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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 May 2016
22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 MAY 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greece ‘Russia’s important partner in Europe’: Putin Russia's President Vladimir Putin has described Greece as "Russia's important partner in Europe". Greek Finance Minister Eucleidis Tsakalotos (C) and president of Eurogroup, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem (R). PHOTO: EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET. Time for relief ? Greece managed to gain a new bailout package from its lender, as the Eurogroup ministers expressed satisfaction with the new set of measures that will allow for debt relief in 2018 After months of scrutiny and negotiations, it is time for relief talks between Greece and its lenders came to conclusion on Wednesday. "We achieved a major breakthrough on Greece which enables us to enter a new phase in the Greek financial assistance program," Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, told a news conference. "This is stretching what I thought would have been possible not so long ago," he added. The finance ministers of the eurozone agreed on an offer of debt relief for Greece, while the International Monetary Fund committed to continue being part of the bail- Ζητήσεις Positions Vacant EXP. BAKER for full time position. Nothern suburbs (Bundoora). To discuss further please call 0420 986 151. WROUGHT IRON COMPANY in Fairfield. We are currently looking for qualifiedΚxperienced tradesman who is available ASAP in the following areas Welding, Grinding, Fabrication, Installation, Physically fit and reliable. If you fit the description above, please contact Nick or Dimmi on 9481 1220. out process, in what has been described as a "breakthrough deal" that will give Greece a much-needed cash flow of €10.3 billion ($15.9b). The first tranche of the new bailout funds (€7.5b) will be released in June, with another 2.8b to come after the Greek summer - and only if Greece completes another set of privatisations and reforms in the revenue agency and energy sectors. This agreement came as a recognition of the painful fiscal reforms pushed through the Greek parliament by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' leftist-led coalition. Tsipras has been under heavy criticism for this new set of harsh measures that include the privatisation of major state assets and severe cuts to pensions and benefits, but the government is hoping to gain traction, as Athens was promised substantial debt relief in 2018, if that is necessary to meet agreed criteria on its payments burden. This specific development was what reaffirmed the IMF's involvement in the bailout program, but also came as a sort of defeat for Germany, which had remained opposed to any notion of debt relief. The IMF has long insisted on the European governments taking a hit to relieve Athens of some of its debt in order to make its public finances more sustainable. The refusal of Germany and others to do that had led to months of wrangling with the IMF, in which Athens had been something of a spectator in negotiations. The agreement on debt relief came as a result of the European ministers investing much "political capital" and did not come unconditionally. "The Eurogroup agrees to assess debt sustainability with reference to the following benchmark for gross financing needs (GFN): under the baseline scenario, GFN should remain below 15 per cent of GDP during the post program period for the medium term, and below 20 per cent of GDP thereafter," said the official statement released on Wednesday. "The Eurogroup recalls the medium-term primary surplus target of 3.5 per cent of GDP as of 2018 and underlines the importance of a fiscal trajectory consistent with the fiscal commitments under the EU framework," it went on. The IMF's European director Poul Thomsen said he believed the agreed measures (notably notably the adoption of legislation to deliver fiscal parametric measures amounting to three per cent of GDP that should allow to meet the fiscal targets in 2018) would "deliver the necessary debt relief", specifying that the fund made a big concession by agreeing that the debt relief would only be finally decided in 2018, rather than up-front, as was the IMF's initial position. "Even if the discussions were long, the atmosphere was always extremely relaxed," said the Socialist French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, offering praise for Alexis Tsipras. "This deal is first and foremost a declaration of confidence in today's Greece." According to officials, mutual trust has returned to the talks, nearly a year after Tsipras's rejection of austerity measures pushed Athens close to be pushed out of the euro. This kind of optimism was further confirmed when one of the finance ministers started playing the music of Zorba the Greek during the Eurogroup meeting. "I think there is some ground for optimism that this can be the beginning of turning Greece's vicious circle of recession-measures-recession into one where investors have a clear runway to invest in Greece," said Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, returning from Brussels to Athens. The statement was made in an article published by Kathimerini ahead of the president's visit to Greece on Friday, in which he also referenced potential cooperation between the two nations in regional energy projects and Moscow's interest in Greece's railways. "We are conducting a dynamic political dialogue," wrote Putin, further noting that bilateral cooperation "rests on a rock-solid base of common civilisational values, the Orthodox culture and a genuine mutual affection". According to Kathimer- ini, the Russian leader is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, with his visit expected to conclude with the signing of several bilateral agreements, before travelling to Mount Athos on Saturday. According to The Kremlin, the Russian leader's meeting with the Greek PM would "focus on key aspects of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation, including joint projects in the energy and transport sectors". In his article, Putin also noted that "contacts between ministries and agencies, parliaments and civil society organisations are growing stronger" before stressing that Greece is "Russia's important partner in Europe". He also clarified Russia's business interests in "streamlining the Greek transport infrastructure" and referred to "the forthcoming Greek tenders for the purchase of assets of railway companies and the Thessaloniki port facilities". Peloponnese named top European destination for 2016 The Peloponnese has been named as the number one European destination of 2016 by travel guide publisher Lonely Planet. On its website, the publisher writes: “Now more than ever the Peloponnese is the perfect destination for absorbing traditional Greek life, compelling history and inspiring landscapes. “Travellers to Greece tend to flock to the myriad islands or marvel at the iconic Acropolis, but one of the country’s most diverse, vibrant regions is often forgotten: the Peloponnese. “It remains an affordable enclave of magnificent ancient sights like Olympia, Mycenae and Mystras, which are scattered across a rich landscape of stone villages, teal seas and snow-capped mountains.” The Top Ten experiences listed in the southern Greek region clearly conveyed why it topped the list, with experiences varying from visits to the seaside town of Nafplio, the shipwreck dive in Navarino Bay at Pylos, catching a show at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, to bird-watching at Gialova Lagoon, among others. Following the Peloponnese in the Top 10 must see European destinations were Aarhus in Denmark, followed by Italy’s Venice, the Dordogne in France, Lviv in Ukraine, England’s Warwickshire, Extremadura in Spain, the east coast of Tenerife, Textel in the Netherlands and Croatia’s northern Dalmatian coast.
21 May 2016
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