Economy

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Cyprus is due to end its energy isolation after it agreed with fellow EU member Greece to press on with an undersea electricity cable, which will also link the island to Israel in the hope of tapping into significant gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus is the only EU country that still lacks any electricity or gas interconnectors, a blemish on the EU’s security of supply objectives and target of 10% interconnection between member states.

But that is set to change after Nicosia and Athens agreed on the cross-border cost allocation of the planned EuroAsia cable. According to one of the project’s officials, Israel is expected to sign off on the plan next month.

Cyprus

The 1,520km-long undersea cable, which will link Israel and Cyprus’s west and south coasts with Greece via the island of Crete, will have a capacity of 2,000MW and be able to transmit electricity in both directions.

If Israel approves the project as expected, work is expected to begin early next year and last until 2022. Costs for phase one are estimated at roughly €3.5 billion.

EuroAsia is one of the European Commission’s Projects of Common Interest, intended to help the bloc meet its ambitious energy and climate goals by completing the internal market, increasing security of supply and unlocking the potential of renewable energy.

By linking Cyprus and Israel to the European mainland, the project aims to tap into the electricity-generating potential of gas reserves discovered in the Mediterranean off both countries’ shores.

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In April, Italy, Israel, Greece and Cyprus pledged to start work on the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline, which also seeks to exploit the natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

But the costs of that ambitious project are estimated to be twice the EuroAsia cable’s and the falling price of gas has cast doubt on its feasibility. The pipeline is not due to be completed until halfway through the next decade.

Source: euractiv.com

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Cyprus is due to end its energy isolation after it agreed with fellow EU member Greece to press on with an undersea electricity cable, which will also link the island to Israel in the hope of tapping into significant gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus is the only EU country that still lacks any electricity or gas interconnectors, a blemish on the EU’s security of supply objectives and target of 10% interconnection between member states.

But that is set to change after Nicosia and Athens agreed on the cross-border cost allocation of the planned EuroAsia cable. According to one of the project’s officials, Israel is expected to sign off on the plan next month.

Cyprus

The 1,520km-long undersea cable, which will link Israel and Cyprus’s west and south coasts with Greece via the island of Crete, will have a capacity of 2,000MW and be able to transmit electricity in both directions.

If Israel approves the project as expected, work is expected to begin early next year and last until 2022. Costs for phase one are estimated at roughly €3.5 billion.

EuroAsia is one of the European Commission’s Projects of Common Interest, intended to help the bloc meet its ambitious energy and climate goals by completing the internal market, increasing security of supply and unlocking the potential of renewable energy.

By linking Cyprus and Israel to the European mainland, the project aims to tap into the electricity-generating potential of gas reserves discovered in the Mediterranean off both countries’ shores.

ttt

In April, Italy, Israel, Greece and Cyprus pledged to start work on the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline, which also seeks to exploit the natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

But the costs of that ambitious project are estimated to be twice the EuroAsia cable’s and the falling price of gas has cast doubt on its feasibility. The pipeline is not due to be completed until halfway through the next decade.

Source: euractiv.com

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Greece was in recession last year, as revised data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) showed on Tuesday that the economy shrank 0.2 percent compared to 2015 against a previous estimate for zero growth. Furthermore, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) forecast that 2017 will close with growth of just 1.3 percent, against a government estimate of 1.8 percent.

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Technical experts representing Greece’s creditors are set to arrive in Athens on Wednesday, signaling the start of the third bailout review, and it appears that the pressure on Athens to fork out its dues to taxpayers has paid off, as the state has found the necessary funds to cover tax rebates of 4.077 billion euros since the start of the year – already exceeding the year’s target by 753 million euros.

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According to Housing Europe’s latest survey, the European Federation for Public Cooperative and Social Housing, Greece has the highest housing costs as a percentage of its citizens’ disposable income compared to the rest of the European Union, despite its citizens reeling under hyper-taxation.
In particular, in Greece, the proportion of households that spend more than 40% of their disposable income to meet housing needs has risen to almost 41%, while the European average does not exceed 11.3%. Indeed, the trend is steadily worsening, as two years ago the figure in Greece stood at 33%, according to the survey the data of which was published by Kathimerini.

Housing costs include rent for tenants or the housing loan instalment for owners, as well as heating, water, electricity, telephony and utilities. However, if one takes into account the tax burden, the burden Greeks shoulder becomes unbearable. From 2010 to 2015 real estate taxes have increased sixfold, from € 500 million to € 3 billion, while in 2016 they rose again to 3.5 billion euros.
At the same time, household revenue declined significantly (eg wage and pension cuts), while other property-related costs such as electricity and heating oil are also rising.

The result is that the gap has widened more compared with other European countries, where the financial burden of housing costs has not changed significantly during this period.

Even more worrying in terms of the social fabric, is that the rate surpasses the 90% mark in households whose income is among the lowest ie less than 60% of the average income .

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According to Housing Europe’s latest survey, the European Federation for Public Cooperative and Social Housing, Greece has the highest housing costs as a percentage of its citizens’ disposable income compared to the rest of the European Union, despite its citizens reeling under hyper-taxation.
In particular, in Greece, the proportion of households that spend more than 40% of their disposable income to meet housing needs has risen to almost 41%, while the European average does not exceed 11.3%. Indeed, the trend is steadily worsening, as two years ago the figure in Greece stood at 33%, according to the survey the data of which was published by Kathimerini.

Housing costs include rent for tenants or the housing loan instalment for owners, as well as heating, water, electricity, telephony and utilities. However, if one takes into account the tax burden, the burden Greeks shoulder becomes unbearable. From 2010 to 2015 real estate taxes have increased sixfold, from € 500 million to € 3 billion, while in 2016 they rose again to 3.5 billion euros.
At the same time, household revenue declined significantly (eg wage and pension cuts), while other property-related costs such as electricity and heating oil are also rising.

The result is that the gap has widened more compared with other European countries, where the financial burden of housing costs has not changed significantly during this period.

Even more worrying in terms of the social fabric, is that the rate surpasses the 90% mark in households whose income is among the lowest ie less than 60% of the average income .

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Greece is one of the three European Union states with the highest poverty rates, despite the very high expenditure for social protection, as more than one in three Greeks live in conditions of poverty or social exclusion, according to Eurostat.

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The release of the provisional figures for the state budget took the wind out of the Greek stock market’s sails on Monday, moderating prices and clipping the trading volume well below the 50-million-euro mark, partly due to Moody’s decision not to issue a review of its credit rating for Greece last Friday.

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Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis supports Macron’s federalist proposals on the euro single currency but believes only a real threat could make Germany budge on the issue.

More than fifty years ago, in 1965, French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew his ministers from the Council of the EU, de facto vetoing all decisions.

According to Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister for Greece, Macron should consider refreshing this tactic – but for the opposite reason. De Gaulle was defending nation states, while Macron wants to push federalism forward.

“Macron has got some good ideas, but he already lost, he is done, belittled by Germany” who refuses to create a budget for the Eurozone, according to the economist, who spoke to the French press in Paris.

According to him, the success of the “far-right” party AfD in September’s parliamentary election gives Germany the perfect excuse to retrench on this dossier. And the European Monetary Fund, proposed by Germany as an alternative to a Eurozone budget, is a sham and not a real compromise, according to Varoufakis.

The only way to force Germany into siding with France on relaunching the federalist process is the “empty-chair” tactic, he says.

A form of “constructive disobedience” that he elaborates in his book “Adults in the room”, published in English by Bodley Head and considered by the Guardian “one of the greatest political memoirs ever”.

The French economy threatened by permanent stagnation

“Trying to achieve a permanent reduction of the public deficit under 3% of GDP is nonsensical. It is not a problem to run a public deficit: Arizona will always have one, especially if compared to California. In a federation, this happens a lot. But in the case of France, current public spending will condemn the country to permanent stagnation, because the German industry has a monopoly of numerous markets”, he says.

The real priority according to him is investment, which should be raised to €500 billion per year. “The Juncker plan is a farce,” he said.

Without a eurozone budget to relaunch the federalist project, the economist proposes that the European Investment Bank (BEI) issue green bonds to finance large infrastructure projects in clean energy and transport – and that the European Central Bank (ECB) buys them.

“We don’t need to change the treaties. It is already feasible – it is just a question of achieving the consensus of the EIB’s board.”

On the type of projects that should be financed, Varoufakis echoes Macron who spoke about a way to cross the old continent without polluting: he would like to develop a railway network from the East to the West as well as invest in clean energy.

Running for German votes

While he sides with Macron’s federalist elements, including a transnational list for the 2019 European elections, Varoufakis is also very critical of his first steps.

“The speech he gave in Greece was pathetic. Coming to tell us that Greece is out of the crisis is an insult, and speaking from [Athen’s Acropolis] where countless dictators spoke to Greeks adds insult to injury,” said the economist.

Varoufakis plans to run for the 2019 European elections, even if he says the European Parliament “is not a real parliament.” But he wants to run in Germany, “to show that federalism is possible, and also that Germany’s current politics is harmful for Germans.”

Source: euractiv.com

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More than one in three Greeks and an average of one in four in the EU live in poverty or social exclusion, according to the 2016 figures released today by Eurostat.

In particular, in Greece in 2016, 35,6% of the population (3,8 million people) faced the risk of poverty or social exclusion, compared with 28,1% in 2008.

In the EU, the figure fell to 23,4% (117,5 million people) in 2016, below 2008 levels (23,7%).

According to Eurostat, a person is in a state of poverty or social exclusion when he or she faces one or more of the following situations:
When he/she is considered to be poor (i.e. he has an income of less than 60% of the average national income), or has limited access to basic consumer goods and/or fails to cope with elementary financial obligations, or lives in a family facing the risk unemployment (i.e. in a family where no member has a regular job).

In a worse situation than Greece are only Bulgaria (40,4%) and Romania (38,8%). The Czech Republic (13,3%), Finland (16,6%), Denmark (16,7%) and the Netherlands (16,8%), Austria Slovakia (18,1%), France (18,2%), Sweden (18,3%), Slovenia (18,4%), Germany and Luxembourg (19,7% ) are percentages of the rest of the European countries.

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The number of visits to museums and archaeological sites, and the subsequent revenue was up for the month of June throughout Greece. The total revenue for the month amounted to €13.6 million from €11.47 million in June of 2017, a 18.8% rise. The overall traffic for the first month of summer stood at 1.82 million visitors from 1.5 million in June 2016.
The data, from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), showed that for the period January-June 2017 the total number of visitors reached 6.9 million, from 5.8 million in the first half of 2016, while in terms of total proceeds they were €38.5 million from €31.6 million in the first half of 2016 (+ 21.8%).
ΕΣΤΑΤ recorded an increase of 19.9% in the museum visitors compared to the corresponding month of 2016, while the was also a rise in free admissions by 56.2% and an increase of revenues by 26.1%.
There was a 20.9% increase in visitors for June 2017 compared to the corresponding month of 2016, a 29.3% increase in visitors’ free admissions and a 17.7% increase in revenues.
For the 6-month period of January-June 2017, there is an increase of 18.2% for museum visitors and an increase of 16.6% for free-entry visitors compared to the corresponding period of 2016, while the respective revenue was up by 24, 5%
In archaeological sites, during the January-June 2017 period compared to the corresponding period of 2016, there was an increase of 20% in visitors and an increase of 21.1% of visitors, while the corresponding revenues rose by 21.3%.

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The role of the International Monetary Fund in the Greek bailout program is in the spotlight again after it published its fiscal and growth forecasts for Greece last week, ahead of talks between the Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde and top Greek officials.

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In a country that has been in crisis for almost a decade, with companies and households suffering from overtaxation, the state has been supporting eight major public corporations with accumulated losses of 12 billion euros, obligations of 17 billion euros, share capital of 11 billion and annual revenues of just 942 million euros.

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Two years after the imposition of capital controls in Greece, confidence in the credit sector remains particularly fragile and is the main factor hampering a more substantial easing of restrictions, according to a survey conducted by Alvarez & Marshal for the Bank of Greece.

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Senior Greek bank officials visiting Washington in the context of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have had contacts with major European and US lenders aimed at expanding their funding lines via the interbank market.

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Greece’s state-controlled natural gas firm DEPA signed a cooperation agreement on Thursday with natural gas company Gastrade to participate in the development of a liquefied natural gas terminal in northern Greece, DEPA said.

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Main image:  AT LEAST in recent decades, the turbulent social world of Greece somehow managed to contain and hold in tension some extraordinary contradictions. Not least among these was the chasm between a conservative, established church, which is expected to beautify personal and national rites of passage, and a society whose morals and attitudes are ever more liberal and free-wheeling.But in the last few days, that strange co-existence seems to have broken down. Alexis Tsipras, the leftist prime minister, used all his considerable rhetorical powers to push through parliament a bill that makes it much easier for a person to change their legal gender. (In a memorable turn of phrase, he insisted that “absolutely no tradition, no perception of family, calls for people to be sidelined or tossed aside into a social and institutional abyss.”) Broadly, people will be able to register their legal existence under a different gender without having to undergo any physical or psychological examination. Hitherto such reassignments were not usually recognised unless the person had undergone surgery to change their physical sex.Campaigners for transgender rights hailed the change, approved by a comfortable majority of legislators, as a long-overdue concession to fundamental human rights. They were still unhappy, ...

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China’s northeast city Changchun saw its first freight train depart to Hamburg, Germany, on Friday.

The trip will take 12 to 15 days at the maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour, according to a local official.

Liu Changlong, Changchun’s mayor, said at the opening ceremony that the move will give an impetus to the city’s economy and further integrate Changchun with the rest of the world.

“A growing number of products made in China will be exported to European market, then to the whole world. Meanwhile, more sectors, capital and technologies will be drawn to Changchun, which is fundamental to help rejuvenate the old industrial base in northeastern China,” Liu said.

The train is hauling auto parts, electronic machinery and equipment, valves and clothing made in Jilin province or places in northern China, and will pass through Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and Belgium before it arrives at the destination.

The freight train service, officially known as China Railway Express, is an important part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It refers to the transcontinental cargo trains linking China, Europe, and some other economies participating in the initiative.

In the past five years, China has launched about 5,500 freight train services linking the country with European market, reported China Central Television.

As of mid-Sept, the freight trains connect 33 Chinese cities with 32 cities in 12 European countries, according to the state television.

source: chinadaily.com

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Leading International Monetary Fund officials and Greek credit sector representatives agreed at a meeting in Washington on Thursday that any capital injection for local lenders will have to depend on the progress and results of their efforts to reduce nonperforming loan portfolios.

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