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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 7 March 2015
24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 MARCH 2015 GREECE PM, Fin Min in diplomatic push to sell measures Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis are launching a diplomatic offensive, with calls to several European counterparts, in a bid to lay the groundwork for another important Eurogroup summit on Monday, when Varoufakis is to set out six economic reforms in a bid to secure rescue funding. Tsipras set the ball rolling on Thursday, sources said, by calling European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Greek officials may send their peers a document with details on the six proposed measures on Friday to allow time before the Eurogroup for the exchange of ideas and possible corrections, Kathimerini understands. The proposals include a humanitarian aid package, an overhaul of the public administration, a payment scheme for tax debtors, and an overhaul of the tax collection system, government officials have indicated. It is thought that creditors GREEK HEADLINES DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: ‘Generous’ settlements to raise revenues AVGHI: Battle on all fronts DIMOKRATIA: The fatal issue of irregular migrants ESTIA: Indescribable amateurs ETHNOS: Pay your debts to the Tax Bureau to have your penalties written off IMERISIA: Debt settlement to raise revenues Greece’s new leftist finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the parliament in Athens. will push Athens for revenueraising measures such as privatisations. Sources close to Tsipras spoke of a "relatively positive but extremely fluid climate". They expressed the hope, however, that the proposed measures will succeed in clinching a portion of a 7.2-billion-euro pending loan tranche. Tsipras is set to continue diplomatic efforts next week and is due in Brussels on Wednesday and Paris on Thursday. Draghi adds 500 million euros to ELA, giving banks a breather The ECB governor made it clear that the ECB is not yet ready to consent to a rise in the ceiling of the funds that banks invest in Greek treasury bills VASSILIS ZIRAS European Central Bank governor Mario Draghi announced on Thursday a board decision on Greece that may appear tough but in fact averts a default during March at least and gives Athens some time to fulfil the pledges it undertook at the February 20 Eurogroup meeting. However, it is still keeping the country on the margins of the main funding mechanisms of member states by the Eurosystem. The ECB board decided on Thursday in Nicosia to increase the limit of the cash lent to Greek banks through the Bank of Greece's emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) mechanism by 500 million euros. Draghi made it clear that the ECB is not yet ready to consent to a rise in the ceiling of the funds that banks invest in Greek treasury bills or to accept Greek state bonds as collateral for cash. "The ECB is the first to wish to restart the financing to the Greek economy provided the conditions are in place, and the conditions are that a process which suggests a successful completion of the review be put in place quickly. That is the condition and we will certainly welcome such a development," said the bank's governor. In the last couple of months, added Draghi, the ECB has doubled lending to Greece to 100 billion euros, which amounts to 68 per cent of Greek gross domestic product, by far the highest in the eurozone. "In that sense one might say that the ECB is the central RIZOSPASTIS: People should claim what they have lost and what they deserve TA NEA: Appointment in Athens Jobless rate on the rise again ROULA SALOUROU Greek unemployment started to rise again in December following 14 months of gradual decline, reaching 26 per cent, according to figures released on Thursday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). The number of employed people declined by 24,453 from November 2014, while the jobless number posted a marginal decline of just 296. That brought about a small increase in the unemployment KATHIMERINI: Migration issue up in the air LOGOS: The number of irregular migrants tripled NAFTEMPORIKI: Ambiguities on a third package rate from November's 25.9 per cent. In December 2013 the rate had come to 27.3 per cent. The negative signs had first emerged from the Ergani register figures supplied by the Labor Ministry, showing a negative flow in employment in the last few months of 2014. The unemployment rate had peaked at 28 per cent in September 2013 before starting its decline in October 2013, with only February and April 2014 showing no change to the seasonally adjusted rate. Priests remain as public servants State will keep on paying their salaries, Greek government says bank of Greece, but it is also the central bank of the other states and it is a rule-based institution; it is not a political institution." Therefore the ECB has not exactly opened the liquidity floodgates, but the extra 500 million euros will be added to the 2.5 billion that Greek banks have not yet used from the ELA to create a leeway of 3 billion euros that banks can tap if they need it. This amount can also be utilised by the state as cash from the reserves of social security funds that are deposited at commercial lenders so as to cover its liquidity needs for this month. Had it not been for the unused ELA funds, the state would have been unable to draw on those reserves. There are no plans for the state to stop paying priests' salaries, the government announced on Thursday, adding that the Church of Greece also pays its fair share of taxes. "There is no such issue," said Alternate Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas when questioned by reporters about whether taxpayers would continue to cover some 10,000 clerics' wages. Mardas made the comment after meeting Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece. "The paying of clerics' wages is the reciprocal duty of the state as the Church has handed over its property to the state as part of this arrangement," said Ieronymos, who added that the Church "is taxed properly and maybe even more than some other bodies". The general secretary for religious affairs, Giorgos Kalantzis, issued a statement backing up the senior cleric on both issues. He said priests' salaries have been reduced during the crisis by the same amount as other public sector workers and that the Church pays taxes on revenues and property like other organisations. He added that only places of worship and sites used for charitable work, such as retirement homes and soup kitchens, are exempt from property tax.
28 February 2015
14 March 2015