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Greece and the economic crisis 2017

NEWS ARCHIVE - April 1 - April 7



April 7, 2017

Greece Rescue Payout Moves Closer With Deal to Quicken Talks - Bloomberg

"Greece and its international creditors struck an agreement at a meeting of euro-area finance ministers in Malta on Friday, breaking the latest deadlock over the country’s rescue and paving the way for about 7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in aid for Athens.

The two sides, which have been wrangling over key economic overhauls for months, reached a tentative agreement which allows bailout auditors to return to Athens to finish negotiations on the measures that Greece needs to implement to qualify for the next tranche of emergency loans. Although Friday’s decision represents progress, the euro area won’t unlock the payout until their audit is concluded."


EU Commissioner Cretu: Greece has fully absorbed EU funds - Tornosnews

“I want to congratulate Greece because not a single euro was lost in the last programming period” stated European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu, addressing the special standing committee of European Issues and the special standing regions committee of the Greek parliament on Wednesday.


Eurozone ministers push for Greece bailout deal - Yahoo Finance

"Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem spent the week shuttling between Brussels and Berlin ahead of Friday's ministerial talks in hopes of finding compromise in a fight that has dragged on for months.

"We're not there yet," a eurozone official close to the talks told AFP before the ministers from the 19 countries that use the single currency met in Valletta, the capital of Malta which holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency.

The impasse has held up the latest instalment of Greece's 86-billion-euro ($92-billion) bailout, agreed in 2015."


Effort underway for agreement on Greece in Valletta - AMNA

"One of the sources that spoke to the ANA pointed to Berlin as the 'mastermind' behind the new IMF demands, saying that it wanted to reopen the issue of the 2018 primary surplus target of 3.5 pct and whether this will be met. As a result, the source did not rule out the possibility that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will openly ask for the implementation of cuts as early as 2018 on Friday.

Brussels sources also noted Germany's "displeasure" at a change of stance from the Greek side in recent days and that the IMF's stance since the beginning of the week has been "strange," while pointing out that Greece has also reopened chapters in the negotiation that were considered agreed upon in the past.'


April 6, 2017

Greece expects bailout deal Friday, says gov’t spokesman - eKathimerini

“I think a very positive outcome Friday is very likely,” Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Antenna TV, referring to a meeting of eurozone ministers in Malta.

“We made a great effort in order to bridge the differences and find an efficient solution,” he added.

A day earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warned that it would take a full summit of eurozone leaders to resolve the issue if no agreement was forthcoming Friday.


IMF has not asked for measures in 2018, government source says - AMNA

"According to the source, the IMF was pushing for the cuts to the 'personal difference' in pensions to take place in 2019, in one single installment, whereas the government wants to break them up into two installments, one in 2019 and one in 2020. The same official revealed, however, that supplementary pensions were back on the table in the negotiations, as a way of making the cuts to main pensions less painful.

Asked if the IMF will withdraw tough positions demanding an increase in the maximum limit for mass dismissals and a return of lockouts, the source said that labour issues were "always open until the entire agreement was concluded."


Greece's dark age - how austerity turned off the lights - Yahoo Finance

"His family owe 850 euros to the Public Power Corporation (PPC), a tiny fraction of the state-controlled firm's 2.6 billion euros (2.21 billion pounds) in unpaid bills.

Argyros picks up only occasional work as an odd-job man. "When you only work once a week, what will you pay first?"said the 35-year-old, who lives in a tiny apartment in an Athens suburb with his unemployed wife and four small children.

The Argyros family are emblematic of deepening poverty in Greece following seven years of austerity demanded by the country's international creditors. They burn wood to heat their home in winter, food is cooked on a small gas stove, and hot water is scarce."


IMF sees ‘progress’ on Greece loan talks - Pakistan Daily Times

"Disagreements have focused on debt relief and budget targets for the austerity-hit country. Greece is hoping a meeting Friday of eurozone finance ministers in Malta will yield a breakthrough on debt relief.

...Greece notably is due to make a debt repayment to the European Central Bank of 1.3 billion euros in April, and 4.0 billion euros in July."


Greece's dark age of austerity - MSN

Video report mentioning how 40% of utility customers in Greece are behind in payments for power, and that this is the highest rate in Europe. Also mentioned that bail out negotiations proceeds simultaneously with Merkel's re-election efforts in Germany, and this gives Greece a slight edge as the German Chancellor hardly wants Greece back in the headlines with a bigger crisis than normal.

What is lacking in the reporting from MSN? It doesn't say how much a utility bill costs on average, how much do Greeks who are without work have to make ends meet and to pay bills, and while the report does mention the pressure to have the Greek Utility company PPC to privatize (with ominous images of nuclear plant cooling towers in the background) the report fails to mention what that could mean, what are the arguments for improvement and what are the arguments for (presumably based upon the video image) a disaster? Tepid and not very informative, though with plenty of video images.

"Greece's biggest power utility Public Power Corporation, one of the assets earmarked for part-privatisation under the country's third bailout, is toiling under 2.6 billion euros of unpaid bills as poverty-stricken Greeks struggle to get by in Greece's eight-year economic crisis. Laura Frykberg reports"


The issue of the Northern Epirus was presented in the European Parliament - Protothema

"In her speech Violeta Nika, Secretary General of the “National Association North Epirus 1914”, presented the historical facts that proof the continuous presence of the Greeks in the area that is now known as Northern Epirus (Southern Albania) from the antiquity all the way to the Byzantine era until today.

Mrs. Nika underscored the fact that the issue of the autonomy of Northern Epirus is still open according to the decision of the four winning Powers of World War II."


April 5, 2017


Greece Said to Near Bailout Compromise on Pensions, Taxes - Bloomberg

"One of the officials said the exact breakdown of additional savings envisaged in the proposed compromise was still not fully agreed. Technical issues, including reforms to the energy sector, will also need to be resolved before the review can be completed.

“Had talks and contacts on Greece during the day. Work continues,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presides over meetings with his euro-area counterparts, said in twitter post. A planned conference call between the two sides on Wednesday evening was canceled, one of the officials said."


In Greece, they do Easter with gusto - Seattle Times

"...From Thursday to Sunday, one church service seems to blend into the other. Churches remain open nearly 24/7, and worshippers stream in and out. In the Eastern Orthodox faith, standing empowers prayers — men on one side of the aisle, women on the other.

As the service unfolds, there’s lots of spectacle. The priest wears a long black robe and a tall hat. He typically has a long beard — a sign of wisdom, experience and respect. For Easter services, the church is specially decorated, draped in lots of mourning purple."


Tsipras says he doesn't think a summit meeting will be needed to close program review - AMNA

"Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday he believed there will be no need to convene a Summit Council meeting on the Greek program. Asked by public broadcaster ERT as he arrived for a dinner held by the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) if a Summit might be needed, Tsipras said: “I don’t think so.”

April 4, 2017

Greece pursues pension and labour reform deal to unlock more aid - Financial Times

"The agreement called for further pension cuts to be implemented in 2019 only months before Syriza would face a general election at the end of its four-year term...

“The cost to Syriza at the polls could send the party back into single digits [in the vote] . . . It was a deal they couldn’t swallow,” said a former Syriza activist.

...With the clock ticking down to more than €6bn in debt repayments that Athens must make in July, negotiators say an accord on the main elements of the policy package must be reached soon to stave off the risk of a crisis this summer."


Greece to open Thessaloniki port financial bids this week - Reuters

"The sale of a 67 percent stake in Thessaloniki Port (OLTr.AT), which is required as part of Greece's international bailout, began in 2014 but has been beset by delays. However, Athens invited shortlisted investors to submit binding bids last month and got three offers."


Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Israel sign East Med Gas Pipeline project - Keeptalkinggreece

"The unprecedented $6-7 billion plan involves building a privately funded 2,200- km. deep-sea pipeline linking Israeli and Cypriot gas to the shores of Greece and Italy.

If all proceeds as expected, the ministers hope to see gas flowing through the pipeline by 2025."


Stathis Psaltis Fighting for his Life in Hospital - Greekreporter

"Popular Greek actor Stathis Psaltis is being hospitalized in critical condition suffering from inoperable lung cancer, with doctors saying that only a miracle could save his life."


Athens-Attica Hotel Numbers Dwindling After 2004 Games - gtp.gr

"The data, derived from a Hellenic Chamber of Hotels census and released by the association, found that the number of hotels in central Athens dropped to 226 in 2016 from 256 in 2005, an 11.7 percent decline with the number of rooms down to 14,985, or a 9.1 percent drop in the same period.

According to the association’s president, Alexandros Vassilikos, a large number of hoteliers invested in Athens following the 2004 Olympic Games expecting Athens — as did Barcelona — to evolve into a strong tourist destination, ‘’but this did not happen’’, he said, instead the economic crisis took a further toll."


April 3, 2017

Beginning of tourism season gets off to a rocky start - eKathimerini

"Employees at sites and museums tasked with covering the extended hours told Kathimerini yesterday that the Culture Ministry has yet to publish the opening times, leaving both staff and visitors in the dark. They added that despite an announcement by Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou last week that 1,314 guards had been hired to cover the extra shifts, none has reported to duty yet.


Government continuing round of contacts to complete 2nd review, sources say - amna.gr

"The government is continuing a round of contacts at all levels in the context of the negotiations to complete the second review of the Greek programme, government sources said on Monday.

According to the same sources, "the scenarios of doom" appearing in the media had "no connection to reality." Relevant announcements will be made "very soon," and once the round of contacts have beenn completed, they added."


Workers at Greece's PPC Go to European Court Over Stake Claim - NYT

"Workers at Greece's main power utility, Public Power Corp (PPC), will file an appeal to Europe's top human rights court on Tuesday, aiming to block the sale of some company assets and seeking recognition they own a stake in the business."


Light earthquake, 4.4 mag was detected near Pirgos in Greece - Earthquakenewstoday

"Earthquakes 4.0 to 5.0 are often felt, but only causes minor damage. In the past 24 hours, there have been one, in the last 10 days one, in the past 30 days one and in the last 365 days six earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater that has struck near. Every year there are an estimated 13,000 light earthquakes in the world."


April 2, 2017

Greece & Turkey – Is War in the Future? - Armstrong Economics

"There are many within Turkey who fear he [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] is trying to be a dictator. He has sought to gain total power and that has many people deeply concerned.

Erdogan is at risk of being overthrown and he knows it. The worse the economy becomes, the greater the probability he will be driven from power...

Erdogan knows the historical animosity between Greece and Turkey... The greatest danger is that as his support continues to decline within Turkey, his need to start a war and the animosity with Greece, goes back a very long time."


Greece, the Debt, the Migrants and Antetokounmpo - Keep Talking Greece

"The history of Greece’s loans began in 1824 and continues to date. Bankruptcies were always within the program, the crisis management was always and still is run by centers outside Greece...

Recently, a group of half-idiots, supported by a part of the elites I mentioned above, have created a new situation by hijacking sacred symbols and words and by taking advantage of the people’s indignation which is mainly against themselves. They have introduced καινά δαιμόνια [new daemons – in sense of Socrates’ new ‘self-consciousness’ ] with uncertain consequences.

...Quite a number of them are admirers of Hitler and his ideology, they are also possibly descendants of black-marketers and collaborators, and would love to see the swastika waving over the Acropolis. "


April 1, 2017

On This Day: The Death of Greece’s War-Time King - Royal Forums

"... The King’s funeral, led by Archbishop Damaskinos, was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens on April 6 [1947]; the funeral procession through the streets of the capital was headed by George’s younger brother, the new King Paul, and his nephew, Crown Prince Constantine. King George was buried at the Royal Cemetery at Tatoi.

King George was born on July 19, 1890 at Tatoi, the Royal Family’s palace just outside Athens, the first of six children born to the-then Crown Prince Constantine of Greece (future Constantine I) and his wife, Sophie of Prussia. Prince George’s grandparents were George I of Greece (born Prince Wilhelm of Denmark) and Olga Constantinova of Russia, and Friedrich III of Prussia and Victoria, Princess Royal. He was christened into the Greek Orthodox faith on August 18.


NEWS ARCHIVE - April 2017

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