Politics

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The book authored by former Finance Minister Yianis Varoufakis titled “Adults in the Room”, has sparked a political firestorm in Greece. Proto Thema Sunday publishes key parts of some of the allegations by Mr. Varoufakis against his comrades in SYRIZA and PM Alexis Tsipras, with the former Finance Minister chronicling the first 6 months of SYRIZA in power providing details of the inner workings of the party amid fears of a total economic collapse of Greece that led to the imposition of the crippling capital controls and the near expulsion of the country from the Eurozone. The revelations so far have resulted in a huge backlash, with calls by Greek opposition parties for the setting up of a special parliamentary committee to investigate what happened during that tumultuous period. Major opposition party New Democracy issued a press statement claiming the revelations have irreversibly exposed Greek PM Alexis Tsipras. ND accuses Mr. Tsipras of continuing to remain silent and abstain. “The hour when the Greeks will learn all the truth for those responsible for the downfall of the country is not far”, the statement said. “Proto Thema” Sunday edition brings to light the dialogues between Mr, Tsipras and then Finance Minister Yianis Varoufakis about the plans regarding the € 16 billion following the closing of the Greek banks, as well as the infamous plan X. The book describes how the Tsipras government handled the negotiations with its creditors, outlining the role each government official played during that period.

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UN Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide is set to visit the divided island on Monday, the government spokesman told Active Radio on Wednesday.

One day earlier, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in Nicosia that Eide had not prepared satisfactory the failed UN-brokered Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, earlier this month.

“We have to work so that there is a new opportunity in the negotiations for a Cyprus solution but this new opportunity must be well prepared and effective,” Kotzias had told journalists after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.

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UN Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide is set to visit the divided island on Monday, the government spokesman told Active Radio on Wednesday.

One day earlier, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said in Nicosia that Eide had not prepared satisfactory the failed UN-brokered Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, earlier this month.

“We have to work so that there is a new opportunity in the negotiations for a Cyprus solution but this new opportunity must be well prepared and effective,” Kotzias had told journalists after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides.

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Between its loans to Athens and its debt buying programmes, Germany has cashed in to the tune of €1.34bn since the beginning of the Greek crisis.

Germany’s finance ministry has published details of the profits it has made on loans to Greece: €1.34bn since 2009, according to reports by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

A dig into the detail revealed that the German development bank KfW has taken some €393m in interest payments on a loan of €15.2bn that it made to Athens in 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, a state debt-buying scheme by the eurozone’s central banks brought the Bundesbank a profit of €952m.

The other eurozone members had agreed to hand any profits back to the Greek central bank. But the pay-back operation was brought to a halt in 2015 for political reasons, according to French paper Les Echos, particularly because of tensions between Alexis Tsipras’ freshly elected government and the Troika.

In displaying its good will at implementing the reforms and austerity measures demanded by its creditors, Athens had hoped to encourage its EU partners to start this money flowing again.

No debt relief for Greece

Despite the efforts of the Greek government to satisfy the demands of its creditors, notably by running a budget surplus above and beyond its objectives and by adopting ever more austerity measures, Berlin still refuses to soften its approach.

Tsipras’ government has been calling for debt relief in order to restore confidence with a view to a return to the debt markets. After eight years of crippling austerity, economic growth is refusing to take off in Greece.

The IMF recognised this fact and even said it would only contribute to the next tranche of aid if the Greek debt is cut.

But faced with the categorical refusal of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the Fund was forced to back down.

Without its latest injection of cash, Greece would have defaulted on a loan repayment due in July. The Fund does not want to increase its participation until the other EU countries are ready to make concessions.

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Between its loans to Athens and its debt buying programmes, Germany has cashed in to the tune of €1.34bn since the beginning of the Greek crisis.

Germany’s finance ministry has published details of the profits it has made on loans to Greece: €1.34bn since 2009, according to reports by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

A dig into the detail revealed that the German development bank KfW has taken some €393m in interest payments on a loan of €15.2bn that it made to Athens in 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, a state debt-buying scheme by the eurozone’s central banks brought the Bundesbank a profit of €952m.

The other eurozone members had agreed to hand any profits back to the Greek central bank. But the pay-back operation was brought to a halt in 2015 for political reasons, according to French paper Les Echos, particularly because of tensions between Alexis Tsipras’ freshly elected government and the Troika.

In displaying its good will at implementing the reforms and austerity measures demanded by its creditors, Athens had hoped to encourage its EU partners to start this money flowing again.

No debt relief for Greece

Despite the efforts of the Greek government to satisfy the demands of its creditors, notably by running a budget surplus above and beyond its objectives and by adopting ever more austerity measures, Berlin still refuses to soften its approach.

Tsipras’ government has been calling for debt relief in order to restore confidence with a view to a return to the debt markets. After eight years of crippling austerity, economic growth is refusing to take off in Greece.

The IMF recognised this fact and even said it would only contribute to the next tranche of aid if the Greek debt is cut.

But faced with the categorical refusal of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, the Fund was forced to back down.

Without its latest injection of cash, Greece would have defaulted on a loan repayment due in July. The Fund does not want to increase its participation until the other EU countries are ready to make concessions.

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During his meeting with European Commissioner for budget and human resources Gunther Oettinger at the Maximos Mansion on Monday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked that there should be a strong budget for promoting growth.

According to a press release from the premier’s office, Oettinger briefed Tsipras on the EU Commission’s plans for the EU budget in coming months and the prime minister referred to the need for a strong budget that gives priority to financing convergence, growth, a social Europe and coping with challenges faced by the EU.

Tsipras said that Greece will “made a decisive and constructive contribution” to the discussion on the new EU budget.

President Pavlopoulos receives EU Commissioner Oettinger

President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Monday received European Commissioner for the budget and human resources Gunther Oettinger, stressing the need to ensure respect for Europe’s borders.

“Respect of European borders, on the basis of international and European law, is a fundamental condition for a third country to become a member of the European Union,” Pavlopoulos said. Europeans had to let their neighbours understand – especially those neighbours that hoped to become EU members – that they cannot have ambitions to join the EU and not respect international and European law in its entirety, he added.

Pavlopoulos also emphasised that the Greek armed forces, especially in the Aegean, protect the borders of Europe, as well as the borders of Greece, and pointed out the need to strengthen the external security for the borders.

The president relayed Greece’s support for policies reinforcing social cohesion in the EU, especially those targeting youth unemployment, and for policies on the refugee crisis and migration that were based on solidarity.

He also stressed that Greece’s EU partners must understand the need to respect the principle of solidarity in the refugee and migrant crisis.

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Resolving its naming dispute is high on the agenda of FYROM’s government and therefore there is a “new impetus” in the effort for resolving the issue, Matthew Nimetz, the United Nations Special Representative for the naming dispute between Greece and FYROM, told IBNA news agency today.

The government in Skopje is eager to reactivate its foreign policy in the region and obviously the name issue is an important impediment to the path to European integration, to NATO membership”, stated Matthew Nimetz.

– Do you see the beginning of a new impetus on the name dispute?

– We have a new government in Skopje following several years of parliamentary deadlock there and the government in Skopje is eager to reactivate its foreign policy in the region and obviously the name issue is an important impediment to the path to European integration, to NATO membership. So this is a high issue on their agenda and I think therefore there is a new impetus.

– What are the next steps?

– I’ve been to Skopje, I’ve now talked to Foreign Minister Kotzias and I will be in touch with the parties in the next months and we wIll develop a new game plan for moving forward.

– In New York or…?

– I don’t know exactly where. I’ve been travelling, the other parties travel, we use modern technology also, so…

– Are there any proposals about the name?

– No, I’ve made no proposals. There have been proposals in the past and I think right now it’s a time for talking about some basic concepts before we get down to proposals.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras arrived at the Ministry of Labour a little after 10 am on Monday in the morning within the framework of his summer meetings with state officials and in effort to coordinate actions of his cabinet for better results. The agenda of talks between the Greek PM and Minister Efi Achtsioglou will include the pensions and the labour market in light of recent rulings by Greek justice. Mr. Tsipras will take the opportunity to focus on the fall in the unemployment rate, the rise in jobs and the overall performance of the Greek economy, which is on a path of recovery, according to the SYRIZA-ANEL government.

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The Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany, Martin Schulz blamed German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble for the poverty in Greece. During a presentation of his party’s platform and positions on various issues ahead of September’s national elections, Mr. Schulz accused his political opponent of being responsible for cutting the 13th pension in Greece. “Schauble is largely responsible for imposing the 13th pension cut. And while thousands of families are being plunging ever deeper into poverty, Schauble is yielding huge profits from interest, which Greece is paying for the loans it receives”, stated Mr. Schulz, who is the main contender to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the elections to be held in two months.

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The natural resources of Cyprus belong to the Cypriot people, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus said in a statement.

“With reference to the press release, No: 228, issued by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 13 July 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus reiterates its position, already stated on many occasions, that the natural resources of Cyprus belong to the Cypriot people. At this stage, a bill has been submitted for consideration before the House of Representatives, concerning the establishment of a National Investments Fund in which the revenue from hydrocarbon exploitation will be deposited “for the benefit of all Cypriots,” as stated in the draft bill.

“The drilling in plot 11 is of an exploratory nature and therefore its outcome should be of interest to the Turkish Cypriots as well, since the future exploitation of the natural resources offshore Cyprus will be of common benefit.

Any Turkish claims should be compatible with the provisions of International Law, and Turkey should act in good faith in the framework of international legality. International Law provides for the kinds of actions admissible in such cases, and certainly a state resorting to gunboat policy in order to impose its positions is not one of the prescribed acts.

The real reason for the fact that the recent negotiating process did not yield any result is Turkey’s continuing desire to fully control and intervene in the island whenever it deems necessary, using as a pretext the so-called interests of the Turkish Cypriots.”

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Turkish seismographic research/survey vessel Barbaros, which until yesterday evening was anchored in a port in southern Turkey sailed off the coast of Cyprus.
According to “Marine Traffic,” Barbaros is currently just off the coast of Morphou bay on the north-wetsren side of the island. The tracking site, however, says the destination of the vessel is Moudania, in northwestern Turkey.

Turkish media reported that Turkish Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanographic Office has not issued Turkish Navy any NAVTEX in relation to any Turkish seismographic activities.
According to Turkish newspaper Haber7 says, what pushed Turkey to react was “the initiative of South Cyprus to continue drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.”

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On the other hand, the more aggressive Milliyet newspaper, cover the same events in a different light dubbing the departure of the research vessel as “a landing on Morphou” even quoting the phrase of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law who said Turkey was “not a banana republic”.

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Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, speaking to financial directors of Turkish newspapers, said the next mission of the Turkish Barbaros research ship is Morphou and invoked Turkey’s “guarantor rights” by unleashing new threats in relation to gas exploration by the Republic of Cyprus.
Meanwhile, Cypriot Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaidis said Turkey’s moves regarding the oil drilling exploration of TOTAL were not unexpected and caused no concerns, adding that Cypriot National Guard was monitoring the situation, but it was not in the national interest to reproduce a climate of tensions.

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“We are very close to recovery, we are now determined to recover. That is the message,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday, during their meeting at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall.

“Your visit takes place at a significant time for Greece. We thank you greatly for your announcement yesterday of the initiation of the process for ending the excessive deficit procedure (EDP) for Greece, a very important message,” Tsipras said.

Juncker acknowledged the progress made by the Greek economy and said that he owed a tribute to the Greek people for the sacrifices they had made.

Tsipras noted that the EDP for Greece had started in 2009, when the Greek deficit was at 15.1 pct of GDP. “Now it is 1.2 pct and the projections for 2018 are very optimistic. This is due to the immense efforts made by the Greek people, the sacrifices of the Greek people,” he said.

Greece’s deficit had been at 5.1 pct of GDP when he and Tsipras had first met, Juncker responded, and had since followed a downward course.

“The country is in a very good state now and that is the reason why we decided yesterday to stop the EDP,” he said. “We had promised this, in any case, and the time had come to fulfill our promise.”

The Commission president also noted that credit was due to the Greek people and especially the poorer sections of Greek society, which had suffered much more than the rest. “The average citizen has made huge efforts,” he said.

Juncker met with Tsipras shortly before a ceremony at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall where Juncker was presented with an honorary doctorate from the University of Thessaloniki School of Law, also attended by Tsipras. Before his meeting with Greece’s prime minister, he also met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Paris she was not against “a budget of the Eurozone” in principle, while he said that the prospect of adopting a “European Finance Minister” could be explored. Responding to reporters’ questions regarding statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron the German politician said she was not opposed to a Eurozone budget during the joint press conference with Macron at the closing of the 19th Franco-German Cabinet in Champs-Elysees, before adding: “For the European Finance Minister, we can discuss it.”

Mrs. Merkel had unsuccessfully proposed the adoption of a “small budget” in the Eurozone in 2012. The German Chancellor, who is claiming a fourth term in office at the federal parliamentary elections to be held in September, noted that these issues could only be resolved after that results of the elections in Germany.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras responded to statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that Turkey would take its measures after the official launch of oil drilling operations in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone on Wednesday. Mr. Tsipras said Greece was ready to defend the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus during a joint press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Athens, Thursday. “An effective dog is not the one that barks, but one that is a good guard dog does not need to bark”, he said. Mr. Tsipras went on to say that Greece did not use big words, nor did it bark a lot, but that he believed the country was effectively defending its sovereign rights. “Greece has been and will remain a key pillar of stability in the region, and now that it is recovering from a long-term economic crisis and regaining lost ground it is emerging as a valuable country for peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. A country that is a valuable partner of the European Union, a country valuable to NATO, because of its special relations with critical countries in the wider region”, Mr. Tsipras said. Commenting on the results of the peace talks in Switzerland on the Cypriot issue the Greek PM said they proved that Greece was dealing with a neighbour that did not respect international law and the rights deriving from it. “An effective dog is not the one that barks, but one that is a good guard dog does not need to bark”, he said. Mr. Tsipras went on to say that Greece did not use big words, nor did it bark a lot, but that he believed the country was effectively defending its sovereign rights. “Greece has been and will remain a key pillar of stability in the region, and now that it is recovering from a long-term economic crisis and regaining lost ground it is emerging as a valuable country for peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. A country that is a valuable partner of the European Union, a country valuable to NATO, because of its special relations with critical countries in the wider region”, Mr. Tsipras said.

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The Vice President of the United States Mike Pence and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras discussed in a phone call on Monday bilateral ties, Greece’s NATO contributions and the end of the Cyprus talks, according to a White House readout.

Pence also congratulated Tsipras on Greece’s progress towards overcoming the economic crisis. The full statement is as follows:

The Vice President spoke by phone today with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras. The leaders reaffirmed the enduring ties between Greece and the United States. The Vice President congratulated the Prime Minister on Greece’s progress toward recovering from the economic crisis and thanked him for Greece’s role as a pillar of stability in the region, its NATO contributions, and its military cooperation with the United States. The leaders expressed regret that the Conference on Cyprus closed last week without a settlement agreement, and the Vice President underscored continued U.S. support for a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. The Vice President extended to Tsipras an invitation to visit Washington, and the leaders agreed to meet in the near future.

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The European Union and Canada said on Saturday they had agreed to start a free trade agreement on Sept. 21, paving the way for over 90 percent of the treaty to come into effect.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) has been championed by both sides as a landmark deal for open markets against a protectionist tide, but last-minute wrangles over cheese and pharmaceuticals were holding up its start.

“Meeting at the G20 in Hamburg, reconfirming our joint commitment to the rules-based international trading system, we agreed to set the date of 21 September 2017 to start the provisional application of the agreement, thus allowing for all the necessary implementing measures to be taken before that date,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

“It is by opening up to each other, by working closely with those who share the same values that we will shape and harness globalisation,” the joint declaration said.

The agreement will enter definitively into force once all 28 EU member states and parliaments ratify it.

The EU had not been satisfied that Canada would effectively open up its markets to 17,700 additional tonnes of EU cheese and provide guarantees for the patents of European pharmaceuticals.

A spokesman for Canadian trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the allocation of the cheese tariff rate quota would be made before the September deadline.

“So what happens now is that both sides will complete their internal processes and closely consult one another on how the agreement will be implemented. This is about ensuring a smooth transition to a strong start for CETA,” the spokesman said.

Both sides had been hoping for the provisional implementation of the agreement this month.

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Major Greek opposition party New Democracy (ND) is on the verge of gaining absolute majority, according to the latest poll by Metron Analysis. The findings, published in newspaper “Parapolitika”, revealed that ND had opened up a 14.8% gap against ruling SYRIZA party, with the voting estimate breaking down as follows: ND-37%, SYRIZA-22.2%, Golden Dawn-8.3%, Democratic Alignment-8.1%, KKE-8%, Union Centrists-3.8%, while minor government coalition partners of SYRIZA, ANAL received 2.7%. 27% of the respondents said they believed the president of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was more suitable for PM, while current Greek PM Alexis Tsipras had 14%, with “no-one” receiving 45%. The majority of those polled saw the agreement between Greece and the institutions as negative.

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Greek PM Aklexis Tsipras was rushed to hospital where he underwent ubmilical hernia surgery.

“Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, was admitted today at 15.00 to the Eugeneide Treatment Center, where he was scheduled for a hernia removal surgery. The prime minister wants to thank the doctors and the hospital staff from his heart “, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Press Office said.
Mr. Tsipras felt intense pain in the lower abdomen area late Thursday and was taken to the Evgenidio hospital on Friday where doctors ascertained he was suffering from
umbilical hernia and should be operated on immediately. According to reports, the Greek PM was accompanied by Health Minister Pavlos Polakis. The operation took place by Dr. Dimitris Theodorou, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Athens, MD, doctor of the Ippokration Hospital Upper Digestive Surgery Unit. He is considered to be one the best surgeons in his field.

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attends a news conference with Portugal's Foreign Affairs minister Augusto Santos (not pictured) at the Necessidades Palace in Lisbon, Portugal July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

The head of the United Nations flew into Switzerland on Thursday to press Greek and Turkish Cypriots to seal a deal reuniting their east Mediterranean island, and the U.S. Vice President urged them to “seize this historic opportunity”.
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres flew into the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, where Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been meeting. But Guterres is due to leave for the G20 summit on Friday morning, opening only a narrow window for what might be a “final push”.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence rang both leaders to underscore U.S. support, the White House said in a statement.
“The Vice President urged President Anastasiades and Mr. Akinci to seize this historic opportunity to reunify the island and expressed his confidence in both leaders’ ability to secure a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation,” the statement said.
Recent major gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean have refocused attempts to end the conflict, partly because the basin could hold sufficient to wean Europe off reliance on Russian gas, but also because of overlapping territorial claims.

source: reuters.com

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“We are in a difficult negotiation,” explained Mr. Kotzias, stressing that “the Greek side has defended the Law, International Law, has defended the right of Cyprus to be a sovereign and independent state”, speaking to the press at Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, where the Greek side, along with Turkey, the UK, the Cypriot Republic and the northern Cypriot community have been trying to reach a deal on the Cyprus issue.

“We have done what we could in this negotiation,” “we have saved it three times since it collapsed, but this negotiation must be based on the rights of people, states, citizens, and international law,” said the Greek Foreign Minister , Nikos Kotzias coming out of the negotiation area.

At the same time, the Greek Foreign Minister clarified: “We are still in the process of negotiating that will continue this evening when the heads of the delegations will meet and the dinner with the UN Secretary-General.”

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Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy (ND) has submitted a proposal for the setting up of a special parliamentary committee to investigate the involvement of Defence Minister Panos Kammenos in the Noor-1 case. The proposal was singed by the all of the conservative party’s deputies. The main opposition party is demanding for an official inquiry into the possible implication of Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and other officials holding public office in a pending legal case in order to highlight possible illegal involvement. The proposal highlights that fact that even though the Defence Minister himself was open for the setting up of a preliminary hearing on the matter, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras turned down the proposal. Mr. Kammenos is accused of speaking with a convicted criminal who was charged with drug trafficking on a legal case over the phone. Meanwhile, ND spokesperson Vassilis Kikilas accused SYRIZA-ANEL government of doing everything it it powers to cover up a rancid affair. “No matter how many decades pass, Mr. Tsipras will not be able to prevent the truth from coming to the light”, he said.

Responding to the proposal, Mr. Kammenos unleashed a scathing attack against New Democracy speaking of an attempt to reverse the roles of defendants and suspects to the accusers.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras unleashed a scathing attack against the leader of Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, during the former’s address in the Greek plenum, Wednesday. Mr. Tsipras bluntly rejected the proposal tabled by Mr. Mitsotakis in a TV interview for a parliamentary inquiry into the involvement of Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos who contacted a convicted drug dealer over the Noor-1 case. Mr. Mitsotakis had called for the setting up of a special committee in parliament to investigate whether Mr. Kammenos had breached any laws by speaking to a convicted felon over the phone during an interview on Star TV on Tuesday night. After a barrage of criticisms against Mr. Mitsotakis for failing to express any interest in real matters of corruption, including Siemens, the scandals in the previous Health Ministry or dodgy bank loans, Mr. Tispras accused his political opponent of focusing on a minor matter. “The fact that a convict called the Minister of National Defence and he told him to go to justice. This is the only serious matter that we need to look into, according to the ND leader. The plethora of scandals, the millions and bribes do not seem to concern him [Mitsotakis]”, the Greek PM said. Mr. Tsipras also attacked the leader of Democratic Alignment Fofi Genimata, claiming that it was the former leader of PASOK, Kostas Simitis who would go down as the politician who saw grafts and corruption flying by him and did nothing.

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The President of Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy (ND), Kyriakos Mitsotakis called a special parliamentary committee to investigate into the involvement of the government’s Defence Minister Panos Kammenos with a convict drug trafficker and the Noor-1 ship matter. In an interview to TV station Star, Mr. Mitsotakis said it was unthinkable of government minister to be contacting a convict over the phone. Although he admitted that the closing of the second review had alleviated the pressure from Greece now, he added that Mr. Tsipras had accepted the deal by imposing more measures worth 5.2 billion euros. He pointed out the double speak on the part of the SYRIZA government on the issue, as on the one hand he reassured the Greek public he would not accept more measures while in the same breath he lauded his party MPs fro voting in the measures. Mr. Mitsotakis said he believed in healthy entrepreneurship because he had faith in Greek ingenuity. Commenting on the Greek government’s commitment to run primary GDP surpluses of 3.5% until 2022 he labeled the goal unrealistic.

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey would out-rightly reject the prospect of withdrawing its military forces from the northern part of the island of Cyprus, during talks at Crans-Manotana in Switzerland on the Cypriot issue. Reacting to the news released by protohema.gr contributor Michalis Ignatiou that Mr. Cavusoglu said he would retain an army in Cyprus and use it he saw fit, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that “zero army and zero zero guarantees was a dream”. He said: “We came with good will. We know what we want. We’ve announced our red lines. A decision on the final solution must be made this week. We are showing flexibility. However, we did not see any result. There may be other reasons for this. There are still leaks. In order to reach a solution, the other side must respond to our positive steps”. He said that we [Turkey] did not go to Switzerland to satisfy the other side, while he attacked the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades labeling his proposals as flimsy that did not warrant the alignment of the Turkey.

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Greece has become the latest European country to legalise marijuana for medical purposes.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said last week that doctors will soon be able to prescribe the drug for a variety of medical conditions.

Cannabis is normally prescribed for conditions like muscle spasms, chronic pain, PTSD, epilepsy and cancer.

“From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal.” Mr Tsipras said at a press conference, as reported by the Greek Government Gazette.

Greece is the sixth EU country to take this action after the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain have already legalised the drug for medical use.

Details on how the drug will be cultivated and distributed are yet to be clarified by Mr Tsipras’ left-wing party.

The Prime Minister also said cannabis would be downgraded from a Table A drug – equivalent to class A in the UK – to a Table B drug, in which category are other drugs like methadone and opium with approved medical values, as reported by Dope Magazine.

The new law could boost the economy, as it allows the creation of a legal drug industry.

In Canada, for example, Deloitte estimated that legalising marijuana would create $23 billion per year, more than the combined sales of beer, wine and spirits.

Greece will soon also be able to import cannabis-based medicines.

It is yet to be seen whether Greece will go further to allow full-scale cannabis legislation, for recreational use as well as medical, joining Portugal, the only other European country to do so.

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Once again Cyprus is fighting for its life. The Greek island-home of Aphrodite is confronting its ancient enemies, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This confrontation is taking place in a secret diplomatic meeting in Geneva on 28 June 2017.

Turkey and the UK are former imperial powers that colonized Cyprus for long stretches of time. In 1878, Turkey passed Cyprus to Britain in exchange for British promises to support the Turks in any Russo-Turkish war. The British were not much better rulers than the Turks in Cyprus. Greek Cypriots fought the British and won their freedom.

However, the liberation of Cyprus from the British and the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 took place at a time of heightened cold war anxieties. The US opposed the former Soviet Union, now Russia, everywhere. The result was a bad international agreement that brought Turkey back into the future of Cyprus. Indeed, American cold war appeasement policies toward Turkey and the lingering hatred of the British for their defeat in Cyprus made Turkey the Sword of Damocles over Cyprus. Not only that, but misplaced American fears of communism translated into cowing Greece and independent Cyprus to legitimizing the illegitimate. Greece and Cyprus had to partner with Turkey over the “protection” of Cyprus.

There was no way out of such existential complexity and fear. The US managed the Mediterranean. It recruited Turkey in the NATO ranks, despite that country’s bleak historical record of occupation and genocide against the Greeks in Greece and Cyprus and against the Armenians. US insisted that Turkey had to be appeased. So in addition to having UK and Greece as guarantors of Cypriot independence, Turkey entered the fray, giving it an opportunity to unsettle Cyprus at will.

This happened in 1974. Greece was then under military rule. Under the pretext of protecting the Turkish minority from Greek Cypriots and a potential union of Cyprus with Greece, Turkey launched an invasion of Cyprus and occupied almost forty percent of the island.

Now in the Geneva secret talks Turkey and the UK want to abolish the Republic of Cyprus and in its place set up a fake and “segregationist bi-communal and bi-zonal federation.”

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(THE SUN, 5 August 1974)

I am quoting from a letter the International Hellenic Association sent to actors in the Cypriot tragedy: key diplomatic officials of the United Nations, EU, America and China:

“[A]ll post-1974 diplomatic talks [about Cyprus] have tended to focus on appeasing Turkey, legalizing the illegal effects of its invasions and precluding the application of international criminal justice.

“Alas, the post-1974 appeasement of Turkey has backfired. Instead of producing
‘peace’, appeasement has propelled Turkey into a menace, which endangers the EU. Instead of stimulating democracy in Turkey, appeasement has helped to turn Turkey into a tyranny. Instead of fostering inclusive values, appeasement has conveyed semblance 
of credibility to the segregation inherent in ‘bi-communalism’ and ‘bi-zonality’.

“If ‘bi-communalism’ and ‘bi-zonality’ are entrenched under any ‘settlement’, this will reward aggression and may even create a dangerous precedent within the EU and the wider democratic world of which the US forms part. Such a precedent may then be exploited 
by [Turkish] President Erdogan and by other enemies of democracy; they have already started to interfere or sow the seeds of division in various parts of the EU, such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands and, ironically, the UK.

“In view of the above:

“We call for new strategy in support of the Republic of Cyprus, in defense of democratic values, in the interests of the democratic world and in line with the post-
1945 international legal order.

“We call for the Republic of Cyprus to be saved from the ordeal of being transformed into a segregated ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’ in line with the post-1964 strategy of Turkey.

“We call for a new democratic constitutional philosophy under which every citizen of the Republic of Cyprus, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, is protected by the rule of law, the principle of equality and the prohibition against direct or indirect discrimination.

“We call for the rescission of the 1960 Treaties of Alliance and Guarantee, coupled with the removal of all Turkish forces and, subject to due process, the humane deportation of all colonists illegally present on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

“We call for the 1960 Treaty of Establishment to be modernized in a manner which does not undermine the Republic of Cyprus and its security.

“We call on Turkey, with whose citizens we have no quarrel, to turn its back on tyranny, to transform itself into a genuine democracy and to cease threatening the Republic of Cyprus and other Member States of the EU.

“We call on Turkey to become a State Party to the many legal instruments which it has hitherto shied away from, such as the Crime of Apartheid Convention of 1973, the UN Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 and the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court of 1998.

“We call on the UN to enforce international humanitarian law in the interests of criminal justice.

“We call for the humane founding values of the EU to triumph over the doctrine of division that imbues the proposed ‘bi-communal, bi-zonal federation’.

“We call for a transparent and procedurally fair program of constitutional and legal renewal, which transforms the Republic of Cyprus into a genuinely unitary, united, integrated and free democratic state. Only such a state can be a secure bulwark of the EU and of the democratic world in the Eastern Mediterranean, one of the most conflict-prone parts of the world.”

The quoted text expresses what has to be done to keep the Republic of Cyprus alive. The international community should embrace that Republic. Second, somebody has to teach a lesson to Turkey: mind your own business and leave Cyprus alone. EU should be that somebody.

Finally, the International Hellenic Association includes Greek professors and scholars from all over the world. I am a member of the association. I, too, signed this letter.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and leader of major opposition party New Democracy (ND), Kyriakos Mitsotakis engaged in a heated debate on all matters in the Greek parliamentary plenum during a scheduled discussion on the results of the recent EuroGroup meeting. In his opening statement, Mr. Mitsotakis accused Defence Minister Panos Kammenos over his involvement with a prison convict sentenced for drug trafficking, as well as the constant pressure applied by Health Minister Pavlos Polakis on Judges. “The government is in institutional delusion and decline”, he said during his speech. On the issue of the Greek economy the leader of ND said so far the government had failed to follow through on any of its five promises that were the debt relief, primary surpluses and not implementing new fiscal measures. “The score in the match: Goals-Tsiprasm ended with 5-0”, Mr. Mitsotakis said. He went on to accuse the Greek PM that he had trapped the country until 2060. “You betrayed the future of the country and what did you get?”, he asked Mr. Tsipras.

Responding to the accusations, PM Alexis Tsipras exercised harsh criticism against the previous New Democracy government of Mr. Samaras, juxtaposing the results of the Syriza government as a “success story”. He said Greece would not turn into Pinochet’s Chile or Thatcher’s Britain, citing the country’s upgrading by Moody’s rating agency, claiming the country was finally turning a new page.

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Further divisions with the European Union (EU) have opened up after Poland hit out over Emmanuel Macron’s protectionist plans for the bloc.

The recently elected French president has called for an array of Europe-first policies such as his proposal for a “Buy European Act” as part of his so-called “Macronomics” plan which would restrict public procurement in the EU to companies that have at least half of their production in Europe.

Emmanuel Macron said in May: “Globalisation is a tough fight because not everyone always respects the rules… So we will turn the protection of European industry into one of the major pillars of reinventing the EU.”

Poland’s deputy foreign minister in charge of European affairs Konrad Szymanski, speaking in Berlin, said: “The future development of the European Union‘s single market is causing the biggest concerns for us.”

He added: “We do not want to pay for the Macron victory,” in reference to a debate in EU countries that governments should fight back against rising populism by making concessions on the openness of markets.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last month she was open to Mr Macron’s proposal to create a level playing field between EU countries and other international trade partners.

Mr Szymanski pointed out that the completion of the internal market for services and for the digital economy was still a work in progress that had to be finished urgently.

Poland has objected to a number of EU-led directives, particularly over its perceived dominance of the bloc by the likes of France and Germany which it sees as disadvantaging smaller members, such as itself.

It has objected to the imposition of an EU-wide migrant quota being imposed.

In November 2015 after the Paris terrorist attack which killed at least 127 people, Mr Szymanski said his government did not agree with Poland’s commitment to accept its share of an EU-wide relocation of migrants.

Mr Szymanski added: “In the face of the tragic acts in Paris, we do not see the political possibilities to implement [this].”

Even in May this year he said that plans to disperse 160,000 migrants around Europe was “not implementable”.

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European Union member states are resisting further integration within the bloc after the Brexit vote, a former EU Commission chief has said.

Former European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said Brexit was a “problem” for the bloc.

Speaking to RT, Mr Barroso said a drive for integration had led to resistance.

He said: “Brexit is an important issue. It was a problem, I was not happy with it.

“But to be honest, Great Britain was always some kind of exceptional case in the EU.

“Britain did not want to be a member of the Euro, did not want to be member of Schengen, there was what sometime we called a British exceptionalism.

“So it’s true that is a problem. Having said that, if you look at overall integration of the EU, if you measure it by any indicator, it’s more integrated now that 10 or 20 years ago.

“But precisely because there’s integration, there’s a movement of integration, there’s resistance.

“It’s true, it’s dialectic – if I can use that expression – dialectic resistance. So if there’s a movement for integration, there’s resistance.”

Meanwhile, Theresa May on Monday announced that “no citizen” from the EU who lives in Britain will be asked to leave after Brexit.

The Prime Minister revealed full details of her proposal for EU citizens’ rights as part of her Brexit negotiations.

She said she wanted a “reciprocal” agreement on the rights of UK citizens in European Union member states.

Mrs May told the House of Commons: “We want certainty. I know there has been anxiety.

“Today I want to put that anxiety to rest I want to reassure people under the these plans no EU citizen legally in the UK will not be asked to leave.

“We want you to stay. I have always been clear that I want to protect their rights.”

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“Yesterday there was an attempt to blackmail the deal. We prevented it clearly. We will not allow anyone to ask for all or nothing, “said Greek Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias, commenting on the ongoing talks on the Cyprus issue from Crans-Montana in Switzerland which have enterd their 3rd day. He added that negotiations are about a compromise that benefits all sides. “I explained to my colleagues that the Greek-Cypriot side, like Greece, has the power of Law, while the other side has occupation and the military. That is the negotiation”, he said.

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Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy (ND) blasted the Greek government over Thursday night’s riots in the district of Exacrhia in Athens. ND issued a statement harshly criticising the government over its decision to ban police officers from organising a protest in the area, which is infamous for its far-left and anarchist activists and is considered a no-go zone for law enforcement. The opposition party held Greek PM Alexis Tsipras personally responsible for allowing anarchy and lawlessness to reign in in downtown Athens. “Not even 24 hours have elapsed since the admission by Toskas (Public Order Minister) that Exarchia was a no-go zone and the banning of a legal, peaceful gathering of police officers, and the government chose to hand over the centre of Athens to lawlessness and anarchy”, the statement read. New Democracy called on Mr. Tsipras to remove the Public Order Minister after his statements and stance towards the police.

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“The skein began to unfold. Greece is being released gradually, leaving behind the gradual recession and shaping the conditions for leaving the memorandums, with its own plan for a new Greece, more productive and fair”, stressed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in his speech at the Economist conference on Thursday night.

As the Prime Minister said, insisting on his own “success story”, steady over-performance over fiscal targets was the key to recovering the country’s credibility and a solid basis for the next critical steps of the Greek economy.

Mr. Tsipras noted that this was possible, without repeating the deadlocks and the devastating consequences of an unprecedented aggressive fiscal adjustment that took place in the period 2010-2014 and proved to be absolutely disastrous for the economy as well as for the whole Greek society.

“We have implemented an extensive reform program to create a safe environment that will help to develop investment. A framework to build on the productive capacity of the country”, he underlined.

As he said, this was done, although there were proposals from the creditors, that were on the verge of “economic irrationality”.

“There is an idea according to which Greece must rely on a “labor-intensive” economy to grow. A form that leads to wage cuts and work market deregulation. Is this model compatible with a country that is at the core of the EU?” he wondered.

“Greece will not go now to the markets sheltered in a health zone for communication purposes only. Greece will come out with her powers in terms of a viable outlook” the prime minister said, leaving aside the over-optimistic scenarios according to which the country could go to the markets in 2017, even as a test.

“That’s why Greece” the Prime Minister underscored, “will not seek a credit line with new commitments in the summer of 2018, that is, a covert new memorandum to bid farewell to the program, but after the June 15th decision, we are positive that it will come out on its own strength and will bid farewell to the memorandums and this long-term suffering of Greek society”.

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With the capital of Greece buried in garbage, as the refuse collectors are continue their strike, Alternate Minister of National Defence Dimitris Vitsas did not rule the possibility of mobilising army units to clean the rubbish. Mr. Vitsas said public health was top priority, adding that the Greek government was waiting until the workers’ union of POE-OTA reached a decision later Thursday on their course of action. “We are intitially waiting for a reasonable decision to be reached … There is no political mobilisation, it has been abolished, and it was not effective”, Mr. Vitsas said. Commenting on the current situation of municipalities employing workers with limited contracts, he blamed previous governments and the union movement for establishing and supporting this practice.

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Talks on the long-running Cyprus conflict are the best chance, but maybe not the last chance, to get an agreement, U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide on Tuesday on the eve of negotiations between the leaders of the two Cypriot sides in a Swiss mountain resort.
“There is an awareness that there is no time like the present,” he told a news conference in Geneva. “Make no mistake, it is not going to be easy, there is no guarantee of success,” he told a news conference, calling it the “most complex” round in the series of talks.
Foreign ministers from the three guarantor powers – Britain, Greece and Turkey – are due to stay this week to take part in security discussions, Eide said.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras pledged to hire over 2,500 new employees during his meeting with the union leader of Municipalities, Nikos Trakas at the formers office, Tuesday. The PM’s office issued a statement which did not specify the exact timetable of when the new positions would open up. Mr. Tsipras vowed to also implement a points system based on the Interior Minister, Panos Skourletis’s amendment. He also pledged that the government was in favour of keeping refuse collection in the hands of local governments and not to hand it over to private interests. The union of POE-OTA is currently convening to reach its final decisions regarding its ongoing strikes that have led to mountains of rubbish piling up in Athens over the past week.

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The Greek Foreign Ministry issued a harsh statement condemning the actions of Albanian authorities to showcase rocks from neighbouring countries in the capital of Tirana as part of the redevelopment plan of the city square. Just one day after the victory of socialist Edi Rama in Sunday’s elections in Albania, instead of issuing a congratulatory letter, the Greek Foreign Ministry released a strong statement effectively accusing Albania of stoking the flames of nationalism. The statement called on Albania to respect neighbourly relations and warned of the implications such actions could have on its prospects of entering the EU. Within the framework of the redevelopment of the central square in Tirana, a provocative move saw the country’s government transport rocks from bordering Balkan nations, including the Greek area of Filiates, to symbolise what Albania considers regions of Albania under foreign occupation that need to be liberated. The Greek government refrained from making any remonstrations to respect the integrity of the Albanian election campaign, but once the elections were over issued a damning statement against the neighbouring nation.

Foreign Ministry statement in full:

We condemn the placement, in Tirana’s redeveloped central square, of stones from various regions of the Balkans, including from the Greek region of Filiates. These stones, on which their regions of origin are inscribed, constitute a work that symbolizes the “unity of Albanian territories” and is clearly a state action that cultivates and conceals irredentism.
It is yet another provocation from the Albanian government, which is openly undermining good neighbourly relations. This is tangible proof of the central support for irredentist tendencies against the countries bordering Albania, given that the names of regions of various Balkan states are literally etched in stone.
The Foreign Ministry has proceeded and is proceeding to all of the necessary representations, notifying friends, partners and international organizations with regard to the matter. Respecting the election process in our neighbouring country, we have not, until today, issued any public announcement that might be misinterpreted as or distorted into interference in the pre-election process.
This in no way means that we will tolerate conduct that is inconsistent with the European spirit of peaceful coexistence and cooperation and that flagrantly violates the fundamental principle of maintaining good neighbourly relations, which is one of the key prerequisites for Tirana’s European course. Even today, unfortunately, dangerous and obsolete mindsets of the previous century are undermining the region’s progress and prosperity, creating a stone obstacle to Albania’s European future.

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Bulgaria and Greece will speed up the activities necessary for the completion of the natural gas interconnector project between the two countries. The commitment was confirmed during a meeting between Bulgaria’s Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova and Greece’s Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Giorgos Stathakis. Petkova is on a Bulgarian delegation visiting Athens, headed by President Rumen Radev, the Energy Ministry in Sofia reported.

The meeting between Petkova and Stathakis focused on the project to build the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria. The two agreed to concentrate their efforts on the procedures for selecting a construction company and obtaining construction permits and all other necessary documents in both countries.

Discussing the funding of the project, Petkova explained that in addition to the 45 million euro approved by the European Commission, the Bulgarian government has confirmed in several consecutive budget years that it will provide a government guarantee of 110 million euro. She added: “We are completing the process of obtaining 35 million euro in additional funding for the project under Operational Programme ‘Innovation and Competitiveness.’ We will count on European solidarity.” The question of possible additional grant aid under a Greek Operational Programme was raised during the meeting.

Petkova told Stathakis that the gas interconnector is of strategic importance to Sofia, because it will ensure that natural gas can be supplied to Bulgaria via the Southern Gas Corridor and via a future LNG terminal at the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, among other routes. “We and our partners in Azerbaijan have signed a contract on the supply of 1 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year to Bulgaria from the second stage of the Shah Deniz project, which will begin to be delivered via the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria in 2020.

The sides also discussed the support from the governments of Bulgaria and Greece for the LNG terminal at Alexandroupolis. The Bulgarian Energy Holding is considering joining the project. At Petkova’s invitation, the two energy ministers will continue their discussion on the project in Sofia in July.

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Talks between Interior Minister Panos Skourletis and a delegation of union workers in the municipalities (POE-OTA) have collapsed after the two sides failed to reach an understanding during a meeting at the Ministry on Monday. “He [Minister] called us extras, he has decided to hand the cleaning business to private interests”, said the president of the union, Nikos Trakas after the meeting. The union head said the Minister was incapable of handling the very important matter he had created. Mr. Skourletis had told the media that he intended to submit an amendment in parliament, dubbing the proposals presented to him by the union workers as “out of space and time”. Meanwhile, Athens Prosecutor Mr. Zagoraios has ordered a public investigation of its own motion into the matter after rubbish has drowned the capital for the past week.

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The government’s communication effort to give a positive impression to the Eurogroup agreement does not seem to be working that good. According to a survey by PRORATA of the “Newspaper of the Editors”, the Greeks see only the painful measures and disregard the prospect of Greece finishing the economic program.

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According to the survey, citizens consider the measures voted that increase the tax-free and the pension cuts to be more important than the success of the closure of the country’s 2nd evaluation.

67% of the the people that answered the survey, described the agreement as “rather bad” or “bad” while for SYRIZA’s voters the figure for the same question is 55%, compared to 30% who consider it to be “rather good” or “good”.

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In the PRORATA election assessment, the gap between New Democracy and SYRIZA widens, with the main opposition party winning six points from May reaching 36% while SYRIZA stays at 20%.

Democratic Alignment rises to 14% from 11% in May. The KKE goes to 13% from 9%.

The “Potami” political party wins two points and climbs to 9%. Golden Dawn remains at 9%, while at the same level as in May remains the Union of Centrists, which is at 8%.

The People’s Unity rises to 4% from 2% in May. The Independent Greeks (ANEL), that participate with SYRIZA in the coalition government, on the contrary, fell to 2%, from 5% that was the in previous month.

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The survey was conducted on June 19 and 20, the week after the Eurogroup last Thursday.

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As a heatwave is forecast to hit Greece next week and amid more rubbish piling across Athens, the conditions in the Greek capital are expected to get even worse as the Federation of workers in the Municipalities and local communities of Greece (POE-PTA) have decided to suspend all activities in light of the ongoing strike of rubbish collectors. The workers’ union said it would continue to block rubbish trucks from going on rounds, while they also decided to block access to and from the Sanitary Landfill Sites (XYTA) and abstain from any overtime work. The municipality works said they would continue their disruptive industrial actions until the issue of the permanent hiring of rubbish collectors, who are currently on short term contacts is resolved by the Greek government. Meanwhile, the leader of the major Greek opposition party of New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis accused Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and his government of deceiving both the POE OTE workers and the Greek public in a tweet. “Mr. Tsipras, apart from all the Greeks, has deceived the contactual workers of POE-OTA. That does not legitimise the whole country being buried in rubbish”, he wrote.

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The workers union decided to hold a new march on June 26 in all the country’s regions, while a protest has been planned at 11.30am of the same day outside their union’s offices followed by a march towards the Greek parliament and the Ministry for Administrative Reconstruction. All the municipalities’ vehicle depots will be blocked off on June 27 and 28, while on June 29 there will a new nationwide strike by POE OTA. The Association of Greek Municipalities (KED) will convene in an emergency session on June 28 to decide whether its services will shut down if the government fails to solve the matter of the limited term contracted workers.

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Theresa May made a “fair and serious offer” to European Union leaders over the contentious issue of the future rights of EU citizens, offering those who arrive lawfully before Brexit the chance to build up the same rights to work, healthcare and benefits as UK citizens.

Speaking at the end of a dinner at an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, after formal Brexit talks kicked off on Monday, May set out the UK’s opening offer on the rights of EU citizens – an issue both sides have said they would like to be resolved early in the talks.

The prime minister told them the UK was willing to agree to a “cutoff point” between 29 March this year, when May formally triggered article 50, and the later date of March 2019 as preferred by the European commission.

EU citizens already in the UK – and those who arrive lawfully during a subsequent “grace period” – expected to be up to two years – will be given the opportunity to build up five years’ worth of residence. The grace period could start at any point up to the date of Brexit and would allow EU citizens time to regularise their status.

That will entitle them to a special category of “settled status”, conferring the same rights to work, pensions, NHS care and other public services as British citizens, which they will maintain for life.

source: theguardian.com

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The French President Emmanuel Macron met with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday and he expressed satisfaction with the June 15 Eurogroup’s decision on Greece.

Macron spoke of “a very good result” and Tsipras on his behalf thanked the French president for the support he provided during the proceedings of the Eurogroup.

“We aren’t done yet but the path has been opened,” Macron stated.

During their discussion, Macron also expressed a desire to visit Greece and they agreed to stay in contact in order arrange the visit.

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“There is a need to support economic growth in Greece in broader terms, and that is why we have tabled this plan for job positions and growth”, said Vice President for the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis addressing the European Parliament in response to a question submitted by the body’s Vice President and SYRIZA member Dimitris Papadimoulis, as well as MEP of New Democracy Geoge Kyrtsos and the Communist party (KKE) Sotiris Zarianopoulos. Mr. Dombrovskis underlined that a targeted plan had been put in place to create jobs and boost growth in Greece through the introduction of emergency measures. “Last week, we also presented an assessment of what has happened over the past two years and how much support has been mobilised towards Greece through this project”, he stressed. The Latvian politician made reference to the results of the thrid programme in Greece pointing that the Commission forecast a growth rate of 2.1% this year and a rate over the current EU average. Commenting on the overall situationn in Greece, he went on to say that there was a recovering economy, decreasing unemployment figures and the return of financial stability, adding that th goal was to remain on the same path.

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“There is a need to support economic growth in Greece in broader terms, and that is why we have tabled this plan for job positions and growth”, said Vice President for the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis addressing the European Parliament in response to a question submitted by the body’s Vice President and SYRIZA member Dimitris Papadimoulis, as well as MEP of New Democracy Geoge Kyrtsos and the Communist party (KKE) Sotiris Zarianopoulos. Mr. Dombrovskis underlined that a targeted plan had been put in place to create jobs and boost growth in Greece through the introduction of emergency measures. “Last week, we also presented an assessment of what has happened over the past two years and how much support has been mobilised towards Greece through this project”, he stressed. The Latvian politician made reference to the results of the thrid programme in Greece pointing that the Commission forecast a growth rate of 2.1% this year and a rate over the current EU average. Commenting on the overall situationn in Greece, he went on to say that there was a recovering economy, decreasing unemployment figures and the return of financial stability, adding that th goal was to remain on the same path.

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“There is a need to support economic growth in Greece in broader terms, and that is why we have tabled this plan for job positions and growth”, said Vice President for the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis addressing the European Parliament in response to a question submitted by the body’s Vice President and SYRIZA member Dimitris Papadimoulis, as well as MEP of New Democracy Geoge Kyrtsos and the Communist party (KKE) Sotiris Zarianopoulos. Mr. Dombrovskis underlined that a targeted plan had been put in place to create jobs and boost growth in Greece through the introduction of emergency measures. “Last week, we also presented an assessment of what has happened over the past two years and how much support has been mobilised towards Greece through this project”, he stressed. The Latvian politician made reference to the results of the thrid programme in Greece pointing that the Commission forecast a growth rate of 2.1% this year and a rate over the current EU average. Commenting on the overall situationn in Greece, he went on to say that there was a recovering economy, decreasing unemployment figures and the return of financial stability, adding that th goal was to remain on the same path.

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“The agreement at EuroGroup deos not constitute the end of the crisis, but paves the way for a clear exit path from the memoranda”, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras told his Ministers during a cabinet meeting, Wednesday in Athens. The Greek PM continued by cautioning that there was no room for complacency and that efforts had to intensify. Mr. Tsipras claimed the deal was proof that the deal vindicated his administration’s targets set at the previous cabinet meeting prior to the June 15 EuroGroup meeting. “The deal corresponds to the targets we had set during our previous cabinet meeting”, the Greek PM underlined.

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The Greeks always wanted and will always want relations of friendship and good neighbourliness with Turkey, as there are :more things that unite us than divide us,” Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Monday in a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Athens.

Yildirim told Pavlopoulos that the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has asked to visit Greece this year.

Pavlopoulos accepted, stressing that it is important the two sides to get well prepared for President Erdogan’s visit so that it will be successful and bring good results.

“Greece is Turkey’s doorway and window to Europe,” he said, noting that Greece has always viewed Turkey’s European course positively. He also noted, however, that a country wishing to join the EU must fully respect both international law and the laws of Europe.

“We are ready to assist Turkey in this direction when it needs it,” he added, pointing out that peaceful solutions based on international law would greatly assist Turkey’s bilateral relations with Greece and its progress toward EU membership. The Greek side was ready to do its part, he said, and such an approach would greatly lessen the defence costs incurred by both countries at difficult times for their respective economies.

“It could well be spent to further enhance the prosperity of our people. It is necessary to do this and on this we are absolutely frank,” he added.

Yildirim noted Ankara’s satisfaction with Pavlopoulos’ recent visit to Istanbul, which he said was the first by a Greek president in 65 years. He also agreed with the Greek president that “there are great many issues on which we have a common approach,” in addition to the issues that divide the two countries.

“Consequently, I consider that a positive approach on this positive agenda will prove beneficial to both peoples and both countries,” he said.

The Turkish government was fully aware of Greece’s contribution to Turkey’s efforts to join the EU, he added, and “very grateful for all you have done.” At the same time, he criticised the EU’s dealings with Turkey over the past year, saying they had not helped the progress of Turkey’s accession efforts.

“It would be very good if the EU clearly outlined its vision for the future of Europe and decided what Turkey’s place in that future will be,” he said. “We believe that Turkey’s full EU membership will contribute to the security of the EU and to a climate of security and stability in the broader region.

The Turkish premier also highlighted Turkey’s role as a “buffer” for refugee flows to Europe and in fighting terrorism, saying Ankara would like to see recognition and acknowledgement for these efforts, especially as regards the refugee crisis.

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is briefing the leader of major opposition party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Maximos Hall in the framework of contacts with the Greek political parties on economic and other issues. Speaking before the TV cameras Mr. Mitsotakis told the PM that the economic matters would be debated in parliament. “We will talk in private, but we will also have the chance to have a dialogue in parliament. The people must learn the whole truth”, Mr. Mitsotakis said. The Greek PM responded that sensitive matters relating to negotiations are best discussed in private. Mr. Tsipras briefed all the heads of Greece’s political parties on the developments on the Cypriot matter in light of the meeting in Switzerland, as well as the results of the recent EuroGroup.

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The Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Yildirim proceeded in a provocative statement during his meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Tsipras when he stated that it is not just Turkey that violates the Greek airspace but that Greek fighter jets do the same.

Oddly enough, no question or request for some clarification was asked regarding this statement during press conference after their meeting.

Mr. Yildirim also met with the Greek President Mr. Pavlopoulos. Mr. Pavlopoulos stated that “we Greeks want and always wish for a relationship of friendship and good neighborliness with Turkey,” adding that “what divide us are far less than what unite us.”

At the same time he welcomed with great pleasure the wish of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to visit Athens during the year, as expressed by Mr. Yildirim, and underlined the need for this visit to be well prepared so that it will lead to good results. He expressed the hope that a new page will open in the relations between the two countries and the two peoples and, moreover, to be a tangible proof that Greece is the door that will open the way to Turkey to the EU.

Mr Yildirim is currently on a private visit to Western Thrace along with his wife, were he will attend to the Iftar -closing ceremony of the Ramadan. Some analysts have expressed their concern over the possibility of the Turkish Prime Minister making some provocative statement, yet again, during his meetings with Greek Muslims of the area.

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