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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-03-16

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Tsakalotos: Attainable to reach comprehensive agreement on program review on April 7
  • [02] Pittella to ANA: It is the creditors' turn to close Greek review without additional measures
  • [03] Greece to launch new tender for sale of 66 pct in DESFA
  • [04] First-time asylum applicants in Greece posted percentage increase of 339 pct in 2016

  • [01] Tsakalotos: Attainable to reach comprehensive agreement on program review on April 7

    It is attainable to achieve a comprehensive agreement with Greece's creditors on April 7, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told the parliament's Economics Committee on Thursday.

    The minister said it is very possible to have a discussion with the institutions on the entire package of measures, which includes the reforms after the end of the current program, the "good" and "bad" measures, the surpluses, the medium-term debt relief, in order to achieve a deal by April 7.

    "I consider this the most plausible scenario. It may happen sooner and in a better way. But I think this is an attainable target," he told MPs.

    Concerning the ongoing negotiations, he said the technical teams of the two sides continued their teleconferences on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss pending issues, adding they will have been competed tonight. He said there might be one more teleconference with the institution at a ministerial level on Friday morning.

    "The aim is to close as many issues as we can in order to go to the Eurogroup with very few pending issues," Tsakalotos said, noting the best-case scenario for Monday's finance ministers meeting in Brussels would be to have a comprehensive solution for almost all issues.

    [02] Pittella to ANA: It is the creditors' turn to close Greek review without additional measures

    Greece has done its part and now its creditors must conclude the second program review without imposing additional measures, the president of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Thursday.

    Pittella is heading to Athens on Friday where he will be declared honourary citizen and hold meetings with political leaders.

    "We believe Greece has done a lot and now it is the creditors' turn to take the step in order to close the [program] review without additional measures, while we consider necessary that any deal on collective labour agreements will meet the best European practices," he told ANA.

    Pittella reiterated his view that there can be no Europe without Greece, noting that his political group supported the country in its efforts to exit from the social and economic crisis.

    Asked about the deterioration in the relations between the European Union and Turkey, he said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rhetoric is "unacceptable".

    "The Turkish President should understand that, as a candidate country, Turkey should behave in a European way and not incite tensions or use unacceptable words," he said.

    Commenting about his honourary citizenship, he said it is important to him, noting he accepted "with great joy and honour".

    [03] Greece to launch new tender for sale of 66 pct in DESFA

    Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) on Thursday announced it will launch a new international tender for the sale of a 66 pct majority stake in DESFA this month. HRADF said it will begin procedure to hire financial advisors for the tender and will begin talks with Hellenic Petroleum Group to reach a memorandum of understanding for a joint sale of the 66 pct of shares.

    After the withdrawal of Azeri company Socar from the tender process in November 2016, Greek authorities decided to launch a new tender to sell a 31 pct equity stake owned by HRADF in DESFA and a 35 pct stake owned by Hellenic Petroleum in DESFA.

    [04] First-time asylum applicants in Greece posted percentage increase of 339 pct in 2016

    BRUSSELS (ANA/ M. Aroni) There was a percentage increase of 339 pct in the number of first-time asylum applicants in Greece in 2016, which rose to 49,875 in 2016 from 11,370 in 2015, according to figures released by Eurostat on Thursday.

    On the basis of these figures, Greece ranks second among EU countries for the total number of asylum applications filed in relation to its population. Germany is first with 8,789 applications per million population, followed by Greece with 4,525 applications per million population. Third is Austria with 4,587, followed by Malta (3,989), Luxembourg (3,582) and Cyprus (3,350).

    The number of new asylum applicants on an EU level dropped to 1.204 million in 2016, for a percentage change of -4 pct, but were more than double the number of applicants in 2014. Most asylum applicants in EU member-states were Syrians (28 pct), Afghans (15 pct) and Iraqis (11 pct).

    In Greece, Syrians accounted for more than half of asylum applicants (53 pct), Iraqis for 10 pct and Pakistanis 9 pct.


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