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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 9 February 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2019 9 GREECE Greek PM Alexis Tsipras visits Turkey Greek PM Alexis Tsipras paid a two-day visit to Turkey in the hope of boosting GreekTurkish ties. On Tuesday, he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two men vowed to work together and keep the channels of communication open. The Turkish President called for the return of eight Turkish soldiers that fled to Greece and sought asylum following a failed coup attempt. Mr Tsipras said that "Greece respects the decisions delivered by the judiciary." Refugees were also discussed with Greece calling on Ankara to implement the deal signed with the EU in 2016 aimed at stemming the flow of refugees. Initiatives of the deal included Turkey taking back refugees landing on Greek shores. Mr Erdogan said that the EU would also need to keep its pledges to Briefs GREEK PROPERTY SPIKE Greek property transactions spiked in the second half of 2018.The Independent Authority for Public Revenue data showing a 50.5 per cent annual growth rate in property transaction levy takings in July 2018.A two-month freeze in August and September, was followed by revenue takings at 70.64 per cent in October and 62.5 per cent in November. The yield brought 308 million euros to state coffers as a result of the Greek property transaction levy (32.2 per cent increase from the same period in 2017).The increase was due to motivated sellers interested in putting their homes on the market following an expected increase in objective values from 1 January, 2019. Owners rushed to get rid of property or pass on assets to their children as a way of paying lower taxes. It is also linked to growth in the short-term rental sector.Real estate agents said that there were more than 25,000 property transactions in 2018 – a figure that had not been seen since be- fore the economic crisis. The trend is set to continue in 2019 as there is talk of further revisions to objective value as a result of the government promising creditors that it would lessen the gap between taxable rates and market prices and attain full alignment of these in 2020. MACEDONIAN LOGO The name 'Macedonia' appears in the brand names of 182 Greek businesses, while more than 4,000 businesses describe one or more of their products using the Greek place name.The ratification of the Prespes Agreement by Athens and FYROM has thrown them into a state of uncertainty as to whether their Skopjian neighbours will now have the right to also use the place name that identifies traditionally Greek products. The commercial chamber in northern Greece has already started taking action to offer legal assistance to businesses that want additional clarification regarding the details of the agreement.The agree- UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES Eurostat released its latest unemployment figures for the European Union. Greece continued its reign as the champion of joblessness with 18.6 per cent unemployment in October 2018, followed by Spain (14.3 per cent) and Italy (10.3 percent). The statistics were worse for Greek women, with 23.1 per cent listed as unemployed as opposed to 15.1 per cent of men.It was not all doom and gloom however, because Greece also noted the largest decrease to its unemployment rate that dropped from 21 per cent to 18.6 per cent since October 2017. Greek youth unemploy- ment includes a provision that secures the rights that Greek companies currently have under EU regulations. An international team of experts from both countries will be created to run through to 2022 and will focus on name and trademark issues that need to be addressed in the framework of the Prespes Agreement. ment is still the highest in the European Union at 38.5 per cent in October 2018. Australia's unemployment rate was at 5 per cent in Decembe. CANNABIS INVESTMENTS Greece is hoping to tap into its nascent cannabis economy following the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes in 2017 and the lifting of the prohibition into the growing of the plant in 2018.The first two licenses for cannabis production were granted to private companies for the growing of medicinal cannabis last year and the Greek Ministry of Economy and Development has announced that more licenses will be offered 2019. Greek Health Minister Andreas Xanthos, Alternate Economy and Development Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas and Greek Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development and Food, Vassilis Kokkalis, held a joint press conference to announce that 12 new licenses bringing up the total of medicinal cannabis producers in Greece to 14.The government expects that the 14 licenses will create around 770 new jobs and bring in 185 million euros in investment. Cannabis is still considered an addictive substance, according to Greek Law. The granting of a license is only possible under strict terms and conditions. HEATING LUXURY One in four Greek households cannot afford to provide adequate heating for their families, according to Eurostat. The findings came as part of an annual survey the statistic agency conducts throughout the European Union countries, regarding income and living conditions. The data revealed that approximately 25.7 per cent of Greeks in 2017 were unable to pay for keeping their homes warm during winter, lagging far behind the EU average, which stands at 7.8 per cent. Only two EU countries, Bulgaria and Lithuania, fared worse than Greece, with 36.5 per cent and 28.9 per cent of the households, respectively, being una- ble to afford heating. Cyprus and Portugal fared slightly better, with 23 percent and 20 percent, respectively. CYPRIOT DIALECT ON NASA Two small pieces of rock on the surface of Mars were named after words of the Cypriot dialect, 'zavos (i.e. 'tiltedl/ not straight') and 'mutti' (i.e. peak, highest point).The two rocks are adjacent to the stationary InSight lander and are to be documented, analyzed and featured in articles and conferences. They were given their names by Dr Konstantinos Charalambous, one of the scientists who take part in NASA's InSight mission. The 33-year-old Cypriot scientist, who holds a PhD in Planetary Sciences from London's Imperieal College, suggested the names, in a least featuring other Cypriot word and their meanings."So, somewhere there on the planet Mars there is a small piece of our Cyprus," Dr Charalambous said, talking to the Cyprus News Agency. Transparency watchdog slams Eurogroup Transparency International's report on corruption was stinging when it came to Eurogroup. PM Alexis Tsipras visited Hagia Sofia on the second day of his trip to Turkey. Turkey, such as waiving the visa restrictions on the country. Mr Tsipras spent the second day of his visit in Istanbul, where he toured Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO world heritage site that now operates as a museum. He then attended a church service at the seminary of Halki, forty eight years after Turkey forced the renowned seminary to close. As the first sitting Greek Prime Minister to visit the theological seminary. The clandestine meetings of eurozone finance ministers that belong to the group was slammed. "For an institution whose decisions have had an impact on the lives of millions of Europeans, there is much about the Eurogroup that is mysterious," the anti-corruption watchdog stated.Though the Eurogroup is an informal grouping, it has drawn up harsh and crippling bailout plans for Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. The group meets once a month and was a "talking shop" prior to the debt crisis that plagued the EU, however its role changed once the crisis took its toll on the euro. From 2010 through to The Eurogroup’s role changed once the crisis took its toll on the euro. 2013, ministers drew up bailouts and monitored Eurozone members spending plans, taking the control from the finance teams of national governments. France and Germany account for half the Eurozone's GDP, hence hold much of the power leaving smaller member states, such as Greece, to feel "pressure from financial markets and time constraints" and without leeway when it comes to "blocking proceedings". Transparency International recommended the formalisation of the Eurogroup with greater transparency and direct accountability to the European Parliament. It is also suggested that the group have a full-time presented who would hold clear responsibility for decisions.
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