Politics

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Kosta-Gioulekas

A swift change of strategy by New Democracy. A swift change of strategy within Parliament. The main opposition party will vote no in all upcoming Bills in Parliament, if ANEL, as a government partner, does not support the Government. To this date, New Democracy voted in favor of whatever it deemed proper and beneficial for the country. This stance will from now on be a thing of the past.

The decision taken by the main opposition party to no longer offer support to the Government within Parliament was announced by the New Democracy rapporteur in Parliament, Mr. Kostas Gioulekas.

The reason for this was a sort of crash test in the House for the ministerial amendment that opened the way – as New Democracy circles believe – for the recognition of the “Turkish Union of Xanthi”. In the amendment, New Democracy, Democratic Coalition, Centrists Union and Golden Dawn stated that they will vote against the amendment, while POTAMI stated that they will decide according to the course of the debate in Parliament, while the SYRIZA governmental partner, ANEL, requested the withdrawal of the relevant amendment.

Characteristically, Mr. Gioulekas, following the announcement of ANEL’s intention to ask for the withdrawal of the relevant amendment, announced in Parliament that New Democracy will vote against each time the co-governing party does not vote in favor of government Bills. That is, New Democracy, as its representative stated in Parliament, will no longer tolerate and provide support to the SYRIZA – ANEL government, especially when it concerns issues that could lead to the loss of confidence to the government and effectively lead to the loss of the House majority.

“You can not be stepping into two boats at the same time”

“This government has reached two-thirds of its parliamentary life and we are still witnessing the strange balance between the two government partners.” He characterized the cruel and indescribable situations of coexistence with serious contradictions between SYRIZA and ANEL. As he said, they “agree in general and disagree ala carte and on a case-by-case basis.”

Mr. Gioulekas expressed the New Democracy’s outright disagreement both at the political level and as an overall parliamentary practice. He also spoke that as the main opposition party from now on, whenever government partners disagree, it will not support the bills in Parliament, whether or not the party agrees or disagrees with the content of the draft law or of the amendments. “You can not come by stepping into two boats, at the same time.

We, in every amendment and bill, will put forward a negative stance, if you, as government partners have not reached a consensus between you. You can not come into the House and appear to support two different policies on a given issue, but on the whole appear to be united and to remain undisturbed.”

According to New Democracy sources, “there can not be two parliamentary majorities. Either the government will enjoy a majority in parliament or it will not have one”. “They are basing their power on the overall responsibility of other political powers and parties”. “We will not take part in this game. The government needs to be able to operate in all aspects and in all circumstances of its political life. This amendment, according to New Democracy sources ND, has wider implications on a national level and they argued that the issue on hand has not been seriously considered by the relevant ministry.

It is the first time that a united front comprised of all the opposition parties is created against the Government, having as a common denominator, beyond the issues of national importance, the very attempt for the loss of the government’s parliamentary majority.

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The Greek Ambassador to Iraq, Dionyssios Kyvetos, recently visited Erbil and announced the Greek Government’s decision to upgrade their office in the Kurdistan Region.

Kyvetos met with the head of the Kurdistan Region’s Department of Foreign Relations (DFR) Falah Mustafa and discussed bilateral relations, the latest political developments, and the upcoming referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region planned for Sep. 25, according to DFR press office.

During the meeting, Kyvetos highlighted the government in Athens’ decision to upgrade its representation in the Kurdistan Region from Trade Office to Consulate General, DFR stated.

The decision comes as the people of the Kurdistan Region are heading toward a historic day where the citizens will choose whether they wish to remain as part of Iraq or secede as a newly-established independent state.

Mustafa welcomed the decision and conveyed the full support of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the move by the Greek government, describing it as a step further expanding the scope of cooperation between Erbil and Athens.

Kyvetos praised the role of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) and efforts of the Kurdistan Region in hosting 1.8 million refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Erbil and Baghdad relations and post-referendum options were other topics discussed in the meeting.

The Kurdistan Region as a semi-autonomous federal region of Iraq has greatly expanded its diplomatic relations over the past few uears.

The DFR was established in 2007, and in ten years, 38 foreign consulates and representative offices have opened in the Kurdistan Region. The number continues to increase.

Recently, the governments of Ukraine and Sri Lanka decided to open consulates in the Kurdistan Region to develop bilateral relations.

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will visit Ankara on 24 October. According to IBNA information, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has sent an invitation through the Turkish Embassy in Athens to the Greek Foreign Ministry, to visit the Turkish capital.

Nikos Kotzias accepted the invitation and immediately after his return to Athens on 22 September from New York, where he is the head of the Greek delegation for the 72nd General Assembly of the UN, he will travel to Turkey.

The agenda of the meeting includes a wide range of issues, mainly the Cyprus issue, bilateral relations, as well as the preparation for the Greece – Turkey Supreme Cooperation Council to be held in Thessaloniki, with the date of the Conference to be decided.

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Fokaides

In an exclusive interview with IBNA, Cypriot Defense Minister, Christoforos Fokaides, discusses the enhanced role of the Republic of Cyprus in the EU and its active role as contributor to security and a pillar of stability in the region; deepening defense cooperation in the EU; and the multi-level co-operation between the Republic of Cyprus and neighboring countries.

Minister, you participated in the informal meeting of defense ministers in Tallinn. According to reports, one of the issues on the agenda was deepening defense cooperation in the EU. How feasible and how desirable is this in reality?

The European Union currently has two options. It will either create the conditions to produce security or it will continue to generate insecurity. This is a crucial challenge on which the credibility of the EU and, in general, the confidence of citizens in the European project will be tested. Cyprus has every reason to remain in the first tier of European integration. For us, the issue is not ideological. It is a strategic choice that serves our national interests. To put it simply, Cyprus does not face the same threats as Luxembourg. The deeper defense cooperation and solidarity in Europe is, the more Cyprus will be protected.

Is there a risk that responsibilities and actions between a common European security mechanism and NATO will overlap?

No, and that is the common position of all the Member States, even NATO itself, as expressed by the NATO Secretary General in the EU Council of Ministers. Deepening defense cooperation in the EU is not in conflict with NATO. The EU’s strategic autonomy has to do with the Union’s own ability to play a role on the international stage by promoting its own interests. Above all, however, it has to do with its ability to be accountable to its citizens.

Greece and Cyprus have formed a grid of multi-level partnerships with neighboring countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, such as Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, etc. In the context of your own competencies, what are the issues you are working on?

It is true that what had not been done for decades in this area has been done in the last few years. The regional partnerships that we are developing together with Greece have shaped a new situation in the wider region; one that allows us to influence developments according to our national interests. As far as your question is concerned, I must tell you that we have signed defense cooperation agreements with all the neighboring countries over the past two years. This happens for the first time since the founding of the Republic of Cyprus. Agreements that certainly translate into exercises, information exchange, concrete actions that promote stability, maritime and energy security.

Do these collaborations also have an impact on the position of the Republic of Cyprus in the European landscape?

This new, upgraded role has allowed us to strengthen our role both within the EU and bilaterally with our partners and other friendly countries. For the first time, for example, we have established military cooperation programs – including with the United Kingdom and Italy – while we have significantly upgraded our relationship with France and Germany.

Does this upgrading of the Republic of Cyprus within the EU require changes in the armed forces?

Within this framework, Cyprus is now playing an active role as a security contributor and a pillar of stability. This role is also served by the transformation and modernization of our armed forces. The primary mission remains the same, for as long as the anachronism of the occupation of the territory of a European country continues. However, the new National Guard now plays a new role in the context of new geopolitical data and the country’s new energy prospects.

Source: balkaneu.com

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The bill for the legal recognition of a change in gender identity without the obligation by interested parties to present any medical certificates was submitted in Greek parliament. The new bill, which will likely casues some backlash, provides that a person who has gender dysphoria, or “feels” his registered sexual identity at birth does not correspond to his inner self will be able to change his gender through a simple legal action.
The Bill on the Legal Recognition of Gender Identity and the National Mechanism for the Development, Monitoring and Evaluation of Action Plans for the Rights of the Child was tabled in Parliament.

Provisions in the bill stipulate that a person has the right to recognize his gender identity as an element of his personality.

In the bill is states that ‘gender identity is defined as the esoteric way a person experiences their sex, regardless of the sex registered at birth on the basis of their biological characteristics, it also includes the personal sense of the individual’s body, as well and the social and external expression of gender, which correspond to the will of the person.”

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Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Hungary have urged Ukraine not to introduce the restrictions on mother-tongue education envisaged in the Education Act approved at second reading by the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said.

The foreign ministers of the four countries sent a letter to their Ukrainian counterpart, copied to Council of Europe secretary-general Thorbjørn Jagland and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Lamberto Zannier, on the issue.

The Ukrainian legislation allows for the possibility of minority mother-tongue education up to the fifth grade, after which all subjects – with some possible exceptions – will be taught solely in Ukrainian.

It is also envisaged that the Ukrainian language will become the only language of education in the system of secondary, vocational and tertiary education.

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva summoned a representative of the Ukrainian embassy in Sofia to discuss the issue, the Foreign Ministry said.

She expressed Bulgaria’s concern about the consequences for the Bulgarian minority in Ukraine regarding the adoption of the new law on education.

The Ukrainian side indicated that the new education law will not change the rights of the Bulgarian national minority to study its mother tongue. In the words of the representative of the Ukrainian embassy, ​​the purpose of the normative act is to “strengthen” the use of the Ukrainian language.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s ambassador in Kyiv, Krasimir Minchev, will hold a meeting at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which he will express the Bulgarian position on the new educational law of Ukraine, the Foreign Ministry said.

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Read the exclusive article of the US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt to protothema.gr. Mr. Ryatt wrote this article after his visit to Livadia and he describes his positive impressions from the hospitality of the citizens of Livadia to the refugees that have found refuge there.

One of my strongest impressions from my first year in Athens has been the extraordinary compassion of the Greek people in managing the challenge of the European migration crisis. In this regard, we can all learn a lesson from the welcoming and generous citizens of Livadia.

In November 2016, Livadia became the first Greek city outside of Athens and Thessaloniki to pilot UNHCR Greece’s “Accommodation and Services Scheme,” which has already helped 570 refugees find a home and a decent lifestyle with dignity in 70 apartments around the city while they await final determination on their asylum and resettlement requests. Of these 570 beneficiaries, 211 have already been resettled elsewhere in Europe.

During my visit last week to the capital of Boeotia, I met with one of these beneficiaries: a Syrian father of seven children, who is living in Livadia while waiting to reunite his family with his wife and oldest son in Germany. He effused over Mayor Giota Poulou’s kindness toward him and his children, and he referred to the hard-working employees of the Public Benefit Organization of the Municipality of Livadia (K.E.DH.L.) as members of his “family.” Watching the Mayor interact with this Syrian family was heartwarming and, for me, captured the definition of philoxenia better than any dictionary.

I was impressed by K.E.DH.L.’s efforts to integrate the beneficiaries of the program into the city. Along with Greek students across the country, 195 children from this program started the school year in Livadia on September 11, and working hand-in-glove with the NGO Refugee Solidarity Network, Livadia sensitizes city residents to their new neighbors and creates peaceful coexistence between them. While this program generates over one million euros annually for the local economy, I never heard this held out as a justification. Instead, the Mayor and the citizens of Livadia told me simply that it’s “the right thing to do.”

It is the right thing to do, and the U.S. is actively supporting UNHCR’s efforts here in Greece and in neighboring regions to help address what has become the largest refugee crisis in modern history. Beyond our large assessed contribution to UNHCR, the United States has donated $72 million to UNHCR’s Europe Crisis Response, which includes Greece and the Balkans, as well as $2.8 million to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Greece to bolster this country’s response to the refugee crisis.

U.S. Embassy Athens has also prioritized our support to Greece’s refugee response, providing a series of grants to support the work of excellent Greek NGOs, including Angalia in Mytilini, Faros, and Metadrasi. Last year, we worked with Impact Hub Athens and the Onassis Cultural Center to organize Hack the Camp, a creative “hackathon” that identified practical solutions to challenges that refugees face in Greece. We are currently partnering with the Melissa Network of Migrant Women on a series of short films about the lives of refugee women.

On integration, the U.S. Embassy supported the efforts of NGO Doctors of the World in offering English classes to camps throughout Greece, and through a $1 million State Department grant, we created the “Education Unites” program, offering academic scholarships at partner schools including the American College of Greece in Athens and the Anatolia College and American Farm School in Thessaloniki. The program will bring 200 refugee students from camps to campuses for the academic year 2017-2018.

Livadia is a very ancient city, whose charm and unique topography used to draw people from all over the world to visit one of ancient Greece’s foremost oracles to hear how they could better face current troubles and improve future prospects. And as we see all of the asylum facilities in Greece and around the world being flooded with twice and three times the number of refugees they are supposed to hold, I am comforted that the citizens of modern Livadia are continuing their ancient tradition, helping hundreds who have been displaced by war and chaos find a better future. During my visit, I urged my European colleagues to come here and see for themselves, and this is exactly why.

I congratulate Mayor Poulou, K.E.DH.L, UNHCR, the Refugee Solidarity Network and the citizens of Livadia for their pioneering humanitarian work, and look forward to continued U.S. support.

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KOTZIAS

 

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias has accused Britain of playing a hand in derailing a UN initiative to help broker a Cyprus solution during last summer’s peace talks in Switzerland.

Speaking after a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres at the UN Headquarters, Kotzias said a crucial document submitted by the UN on the final evening of the peace talks in Crans-Montana had only been discussed by himself and the Greek Cypriot side.

“The only document submitted during the negotiations on the last evening, regarding the framework in which the decisions would be implemented, was from the UN and had to do with abolition of the treaty of guarantees and intervention rights.”

“Unfortunately, this text on that evening, with the exception of myself and partially Cyprus, was not discussed by the other sides. The British also sabotaged it in some way,” he said.

UK Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan had been representing the British government during the failed peace talks at the Swiss resort while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had been in attendance for Turkey.

Cyprus leaders Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci had been representing the two communities of the island.

Kotzias added that the text submitted by Guterres was “a good foundation to continue our talks,” adding that it was a success of the Greek diplomacy that the concept of “open ended” talks was accepted, and that talks would continue, as long as the two sides wanted this.

“At this moment in time, one side does not seem willing to enter substantive talks, which it also avoided in Crans-Montana. It is our obligation to help, to contribute to the solution of the Cyprus issue to the benefit of Cyprus’ population.”

A UN statement after Kotzias’ 15 minute meeting with the UN Secretary General said “the Secretary General commended the compassion and solidarity shown by the Greek governemnt and its citizens towards large numbers of refugees and migrants who arrived in Greece”.

Other issues discussed between the two men included the name dispute between Greece and FYROM as well as the migrant crisis and Greece’s handling of the situation.

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Watch live the press conference of the president of Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis from Thessaloniki in the framework of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). Mr. Mitsotakis told reporters the sooner elections were held the better it would be for the country. Speaking to the media in a q&a session at the Velidio Convention Centre, the leader of Greece’s conservative party, said the leftist government of SYRIZA had committed to implementing more austerity measures and cutting pensions even further.

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mits

Major opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he envisioned a Greece with “true liberty, and genuine solidarity”, from Thessaloniki were he is scheduled to respond to the media at 1pm in the framework of the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF).

Mr. Mitsotakis outlined what his government’s top priorities would be once New Democracy (ND) assumed power. The only remark president of ND reserved for the SYRIZA-led coalition was “step aside”, opting to avoid criticising it for its failings. Instead he selected to adopt a positive narrative, presenting his plans for the future of the country, during his 70-minute speech at the Velidion convention centre. “To change the climate in the economy political change alone does not suffice”, he said.

Mr. Mitsotakis went on to underline that the bill for the reorganisation of the new government and change in the public administration sector was ready to be voted in once his party assumed office. The second bill he focused on regarded the introduction of bold tax reforms, which demanded a dedicated and coordinated government to realise. This plan included among other things,
-a tax reduction from 29% to 20% for businesses,
-the extra ordinary property tax (ENFIA) would be slashed by 30% in two years,
-a 5% cut in dividend tax.
Mr. Mitsotakis also vowed to speed up the privatisation process, while pushing forward with emblematic investments such as the mining one in Skouries, Chalkidiki -an investment which caused global media coverage after Canadian Eldorado Gold decided to suspend its operations- as well as the investment in the former airport of Hellinikon in Attica which has been delayed.

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pavlo

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos criticised the central European countries for failing to adhere to the rules of solidarity that govern the European Union.
Mr. Pavlopoulos addressed the 13 heads of state of the Arraiolos group, in Malta during the second day of an informal meeting.
“When there are economic policy rules, you have to enforce them immediately. However, when we are referring to the rule of solidarity, exceptions and objections start to arise. I, too, could raise objections to Greece’s economic programme and the mistaken estimates made by those responsible. The rulings of the EU Court on solidarity must be respected. I cannot accept that the European Court of Justice has issued a ruling, but some have their own positions. There cannot be cherry-picking in the implementation of EU and ECJ rulings,” Pavlopoulos said.
He also referred to the modern security challenges in the Mediterranean region and the need for solidarity between the EU member-states.
Mr. Pavlopoulos continued by focusing on the need to tackle the security challenges in the Mediterranean region, claiming it is much more a question of implementing existing provisions of primary European law, which unfortunately have so far been inactive, and less a question of amending or supplementing these provisions.

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mitsos

Major opposition party New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday Greek PM Alexis Tsipras must accept Shipping Minister Panagiotis Kouroumblis’ resignation while touring areas affected by the oil spill in the Saronic Gulf.
“There are grave responsibilities and major questions,” said the main opposition leader and asked: “Who said that the tanker was seaworthy and why was the state mechanism’s response delayed? How can a ship sink in completely calm seas?” “Who judged the boat was seaworthy? How does a ship sink in calm conditions in the harbour? Why did the government aparatus delay to mobilise? Have all the Coast Guard boats been mobilised as they should?”, wondered Mr. Mitsotakis.

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juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his annual State of the European Union address at the European Parliament on Wednesday morning presenting his vision for the future of the Union. Mr. Juncker ruled the prospect of an EU membership for Turkey in the foreseeable future in his speech. The main points of Juncekr’s speech were:
A single president at the helm of the Commission and the Council, after having been elected in a pan-European campaign;
* A European minister of economy and finance. A future Commissioner for economy and finance, ideally a Commission vice-president, could carry out this role as well as chairing the eurogroup;
* Transnational lists for European elections. “I will try to convince the leader of my parliamentary group to try to follow this idea”.
Trade/ eurozone/ enlargement:
* Eurozone: Member states that are obliged to adopt the euro need support of a euro accession instrument, which will offer pre-accession assistance;
* Need to strengthen European trade program. Opening trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand;
* Calls for a new EU framework for investment screening;
* All EU rules on worker mobility must be implemented fairly, simply and effectively “and for that, we need a new supervisory authority. We are going to set up a common labour market authority.”
* Member states should agree as soon as possible on the European pillar of social rights;
* Legal migration routes. Returning migrants with no right to stay in Europe;
* High time to bring Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen area, as well as Croatia, when it meets the criteria;
* Greater and credible accession prospects to countries of the Western Balkans. But not during Juncker’s mandate;
* But there can be no EU membership for Turkey for some foreseeable future.

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0 22
mit

Speaking at an event co-organised by the Konstantinos Mitsotakis Foundation and Department of Greek Studies “Konstantinos Mitsotakis” at Stanford University, President of major opposition party New Democracy (ND) Kyriakos Mitsotakis vowed to break the state monopoly on tertiary education institutions in Greece and to introduce a constitutional reform allowing the setting up of private universities. Mr. Mitsotakis underlined that the reform would have to permit the creation of non-state run, private;y owned universities, while he also called for the upgrading of the current educational system that would allow it more independence and extroversion. The leader of ND criticised the Education Ministry’s recent decision to scrap the selection of the flag bearers at primary school based on the idea of excellence in academic performance. He pointed out that society had to reward those who refused to compromised with mediocrity, “otherwise we would be led to disaster”.

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Major Greek opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Greek PM Alexis Tsipras of trying to cancel the investment by Canadian Eldorado Gold mining company for many years. Commenting on the developments after Eldorado announced on Monday morning it would suspend its investments due to the Greek government’s delays regarding the issuing of routine permits, Mr. Mitsotakis blasted the Greek PM, saying his statements only a day earlier regarding his desire to attract investments had been proven false. Mr. Mitsotakis called on the government to do what was necessary so that the 1,200 workers at Hellas Gold, the Canadian company’s subsidiary in Greece, would not lose their jobs. He continued by saying that the government with its familiar cynicism was playing political games and delivering a blow to the country’s image, sending a very bad signal to investors.

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mit

Major Greek opposition party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Greek PM Alexis Tsipras of trying to cancel the investment by Canadian Eldorado Gold mining company for many years. Commenting on the developments after Eldorado announced on Monday morning it would suspend its investments due to the Greek government’s delays regarding the issuing of routine permits, Mr. Mitsotakis blasted the Greek PM, saying his statements only a day earlier regarding his desire to attract investments had been proven false. Mr. Mitsotakis called on the government to do what was necessary so that the 1,200 workers at Hellas Gold, the Canadian company’s subsidiary in Greece, would not lose their jobs. He continued by saying that the government with its familiar cynicism was playing political games and delivering a blow to the country’s image, sending a very bad signal to investors.

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eldorado

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’s strategic consultant Nikos Karanikas issued an unprecedented statement via his twitter and Facebook accounts in response to the announcement on Monday by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold to suspend its operations in Greece accusing the government of not fulfilling its contractual obligations. “El dorado did what it could. Pollution, forest destruction, breaking up human relations, buying off consciences. The local community must take to the streets..of the departure of this company and this “project” and support its [company’s] leaving our country, so that its threat is realised. Good riddance to el dorado and may it not consolidate anywhere”, he wrote. The announcement caused a series of chain reactions with statements by both opposition parties and government officials. Minister for Interior Panos Skourletis accused the Canadian company of having an “allergy” to the terms of agreement in the contract in an interview to radio station Alpha 989. He estimated the announcement was some kind of tactic to pressure the government in the wake of a pending adjudication at an arbitration body between the state and the company over contractual matters. Leader of minor partner ANEL in the SYRIZA led coalition government, Panos Kammenos expressed his disappointment over the news, stressing that it was unpleasant when an investment left Greece, adding however, that investments must be made under the EU laws. Speaking to Skai TV, Mr. Kammenos implied that the company had effectively bribed law enforcement by buying new patrol vehicles and buying out shares in media outlets to manipulate public opinion. Christos Mantas, SYRIZA’s parliamentary spokesperson acknowledged it was a blow for the departure of the company from Greece.

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The press conference of Greek PM Alexis Tsipras at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF) is under way and Proto Thema newspaper and site are abstaining from the interview protesting against the systematic blocking of its reporters to pose questions to the PM. Mr. Tsipras was asked if he would release any financial benefits in the event the projected state returns via taxation exceeded the set targets. “Fiscal leverage is created from the prospects of the economy”, the PM said adding that the possibility of overdraft had been taken into consideration with our partners who are extremely strict. He continued by saying that there would financial room above the 3.5% surplus in order for the state to make corrective measures noting that the public finances were on the right track. “In the first seven months of 2017 revenue excess was one billion,” said Mr. Tsipras indirectly promising benefits for 2019, despite the fact that for that period he has made commitments to the country’s creditors that Greece would adopt new measures, like the decrease of the tax free threshold. The Greek PM said he was determined to successfully complete the third evaluation by the country’s creditors. “We are determined to call a cabinet meeting immediately, we want to complete the third review as soon as possible. We will make the necessary interventions”, he said. “The end of the Greek crisis will be the end of the European crisis”, Mr. Tsipras underlined.

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poll

Two polls published in Proto Thema newspaper offer some insight into the current the political reality of Greece, showing that the electorate are ready for a change in office, something know for some time now from earlier polls, choosing major opposition party New Democracy (ND) to lead the nation. According to the first gallop conducted by Marc, ND has a steady double digit lead against ruling leftist rivals SYRIZA by 10.7%. The conservatives have a 27.2% approval by those polled, compared to SYRIZA’s 16.5%, which gives ND the absolute majority in Parliament with 156 MPs. The poll also asks the respondent their views and preferences on which political candidate from the broader centre-left political bloc should lead the under formation centre-left party, with the majority seeing PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata as the best choice.

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Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis met Friday morning with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.
Mr. Mitsotakis said that Mr. Macron had come to Greece to support the country in statements he made after their meeting.
“Emmanuel Macron came to support Greece… something that is very important,” said Mitsotakis, adding that “we always deal positively and creatively with initiatives that support Greece… We are the political party that puts the country’s interests above all else.” Mr. Mitsotakis dubbed their discussion “substantive”, adding that the two had the opportunity to talk about crucial matters of interest for both Europe and Greece, as well as the need to deepen the Eurozone.

The main opposition leader expressed his certainty that “France is a country that can contribute to Greece’s return to stable and strong growth, something that is the main aim of our policy.”

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macron

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and French President Emmanuel Macron have arrived at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation where a closed meeting with members of the Greek and French business community is scheduled to take place. Mr. Tsipras showed Mr. Macron around the Foundation premises while both politicians walked up to the emblematic lighthouse. Both leaders expect to take something from the meeting, with the Greek PM hoping to ensure a collaboration with French investors in an effort to boost the weary Greek economy. “We have agreed to cooperate in the field of investment. Greece has priority areas that French businesses are interested in. I welcome the presence of 40 French entrepreneurs, the agreement on the port of Thessaloniki and the agreement of Greek and French clusters in new technologies ”, Mr. Tsipras said. On his part, the French President hopes to advance his country’s plans to expand its presence in the fields of energy, arms sale and be awarded a strong stake in Greek infrastructures, capitalising on his country’s unwavering support to Greece during the crisis. In his address, Emmanuel Makron, who is continuing his visit to Athens, expressed his conviction that France will participate in Greece’s efforts to exit the crisis. “The issue is that we should act now. I can guarantee France’s support for reforms and also express my belief that the French will take part in this effort,” Mr Makron said, adding that “business groups in Greece continue to invest even when there are pressures to stop. “

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The French Presidential plane carrying Emmanuel Macron landed at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport in Athens 20 minutes earlier than scheduled at 12.37pm. Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos will greet the Presidential couple on the tarmac. According to the official programme, the French head of state will arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport accompanied by his wife Brigitte at 1pm, where Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos will welcome the French delegation. The French President will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier and then will visit the Greek Presidential Palace where the French first couple will be greeted by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his wife Vlasia. Mr. Macron will be awarded with the Grand Cross of the Saviour. Mr. Macron is scheduled to meet with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Hall at 3.30pm, with the two men having a private meeting followed by a sit down between the French and Greek delegations at 4.15pm. The two leaders will hold a joint press conference at 5pm, while Mr. Macron is scheduled to deliver his key speech at the ancient Pnyx in Athens after 7pm. The official dinner is programmed for 9pm in honour of the French President. On Friday there will be a round table work meeting at 10am between Greek and French businessmen at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the presence of Mr. Tsipras and Mr. Macron, while the French President and his wife will visit the french Archaeological School at 11.45am.

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macr

Emmanuel Macron will make Greece the launchpad for a major policy speech on the future of Europe as he starts his first official trip to the country on Thursday.
From the dramatic setting of the ancient Pnyx in Athens, the French president is expected to outline his vision for the continent in what is being called his most important overseas address since taking office in May.
Amid the rocky hills of the Pnyx beneath the Acropolis, the speech will focus on the virtues of democracy as the European Union – and Greece – finally show signs of economic revival.
“It will be a message of confidence in Greece but also a European symbolic message, given that in many ways Greece has been a symbol of Europe’s crisis,” said an Élysée Palace source. “The restart of Greece is the restart of the eurozone.”
It is a measure of the significance the Greek government is attaching to the visit that Macron is making the address from such an august setting. From the earliest days of Athenian democracy, the Pnyx was a meeting place for popular assemblies. Greek PM Alexis Tsipras see the visit as an opportinity to push the narrative that the country has turned the corner after years of austerity and is finally returning to normality.
According to the official programme, the French head of state will arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos International airport accompanied by his wife Brigitte at 1pm, where Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Tzanakopoulos will welcome the French delegation. The French President will lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier at Syntagma Square and then will visit the Greek Presidential Palace where the French first couple will be greeted by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and his wife Vlasia. Mr. Macron will be awarded with the Grand Cross of the Saviour. Mr. Macron is scheduled to meet with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Hall at 3.30pm, with the two men having a private meeting followed by a sit down between the French and Greek delegations at 4.15pm. The two leaders will hold a joint press conference at 5pm, while Mr. Macron is scheduled to deliver his key speech at the ancient Pnyx in Athens after 7pm. The official dinner is programmed for 9pm in honour of the French President. On Friday there will be a round table work meeting at 10am between Greek and French businessmen at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in the presence of Mr. Tsipras and Mr. Macron, while the French President and his wife will visit the french Archaeological School at 11.45am.

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traffic

Athens will be under tight security control in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s arrival at the Greek capital, Thursday. Greek police have made blocked streets and roads in the centre of Athens and surrounding routes during his stay in the Greek capital. Traffic measures have already taken effect and will last until 3pm. More specifically, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue from Konstantinou till Amalias and the roads around the Presidential Palace will be off limits for drivers. Rizari street, Vassilisis Olgas, Amalias Avenue, Filellinon and Stadiou avenue and Amerikis streets till Syntagma Square will also be closed. From 11am till 2pm the blocking off of Alimou Avenue, as well as Katechaki and Mesogion Avenue -from Kanellopoulou till Fidippidou-, Konstantinou, Michalakopoulou and Kifisias Avenue -from Vassilisis sofias till Katechaki.

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mac

French President Emmanuel Macron is sending a message of optimism to Greece, only hours before he lands in Athens on an official visit, in an interview to newspaper “Kathimerini”. “I am aware of the efforts made by the Greeks, I know the feeling of injustice they may have felt. But I am optimistic about the future of Greece. Not out of convenience or naivety but because Greece has the power to overcome hardships and once again Greek society has impressed me. Because the positive signs are multiplying: growth is recovering, investment is rising, unemployment is decreasing”, he said. Mr. Macron, who is expected to arrive in Greece Thursday morning, says he will support Greece and its new start, explaining in his interview that his aim is to present Greece as an opportunity for investments and growth, “a location for the future and business activity”. He is categorical about him personally being against any possibility of a “Grexit”. “A common vision cannot be based on the logic of exclusion”, he says. Mr. Macron makes it clear that Greece and France have a common vision and strategic interests, underlining the opportunity to deepen the collaboration between the two nations in the fields of defence and security, saying that France wants to build a relationship that offers Greece the necessary means to ensure its interests. He calls on Athens to fully commit to a European military defence plan via opting to buy military equipment from European manufacturers. He also speaks of the effective and close cooperation between Greece and France on the terrorism.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras welcomed his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov during a joint press conference after the meeting in Kavala, Wednesday. “The Bulgarian PM came [to Greece] on a significant day for Bulgaria, a day of celebration for the national anniversary. We also have an important day here for both the countries, the railway network link between Greece and Bulgaria”, Mr. Tsipras stressed the significance of the project dubbing it crucial for the cooperation between the two countries. “The collaboration between Greece and Bulgaria is of crucial significance for the Balkans”, Mr. Tsipras underlined. The Greek PM said the project was of historic and strategic importance, noting that it would act as lever for growth in the wider Balkan region.

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tsip

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras addressed the official event for the opening of a portion of Ionia Road, in western Greece, Tuesday. “It is a great pleasure for us to deliver a road project of strategic importance to Epirus, a project that pulls western Greece out of isolation,” the Prime Minister stressed in his speech. Mr. Tsipras said that a vision for thousands of citizens who had been neglected had been realised.

Åãêáßíéá  ôïõ áõôïêéíçôïäñüìïõ "Éüíéá Ïäüò" áðü ôïí ðñùèõðïõñãü ÁëÝîç Ôóßðñá,  ôçí Ôñßôç 5 Óåðôåìâñßïõ 2017, óôïí Óôáèìü ÅîõðçñÝôçóçò Áõôïêéíçôéóôþí (Ó.Å.Á) Åðéóêïðéêïý, ðïõ âñßóêåôáé óôï 194,8 ÷éëéüìåôñï ôçò Éüíéáò Ïäïý. (EUROKINISSI/ÓÔÅËÉÏÓ ÌÉÓÉÍÁÓ)

“This project gives a great boost to growth, commerce and tourism and will play a tole in the recovery and the reconstruction of Greece and Epirus”,the Greek PM said. The Greek PM is scheduled to visit Ioannina and meet with local business groups before attending a reception at the city’s Museum of Silver Smithing.

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mits

“We believe in the power of the private economy, we believe that companies and workers together can put Greece back on a path of sustainable growth,” said the president of New Democracy (ND), Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his meeting with representatives of the local economy in Thessaloniki in light of his official visit to the Thessaloniki International Fair on September 15, 16 and 17. Mr. Mitsotakis told the business community that he would only table concrete proposals that could be implemented immediately. The President of ND is scheduled to meet with members of academia at 1.30pm, while at 5.30 he is expected to meet with union workers of the mining company “Hellas-Gold”.

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merk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the comfortable winner of Sunday night’s TV debate against her political rival Martin Schulz of the Social Democrats, according to a phone poll by state broadcaster ARD. The poll showed Mrs. Merkel received a 55% positive response compared to her opponent who got only 35%. According to the respondent, the German Chancellor was more reliable and convincing (49%) than Mr. Schulz (29%). Turkey, the refugee crisis and relations with Muslims living in Germany were some of the key issues that dominated the German Chancellor’s and the Social Democrat candidate’s only debate before the German elections on 24 September. Mrs. Merkel said it had become clear that Turkey should not become a member of the EU, while Mr. Schulz promised to suspend talks on Turkey’s accession if he was elected. On the issue of the refugee crisis the leader of the Social Democratic party criticised the Chancellor for compelling EU leaders accept her policies without questioning. “We need a European solution”, he said. Both candidates agreed that millions of Muslims in Germany were a productive force on the country, but Mr. Schulz added that hate speakers had no place in German society.

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The leader of Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to visit Thessaloniki on Monday before his official attendance at the the International Fair on September 16 and 17. Mr. Mitsotakis will hold a series of meetings including members of the city’s local economy, scientific and academic community starting at 10.30 in in the morning. At 5pm he will meet with representatives of the workers’ union of the company “Hellas-Gold”, one of the largest investments in the country.

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Main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday met with the Chinese Ambassador in Athens Zou Xiaoli, as part of the ND president’s preparation for the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) in September, where China will be the country of honour.

According to sources, the meeting reaffirmed their mutual interest in further reinforcing strategic cooperation between Greece and China, which was first inaugurated under an ND government.

They also exchanged views on the prospects for bilateral cooperation, with emphasis on energy, shipping, tourism, culture and foods. Among others, they hailed the imminent launch of a direct flight between Athens and Beijing as a significant development.

Referring to the Chinese ambassador’s recent visit to the Greek town of Soufli, traditionally noted for the production of silk, they discussed the prospects of launching mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in the silk industry.

Zou Xiaoli briefed Mitsotakis on the course of Chinese investments in Greece and China’s presence at TIF, while they also held talks on the latest developments in the Korean peninsula.

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kk2

The Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) told Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on a day-visit to Skopje to “recognize the new reality” in the country and support its bid to join the European Union and NATO. Such a move would require overcoming the dispute row over the country’s name.

Greece has vetoed the ex-Yugoslav republic’s attempts to join the two bodies because of a decades-long dispute over the name “Macedonia”.

Athens argues that the use of the name implies territorial claim over Greece’s own northerly region of Macedonia.

It has agreed only that the country can be referred to in international venues as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM.

But the new government in Skopje of the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, which took over in May, pledged to speed up the process of joining NATO and EU, for which good neighborly relations are set as one of the pre-conditions.

To demonstrate the commitment, Zaev’s government signed a friendship treaty with eastern neighbor Bulgaria this month designed to end years of diplomatic wrangling.

“We hope that Greece will recognize the new reality in ‘Macedonia’ and our honest wish for friendship. We expect and we hope for help and support for European integration,” FYROM’s foreign minister, Nikola Dimitrov said after meeting his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.

It was the second meeting between the two foreign ministers since May.

“We spoke about the process, how it will be going, the methods and modalities, but we also spoke about what exactly are the interests and worries on both sides,” Dimitrov said.

Kotzias said Greece would be ready to support FYROM’s bid to join EU and NATO, but only once all pre-conditions for membership are met. He did not elaborate.

The “Macedonia” name dispute has dragged on for almost 26 years with no clear progress. Athens has previously insisted that Skopje use a compound name such as “New” or “Upper” Macedonia.

Prior to Kotzias’ visit to Skopje, diplomatic sources from the Greek Foreign Ministry told Euractiv.com, it was still “early” to hold any substantial discussion about the name dispute.

The meeting will rather focus on “the identification of intentions” regarding the issue.

The same sources added that the primary objective of the visit is to “cultivate further trust” between the two parties.

After Kotzias’ initiative, Athens and Skopje reached an agreement in June 2015 to enhance their mutual trust via confidence-building measures (CBMs), which focuses on the fields of low politics.

The sixth meeting of this initiative took place last week and according to the Greek ministry of foreign affairs there was a “fruitful and productive discussion”.

Athens was recently disturbed by some incidents which, according to the Greek government, breached the spirit of the UN Interim Accord between the two countries.

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mitso

“In the situation that Greece is today, it is my conscious choice to tell the truth. The citizens have been deceived many times and can not stand any other lies”, President of New Democracy (ND) Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlind during his meeting, Thursday with postgraduate students from Stanford University who visited the party’s headquarters. Mr. Mistotakis said
the issues that concerned the Greeks were new jobs, security and education, warning that it was easy to fall into the trap of making empty promises. The leader of ND said people were pessimistic about the country’s future, with the majority of citizens estimating the situation would only get worse. Mr. Mitsotakis went on to point out the causes of the economic crisis citing excessive borrowing and the fact that Greece failed to take advantage of its admission to the Eurozone and make its economy competitive.
“In 2015 SYRIZA’s populists exploited the situation to rise to power. They spent six months negotiating and eventually signed the third Memorandum with enormous cost for Greek citizens”, Mr. Mitsotakis said. Responding on how he planned to exit the economic crisis, he claimed that Greece had to “own the reforms” and exploit the nation’s comparative advantages. “With lower taxes and private initiative we can kick start the engine of the Greek economy”, he stressed.

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hi

The Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexandros Gennimatas, made the following statement in response to a journalist’s question on the decision of the local authorities in Himara regarding the residential redevelopment programme:

“The Albanian authorities appear to regard the violation of the Greek minority’s rights as more important than the country’s European course.”

Press Release of the President of KEAD, Mr. Vangelis Doule on the developments in Himara:

On August 25th, the citizens of Himara were invited to participate in the non-scheduled and open meeting of the City Council regarding the general local development plan.

But instead of transparency, constructive dialogue and democratic decision-making, the participants faced a situation of unjustifiable blackmail on behalf of the municipal police and finally the suspension, and without any reason or pattern of the planned meeting.

Over the weekend, many of the participating citizens were summoned by the state police in violation of the legal procedures to “explain” their participation in the open council meeting they had been openly invited.

While today, in violation of the deadlines and against the law that regulates the functioning of local government, the City Council meeting is called again on August 30, this time not at the headquarters of the Municipality but in the village of Koutsi.

Firstly, we must once again point out that these actions aim exclusively at confiscating in every way and form the property from the legitimate owners, at the expense of the indigenous residents of Himara and in favor of the oligarchs but also of Rama’s clients’ interests.

Secondly, these actions are indisputable proofs that demonstrate in the best way the insidious true purposes concealed behind the recent territorial and administrative division of Himara.

Thirdly, we appeal to the accredited ambassadors in our country, especially the representatives of the USA, the EU, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, to turn their eyes and attention and to help bring to an end the incomprehensible injustices against the historic community of Himara. Such attitudes, methods and actions have no common reference to the rule of law, our European civilization and our western civilization.

Finally, how can any responsible citizen “sleep quietly” about the fates of the democracy in our country, when an entire community is treated with policies that have nothing to do with democracy? Especially when these policies are being encouraged and their implementation is directly supervised by the Prime Minister of the country?

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Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias will meet on Thursday (31 August) with politicians in Skopje in order to build up further trust between the two countries. But it’s still “early” for a discussion about the name dispute.

Kotzis will visit the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) today, where he will hold meetings with his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov, the countries President Gjorge Ivanov as well as Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.

Greece has longstanding objections to FYROM’s name, as both countries claim the name “Macedonia”.

The country’s internationally recognised name is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), but Skopje would prefer to be called “Macedonia”, which is also the name of a northern Greek province.

In 2012, Bulgaria joined Greece in vetoing the opening of EU accession talks with FYROM, despite a positive recommendation by the European Commission.

“Too early”

Greek diplomatic sources say it was still “early” to hold any substantial discussion about the name dispute.

The meeting will rather focus on “the identification of intentions” regarding the issue.

FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev recently signalled a possible shift in the country’s sour relations with neighbouring Greece.

In an interview with EURACTIV, Kotzias admitted that the current government in Skopje had toned down the previous rhetoric.

“On the substance, however, I have not seen anything new,” Kotzias said, urging the EU to “educate in the good sense Skopje’s leadership to the concept of political compromise and the culture of political consensus”.

Cultivating confidence

The same sources added that the primary objective of the visit is to “cultivate further trust” between the two parties.

After Kotzias’ initiative, Athens and Skopje reached an agreement in June 2015 to enhance their mutual trust via confidence-building measures (CBMs), which focuses on the fields of low politics.

The sixth meeting of this initiative took place last week and according to the Greek ministry of foreign affairs there was a “fruitful and productive discussion”.

Athens was recently disturbed by some incidents which, according to the Greek government, breached the spirit of the UN Interim Accord between the two countries.

The most recent was the participation of the country’s Canadian consul general at an event in which he gave an irredentist speech using as a background a map of the FYROM that included Greek territory.

Earlier in June, the FYROM’s consul general in New York posted to social media a photo of the “Sun of Vergina” – a symbol of the Sun appearing in ancient Greek art – as well as maps of “Greater Macedonia.”

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ANASTASIADES

 

President Nicos Anastasiades will issue a statement regarding confidential documents relating to the Conference on Cyprus at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana political leaders say he sent to close friends and associates.

Political parties have accused Anastasiades of sending the documents to a select few to convince them of his handling of the Cyprus problem.

“I have kept my patience for days now, not wanting to create any confrontations,” said Anastasiades at a function for the Disaster Response Special Unit (EMAK) at Kofinou on Wednesday.

Although the President did not disclose all the recipients of the documents, he did say that a copy had been sent to AKEL Secretary General Andros Kyprianou.

“I considered the documents confidential as it gave the impression that apart from Turkey, Cyprus also was responsible (for the collapse of the talks),” said Anastasiades.

“Is the Joint Communiqué of June 4 confidential? Are the positions of the Greek Cypriot confidential? Are briefs of minutes confidential? Only these were in the folder,“ said the President.

Anastasiades dismissed accusations that he only sent the documents to his supporters.

“I don’t think Andros Kyprianou is a supporter of mine,” said Anastasiades.

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tsip

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras pledged that all hirings in the public sector would take place via the proper channels in total transparency from mid 2018. Speaking at an event organised by the Ministry of Administrative Reconstruction the Greek PM said his government would hold written tests to attract scientists to the public sector, adding that his goal was to halt the brain drain. “We are seriously considering the implementation of additional measures-incentives to repatriate young scientists”, he noted. Defending the large government, Mr. Tsipras said the number of public servants in Greece was lower than the OECD countries. “We are pushing large reforms in Health, Education, local government and changes in the Constitution. The ultimate goal is to regain our sovereignty”, Mr. Tsipras underlined. The Greek PM blasted the leader of major opposition party Kyriakos Mitsotakis arguing his policies dismantled the public sector and promoted a state of clientelism. “With the reform we are putting forward for the first time with a holistic view of the Administration and with the valuable contribution of France, we are approaching the moment to lay the foundations of a structural reform of historic nature”, he said.

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stalin

Estonian Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu  responded to his Greek counterpart, Stavros Kontonis following the uproar caused by the decision by Greece to not participate in the recent European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism in Estonia.
In his letter, the Estonian Minister of Justice talks about the incompatibility between the principles of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and regimes and political movements and ideologies that deny them. “
At this level, there is no difference between Nazism, Fascism and Communism”, he noted in his letter to the Greek Minister. “Our values ​​are human rights, democracy and respect for the laws and I do not see an alternative to them. That is why I am opposed to any ideology or political movement that opposes these values. With this reasoning, there is no difference between Nazism, Fascism and Communism.
The fate of our two countries was different in the 20th century. In Estonia, you do not have to be a historian to know what happened in Greece during the Nazi occupation. Estonia, however, suffered from two different possessions: Nazi occupation and Soviet occupation, which lasted until 1991”, he said in his latter to Mr. Kontonis. “With the experience of my country, I clearly disdagree with you that communism also had positive aspects. While it is true that the Red Army played an important role in the victory of the Allies against the Nazi forces, the Red Army was the one who did not liberate the countries of Eastern Europe and did not allow their Nazi-conquered people to form their own destiny”, he noted. “There can be no freedom, democracy and respect for the laws in communist ideology. We know that this has been attempted everywhere except in Australia. It has always led to insurmountable economic disasters and violation of laws”, he said.

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efi-achtsioglou

 

The Ministry of labour submitted in parliament on Tuesday evening a draft bill on a series of measures designed to protect labour rights.

The bill covers five sections: provisions on social security and labour, provisions added by the ministry, a group of provisions for people with disabilities and for social workers. It also includes measures to tackle undeclared, under-declared and unpaid labour, according to statements made earlier by the minister.

Achtsioglou announced stiffer controls for employers, such as advance electronic notification of overtime instead of one month later, in order to thwart those businesses keeping double books, depending on whether there had been an inspection or not, as well as electronic notification of the voluntary departure of employees, countersigned by the employee involved.

The bill also gives employees additional ways to extract compensation for unpaid wages while requiring that courts issue decisions in such cases within 60 days.

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ministry-of-foreign-affairs

 

The sixth meeting on the Confidence-building measures (CBMs) between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was held in Athens on Tuesday, focusing among other issues, on transport, energy, police cooperation, civil protection and culture.

The meeting comes after an agreement reached by the two foreign ministers in Skopje, on 24 June 2015.

It was a continuation “of the friendly and constructive dialogue on mutually agreed topics, including connectivity projects in the field of transport and energy, police cooperation, European programs, culture, education, civil protection, public administration, health, diplomatic academies’ cooperation and launching business initiatives,” the foreign ministry said in a press release. Experts from relevant national institutions contributed to the discussion.

Participants decided that the next round will be held in Skopje. The progress of the CBM process will be discussed again during the upcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of the two countries in Skopje on 31 August 2017.

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0 29
merk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed hope that Greece would implement the new batch of measures during her press conference after the summer season. “I cannot make any promises, I do not implement the Greek policies. However, I believe that Greece will ultimately benefit from more jobs positions and prosperity”, she told reporters. The German Chancellor expressed hope that if the agreed reform programme was properly implemented then there would be positive prospects. “All EU member states had economic growth, including Greece, the number of unemployed fell significantly and the number of jobs increased”, she underlined.

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0 27
mits

Speaking to his shadow Ministers, major opposition party New Democracy (ND) leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greek citizens were being subjected to the most vicious attack on their income ever. “Greeks have exceeded the limits of their fiscal endurance. They are not paying because they cannot”, Mr. Mitsotakis stressed, adding that an average Greek family will be forced to pay 6,000 euros until Christmas. The ND president said Greek PM Alexis Tsipras would attempt to embellish the situation at the upcoming Thessaloniki International Fair, while ready to impose measures worth 5.1 billions euros, which he had co-signed with his partner Panos Kammenos. Mr. Mitsotakis said Greece was moving at an extremely slow pace compared to the rest of Europe. He continued by promising to support the Greek economy.

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kyriakos-mitsotakis-3

By putting forward his own editorial, just a few days before the major crash test at the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis is attempting to bring closure to the entire debate, both within his party and outside of it, after the much heated debate that erupted regarding the conference held in Estonia on Nazism and Communism.

Using the phrase: “It is time to open up the debate and to write up our own history. It is certainly far more creative than discussing past history and the history of other countries”, during his interview with the Kathimerini newspaper, Mr. Mitsotakis, sends a reminder to the general public, that he is leading the party that put forward and made a reality of the national reconciliation process, as it was envisaged by the party’s founder, the late Konstantinos Karamanlis, the man who legalized and made an integral part of the national political scene, the Communist Party of Greece.

New Democracy’s leader, noting that the overall national political debate was recently used in the ideological controversy over communism, and after being directly “accused” through editorials on the front page of the historical left-wing newspaper “AVGH”, that he personally is “white-washing” Nazism, he decided to taken upon himself the initiative to bring about an end on the entire subject and to bring about a swift change in the country’s political agenda focusing on the real problems affecting the country and its citizens.

At the same time, seeing that SYRIZA has an overall disposition to focus and further invest in the bipole between Left & Right, in an attempt to rally together its supporters, since in overall economic and fiscal policy terms has lost a great deal and number of his followers, Mr. Mitsotakis went on to argue that his later father had gone on to form a coalition government with the Left when this was required of him for the benefit of the country, he also went to argue that his sister’s husband had fallen victim to a terrorist attack, paying the ultimate price for his dream of national reconciliation, his dream to build-up bridges among the different factions where others used to build-up walls and to argue that “those that question the great democratic and political history and background of New Democracy are politically and historically dangerous. To do so, talking about supposedly far-right affiliations, and especially those who co-opt and co-operate with Panos Kammenos is just and simply ridiculous”.

“We reply by putting forward our political positions and not by just crying out”

Defending the need to “Reboot” (to restart the country, this being a slogan used by Mr. Mitsotakis during his campaign for his ascension to the party’s leadership), Mr. Mitsotakis strongly argued that the time has come for politicians to come forward and provide answers to the questions on real everyday issues, as these are posed by the country’s citizens. “How are new jobs going to come about? How is taxation going to be reduced? How can we go on about our day-to-day business with the local or national administration without having to deal with an enormity of problems? How is my degree going to increase in value, professionally within the labor market? How can be sure that when I visit a national health service hospital, both myself and my family, are going to receive the best possible medical care services? Will I be able to feel safe in my own neighborhood?”.

Further though to the issues affecting everyday life, the leader of New Democracy has put forward a number of issues, which he feels that affect the country’s overall position and stature, like the role of Greece in an ever-evolving Europe, on climate change but also on the issue of the increasing rate of reduced birth infancy rate in the country. As Mr. Mitsotakis argues, these are the issues that we need to base on the public political dialogue and overall debate, so as to determine and prove who is the most capable and progressive force to address these major issues, thus essentially arguing against to all those, coming from the Left, that have accused New Democracy, of putting forward a right-wing rhetoric & agenda.

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tsip

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will chair a cabinet meeting, Monday at Parliament in Athens. The agenda of talks at the meeting, scheduled to start at 10.30am, is expected to focus on the upcoming Thessaloniki International Trade Fair (TIF), legislation in progress and the conclusion of the economic programme. Mr. Tsipras will present his cabinet;s plan for exiting the memoranda at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair, as well as ways to adopt just growth.

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Member of the European Parliament from the PASOK party in Greece, Eva Kaili blasted the leftist SYRIZA led Greek government in an op-ed in a Sunday newspaper regarding the crimes committed by communists in the past. Commenting on the uproar caused by the decision by the Greek government to refrain from attending a conference on crimes committed by communist regimes in the past organised by the Estonian government, Ms. Kaili accused SYRIZA of committing hubris against all Greeks by refusing to accept lvalues, historical memory, language, tradition, excellence in education. In her article the MEP personally addressed Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis using harsh words: “Kontoni, listen up. My grandfather was killed by communist criminals. Communist criminals burnt down my family house after stealing everything.” She went on to write that the historical memories were rooted inside her and would never be forgotten. “This treacherous government, which is selling off the property of the Greek people at the demands of foreigners, has no ideology, but only selfishness, fanatic obsessions, and a plan for the deconstruction and demolition of the state”, she wrote. Responding to the MEP, Health Minister Pavlos Polakis indirectly accused her grandparent of being a German collaborator and traitor in a contemptuous Facebook post. “Had you cried over your grandfather in the past, or is this the first time, due to Estonia, Stalinism and the transfer season to New Democracy?”, he wrote.

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Greece must defend Cyprus, its sovereignty and the liberation of its territories, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Thursday, during a dinner held at the Monastery of Aghios Dionysios on the island of Zakynthos, which was also attended by the Archbishop of Cyprus.

Earlier, Pavlopoulos had noted that solidarity was “the foundation upon which our common European building is based” and that, without solidarity, “Europe cannot go ahead.”

“The role of Europe is not limited to its peoples. The role of real Europe, as envisioned by its founders, is universal. And this role is not about economic power, it is not about military power. Europe was not built to become the world’s most powerful economic or military power. It was made to teach, through the example of its peoples and its culture, that people are at the centre… And that the principles of humanity are the ones to prevail,” he added.

Pavlopoulos said that Greece remains committed to its European course, while noting that Europe must serve the principles of peace, freedom, democracy and justice, especially social justice.

The president continued his visit to the island by taking a 40-minute flight with a fire brigade helicopter above the areas burnt in recent fires, accompany by Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, who is an MP for Zakynthos, the Ionian Islands Regional governor Theodoros Galiatsatos and Fire Brigade Chief Lieutenant General Vassilios Kapelios.

After the flight and the briefing, Pavlopoulos thanked the men and women of the fire brigade for their efforts and “proving that the fire brigade does its duty in a way that exceeds even its own capability.” The president then attended a meeting to discuss the destructive fires at the regional authority and will conclude his visit to Zakynthos on Thursday evening, when he will attend a procession carrying the relic of Aghios Dionysios through the main town.

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will work from his office in Thessaloniki on Saturday, where he will meet with representatives of the city’s Chambers, his office said on Wednesday.

During the meeting (11:00) the two sides will discuss the main issues affecting the Chambers, ahead of the prime minister’s keynote speech at the opening of the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on September 9, at 20:00. Ministers will also attend the meeting.

Tsipras will then go to Florina and the Prespes Lakes, where in the evening he will attend a concert dedicated to poet and lyricist Nikos Gatsos, with Manolis Mitsias and Kariofylia Karambeti. The event will be held at the remnants of the Aghios Achilios.

New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will be in Thessaloniki on Monday (Sept. 4) where he will meet with professional and scientific bodies, as well as representatives of the city’s Chambers, as part of the meetings he will hold ahead of his participation at the 82nd Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) on September 16-17.

On Wednesday, Mitsotakis met with the regional governor of central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas.

Source: thegreekobserver.com

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There is quite a concern and work going on at the prime minister’s office due to the upcoming visit of French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron to Greece.

The Prime-minister, Mr. Alexis Tsipras held a series of meetings with a number of ministers that deal with issues of French-Greek “relations”, issues which are directly related to their government portfolios and which have direct impact on future cooperation between the two countries, especially during the period that the Greek government considers the French influence and position to be of specifically great importance with regards to the upcoming fiscal and financial assessment, the upcoming entry into the the global fiscal markets and the role of the IMF.

During last month, officials, both in the Elysee Palace and the Greek prime-minister’s office are contemplating and reviewing plans that both sides have submitted, while we must take into account that in the overall planning, the Ministries of Development, Foreign Affairs, Energy, Infrastructure and Transport, as well that of Defence, have been involved in the overall planning process.

The visit by the French President in Thessaloniki and Athens is expected to demonstrate the overall investment interest of French companies and of the French government for the Greek economy.

President Macron, during his visit, on the 7th and 8th of September will be accompanied by a large number of entrepreneurs, businessmen, and banking sector executives. The talks will be mainly held over matters relating Transport, focusing on railways, tourism, real estate, agrifood and, course all, information technology and informatics, since according to sources, the French government is willing to invest and create a new type of Silicon Valley on European soil, while at the same time, placing emphasis on the Logistics sector, focusing on the wider area of the Port of Thessaloniki.

Given the circumstances, major emphasis and priority will be placed on the start-up economy and business, as well as innovation.

The issues that are going to be discussed between the two sides deal with the EYDAP water company, for which the French side has expressed sincere interest, especially from the Suez Company, which is willing to take over management. At the same time, negotiations related and regarding the Thessaloniki Port Authority, the French business investment bank and the armaments procurement programs are still ongoing. The Hellenic government’s intention is to fully exploit and develop, national industries, like ELVO and the Skaramangkas Shipyards within the overall framework for putting together an overall European Defense industry, which is an issue being pursued extensively by the French government.

The visit of President Macron to Greece has a direct impact on the future Europe, as well as to the attempts made by Greece to overcome its problems and shake-off the trusteeship mandate. At the Prime-minister’s office, they have made several assessments and case-studies and they are arguing that after the German national elections and the supposed overall landslide win of Angela Merkel, a new, far- more pro European policy will come into effect, in conjunction and cooperation of President Macron’s policies.

French officials have stated at the Reuters News Agency that President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Athens in September, so as to send a message and emphasize to the rest of the leaders of the Eurozone that it is necessary to further enhance and achieve a monetary union. They went on to argue that the main idea is that France is willing to stand by the side of Greece in terms of its economic recovery.

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The Chairman of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee of the American Parliament, Edward Royce and the Member of the Commission, Eliot Engel expressed in a letter to the President of the Republic of Cyprus, their position that the Turkish occupation of Cyprus should end.

In their letter, Royce and Engel also express their strong support for President Anastasiades’ efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem and recognize the right of the Republic of Cyprus to use natural resources within its EEZ, stating in particular that neither Turkey nor any other country should to challenge this right.

“Conflicts and turmoil are a long history in the Eastern Mediterranean, but the recent discovery of gas can lead to greater cooperation. With Cyprus, Greece and Israel working together, these resources promote economic growth in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish intervention should not undermine this goal”.

They are concerned that Turkish efforts to challenge Cyprus’s ability to fully develop its natural resources within the EEZ only undermine these negotiations.

In the letter dated August 16, 2017, the two American MPs also strongly support the close relations of the Republic of Cyprus and the US and appreciate “your firm commitment to the strong relations between the United States and Cyprus and we are looking forward to working with you on a number of other issues”.

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