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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 June 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 JUNE 2018 9 GREECE Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos. A 30-year-old woman and 33-year-old man charged with taking part in antistate terrorist group Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei have been acquitted. The pair, who had been serving 13-year prison sentences for their alleged involvement in the far-left group, faced a five-member appeals court, with a resulting unanimous decision in their favour. Despite a prosecutor highlighting that the DNA results were reliable based on international protocol, the court did not maintain the Greece: the day after A week after the ‘historic’ Eurogroup agreement, Greece is on its way out of the bailout program, but still under tight supervision NIKOS FOTAKIS Last week, the Greek government celebrated the ‘end of the memorandum era’ after the Eurogroup meeting reached an agreement on the final bailout program and an outline of the next phase of the Greek fiscal odyssey. "After eight long years, Greece will finally be graduating from its financial assistance," said Eurogroup president Mario Centeno. "The Eurogroup agreed on debt relief measures to ensure sustainability and access to bond markets." The agreement is far from the ‘clean exit’ that the Tsipras government was aiming for, but it still includes significant medium-term measures. " Greece is leaving the financial assistance program with a stronger economy building on the fiscal and structural reforms implemented. It is important to continue these reforms, which provide the basis for a sustainable growth path with higher employment and job creation, which in turn is Greece's best guarantee for a prosperous future," the Eurogroup statement reads. According to the deal, Greece secures a loan tranche of €15 billion (€3.3 billion of which would be used to pay off part of the country's debt to the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund), as well as a 10-year extension for the repayment of its European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) loans and an additional grace period of 10 years on interest payments. The extension of the repayment period of the EFSF loans and the size of the final bailout tranche had long been part of the Greek demands, and were the focus of several trilateral meetings between finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and his French and German counterparts, Bruno Le Maire and Olaf Scholz. What's more, Greece will exit the bailout program, equipped with a financial ‘safety net’ of €24.1 billion, which will cover the country's credit needs for 22 months from August. This provides a much-needed sense of security to a country still trying to find its pace, implement reforms and restart the economy - and it is yet unclear whether two years is enough time for this to happen. "I pay tribute to the Greek people for their resilience and European commitment. Their efforts were not in vain," tweeted European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and one would be forgiven in assuming these efforts are now over, having borne fruit, but this is not the case. "We agreed that based on a debt sustainability analysis to be provided by European institutions, the Eurogroup will review at the end of the EFSF grace period in 2032, whether additional debt measures are needed to ensure the respect of the agreed GFN targets, pro- vided that the EU fiscal framework is respected, and take appropriate actions, if needed. The Eurogroup will take into account a positive assessment in post-program surveillance, particularly in the fiscal area and economic reform policies," stresses the Eurogroup statement. Under this agreement, after the end of the third bailout program in August, Greece is entering a state of ‘enhanced supervision’ i.e. a regime of systemic reviews which will assess its fiscal and economic performance, on which depends the country's ability to borrow from sovereign money markets. Overall, the agreement has a ‘carrot and stick’ aspect to it, linking debt relief with the course of implemented reforms, and, of course, with successfully meeting fiscal targets i.e. a 3.5 per cent primary budget surplus, as a percentage of GDP, until 2022, and a 2.2 per cent annual target between 2023 and 2060. This might seem to be a goal hard to achieve, but the Greek government is optimistic, particularly since it managed to post a primary budget surplus of €1.525 billion in the period between January and May, over-exceeding a surplus target of €180 million. Net budget revenues reached to €18.422 billion, up 4.7 per cent from the target; regular budget net revenue reached €17.3 billion, up 2.2 per cent from the target. The aftereffect of the Eurogroup agreement was immediately felt, when major international ratings agencies such as Standard & Poors (S&P) and Moody's upgraded Greece. On Monday, S&P raised Greece's long-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings to B+ from the previous B rating, explaining this decision by stating that "Greece's creditors have approved the creation of liquidity buffers and additional debt maturity extensions ahead of the sovereign's graduation from the European Stability Mechanism program in August 2018. We believe this significantly reduces sovereign debt servicing risks over the next two years." Similarly, Moody's also hailed last week's debt relief package as a "credit positive event", stating: "We expect the agreement to pave the way for the government to return to capital market funding on a sustained basis [...] “We consider the package a significant benchmark in Greece's ongoing recovery from its deep government debt, economic and banking crisis." The international ratings agency said the thrice-bailed out country would face only "very moderate" refinancing needs in the coming decade. Moody's rating for Greece is currently at B3 positive. Lindsay Lohan. PHOTO: ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT PHOTO: NAFTEMPORIKI New reality show featuring Lindsay Lohan to begin filming in Greece American star Lindsay Lohan is continuing to build on her ties with Greece, this time with a reality television series for MTV. The show will take viewers behind the scenes of the 31-year-old actor's nightclubs in Athens and Mykonos. According to Lohan, people can expect the show to follow a similar format to Vanderpump Rules, based on the life of Lisa Vanderpump, and will be based on her life in Greece, with hopes it will dispel her reputation as a wild party-girl. "There's a business side to my life now, but I'm not in America, so no one knows about it," Lohan told the New York Times. "I'm a normal, nice person. A good person … I don't have any bad intentions. And my past has to stay in the past. People have to just let go of it and stop bringing it up because … it's gone. It's dead. And that's the most important thing to me." Aside from her reality series and other film projects, Lohan has plans to expand on her nightclub offering in Greece, with a third in Rhodes. Two suspected members of far-left anti-state terrorist group acquitted by court guilty verdict. A group of people were gathered outside the court, and broke out in celebrations once the verdict was heard. The news has received much attention, with the outcome receiving praise from the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself via his official Twitter account. "Today a great injustice against two young people was overturned. Democracy and the rule of law breathed freely," he tweeted.
23 June 2018
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