Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-06-24

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 16-06-24

Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English Directory - Previous Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

Friday, 24 June 2016 Issue No: 5192

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Greece's deal offers prospects for final exit from the crisis
  • [02] PM Tsipras meets party leaders to discuss changes to constitution, election law
  • [03] Greece to activate 50 pct of programs funded by EU by end of September
  • [04] Alternate FM to participate in EU General Affairs Council on Friday
  • [05] ND leader: Completion of review not enough to counteract recessionary measures
  • [06] New Parliamentary sub-committee to examine technical, political aspects of Greece's debt
  • [07] Greece to prepare 500 places for hosting unaccompanied refugee children by July, Mouzalas tells Parliament
  • [08] Doctors Without Borders' SecGen says EU's refugee policies are in contast to humanitarian values
  • [09] Putin eyes closer partnership with China - Russian President's exclusive interview with head of Xinhua
  • [10] Central bank slashes ELA ceiling for Greek banks, citing return of deposits
  • [11] Development of international energy cooperation under the microscope of Energy Min Skourletis
  • [12] DESFA CEO says agreement with Bulgartransgaz to be signed on June 24
  • [13] Greek stocks extend rally for fourth successive session
  • [14] Greek bond market closing report
  • [15] ADEX closing report
  • [16] Mediterranean Panorama to promote Greece in Scandinavia
  • [17] SETE: It is the duty of everyone in tourism to protect Greece's beauty
  • [18] Greek Dep. FM Amanatidis to inaugurate exhibition on Byzantium at St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum
  • [19] Football match on Saturday to raise money for UNICEF
  • [20] New three-hour work stoppages in train and suburban railway next week
  • [21] 56,975 identified migrants and refugees in Greece on Thursday
  • [22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance Politics

[01] PM Tsipras: Greece's deal offers prospects for final exit from the crisis

Greece finally has a deal with its creditors which allows for optimism that a final exit from the crisis is possible and that offers prospects to the Greek economy and the Greek people, Prime minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday in his speech at the Economist Conference in Athens.

"The Greek economy is entering a completely new phase. After a very long time, there is a period of stability and recovery. The country is exiting from the uncertainty and moving forward dynamically to regain the lost time and correct the losses left by the deep recession of the previous six years," Tsipras told attendees.

Commenting on the country's large public debt, he said the binding guarantee of Greece's partners for direct interventions to ensure its sustainability and the specific ceiling set on its servicing which amounts to about 15 pct of GDP per year, send a powerful signal to the markets and international investors that Greece's growth will not be hindered by its debt servicing. "And this is the most solid sense of sustainability," he noted.

Tsipras then highlighted the government's next moves which involve setting the basis for the country's productive reconstruction to produce "fair growth", which will prioritize lowering unemployment to reach the European average and "finally achieve normality".

Growth will be based on eight priority areas in which the country has a comparative advantage: agro-food sector, health and medicine, information and communication technologies, energy, environment and sustainable development, transport and logistics, materials and construction, as well as culture and tourism.

He said the government's plan is to spread the benefits of growth fairly by transforming the state structurally, tackling unequal and preferential tax treatment, maximizing the social return of the Greek taxpayer's money and promoting a new production model with high added value investments that provide new, stable and well-paying jobs.

Focusing on the second program review, the premier said all sides should show the same commitment for results, so as to avoid delays that undermine the recovery, and noted the government will present a proposal for the needs of the Greek labour market in the context of Europe's best practices. Tsipras also noted that growth cannot be based on crushing employment. "We cannot and will not allow it," he said.

[02] PM Tsipras meets party leaders to discuss changes to constitution, election law

New Democracy will not participate in the discussion on changing election law, main opposition ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated on Thursday after a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

"For us, this discussion should take place at another time and be linked with a revision of the constitution," Mitsotakis said, noting that there necessary neutrality for this discussion did not currently exist.

According to ND's leader, the country needed stable governments and the "rules of the game cannot be changed 'on the hoof' and in accordance with the tactical choices of the government."

ND was currently only prepared to discuss issues relating to giving the vote to expatriates living abroad and on carving up the large constituencies, he said, since the present election system "serves the need for stable government." He also noted that the prime minister had not presented specific proposals and once again called on Tsipras to agree to launching a discussion on revising the constitution, so that the next Parliament has powers to change the constitution.

Mitsotakis was the last of three opposition party leaders that met with the prime minister on Thursday, in meetings requested by Tsipras to sound out the common ground in efforts to change election law and revise the constitution. He had earlier met PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata and before that with Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Dimitris Koutsoumbas.

Emerging from her meeting with the prime minister, Gennimata said their talk had been more exploratory than specific and that their views only coincided on a proposal to reduce the voting age to 17.

"We made no agreements. Mr. Tsipras did not make his views clear, he did not present a comprehensive proposal," she said, noting that PASOK would vote once the government made its intentions clear. "In any case, Gennimata added, we will not do them the favour of diverting discussion from the daily problems of the country and society, problems that the SYRIZA-ANEL government has created."

According to Koutsoumbas, he had repeated his party's standing position in favour of simple and untampered proportional representation, without any bonuses or "minimums" that might distort the will of the Greek people as reflected in elections.

"I cannot, of course, say that there was agreement on these issues. You know KKE's position. The prime minister gave me the impression that he is listening to the views of the parties at present, that the government and he have not arrived at a specific framework and specific positions on all these problems," he said.

Government sources said that there will be an overall assessment of the momentum of a proposal for simple proportional representation after the prime minister concludes his meetings with opposition leaders on Friday, when he meets with Centrists' Union leader Vasilis Leventis and Potami party leader Stavros Theodorakis. Following this, SYRIZA's Central Committee will meet at the weekend and submit the party's proposal to the rest of the political parties.

The talks between the prime minister and the other party leaders were sincere, and despite the various disagreements expressed regarding parameters of simple proportional representation there were also elements of convergence, they said. Among such points of convergence they listed a right to vote from 17 and an abolition or significant reduction of the current 50-seat 'bonus' to the party with the highest percentage of the vote.

In a Twitter post earlier on Thursday, Tsipras said the government was "striving for changes to the election law and Constitution that are based on the broadest possible consensus." The government's goals are to make the changes in election law at a time that is "comfortably distant" from the next electoral race and pass them with a two-thirds majority - or at least 200 votes - so that they go into effect at the next elections.

[03] Greece to activate 50 pct of programs funded by EU by end of September

Greece will activate 50 pct of the programs included in the new EU funding plan by the end of September and will increase the public spending program by one billion euros by 2019, Deputy Minister for NSRF Issues Alexis Charitsis said in a speech at the an Economist conference in Athens.

Charitsis said already 25 pct of the programs have been activated, a percentage that will double by the end of September, as the government wants to utilize the momentum achieved by the completion of the first program review.

Concerning public spending program, he said this year's budget already sees a small increase by 50 million euros, which will be followed by annual increases of 250 million euros for the next three years.

He said the completion of the program review, the recapitalization of banks and the provision of some debt relief for Greece are a necessary but not sufficient conditions for a return to growth and expressed his belief that after reinstating the waiver for Greece's bonds, the European Central Bank will later move to include them in the central bank's quantitative easing program.

[04] Alternate FM to participate in EU General Affairs Council on Friday

The results of Thursday's EU referendum in Britain will be discussed at a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council (GAC), in Luxembourg on Friday, attended by Alternate Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis.

The GAC agenda includes discussion on the European Semester, the interinstitutional agreement on better legislation and related issues of transparency, as well as preparations for the European Council set for next Tuesday and Wednesday, 28 and 29 June, in Brussels.

According to the foreign ministry, Xydakis will present to his European colleagues Greece's positions on the preparations for the upcoming European Council, the agenda for which will include migration, the employment-growth-investments triptych, EU external relations, and the results of the UK referendum.

[05] ND leader: Completion of review not enough to counteract recessionary measures

The completion of Greece's program review by its lenders is not enough by itself to compensate for the recessionary impact of the measures agreed, New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday during a speech at an Economist conference in Athens.

"Those who claim this don't understand what's happening in the real economy," he said. "Some people claim the government has transformed into a belated proponent of liberal reforms. It's like claiming Nigel Farage has become pro-European!" he added and continued "I want to be clear. The completion of the review is a temporary diversion from the Avenue of populism that the Greek government marches onto. A political maneuver to survive and stay in power."

Mitsotakis went on to say that all Greek parties have in the past succumbed to populism, including ND, but noted that his party's "divorce from populism is permanent". "Today, ND says things that can be done and those that cannot [be done] are not said."

He also spoke for the need for a new deal with Greece's creditors whom he criticized for accepting the completion of the review with measures based on the imposition of new taxes. Mitsotakis said the target for a 3.5 pct primary surplus is unfeasible and predicted that the targets won't be achieved.

Commenting on Thursday's British referendum on whether to stay in the EU, he said: "I truly hope a vote in favour of staying will give Europe an opportunity for some honest self-criticism. A new European political narrative is urgently needed. A narrative that will inspire European citizens and strengthen their belief in the usefulness of the Union."

He also said this narrative should reconnect the European middle class with politics and warned about the wave of populism and xenophobia sweeping Europe.

[06] New Parliamentary sub-committee to examine technical, political aspects of Greece's debt

The Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday decided on the formation of a sub-committee that will discuss the technical and political aspects of debt relief for Greece, with committee chairman Makis Balaouras noting that the issue had been repeatedly raised since 2010 and Parliament could not be "absent from historical developments."

The sub-committee will be made up of 21 MPs - 10 from SYRIZA, five from New Democracy and one each from the rest of the parties in Parliament - and experts. It will make use of the evidence collected by the Truth Committee on Public Debt set up under Zoi Konstantopoulou's term as Parliament president, in addition to other material.

The decision to form a sub-committee was supported by ruling coalition MPs while most of the opposition parties said they would wait until the proposal was presented in writing before expressing an opinion and accused the chair of an "ambush". The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) objected to the proposal, saying the sub-committee's role was already covered by the Parliament Budget Office.

Balaouras explained that the proposal was an initiative he had taken with SYRIZA MPs after contacting the government and promised that there will be a briefing of the opposition parties from the Parliament president, who would ask them to propose members to take part in the committee.

[07] Greece to prepare 500 places for hosting unaccompanied refugee children by July, Mouzalas tells Parliament

Greece will prepare 500 places for the accommodation and hospitality of unaccompanied refugee children by July, Alternate Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas announced in Parliament on Thursday. He also announced plans to establish a programme for the voluntary return of migrants to their countries of origin.

The minister said that the situation in the Greek islands hosting migrants and refugees remained difficult, with about 50 pct having entered the country illegally, though great efforts were being made to address the problems and had brought significant relief. He reported a total of 8,000 refugees and migrants on all the islands at present, noting that in Mytilene alone their numbers had falled from 10,000 at first to 3,000 at present.

He admitted that there was tension and delinquency at the accommodation centres, however, noting that the residents there were "running out of money, feeling trapped and have a right to be critical."

The rate of examining asylum applications had also increased, he added, from 30 a day at first to 70 a day at present, while the final goal was to reach 150 a day, he said.

[08] Doctors Without Borders' SecGen says EU's refugee policies are in contast to humanitarian values

The refugee policies followed by the European Union are in direct contrast to its humanitarian values, the International Secretary General of "Doctors Without Borders", Jerome Oberreit, told ANA-MPA in an interview on Thursday, just a few days after the NGO decided to stop accepting funding from any EU country or institution.

"The EU-Turkey agreement is the last in a long line of anti-humanitarian policies which the European governments discuss and spreading them in more than 16 countries (including Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan - four of the top ten countries that produce refugees), with the sole aim of denying people the right to request asylum. This was the limit for the 'Doctors Without Borders'," Oberreit told the news agency.

He said the deal with Turkey not only worsens the refugee crisis, but it also endangers the actual notion of the refugee. "We cannot receive funding from governments or institutions whose policies cause so much damage," he added.

Oberreit also noted that the agreement may also trigger a dangerous domino reaction, whereby countries welcoming refugees around the world that caring for people who were forced to flee their homes is optional and they can buy their way out of providing asylum.

"There is a need for a European asylum policy that reflects the term 'asylum' and not be equivalent to the term 'rejection'," he noted.

Asked about the impact of the NGO's decision to reject funding from the EU, Oberreit said their operations will not be affected. "While we will have approximately 60 million euros less than our estimated revenues, we have reserves, which are there firstly to allow us to react to unforeseen events and also to allow 'Doctors Without Borders' to withstand recessions," he said.

Commenting on the Greek asylum system, the head of the NGO said it is "completely overloaded" with thousands of people trapped in the country, without access to the asylum process. "This has dramatic consequences. If they cannot apply for asylum, they cannot apply or relocation or family reunification in other European countries," he explains, noting that without the option of asylum, they are essentially forced - due to purely administrative reasons - to remain in Greece and live in poor conditions, completely dependent on humanitarian aid.

To resolve this problem, he continued, Greece and the EU should establish group protection, change the relocation process to bypass the asylum system, and put in place rapid procedures for vulnerable cases. "This is not a Greek problem, it's a problem for all of Europe," Oberreit said, adding that if Europe and Greece don't make the system more effective, refuges will be pushed into the hands of traffickers, resulting in more deaths.

[09] Putin eyes closer partnership with China - Russian President's exclusive interview with head of Xinhua

ST. PETERSBURG (Xinhua/ANA-MPA)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that his country and China are diversifying trade and exploring new cooperation areas in joint pursuit of a more productive partnership in a challenging global landscape.

"We see each other as close allies, so of course we always listen to each other, by this I mean we keep in mind each other's interests," said Putin in an hour-long exclusive interview with Xinhua President Cai Mingzhao in St. Petersburg on June 17.

Recalling that the two countries established a strategic partnership two decades ago and signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation 15 years ago, Putin said mutual trust between the pair of neighbors has reached an unprecedented level and laid a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation.

Now leaders of the two countries meet regularly, and more than 20 intergovernmental mechanisms are in place, noted the Russian president, who is scheduled to pay a state visit to China on Saturday, his fourth trip to China since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2013.

In a telling sign of the high frequency of bilateral top-level contact, Putin will meet Xi over the weekend for the second time in four days. Both are now in Tashkent for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). They are also both poised to attend this year's Group of 20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September.

Acknowledging that the two sides cannot always reach agreement on complicated issues quickly, Putin stressed that they can make them -- however complicated they are -- serve the common purpose of promoting bilateral cooperation.

"So we always find a solution," he told Cai.

Touching upon one of those complicated issues, the recent decline in bilateral trade value, Putin said it is merely a temporary downtick resulting from the current market prices of certain commodities and differences in exchange rates against the backdrop of global economic woes.

"The most important task in bilateral relations is bringing diversities and higher quality to trade relations, particularly boosting cooperation in high-tech areas," he said, noting that the two sides have taken concrete measures to optimize their trade structure.

While citing fruitful cooperation in aerospace and nuclear power, Putin said the Russian side is also closely following the construction of a high-speed railway between Moscow and Kazan.

The 770-km track, now under Russia-China joint construction, is designed for bullet trains capable of running at a speed up to 400 km per hour, and expected to cut the travel time between Moscow and Kazan from the current 12 hours to three and a half.

The project "may very well be only the beginning of our broad cooperation in infrastructure," said Putin.

Meanwhile, China-Russia cooperation is also gaining momentum and new dimension thanks to the Xi-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and aims to pursue common development along the ancient trade routes linking Asia with Europe and Africa.

The Belt, which runs through Central Asia, is a "very well-timed and appealing" vision that "holds great potential," a cheerful Putin commented in the interview, which was conducted on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

In a recent meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), all five members -- Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia -- expressed support for carrying out cooperation with China within the Belt framework, Putin recalled.

In the first phase of cooperation, the two sides can set up a free trade area, Putin proposed, stressing that with more and more countries in the region interested in joining the ranks, the bloc needs to be open and inclusive.

The proposal echoed Putin's announcement at the St. Petersburg forum that talks are to start this month with China on the creation of "a comprehensive trade and economic partnership in Eurasia" with the participation of the EEU and China.

As regards the SCO, another important stage for China-Russia cooperation, Putin pointed out that the organization "has become a popular and attractive organization in the region" with many countries around the world eager to join.

At the Tashkent summit, the six SCO members -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- are expected to take a crucial step toward granting membership to India and Pakistan, and also discuss the participation of other countries in the mechanism.

"The expansion of the SCO's functions and the increase in its member numbers, particularly the inclusion of those important countries mentioned above, have made it an authoritative and popular international organization in the region and the world at large," Putin said.

Against the backdrop of sluggish global economic recovery, regional instability, rampant terrorist activities and environ-mental degradation, Putin said, "coordination between Russia and China on the global stage is itself a stabilizing factor in international affairs."

Speaking of the upcoming China visit, Putin said, "I expect to have friendly meetings with President Xi on a broad range of topics, with mutual trust, as we have always had."

Financial News

[10] Central bank slashes ELA ceiling for Greek banks, citing return of deposits

The Bank of Greece on Thursday announced a drastic reduction in the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) ceiling for Greek banks by 7.0 billion euros over the next two weeks, saying that this was in part due to returning deposits rather than the ECB's decision to reinstate a waiver for Greek bonds.

According to the central bank announcement, the Governing Council of the ECB did not object to its request an ELA-ceiling for Greek banks of 65.0 billion euros (down from 68 billion euros), up to and including next Wednesday and to a further lowered ELA-ceiling for Greek banks of 61.1 billion euros from June 30 to July 2016 6.

"The overall reduction of 7.0 billion euros in the ceiling reflects an improvement of the liquidity situation of Greek banks, amid a reduction of uncertainty and the stabilisation of private sector deposits flows, the progress achieved in the restructuring of Greek banks, as well as the impact of the reinstatement of the waiver," the bank said.

The first 3.0 billion euros in the ELA reduction is not a result of the reinstatement of the waiver, which comes into effect from June 29. The waiver allows the ECB to make an exception and accept Greek state bonds as collateral in order to lend to Greek banks at cheaper rates.

According to sources, it reflects a return of some 2.0-2.5 billion euros in deposits since early May and the first 10 days of June, significantly reducing the dependence of Greek banks on liquidity provided by the eurosystem (ECB and ELA). The second reduction from the following week factors in the effects of reinstating the waiver.

[11] Development of international energy cooperation under the microscope of Energy Min Skourletis

Environment and Energy Minister Panos Skourletis on Thursday underlined the prospects of development of international energy cooperation in the region.

Addressing the Economist conference, Skourletis stressed in particular the need for respect to the international law and the need for the European Union to intervene effectively on the causes of instability in the region to provide practical, multifaceted assistance to countries that need it most.

He also referred to the energy projects in our country as the TAP pipeline, the Greek-Bulgarian pipeline, the plan for a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Alexandroupolis, the upgrading of the Revithoussa station, and investments in research and exploitation of hydrocarbons, adding that the ministry is currently examining the tenders for the 20 sea plots south of Crete.

Moreover, he referred to the promotion of energy cooperation with Cyprus, Israel and Egypt - countries with major energy resources - and stressed that Greece as an energy hub can assist in the connection of the resource with the consumption. "A node structured in an important geographical and geopolitical crossroads. A transit point that is distinguished for its stability in an unstable world," the Minister stated. The projects Greece is involved in are the East Med pipeline, including the option of creating liquefied natural gas stations, and the electricity interconnection of Israel and Cyprus with Greece.

"We are willing," he added, "to exploit every opportunity to expand our partnerships with most of the region. Each new energy cooperation is welcome, provided that it complies with the rules of the international law and this is a commitment that concerns all of us as well as a guarantee for all concerned."

[12] DESFA CEO says agreement with Bulgartransgaz to be signed on June 24

Natural gas network operator DESFA will sign an interconnection agreement with Bulgaria's state owned equivalent Bulgartransgaz on June 24, at the Kulata/Sidirokastro grid interconnection, near the Greek-Bulgarian border, the CEO of DESFA Konstantinos Xifaras said on Thursday as he addressed an Economist conference in Athens.

"Creating new supply routes, along with the unwavering commitment of DESFA for the integration of the regional gas markets, will allow the cost-effective operation of the market for the benefit of the Greek and European citizens," Xifaras said.

[13] Greek stocks extend rally for fourth successive session

Greek stocks continued moving higher for the fourth successive session in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, following a similar trend prevailing in other European markets on hopes that Britain will remain in the EU. Bank shares were at the focus of buying interest after the European Central bank reinstated a waiver allowing Greek banks to use bonds as collateral in their refinancing operations.

The composite index rose 0.99 pct to end at 617.69 points, off the day's highs of 620.28 points. The index is up 11 pct in the last four sessions. The Large Cap index rose 1.55 pct and the Mid Cap index rose 0.91 pct. Turnover was a low 74.287 million euros in volume of 113,021,421.

Piraeus Bank (8.70 pct), Alpha Bank (6.79 pct), Ellaktor (5.67 pct) and Eurobank (3.53 pct) were top gainers among blue chip stocks, while OPAP (5.71 pct -reflecting a dividend cut off), Titan (1.33 pct) and GEK Terna (1.01 pct) suffered heavy losses.

Among market sectors, Banks (5.62 pct), Real Estate (1.06 pct) and Telecoms (0.93 pct) scored big gains, while Travel (4.78 pct) and Food (0.92 pct) suffered losses.

Piraeus Bank and National Bank were the most heavily traded securities of the day. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 61 to 47 with another 21 issues unchanged. Voyatzoglou Systems (28.28 pct), Kepenos Mills (23.26 pct) and Intrakat (19.50 pct) were top gainers, while Kreka (19.61 pct), Forthnet (19.59 pct) and Kreton Artos (18.99 pct) were top losers.

[14] Greek bond market closing report

The yield spread between the 10-year Greek and German benchmark bonds was almost unchanged at 7.89 pct in the domestic electronic secondary bond market on Thursday, with the Greek bond yielding 7.90 pct and the German Bund yielding -0.018 pct. There was no turnover in the market.

In interbank markets, interest rates were largely unchanged. The 12-month rate was -0.029 pct, the nine-month rate was -0.096 pct, the six-month rate was -0.163 pct, the three-month rate was -0.273 pct and the one-month rate was -0.363 pct.

[15] ADEX closing report

The July contract on the FTSE/ASE Large Cap index was trading at a discount of 0.62 pct in the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Thursday, with volume on the Big Cap index totaling 1,433 contracts with 6,772 open positions in the market.

Volume in futures contracts on equities totaled 50,071 contracts with investment interest focusing on National Bank's contracts (16,612), followed by Alpha Bank (6,177), Piraeus Bank (13,679), Eurobank (7,480), MIG (3,861), OTE (303), PPC (500), OPAP (591), Hellenic Exchanges (195), Mytilineos (154), Hellenic Petroleum (121), Jumbo (87), Metka (69) and Ellaktor (41).

General News

[16] Mediterranean Panorama to promote Greece in Scandinavia

North Events will organise the 1st Mediterranean Panorama at Stockholm's expo center on March 18-19, 2017.

The Mediterranean Panorama will focus Greece, but it will also promote a series of other Mediterranean tourist destinations. The company is further promoting its successful Grekland Panorama, which has been promoting Greece to the Scandinavian market in the past years.

"In view of the fact that the Swedish market lacks a major international tourism exhibition and spurred by local tour operators and the interest of other Mediterranean destinations, North Events wishes to make use of this great business opportunity and attempt to strategically fill in the gap combining the expertise and special characteristics of the Grekland Panorama with the needs and demands of the market," North Events general manager Leonidas Babanis said.

The company will also focus on attracting elderly visitors from Sweden and Denmark to Greece by organising "senior" tourism fairs in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.

North Events will also organise the 1st Greek-Serb conference on tourism in Belgrade and the 2nd Grecka Panorama in Warsaw on December.

[17] SETE: It is the duty of everyone in tourism to protect Greece's beauty

"Tourism has proved over the last years that it remains at the center of Greece's economic activity," the general manager of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Georgios Amvrazis said in an article to ANA-MPA.

"Greece has a unique natural beauty as well as historical and archaeological monuments that everyone wants to visit, offering unforgettable experiences," he underlined. Moreover, as he said, it has the proper weather conditions that allows further to extend the tourist season.

Amvrazis called on everyone in tourism sector to protect Greece's beauties and showcase them.

"We should continue to give incentives to the destinations to enhance the diversity and quality of their services. We will still need to further invest in small local family businesses and support them in order to continue offering authentic and unique experiences to the visitors. We also need to further strengthen the connection of our products and services to target markets," he stated.

[18] Greek Dep. FM Amanatidis to inaugurate exhibition on Byzantium at St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum

Deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Amanatidis has been asked to represent the Greek government on Friday at the inauguration of the exhibition "Byzantium through the Centuries" at the Hermitage Museum, which he will inaugurate with Russian Culture Minister V. R. Medinskiy.

Amanatidis is carrying out a two-day visit to St. Petersburg starting on Thursday, when he visited the "Greek Paper Hagiography" exhibit at the State Museum of the History of Religion. He subsequently met a delegation of professors and students from the Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Department of the State University of Saint Petersburg.

The minister will also be having a working meeting on Thursday afternoon with members of the Greek community of St Petersburg and the Board of the "Petropolis" National Association of Greeks, at the Greek Consulate General.

On Friday he will be received at the Governorate of the St Petersburg, by the 1st Vice President of the Foreign Relations Committee, Igor Olegovich Lonskiy, and the 1st Vice President of the Culture Committee, Alexander Nikolaevich Voronko. He will then make his way to the Hermitage Museum for the exhibition opening.

[19] Football match on Saturday to raise money for UNICEF

A football match will be organised on Saturday, June 25, at 5.30 pm, at the municipal stadium of Rafina to raise money for UNICEF.

The aim of the match is to promote solidarity and love for children. The revenues will be given to the humanitarian organisation.

The event is held under the auspices of the Rafina-Pikermi municipality.

The team of UNICEF consists of journalists, veteran international footballers, policemen, lawyers, actors and high school students.

[20] New three-hour work stoppages in train and suburban railway next week

Employees at the train and suburban railway announced new three-hour work stoppages for 28-10 June and July 5, to protest against the government's plan to privatize railways operator TRAINOSE and rolling stock maintenance company ROSCO.

According to the union of train employees, the work stoppages are scheduled for 05.00 - 08.00, 13.00 - 16.00 and 21.00 - 00.00, on June 28, 29 and 30, as well as on July 5.

The union has also called for a 24-hour strike on July 6, the day when the binding bids for the two companies are expected to be submitted to the privatization agency. On the day, there will be no train services and no suburban rail services in Athens and the services to the airport.

[21] 56,975 identified migrants and refugees in Greece on Thursday

56,975 identified refugees and migrants were on the Greek territory on Thursday while 78 persons arrived in the last 24 hours.

According to the Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body's figures, 23,786 of the refugees are in northern Greece, 9,960 are hosted in the region of Attica, 2,122 are hosted in different areas in central and 240 in southern Greece.

5,896 refugees and migrants are hosted in several facilities rented by the UNHCR, 4,915 are staying in non-organised facilities while approximately 1,500 persons are living outside organised facilities.

[22] The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

AVGHI: Britain's referendum a milestone for Europe

DIMOKRATIA: The Units for the Reinstatement of Order (MAT) against the government

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Scandals harm health

ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: The Brexit thriller scares Europe

ESTIA: EU needs Britain

ETHNOS: Everything changes in uniform personnel pensions

IMERISSIA: Cheap money from ECB

KATHIMERINI: Critical day for Europe

NAFTEMPORIKI: The first intervention for debt in 2016

TA NEA: They want more measures

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