|Monday, 18 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-11-07
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>Weekend Bulletin
Monday, November 7 2016
Government spokeswoman announces new cabinet
Government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili announced on Friday evening the composition of the new cabinet in a television address on public broadcaster ERT. It numbers 48 ministers, of whom 15 new, while 11 ministers from the old cabinet have been replaced.
The new cabinet is as follows:
Prime Minister: Alexis Tsipras
Government Vice-President: Yiannis Dragasakis
Interior Minister: Panos Skourletis
Alternate Minister for Civil Protection: Nikos Toskas
Deputy Minister for Macedonia-Thrace: Maria Kollia-Tsarouha
Economy and Development Ministry
Minister: Dimitris Papadimitriou
Alternate Minister: Alexis Charitsis
Deputy Minister: Stergios Pitsiorlas
Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Ministry
Minister: Nikos Pappas
National Defence Ministry
Minister: Panos Kammenos
Alternate Minister: Dimitris Vitsas
Education, Research and Religions Ministry
Minister: Kostas Gavroglou
Alternate Minister for Research: Kostas Fotakis
Deputy Minister: Dimitrios Baxevanakis
Deputy Minister: Konstantinos Zouraris
Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity Ministry
Minister: Efi Ahtsioglou
Alternate Minister for Combatting Unemployment: Rania Antonopoulou
Alternate Minister for Social Solidarity: Theano Fotiou
Deputy Minister for Social Insurance: Anastasios Petropoulos
Minister: Nikos Kotzias
Alternate Minister for European Affairs: George Katrougalos
Deputy Foreign Minister: Ioannis Amanatidis
Deputy Foreign Minister for Greek Diaspora: Terens Quick
Justice, Transparency and Human Rights Ministry
Minister: Stavros Kontonis
Alternate Minister: Dimitris Papangelopoulos
Minister: Euclid Tsakalotos
Alternate Finance Minister: Giorgos Chouliarakis
Deputy Finance Minister: Katerina Papanatsiou
Minister: Andreas Xanthos
Alternate Minister: Pavlos Polakis
Administrative Reconstruction Ministry
Minister: Olga Gerovasili
Culture and Sports Ministry
Minister: Lydia Koniordou
Deputy Minister for Sports: Giorgos Vasiliadis
Environment and Energy Ministry
Minister: Giorgos Stathakis
Alternate Minister: Sokratis Famelos
Infrastructure and Transports Ministry
Minister: Christos Spirtzis
Deputy Minister: Nikolaos Mavraganis
Migration Policy Ministry
Minister: Yiannis Mouzalas
Deputy Minister: Ioannis Balafas
Shipping, Transport and Island Policy Ministry
Minister: Panagiotis Kouroumblis
Deputy Minister: Nektarios Sandorinios
Rural Development and Foods Ministry
Minister: Vangelis Apostolou
Alternate Minister: Ioannis Tsironis
Deputy Minister: Vasilis Kokkalis
Minister: Elena Kountoura
Minister of State: Alexandros Flambouraris
Minister of State: Christoforos Vernardakis
Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister: Dimitrios Liakos
Minister of State and Government spokesman: Dimitris Tzanakopoulos
Parliament President: Nikos Voutsis
The members of the new cabinet will be sworn in at 3:00 on Saturday.
 Tsipras welcomes new cabinetPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday the new cabinet brings new faces and prospects in the government and wished all ministers good luck in their new posts.
"Reshuffle for renewal and prospects aiming for growth and the improvement of the citizens' daily life," Tsipras said in a tweet on his official account. "I wish everyone good luck in their new duties."
 New cabinet sworn inThe new cabinet which resulted from Friday's government reshuffle was sworn in before President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Saturday afternoon at the Presidential Mansion, in the presence of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The new cabinet includes 18 ministries and 49 ministers, including the prime minister.
 Tsipras: We have an opportunity for a new beginningThe government has an opportunity for a new beginning to fix the problems of the Greek economy and return to growth, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday, after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly appointed ministers at the Presidential Mansion, which followed Friday's cabinet reshuffle.
"We have the opportunity for a new beginning, to achieve the necessary impetus that will help us complete the last critical steps of a marathon which will allow us to reach a glade. The glade of growth, which is forecast to be very high for 2017, but 'heaven helps those who help themselves'," Tsipras said.
"We also need to correct malfunctions, change attitudes, to speed up all those necessary actions that will help our country to finally come out of this perennial crisis," he added and noted the new cabinet reflects a renewal in "ages, faces and structures".
He also thanked the ministers who left the government for their work.
 Parliament head: I believe four TV licenses are sufficientFour licenses for nationwide broadcasters are sufficient for the country but the government will not put any pressure on the bodies and parties involved in the issue, Parliament President Nikos Voutsis was reported as telling "Agora" newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.
"I consider the four TV licenses as sufficient," Voutsis was quoted as telling the paper. "We will take into account all factors - economic, technological and others, to determine the new TV landscape."
Voutsis also criticized New Democracy for its stance on TV licenses, saying the main opposition didn't really want a solution to the problem because it preferred to use it as a lever to "not just pressure, but degrade and destabilize the government."
 Sworn-in ministers say they will work to set Greece on a path to developmentThe government will help the country exit from the crisis and set it on a path towards growth, the Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media Minister Nikos Pappas said on Saturday outside the Presidential Mansion where hw was sworn-in at his new post.
Concerningt his new duties, Pappas said it is a demanding portfolio and one where Greece can play a leading role. "Greece has a very crucial geographical location; it could become a trade and transit hub, and to achieve this it must have reliable networks. We are ready to work hard."
Speaking earlier to ANA, he described the reshuffle as one of "renewal, growth and reconstruction".
"It is a step for the country to continue to the next phase. The priorities and symbolisms are clear; there are many new faces entering the government. We get to work immediately," he added.
Olga Gerovasili, the new Administrative Reconstruction Minister, told ANA earlier that the new government's aim is to promote stable policies for economic growth, debt relief and social justice.
"From a different position, at a crucial time for the country, with all our strength to escape the deadlock," she said after her swearing-in.
Asked about his new position, State Minister Christoforos Vernardakis told ANA his first priority is to form a strong task force which will produce the government's policies.
"Firstly I need to be briefed and secondly we must make a very good team that will be able to carry out quickly all this work of strategic planning, coordination of government policies and highlighting new issues," he said. "The first thing as of Monday is to form a strong task force which will be the heart of the production of the government's policy."
On his side, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris told the news agency the government reshuffle has two elements: to complete the second program review quickly so that, if things go well, Greece can tap the markets next year.
The second element is that "everyone realizes that the crucial issue is restarting the economy through productive reconstruction," adding that growth will come through investment programs so that state funds can collect revenues.
 Outgoing Alt. FM Xydakis hands over ministry to Katrougalos; overviews work doneOutgoing Alternate Minister for European Affairs Nikos Xydakis welcomed his successor George Katrougalos at the ministry on Saturday, with a brief overview of his work at the ministry, particularly on the issues of migration, the simplification of visa-issuing and efforts to rally Europe's progressive forces.
Concerning migration, Xydakis said important work was made through diplomacy to regain the country's credibility during the refugee crisis. "We did a lot of work, traveling, held many bilateral meetings, gave many battles in all European councils to regain our diplomatic capital. It has been regained. We're in a different position," Xydakis said, adding that the new minister will be able to see it and built on it.
On simplifying procedures for a visa, Xydakis said much progress has been made especially with Russian tourists. "We're champions in Russia and we have the infrastructure and the preparation for our consulates to be declared champions in other countries, which will have an immediate impact on tourism and parallel benefits for the national economy and the extroversion which Greece must show," he added.
On forming European alliances, the outgoing minister stressed the need to continue work on widening cooperation, noting that Europe is becoming "increasingly hostile and dark" and that he's not very optimistic about its path. He said the rise of the extreme-right in Europe makes the importance of forging alliances even more urgent.
On his side, Katrougalos said he's very pleased to be taking over from Xydakis and vowed to continue "his very good work" and intensify efforts to achieve national priorities in foreign policy.
 Tsipras meets younger ministers to discuss their portfoliosPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with the younger members of the government after the swearing-in ceremony of the new cabinet to discuss their portfolios and the government's immediate tasks, government sources said on Saturday.
"Proceed with courage in assuming your duties. Society expects you to be bearers of the new, not only because of your age, but with your work in government," he told the ministers, according to the sources.
 New cabinet's first meeting at the Greek parliamentThe new Cabinet currently convenes at the Greek parliament chaired by Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras. "We have the opportunity for a new start in order to cover the last crucial metres of a marathon race that will take us to a clearing. The "clearing of growth which is expected to be very high in 2017 if we all help. We must correct the irregularities to change attitude and to accelerate all the necessary actions in order our country to exit the crisis stated Tsipras after the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential mansion
 Second review and state budget discussed at the cabinet meetingThe second review of the Greek programme and 2017 state budget were among the issues discussed at the Cabinet meeting, said government sources on Sunday adding that the state budget will be discussed in detail at the government bodies and probably there will be a cabinet meeting to discuss the negotiations with the institutions and the state budget until the end of November.
Moreover, the same sources said that issues referring to the coordination of the government' work, issues of the citizens' every day life as well as government councils' coordination were also discussed.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged for collectiveness, coordination and solidarity among the ministers.
The government also rejected newspaper articles referring to 1 bln euro fiscal gap.
Finally, the government is planning the regular meeting of the Political Council as well as the reintroduction of the press briefing.
 PM Tsipras: We are covering the last meters of a difficult marathonPrime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday welcomed the new and old members of the Cabinet in the first meeting of the new Cabinet that is currently underway at the Greek parliament.
Referring to the old members he said that "their role is now more crucial and difficult than before" because as he said "the reshuffle was a rift in the government's continuation" adding that if the members are the rift the old are the continuation'.
He noted that 'currently we are covering the last meters of a very difficult marathon; we are at the final stretch to take that country out of the crisis, to reach a clearing after a very difficult and painful course. We are very close to the finish of a long period of very difficult decisions not only for the government but also for a large part of the society".
Reviewing the government's work, Tsipras said that 'during this course we fought to keep the society standing and we succeeded a lot, not as much as we wanted but a lot. Despite the fiscal restrictions and the hard supervision we managed to create protection conditions for the weaker strata" said Tsipras.
 PM Tsipras: Citizens' every day life our top priorityGovernment's first priority is the battle for every day life and for this reason a new ministry is formed headed by State Minister Alekos Flambouraris, stated Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday addressing the new cabinet after the government's reshuffle on Friday.
In parallel he gave the signal for in schedule completion of the review with aim this government to be the government that will get the country out of the crisis and not another government of the crisis. Our major national target is the restoration of labour"", said Tsipras and made a special reference to the new Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou and underlined the collective goal which is the country's exit from the crisis and made clear that nobody's seat has his name on.
Referring to US president Barack Obama's visit to Athens he underlined that the country's image abroad has changed in the last year and asked from his ministers to keep on mind that this government will never be accepted by the old system and accused main opposition New Democracy (ND) that it violates the Constitution and asked from ND to contribute in the establishment of the new board of the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV).
Tsipras said that "it is time to turn page" and asked from the Cabinet members to make it their own vision, their personal ambition this government to get the country out of the crisis.
"The citizens must feel that our first priority is the every day life, their every day struggle to live with dignity" adding that "the battle of the political authority is always judged in the field of every day life".
For this reason we form a new special ministry on everyday life issues that will be responsible to deal with the citizens' support who are having problems with the public administration.
For the first time a minister will be responsible to deal with the citizens' complaints and requests, he said.
Tsipras pointed out that the turning of page has intermediate stops "the on time and without discounts and useless delays closing of the second review", from 5 December's Eurogroup with the start of the discussion on the debt relief and in the first quarter of 2017 the accession of the Greek bonds in ECB's quantitative easing programme. "and this will open the way to restore the on time accession to the international markets, to open a new clear 10-year corridor and to restore the investors' trust" and for this reason he asked for the ministers to work hard night and day.
Referring to the major national target he said that it should be the restoration of labour adding that the government aims to approach the European unemployment average rate until 2012 and with perspective to be reduced to 10 percent.
Finally, he referred to the recent optimistic messages from the Greek economy. "The third quarter of 2016 has closed positively and we passed from a long recession period to positive rates. We also have positive news from the fiscal issues. We are on an outperforming course and we will meet the programme's targets for second consecutive year and this is the result of 2015 negotiation that reduced the primary surpluses targets as well as the result of the performance of the tax mechanisms. "The relevant report closed with stable de-escalation of the unemployment" despite the fact that it (unemployment) remains extremely high but during our governance it has declined by 4 percent" concluded Tsipras.
 There are no heroic exoduses only struggle to the end, says gov't vice president DragasakisSYRIZA's aim is to operate as the backbone of the new social and political alliance that will get the country out of the crisis and of the memorandum, said government vice president Yiannis Dragasakis in an interview with Realnews Sunday newspaper.
Dragasakis ruled out the possibility of an ecumenical government explaining that "particularly today it would annul every effort to reverse the old establishment".
Asked whether it is better a ''heroic exodus" (of the government) if the pressure continues by the lenders, he said that in his sense there are no "heroic exoduses" but struggle to the end.
He said that the short-term measures for the debt will be set on course until the end of 2016 adding that there will be another development only if there will be forces that will want to reverse those agreed "
Asked if Greece will be in position to enter the markets in 2017, Dragasakis said that this could happen soon with the settlement of the debt and Greece's participation in ECB's quantitative easing programme.
Finally, commenting poll results showing that SYRIZA is behind main opposition New Democracy (ND), he said that "the people had and continues to have expectations from SYRIZA. In polls, even in the most credible, the citizens express their feeling and send messages which the government is called to take into consideration
 Parliament presidents meeting on NCRTV postponed to ThursdayParliament presidents meeting with aim the establishment of the board of the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (NCRTV) initially scheduled to take place on Monday was postponed to Thursday at 15:00.
The meeting was postponed due to the necessary changes in the parliament committees after the government's reshuffle.
 Parliament head condemns 'pogrom' against HDP lawmakersParliament President Nikos Voutsis condemned on Saturday the persecution and detention of the leadership and numerous lawmakers of Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), describing them as a "pogrom".
"I feel obliged to express my unequivocal condemnation of the persecution and pogroms against the elected deputies of Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), ans especially the co-chairs, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag," Voutsis said, commenting on their recent arrests.
 New dep. finance minister tells ANA she will continue work on fighting tax evasionNewly-appointed Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) she will continue the work done by her predecessor, Tryfon Alexiadis, on fighting tax evasion and preparing legislation on promoting use of plastic money.
"I must continue and complete the important work done by Tryfon Alexiadis on the tax evasion lists and the preparation of the provisions on plastic money," the minister responsible for tax issues told ANA.
"We're at a difficult historical moment and the aim is to ease the citizens' daily life. We'll work wioth all our strength and we'll make it," she added.
 'Negotiations with creditors on labour issues will continue as if I was there,' says KatrougalosOutgoing Labour Minister and new Alternate Minister for European Affairs George Katrougalos said negotiations with Greece's lenders on labour issues which have started as part of the country's second program review will continue "as if he was there" because the new labour minister participated in the negotiations.
Thirty-year-old Efi Ahtsioglou, who is taking over as Labour Minister after the government reshuffle on Friday night, was the director of Katrougalos' office and participated in the talks.
"Continuation of the negotiations is ensured in the best way, because the new minister was my office director - of my own choice - with direct participation in the negotiations.
Therefore, the negotiation continues as if I was there. I am very optimistic that we will achieve our goal to return to collective bargaining in order for Greece to return to European normalcy," he told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
 Nothing has changed, says ND spokesman KoumoutsakosNothing has changed and nothing will change with this government, stated New Democracy spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos on Sunday.
The government of recycling the same unreliable politicians can't make a new start. It makes no difference for the pensioners if they are being deceived by Mr. Katrougalos (former Labour Minister) or by the former chief of his office that is now the new minister (Efi Achtsioglou).
Tsipras (Alexis, prime minister) remains isolated from the society and the citizens' real problems. However, he insists on his policies that have led the country to impoverishment and the society to despair. He does whatever possible to survive politically. He forms ministries for his friends and appoints ministers persons that have supported the parallel currency. They can't give a single solution to the serious problems they created, stated Koumoutsakos.
 Government reshuffle was done so that Tsipras can find jobs to his friends, says ND vice-presidentThe government reshuffle was done so that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras could find government jobs to his friends, New Democracy vice-president Adonis Georgiadis said on Saturday, noting that it mainly recycled old faces.
"Yesterday's government reshuffle confirmed all of ND's fears. The same faces were recycled with minor changes, increased the powers of the ministers and deputy ministers, so that Mr. Tsipras can find jobs to his own people and manage any political time he has left with the smallest possible party tensions," he said during a visit to Corfu when asked about the new cabinet.
"However the ministerial vehicle he selected is not functional and is not expected to accomplish anything significantfor the Greek economy," he added and reiterated his party's call for elections, saying they are needed because Greece has no time to lose.
 Communist Party leader: New cabinet brings no solutions to the country's problemsThe new cabinet will not provide any solutions to the country's problems, Communist Party leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas said on Saturday, adding it was a communication tactic of the government to try to restore its public profile.
"Government reshuffles and this in particular will not provide any solution to any problem, beyond the government's communication tactic which is trying to improve its profile which has suffered savagely because of the unpopular policies and measures it takes against employees, pensioners, the young, and poor families," Koutsoumbas told journalists when asked about the reshuffle during a visit to Larisa.
"This government will continue in the same direction of implementing the 3rd memorandum and all the anti-popular reforms. New measures are coming, without this meaning we will avoid the 4rth memorandum," he added.
 The reshuffle will not save the government, says PASOKSYRIZA-ANEL bankrupt government can't get the country out of the crisis and the memoranda, said PASOK in an announcement after the first meeting of the new Cabinet on Sunday.
In the same announcement PASOK noted that "they are weak and unable to negotiate and are socially isolated" adding that the change of persons can't change the essence and will not save the government".
 Mr. Tsipras never had a good relation with the truth, Potami spokesman saysAlexis Tsipras never had a good relation with the truth, stated Potami party spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras noting that "he speaks of priority on growth and at the same time the Emir of Qatar, one of the most powerful persons in the world that want to bring money to Greece characterises the investments in Greece "a joke''. He sees even the every day problems and the citizens burdens as field to establish political reign in other words as the mean to remain, he and his ministers in the authority. Regarding his 'successes', those who believed his lies are now experiencing them.
 Police arrests five foreign nationals for drug trafficking; 75 kilos of cannabis seizedFive Albanian nationals aged 21 to 43 were arrested in a remote area of Florina, northern Greece.
Police found hidden in their bags approximately 75 kilos of cannabis. The foreign nationals who had illegally entered Greece will be sent to Kastoria prosecutor.
 Zakynthos drowning in garbage after locals block entrance to landfillThe island of Zakynthos, western Greece, is drowning in piles of garbage as garbage trucks have stopped collecting them for the past two weeks, after residents of Kalamaki blocked the entrance to the landfill in Skopos.
The volumes of rubbish in some roads are so great that some streets are completely closed to traffic. Locals from around the island say they're worried about their health as they watch mice gathering around the garbage bags which in many cases are close to their homes.
 More than 50,000 athletes expected in this year's 34th Athens Marathon, says organiserMore than 50,000 athletes will participate in the 34th Athens Marathon which will be held on November 13, following the historic route of Pheidippides, the dispatch-runner who brought Athens news of the Greek victory against the Persians at Marathon and then collapsed.
"We're happy this year to have more than 50,000 runners, but I want to tell you with great sincerity that I think we are just after halfway in relation to the goals we have set for the Athens Marathon. The goal is high. We want the Athens Marathon to be the most important cultural and sports festival in the world. We're far from being there. We continue to try to approach it further," the president of the Marathon's organising committee and SEGAS chief Kostas Panagopoulos told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) in an interview on Saturday.
He said the Athens Marathon is at the heart of a very large "city break", a four-day period when 8,000 runners from around the world along with their companions visit Athens, while there's also an increase in domestic tourism.
"We estimate this leaves the city an amount of around 15 million euros from which benefits not just the tourism industry, but also Athens' daily life," he added.
 Business tycoon Andreas Vgenopoulos dies of heart attack at 63The head of Marfin Investment Group (MIG) Andreas Vgenopoulos died of heart failure in a clinic in Athens early this morning, the hospital announced on Saturday.
Vgenopoulos was born in Athens in 1953, studied at the Law School of the University of Athens and formed the law firm "Vgenopoulos & Partners". Since 1998 he began his involvement in the banking and investment sector, eventually creating MIG, one of the largest business groups in the country and south-eastern Europe.
Under his leadership, MIG acquired a known dairy company, a shipping firm, a hospital, an information-computer company, as well as a tourism and a real estate company in the Balkans. Through his investment vehicle, MIG, he also bought a majority stake in the Cypriot, now-defunct Laiki Bank which collapsed during the financial crisis of Cyprus.
In the past he was a fencing champion, taking part with the Greek mission at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
The funeral service will be private, for family members.
 Weather ForecastPartly cloudy and southerly winds are forecast for Monday. Wind velocity will reach 7 on the Beaufort scale. Clouds and rain in the northern and western parts of the country with temperatures ranging from 13C to 24C. Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the eastern parts and temperatures between 12C and 25C. Partly cloudy over the Aegean islands and Crete, 16C-24C. Partly cloudy in Athens, 14C-25C. Clouds with a chance of rain in the afternoon in Thessaloniki, 14C-22C.
 Athens News Headlines at a glanceKATHIMERINI: Elections for the US and the planet's future.
TO VIMA: Government of obedience.
ETHNOS: The walls in markets and guilds are falling
AVGHI: American trampoline
RIZOSPASTIS: Rally with the Communist party (KKE), with organised struggle.
REAL NEWS: Investments in Greece a joke.
PROTO THEMA: In the fear of God and troika
PRIN: Government's reshuffle brings continuation of memorandum
EPOCHI: Reshuffle with an eye to pressures.
KYRIAKATIKI DIMOKRATIA: Professionals, tradesmen and merchants 'sentenced to death' in 2017
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