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Two arrested on drug smuggling charges


A 40-year-old Albanian national, wanted by Italian authorities on drug smuggling charges, was arrested on an international arrest warrant in the Greek-Albanian border region near Ioannina, northwestern Greece. He is accused of importing a total of 556 kilos of cannabis from Albania to Italy. Separately, a woman, aged 30, was arrested in Thesprotia near the Greek-Albanian border on charges of ... Read More »

Why the debt deal with the EU is bad for Greece


Shortly before coming to power in January 2015, Alexis Tsipras – then still known as an outspoken Greek opposition leader and unconventional anti-austerity firebrand – vowed not to wear a tie until international lenders agreed to cut his country’s towering debt load to sustainable levels. On Friday evening, the 43-year-old prime minister, who has since presided over three years of ... Read More »

As Greece Ends a Decade of Bailouts, Problems Linger for Europe


As Greece prepares to emerge from one of the region’s most wrenching economic periods, its creditors are drawing up plans to ensure it is never a problem for the rest of Europe again. European Union officials will unveil a blueprint in Brussels to help the beleaguered country stand on its own once it comes off its third financial bailout in ... Read More »

IMF will remain engaged in Greece, Lagarde says


The International Monetary Fund will remain engaged in Greece in some form, which will most likely become clearer after a June 21 meeting of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said. “We are considering all the options,” Lagarde told a news conference with chiefs of other leading economic organizations in Berlin. “But we will certainly remain ... Read More »

IMF getting ready to opt out of the Greek program


Besides some small steps of progress by Berlin, the meeting of the Washington Group and the session of the Euro Working Group ended on Thursday in Paris without any agreements on measures to ease Greece’s debt, heightening the possibility that the International Monetary Fund will opt out of funding the Greek program. The progress recorded in the French capital concerned ... Read More »

Greek Plan Vows to Keep Budget Surplus at 3.5% of GDP Until 2022


Greece has vowed to keep its primary budget surplus — the balance before debt servicing — at 3.5 percent of GDP until 2022 according to a document released describing the country’s post-bailout strategy. The 106-page document, which was presented at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Sofia in April, is based on the assumption that Greece will receive generous ... Read More »

Top Greek Banks would Lose €15.5 Bln of Capital in Stress Scenario: ECB


Greece’s four biggest banks said on Saturday that no new funding plans were needed after stress test results showed they would lose around 15.5 billion euros of their capital by 2020 under an adverse economic scenario. The health check of Alpha Bank, National Bank of Greece, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank by the European Central Bank was aimed at uncovering any ... Read More »

Debt relief woes threaten Greece’s bailout exit


The tug of war between the International Monetary Fund and Berlin over the Greek debt issue is threatening Greece’s successful bailout program exit in August. Germany insists on granting Greece gradual debt relief under the condition that it will be approved every year by the Bundestag. For its part, the IMF disagrees with Berlin’s insistence on reviewing the measures every ... Read More »

Taxman Busts Businesses on Greek Islands


Early revenue inspections on some popular Greek islands appear to have seen dozens of businesses fall foul of the taxman. After a raid by Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) auditors on three islands on the 1 May weekend, a total of 156 tax violations were detected. Some restaurants and bakeries were had their trading licenses suspended; fines were also ... Read More »

Greece and FYROM Seek to Reconcile Name Dispute in Skopje


Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and his Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) counterpart Nikola Dimitrov will meet with UN mediator Matthew Nimetz as talks for a resolution to the name dispute drag on. The meeting follows Friday’s gathering of Balkan and Central European ministers in Athens. The foreign ministers of Albania, FYROM, Montenegro, and Serbia, all of them hoping ... Read More »

Ambassador Pyatt: US has Strategic Interest in Greece


The United States has a “strategic interest” in investing in Greece after the country comes out of the economic crisis, said U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Monday. The U.S. official spoke in a digital forum conference held in Athens, stressing that U.S. technology firms see good potential for investment in Greece. Furthermore, he said that there are many ... Read More »

Greek stonefruit growers switch to kiwifruit


ATHENS: Sonia Sarasidou of AC Episkopi in Imathia reported that, in the past two years, a number of the co-op’s 300 members had planted new kiwifruit orchards since the fruit is seen as a more profitable option than stonefruit – a trend she is seeing across northern Greece. At present, the cooperative’s members have a fairly even split between kiwifruit and ... Read More »

Greece economic health in grim state


ATHENS: Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has given a very grim assessment of his country’s economic health. It came after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday, whilst on a visit to Athens, that Greece will become what he termed a “normal” country by the end of the summer. “Everyday is worse than the previous day. All talk ... Read More »

Greece Outperforms Primary Surplus Target for Third Year in a Row


ATHENS: Greece has recorded a primary surplus of 4.0 percent of GDP, or 7.080 billion euros, in 2017, according to data released on Monday by country’s independent statistics agency (ELSTAT). This is the third year in a row that Greece outperforms the target outlined under the bailout agreement. The target for 2017 was set at 1.75 percent. A government official, speaking to ... Read More »

Rights groups press Greek government on migrant ruling


ATHENS: Rights groups on Thursday pressed the Greek government to comply with a court ruling to allow migrants to move freely within Greece instead of being confined to six Aegean islands. The Greek section of Amnesty International and local group SolidarityNow also called for the ruling by Greece’s top administrative court to be made retroactive so that some 15,000 migrants ... Read More »

Greek businesses as EIF and National Bank of Greece sign new EU guarantee agreements


ATHENS: From very small businesses and start-ups to mid sized enterprises, more than 5,000 companies will benefit from loans amounting to EUR 640 million. The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the National Bank of Greece (NBG)have signed three guarantee agreements worth €640 million to improve access to finance for small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece. These agreements benefit from ... Read More »

Greece Sees €2.3B Budget Surplus in 2018


ATHENS: Greece’s state budget primary surplus totaled €2.320 billion ($2.873 billion) in January-March this year, up from a budget target for a primary surplus of €1.096 billion and a primary surplus of €1.070 in the same period last year, the Finance Ministry said on Monday. In a report on the provisional state budget execution data, on an amended cash basis, ... Read More »

Athens rules out post-bailout precautionary credit line


ATHENS: Greek government spokesman, Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, clarified the coalition’s position on some aspects of the country’s post-bailout program arrangement that is expected to be agreed with creditors.   Speaking to 24/7 radio station on Wednesday, Tzanakopoulos ruled out the possibility of Athens relying on a precautionary credit line to secure access to debt markets after the existing bailout program expires in ... Read More »

Investments and exports boosted Greek economic growth in 2017


ATHENS: A rise in investments and exports of goods and services contributed to Greece’s economic growth rate of 1.4 pct last year, the European Central Bank said in its annual report for 2017, according to ANA. The ECB report noted that gross investments rose 15.7 pct in 2017, compared with a 3.7 pct increase in the Eurozone, while exports grew ... Read More »

Green shoots of recovery but little relief for Greeks


ATHENS: In Athens and across the eurozone, there is a cautious sense of optimism over an economic disaster that very nearly broke not just a nation but the European Union. Nine years after Greece was first plunged into crisis, the country is anticipating a record tourist season this year, giving hope that recovery is finally on the way. News that ... Read More »