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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 14 July 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 14 JULY 2018 7 NEWS Greece expected to ratify FYROM name agreement in mid-January Zoran Zaev set a timeframe, after discussing the course of action needed to hold a referendum in his country After weeks of speculation, a timeframe emerged regarding the Greek parliamentary vote on the agreement between Greece and FYROM. According to reports, Greece should be preparing for this debate to take place no sooner than 15 January 2019. This estimate came after a statement by FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that it will take 90 to 110 days for his country to amend its constitution after a successful referendum. Mr Zaev had previously announced that the referendum to decide whether FYROM will adopt the constitutional name ‘North Macedonia’ will take place sometime between the end of August and the beginning of September, it can be easily calculated that the constitutional revision will be completed by the first half of January, making way for Greece to complete their part of the agreement. In the meantime FYROM's Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov expressed his expectation for an invitation from NATO to begin accession negotiations this week, after the name deal was ratified by his country's parliament. Alexis Tsipras and the coalition government under pressure from the EU. Tsipras promises tax cuts and pension protection, while European patience runs thin FYROM expected to hold referendum in the coming months. Farmer shoots teen asylum seeker in Lesvos The unfortunate 16-year-old Syrian youngster is hospitalised with gunshot injuries in the head and legs A teenage Syrian was sent to hospital on Tuesday after a farmer allegedly took out his gun and shot him twice, once in the head and once on the legs, on the migrant-filled island of Lesvos. According to police, the reasons for the incident remain unknown, but sources say that the 78-year-old farmer, who had already served time in prison for the murder of his wife, said that he was afraid of being robbed. The horrific incident took place at a field near the identification centre of Moria. The alleged offender reportedly shot the 16-year-old refugee in front of his shocked parents and brother. They have since left the detention centre, seeking protection. The injured teenager remains hospitalised, but he is not at risk, according to authorities. This latest incident is just one of the many that have occurred on the island, with tempers flaring due to the fact that a resolution to the migration crisis is not appearing on the horizon. Greek government under fire by industrialists and the EU, warned to ‘not go down that road again’ The leftist-rightist coalition government in Greece is promising to implement tax relief from the start of the new year, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said. In his speech to the assembly of the northern Greece industrialist association, the PM expressed his personal belief that Greece's "credibility of the public finances" allows for "targeted" tax cuts. "The more the economy stabilises and offers high rates of growth, the more it offers us an opportunity to proceed with (tax) relief, with a permanent reduction in tax rates, and of course, ones affecting individual taxpayers," Mr Tsipras told the crowd. However, with an election scheduled to take place in 2019 at the latest, it remains simple to see why some are taking his statements with a grain of salt. Meanwhile, a number of cabinet members have also been vocal about the rest of the austerity measures included in Greece's bailout program implemented by the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The PM and his junior coa- The migration crisis on Lesvos finds tempers flaring between refugees and local residents. lition partner, Panos Kammenos, are quietly hoping that the agreed pension cuts will not have to be implemented, basing their hopes on the surpluses of the Social Security Entity. According to statements made by Greek Labor Minister Effie Achtsioglou, that surplus could go beyond €1.3 billion, which would allow the measure to be dropped entirely. It was pointed out that such a measure was only voted into parliament due to the insistence of the IMF. However, the IMF and the European Working Group (EWG) are not so lenient, insisting that these pension cuts be implemented by the start of the new year, alongside a new series of added tax reforms. Through his statements, EWG chief Hans Vijlbrief pointed out that the agreement was for the benefit of the country's financial status and so that it can regain its confidence in the markets. "Anything else is self-de- feating and Greece should not want to go down that road again," were his words. Also, an EU senior spokesman said that the pension cuts will proceed as scheduled and Greece will be ‘wise’ to not attempt any alterations, further adding that these cuts will only apply until the end of next year. In addition, tensions seem to be further rising between the Eurozone and the coalition government, as they insist that the new tax increase law that was meant to be implemented for the five islands suffering most due to the migration crisis must go through. However, Greece's PM has shown no intention of doing such a thing, as he has stated that the VAT will remain frozen for those islands "for as long as the crisis continues". In the meantime, Mr Tsipras is forced to deal with criticism from inside as well, as Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) president Theodoros Fessas expressed his concerns regarding the government's policies, which could chase away potential foreign businesses, especially in a time during which the country is in a dire need of investments. "At the same time, there's an attempt to divide entrepreneurship in the country into 'good' and 'bad'. The markets will not forgive such doubletalk, or the reversal of reforms and (political) polarisation. A return to normalcy is not served in such a manner," he said. However, Mr Tsipras accused the federation of demanding "antisocial and anti-growth measures even greater" than those asked by the loaners, this time seeking pension cuts. A spokesperson for the PM's office carried on with the attack: "… in our effort to restore labor relations, we have against us Mr Mitsotakis, who refers to an outdated eight-hour workday, but SEV as well, which through its unacceptable intervention insists on pension cuts in 2019, as well as the lowering of the tax-free annual income threshold … SEV's wholly political motives are proved by today's statements by the SEV president, who again attacked the government."
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