Wednesday April 16, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Athens aims to settle debt issue while at EU helm

A worker cleans luxury vehicles parked outside the Zappeion Hall ahead of an official ceremony to inaugurate Greece’s presidency of the European Union on Wednesday.

With Greece set to assume the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union during an official ceremony in Athens on Wednesday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said Tuesday that he believed Athens would reach an agreement with its foreign creditors on two key issues during that period – on how to cover a funding gap for the next two years estimated at around 14 billion euros and on the nature of the debt relief Greece has been lobbying for.

Addressing a press conference, Stournaras told reporters that Greece’s economic reform efforts had gone “better than expected” in 2013 and that the impact of the recession had been blunted. Responding to reporters’ questions, Stournaras said the discussion on possible debt relief for Greece could start as soon as April, when the European Commission’s statistics service, Eurostat, is expected to confirm estimates that Greece will post a primary surplus in 2013. “The discussion can be completed either during the presidency or after it,” the minister said. Any debt relief is expected to comprise a reduction in interest rates and an extension on the maturities of Greece’s loans, not a new writedown of the country’s debt.

Apart from the anticipated resumption of talks with the troika next week, Stournaras said the government was preparing for the forthcoming Eurogroup and Ecofin summits in Brussels, on January 27 and 28 respectively, where the agenda is expected to be dominated by non-Greek issues. Topping the agenda will be fiscal advice to EU member states that are not involved in EU-backed rescue programs as well as economic governance and regulations for more effective fiscal adjustment, Stournaras said.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to receive Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and a host of other foreign dignitaries in Athens on Wednesday for an official ceremony to mark Greece’s assumption of the EU presidency on January 1. The festivities are to be centered around two landmarks – Zappeion Hall and the Athens Concert Hall – with Samaras and Barroso expected to give a joint press conference from the former site at around 5.30 p.m. ahead of the actual assumption ceremony at the Athens Concert Hall. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy is expected to arrive in Athens in time for the inauguration, which will be attended by several commissioners.

Security will be tight throughout the day with a heightened police presence and traffic restrictions across much of the city center. The police issued a statement Tuesday evening imposing an 18-hour ban on protests in central Athens, starting at 6 a.m. on Wednesday. A similar protest ban was enforced last July when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble visited Athens and in October 2012 when Chancellor Angela Merkel flew in.

In a related development on Tuesday, European Parliament President Martin Schulz confirmed, via his spokesman, that a scheduled visit to Athens on Wednesday by members of a committee set up to probe the role and activities of the troika in Greece had been postponed until after the EU presidency festivities.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday Jan 7, 2014 (21:26)  
Illegally claimed pensions cost state over 12.5 million euros
One dead, two injured in Thessaloniki ring road accident
Greece to assist search for remains of Turkish pilot
Bad weather leaves northwest town powerless
Bunkering firm head to be bailed
The president of bunkering company Eteka SA, Giorgos Spanos, was expected to be released on bail on Wednesday after being arrested in connection to an alleged illegal fuel smuggling ring. Al...
Euro periphery emerges as haven as bonds rise amid Ukraine feud
The euro area’s higher-yielding government bonds are emerging as a haven from emerging-market turmoil as the prospect of greater stimulus from the European Central Bank underpins demand for ...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Defense lets Olympiakos down at Madrid
Olympiakos played second fiddle to Real Madrid in a rather spectacular game in Spain on Tuesday going down 88-71 to trail 1-0 in the best-of-five quarterfinal series with the Spanish giant. ...
SOCCER
Apollon is relegated, Xanthi to face survival play-off
Apollon followed Aris to the second division and Xanthi will contest a relegation play-off, as the end of the regular season of the Super League on Sunday produced predictable results that a...
Inside Sports
EDITORIAL
Fundamental contradictions
The deep division running through the ranks of the country’s main opposition party regarding the euro and how Greece’s negotiations with its partners and creditors ought to be carried out is...
COMMENTARY
Empty vessels
US satirist and journalist Patrick Jake O’Rourke once said about American politics, “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.” ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Bunkering firm head to be bailed
2. Illegally claimed pensions cost state over 12.5 million euros
3. Euro periphery emerges as haven as bonds rise amid Ukraine feud
4. One dead, two injured in Thessaloniki ring road accident
5. Industry turnover index declines in February
6. Eurozone inflation stuck in ´danger zone´, keeps pressure on ECB
more news
Today
This Week
1. EU struggles to unpick the knot of Russia-Ukraine gas logistics
2. Stormy weather expected in northwest, central Greece
3. Bad weather leaves northwest town powerless
4. Greece to assist search for remains of Turkish pilot
5. University admission exams to commence May 28
6. Eurozone inflation stuck in 'danger zone', keeps pressure on ECB
Today
This Week
1. Bomb explodes outside Bank of Greece
2. Time to take a hard look at debt sustainability, says OECD chief
3. For faith and country
4. CCTV footage from Nigrita Prison shows signs of inmate torture [Video]
5. Car bomb explodes outside Greek Central Bank building, no one hurt [Update]
6. Samaras sees no need for third bailout
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.