Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and members of his cabinet made final preparations for an official visit to China starting Wednesday, as the prospect of extending bilateral cooperation with major agreements in the leading sectors of shipping and tourism, and in the turning the main port of Piraeus into a major hub of commerce in Europe with the help of China-based container company COSCO, will be on the agenda.
ATHENS (AP)— Greece's recession-wracked economy should start recovering from next year and its sky-high unemployment rate should edge lower from the end of 2014, the country's finance minister said in an interview broadcast Thursday. Speaking on state-run NET television, Yannis Stournaras said the government's aim was to achieve a primary surplus—a surplus without taking into account interest payments on outstanding debt— by the end of this year.
ATHENS (AP)—A report released Monday by the International Monetary Fund praises Greece for its efforts to reduce big deficits and improve its competitiveness, but warns that more structural reforms, including better tax collection, and actual public sector layoffs instead of attrition, are necessary to help the heavily indebted country overcome a deep recession. The report calls Greece's reduction of its deficit over the past four years "exceptional progress ... by any international comparison'' and notes that it has been helped by "unprecedented support'' from its European partners, which have lent it some (euro) 173 billion ($226 billion) over the past three years, a sum equal to almost three quarters of the country's gross domestic product.
The EU Commissioner on Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, expressed concern regarding the increase of racism and hate crimes in Greece in an EU report published on Tuesday. According to the report, "democracy in Greece is seriously threatened by the upsurge of hate crime and a weak state response. Sustained and concerted action, notably by the police and the courts, is necessary to protect the rule of law and human rights in the country."
NICOSIA (AP)— Cyprus finance minister, Michalis Sarris, resigned Tuesday after less than five weeks in the job, to make way for a government investigation into how the country's economy nearly collapsed last month. President Nicos Anastasiades accepted Sarris' resignation, which came as Cyprus finalized the details of its bailout with international creditors. Harris Georgiades, the former labor minister, will become the new head of finance.
LONDON (AP)—Markets were generally steady Tuesday as European officials attempted to douse concerns that the main thrust of Cyprus' bailout —a raid on deposits— could be used again in the future. On Monday, markets were roiled by a suggestion from Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the meetings of the finance ministers of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro, that the Cyprus bailout was a template for future rescue plans.
NICOSIA (AP)— Lawmakers in Cyprus decisively rejected a plan on Tuesday to seize up to 10 percent of people's bank deposits in order to secure an international bailout and prevent a collapse of the country's banks The vote leaves the tiny Mediterranean economy in financial limbo, but hundreds of protesters outside Parliament cheered and sang the national anthem when they heard the bill failed.
NICOSIA (AP)—A plan to seize up to 10 percent of people's savings in the small Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus sent shockwaves across Europe on Monday as households realized the money they have in the bank may not be safe. A weekend agreement between Cyprus and its European partners called for the government to raid bank accounts as part of a (euro) 15.8 billion ($20.4 billion) financial bailout, the first time in the eurozone's crisis that the prospect of seizing individuals' savings has been raised.
NICOSIA (AP)— Cyprus' president said Sunday that he is trying to amend an unpopular euro zone bailout plan that would tax deposits in the country's banks to reduce its effect on small savers. But in a nationally televised speech, President Nicos Anastasiades also urged lawmakers to approve the tax in a vote Monday, saying it is essential to save the country from bankruptcy. Some 25 lawmakers in the 56-seat Cypriot parliament said they wouldn't vote for the tax amid deep resentment over a move some called disastrous. Monday is a national holiday in Cyprus.
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