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Greece and the economic crisis 2016

NEWS ARCHIVE - Sept 14 - Sept 23

September 23, 2016

Greece needs substantial debt relief, surplus targets unrealistic: IMF - Reuters

"The review, which is separated from current bailout programme talks, said the debt relief must be calibrated on credible fiscal and growth targets and noted that current primary budget goals of 3.5 percent of economic output beyond 2018 are unlikely to be reached.

"The authorities' current targets remain unrealistic, in that they still assume that Greece will attain and sustain primary surpluses of 3.5 percent of GDP for many decades despite double-digit unemployment rates," the IMF review said."

More coverage from Reuters: In interview, Tsipras sketches out path for Greece to exit crisis

Greece hit by more port strikes - Splash 24

"A two-day strike at Greek ports will end tomorrow morning at 0.600 hrs. The strike has brought all ships to a halt as the Greek Seamen’s Federation protest a reduction of their supplementary pensions."

September 21, 2016

Greece rejects asylum request by three Turkish soldiers, they can appeal decision - police sources - Reuters

"The three were among eight members of the Turkish military who flew a Black Hawk helicopter to northern Greece on July 16, hours after a foiled coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

...Under Greek law, the verdict can be appealed."

Aid Workers Warned Greece’s Moria Camp Was A Ticking Time Bomb. No One Listened. It Burned. - Huff Post

"For months, aid organizations warned of deplorable conditions at Moria camp, an outdoor Greek detention center housing some 4,000 migrants and refugees on the island of Lesbos. They slammed an asylum process that caused refugees to languish.

On Monday, a violent confrontation between desperate refugees and migrants left people bloodied and bruised. Rumors of mass deportations to Turkey only added to the panic. Then, a fire engulfed the camp.

...Greek Migration Minister Giannis Mouzalas assured the mayor of Lesbos in an official letter that there is not going to be a new “hospitality center” built on the island. He insisted that the government is working hard to decongest Lesbos and other Greek islands sheltering thousands of desperate arrivals.

Plans for a new refugee center had been a point of great contention for some locals."

Tsipras Defeat in Attica Battle Bolsters Bank of Greece Governor - Bloomberg

"Stournaras, a former finance minister, threatened to put Attica Bank under administration if it didn’t appoint his nominee as chief executive officer. The move ruffled feathers in the government, which sees Attica -- majority owned by state-backed pension funds -- as a vehicle of influence over the financial sector as the only lender falling outside the European Central Bank’s direct regulatory purview. Faced with Stournaras’s threat, Attica shareholders backed his nominee on Tuesday, bolstering the Bank of Greece governor who has questioned Tsipras on everything from his tax-heavy fiscal policies to his dealings with creditors.

...The Attica Bank affair became entangled with a separate controversy on Tuesday after Greek financial newspaper Imerisia reported that auditors found 126 million euros ($141 million) of loans to construction magnate Christos Kalogritsas since 2011, including 55 million euros in 2015 when the country’s financial system came to the brink of collapse. The Kalogritsas family won one of four TV licenses after bidding 53 million euros at an auction this month, a move heavily criticized by Greece’s opposition."

Athens' unofficial community initiatives offer hope after government failures - UK Guardian

“What we are witnessing is an explosion of social networks born of bottom-up initiatives,” says Stavrides, who was among the activists whose spontaneous efforts stopped the lot being turned into a parking space in late 2009. “Navarinou heralded this new culture, this new spirit of people taking their lives into their own hands. They know that they can no longer expect the state to support them and through this process, they are discovering how important it is to share.”

It is a movement that has confounded expectation. Greece is both an anarchic and a self-absorbed nation, where notions of civil society have never been strong. Instead, individualism has always burned bright."

September 20, 2016

Thousands flee as blaze sweeps through Moria refugee camp in Greece - UK Guardian

"Thousands of refugees detained at one of Greece’s biggest camps, on the island of Lesbos, have fled the facility amid scenes of mayhem after some reportedly set fire to it on Monday.

Up to 4,000 panic-stricken men, women and children rushed out of the installation, which is surrounded by a barbed wire fence, following rumours of mass deportations to Turkey.

“Between 3,000 and 4,000 migrants have fled the camp of Moria,” a police source said, attributing the exodus to fires that rapidly swept through the facility because of high winds."

Tsipras: If world fails to tackle migration issue repercussions will be felt everywhere - Athens News Agency

"We either succeed in managing it collectively, comprehensively and on the basis of our principles or we fail...

The Greek people, despite facing a deep economic crisis, have daily given one reply for the past year and a half: 'Yes, it is our duty'," Tsipras added.

Greece faced this challenge as 1.2 million migrants and refugees passed through the country and again when its northern borders were closed through unilateral actions, he pointed out."

September 19, 2016

Greece's old reliable: tourism boom helps soothe battered economy - UK Guardian

“This is a hospitable country,” he said in a rare interview with a foreign TV channel. “Hopefully you can come back next summer. After all, the Greek people are always appreciative of those who care about them.”

Like Greek politicians across the board, Pavlopoulos did not miss the chance to advertise his homeland abroad. It is easy to see why. Tourism has become the mainstay of an economy not only locked in a perpetual fiscal vice – the price of being bailed out to the tune of more than €300bn – but languishing in the longest running recession since the second world war."

Athens aims to finish prior actions, pave way for debt talks - eKathimerini

"Having failed to make significant progress with the range of reform goals over the summer, Athens now faces a last-minute rush to conclude the legislation needed before the end of the month.

...Athens aims to have all the legislation relating to the pending reforms passed through Parliament in the next 10 days so that the Euro Working Group can give the green light for the disbursement of the 2.8-billion-euro bailout installment when it meets on September 29."

A True Philhellene in Every Sense of the Word, U.S. Ambassador to Greece David Pearce Departs Athens - PappasPost

"Ambassador Pearce traveled to almost every region of the country and, from Lesvos to Crete, from Rhodes to Thrace, from Kalamata to Volos, and everywhere in between, he saw the generosity of Greek spirit – filoxenia and filotimo.

...In a statement on their Facebook page, the U.S. Embassy in Athens said “We won’t say “goodbye” to Ambassador Pearce, as he is not fond of goodbyes! Instead, we’ll look forward to your next visit to Greece. Your absence will be deeply felt, here at the Embassy in Athens and in the Foreign Service community as a whole. We wish you all the best in your retirement and thank you for your tremendous service.”

September 16, 2016

EU and IMF still at odds with Greece over privatization fund head - Reuters

"European Union and International Monetary Fund mission chiefs began assessing on Monday Greece's progress on reforms pending for its first bailout review. Athens initially hoped a deal would be reached this week on all pending issues.

Greece wants to conclude the assessment swiftly to get another 2.8 billion euros in bailout loans and start a second progress review next month, which includes unpopular labor reforms. It hopes that passing the second review will help it regain market confidence."

Greece Needs to Be Honest About the Numbers - Harvard Business Review

"Given his former position, you would imagine that Georgiou’s crime would involve falsifying national economic data in order to cover up tax shenanigans or to fool the markets into thinking that the Greek economy was healthier than it was.

.... In a classic confusion of cause and effect, the prosecutors are claiming that Georgiou’s un-sugarcoated report caused financial and social damage."

In nearly every domain — from healthcare to education and the environment — this government seems to avoid applying credible metrics to honestly assess the effectiveness of its policies and initiatives.

Greece Raids Home Of Central Bank Head - Zerohedge

"The searches were part of a probe conducted by the Financial Police in connection to the alleged mismanagement of more than 1 million euros in state funding by the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, KEELPNO. The investigation related to funds that KEELPNO allegedly received through a company owned by Nikolopoulou as well as complaints regarding the disappearance of documents tied to the case.

According to the WSJ, the raid was part of a continuing investigation into business Stournaras' wife has done with a state entity, officials said, in a probe that may heighten tension between the top bank official and the left-wing government."

Greece's 118-year Old Bookstore CLoses due to Debt Crisis - Pune Mirror

"The largest bookstore in Greece with 118 years of history, Eleftheroudakis, will be closed on September 30 due to the seven-year debt crisis.

...The last store's manager Sofia Eleftheroudakis explained that the capital controls introduced in Greece last year was the last severe blow to the family business, as well as to several other enterprises in the country.

Eleftheroudakis had a 24 million euros turnover in 2008 and about half a million last year, according to the family. The number of employees was gradually reduced from 130 to ten in the same period."

NEWS ARCHIVE - Sept 2016


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