years our economy was not sustainable but whoever said in those 'good years' that the growth was fake he was considered an eccentric in Europe. In that period, everybody was celebrating the Greek miracle and treated us, who said that 'there will be a bad ending', as anti-Europeans. Later, when the crisis broke out we asked those who had never paid to pay, when we protested saying that more loans and more austerity was not the solution, they treated us again as anti-Europeans".
"We are not anti-Europeans. We are certainly the only powerful party of the left that supports Europe. What does being Europeans mean today? To passively accept whatever the powerful authorities dictate?" said Varoufakis.
Referring to Italy, Varoufakis underlined: "I hope the Italians and Prime Minister Renzi take advantage of all those we are doing in Greece in order for new opportunities to be created. Italy is a country that counts more than us but a review of the agreements will be in the interest of countries, such as Germany, that have trade surplus".
Concluding the newspaper referred to a Greek minister's statement that "threatened to open the borders to migrants and terrorists in retaliation to Germany." Varoufakis replied: "It's rubbish. I don't believe that there is someone that says such things, but even if there was, I would condemn him. At this phase we should be extremely careful not to limit the consent we have secured in Europe. Accusing each other does not help".
 Gov't spokesman replies to New Democracy spokesman's commentGovernment spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis on Sunday lashed out at New Democracy following a statement by the opposition party's spokesman Costas Karagounis over Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis' comments to Alpha TV earlier on Sunday.
According to Sakellaridis, Varoufakis "said we have not taken a single euro from any reserves, from any Fund." He added that "if the main opposition wants to find out who put his hand in the Funds' reserves, let them look into the period of March 2012, when the PSI took place and there was a haircut on the Greek government bonds that the Funds held in their reserves."
Karagounis had earlier issued a statement saying that "we hope Mr. Varoufakis has confused cash reserves with the Funds' reserves" and called on the government to give clarifications.
 Foreign Ministry on the double bombing attack on Christian churches in PakistanThe Foreign Ministry on Sunday issued an announcement regarding the double bombing attack on Christian churches in Pakistan.
"We express our abhorrence at the two deadly bombing attacks targeting the faithful of two Christian churches in Lahore, Pakistan. We condemn any such act that impinges on human rights brutally and without reason, and violates the freedoms of minority religious groups, which are in dire need of protection," the ministry said.
"We express our condolences to the families of the victims, to the Christian community of Pakistan, and to the people and government of Pakistan," it added.
 ND leader Samaras: Government is sending the country back to the memorandum"As long as the uncertainty continues, the bill for the Greek people grows, because the government was not only playing theatre but was also losing time" said New Democracy (ND) leader and former prime minister Antonis Samaras to Saturday newspaper Agora.
Samaras reiterated that SYRIZA government never had a plan and that the "Thessaloniki programme" was a wishlist that has been abandoned a long time ago.
He expressed the opinion that the government is leading the country back to borrowing, back to the memorandum "for the next year at least" because if we have a smaller primary surplus, this would mean that we will not be able to cover part of the interests".
Samaras said he wished "the referendum or early elections issue to have been closed" but "members of the government bring it back every day" which as he said is adding uncertainty to the economy and suffocation to the market.
Asked on the proposal for the setting of an examination committee for the memorandum he noted "We have nothing to hide. On the opposite we have a lot to say...".
Concluding, he announced that ND's parliamentary group will convene next week to discuss changes in persons and on the party's operation.
 President Pavlopoulos: Europe is not only an economic unionPresident of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that during his tenure he will "try the presidency to contribute in the effort the country to leave from the quagmire that it is today" speaking with the press after the end of the ceremony for the assumption of his post.
Pavlopoulos added that his role will not be formal but that he will make use of all the rights the Constitution provides, which, he will totally respect.
Regarding Europe, President Pavlopoulos said that Europe is not and can't only be an economic union because, as he stated, when it was founded it was not constructed as a solely economic union. Especially when the unified entity of all communities was formed, the message of its founders was clear "Europe is beyond everything the Europe of the people, the Europe of the people's value, the Europe of the people's rights and the Europe founded in order the people to never live again the nightmare of the world wars in whatever form...The Economic Union and particularly the Monetary Union is not an end in itself in Europe".
Pavlopoulos said that his first visit abroad will be to Cyprus. Asked on Cyprus' exit from the memorandum he noted "Europe and eurozone were not created in order countries to be in memorandums".
The congratulations ceremony was held on Saturday at the Presidential mansion. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Parliament President Zoi Konstantopoulou, Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos, New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras and other high officials attended the ceremony and gave their congratulations to the new President.
 President Pavlopoulos: Greece's demands from Germany activePresident of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos send a double message to Europe and Germany in his statements to the Sunday newspaper Realnews.
"It is not possible for Europe to ignore the huge problem of the humanitarian crisis that plagues Greece...Europe, and particularly the European Commission, can't not respond to the requests for change of the memorandums which are completely just and documented" said Pavlopoulos.
Referring to the German war reparations he clarified "I will remain adamant on my opinion that Greece's demands on the German war reparations and the occupation loan are active and can be claimed legally".
 Greek President Pavlopoulos to visit Defence Ministry on MondayGreek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday at 12.30 will pay an official visit to the National Defence Ministry so as to be briefed by the political and military leadership, the ministry said in an announcement.
 Alternate Culture Minister visits Ancient AmphipolisWe are not looking for famous dead. We are searching for historic truths and to find the history of this place" said Alternate Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis after his tour to the excavation site of Kasta Hill, to the ancient gymnasium and Ancient Amphipolis museum on Saturday.
"This monument is already very important. It does not matter who is the dead. It is a dead person, a rich man, a leader but archaeology and today's situation lead us to think and develop all those that we have in our hands".
Xydakis underlined that the excavation has been completed and the study and conservation of the finds have started.
At an ANA-MPA question if the Ministry is going to proceed to the identification of the grave and its possible connection with Alexander the Great, Xydakis said "the scientists will always try to identify their finds, not only with persons but mostly with historic periods with evidence and facts of economic and political history. Some things remain unidentified, here in Amphipolis Museum some artifacts remain unidentified and this does not limit their beauty and their scientific and cultural value".
On a possible connection between the monument and Alexander the Great, the minister noted "Is it so important, will it change something for Macedonia if we say that in this tomb is his third grandson? Macedonia is what it is; the people that live here will continue to be the same. We have many historic and archaeological finds to have a very wealthy, heavy and very creative historic identity. We do not need to continuously confirm it."
Xydakis also said to ANA-MPA that the "excavation has received huge financial support. There are not many excavations in Greece that have been so largely funded. Additional financial support is not necessary at this moment" adding "Ancient Amphipolis is an area with huge archaeological interest and with special natural beauty. It is a paradise".
On her part Deputy Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Maria Kollia-Tharouha that accompanied Xydakis stated "Alternate Culture Minister's visit to Amphipolis shows the serious way the government approaches culture issues. These monuments belong to our dead and we are obliged to follow the scientists which are doing their work and we will leave them to do it undistracted. We will not follow the examples of the past".
 Greek citizens think positively of government's handlings, say opinion pollSix of ten Greek citizens think positively of the government's handlings according to an opinion poll conducted by Public Issue for the Sunday edition of Avghi newspaper.
According to the opinion poll, 59 pct of the respondents believe that the government "could not gain more from the negotiation with Greece's partners" and 36 pct said "it could have gained more".
51 pct of the respondents said they accept Eurogroup's agreement, saying the country neither won nor lose from the agreement, 20 pct believe the country probably gained something and 23 pct said the country did not gain anything.
At a question if "SYRIZA can succeed the country's economic recovery", 53 pct of those asked said yes.
On who is most suitable for prime minister, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras leads with 63 pct followed by New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras who was preferred by 19 pct of the respondents.
 Economy minister Stathakis dismisses report over possible NSRF funds 'freezing'Economy Minister George Stathakis on Sunday in a message posted on twitter described a report on newspaper "To Vima" over a possible freezing of NSRF funds as inaccurate and completely out of context.
In the meantime, PASOK issued a statement on the report saying that its deputy Odysseas Konstantinopoulos had recently submitted a question to Stathakis on the country risking loosing NSRF funds.
"Today, through government sources, we were informed by the media that the access to NSRF funds of about 25 billion euros 'freezes'. As for Stathakis' tweet, it is not convincing. PASOK calls on the government...to end the games of leaks and tweets and bring the issue to the relevant committee of the parliament so that all parties are informed and our actions can be coordinated in the interest of the people," PASOK said.
 The ministry would annul regulator's decision for electricity tariff increases, Productive Reconstruction min saysProductive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis on Sunday said the ministry would annul the increases in electricity tariffs that the energy regulator RAE had decided.
The minister called on RAE to reconsider its decision and stated the "ministry would use any possible means...to annul these increases in electricity tariffs that are a provocation for our people and contrary to the government's programme and policy."
 Unofficial note by Productive Reconstruction ministry on electricity tariff increases decisionThe whole approach to the electricity tariffs increases is a result of deceitful political planning, according to an informal note by the Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy ministry.
The note presents details on the Government Gazette issues dated December 31, 2014, stressing that until the day after the elections (January 26, 2015), all the Gazette issues dated December 31, 2014 were posted on the Internet and printed in hardcopies with the exception of the issue on the electricity tariff increases.
According to the ministry, this shows that the Gazette issue at question was intentionally kept unpublished during the pre-election period and for about two and a half months for obvious political reasons.
 Subsidies to cotton producers to be paid soon, Productive Reconstruction ministry saysSubsidies will be soon paid to cotton producers, Productive Reconstruction Ministry said on Sunday in response to PASOK party.
In an announcement, the ministry said that ""the only policy that PASOK knows well, when it is not looting the people's income, is to frighten, to be a scaremonger and terrorize the people. There is no problem with cotton farmers; they will get their subsidies very soon and without any problems."
PASOK in a statement noted among others that 51,000 cotton producers were informed that the cotton subsidies (more than 150 million euros) would be paid last Thursday but they found no money in their bank accounts. "The only reason is that the government got the OPEKEPE (Greek Payment Authority of Common Agricultural Policy) money for other purposes and obligations."
 Announcements on cause of death of 20-year-old student in Ioannina expected on MondayAnnouncements on cause of death of 20-year-old student in Ioannina expected on Monday
The announcements on the cause of death of 20-year-old Vangelis Giakoumakis, student at Ioannina city Dairy School, will be made on Monday, coroner Theodoros Vougiouklakis said.
There are certain findings, which I expect to be confirmed by the laboratory test results on Monday, around noon, and then there will be some announcements on Giakoumakis' cause of death, the coroner said.
Giakoumakis body was found early Sunday in a marshy area of Pamvotida Lake at Ioannina, northwestern Greece, 800 meters away from his Dairy School. The coroner's report is expected to shed light on the cause of death and whether this was a criminal act or a suicide. Giakoumakis went missing on February 6.
According to police sources, the prosecution authorities may order an investigation into the case in the next few hours.
 Gov't spokesman expresses condolences over 20-year-old Vangelis Giakoumakis' deathGovernment spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis on Sunday expressed the government's condolences to the family and next of kin of 20-year-old Vangelis Giakoumakis, who on Sunday was found dead in Ioannina, northwestern Greece.
"Needless to say that Justice should shed light on this case," the government spokesman said.
"The phenomena of violence against anyone who is considered powerless is a form of social fascism and should not be tolerated by anyone and at any level," he added.
It is the society's responsibility to isolate such practices, Sakel-laridis said noting that the State will take all necessary initiatives to this effect.
 Super League ResultsGames played for the Super League had the following results:
Levadiakos-Niki Volou 3-0 (without game)
PAOK-Asteras Tripolis 0-0
1. Olympiakos 61 (26 matches)
2. Panathinaikos 58 (27 matches)
3. PAOK 51 (27 matches)
4. Asteras Tripolis 48 (27 matches)
5. Panetolikos 43 (27 matches)
6. PAS Yiannina 41 (27 matches)
7. Atromitos 40 (26 matches)
. Xanthi 40 (27 matches)
9. Kerkyra 37 (27 matches)
. Kalloni 37 (27 matches)
11. Veria 34 (27 matches)
12. Panionios 29 (27 matches)
13. Panthrakikos 28 (26 matches)
. Levadiakos 28 (27 matches)
. Platanias 28 (27 matches)
16. Ergotelis 25 (27 matches)
17. OFI 13 (26 matches)
18. Niki Volou -6 (27 matches)
 Partly cloudy on MondayClouds and northerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Light rain in the northern parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 02C-15C. Scattered clouds in the western parts with temperatures between 04C-18C. Partly cloudy with a chance of light rain in the eastern parts and temperatures between 03C-16C. Partly cloudy over the islands, 09C-17C. Scattered clouds in Athens, 06C-14C. Partly cloudy and light rain in Thessaloniki, 05C-13C.
 The Sunday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceAVGHI: Six of ten citizens see light on the horizon.
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: 40 days deadline to avoid the 'accident'.
EPOCHI: Cries in Berlin, whispers in Brussels.
ETHNOS: Everything will be decided in seven days.
KATHIMERINI: Desperate negotiation, meanwhile the State coffers are running out of cash.
KYRIAKATIKOS RIZOSPASTIS: They (government) are bringing 'new burdens' to the people.
LOGOS: Revenues nosedive.
Realnews: New President (of Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos) sends strict message.
TO ARTHRO: Illusion of negotiation.
TO PARON: They owe us 341 billion euros.
TO VIMA: The Berlin battle - Underground deliberations in Europe and USA to bring down Schaeuble's wall.
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