David Cameron has said that that the Greek PM’s decision to call a referendum asking his fellow citizens either to accept or reject the austerity measures proposed by the country’s creditors is effectively an “in/out” vote on whether Greece should remain within the EU’s common currency zone.
Speaking earlier on Monday to the BBC Today programme, the Prime Minister conceded that the decision is for the Greek people to make. However, “If they vote No, I find it hard to see how that is consistent with staying in the euro, because I think there would be a very significant default and a very significant problem. “
Furthermore, he disclosed that the UK is preparing for “every eventuality” and revealed that in a scheduled meeting later on Monday he will review and put the final touches to government plans aimed at providing assistance to British holidaymakers in the debt-stricken country and minimising the effects of a Grexit on the British economy.
Mr. Cameron also stressed that a stable and secure eurozone is in Britain’s interest and that the EU should be more flexible when dealing with issues that different countries face.
Article written by Panos Haralampous
On Sunday the 11th of October 2015, Prive Productions present Panos Kiamos live in London.
Tickets: Available now [Just £35 downstairs standing & £45 upstairs unreserved seating]
To book online tickets: Just click here
To purchase hard tickets visit: Greek on The Green, CyTA UK LTD, Raphael’s Bakery & Patisserie, Wilton Patisserie or Aroma Patisserie.
Location: The Forum, 9-17 Highgate Road, NW5 1JY London, United Kingdom
About The Singer:
Panos Kiamos (Πάνος Κιάμος) is a Greek ”laiko”/pop singer, known for his distinctive voice and onstage energy. Kiamos was born in Athens on October 4th 1975 and spent the rest of his adolescent life in the capital. In 1994, at the age of 18, he passed the entry exams for medical school. However, it was around the same time that he discovered his interest in music, leading to his decision to reject the medical school’s offer of a scholarship. He began to learn to play the guitar, and took up music theory lessons. His talents were soon discovered and he began making appearances in the major nightclubs alongside prestigious names in the Greek music scene.
In 2002, Kiamos made significant progress, with his songs ‘Alithina’ and ‘Arketa’ from the album ‘Tis Nyhtas Oniro’ became notably popular, and as a result Kiamos’ stock rose considerably. The release ‘To Yelio Sou Klei’ followed a year later; by this stage, he had become a household name and had gained a reputation for his on-stage energy and enthusiasm.
Since March 2010, he has performed at the Posidonio Music Hall, being the only singer who is able to fill the club four times every week. In April 2011, he released the album ‘Olokainourgios’ featuring the smash hit ‘Apo deutera’. Kiamos is a very popular and loved Greek singer, because of his down to earth attitude and his friendly relationship with his audience.
In January 2012, Panos completed his first North American tour which was sell-out success. He then went on that year to tour Australia and Germany. In March 2012, his song ‘Krystalla’ became an overnight success, followed up by the summer hit ‘To Aima Mou Piso’.
For the past couple of years, Panos has held the residency at Club 22 Live Stage in Athens, packing them in, night after night.
Article written by London Greek Radio
Greece heads to a referendum on Sunday that could decide whether its future lies in or out of the eurozone, with its banks closed and capital controls in place after the European Central Bank decided not to further increase the emergency liquidity it supplies to local lenders.
The decision to impose the extended bank holiday was taken during a meeting of Greece’s financial stability council, which included Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras.
The official announcement had not been made at the time of going to press but sources said that ATM withdrawals would be limited to 60 euros per day per account and that banks would remain closed for at least the next six working days, including the day after the referendum on the institutions’ proposals to Greece. Visitors to Greece will be able to withdraw cash up to the limit set by their bank.
The decision to shut down banks and bring in capital controls came less than 24 hours after Parliament voted in favor, by 178 votes to 120, of holding a referendum on Sunday. This, combined with the expiration of Greece’s bailout extension Tuesday, prompted the ECB governing council, which met Sunday, to decide not to raise the Emergency Liquidity Assistance ceiling beyond the level it reached on Friday.
This meant that banks would not have enough liquidity to support the spike in withdrawals prompted by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras calling a referendum on Friday night. Around 1 billion euros was taken out of accounts on Saturday as Greeks queued at ATMs around the country. There were longer queues Sunday.
Tsipras blamed the country’s creditors for forcing Greece’s hand but said that this would not halt the plan to hold a referendum next Sunday.
“(Rejection) of the Greek government’s request for a short extension of the program was an unprecedented act by European standards, questioning the right of a sovereign people to decide,” Tsipras said in televised address to the nation Sunday.
“This decision led the ECB today to limit the liquidity available to Greek banks and forced the Greek central bank to suggest a bank holiday and restrictions on bank withdrawals.”
Tsipras also said he sent a new request for an extension of Greece’s bailout – which expires on June 30 – to leaders of eurozone countries and the heads of the European Central Bank, the European Commission, the EU parliament and the European Council.
“I am awaiting their immediate response to a fundamentally democratic request,” he said, adding that such a move could prompt the ECB to turn on the liquidity tap again.
“One thing is clear: the refusal of a short extension, and the attempt to nullify a democratic procedure is an act deeply offensive and shameful for the democratic traditions of Europe.”
Tsipras suggested that the lenders’ behavior would make Greeks more determined to vote against the bailout proposal put forward by lenders to the Greek government on Thursday. In his speech in Parliament on Saturday, the Greek prime minister suggested that a “no” vote would allow him to return to negotiations in a stronger position and able to ask for a better deal from the institutions.
Tsipras said bank deposits and wage and pension payments in Greece remained safe and appealed to Greeks to stay calm.
“Any difficulties that may arise must be dealt with with calmness,” said the premier. “The calmer we are, the sooner we will get out of this situation.”
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras, who clashed with Tsipras in Parliament on Saturday, called on the prime minister to continue negotiations with the country’s lenders this week in the hope of finding a last-minute compromise. Samaras suggested that if Tsipras does not have enough support from his own party, he should create a national unity administration with the participation of opposition parties.
“Our country needs to remain in the heart of Europe and in the euro. Mr Tsipras must continue the negotiations,” Samaras said. “If he can’t do that by himself, he should attempt a big national consensus.”
Developments in Greece also drew the attention of the American government Sunday. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged top European finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund to continue working together toward a “sustainable solution” to reforms in Greece and its recovery within the eurozone.
Lew spoke by phone with several top officials on Saturday, including the finance ministers of Germany and France, and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, according to a readout of the call provided by the Treasury Department on Sunday.
In those calls, he said it was “important for all parties to continue to work to reach a solution, including a discussion of potential debt relief for Greece, in the run up to the July 5th referendum,” according to the readout, referring to a planned vote in Greece.
Lew also underscored the need for Greece to adopt “difficult measures to reach a pragmatic compromise with its creditors,” the Treasury statement said.
The Treasury spokesperson said senior department officials have also been in regulator communication with Greece and that Lew had spoken to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “multiple times” over the past two weeks.
The department has urged Greece to work closely with its international partners on planning for a bank holiday and capital controls, the spokesperson said.
President Barack Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday about the Greek situation.
“The two leaders agreed that it was critically important to make every effort to return to a path that will allow Greece to resume reforms and growth within the eurozone,” a White House statement said.
“The leaders affirmed that their respective economic teams are carefully monitoring the situation and will remain in close touch.”
Article written by ekathemerini
Cyprus Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades (pictured) has expressed concern over “the grim picture” in Greece after talks between the Greek authorities and its lenders for a new bailout broke down and decision by the Greek government to put a draft proposal to a referendum.
However, in statements to the press, on Sunday afternoon, Georgiades said Cyprus which follows its own stabilization and recovery path is “sufficiently protected from any development” in Greece.
Georgiades also recalled the Eurogroup`s decision to take all measures, deemed necessary to avert any contagion in the Eurozone.
Cyprus which is implementing a €10 billion economic adjustment programme concluded in 2013 recently returned to a modest growth after four years of recession.
“I am not worried provided that we maintain our own effort with credibility and that we will not allow logic to be lost behind populism, slogans and extremist options,” he said.
Furthermore, Georgiades said Cyprus supported the Greek view for an extension to the Greek bailout that expires on Tuesday, as well as debt restructuring, because “it would be destructive for a country excluded from capital markets to be concurrently outside a programme because such (an event) would lead to a deeper austerity.”
Noting that Greece has endless productive capacity that remains unexploited due to serious structural problems and distortions, Georgiades added that during yesterday`s Eurogroup meeting he supported the view that any Greek programme should be oriented towards consolidation and reform which would correct these distortions and not towards tax hikes.
“I believe that tax hikes constitute the worst form of austerity burdening not the state but citizens and companies. This is a counter-growth measure and exacerbates recession,” he said.
Georgiades fended off criticism that Cyprus did not support the Greek case in the Eurogroup, recalling that he supported the Greek position for an extension of the programme and that Cyprus was the only eurozone member state that supported debt relief, a demand submitted by the Greek government.
“This is my response to all those at home questioning Cyprus’ stance with regard to an extension of the Greek programme,” he said.
Recalling that Cypriot banks lost €4.5 billion following the haircut of Greek sovereign bonds in 2012, Georgiades said Cyprus is ready to grant €330 millions in loans, which is a sizeable amount in Cyprus’ standards, to the Greek prograrmme as part of a debt relief procedure.
Article written by CNA
Cyprus favours a solution to keep Greece in the eurozone, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides has told CNA, stressing that Finance Minister Harris Georgiades supported the Greek government`s position to restructure its debt at the Eurogroup meeting on Saturday.
He had been asked on Saturday evening by CNA to comment of a Eurogroup decision on Greece.
“The Cypriot government, the President of the Republic at the European Council and the Finance Minister at the Eurogroup meeting argued for the need to find a solution in order for Greece to remain in the eurozone”, Christodoulides told CNA on Saturday night, commenting on the Eurogroups decision on Greece.
The Finance Minister, he said replying to questions, made a special intervention in support of the Greek government`s position to restructuring its debt.
In its decision, Eurogroup said that it “recalls the significant financial transfers and support provided to Greece over the last years. The Eurogroup has been open until the very last moment to further support the Greek people through a continued growth-oriented programme.”
“The Eurogroup takes note of the decision of the Greek government to put forward a proposal to call for a referendum, which is expected to take place on Sunday July 5, which is after the expiration of the programme period. The current financial assistance arrangement with Greece will expire on 30 June 2015, as well as all agreements related to the current Greek programme including the transfer by euro area Member States of SMP and ANFA equivalent profits. The euro area authorities stand ready to do whatever is necessary to ensure financial stability of the euro area.”
Article written by CNA
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, will hold a new meeting on Monday, in the framework of the UN- led Cyprus talks.
UNSG`s Special Advisor for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide will participate “facilitating the leaders’ meeting, as the leaders progress in the ongoing substantive negotiations on all unresolved core issues”, a press release by UNFICYP said.
In a statement after their previous meeting on the 17th of June, Eide had said that “with strong determination, and driven by their joint commitment,” the two leaders “pursued their goal of reaching a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.”
He added that “upon completing the baseline assessment, the leaders are now entering into substantive negotiations on unresolved core issues. The leaders agreed that these negotiations will be the centerpiece of their work from now on and that they will be dealt with in a holistic and interdependent manner”.
Therefore, he added, “Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı have tasked their negotiators to focus their work on a specific set of core issues across chapters. They will work intensively on this task and report back to the next leaders’ meeting to be held on 29 June 2015.”
Eide said that the leaders also reviewed the implementation of those confidence building measures that were previously announced and that Akıncı and Anastasiades continued their work on further confidence-building measures in parallel to the negotiation process.
Eide will remain in Cyprus until Thursday, July 2, to continue his contacts with key interlocutors. In the course of his stay on the island, he will also chair the joint negotiators’ meetings which will be held following the leaders’ meeting.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. UN-led talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.
Article written by CNA
Argiro, the seal who thinks she’s a human, has been threatened by a French tourist.
Monk Seals are usually shy but not in the case of Argiro, the most sociable seal alive who definitely sees herself as a human being.
Last week Argiro made her appearance on the Greek island Samos and quickly became an internet sensation.
Tourists and locals started taking photos of her and sharing them on their social media; her photo was trending on Facebook and the sweet monk seal quickly became an attraction of the island.
Local fishermen named the seal Argiro and are reportedly very protective of her. The friendly seal didn’t seem to mind that she became a celebrity and was even spotted posing for pictures while sunbathing amongst the tourists. The video’s that have circulated online unveil that the bold monk is completely unafraid of the humans and in fact, likes to interact with them.
Yet, just a couple of days ago, shocking news was published in the website zoosos.gr that a French tourist was insulted by the presence of the seal and complained to the locals about it. It is rumoured that swimmers heard him claiming it would be better if someone would shoot the harmless animal. Naturally, appalled tourists and locals warned him to stay away from Argiro since she’s a protected species.
According to specialists, the case of Argiro is quite rare and if you ever see a seal while you are swimming you should better not try to approach it. These animals belong in the wild and are usually quite timid. We are the biggest threat for monk seals so we should respect and protect them, especially Argiro since she does not even judge the tourists that pose in photos with her, while wearing neon speedos.
There are only 450 monk seals worldwide and Argiro’s harmless coexistence is creating awareness for the issue. The battle for the defence of the wildlife should be everyone’s responsibility.
Article written by Efcharis Sgourou
After yet another inconclusive Eurogroup in Brussels Thursday, finance ministers agreed that more talks were required to bridge enduring gaps between Greece and its creditors with another Eurogroup to be held over the weekend, most likely on Saturday.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the leaders of the country’s international creditors – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde – held long talks late on Wednesday night and Thursday morning before eurozone finance ministers reconvened for the fourth time in a week.
Technical teams also met to discuss the details of two different proposals – one from Greece and one from the creditors – for the so-called prior actions that could lead to the conclusion of a previous program and the release of 7.2 billion euros in loans that Greece desperately needs.
Greek government sources said Athens’s proposal was largely unchanged from the document it submitted to creditors on Monday, setting out some 8 billion euros’ worth of measures.
Sources attributed the negative atmosphere in the meeting to a bloc of ministers from five countries “influenced by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble,” who was downbeat in his comments to reporters about the prospects for a deal. But Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis indicated that “several” of his peers had expressed criticism of the creditors’ proposal.
Indicative of the fluid nature of the situation was the fact that close aides to Tsipras were unable to determine whether the premier would return to Athens after the end of a two-day summit of European Union leaders Friday or stay in Brussels for more talks with representatives of Greece’s creditors.
Arriving at the summit Thursday, Tsipras sought to appear upbeat. “European history is full of disagreements, negotiations and, at the end, compromises,” he told reporters. “So, after the comprehensive Greek proposals, I am confident that we will reach a compromise.”
Government sources indicated, however, that the mood was far from conciliatory. According to one source, European Council President Donald Tusk said to Tsipras, “The game is over,” prompting the premier to respond: “Greece has 1.5 million unemployed people, 3 million poor people and thousands living only with pension of their grandparents. That is no game.”
Also in Brussels Thursday was Panos Kammenos, the head of junior coalition partner Independent Greeks. He expressed optimism that an agreement would be reached, though he noted that it should tackle the issue of Greece’s debt.
European officials have been reluctant to address the thorny matter of Greece’s huge debt burden until the country has adopted and enforced reforms, though the IMF insists debt relief is necessary.
The creditors’ proposal offered some concessions in the sensitive area of pensions. For instance, the creditors proposed that the benefit for low-income pensioners (EKAS) be phased out from the end of 2019, two years later than their previous proposal. But they have insisted on a more thorough overhaul of the Greek value-added tax system, with the revocation of exemptions and with more products and services, including restaurants, being pushed to the highest rate of 23 percent.
Article written by ekathemerini
The negotiators of the two communities in Cyprus continue on Friday their discussion in the framework of the resumed UN – led peace talks.
Greek Cypriot negotiation Andreas Mavroyiannis and Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami began their meeting this morning continuing the discussion on issues of substance according to the guidelines they received by the leaders of the two communities on the island, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Last week, President Anastasiades said that the two negotiators “have done a great job in identifying convergences and divergences on all issues”.
This, he noted, allows him and Akinci “to give further instructions for processing based on the interconnected negotiation of chapters, so that on the 29th of June we actually enter into a substantive negotiation on the chapters that will be before us”.
It is recalled that UN SG`s Special Advisor for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide was present in the negotiators` meeting on the 19th of June. In a twitter message after the meeting Eide wrote that he is “impressed by how the two Cyprus negotiation teams, led by Nami and Mavroyiannis demonstrate courage, creativity, and mutual respect”.
The next meeting of the two leaders will take place on the 29th of June. UN SG`s Special Advisor will also be present at that meeting.
The Republic of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and since then occupies 37% of this Mediterranean EU island`s territory. UN-led talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.
Article written by CNA
We all aim and hope for an agreement between Greece and its lenders the soonest possible, the Spokesperson of the Cyprus government Nicos Christodoulides has stated on Thursday.
Speaking before the start of the European Council, in Brussels, the Spokesman referred to the initiative, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has undertaken, for extending separate invitations to the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The aim is the invitees to brief European leaders and have a broader discussion at European level, on what can be done on the part of the EU regarding the problems of the region, and in particular on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
According to Christodoulides, the initiative follows President Anastasiades` recent visit to Israel and is being promoted in consultation with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Palestinian President Abbas.
“The Republic of Cyprus, as an EU member state, has a role to play in the region, with regards to efforts to transform the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East in a pillar of stability and security” he added.
He said that President Anastasiades spoke over the phone with President Sisi, briefing him over the results of his initiative, and is expected to also talk with President Abbas and Premier Netanyahu.
The President has already spoken about the issue with European Council President Donald Tusk and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini. The latter, is expected to visit Cyprus on June 24, in recognition of Cyprus` important role in the region, Christodoulides concluded.
On deliberations with Greece, Christodoulides did not rule out a new Eurogroup meeting to take place on Saturday, and added that “times are difficult”.
On the European Council`s agenda, Christodoulides said the most important issue was migration and the British proposals concerning EU reform.
Speaking on the issue of migration, Christodoulides said that Cyprus has the same position with Greece and Italy and spoke of the need for other member states to share the responsibility for tackling migration flows, with EU assistance.
Article written by CNA