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Greece and the economic crisis 2017

NEWS ARCHIVE - April 10 - April 17

April 17, 2017

Myths, symbols and delusions - eKathimerini

"When Turkey invaded and occupied northern Cyprus, it changed Greek villages’ and sites’ names to Turkish ones in a bid to erase the past. Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan named a new bridge over the Bosporus after a Sultan who had slaughtered Alawite Muslims – a clear and chilling message to the country’s Alawite minority."

Greece Will Rise Again - Forbes

"There's good news and bad news in Greece’s democratic process.

The good news is that the country has managed to maintain social cohesion throughout the crisis.

The bad news is that Greece hasn't managed to escape from an old villain -- a big and corrupt government sector that strangles the private sector, as evidenced by Greece’s corruption and economic freedom rankings."

Greek leaders react cautiously to Erdogan victory - eKathimerini

After Economic Crisis, Low Birthrates Challenge Southern Europe - NYT

"Like women in the United States and other mature economies, women across Europe have been having fewer children for decades. But demographers are warning of a new hot spot for childlessness on the Mediterranean rim, where Europe’s economic crisis hit hardest.

...Approximately a fifth of women born in the 1970s are likely to remain childless in Greece, Spain and Italy, a level not seen since World War I, according to the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital, based in Vienna. And hundreds of thousands of fertile young people have left for Germany, Britain and the prosperous north, with little intent of returning unless the economy improves."

Migrants held hostage spurs arrests in Greece - ABC News

"Police in Greece have arrested three Pakistani nationals for holding hostage 16 migrants without authorization to be in the country and demanding money for their release.

Police said Sunday that the three were "members of a human traffickers' network" and that 13 of the migrants they were holding were fellow Pakistanis, three of them minors."

April 14, 2017

The Refugee King of Greece -NYT

"Ritsona is one of dozens of camps administered by the Greek government and aid agencies throughout the country. Refugees and migrants used to spend just a few days in the camps before traveling elsewhere in Europe, but in March 2016, the European Union put an end to that. All those who arrive in Greece are now indefinitely contained or sent back to Turkey.

Conditions in the camps are unpleasant at best. Families are packed into tiny rooms; only a fraction of the children are being admitted into government schools, where classes are conducted exclusively in Greek; and the eagerness of volunteers to help is waning."

One Man’s Mission to Protect Greece’s Ancient Olive Trees - Earth Island

"...ancient Greek olive trees, but also Italian, Spanish, and Moroccan trees are disappearing from the landscape for multifold reasons. Climate change in the Mediterranean has triggered a shift in precipitation patterns as well as extended droughts, floods, and immense heat waves that occur with greater frequency and increased intensity, and, which, in turn, adversely affect the production of crops and the whole olive orchard agroecosystem. Bactrocera Oleae scourges, on the other hand, make table olives unmarketable and negatively impact the acidity and quality of the produced olive oil. Modern agricultural practices such as re-landscaping for tractors to get nearer to the crop add to the problem. Enter using the olive tree wood for heating in a country that has been eight years in recession and has lost around one gross domestic product from the value of each of its citizens’ private wealth, and you understand the threats currently posed to Greece’s olives."

Holy Friday: A Day of Fasting and Mourning in Greece - Greek Reporter

"The Church reminds us of how Christ was betrayed and arrested, about his interrogation and humiliation, his death sentence delivered from the High Priests and Pilate, Peter’s denial and repentance, the road to Calvary, Christ’s crucifixion, death, burial and the sealing of the tomb."

Turkey: What the polls show - Iefimerida

"...even the last poll published in opposition "Cumhuriyet" newspaper shows a significant difference in favor of the "no" with 53.9% and "yes" be limited to 46.1%. Two other polls yesterday showed a slight lead of "yes" versus "no" while the second victory of the "no". Also, Gkezitzi polling company, in a survey conducted between April 8-9 in 10 of the 51 provinces of Turkey, shows that the "yes" precedes marginally by 51.3% compared to the "no", which collects 48.7% of the vote."

Lack of demand for new loans fuels credit contraction - eKathimerini

"...In February the annual rate of total financing of the private sector came to a negative 1.6 percent, with loan repayments outweighing new loan issues by 101 million euros. In January the credit contraction had amounted to 885 million euros. This negative picture is known to have continued in March, while banks are expecting a more positive performance in the latter half of the year, provided of course that the government completes the second bailout review in May. "

April 13, 2017

The Eurogroup is asking Greece to do something unprecedented - Financial Times

Recommended article:

"If the Greek government had to pay a premium relative to those countries on its obligations, perhaps because it weren’t included in the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme, total borrowing needs could easily triple. Without a commensurate increase in its budget surplus before interest, the Greek government’s debt would balloon, both in absolute terms and relative to gross domestic product.

This is why the International Monetary Fund has vocally recommended drastic cuts in the present value of the amount demanded by Europe’s “official sector” creditors by, among other methods, locking in the current interest burden for decades. (The IMF hasn’t volunteered to reduce its claims on Greece, however.)

At the opposite end are Europeans, led by German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who say no changes are needed and the Greeks can afford to pay."

Piraeus Bank in Greece eyes reduced non-banking activities for 2017 - Tornosnews

"The target is for operating costs to fall under 1.1 billion euros by the end of the year. By comparison, operating costs for 2016 reached 1.17 billion euros, with a 5-percent reduction targeted for the current year. The bank is reportedly waiting to calculate how much money it slashed from operating costs by implementing a voluntary early retirement plan in 2016."

UNICEF: Greece has highest child poverty rate in EU - MSN

Video report

"One in four children in Greece are living in poverty, according to UNICEF, making it one of the highest rates of child poverty in the EU. The latest report by the UNICEF shows a dramatic deterioration in living conditions for Greek kids."

New Corinth-Patra highway finally open - Neos Kosmos

"The new highway operated by the Olympia Odos company, runs from Corinth centre across the northern Peloponnese to Patra and is expected to reduce the travel time to Athens to 100 minutes.

The Olympia Highway has a total length of 202 kilometres, from Elefsina to Corinth and then to Patras and the Patras bypass. The Corinth-Patras section inaugurated on Tuesday is 120 kilometres long, with two lanes and an emergency lane in both directions and 12 completed tunnels with a total length of 18 kilometres along its length."

Greece to probe suspected health scandals - Yahoo

"A broad majority of 187 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament approved a government proposal to look into suspected mismanagement between 1997 and 2014.

"Everything must be investigated... to clear up whether the public interest was upheld," Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the chamber.

The ruling left-wing government says that past socialist and conservative administrations for decades allowed health contractors to overcharge Greek hospitals for equipment, supplies and medicine in return for kickbacks."

April 12, 2017

IMF chief Lagarde says 'halfway' there on Greek talks - eKathimerini

"What I have seen in the last couple of weeks is heading in the right direction. We are only halfway through in the discussions," Lagarde told a conference in Brussels.

Greece Among Top Choices for Germans and Britons - GTP

"German holiday bookings for Greece increased by 59.1 percent between January and February 2017, placing it second after the Balearic Islands. Cyprus saw a 143,1 percent rise in bookings year-on-year, followed by Morocco (103,4 percent) and Croatia (26.8 percent). Egypt also doubled bookings, according to the January-February 2017 figures."

Greece completes sale of 14 airports - The Malay Mail Online

"In what had been the first major privatisation drive for the government under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, a deal was reached at the end of 2015 to sell 14 regional airports—including Thessaloniki, and those of island tourist hotspots Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu—to a consortium comprising Fraport and Slentel Ltd for €1.2 billion (RM5.64 billion).

That deal has now been finalised, with the signature of Greece’s ministers of finance, transport and defence—Euclides Tsakalotos, Christos Spritzis and Panos Kammenos—the Greek privatisation agency said in a statement late Tuesday."

Frontex: Arrival of migrants in March; Italy remains under pressure, Greece up from previous month - Reliefweb

"There were almost 13 000 detections of illegal border crossings on the three main migratory routes into the EU in March. This is 10% more than in the previous month. However, the total number of detections on these routes for the first quarter of 2017 fell 70% from the same period of last year to 32 650."

April 11, 2017

Greece completes airport transfer to German-led consortium - foxnews

"Greece has formally completed the transfer of 14 regional airports to a consortium led by Germany's Fraport AG, in a privatization that is a key element of the country's bailout program.

The Greek state privatization agency says that under the deal signed Tuesday the consortium has paid a 1.23 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) lump sum."

OECD report: Greeks pay highest taxes - Protothema

"Greek citizens paid the highest tax rates among all 35 OECD countries in 2016, according to a report released. The data, focusing on the tax wages of OECD countries showed that Greek taxpayers were burdened with payments to the state that included high income tax, more social security contribution and a lowering of the tax free threshold."

Greece to legislate austerity, but implementation hinges on debt relief - Nasdaq

"Greece's government said on Tuesday it would soon legislate austerity measures agreed with foreign creditors for 2019-20 but their implementation depends on further debt relief after its current bailout, the third since 2010. Representatives from Greece'sEuropean Union and International Monetary Fund lenders will return to Athens after the IMF Spring Meetings on April 21-23 to finalise a deal on the extra bailout reforms, spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said."

Cyprus reunification talks restart, tough challenges ahead - eKathimerini

"...the United Nations-mediated negotiations still face difficult challenges, with the island’s Greek Cypriot president accusing the breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader of backpedaling on key issues at Turkey’s prompting following months of solid progress.

The minority Turkish Cypriots, meanwhile, say Greek Cypriots pay lip service to their core demand of equal partnership in the running of an envisioned federation – especially on holding the federal presidency alternately."

Holocaust memorials in Greece vandalised - Times of Israel

"The monument unveiled about a year ago commemorates 1,484 Jews from the city who died in Nazi death camps durin

g World War II. “Every act of vandalism on a monument opens a new wound in regards to the history and culture of Kavala, a community that has always been open, always tolerant and respectful of other cultures and religions,” the municipal authority said in statement, according to Ekathimerini."

April 10, 2017

Greece plans to cut corporate tax in 2020 if fiscal targets exceeded - Hellenic Shipping News

"The reforms were prescribed by its official lenders to convince the International Monetary Fund, which remains sceptical about Greece’s fiscal and reform progress, to take part in its 86 billion euro (74 billion pound) bailout, its third such package since its debt crisis emerged almost eight years ago.

To make the deal more palatable for Greece, which will hold national elections in 2019, the lenders agreed that if budget savings targets are exceeded, Athens will be allowed to implement relief measures to boost the economy. "

Mitsotakis emerges as frontman for pro-EU forces - eKathimerini

“New Democracy is the leading political force while SYRIZA is crumbling,” an unnamed official told the newspaper. “No one wants to associate themselves with [Alexis Tsipras], not now and definitely not later,” the official said.

ND officials appeared to welcome the turnabout of Vassilis Leventis, leader of the small Union of Centrists, who was seen as flirting with SYRIZA after backing the government’s changes to the electoral system last summer. Polls showed the move hurt Leventis’s popularity.

Greece on course to avoid debt default as Athens agrees pension cuts - EkosVoice

"Greece and its worldwide lenders agreed on Friday on the key elements of reforms to unlock new funds, and experts will now be sent to Athens to put the finishing touches to the deal, but Greece's debt will only be discussed once the reform plan is finished. Eurozone finance ministers approved the return of global bailout supervisors that will settle outstanding details and draft a final agreement."

Greece Moves Toward Bailout Review Compromise as Hurdles Remain - Prensariotiretail

"The positive measures in 2019 will amount to 1.8 billion euros and chiefly concern spending to alleviate child poverty, housing problems, youth employment issues and action compatible with government policies for growth, contributions to pensioners for medicines and an investment package.

With an agreement on the size and the timing of the measures in place, and with inspectors from the creditor institutions returning to Athens, the Greek government will now have to convince lawmakers to approve the measures that were discussed today."

NEWS ARCHIVE - April 2017



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