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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 7 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2015 25 GREECE EC slashes 2015 growth estimate for Greece SOTIRIS NIKAS Uncertainty regarding the policies that Alexis Tsipras' government will follow has taken a toll on confidence in the Greek economy and could slow the country's recovery, the European Commission warned in its winter forecasts, as it proceeded to a downward revision of its estimate for growth this year. The forecasts published this week point to an economic growth rate of 2.5 per cent for Greece in 2015, down from a previous estimate of 2.9 per cent, which was also the forecast of the Finance Ministry. This is despite the fact that the economy grew even more than expected last year, up 1 per cent against an estimate for 0.6 per cent. It is clear that Brussels attributes great significance to the uncertainty regarding the choices of the new Greek administration, but its forecasts are based on the assumption that Athens will meet the pledges of the previous government in the context of the existing bailout program. For the first quarter of the year the commission expects uncertainty to be reflected in economic activity, but for the year as a whole it anticipates stronger private consumption, an increase in exports and a rise in investments, but only provided that "the political environment stabilises". Brussels calculated that the primary budget surplus last year amounted to 1.7 per cent of GDP and will climb to 4.8 per cent this year, against a previous estimate of 4.1 per cent of GDP. However, this will require new measures in addition to what the budget has provided for, the report stressed. It added that the risks to the achievement of fiscal targets derive from the temporary reduction in tax revenues, reflecting the uncertainty concerning what kind of tax measures the new government will introduce. GREEK HEADLINES RIZOSPASTIS: The new government’s ‘agreement’ will have antipopular terms. AVGHI: War of positions in Berlin. EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Rendezvous at the Wall. ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: Draghi's (Mario, European Bank president) bomb presses the banks' liquidity. ESTIA: Austere life and new taxes. KATHIMERINI: Head on collision with Berlin. LOGOS: Positive messages for viable solution. NAFTEMPORIKI: Wall from Berlin. Enel quits hydrocarbon search tenders European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker (R) welcomes Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras prior to a meeting at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 04 February 2015. Plans to revive Pikionis' ‘pilgrimage’ CHRISTINA SANOUDOU Acclaimed Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis (1887-1968) had envisaged the path leading to the Acropolis as a kind of "pilgrimage". The original idea was based on the notion that as visitors approached the archaeological site's entrance, a change in the ‘frame’ would reveal different facets of the various monuments. Later on, the creation of shorter paths - especially in the 1970s - together with the pedestrianisation projects carried out within the framework of the unification of the city's archaeological sites, ended up altering the spirit of the original planning. Nowadays, tour guides tend to take their groups through the shortcuts, a move which may save time but also deprives visitors of sensational views while adding to the general overcrowding at the entrance area. The restoration of Pikionis' original planning is expected to be one of the main challenges facing the winners of an international architectural competition for the redesign of the Acropolis entrance area. Set to be announced by the Ministry of Culture as soon as certain procedures are completed, the competition aims to solve issues regarding the area's accessibility and operations. At the same time, experts will explore options for improving the area's overall look through the removal of certain construc- tions as well as by changing the usage of others, including the old cloakroom, the post office and the guides' building, among others, in an effort to maintain a sense of homogeneity. On January 21, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) approved a basic framework that will serve as the backbone for the architectural competition's specifications. Furthermore, KAS also approved a proposal for the relocation of the Acropolis store as well as closing off access to the Acropolis via the Herod Atticus Theatre and Dionysiou Areopagitou Street for a trial period. According to Culture Ministry officials, both the existing store's location (the out- let is currently situated north of the ticket office and outside the site's enclosure) and its merchandise - primarily comprising casts and Archaeological Receipts Fund publications - are not particularly attractive. After examining five dif- ferent relocation proposals, KAS ruled that the new store should be erected on the junction of Theorias Street and the unofficial parking area, a location which will not interfere with Pikionis' original idea. Defined by its discreet and high-quality aesthetics, the construction will feature reversible qualities, so as to be removed or altered when the time comes for the archaeological site's broader renovation plans to materialise. PHOTΟ: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET. It is unlikely the tenders for hydrocarbon surveying in three blocks in Western Greece will involve any foreign companies, as, following the withdrawal of Shell, Total and Repsol amid the uncertainty that arose with the elections and the government change in Greece, Enel announced that it is also dropping out of the bidding process scheduled for Friday. The withdrawal of the Italian energy company came as a surprise not only to the Energy Ministry, which had decided to start the bidding process on account of Enel's expression of interest, but also to its bidding partner, Hellenic Petroleum, which will now submit an independent offer. Sources say Enel's opt-out was unrelated to Greek politics, as it is facing internal problems. Barring another surprise, the ministry is only expecting bids on Friday from Greek firms Hellenic Petroleum and Energean Oil. Source: Kathimerini TA NEA: Free besieged. ETHNOS: Night siege from ECB and Berlin. IMERISIA: Negotiations at a crucial point.
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