Greece and the economic crisis
May 22, 2017Greece looks for debt help after backing further cuts - KSL
"The left-led Greek government hopes that a package of measures, including further spending cuts and economic reforms, passed by lawmakers last week will be enough to break the logjam and allow the so-called eurogroup to release a new bailout installment, without which the country would struggle to meet its debt servicing obligations in July. Agreement will also accelerate negotiations on easing Greece's debt repayment terms."
Germany ‘must not isolate itself’ with Greece stance - in-cyprus.com
"A spokeswoman for the conservative-led finance ministry added that everybody wanted a solution “in the interest of Greece”, adding it was up euro zone finance ministers to find a solution during talks in Brussels later on Monday.
Euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund will seek a deal on Monday on Greek debt relief that balances the IMF’s demand for a clear “when and how” with Germany’s preference for “only if necessary” and “details later”."
Greece΄s Eurobank stays profitable in first quarter - Capital GR
"The third-largest Greek lender by assets, reported net earnings of 37 million euros ($41 million), down 4.7 percent from 38 million in last year΄s final quarter.
The bank, which made an annual profit of 230.1 million euros last year, after losing 1.18 billion euros in 2015, said operations abroad were also profitable in the first quarter."
Greece's has met EU's conditions for fiscal deficit, Moscovici says - amna.gr
"Greece has met EU's conditions for its fiscal deficit, namely its reduction under 3.0 pct of GDP, European Commissioner for Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said in a press conference during which he presented European Commission's recommendations for each country.
However, Moscovici clarified that the official decision for the suspension of the excessive deficit procedure will be taken after a comprehensive political decision for the Greek issue is reached."
May 19, 2017Greece passes austerity measures - UK Guardian
"Ahead of Monday’s eurogroup meeting, Greek MPs have passed a series of new austerity measures introduced to help release the latest tranche of bailout funds from the country’s creditors. While the forthcoming get together of finance ministers is likely to be a long and possibly contentious one, the Athens stock market welcomed the Greek vote and is currently up 0.25%."
Tsipras: 'In 2018, Greece will exit the memorandum programmes' - Athens News Agency
"In his first adress to parliament, Tsipras said that by the time the European elections come around in May 2019, Greece will have exited the memorandum programme since 2018 and the positive measures will have already provided relief to hundreds of thousands of Greek households.
"The review is concluding and after seven whole years we are heading toward a comprehensive agreement to extricate the country from the memorandums. We are passing to a positive agenda for the country and society," he said."
May 18, 2017More protests, strikes ahead of major austerity vote - Miami Herald
"No more tax theft," they chanted. Pensions have been cut sharply over the past seven years as successive Greek governments have slashed spending in return for bailout money to avoid bankruptcy.
Their protest comes a day after a general strike disrupted services across the country. Ongoing stoppages have kept ferries tied up at port for three days and played havoc with public transport.
Left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is seeking parliamentary approval for the pension cuts and further tax hikes through 2020, as part of an agreement with international bailout creditors to release the next bailout installment.
Social security measures soar to 6.5 billion euros since 2015 - eKathimerini
"Greeks are increasingly unable to meet their social security dues, with the collection rate of the Single Social Security Fund (EFKA) in March coming to less than 55 percent. In January – EFKA’s first month of operation – the collection rate had stood at 69.3 percent and in February it dropped to 60.1 percent.
Although EFKA will not issue any official collection data, sources say that in March less than 55 percent of the contributions due were paid, estimated at about 140 million euros."
Pro-Migrant Activists in Greece Under Investigation for Sexually Exploiting Migrants - Breitbart
"The European Commission announced there would be a formal investigation, saying that members of a so far unnamed organisation may have sexually exploiting migrants they worked with in Greece.
The Commission has also confirmed it will be investigating the organisation on charges of corruption and has suspended all its EU funding, Salzburger Nachrichten reports.
The EU commission has said the priority will be first taking care of the victims of the alleged abuse. The Greek government has also been informed of the situation. The EU’s anti-fraud agency Olaf will also be involved in the investigation against the pro-migrant organisation."
Potential travel chaos in Greece as more strikes announced - Travel Mole
"The Panhellenic Seamen Federation members, who walked out for 48 hours yesterday, will go on strike again on May 18 and 19.
The UK Foreign Office (FCO) is warning that all passenger ferry services across Greece are likely to be cancelled for a further two days as a result. Ships will remain in ports, it said.
Flights will also be disrupted this morning due to a four-hour strike by Greece's air traffic controllers, starting at 11am."
Eurozone official: ΄Discussion on debt still the most difficult issue΄ - Capital GR
"According to AMNA, the same official pointed to persistent differences between the institutions and certain member-states, however, noting that the forecasts currently gave a 50-50 chance of a final agreement on Monday.
The discussion on the debt remained the most difficult issue to be resolved by Eurozone finance ministers on May 22, the official added, while the obstacle to a final agreement was to find a solution that satisfies all sides.
The official pointed out that the decision of the Eurogroup in May 2016 was the basis for the discussion on the debt and that this was already quite detailed regarding the medium-term debt relief measures. The institutions and some member-states had different opinions on how these measures could be made more specific, the source added."
QE is not a Panacea: Stournaras - Tanea
"The participation of Greek bonds in the quantitative easing program (QE) will help return the country to the markets in 2018, but this is not a panacea, or so stressed the governor of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, in an interview published by Rolitico.
He believes that the greatest danger threatening the country at this stage is the possibility of withdrawal of the International Monetary Fund from the Greek program..."
Clashes in Greece as thousands protest austerity - My San Antonio
"A small group of protesters threw gasoline bombs and fired flares at riot police after the marches ended in Athens. Police responded with tear gas. The clashes broke out after peaceful marches involving around 12,000 people.
In a separate evening protest, more than 3,000 police, firefighters and coast guards angry at impending pay cuts gathered outside parliament chanting slogans. A small number tried to force their way past police guards into the building and were repulsed."
May 17, 2017Hundreds of Thousands Strike in Greece as Cuts Near Approval - NY Times
"The effects of the strike, which came in response to pledges from the leftist-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Greece’s international creditors, were widespread: Flights and public transportation were disrupted, ships remained anchored in ports, government offices were closed and hospitals operated with limited staff.
In a statement, the Greek civil servants’ union, Adedy, called the austerity measures “barbaric.” It decried what it called the “looting of wages and pensions” and a “sellout” of state assets, referring to plans to privatize the state power board and other public bodies."
Quake jolts Rhodes - eKathimerini
"According to the Athens Geodynamic Institute, the tremor's epicenter was 24 kilometers southwest of the neighboring island of Halki at a depth of 10 kilometers."
Clashes in Greece as thousands protest austerity - My San Antonio
"A small group of protesters threw gasoline bombs and fired flares at riot police after the marches ended in Athens. Police responded with tear gas. The clashes broke out after peaceful marches involving around 12,000 people."
In Greece's deepening financial crisis, one family's struggle - NY Daily
"They live in a tiny, 49-square-metre apartment with their four small children and burn wood to heat their home in winter. Food is cooked on a small gas stove, and hot water is scarce.
The only evening light is the blue glare of a TV screen, for fear of racking up more debt. Five-watt lightbulbs provide a dim glow. The life they had hoped for appears as far away as ever."
What Merkel and Tsipras agreed on debt - Imerisia.gr
"... according to an announcement from the Office of the Prime Minister's Press, Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday morningheld a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Merkel Angkela. The focus was the issue of Greek debt. The two leaders agreed on the necessity and feasibility of finding a solution in the next Eurogroup [meeting on May 22]."
Thousands demonstrate in Greece in general strike over new cuts - citizen ZA
“We want to send a decisive message to the government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that we will not let them cut up our lives,” Alekos Perrakis, a senior member of Communist union PAME, told reporters.
The mobilisation is aimed against new pension and tax break cuts forced on Greece by its EU-IMF creditors in return for bailout cash.
May 16, 2017
What does Greece tell us about the AS/AD model? - econlib.org
"Does NGDP matter for Greece? I'd say yes and no. Here's an analogy that might help. Suppose that we measured the NGDP for Detroit and Houston, and discovered that Houston's NGDP was rising fast while Detroit's was flat. Would we say that "AD shocks" explain the divergent paths of those two cities? Clearly not---Detroit has serious structural problems. Both cities are part of the US, and both face the same monetary policy at the national level.
So while I view the national NGDP as being almost completely under the control of the Fed (with an appropriate policy regime), at the local level, variations in NGDP tend to reflect supply-side factors."
Cat and mouse: Migrants and police in Greece - msn.com
Video report at the link
"Many migrants in the port of Patras, Greece are prepared to take huge risks to try to reach Italy. BBC News spoke to one of them, 17-year-old Mustafa."
Greece: Latest cuts extend austerity to decade mark - Business Insider
"Lawmakers in Greece are starting a four-day debate on a new package of spending cuts that will extend the number of years Greeks have lived under austerity to more than a decade.
...Greek public finances are currently being propped up by a third successive bailout, monitored by European Union institutions and the International Monetary Fund."
May 15, 2017Turkish vessels violate Greek territorial waters after Tsipras, Erdogan meet - eKathimerini
"Hopes that tension between Athens and Ankara would subside after the meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday were dashed on Monday after two Turkish missile boats entered Greek territorial waters off the southeast Aegean island of Agathonisi."
Greece’s Varoufakis reveals the worst kept secret in Europe in his tell-all book - Marketwatch
"The European Union, and especially the eurozone, is a German empire.
The new capital of Europe is not Brussels — let alone Strasbourg, the home of the European Parliament — but Berlin. The ultimate power of the EU is not the president of the European Commission, but the chancellor of Germany.
That’s the takeaway from “ Adults in the Room : My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment,” the sensational memoir by the ill-fated, but colorful, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis."
Greece Considers Extending EU Austerity to a Decade - Breitbart
"Greece is currently in the midst of its third bailout program — the current three-year program expires in the summer of 2018 and could be worth up to 86 billion euros ($95 billion) in total. In return for the money, the government promised to enact a series of austerity measures as well as economic reforms — its progress is continually monitored by institutions from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
While the austerity measures has seen Greece’s public finances improve, the draconian spending cuts have seen poverty rates surge to more than 35 percent, high in relation to the EU average under 24 percent."
May 14, 2017The Greek economy is now managing “austerity” OK - Marginal Revolution
... with all the catch-up they could be doing (but please don’t assume that all or even most of the output gap represents potential catch-up). Still, the Greek economy is not shrinking, even though Keynesian fiscal theories predict it should be.
May 12, 2017Greece eyes bond sale amid optimism over debt deal - Market Watch
"Earlier this month, Athens reached a deal with international creditors on fresh austerity measures that would unlock the next payment in its EUR86 billion bailout program ($93.48 billion).
But the bigger goal is a deal to restructure its EUR315 billion debt, possibly by stretching out maturities, capping interest rates and postponing interest payments."
"In the last two years, Greece has paid greater attention to the digital market, it is heading in the right direction but more needs to be done," Ansip said. The areas that needed to be improved included public-sector digital services, which must offer more efficient and cheaper services to citizens and thus create additional demand in the private sector, he noted.Greece's 'success stories' in this area included electronic medical prescriptions and the electronic tax portal, but a great deal more could be done, such as the 'single digital ID' introduced by Ansip's native Estonia using a smartcard, he pointed out."
May 11, 2017European Commission ‘Snips’ Greece’s Economic Forecasts - Greek reporter
"Specifically, the European Commission sees growth of 2.1% of GDP in 2017 and 2.5% in 2018 (compared with 2.7% and 3.1% respectively as the Greek government projected).
The government deficit is projected to fall to 1.2% of GDP in 2017 and to a surplus of 0.6% in 2018. In the Commission’s winter forecast, the deficit was slightly lower for 2017 (1.1%) and the surplus slightly higher for 2018 (0.7%)."
Greece's OTE first-quarter core profit drops 1.7 pct
"A sluggish economy in Greece after seven years long debt crisis and three international bailouts in turn for tax hikes and wage cuts has also dented operations. But hefty spending in new high-speed VDSL broadband services and a fast-growing pay-TV business have helped the group win back fixed-line customers. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at 304.1 million euros ($331 million) in the first three months of the year, down from 309.3 million euros a year earlier."
Greece Says Bailout Review Conclusion Will Help Outperform Growth Forecasts - US News
"After six months of wrangling, Greece reached a deal with its foreign lenders last week on reforms and spending cuts it needs to implement in the coming years, paving the way for the conclusion of a key bailout review. But the delays have already hurt economic activity in the crisis-hit country. The European Commission on Thursday cut its growth forecast for Greece to 2.1 percent from 2.7 percent this year."
Greece Eyes Bond Sale Amid Optimism Over Debt Deal - WSJ
"As Greek assets rally on optimism of a deal to restructure the country’s crushing debt, Greek government officials are planning a bond issue—the first by the country in three years—possibly as soon as July or September."
Cities urged to 'embrace new reality' of mass migration - eKathimerini
"...In Athens, for example, which struggled to cope with the arrival of thousands of refugees fleeing the war in Syria, some rent subsidies were provided to allow migrants to move into central parts of the city with access to key services and support networks.
“While we have managed ‘the crisis within the crisis,’ our biggest challenge remains how to successfully absorb newcomers in our society,” wrote Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis in the report, explaining that migrants could help counter-balance Greece’s population decline."
May 10, 2017Capital controls to stay till at least end of 2018 - eKathimerini
"Greece will spend at least three-and-a-half years under the restrictions of capital controls as their abolition is not expected to come any earlier than the end of 2018, according to a competent credit sector source.
...Almost two years after the capital controls were imposed, by next Tuesday, according to the agreement with the creditors, the Bank of Greece and the Finance Ministry have to present a road map for the easing of restrictions."
EBRD: 2% growth in Greece in 2017 - Naftemporiki
"A growth rate of 2% already noted this year in Greece, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) reported. In 2018 estimated that the GDP growth will reach 2.2%. "
IMF likely to take part in Greek bailout, Slovak finance minister says
"The International Monetary Fund is likely to take part in the financing of Greece's third bailout, Slovakia's finance minister, Peter Kazimir, said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the EBRD's annual meeting in Cyprus, Kazimir said the IMF's involvement was crucial for euro zone governments, who might approve the next package of aid by next month."
Greece’s Economic Crisis Is Seriously Affecting Our Younger Generations - Huffington Post
"She is a 36-year-old woman, well educated and very good in the field that she has been working in for the last eighteen years.
However, it seems like these successes are not enough when you are forced to survive in Greece, where you have to ask every month for your salary, call or send e-mails to your boss reminding him that he has to pay your accrued income."
Greece’s olive oil stars at New York International Olive Oil Competition 2017 - Tornosnews
"Greek extra virgin olive oils more than doubled their awards at the New York International Olive Oil Competition compared to last year. In spite of a difficult harvest year and competition from 910 olive oils from 27 countries, Greeks took home their highest number of awards and claimed their best success rate in the history of the competition."
The Greece ETF Suddenly Looks Extremely Bullish - ETF Daily News
"The source of Greece’s partial stock market recovery (note that GREK is still 60% off its all-time highs set back in 2014) is quite clearly Emmanuel Marcon’s election victory in France. Investors had been on edge that if populist candidate Le Pen won the election instead, that it would lead to France perhaps leaving the EU — or at a minimum, vehemently opposing further Greek bailouts."
Italy, Greece Look to Macron to Help Douse Anti-EU Fires - VOA News
"The ruling parties in heavily indebted Italy and Greece hope his enthusiasm for the EU will help them see off challengers such as Italy's Five Star Movement, which wants a referendum on ditching the shared euro currency.
A Greek official said Tsipras and Macron had an amicable discussion in which Macron noted his previous support for Athens in tough bailout talks with EU powers.
“I supported the need for a change of stance towards Greece,” the official quoted Macron as telling Tsipras. “It is certain that if I'm elected we will work closely together to ensure that Europe meets the needs of our generation.”
May 9, 2017
"The EBRD will be investing in Greece up until the end of 2020. Given the limited time, the bank has been frontloading its investments.
It has laid out 250 million euros to help recapitalise the country's four big banks, provided 186 million euros of long-term financing to Fraport-Greece to upgrade 14 regional airports and committed 300 million euros to renewable energy projects.
"When we run out of deals to do, we will have done the job," Dziurman said. "But we are a long way from that. We're here to help the economy recover, the sooner we can do it, the more it will help."
Number of Chinese Tourists Visiting Greece to Rise 10-Fold - Bloomberg
"Tourism accounted for over one-quarter of Greece’s gross domestic product in 2016, according to the Greek Tourism Confederation. Visitor numbers in 2016 reached 28.1 million, up 7.6 percent from 2015. Tourists generated 13.2 billion euros ($14.5 billion) in travel receipts, according to the Bank of Greece. Of these travelers, 150,000 came from China, Beijing says.
“Greece is a very safe place for visitors,” said Qian who is also president of Fosun’s Tourism and Commercial Group. There are also good opportunities for tourism investments in Greece, he said.
Fosun is in discussions to buy existing hotels and resorts, or for the construction of new ones, in Greece by its fully owned portfolio company Club Med SAS. An increase in Chinese visitors to Greece would eventually lead to direct flights from Beijing and Shanghai to Athens, Qian said.
The 54 year-old Qian said the situation in Greece has changed since the company first invested in Athens-based luxury goods retailer Folli Follie Group in 2011. “Greece’s economy is recovering now and can also deliver very good opportunities for foreign investors,” he said. “We look at the figures from retail sales and of the tourism sector,” and see the improvement."
Greece Closer Than Ever to Debt Relief Deal - marketpulse
"Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras kept up his demand for debt relief from international lenders on Tuesday, saying Athens was close to securing a solution to ease its debt mountain but that creditors must meet there commitments."
Millions of euros in funding for refugee housing wasted - eKathimini
"It is a very serious matter that 2.5 million euros in European Union funding for the development of housing units for unaccompanied young refugees is going to waste due to opposition from local residents to having such a unit in their area, but also major delays by the state in putting the funds to their proper use. We're talking about a program that is paid for with European funds from the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)."
May 8, 2017
"The survey by Dianeosis found 59.6 per cent wish to remain in the euro, compared to 73.9 per cent in April 2015.
Analyst Nikos Marantzidis said: "In international terms, we would say that we’re seeing the emergence of an intense and potentially-threatening euroscepticism, which challenges Greece’s place in the European Union.”
Who is Greece’s Eurovision Song Contest 2017 entry? Demy set to perform This is Love – All you need to know - UK Sun
"Greece started competing in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976 and have featured 36 times since.
The Mediterranean nation has won the competition once in 2005 with the song My Number One, performed by Helena Paparizou."
ECB unlikely to ease up on tough love for Greece, but that may be in investors’ best interest - Global Times
"Greek 10-year bond yields have fallen over a percentage point to 6 percent since April as Athens reached a deal with creditors on reforms. That should unlock enough funds to pay back bonds due in July. The next boost will come if the ECB decides Greek debt is good enough to buy as part of its money-printing scheme. That in turn depends on the kind of restructuring Greece and its creditors agree."
Greece’s mainstream parties welcome Macron victory - eKathimerini
“Emmanuel Macron’s victory is a breath for France and for the whole of Europe,” leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tweeted. “I am sure that we will work together closely for Europe to change its course, re-inspire its people, not to live the far right nightmare ever again.”
The Greek government is counting on Macron’s support in the upcoming talks between the country’s lenders to relieve its mammoth debt."
Great Flavors Brings Quality Products of Greece to America - iReach
"The series started at Boston's Top of the Hub restaurant where Michelin Starred Greek chef, Michael Psilakis hosted a cooking demonstration preparing traditional Greek dishes using these certified products. Chef showcased the various flavor profiles of feta, Naxos Gruyere and pistachios with delicious dishes including Watermelon and Feta; Saganaki with Bitter Greens, Lemon & Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Pistachio Crusted Misty Knolls Chicken with Pistachio & Extra Virgin Olive Oil "Butter" and Greek Yogurt with Honey Drizzle.
The following day in Manhattan, The Greek in Tribeca, hosted a cooking demonstration and luncheon featuring an assortment of classic Northern Greek inspired dishes and Greek wines. The event featured lunch and a cooking demonstration by its Executive Chef Dionisis Liakopoulos. Dishes presented included Greek n' Cheese using the Feta and Naxos Gruyere; Spanakopita Tart with Yogurt Feta Ice Cream; Rack of N.Z. Lamb; Pistachio Crust, Tourlou (Greek Ratatouille) and Feta Cheesecake."
May 7, 2017
The government is keen to secure the approval of bailout funds at that meeting but also the specification of measures for medium-term debt relief. Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was cited by the Wall Street Journal as saying that Greece and its creditors had agreed on a round of austerity measures and economic overhauls to keep the 86 billion euro ($93.86 billion) bailout program going.
EU Commissioner Moscovici: Macron will be Greece’s ally - Tornos
"Moscovici said that being friend of Greece means, on the one hand, encouraging it to accept the responsibilities and follow the efforts for reforms until the end but it also means solidarity from its partners. Commenting on the second round of the presidential elections, the French Commissioner noted they are important for Greece, but also for all Europeans, because “in the second round you have an opposition which is almost a caricature, between a candidate who wants to destroy Europe, who wants to take France out of the euro and a candidate who is pro-European and pro-Europe."
Greece reaches new debt relief deal with creditors - ibusinesslines
"In a joint statement with Greece's European lenders, the International Monetary Fund said: "the Greek authorities have confirmed their intention to swiftly implement this policy package". Greece has been pushing for measures on debt relief.
What Greece's creditors haven't figured out, however, is how to make Athens' debt affordable.
Tsakalotos added he was certain that the agreement would enable Greece to secure debt relief measures from its creditors, which he has said is vital to spearhead recovery in the country's struggling economy."
Emmanuel Macron: I support a Greek debt restructuring - Protothema
"His position on Greece is most likely just a empty promise, as he would not risk engaging in a head on collision with Berlin, which has ruled out any such prospect of a debt relief. In fact, his economic advisor, Jean Pisani-Ferry has made his positions clear in the past on the Greek issue, claiming that the Greeks were fully responsible for the problem, adding, however, that there needed to be a European solution to the matter."
"On May 18 will be discussed and voted on measures of agreement for the closure of the evaluation by the plenary of the House.
This was stated by chairman of the House in a conversation with reporters, clarifying that the bill will be introduced for discussion with the urgency to committee on 15 May, will be completed in two meetings, on 17 and 18 will be completed in plenary."
May 6, 2017Greece's privatisation agency appoints new chairwoman - Reuters
"May 5 Greece's privatisation agency (HRADF) has appointed executive director Lila Tsitsogiannopoulou as its new chair, it said on Friday."
PM defends deal to wary MPs - eKathimerini
"Hoping to sweeten the pill of further austerity, he said that any savings this year will be distributed to the Greek people, as was the case in 2016.
Even though he acknowledged that the government was forced to make some difficult concessions, such as pension cuts, Tsipras insisted that he got the best possible deal, claiming it will give much-need “breathers to millions of citizens” as, he said, it is “balanced” with “zero fiscal impact.”
For Chanel Cruise, Karl Lagerfeld Brings Greece to Paris - NYT
"The weather was, perhaps, the only factor Chanel couldn’t control. Rather than going to Greece, the fashion house brought Greece to Paris. What could be a larger display of its might? Perhaps presenting the collection in Greece itself; Mr. Lagerfeld had originally wanted to show at a historic venue, but was vetoed by the country’s officials, company representatives said. Hence the decision to show in Paris. (Earlier this year, the Central Archaeological Council in Athens also publicly rebuffed Gucci in its bid to stage its cruise show on the Acropolis. Instead it will be held in Florence.)"
May 5, 2017EU to cut Greece 2017 growth forecast to around 2 percent - Reuters
"The revision -- which brings the Commission closer to International Monetary Find projections -- is likely to increase pressure on Greek lawmakers to adopt a reform deal reached at staff level with euro zone lenders this week.
Greece's parliament must approve it before euro zone finance ministers release a new tranche of bailout funds.
The Commission will release its new forecasts on EU countries' growth and macro-economic performances next week, as part of a regular assessment of the European Union economy conducted three times a year by the EU executive."
May 4, 2017Extra million tourists set to come to Greece this year - eKathimerini
"Greek tourism is projected to record an all-time high in terms of arrivals this year. However, no one is yet able to predict whether that positive development will also be reflected in tourism revenues or if the phenomenon observed last year will be repeated, with a rise in visitors but a drop in takings.
In a meeting with reporters on Wednesday the president of the Hellenic Hotel Federation and next chief of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Yiannis Retsos said that this year the occupancy rate and the number of nights spent by tourists at hotels will post new highs..."
Greece rejects new extradition request for Turkish soldiers - DW.com
"A Greek court on Wednesday blocked Turkey's second request for the extradition of three Turkish soldiers who fled the country last year in the wake of a failed coup.
The court accepted arguments made by the prosecutor that the men would not receive a fair trial and would place their lives in danger upon returning to Turkey.
"They may be subjected to torture and inhumane behavior," the Greek prosecutor said."
May 3, 2017With deal in bag, government shifts its focus to debt talks, QE - eKathimerini
"The new measures – which include fresh pension cuts, tax hikes and changes to the labor and energy market – are to go to the House in one bill and the so-called countermeasures – chiefly social welfare benefits – in a separate bill, he said.
After the vote in Athens, the agreement will be the focus of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on May 22.
The government is keen to secure the approval of bailout funds at that meeting but also the specification of measures for medium-term debt relief."
Greece, Foreign Lenders Reach Deal on Bailout Reforms - Leisure Travelaid
"In a joint statement, the creditors said Tuesday's agreement "will be the basis" for an overall review of Greece's economic performance and "will now be complemented by further discussions in the coming weeks on a credible strategy for ensuring that Greece's debt is sustainable".
The Greek government has agreed another bailout deal with its European creditors in exchange for further wide-ranging economic reforms, averting the prospect of a default when big debt payments become due in July and allowing negotiations around reducing its debt pile."
Greece, lenders reach deal on bailout reforms - Frozenmail
"The fourth memorandum is a joint achievement of Tsipras and [Panos] Kammenos", he said, adding that the deal has committed the country to measures beyond the current government's term in office.
The IMF says Greece can not maintain high primary surpluses unless it adopts more austerity and is granted further debt relief by the EU. Ministers in Athens have struck another deal with their global creditors to be able to get their hands on the next installment from a $94 billion bailout programme.
Greek Austerity Deal Opens Up Potential Path Out of Bailout - Capital.gr
"Enormous obstacles remain. Greece΄s serious problems mean the International Monetary Fund doesn΄t expect the country to grow more than 1% in the long term.
The insistence by Greece΄s creditors on large budget surpluses means the country, whose government debt is 179% of GDP, will live with extremely tight budgets for many years.
Greek banks are immersed in nonperforming loans, which make up 45% of all lending, contributing to a steady contraction in private credit since late 2010. And officials privately don΄t expect a wholesale solution to that problem soon."
May 2, 2017Greece agrees to new bailout terms - and more austerity - foxnews
"Following months of tough negotiations, the Greek government agreed to make another round of pension cuts in 2019 and commit to new tax increases after the current bailout program ends next year.
In return, creditors will resume loan payouts, and start talks on how to ease the country's debt burden, which stands at nearly 180 percent of the country's annual GDP."
Greece Agrees to Tighten Belt Again in Return for Further Bailout - NY TImes
"The agreement — the culmination of months of talks — paves the way for the transfer of more than 7 billion euros, or about $7.6 billion, of emergency funds to Athens. It also comes before a series of elections in France, Britain and Germany in the coming days and months, with European officials eager to avoid giving fuel to far-right parties."
May 1, 2017Ex-Defence Minister Tsochatzopoulos released on bail - Protothema
"Mr. Tsochatzopoulos, who was serving a 20-year sentence after being found guilty of receiving bribes via military procurement contracts, reportedly collected the bail money via friend donations. The development comes a day after a court turned down his appeal to for a reduction of the bail amount. The former PASOK Minister is waiting for the final administrative details to take their course before exiting the prison hospital ..."
Nonstop via Emirates. New York (EWR) to Athens, Greece for $581 R/T - airfarespot
"Information is valid at time of publication. So sometimes you may not find the price mentioned in the post (ex. after several days of the original posting date)."
"Creditors had demanded the reforms in exchange for a tranche of €7bn (£5.9bn) in aid that Greece needs to fulfil debt obligations in July.
European officials also resumed an audit of Greece's compliance with bailout conditions on 25 April.
"If the Greek government upholds all the agreements, European finance ministers could complete the review on May 22 and then soon after that release the next tranche," Schaeuble was quoted as saying by Reuters."
Berlin eyes compromise with IMF, report says - eKathimerini
"According to the report, Schaeuble has asked ministry officials to outline a possible agreement with the Washington-based Fund on Greek debt restructuring.
“The Germans would be willing to back down on the following IMF demand: For the government to provide a detailed document on the measures for debt relief,” the report said."
April 30, 2017Cyprus can, so why can’t Greece? - Parikiaki
"Take education, for example. With the consensus of the left, Cyprus established private universities, some of which are quite exemplary, resembling good European and American institutions, and making significant strides. Today, thousands of Greeks are studying in Cyprus, along with young people from China, the Middle East and Russia. Cyprus’s private universities generate hundreds of jobs and boost the economy.
Over the past 20 years, many major foreign universities have wanted to do something similar in Greece, but to no avail. A golden opportunity was lost when Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was prevented from amending Article 16 of the Constitution and now Greece is littered with dozens of colleges of negligible quality, with just a few shining exceptions. As a result, Greeks pay thousands of euros a year to send their children abroad, even though we have the talent, manpower and geographical position to become a major private education hub in the broader region. Instead, we are consumed by our petty ways, continuing to support vested interests at universities."
Light earthquake, 4.3 mag was detected near Loukisia in Greece - Earthquakenewstoday
"A light earthquake with magnitude 4.3 (ml/mb) was detected on Friday, 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Loukisia in Greece. Event id: us10008fi8. Ids that are associated to the earthquake: us10008fi8. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) below the earth’s surface. Exact location of earthquake, longitude 23.4408 East, latitude 38.5324 North, depth = 10 km. Global date and time of event UTC/GMT: 07/04/17 / 2017-04-07 15:50:29 / April 7, 2017 @ 3:50 pm. The temblor was detected at 17:50:29 / 5:50 pm (local time epicenter). A tsunami warning has not been issued (Does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist)."
April 29, 2017ETC: Greece among top 3 destinations for Americans in the Mediterranean - tornosnews
"82% of Americans planning holidays in Europe prefer Mediterranean destinations, and Greece ranks as the third most desirable destinations in the Mediterranean with a 9% share.This is one of the conclusions reached by the Long-Haul Travel Barometer of the European Travel Commission (ETC)."
April 28, 2017Greece concerned by Macedonia's political crisis - Lancaster Online
"Greece's Foreign Ministry says it is concerned that neighboring Macedonia may be "sliding into deep political crisis" following attacks on politicians by protesters who swarmed into parliament.
A ministry statement issued late Thursday expresses "sadness and concern" at the assault on parliament and calls on Macedonia's political rivals to show a "spirit of compromise and collaboration."
Ankara continues to dispute Greek sovereignty - eKathimerini
"According to diplomatic sources, Greek authorities attribute the continued animosity emanating from Ankara to the fact that Erdogan did not get the clear-cut triumph he had hoped for in the referendum, and thus does not have the flexibility to push back against the country’s nationalistic circles and parties of the opposition.
And given these constraints, the reasoning in Athens is that Erdogan is seeking a foreign policy outlet – namely by disputing Greek sovereignty in the Aegean with constant air and sea space violations and by raising obstacles to a Cyprus settlement."
April 27, 2017Top euro officials eye May agreement on Greek loans - eKathimerini
"Eurozone finance ministers meet on May 22 to assess Greece's progress. It's been held up over tax, pension and other reforms.
EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici is also optimistic about an agreement that would "then pave the way for the disbursement of funds."
No trains in Greece on Monday due to Labour Day strike action - Tornos
"There will be no trains running on the Labour Day holiday on May 1, including on the Proastiakos suburban railway line, following a decision by the Greek railway workers' union to participate in a 24-hour general strike called by the General Confederations of Employees of Greece on the day."
Eurozone finance chiefs admit Greece will need debt relief - Euronews
"Jeroen Dijsselbloem, also admitted for the first time that some of Athens debt will have to be written off for its public finances to become sustainable.
Speaking in the European Parliament, he departed from the line taken by eurozone finance ministers until now on debt relief: “In terms of next steps I expect all of this will allow all institutions to come to the conclusions that the numbers add up and the IMF to financially participate.”
All in the name of power - eKathimerini
"It is obvious that the government’s desperate struggle to put off the reduction of the tax-free threshold and cuts to pensions – as demanded by the country’s creditors and particularly the International Monetary Fund – until 2019 and 2020 is as much a part of Plan B as it is of Plan A. If these measures were deemed essential for the good of the country, they would normally have to be put into effect now, regardless of the cost. But the government cares only for its longevity, not for the country. That is why it agreed to the measures, but only so that their effects can be felt after its term is finished and rest on the shoulders of the next government.
In the meantime, the coalition has been very busy coming up with new schemes to put more voters on the public payroll, to grant permanent status to fixed-term contract workers, to introduce legislative amendments that will see the clientelist state back in full operation, and to deceive the public with all sorts of investigative committees, as the prime minister visits religious sites and cuts ribbons on highways started by his predecessors."
April 26, 2017Germany expects quick deal with Greece on debt - World Bulletin
"Disagreements remain on further reforms including labour rights and the partial privatisation of Greek near-monopoly electricity provider PPC -- both thorny issues for the leftist-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras."
Greece will legislate reforms but implementation hinges on debt relief - Business Insider
"We will obviously legislate (the measures) in order to secure a deal on debt relief," [Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras] told ANT1 television, saying he wanted a solution to Greece's debt mountain by the end of May.
"They won't be implemented... unless we get a solution on debt," he said"
April 25, 2017Greece rejects new Turkish extradition bid for servicemen - Fox
"A Greek court has rejected a new Turkish extradition bid for three of eight Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece by helicopter after last year's failed military coup in Turkey.
Greece's supreme court has already ruled that none of the eight men should be extradited as they wouldn't get a fair trial in Turkey, and that their lives might be in danger there."
Greece and Italy View Macron Presidency in France With Optimism - Greek Reporter
"According to a Greek government official, the 39-year-old Macron has supported Athens in the prolonged and difficult bailout talks with European institutions. The official said that Macron spoke of his support during a telephone conversation with the French politician, who assured the Greek premier that if he gets elected he will work for a Europe for the young people."
The IMF Is Not Done Destroying Greece Yet - Zerohedge
"...it’s obvious the IMF are not done with Greece yet. And neither are the rest of the Troika. They are still demanding measures that are dead certain to plunge the Greeks much further into their abyss in the future. As my friend Steve Keen put it to me recently: “Dreadful. It will become Europe’s Somalia.”
An excellent example of this is the Greek primary budget surplus. The Troika has been demanding that it reach 3.5% of GDP for the next number of years (the number changes all the time, 3, 5, 10?). Which is the worst thing it could do, at least for the Greek people and the Greek economy. Not for those who seek to buy Greek assets on the cheap.
....where does the surplus come from? Easy: from Troika-mandated pension cuts and rising tax levels. That means the Greek government is taking money OUT of the economy. And not a little bit, but a full 4% of GDP, over €7 billion. An economy from which so much has already vanished."
Boat Carrying Migrants from Turkey to Greece Sinks; 16 Dead - Breitbart
"Greece’s coast guard said the bodies of nine people – six women, two men and a child – had been recovered from Greek waters off the island of Lesbos, while Turkish authorities found the bodies of a further six men and a child in Turkish waters."
Turkish Defence Minister blasts Panos Kammenos - Protothema
"Commenting on Mr. Kammeno’s recent visit to a military unit on the island of Agathonisi in the south-eastern Aegean for Easter, the Turkish politician claimed his Greek counterpart was putting on a show for his “domestic audience”. “We will continue to work without becoming part of the Greek show, but in a way as to not jeopardise Turkey’s interests”, Turkey’s Defence Minister said."
April 24, 2017Greece, creditors to resume talks in Athens, seek swift deal - Fox News
"Greece has already agreed to further slash pensions in 2019, and drastically expand the tax base in 2020 by reducing the current tax-free threshold. The talks are expected to focus on the final details of these measures, which will be worth about 3.6 billion euros ($3.85 billion) combined."
China, Greece to seek enhanced cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative - Hellenic Shipping News
"Citing the Piraeus port project, the Chinese foreign minister said the success of the project not only added new impetus to Greece’s economic recovery, but also became a good example for bilateral cooperation of mutual benefits. Talking about the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for mid-May in Beijing, Wang said China welcomed the presence of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and expected Greece to contribute to the initiative."
Dental tourism on the rise in Greece - Neo Kosmos
"What makes this service competitive is the fact that these practitioners have very high qualifications, the majority of them have been trained in US universities, and offer services at 25-35 per cent of the equivalent cost of treatment in other developed countries.
But apart from cost and certification, what makes Greek dentists appealing to visitors and members of the diaspora is something that can't be measured: what patients describe as a "warm, friendly approach", much different to what is the norm in other countries."
‘Urgent’ to reach agreement on loan for Greece: IMF - Express Tribune
"On the reform side, while some outstanding issues remain, Thomsen said “good progress” has been made with the Greek authorities in recent weeks, including on budget issues. An IMF mission will be back in Athens “next week.”
Greece announced on Friday a budgetary surplus (excluding debt charges) of 3.9% of GDP in 2016, in line with a target set by Europeans.
European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici welcomed the result.“This should contribute to the will for the steps that lie ahead to find a lasting and comprehensive solution,” he said on the sidelines of the IMF Spring meeting."
IMF Warns Greece That Additional Economic Overhauls Are Needed - WSJ
The International Monetary Fund had a sobering message for Greece this weekend: Even if the country secures debt relief from its European creditors—a question that is by no means assured with bailout talks still deadlocked—the nation still needs even more painful economic overhauls than currently planned.
April 23, 2017I.M.F. Torn Over Whether to Bail Out Greece Once Again - NY Times
"The fund’s reluctance to commit additional money to Greece also highlights a widely held view among I.M.F. officials — and in the Trump administration — that the fund overextended itself in Greece. They also see the responsibility for restoring the country’s economic health as resting primarily with Europe, which currently holds 80 percent of Greek debt.
At the same time, Greece, which has acceded to demands from the fund to cut spending and bring in more revenue, faces a 7 billion euro debt repayment in July, which it may not be able to meet if the I.M.F. and Europe cannot reach a new bailout agreement."
April 22, 2017Schaeuble Says Greece to Blame for Delays in Bailout Program - Bloomberg
“It would have been possible to continue the mission in Athens immediately in the week after Malta,” said Schaeuble. “This was not possible during the Greek Easter break.”
In a statement on Friday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she had a “constructive dialogue” with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos “in preparation for the return of the mission to discuss the two legs of the Greece program: policies and debt relief.”
MOF: The surplus did not come via default - Ethnos
"According to preliminary measurements of the Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the budget of 2016 showed a primary surplus of 3.9% of GDP, well above the mnimoniako target of 0.5%."
I.M.F. Torn Over Whether to Bail Out Greece Once Again - IMF - NY Times
“This is where it gets especially fraught,” said C. Randall Henning, a specialist on global financial institutions and governance and the author of “Tangled Governance: International Regime Complexity, the Troika, and the Euro Crisis,” a new book that chronicles the fund’s tortured relationship with Europe during the crisis.
“The fund is digging in its heels, but if the pattern of brinkmanship that the Europeans and the Greeks have practiced in the past prevails, you will see more instability in the markets,” he said. “This is definitely creating anxiety — both within the fund and within national governments.”
Greece Surpasses Creditor Target With Strong Budget Surplus - WSJ
"Greece on Friday said it had achieved a primary budget surplus eight times higher than its bailout target, a closely watched figure set as a condition for its international bailout program.
The news comes at a critical time for Greece, which has been at odds with its creditors over the country’s fiscal performance..."
April 21, 2017Greece beats a key bailout target for 2016 - Fox
"The surplus figure published Friday — which tallies excludes debt servicing costs — could provide some relief for the country's left wing government, which is struggling to overcome a disagreement with bailout lenders on unfreezing its rescue loans. The country would need new loans by July, when it faces a spike in its debt repayments."
Part-time work is on the rise - eKathimerini
"In its weekly bulletin yesterday, SEV noted that in a period of crisis part-time work may be obligatory for both enterprises and workers, but it is also becoming an increasingly growing practice all over the world, facilitating companies to better regulate their operational costs according to demand fluctuations. It also allows workers to select a type of employment that offers reduced hours."
Greece says 2016 primary surplus hits 4.19 percent of GDP, under bailout terms - Fiscal Times
"It is more than eight times above target," [Dimitris Tzanakopoulos] said in a statement, confirming what an official told Reuters earlier.
"Therefore, the targets set under the bailout program for 2017 and 2018 will certainly be attained."
Lenders' experts to return to Athens next week: EU's Moscovici - Reuters
"The delay of two weeks was mainly for technical reasons, Moscovici said, adding some finishing touches to the Malta agreement would be put at talks in Washington, on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund."
Greece Blows EU-IMF Bailout Targets Away With Strong Budget Performance - US News World Report
"Data released by Greek statistics service ELSTAT -- to be confirmed on Monday by the EU -- showed the primary budget surplus at 3.9 percent of gross domestic product last year versus a downwardly revised 2.3 percent deficit in 2015.
This was calculated under European System of Accounts guidelines, which differ from the methodology used by Greece's in bailout deliberations."
April 20, 2017Greece on alert after anarchist group sends parcel bombs to European leaders - Vice News
The intercepted parcel – containing a small scale explosive mechanism – had most likely been mailed by a group known as the conspiracy of fire cells (CFC), an organization that’s been active in Greece for the past decade and is considered by many to be the most dangerous anarchist group in the country.
....Despite finding themselves on high priority target lists with the U.S. State Department and Europol, CFC still managed to organize a bomb attack on Georgia Tsatani’s (a public prosecutor) residence in central Athens a few months ago, and are generally considered to be behind more than 150 incidents over the past eight years.
What showed in the autopsy of the four killed in helicopter - Ethnos
"All four people brought injuries to the body and head, which were consistent with the fall and the crash of the helicopter." This was stated to ANA-MPA coroner Roumpini Leontari which yesterday completed the autopsies of soldiers who lost their lives in fatal helicopter crashed in Sarantaporo Elassona."
Greece exceeding surplus target but IMF doubtful about future performance - eKathimerini
"The source told Bloomberg that, according to the Washington-based organization, at least half of the primarily surplus for 2016 came from one-off measures rather than structural reforms with a long-term impact."
Greece Hits a Bailout Target. The IMF Is Not Convinced - Bloomberg
"The Hellenic Statistical Authority is set on Friday to unveil data on last year’s primary surplus, which Eurostat is expected to validate on Monday. The surplus will be close to 4 percent of gross domestic product, according to a finance ministry official who asked not to be identified in line with policy. The bailout target was for a primary surplus of 0.5 percent of GDP."
Greece Climbs 7 Spots in Tourism Competitiveness - Argophilia
"The forum report suggests that Greece should “focus on making its business environment (103rd) friendlier, with lower impediments to FDIs, reduced taxation on profits and enhanced efficiency of the legislative system”. The experts at the WEF also recommended Greek businesses ramp up efforts to “become more ICT ready (51st)”. According to this report, and to our own studies, Greek businesses still make little use of new technologies for business-to-business (98th) and business-to-customer (82nd) transactions. Improving its visa policies (73rd) is another measure that would impact revenues and international arrivals. Greece had 23,599,455 international tourist arrivals, with some $15.6 billion in inbound tourism receipts and an average of $664 dollars per visitor."
April 19, 2017Greece set to miss budget surplus target, warns IMF - Financial Times
"Fiscal forecasts published by the IMF on Wednesday showed they expect Greek government income to exceed spending, excluding debt interest, by 1.8 per cent of national income this year, after a surplus of 3.3 per cent in 2016.
But Athens’ surplus is then forecast to increase only marginally to 2 per cent in 2018 — well short of the 3.5 per cent target that is part of Greece’s bailout programme."
April 18, 2017Sales dropped further this Easter on uncertainty - eKathimerini
"Retailers are reporting a slide between of 4 and 5 percent in the first half of April, which ties in with the declining course of retail turnover since the start of the year. ESEE is expressing fears that the entire first half of the year may undercut projections."
4 dead, 1 hurt in army helicopter crash - Fox
"The incident occurred Wednesday, north of the town of Elassona, some 450 kilometers (280 miles) northwest of Athens."
Turkey’s Erdogan says he is not a dictator - John Bachelor Show
Online audio recording from the Bachelor Show radio program. Bachelor speaks with Gregory Copley from Defense and Foreign Affairs, the Washington DC Think-Tank and publication house. Copley talks about Erdogan's recent history and his progression through the steps of dictatorship, and speculates about the danger of war with Greece (in a bid to distract Turkey's citizens from their retracting economy and a growing internal civil war) and also speculates Turkey may simply absorb Northern Cyprus into Turkey proper.
"Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now embarked on a revival of Ottomanism and a Turk-centric caliphate which is being cloaked, to a degree, by modern trappings. Assessments by the International Strategic Studies Association, publisher of GIS and Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, indicate that the process by which Pres. Erdoğan reached this point was carefully scripted, including the manipulated “false coup” of July 15-16, 2016, which gave the impetus for him to purge the system and society of many of his opponents. The growing politicization of all legal and security elements in Turkey enabled him then to strongly structure the way in which the April 16, 2017, referendum would take place."
On freight trains, migrants in Greece seek new routes north - Reuters
"...they monitor freight trains heading to central Europe. Whenever trains stop in the station, the migrants try to sneak into their compartments or jump in between wagons.
If they're lucky, they make it across unnoticed. Some said they plan to get off before the border and continue on foot. Often, they are arrested by Macedonian guards and sent back to Greece. No one can say how many have made it. A Greek government spokesman was not immediately available for comment."
Greece to host 10 countries for 'Forum of Ancient Civilizations' on April 24 - Tornos
"The forum is an initiative of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and invitations were sent jointly with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Apart from Greece and China, the countries invited are Egypt, Bolivia, India, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Mexico and Peru, who represent ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian, the Roman, the Persian, the Chinese, the Mesopotamian, the Mayas, the Incas, and those of the Indus Valley.
The ten countries represent more than 40 percent of the world population and are at the center of international political developments in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa."
Indian warships stop in Greece on overseas deployment - Naval Today
"The visiting ships are part of the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command and are based in Mumbai. The task group is headed by Rear Admiral RB Pandit, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, who is flying his flag on the indigenous guided missile destroyer, INS Mumbai."
Greek Paganism legally recognized as ‘known religion’ in Greece - wildhunt
"...Yesterday the Secretary of the Supreme council of Ethnic Hellenes (YSEE) announced that after more than twenty years of struggle, the Greek state has finally recognized the Hellenic Religion as a ‘Known Religion’ according to paragraph 17 – the only form of recognition for a religion in Greece. The mentioned paragraph includes the permission to build a temple as well as the right of public exercise of any recognized religion."
April 18, 2017How an Insurance Company Bid in Greece Can Become a Weapon for the Chinese in Europe - Greek Reporter
If you have any fears about China's spreading influence, this GR article will not put away that uneasiness:
"The past few years, silently, China has looked into many Greek investments. After acquiring the Greek Port of Piraeus, now three Chinese companies are bidding for Greece’s biggest private insurer, Ethniki Asfalistiki ...
...It is the largest insurance company in the country with total premiums of over 440 million euros and 18% market share... Ethniki Asfalistiki is also a sister company of Greece’s Ethniki Bank (National Bank), one of Greece’s four systemic banks. Whoever gets this bid will most likely acquire the bank as well."
Good overview of the coming hurdles to get Greece into the QE program:
"To be full agreement on May 22 the parties involved must counter-sign at least seven individual texts...
On June 8: If there is total agreement (with the IMF and debt), the Council of the ECB for monetary policy, which will be held in Tallinn, Estonia may allow Greece to enter the quantitative easing program (QE).
1. IMF report on the Greek economy.
2. Technical Agreement - SLA.
3. Compliance report.
4. Sustainability Report Debt (DSA - Debt sustainability analysis).
5. Technical Memorandum.
6. Loan with IMF agreement.
Five of Greece's regions among European Union's least competitive - Tornosnews
"These regions are the Ionian Islands, Western Greece, the Peloponnese, Central Greece, and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace."