|Thursday, 21 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-11-04
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Friday, 4 November 2016 Issue No: 5282
 Tsipras: Greece dynamically emerging from six-year crisis"Today' summit that is held at a critical time for the Greek economy, at a time of recovery, but also a critical time for stability in the wider region, can contribute to several sectors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday opening the proceedings of the EU-Arab World Summit "Partners for Growth and Development."
The prime minister stressed the importance of the summit taking place in Greece, a country that is emerging from a six year crisis, steadily upgrading its role as a pillar of peace, stability and security in our region.
Tsipras focused on three main topics highlighted in the summit for the future of the EU-Arab and Greek-Albanian cooperation:
First, it is based on close cooperation with the private sector and civil society. Secondly, the conference takes place at a critical time, for Europe, for the Arab world, but also the relationships between them. "A period which requires brave steps. For peace and stability in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen. And of course - regarding the Palestinian issue - for the resumption of credible negotiations aimed at a fair solution based on two states coexisting safely. With the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital."
He also stressed that the conference takes place at a time when it should strengthen the Euro-Arab cooperation in order to address major international challenges such as terrorism, refugees and migration. At a time requiring a new global vision for the future of Euro-Arab relations in trade, investment, energy and tourism. "This vision is necessary now more than ever," stated Tsipras.
Third, today's conference takes place in Greece, "a country with strong historical, cultural, economic and diplomatic ties with the Arab world," a country, as he stated, that over time "has been the port and bridge between Europe and the Middle East", "a legacy of trust in a fluid and conflictual global and regional environment."
A country that is dynamically emerging from six years of economic crisis, steadily enhancing its role, the pillar of peace, stability and security in our region, he concluded.
 Turn to real economy and not insistence on fiscal issues, PM Tsipras saysDirect intervention measures on debt will be decided in December and our firm position is that the discussion on the future necessary interventions regarding the primary surpluses from 2018 onwards should start immediately, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday opening the proceedings of the EU-Arab World Summit "Partners for Growth and Development."
Tsipras also said that in parallel the road will be paved for Greece's participation in the ECB's quantitative easing programme and this is considered an important step for the return to the markets and the disengagement from loan contracts and memoranda.
The prime minister referred to the necessary steps for ensuring high growth rates adding that the lower primary surplus targets as of 2018 will contribute to the release of the necessary funds in order to reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses, increase investments and strengthen the social policy, which fell dramatically in the previous years.
?He pointed out that the huge wager for the country is to restart its economy without the pathogenies and shortcomings of the past. Therefore, he stressed the importance of changes and turn to real economy and not insistence on the discussion on fiscal issues.
Moreover, Tsipras stressed the importance of changing policy so that Greece becomes an attractive country for investments. He also cited Greece's great potential as a result of its geographical position. "We are a key energy player in the whole region, with many works in progress," he stated.
 Greek economy has real potential, ND's Mitsotakis says at EU-Arab World SummitDespite the crisis, Greece's economy continues to have real potential and offers investment opportunities that are currently unexploited, main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday at the EU-Arab World Summit. He repeated his demand for early elections, saying that ND was insisting not because of "excessive personal ambition but because Greece now needs a new, determined and efficient government with strength."
"What is missing is a government determined to carry out reforms, which speaks the same language as investors," he said. The present government was neither willing nor able to do this, he added.
Mitsotakis pointed out that the third and, as he claimed, "unnecessary" bailout agreement restricting the government's freedom of movement until 2018, while it was following a mistaken policy mix of high taxes instead of lowering spending.
"Greece was sunk without cause into a new recession cycle. The recovery that had begun at the end of 2014 was violently interrupted and the tragic handling of the first six months of 2015 cost 21 billion euros in lost GDP. We need a comprehensive reform plan, apart from the existing memorandum," he said.
ND had a plan that it was ready to put into action on the day it was elected, Mitsotakis said, though noting that this was not sufficient in itself to turn the economy around. "There also needs to be a change of culture that facilitates and attracts investments...Greece in our time will be a reliable interlocutor of the international investment community."
Addressing Arab investors, Mitsotakis urged them to invest in Greece, despite the repercussions of the crisis. "We also have potential to enter a cycle of growth given certain conditions. There are significant investment opportunities in Greece," he said.
Noting the ties of friendship between Greece and the Arab world, he pointed to the 'golden visa' option Greece has offered Arabs since 2013, as well as the right to residence in Greece and the Schengen zone. He noted that there were opportunities for investment in Greek real estate and many Middle East residents would want a residence in an EU country.
He further highlighted the opportunities in tourism and the service sectors: "Even with some delays, there is now a serious privatisations programme underway in Greece, and significant investment opportunities through public and private-sector partnerships, in the agrofoods sector and fish farming. Greece has highly-trained personnel in all sectors, including health, and can be a regional centre for providing services. There are real business opportunities and also a need to absorb significant investment capital of 100 billion euros in the next five years in order to reach the European average for investments. This is what ND is focusing on," he said.
 Lavrov: Only if we get EU approval will we extend 2nd pipeline of Turkish StreamOnly if Russia receives the approval from Brussels will it extend the second line of the Turkish Stream pipeine towards the European Union, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday, during a ceremony to proclaim him an honorary professor at the University of Piraeus in Athens.
Commenting on Russia's relations with the West, he said he sees no progress despite his country's efforts to activate talks and urged the European Union to start dialog with the Eurasian Economic Union, noting that each state's interests must be taken into account when building these relations.
On Ukraine, Lavrov said Russia is implementing the Minsk agreement and is expecting Ukraine to do the same, adding that the rights of the Russian population in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk must be ensured.
Concerning Syria, the Russian diplomat wondered why the West doesn't separate the moderate Syrian opposition from the fighters of the Al-Nusra Front, as stated in the UN resolutions. "Some people do not want to distinguish between the moderate opposition and the Al-Nusra Front fighters," he said, adding that "we always keep our word; this is a tradition of our diplomacy".
Commenting on the upcoming U.S. elections, Lavrov said Russia will have a dialog with whoever is elected president, as Russian president Vladimir Putin stated.
 Infrastructure minister meets Russian counterpart in AthensInfrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis discussed cooperation in transportation projects with an emphasis in the railway sector with Russian counterpart Maksim Sokolov, during a meeting in Athens on Thursday.
The two sides also discussed the possibility of investments in railways and reviewed other joint projects which are underway.
 10th Joint Ministerial Committee between Greece and Russia to be held in AthensDeputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Mardas will co-chair with the Transport Minister of the Russian Federation Maxim Sokolov, in the 10th Joint Ministerial Committee between Greece and Russia to be held in Athens on 3 and 4 November 2016.
According to the announcement, on Friday, November 4, the Protocol of the Joint Ministerial Committee will be signed.
 Europe must become attractive again, President Pavlopoulos tells Polish FM WaszcykowskiGreek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during his meeting on Thursday with visiting Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszcykowski stressed the need for European Union to become attractive again and its foreign policy and defence to be strengthened.
Addressing the Polish official, Pavlopoulos underlined that Greece and Poland are cooperating within EU on common goals and mostly for a powerful, secure and developing Europe. "Europe must be strong and safe and for this reason we must promote the pylons of foreign policy and defence," noted Pavlopoulos adding that the conflict in Syria highlighted how fragile are those pylons for Europe.
In parallel, he noted that we must address the refugees issue with humanism and solidarity and terrorism as an existing danger for Europe and for all the humanity.
On his part, Waszcykowski supported that cooperation among the European partners for the solution of the problems in EU and expressed Poland's readiness to offer towards this direction.
However, he said that "we all face special threats and provocations" adding that in Poland "we have issued over one million visas to Ukrainian nationals and four thousand to Belarus nationals who have arrived and reside in Poland".
He also pointed out that along with the refugees issue and the unsolved conflict between Ukraine and Russia we are also called to deal with the Brexit.
"The Brexit was the result of a Europe that is no more attractive," answered Pavlopoulos.
 Only reason to want NATO ships to leave Aegean is to stop control of refugee flows, FM Kotzias saidThe only reason why anyone might want the departure of NATO ships currently patrolling in the Aegean was to stop them continuing to control refugee flows, Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias commented on Thursday.
Kotzias made the statement in a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Witold Waszczykowski, following their meeting on Thursday morning. He was replying to a Polish journalist regarding a statement made by Turkey's defence minister, who said that NATO ships should leave now that the Alliance's mission in the Mediterranean had ended.
"I think that what is missing in the Turkish thought is to openly tell us how it evaluates the presence of the NATO ships in the Aegean. If they contributed to stopping refugee flows, why should they leave? The only reason why someone might want them to leave is so that there is no control. And you can interpret the world 'control' in all ways that it can be interpreted," Kotzias said.
The two ministers said their talks had focused on bilateral, regional and European issues, especially the refugee crisis. They also had in-depth discussion on further developing bilateral cooperation between the Greek and Polish foreign ministries, which will celebrate the first centenary since establishing diplomatic relations in 2019. Both noted that the European Union must revert to policies of growth and enlargement, becoming a goal for all countries that want to join it.
With regard to the refugee and migration crisis, both ministers agreed that the war in Syria and other conflicts generating refugees must stop, while refugee flows must be contained to the neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Jordan, which must be supported. Kotzias announced that he intended to visit Lebanon with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides in six days time, as a symbolic demonstration of this support.
The Greek minister said he briefed his Polish counterpart on the problems in the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece's efforts through trilateral diplomacy in the region, as well as efforts toward a security architecture initiated through the Rhodes conference in the summer.
"We are always ready to help the development of Poland's relations with this region, or joint actions," he added.
Kotzias also presented Greek policy with regard to Turkey and its Balkan neighbours, through the new cross-border cooperation, as well as the Cyprus issue.
Waszczykowski agreed that wars were chiefly responsible for the refugee problem and this could not be solved without a solution in the countries the refugees came from. He also outlined his country's proposal for "flexible solidarity".
"We consider that every country in Europe is at a different level of development. Every country must help, of course, but in accordance with its ability," he said. Waszczykowski was in favour of transferring refugees to regional countries, Jordan and Lebanon, while at the same time protecting EU borders.
He said Poland was prepared to take on its share of the burden and had sent warships to the Mediterranean, staff to guard the borders via the EU border agency Frontex and "participates as much as it can."
Waszczykowski also referred to the crisis with Russia, noting that his country was preparing for the possibility of a very serious crisis between Russia and Ukraine. He said that Poland had issued almost one million visas to Ukrainian citizens last year, many of whom intended to stay permanently.
Asked about the 'Balkan corridor', the Polish foreign minister said that it was chiefly economic migrants rather than refugees that had been allowed through this, meaning that most of them would have to be returned to their countries. He also pointed out that forcibly distributing them among countries they did not wish to be in was not very humanitarian.
"In 21st century Europe, we cannot forcibly hold people in centres when they do not want to be there. If we allowed them to enter into Europe, they should be free to go where they want. If we cannot cope with this from the start, then we should have protected our borders from the start and not allowed it," he pointed out.
Kotzias, on his part, said that neither Poland nor Greece were responsible for the refugee crisis or the wars in Syria, Iraq and Libya. "The big problem is that the people who waged these wars and carried out the bombings are asking us to pay the price for their bad choices," he added. The Greek minister also pointed out that countries far richer than Greece had invited the refugees to move and they had responded to this call.
 Institutions returning to Athens in mid-November, Breidthardt saysBRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni)
The missions of the institutions will return to Athens in mid-November, with "all sides committed to finalising the negotiations for the second review of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) programme as soon as possible," European Commission spokesperson Annika Breidthardt said on Thursday.
Breidthardt, the spokesperson for European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici, said the first round of negotiations had ended on October 27 as planned and as part of "constructive discussions that took place on all key policy commitments and will continue in coming weeks."
Questioned about the prospects of an agreement on easing Greece's debt before the end of the year, Breidthardt replied that the Commission was working on the basis of the May 24 Eurogroup decisions.
 Parliament approves amendments on TV licensing lawParliament approved on Thursday a series of amendments on the government's TV licensing law which concern the formation of a new board of the National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV).
SYRIZA, ANEL and the Democratic Coalition voted "Yes" on the amendment to suspend article 2A, while New Democracy, Golden Dawn and Potami voted "No". The Centrists' Union and the Communist Party voted "Present".
On the amendment to include NCRTV in the decision on the number of licenses that should be issued and their starting price during the auction, SYRIZA, ANEL, the Democratic Coalition and Potami voted "Yes", while New Democracy, Golden Dawn and the Centrists' Union voted "No". The Communist Party voted "present".
 Greek-German Assembly opened a new way in Europe, says Hans-Joachim Fuchtel"The refugee crisis is a European crisis. It concerns Europe and not only Greece and on this specific issue there is huge understanding in Germany," deputy minister of Economic Cooperation and Development and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal envoy in the Greek-German assembly Hans-Joachim Fuchtel said to Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
"The Greek-German assembly opened a new way in Europe. The close cooperation between Greek and German municipalities, communities and regions were fruitful for both sides," noted Fuchtel and underlined that the Greek-German Assembly meeting that opens on Thursday in the city of Nafplio "is a network which is dynamically developing. This indicates that the approach is bearing fruit and is being established. Our collective work is convincing. During my last visit to Greece I met with government vice president Yiannis Dragasakis and with other ministers. They all showed interest in the cooperation with the Greek German Assembly. In local governance it refers to specific exchange of experiences, not very much on politics, and for this reason the interest in the assembly is increasing," said Fuchtel.
The 6th annual meeting of the Greek-German Assembly "Nafplio 2016: Local administration united with the eye to Europe's future" is according to the German minister "a very important event for all those involved in the local administration. The title proves that our cooperations at local governance is closely linked with the European vision. We are moving within the European lab, we exchange practices and we commonly develop new solutions. Come to Nafplio to see by yourselves how we work, how we discuss and how friendly is the atmosphere", said Fuchtel.
 Tents in Schisto refugee camp to be replaced with houses, Alternate Migration Min Mouzalas saysAll the tents in Schisto refugees accomodation center will have been replaced with houses by December 15, Alternate Minister for Migration Yiannis Mouzalas on Thursday said in parliament.
In reply to a question by communist party KKE deputy Diamanto Manolakou, who said that the conditions for the 760 Afghans refugees, including 270 children, are miserable and humanly degrading, Mouzalas acknowledged that the living conditions are difficult but he stressed that the government is doing its best to improve them.
 Eight Turkish officers detained as extradition request is discussedThe eight Turkish officers who entered Greece illegally after the failed coup attempt in Turkey last July were arrested anew on Thursday, as part of the legal procedure to decide whether to extradite them to the neighbouring country.
An asylum committee rejected their applications earlier in the summer but they have all appealed the decision. They will remain detained until their trial. In their extradition request, Turkish authorities say the eight men are wanted for attempted abolition of the Constitution and the parliament, attempted murder against the president of the Turkish Republic and the seizure of a helicopter.
The prosecutor has requested additional information from Turkish authorities concerning the extradition request.
Speaking to journalists after the arrest, the eight defendants' lawyer Christos Mylonopoulos said his clients will not face a fair trial if they are returned to Turkey and cited recent announcements to reinstate the death penalty.
"A procedure is starting although we know it is impossible to have a fair trial in Turkey and Turks reserve for them an inhuman and degrading treatment, while it has been announced from official lips that they will reinstate the death penalty," he said.
 WWF opens dialogue on green debt relief for a living economy in GreeceSeven years of crisis and austerity in Europe are placing great strain on the European project, the WWF said in a statement.
In Europe's nature, life goes on: Greece hosts a unique ecological treasury, which is threatened by increasing pressures for rapid but unsustainable growth and environmental deregulation. Greece's debt can hardly be deemed sustainable and is crippling for the prospects of the country's economy, environment and social well-being. This condition also prolongs the economic uncertainty of the entire euro-area. Debt relief seems inevitable. A green debt relief agreement, under the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, can offer a long lasting solution to this European crisis, WWF underlined.
WWF released a discussion paper that aims to open a dialogue on the debt crisis and the agonizing quest for financial and ecological sustainability for the entire European Union. It is proposed that on the basis of a specific environmental agreement, substantial debt relief can be approved for Greece, thus restarting the country's battered economy towards a more sustainable direction, while at the same time conserving globally significant biodiversity and contributing towards the achievement of key global sustainable development goals (SDGs). The discussion paper has been prepared by WWF Greece in collaboration with the New Economics Foundation.
Beyond the dramatic state of its finances, Greece is one of the European Union's most important member states in terms of ecological wealth. In an age of climate change and growing ecological footprint, real economic stability can only be founded on a sound ecological basis. WWF believes that ecologically rich states need to be encouraged to sustainably manage the environment as a vitally significant common good, while at the same time linking the conservation of their unique natural wealth with the improvement of their economic status. Nature is the 'capital' Europe needs.
Through this discussion paper WWF proposed a series of measures for a) the conservation of Europe's natural wealth, b) green economy, and c) revenue enhancement, while combating environmental crime, as the basis for a meaningful debt relief agreement. The agreement will also need to include good governance, economic development, green revenue enhancement and environmental crime combatting measures.
Although Greece has always been a laggard in its environmental policy track record, it is clear to WWF that the future for living economies in the entire European Union lies with conserving our common natural wealth and building on the added value which sustainable policies can bring to the economy and society. Addressing Greece's debt overhang on the basis of an ecologically sound and socially vibrant economic agenda will benefit all and offer Europe a robust common vision for the future.
WWF's call for a green way out of the dismal debt crisis is addressed to Greece's creditor institutions and to the government and parliamentary parties of Greece. WWF is actively seeking feedback and collaboration from interested stakeholders on this basic concept. Depending on the outcomes of this dialogue, the organization is committed to working with others in further elaborating this proposal, if this can be of value to a possible agreement between Greece and its creditor institutions for meaningful debt relief and the pursuit of sustainability.
 Greece has made significant progress in correcting past mistakes, BoG governor saysEconomic adjustment and structural improvements over the past six years have rendered Greece more business-friendly and have opened up significant investment opportunities, in particular for those who will position themselves early in the Greek economy, Bank of Greece governor Yannis Stournaras said on Thursday.
Addressing a EU-Arab World Summit "Partners for Growth and Development:Prospects of the Greek economy after six years of adjustment", the Greek central banker said, foreign direct investment is also essential for Greece, because it will set in motion a virtuous circle signaling investor confidence in Greece's future prospects, a definite exit from the crisis and a return to sustainable and extrovert economic growth.
Despite delays and missteps, progress in correcting past mistakes was impressive, Stournaras continued. Therefore, a new ESM program, agreed in August 2015, based on the achievements of the first two programs, gives priority to reforms.
He said that a gradual economic recovery was already reflected on a series of key economic indicators, such as industrial production, retail sales, wage employment flows in the private sector and real exports of goods. The Bank of Greece expects the Greek economy to recover in the second half of 2016 and to continue in 2017 and 2018, with the country's GDP expected to fall 0.3 pct this year, but to rise by 2.5 pct and 3.0 pct in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Nevertheless, risks to the outlook of the Greek economy remain. Delays in the implementation of reforms and privatizations envisaged in the program would dampen economic growth, thereby refueling uncertainty, undermining confidence and weakening the prospects of a definitive exit from the crisis.
Meanwhile, there also are risks and uncertainties regarding the course of the global economy, stemming, among other things, from protectionist voices and actions around the world, the implementation of a hard Brexit, and a likely exacerbation of the refugee crisis. These risks could slow down the recovery of the Greek economy, both through negative effects on tourism and trade and through a slower-than-expected decline in yields on Greek government bonds due to the risk aversion from global investors.
The containment of the above mentioned risks and the realization of the positive prospects of the Greek economy require a number of tangible and concerted actions, such as accelerating reforms and privatizations, dealing with non-performing loans and agreed on long-term measures to ensure the sustainability of the Greek public debt, Stournaras said.
 EBRD report: Greek economy to register zero growth in 2016, 2 pct in 2017The Greek economy will register a zero growth rate in 2016 and a 2 percent in 2017, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said in its "Regional Economic Prospects" report published on Thursday.
"The Greek economy shrunk 0.7 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2016, partly due to the baseline effects from the increase of consumer spending in the first half of 2015. As a result, economic growth will possibly be positive in the second half of 2016, giving a zero growth rate for the full year," the bank said.
"For 2017, the outlook is more favorable, but the continuing controls on capital movement (although they have somewhat eased in recent months), further fiscal consolidation measures and the weaknesses in the financial sector, where non-performing loans remain significant, will likely limit the growth rate to 2 percent," it added.
 Budget revenues surpassed targets by 835 mln euros in OctoberGreek budget revenues significantly surpassed targets in October by 835 million euros, the General Secretariat for Public Revenue said on Thursday. In a report, the general secretariat said that budget revenue surpassed budget targets by 2.32 billion euros in the 10-month period from January to October.
Net revenue surpassed targets by 835 million euros, or 21.37 pct from budget targets in October, while in the January-October period budget revenues surpassed targets by 2.32 billion euros or 6.16 pct.
 Piraeus Port announces new organization chartPiraeus Port Authority officially announced the organization chart of the new management, which envisages four deputy chief executives, three Chinese and one Greek, running all four directorates created, comprising of 22 departments.
Head of the new management will be Captain Fu Chengqiu, CEO, while Aggelos Karakostas will take over as deputy CEO in charge of administration directorate heading the departments of: human resources, administration control and secretariat operation, legal department, port security/environment prote-ction, public relations, shareholders support/corporate news, strategic planning and marketing, free zone and other customs status.
Deng Xiaoli, Deputy CEO will take over as head of operations with six departments: cargo terminals, sea cruise and coastal shipping, quality control and supervision, labor operation, supply chain.
JI Fengming, Deputy CEO will take over the financial departments, while LI Jianchun Deputy CEO will take over the technical department.
Piraeus Port Authority used to have one CEO, one managing director and 17 directorates with 54 departments. Port officials said the new organization chart will make Piraeus Port Authority more flexible and solid to meet the demands of the market.
Piraeus Port has a workforce of 1,094.
A board meeting last week approved the launch of an investment program worth 136-140 million euros in 2017, focusing on projects to support sea cruise, ship repair, the logistics center in Pier 1 and upgrading of the car terminal.
 ECB lowers ELA ceiling for Greek banksThe Governing Council of the European Central Bank approved a request by the Bank of Greece to lower the ELA-ceiling for Greek banks to 51.1 billion euros, up to and including Wednesday, 16 November 2016.
The reduction of 700 million euros in the ceiling reflects an improvement of the liquidity situation of Greek banks, amid a reduction of uncertainty and the stabilization of private sector deposits flows, the Greek central bank said in an announcement.
 Piraeus Bank wins environmental awardPiraeus Bank was awarded at European level, among 180 organizations, as one of the four best companies in the category "Management" at the European Business Awards for the Environment.
The award ceremony took place in Tallinn, Estonia, on October 27, 2016 and the award was received by Mr. Prokopis Gavriil, Environmental Manager of Piraeus Bank Group Management.
With the nomination ?The Expandability of a Robust Certified EMS - the Case of Piraeus Bank? the bank ranked first at national level in the category "Management" for the development, construction and operation of the Environmental Management System. The Bank also competed at European level and stood among the top four leading organizations that have achieved significant environmental achievements.
As stated by General Manager Mr. Vrasidas Zavras "The commitment Piraeus Bank in reducing the environmental footprint is given and timeless. Thanks to the Environmental Management System we reduce by 2008 the electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 30% per employee, thereby saving every year at least 5 million euros in operating expenses."
More specifically, Piraeus Bank, as part of its commitment to continuously reduce the environmental impact of its operation, has developed and implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS) in all its stores and administrative offices. Since 2011 the CCM Bank is certified according to Regulation Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) of the European Union and the ISO 14001: 2004 standard. With more than 700 building infrastructure and more than 1,000 employees directly involved in the EMS, Piraeus Bank is one of the largest organizations in Europe to implement such a strict environmental management standard.
 Coca Cola HBC says sales down 1.0 pct in Q3Coca Cola HBC AG on Thursday reported an 1.0 pct decline in its volume of sales in the third quarter of 2016 compared with the corresponding period last year and said the volume of sales was down 0.3 pct in the January-September period.
Volume of sales in developed markets continued falling in the third quarter, down 2.5 pct reflecting lower sales in the bottled water category in Italy and Austria.
Volume of sales in developing markets fell 4.2 pct in the quarter, after a 10.4 pct increase in the same period last year.
Volume of sales in emerging markets grew 1.3 pct reflecting higher sales in Nigeria and Romania and a slowdown of sales in Russia.
Net revenue from sales per box on neutral currency basis grew 3.8 pct in the third quarter of 2016, while promotion actions and an adverse mixture of distribution channels affected net revenue from sales per box on a neutral currency basis in developed markets, down 0.3 pct.
In developing markets, net revenue grew 3.5 pct, reversing a fall in the first half of 2016, while in emerging markets, net revenue rose 8.1 pct.
Volume of sales in Greece grew slightly as a result of higher sales in the bottled water category which rose for the 12th successive quarter.
 Aegean Islands- Like No Other at the WTM tourist exhibition in LondonThe region of southern Aegean will have it own pavilion at the International Tourist Exhibition "World Travel Market" that will be held in London from 7 to 9 November.
The islands of Ios, Paros, Santorini, Folegandros, Serifos, Amorgos, Milos, Tinos, Mykonos, Antiparos, Andros from the Cyclades as well as Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Astypalea and Patmos from the Dodecanese complex will participate under the umbrella of southern Aegean region and will have the opportunity to promote their tourist product to professionals from all over the world that are involved in the tourism sector.
World Travel Market exhibition is the top tourist event in Britain and attracts the interest of the global tourism industry.
Southern Aegean region will be the first that will welcome the visitors of WTM. Pictures and photos from the Aegean islands and with motto "Aegean Islands - Like No Other"will be screened at a pyramid that is placed above the central entrance of the venue that is hosted at the ExCeL Center.
Additionally, the region of southern Aegean will hold a special event with over 100 journalists from British media invited on the sidelines of WTM aiming at a comprehensive promotion of its tourist product and its establishment as a multidimensional destination in the tourist markets.
 Greek exports to Egypt down in Jan-JulyGreek exports to Egypt fell by 32.8 pct in the January-July period this year, compared with the corresponding period in 2015, despite an increase in exports of several product categories, a report by the Commercial and Economic Affairs Bureau of the Greek embassy in Cairo said.
Major Greek export products to Egypt in the seven-month period were oils (+39.1 pct), tobacco (+34.3 pct), cotton (+30.2 pct), paints (+16.6 pct), chemicals (+12.5 pct), fresh fruit (+9.5 pct), machines (+0.5 pct), while on the other hand a decline in exports was recorded in plastics (-66.1 pct), oil products (-38 pct), paper (-22.1 pct) and processed fruit/vegetables (-16.1 pct).
Oil products accounted for 77.2 pct of total Greek exports to Egypt and a decline in oil prices significantly affected the value of exports. The embassy report noted that with the exception of oil products all other exports to Egypt grew by 6.9 pct in value in the seven-month period. The report noted that olive oil exports fell significantly while exports of soy oil grew.
 Increased investments in mobile communications"The mobile communications sector continues raising its investments in Greece," George Stephanopoulos, general manager of the Greek Mobile Operators Association said on Thursday, addressing an Infocom conference.
"Investments in the first half of the year grew by 33.4 pct compared with the same period last year, despite an adverse environment, which is partly balanced by higher productivity and continuous improvement of domestic operations which surpassed 187 million euros," Stephanopoulos said.
He said that the sector was investing 21 pct of revenue from services and 54 pct of EBITDA on average in the last four quarters. The sector is also creating modern infrastructure to support digital growth. The 4G networks are maturing, while 5G networks were currently planned with the aim to be ready by 2025. "The transformation of the economy requires a partnership model of economic operation," Stephanopoulos said, adding that modernization in mobile and fixed telephony networks should move together with modernization in energy, natural gas and water networks.
"Investments on new generation networks contribute to an increase in GDP and of public revenue (+2.2 pct GDP growth or 4.49 billion euros and +2.06 billion euros raise in public revenue by 2020).
 "I want to buy Souroti", Ivan Savvidis says"Yes, I want to buy Souroti. I want to buy it, very much. I want to link my fortune with this enterprise, with an 100 years old history. It is always better a quality, precious stone to turn it into a diamond," Ivan Savvidis said.
Addressing a meeting of Souroti shareholders and workers, at the presence of board members and representatives of local authorities, Ivan Savvidis, already a shareholder in Souroti, stressed that although the company was a small enterprise "it has no liabilities and has the potential to win a greater European and beyond market share".
He expressed his confidence that he will have the majority of shares, or 51 pct, in a few days and said he would make an offer to Coca Cola -the other candidate for Souroti-, while he stressed he was a businessman socially orientated with respect to traditions and job positions and not looking for profit "regardless of the price".
"If Coca Cola refused to sell its shares in Souroti, I will buy them cheaper in a year," he said.
Savvidis said that development of Souroti would need a share capital increase and noted that he could not guarantee dividends sooner than a period of seven years. He said Souroti would need around 15 million euros to expand its activities through modernization of facilities, improving marketing and sales and probably more workers.
 59 pct of Greek employers troubled by talent shortageSix out of 10 employers in Greece are finding it difficult to fill their vacant job positions, ManpowerGroup said in a report released on Thursday. In its annual international talent shortage report for 2016, ManpowerGroup said that 59 pct of employers had difficulty in covering vacant job positions. The percentage was unchanged for the second successive year and 10 percentage points higher than a global average rate of 49 pct. Lack of technical skills (29 pct), necessary experience (27 pct), personal skills (12 pct), seeking higher-paid jobs (11 pct) and lack of available candidates (11 pct) were the main reasons for not covering vacant job positions in the country.
On a global level, 40 pct of employers had difficulties in finding workers with necessary skills, up 2.0 percentage points from 2015 and the highest recorded since 2007, evidence that a lack of talent is not abating.
Greece ranks eighth in the world ranking after Japan, Taiwan, Romania, Hong Kong and Turkey, down one place from 2015. Seventy pct of Greek employers believed that the most important strategy to battle talent shortage was to offer training and development programs to existing personnel, while 47 pct of employers said their strategy was to search for talent beyond "traditional tanks" and 42 pct said their strategy was adopting alternative hiring strategies.
 Greek stocks end slightly lowerGreek stocks ended slightly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, pushing the composite index of the market below the 570-point level. The index fell 0.57 pct to end at 578.23 points, off the day's lows of 578 points. The Large Cap index eased 0.13 pct and the Mid Cap index ended 0.19 pct lower. Turnover was a low 33.683 million euros with a volume of 33,284,149 shares.
OPAP (2.33 pct), Cocal Cola HBC (1.99 pct) and Grivalia Properties (1.45 pct) scored the biggest percentage gains of the day among blue chip stocks, while Folli Follie (5.02 pct), Jumbo (4.86 pct) and Ellaktor (2.52 pct) had the largest losses.
Among market sectors, Travel (2.05 pct) and Food (1.99 pct) scored big gains, while Commerce (5.02 pct) and Personal Products (3.86 pct) suffered losses. National Bank and Piraeus Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 59 to 40 with another 18 issues unchanged. GE Demetriou (18.18 pct), Attica Publications (9.97 pct) and Mermeren (9.79 pct) were top gainers, while Varvaresos (19.12 pct), Inform Lycos (10 pct) and Intrakat (9.68 pct) were top losers.
 Greek bond market closing reportThe yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds shrank further to 7.69 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, from 7.93 pct the previous day, with the Greek bond yielding 7.84 pct and the German Bund yielding 8.06 pct. Turnover was 6.0 million euros, all buy orders.
In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was -0.071 pct, the nine-month rate rose to -0.130 pct from -0.131 pct, the six-month rate rose to -0.212 pct from -0.214 pct, the three-month rate was -0.312 pct and the one-month rate was -0.374 pct.
 ADEX closing reportThe November contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a premium of 0.04 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday. Volume on the Big Cap index totaled 412 contracts with 7,117 open positions in the market. Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 36,418 contracts with investment interest focusing on Piraeus Bank's contracts (13,856), followed by Alpha Bank (3,392), National Bank (13,531), Eurobank (3,288), MIG (571), OTE (216), PPC (275), OPAP (697), Jumbo (152), Mytiilneos (83), Titan (72), Ellaktor (126).
 Twenty-one objects from Antikythera shipwreck to be exhibited in DecemberTwenty-one objects recovered in the recent underwater excavations on the Antikythera shipwreck will be exhibited for the first time as a unified set at the Aiketarini Laskaridis Foundation in Piraeus in December.
The exhibition will he held on the occasion of the presentation of the results of the 2016 research, which will be held at the Foundation on December 2, and the 40-year anniversary of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities (EUA).
"It will be much larger than the 2014 exhibition when we had only exhibited in the downstairs hall a spear, a lagynos (type of vessel used by the crew) and a piece of wood from the ship," the head of EUA, Dr. Angeliki Simosi, told Athens-Macedonian News Agency, adding that this year's exhibition will be located at the first floor and last a month.
 280 Greeks stranded in Ayvalik as tourist ferry confiscated due to debtsA total of 280 Greek tourists have been stranded in Ayvalik, a seaside town on the northwestern Aegean coast of Turkey, since 6pm this evening after the tourist ferry they were expected to board to return to Greece was confiscated due to the owners' debts towards the Turkish state.
The group of tourists had boarded the ferry "Aysegul" from Lesvos' port this morning to spend a day shopping in the Turkish town, which is just 1 hour and 30 minutes by boat from the Greek island.
When the problem occurred, they asked whether they could board other ferries doing the same route but refused to pay for a new ticket saying they should be allowed to use the one they had already bought. No agreement was reached with other ferries and talks are now underway to arrange a boat from Mytilene to pick them up.
The "Aysegul" belongs to the Jale shipping company which has been operating the Mytilene-Ayvalik tourist route for decades. In the past, the company had also faced problems with Greek justice again due to debts towards the Greek state.
 "Window to Greece" gastronomy festival in ChinaA festival of gastronomy entitled "Window to Greece" was organised on October 13-30 by the Consulate General of Guangzhou in collaboration with China's Tourism Office in southern China. It was an initiative of the Greek Consul K.Tassiopoulos that aimed to introduce to the public in the Greek Cuisine, Greek products, wines and olive oil and promote Greece as a tourist destination.
The festival featured promotional activities while visitors had the chance to taste traditional Greek dishes from all parts of Greece. The events attracted the interest of the Chinese media and food bloggers as it was the first time that the Greek gastronomy was presented in the city Guangzhou.
 Missing migrants found during rescue operation off SamosTwo migrants missing at sea since this morning six miles north of the Aegean island of Samos were rescued by a Super Puma helicopter on Thursday evening. One of them was well in his health but the other was unconscious and had to be transferred to the island's hospital.
The search began after authorities found a plastic dinghy carrying some 40 migrants, who reported that two more of their number had jumped out of the dinghy in an attempt to swim to shore.
 Motorway section at Tempi Valley reopens after maintenance workThe motorway at Tempi Valley was reopened on Thursday afternoon after authorities completed scheduled maintenance work to prevent rocks from falling.
The section of the road at Tempi had been closed off since Saturday to complete the work.
 The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glanceDIMOKRATIA: Pensioners' revolt
ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: New pensions cuts as a result or revaluation
ESTIA: German model for the Church
AVGHI: Preaching of intolerance
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The deep state of hierarchy
KATHIMERINI: Shock cuts for IKA pensioners
RIZOSPASTIS: People on alert over the Aegean and Cyprus
TO PONTIKI: No more on TV licences
KONTRA NEWS: 1,500,000 bank account confiscations
IMERISSIA: More than 245,000 pensions in the air
NAFTEMPORIKI: Four threats for the economy
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