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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Greece: Eurogroup Teleconference Outcome; European Stability Mechanism Press Release; Greek Last-Minute Request Rejected



ESM (European Stability Mechanism) press release

Date: 30 June 2015

Luxembourg – The Greek financial assistance programme of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) expires tonight at midnight CET. As a result, the last EFSF loan tranche of €1.8 billion will no longer be available for Greece and the €10.9 billion in EFSF notes to cover the potential cost of bank recapitalisation or bank resolution in Greece will be cancelled.

Klaus Regling, CEO of the EFSF, said: “It is regrettable for Greece that the EFSF programme will expire today without any follow-up arrangement and that the positive results of the programme are put at risk. Due to the economic policies adopted under the EFSF programme, the country was on a good path towards strong growth until the second half of 2014. The many sacrifices which the Greek people had to make were paying off. Greece managed to cut its budget deficit and regain competitiveness. The country was able to access financial markets again and saw its high unemployment start declining. According to the OECD and World Bank, Greece was a reform champion until 2014, with encouraging growth prospects. This trend can continue if the Greek population decides to return to the path of reform within the euro area.”

The EFSF programme started on 21 February 2012. It was originally due to end on 31 December 2014, but was extended twice upon request of the Greek government. In the context of the programme, the EFSF disbursed €141.8 billion to Greece. It included €48.2 billion to cover the costs of bank resolution and recapitalisation. Of this amount, €10.9 billion in EFSF notes was not needed and was later returned to the EFSF. Accordingly, the outstanding loan amount stands at €130.9 billion. This makes the EFSF Greece’s largest creditor by far.

Greece’s financial assistance programme was unique in many aspects. Due to the seriousness of the country’s structural weaknesses and adjustment needs, it was the biggest EFSF or ESM programme ever. It also had by far the most favourable lending conditions ever granted to an EFSF or ESM programme country. It included Private Sector Involvement with sizeable losses for private investors. Greece benefits from an average loan maturity of over 30 years. The country pays neither interest rates nor redemption on the overwhelming part of its EFSF loans until 2023. These favourable lending conditions provided Greece with budgetary savings of over €16 billion for 2013 and 2014 combined. That corresponds to more than 4% of Greek GDP in each of the two years.

From in.gr

Το Reuters αναφέρει ότι ο κ. Ντάισελμπλουμ δήλωσε ότι ένα νέο πακέτο διάσωσης ίσως έχει σκληρότερους όρους. Υπό τις παρούσες συνθήκες είναι η αδύνατη η παράταση του τρέχοντος προγράμματος που λήγει σήμερα, Τρίτη, είπε ο επικεφαλής του Eurogroup ενώ ξεκαθάρισε ότι οι Θεσμοί θα εξετάσουν την αίτηση για ένα νέο πρόγραμμα μόνο μετά το δημοψήφισμα.

Not surprising, perhaps,  considering the half-hearted and last-minute cut-and-paste (?) presentation and unprofessional lay-out and mixed fonts of the new Greek letter and financial request?

Christine Lagarde angry with Greek Minister (enikos.gr) -

Σύμφωνα με αποκλειστικές πληροφορίες του real.gr, η Κριστίν Λαγκάνρτ εξέφρασε προς τους στενούς συνεργάτες της την “βαθιά της απογοήτευση” για τις τελευταίες εξελίξεις καθώς όπως ανέφερε η ίδια “επέδειξε μέχρι το τέλος μεγάλη ευελιξία” . Η κ. Λαγκάρντ τόνισε ότι “ήμασταν στο παρά πέντε μια συμφωνίας” και στοχοποίησε τον υπουργό Επικρατείας Νίκο Παππά λέγοντας ότι με τους χειρισμούς του «τορπίλισε» μια συμφωνία. Η Γαλλίδα αξιωματούχος ξεκαθάρισε επίσης ότι «ανεξάρτητα από το αποτέλεσμα του δημοψηφίσματος την επόμενη Κυριακή η ελληνική κυβέρνηση έχει χάσει την αξιοπιστία της για να διαπραγματευτεί και πάλι με το ΔΝΤ».

Reuters report - As default looms, Merkel rules out more negotiations with Greece - "German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out new negotiations with Greece until after it votes on a proposal from creditors, leaving virtually no hope left to avert a midnight default despite a plea from Athens for a last-minute bailout extension".

Dorchester, Dorset: Former Prison to become hotel or flats?



From BBC News - Plans to convert a former prison in Dorchester into a hotel or flats have been revealed at a public meeting.

Vlita - Amaranth (Βλήτα); Edible Pigweeds; Free Food in Times of Economic Crisis; Purslane (Glistrida; γλιστρίδα, ή αντράκλα); Nettle soup (Σούπα με Τσουκνίδες)




Yesterday, a delicious dish of horta - wild vlita (amaranth)!






Waiting for the glistrida (purslane)!




Illustrations from "Ta Horta", by Mirsini Lambraki - an excellent book in Greek







Nettle (τσουκνίδα) soup or nettle pie tomorrow?

Σούπα με Τσουκνίδες




Greece: Μιλάνε όλοι, Μιλάνε κ'ι.......Last-minute talks, feverish consultations; Tsipras reconsiders, pleads for Extension and Loan - Dijsselbloem to the rescue? Two-Year Bail-Out Extension and Debt Relief, without IMF?



Siesta time for some in Greece.

From vox.com - The Greek crisis: 9 questions you were too embarrassed to ask

From bbc.news - Greece debt crisis: 'Last-minute talks after new offer' - "The Greek government is in last-minute talks over whether to accept an offer that would let Greece repay part of its debt, local media say. Greece is hours away from a deadline to repay a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - one it may miss. The European Commission (EC), said it made a last-minute proposal of reforms on Monday. If Athens accepts the deal, it will free up cash to repay the €1.6bn".

Kathimerini update - Πυρετώδεις διαβουλεύσεις για λύση την ύστατη ώρα

Kathimerini - Tsipras reconsidering

Telegraph: Greeks table two-year extension plan - Athens tables new two-year bail-out extension with debt relief plans

iefimerida report - Η κυβέρνηση ζητάει λεφτά για 2 χρόνια και ρύθμιση χρέους

Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση πρότεινε σήμερα
διετή συμφωνία με τον Ευρωπαϊκό Μηχανισμό Σταθερότητας (ESM) για την πλήρη κάλυψη των χρηματοδοτικών της αναγκών και
με ταυτόχρονη αναδιάρθρωση του χρέους.


From https://twitter.com/J_Dijsselbloem

Extraordinary Eurogroup teleconference tonight 19:00 Brussels time to discuss official request of Greek government received this afternoon

Letter from PM Tsipras to Eurogroup 

In Greek (MSN/Ethnos)

From the BBC - Athens seeks new last-minute deal

From Reuters - "Greece pleaded for a short-term bailout extension on Tuesday to avert a midnight default as frantic efforts gathered pace to salvage a deal that could keep Athens in the euro, with Germany warning that time had run out to extend vital credit lines".

MSN/Sky Greece - «Όχι» στην παράταση, υπό εξέταση το νέο πρόγραμμα, θα απαντήσει το Eurogroup

Sueddeutsche Zeitung: Rhetorik der Griechenland-Krise - "Tsipras und Varoufakis sind Punker"

Varoufakis and Tsipras perceived as "Counter-Culture Punks" (Rhetorik-Professor Dietmar Till):

Gegenkulturelles Moment?

"Er trägt Motorradklamotte, läuft mit heraushängendem Hemd herum, verbreitet eigentlich immer gute Laune. Tsipras und Varoufakis richten sich gegen die neoliberale Ordnung, das äußert sich auch in dem Image, das sie sich geben: Sie wollen sich nicht einreihen in die Riege der anderen europäischen Politiker. Sie zelebrieren eine Gegenkultur, fast wie im Punk - Tsipras und Varoufakis sind Punker. Deshalb wirken sie auch so sympathisch, weil sie sich nicht konformistisch verhalten. Ob das wirtschaftspolitisch erfolgreich ist, ist eine andere Frage".





Dorchester, Dorset: Literary Festival Plans; Durnovaria, Jim Ross



From Dorset Echo - The festival will run from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, October 25 and will celebrate the town's literary history as well as its present.

Sorry to have missed the Hardy Celebration event at Durnovia. Jim Ross is making major contributions to cultural life in Dorset.

"Durnovaria owner Jim Ross said the cultural evening will provide plenty of opportunity for discussion. He said: "There will be discussion about Thomas Hardy and Far From the Madding Crowd, about the differences between the book and the film and the old film and the new film."
Mr Ross said that Durnovaria always try to do something 'a little bit different' on Wednesday nights and the fourth Wednesday of every month is always a time when they celebrate local food, produce or culture. He said: "We are all about local stuff - produce, culture and history and we have an abundance of it so this event is part of celebrating that."

UK: Dorchester, Dorset: a Charles Street Rethink?



Report here, View from Online

Manolis Anagnostakis, Poems



Translations by David Connolly

THESSALONIKI, DAYS OF 1969 A.D.

In Egyptou Street - first turning right
There now stands the Transaction Bank Building
Tourist agencies and emigration bureaus
And kids can no longer play with all the traffic
passing
In any case the kids have grown, the times you knew have
passed
They now no longer laugh, whisper secrets, share trust,
Those that survived, that is, as grave illnesses have
appeared since then
Floods, deluges, earthquakes, armoured soldiers;
They remember their fathers words: you'll experience
better days
It's of no importance in the end if they didn't experience
them, they repeat the lesson to their own children
Always hoping that the chain will one day break
Perhaps with their children?s children or the children of their
children's children.
For the time being, in the old street as was said, there stands
the Transactions Bank -
I transact, you transact, he transacts
Tourist agencies and emigration bureaus
- we emigrate, you emigrate, they emigrate
Wherever I travel Greece wounds me, as the Poet said
Greece with its lovely islands, lovely offices, lovely
churches

Greece of the Greeks.

*****

Original poem in Greek

Θεσσαλονίκη, Μέρες τοῦ 1969 μ.Χ.

Στὴν ὁδὸ Αἰγύπτου -πρώτη πάροδος δεξιά!
Τώρα ὑψώνεται τὸ μέγαρο τῆς Τράπεζας Συναλλαγῶν
Τουριστικὰ γραφεῖα καὶ πρακτορεῖα μεταναστεύσεως.
Καὶ τὰ παιδάκια δὲν μποροῦνε πιὰ νὰ παίξουνε ἀπὸ
τὰ τόσα τροχοφόρα ποὺ περνοῦνε.
Ἄλλωστε τὰ παιδιὰ μεγάλωσαν, ὁ καιρὸς ἐκεῖνος πέρασε ποὺ ξέρατε
Τώρα πιὰ δὲ γελοῦν, δὲν ψιθυρίζουν μυστικά, δὲν ἐμπιστεύονται,
Ὅσα ἐπιζήσαν, ἐννοεῖται, γιατὶ ᾔρθανε βαριὲς ἀρρώστιες ἀπὸ τότε
Πλημμύρες, καταποντισμοί, σεισμοί, θωρακισμένοι στρατιῶτες,
Θυμοῦνται τὰ λόγια τοῦ πατέρα: ἐσὺ θὰ γνωρίσεις καλύτερες μέρες
Δὲν ἔχει σημασία τελικὰ ἂν δὲν τὶς γνώρισαν, λένε τὸ μάθημα
οἱ ἴδιοι στὰ παιδιά τους
Ἐλπίζοντας πάντοτε πὼς κάποτε θὰ σταματήσει ἡ ἁλυσίδα
Ἴσως στὰ παιδιὰ τῶν παιδιῶν τους ἣ στὰ παιδιὰ τῶν παιδιῶν
τῶν παιδιῶν τους.
Πρὸς τὸ παρόν, στὸν παλιὸ δρόμο ποὺ λέγαμε, ὑψώνεται
ἡ Τράπεζα Συναλλαγῶν
- ἐγὼ συναλλάσσομαι, ἐσὺ συναλλάσσεσαι, αὐτὸς συναλλάσσεται-
Τουριστικὰ γραφεῖα καὶ πρακτορεῖα μεταναστεύσεως
-ἐμεῖς μεταναστεύουμε, ἐσεῖς μεταναστεύετε, αὐτοὶ μεταναστεύουν-
Ὅπου καὶ νὰ ταξιδέψω ἡ Ἑλλάδα μὲ πληγώνει, ἔλεγε κι ὁ Ποιητὴς
Ἡ Ἑλλάδα μὲ τὰ ὡραῖα νησιά, τὰ ὡραῖα γραφεῖα,
τὶς ὡραῖες ἐκκλησιὲς
Ἡ Ἑλλὰς τῶν Ἑλλήνων.

About Anagnostakis (Poetry International)

Poems in Greek

Winter 1942 (Greek and English translation)

The Decision 

See also: Two poems by D. Tsaloumas  -  Dimitris Tsaloumas' brilliant - and still highly topical- poem, ASOTOS, B  ("the time for loans and squandering is over - take your children and go to the countryside")

There's nothing much very new to report...

Anagnostakis-Theodorakis, Part 1 (YouTube)

Part 2 (YouTube)

EU: The Lisbon Treaty, Article 50; EU, EMU and Eurozone Membership; Greece Court Injunction and Legal Action?



From The EU Lisbon Treaty

Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

EU Membership is one thing; membership of the EMU/Eurozone is quite another: see the treaty (pdf online), eg

TREATY ON STABILITY, COORDINATION AND GOVERNANCE IN THE ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION 


BEARING IN MIND that the need for governments to maintain sound and sustainable public finances and to prevent a general government deficit becoming excessive is of essential importance to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole, and accordingly, requires the introduction of specific rules, including a "balanced budget rule" and an automatic mechanism to take corrective action

RECALLING that the Contracting Parties, as Member States of the European Union, are to refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union's objectives in the framework of the economic union, particularly the practice of accumulating debt outside the general government accounts...

NOTING that compliance with the Contracting Parties' obligation to transpose the "balanced budget rule" into their national legal systems, through binding, permanent and preferably constitutional provisions, should be subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union...

The Guardian, Greece and the Eurozone Europe's big guns warn Greek voters that a no vote means euro exit - "Germany, France and Italy joined the European commission in insisting that Sunday’s poll is about continued eurozone membership"

Greece threatens European Court of Justice action re Grexit (The Telegraph) -

'Greece has threatened to seek a court injunction against the EU institutions, both to block the country's expulsion from the euro and to halt asphyxiation of the banking system. “The Greek government will make use of all our legal rights,” said the finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.
“We are taking advice and will certainly consider an injunction at the European Court of Justice. The EU treaties make no provision for euro exit and we refuse to accept it. Our membership is not negotiable,“ he told the Telegraph.'

Kathimerini item - Βαρουφάκης: Προσφυγή στα Ευρωπαϊκά Δικαστήρια, αδιαπραγμάτευτη η θέση μας στην Ευρωζώνη

Financial Times - Eurozone leaders take co-ordinated gamble with response to Athens

New York Times - Can the United States Prevent a Grexit?

Business Insider/ Reuters: A return to the drachma? A Greek lawmaker reportedly has a team preparing the groundwork for a return to the drachma

Bloomberg - Greece Can Stay in Euro Even With ‘No’ Vote, Schaeuble Tells Lawmakers

Greece: The Snap Referendum and Greek Nationals Abroad; Από την Αυστραλία στον Καναδά κι από τη Γερμανία στην Τασκένδη, διασκορπισμένοι Έλληνες



"According to article 4, the referendum shall be carried out on the basis of direct universal suffrage and by secret ballot. Eligible to vote are all Greeks who are registered on the electoral roll and are in Greece on the election day".  Referendum Information website
Listening again to Mikis Theodorakis' Arkadia VI - Στον Άγνωστο Ποιητή - I am reminded that there is not much respect being shown for Greek nationals who are abroad and who cannot make arrangements to return at short notice to vote in the referendum.

I wonder what the government thinks the voting intentions of the majority of Greek nationals abroad might be?


Before you decide -Listen once more to the voices of the poets and composers - both famous and unknown!


Ρήγα Φεραίε σε σε κράζω.

Από την Αυστραλία στον Καναδά

κι από τη Γερμανία στην Τασκένδη,

σε φυλακές, σε βουνά και σε νησιά,

διασκορπισμένοι οι Έλληνες.

Διονύσιε Σολωμέ σε σε κράζω.

Κρατούμενοι και κρατούντες,

δέροντες και δερόμενοι,

διατάσσοντες και διατασσόμενοι,

τρομοκρατούντες και τρομοκρατούμενοι,

κατέχοντες και κατεχόμενοι,

διηρημένοι οι Έλληνες.

Αντρέα Κάλβε σε σε κράζω.

Λαμπερότατος ο ήλιος απορεί,

απορούν τα βουνά και τα έλατα,

οι ακρογιαλιές και τ’ αηδόνια,

λίκνο ομορφιάς και μέτρου η πατρίς μου,

σήμερα τόπος θανάτου.

Κωστή Παλαμά σε σε κράζω.

Ποτέ άλλοτε τόσο φως δεν έγινε σκότος,

τόση ανδρεία φόβος,

τόση αδυναμία η δύναμη,

τόσοι ήρωες μαρμάρινες προτομές,

πατρίς του Διγενή και του Διάκου η πατρίς μου,

σήμερα χώρα υποτελών.

Νίκο Καζαντζάκη σε σε κράζω.

Κι όμως αν λησμονούν οι θνητοί

που μιλούν ακόμα τη γλώσσα του Ανδρούτσου,

η μνήμη κατοικεί πίσω από τα σίδερα και τις σκοπιές,

η μνήμη κατοικεί μέσα στα ληθάρια,

φωλιάζει στα κίτρινα φύλα

που σκεπάζουν το κορμί σου Ελλάδα.

Άγγελε Σικελιανέ σε σε κράζω.

Η ψυχή της πατρίδας μου είσ’ εσύ πολύμορφο ποτάμι,

τυφλό από το αίμα, κουφό από το δόγκο,

ανήμπορο από το μέγα μίσος και τη μεγάλη αγάπη,

που εξίσου εξουσιάζουν την ψυχή σου.

Η ψυχή της πατρίδας μου είναι

δυο χειροπέδες σφιγμένες σε δυο ποτάμια,

δυο βουνά δεμένα με σκοινιά

στον πάγκο της ταράτσας,

ο Αργίτικος κάμπος φουσκωμένος από το μαστίγιο

και ο Όλυμπος κρεμασμένος πισθάγκωνα

από το κατάρτι του αεροπλανοφόρου για να ομολογήσει.

Η ψυχή της πατρίδας μου είναι αυτός ο σπόρος

π’ άπλωσε ρίζες πάνω στο βράχο.

Είσ’ εσύ μάνα, γυναίκα, κόρη,

που αγναντεύεις τη θάλασσα και τα βουνά

και κρυφόβαφεις μ’ αίμα

τα κόκκινα αβγά της Αναστάσεως

που εγκυμονούν οι καιροί και οι άντρες.

Αν ποτές να ‘ρθει στη δύστυχη χώρα μου,

Πάσχα Ελλήνων.


Άγνωστε Ποιητή σε κράζω



Zatouna 2014, YouTube

Another version

Mikis Theodorakis, his views at (nearly) 90

Excerpt: Άρθρο του Μίκη Θεοδωράκη, 29.06.2015

Εδώ και πολλά χρόνια, περισσότερο όμως την τελευταία πενταετία, ζούμε την πλήρη αποτυχία του συνόλου του πολιτικού μας κόσμου, που έχει οδηγήσει την χώρα στα πρόθυρα μιας εθνικής δοκιμασίας, ένα μόνο βήμα πριν από μια καταστροφή ιστορικών διαστάσεων...
Εφ’ όσον όμως αυτό δεν είναι εφικτό, και πάλι το μόνο όπλο που μένει στον Ελληνικό Λαό είναι η Ενότητα. Μόνο ενωμένοι σαν μια γροθιά μπορούμε να αγωνιστούμε να αντιμετωπίσουμε το καρκίνωμα που μας απειλεί ακόμα και με θάνατο. Ο Ελληνικός Λαός πρέπει να επιδείξει ψυχραιμία, ωριμότητα και υπευθυνότητα και να αναδειχθεί με κάθε νόμιμο τρόπο σε κυρίαρχο υπερασπιστή των ελευθεριών και των δικαιωμάτων του.

Αθήνα, 29.6.2015 
Μίκης Θεοδωράκης

Mikis sings ΟΙ ΣΤΙΧΟΙ ΑΥΤΟΙ

Aliki sings

Margarita sings

Greece fiercely divided (The Guardian) - "Greece, not long healed from the horrors of civil war, is now deeply divided. Overnight, fault lines between left and right have opened up with a ferocity that has shocked many, and which harks back to the bloody 1946-49 internecine feud. Supporters of the no camp, backed by the government, are denounced as anti-European and proponents of the drachma lobby; supporters of the yes camp as quislings of Wolfgang Schäuble and the German finance minister’s austerity brigade in Berlin".

iefimerida report - Οι πανεπιστημιακοί υπέρ του «Ναι»: Η επιλογή της Ελλάδας εκτός ΕΕ είναι καταστροφική


 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Greece: The Referendum Wording and Voting Form; Το ψηφοδέλτιο - Πρέπει να γίνει αποδεκτό το σχέδιο συμφωνίας; Jean-Claude Juncker Speaks; η έκβαση του δημοψηφίσματος έχει να κάνει με το μέλλον της Ελλάδας στην ευρωζώνη.



Wording here (News 247)

Το ψηφοδέλτιο αναφέρει:

Πρέπει να γίνει αποδεκτό το σχέδιο συμφωνίας, το οποίο κατέθεσαν η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή, η Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα και το Διεθνές Νομισματικό Ταμείο στο Eurogroup της 25.06.2015 και αποτελείται από δύο μέρη, τα οποία συγκροτούν την ενιαία πρότασή τους;


The vote: to stay in the Euro - or to leave it? (MSN/capital.gr) - η έκβαση του δημοψηφίσματος έχει να κάνει με το μέλλον της Ελλάδας στην ευρωζώνη.

EUobserver - "Juncker: Greek No would be rejection of Europe"
(find on euobserver.com/economic/129363)

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said Greeks should vote Yes in the referendum on creditors' conditions, because a No would amount to rejection of Europe. In a no-holds-barred speech on Monday (29 June), Juncker said he felt "betrayed" by Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ unexpected decision to call the vote and accused him of lies and populism in order to get a place in history books. Referring to Tsipras' use of the words "blackmail" and "ultimatum”, which he used on Friday before rejecting the creditors' latest proposals and calling the referendum, Juncker said: "Who is involved in that? Where are these threats coming from?”.

He added: “We don't deserve all this criticism”.

He also detailed many of the most controversial issues in the proposals, noting that "Greeks need to have a clear picture of what's at stake"....

He noted that the team of Greek negotiators sent to Brussels was "constantly changing" and that proposals coming from Athens were "delayed or deliberately altered". He said there was a promise to discuss debt measures - debt relief is the bottom line for the Tsipras government - in autumn.

"Mr Tsipras knows his," he added. "There are no wage cuts in this package. There are no pension cuts in this package. This is not a stupid austerity package”, he said.

Juncker accused Tsipras’ left-wing government of being reluctant to take decisions on what should be bread and butter issues for his own constituency, such as cutting defence spending and giving ship-owners a less favourable tax regime.

"We were the ones pushing for these elements”, said the commission chief....

The Greek government has said it will campaign for a No vote, while Greek media and commentators have noted that the referendum question is exceedingly complicated.

The question is, according to an unofficial translation by a Greek source: “Should the plan of agreement be accepted, which was submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund in the Eurogroup of 25.06.2015 and comprises of two parts, which constitute their unfifed proposal? The first document is entitled ‘Reforms for the Completion of the Current Programme and Beyond’ and the second ‘Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis’.”

Experts also note the No option is to be placed above the Yes option on the ballot paper.

Meanwhile, the German and French leaders have also indicated that Greek voters will be deciding on the wider question of euro membership on Sunday.

(From EUobserver)

Martin Schulz (Kathimerini) - The president of the European Union's parliament says he is willing to go to Greece and campaign ahead of the referendum there to convince the Greeks to vote for a bailout proposal that creditors have made. The Greek government has advised people to reject it. Martin Schulz says that «as a convinced European I will run and I will fight to convince the Greek people to take that stretched hand of the Europeans and to stay in the eurozone."

From The Telegraph:

Greek official: Juncker's claim that latest offer has no pension cuts is a "preposterous lie"

Juncker's speech has not gone down well with the Greek government - particularly his claim that the latest offer to Greece has "no pension cuts".

A senior Greek official has told the Telegraph:

This is a preposterous lie because he tries to argue that there is no "direct cuts" proposed, whereas, in fact, they demand:

• €900m in "welfare expenditure cuts", the gradual phasing out of special supplement on low pension (below €300)
• full implementation of law 3863/2010 on social security budget expenditure cutbacks
• implementation of the zero-deficit clause on supplementary pension funds which means 85pc cuts in supplementary pension of the most populous
• low-pension funds, the immediate abolition of 3rd party contributions (worth €700m) to pension funds
• an increase in witholding taxes on pentions for health insucance
• and last but not least a freeze on all pensions until 2021.

Spiegel Online: The Price of Five Years of Cowardice - "Why didn't the Greeks says weeks ago that they wanted to put the negotiations up for a vote? That would have been the democratic way to go about it. In the very best case scenario, Tsipras' about-face on the referendum is a populist move (assuming the decision was taken with any political calculation). In the worst case scenario, it is a cowardly one (if the head of government got cold feet about making such a difficult decision). But "constant cowardice" is also the answer to another question -- namely how the rest of the euro-zone members, Germany above all, could have allowed a situation to develop in which the erratic leaders of an economically insignificant country with a population of just 11 million people could bring the currency union to the verge of collapse?"

Spiegel Online: The Anti-Europe

Last-ditch offer rejected (Business Insider/Reuters)

Greek Reporter - Juncker Offers New Last Minute Deal to Greece on Tuesday; Tsipras Says No

The Supply Chain (Wall Street Journal) - Greece Faces Supply Chain Disruptions as Crisis Deepens

CNBC - How Greeks and tourists will be hit

Tsipras Interview (MSN?Naftemporiki)

John Psaropoulos, The New Athenian - War of words fogs referendum

Vitsa, Zagori: In Memory of Two Italian Friends


Photos taken during visits to Vitsa

  Elena Cetroni  (d. 9 May, 2015)    

Raul Scacchi (d. 9 June, 2014)
                                     

They both loved Greece.

                                                   

             






Greece: Paper Issued by the Greek Government on Financial Transactions, Credit Cards, ATMs etc; Όλα όσα πρέπει να ξέρετε για την «αργία τραπεζών»



From The Greek Analyst For full details click on the link on the left

Some of the information in the "Non Paper":

"Electronic transactions within the country will not be affected. That is to say, all transactions using a credit or debit card and with all electronic ways of payment (web banking, phone banking) will be carried out as normal. Prepaid cards can be used up until the limit, which was already in place, before the beginning of the bank holiday.

At the same time, starting on noon of June 29th, ATMs will begin operating with a daily withdrawal limit of 60€ per card, which corresponds to 1.800€ per month. Foreign tourists will be able to make normal withdrawals of cash from the ATMs with their cards, as long as [these cards] have been issued abroad".

More information:

While [the bank holiday] lasts, will the ATMs be open?


The ATMs will re-open no later than noon of Monday, and will remain open during the short bank holiday.


How much money will I be able to get from the ATM?


The daily withdrawal limit is 60€ per card.


What happens if there are more than one accounts connected to a card?


Accounts with more connected accounts, the daily withdrawal limit is 60€.


What happens if one account has more [than one] beneficiaries?


In accounts with more beneficiaries and more cards, the daily withdrawal limit is 60€ for each beneficiary’s card. For instance, in an account with two beneficiaries that have one card each, the daily withdrawal limit is 60€ per card, that is 120€ for the account.


What if an account has one beneficiary but more than one connected withdrawal cards?


In such a case, the daily withdrawal limit of 60€ applies to the total number of cards. For instance, if an account has a beneficiary with two connected cards, the daily withdrawal limit is 60€.


Can I make cash withdrawals with my credit card?


Cash withdrawal by credit card can happen until the daily limit (60€). This transaction shall bear interest rate and fees that are set by the Bank that issued the credit card.



Will I be able to use the credit card or the debit card in order to make purchases?

Credit and debit cards can normally be used for purchases within Greece, up to the threshold agreed in my contract with the Bank.

Will I be able to use my credit and debit card in order to make purchases online?

Credit and debit cards can be used normally for purchases by online shops that have an account in the Bank of Greece.

FULL INFORMATION IN GREEK - Όλα όσα πρέπει να ξέρετε για την «αργία τραπεζών» – Το Υπουργείο Οικονομίας απαντά

Zagori, Epirus: A Stroll Down a Cobbled Mountain Village Path (Kalderimi) - A Church and Some Stone Houses




A peep inside











Cat on a cold stone roof




Nichtolouloudo




Greece and the Euro: Obama and Merkel "In Agreement"; Prospect of Debt Relief Before Referendum Under Discussion?




Let's see what rabbits they can pull out of the hat. From The Pappas Post.

'About Obama’s conversation with Merkel, the White House said in a statement: “The leaders affirmed that their respective economic teams are carefully monitoring the situation and will remain in close touch. “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 euro zone.”'

From Kathimerini - τηλεφώνημα Λιου-Τσίπρα - Σύμφωνα με ανακοίνωση του υπουργείου Οικονομικών των ΗΠΑ, ο κ. Λιου υπογράμμισε ότι «είναι προς το καλύτερο συμφέρον της Ελλάδας, της Ευρώπης και της παγκόσμιας οικονομίας να βρεθεί μία βιώσιμη λύση που να θέτει την Ελλάδα στο δρόμο των μεταρρυθμίσεων και της ανάκαμψης εντός της Ευρωζώνης». Όπως σημείωσε, είναι σημαντικό όλα τα μέρη να συνεχίσουν τις εργασίες για να φτάσουν σε συμφωνία, «συμπεριλαμβανομένης μίας δέσμευσης στις μεταρρυθμίσεις και μίας συζήτησης για την προοπτική ελάφρυνσης του χρέους της Ελλάδας, ενόψει του δημοψήφισματος της 5ης Ιουλίου».

*****

Meanwhile, people are starting to panic (in spite of the Greek Prime Minister's televised 'message of hope'), even in remote Epirot mountain villages. Rumours of war-ships off Cape Sounion. Messages are being sent from relations in Athens and Brussels, advising people to pack their bags and leave the country, or to stock up on food and supplies! Everybody feels totally uninformed. "O monos mas fovos einai o fovos", said the Prime minister. I'm afraid that irrational fear is taking hold. Justice may win, but whose principles of justice?

A young Albanian immigrant told me that, in comparison to this temporary Greek crisis, he has lived in an existential state of  austerity, daily crisis (and the fear of hunger) all his life. No, he didn't use the word existential. Let's keep matters in perspective.

Washington Post article -  "There were growing global concerns that Greece’s five years of painful sacrifices to stay inside the 19-nation euro zone were coming to a rapid end, with uncertain consequences for the global financial system, as well as for Greeks themselves",

Athens; Pedion tou Areos Park (Waste Management and Other Issues)


A dispiriting report.

From Kathimerini

"The decline of this 23-hectare park is yet one more example of a lost opportunity for Athens to do something good for itself. It’s main characteristic today is the trash – piles and piles of the stuff – that seems to have taken over. The much-lauded water elements, small artificial streams and ponds have dried up and become garbage dumps; the bushes in the rose garden are dead and the watering system no longer works".



Sunday, 28 June 2015

Greek Banks: To reopen from 7 July (after referendum)? - Restrictions on Capital Movements; Advice to Tourists on ATMs and Credit Cards



From Kathimerini - Οι τράπεζες αναμένεται να επαναλειτουργήσουν από τη Τρίτη 7 Ιουλίου αφού επιβληθούν περιορισμοί στην κίνηση κεφαλαίων. Αύριο Δευτέρα εκτός από τα καταστήματα δεν θα λειτουργήσουν τα ΑΤΜ ούτε τα άλλα ηλεκτρονικά δίκτυα συναλλαγών.

"Banks are expected to reopen by Tuesday, July 7, after imposing restrictions on capital movements. Tomorrow, Monday,  ATMs or other electronic trading networks will not function, except for the shops"- Kathimerini.

NB "Final decisions and details of capital restrictions will be known later". 

Kathimerini English report - "Banks will remain shut until at least after a July 5 referendum called by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on whether to accept austerity in exchange for a European bailout, Kathimerini newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources".

Huffington Post, Greece - Κλειστές θα παραμείνουν από αύριο και για μία εβδομάδα οι ελληνικές τράπεζες ενώ αναμένεται να επιβληθεί όριο στις αναλήψεις που θα γίνονται από τα ATM το οποίο φέρεται να είναι σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες στα 100 ευρώ ανά ημέρα, ενώ φέρεται να υπάρχει και πρόταση για 200 ευρώ ανά ημέρα, αλλά δεν φαίνεται να κερδίζει.

- Banks will remain closed for one week. ATM withdrawals will be limited to 60 Euros per card per day.

DisclaimerI am not able to verify the accuracy of all these reports.

Updates:

The Guardian report Greek debt crisis: the key points of Athens bank controls -
All banks closed for at least a week, cash withdrawals capped at €60 a day and foreign money transfers banned ahead of referendum on bailout terms

The Pappas Post: Tsipras' TV announcement (video).

BBC Report - "Greek banks are to remain closed and capital controls will be imposed, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says. - Mr Tsipras did not give details of how long banks would stay shut, or exactly what controls on capital would be imposed".

EU Observer report - "Greece is to become the second eurozone country to impose capital controls on Monday, in a bid to prevent the collapse of the country’s financial system. The decision was taken at a meeting of Greece’s financial stability council on Sunday (28 June), another tumultuous day for the eurozone...He appealed for calm from the Greek people and assured them their salaries and pensions would be paid. The Greek banking sector and stock market will also remain closed on Monday, while speculation mounted they could stay closed all week ahead of a referendum next Sunday which could decide the country’s fate as a member of the eurozone".

Telegraph : advice to holidaymakers - What holidaymakers need to know about a Greek exit from the euro, with tips on carrying cash, using ATMs, credit cards, booking late deals and civil unrest.

Greek Government, London Press Office:



"Greeks can take out only €60 per day, with tourists' withdrawals unlimited" - but what if the cash machines have been emptied of cash??

Swedish Advice to Tourists (Svenska Dagbladet) - Sedan beskedet om att bankerna skulle hålla stängt till och med den 6 juli råder resebolaget sina resenärer att ta med sig extra kontanter. Enligt den grekiska regeringen ska turister fortsättningsvis kunna använda bankomaterna fritt, men enligt resebolaget Apollo är det osäkert om så verkligen kommer bli fallet.

– Vi får motstridiga uppgifter om man kommer fylla på bankomaterna. Vårt råd är att ändå ta med extra kontanter. Det går att betala med kort men i Grekland är det inte alla som accepterar kort som betalningsmedel, säger Kajsa Moström, som själv befinner sig på grekiska Karpathos där det i går fanns pengar i bankomaterna.

Google (slightly edited) automatic translation: "According to the Greek government, tourists continue to be able to use the ATMs freely, but according to the travel company Apollo, it is uncertain if this will continue to be the case. 'We get conflicting information about the replenishment of ATMs. Our advice is still to bring extra cash. It is possible to pay by card, but in Greece, not everyone will accept cards as payment...'"

UK, Chancellor's Statement - "Britain’s attitude to the developing Greek crisis is clear: we hope for the best; but we prepare for the worst.

Let me address some immediate issues that will concern people.

First, our view on the overall state of the relationship between Greece and its fellow Eurozone members is this: whether or not Greece should ever have joined the euro, it is now part of that single currency, and an exit will be traumatic.

It was the Greek government’s decision to hold a referendum which was the immediate trigger for the events over the weekend and the bank closures today.

And we should plan on the assumption that this referendum will effectively be a choice for the Greek people about whether their country now leaves the euro.

This is a matter for the Greek people to decide – and we respect their democratic right to decide their country’s future. We also respect the right of the Eurozone to set conditions of membership...

I remind people, credit and debit cards are of course accepted only at the discretion of the business you’re paying".


















GREECE: Για την ενημέρωση του ελληνικού λαού και σε πνεύμα διαφάνειας - The Rejected Proposals and List of Prior Actions;



From enikos.gr:

«Για την ενημέρωση του ελληνικού λαού και σε πνεύμα διαφάνειας η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή ενημερώνει» έγραψε πριν από λίγο στον προσωπικό του λογαριασμό στο twitter ο Πρόεδρος της Κομισιόν, Ζαν Κλοντ Γιούνκερ.

From Kathimerini - Σε ισχύ μέχρι τα μεσάνυχτα της Τρίτης η βελτιωμένη πρόταση των θεσμών

Ολόκληρη η ανακοίνωση της Κομισιόν:

"Βρυξέλλες, 28 Ιούνιος 2015

Για την ενημέρωση του ελληνικού λαού και σε πνεύμα διαφάνειας, η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή δημοσιεύει τις τελευταίες προτάσεις όπως συμφωνήθηκαν με τους θεσμούς (Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή, Ευρωπαϊκή Κεντρική Τράπεζα, Διεθνές Νομισματικό Ταμείο) οι οποίες λαμβάνουν υπόψη τις προτάσεις των ελληνικών αρχών της 8ης, 14ης, 22ας και 25ης Ιουνίου 2015, αλλά και τις συνομιλίες σε πολιτικό και τεχνικό επίπεδο καθ' όλη τη διάρκεια της εβδομάδας.

Οι συζητήσεις επ' αυτών των προτάσεων συνεχιζόταν με τις ελληνικές αρχές το βράδυ της Παρασκευής ενόψει του Eurogroupτης 27ης Ιουνίου 2015. Υπήρχε συναντίληψη όλων των εμπλεκομένων πλευρών ότι η σύνοδος αυτή του Eurogroup θα επιτύγχανε μια συνολική συμφωνία για την Ελλάδα, η οποία όχι μόνο θα είχε συμπεριλάβει τα μέτρα προς κοινή συμφωνία, αλλά θα κάλυπτε και τις μελλοντικές χρηματοδοτικές ανάγκες όπως και τη βιωσιμότητα του ελληνικού χρέους. Περιελάμβανε επίσης την υποστήριξη ενός πακέτου για μια νέα αρχή για την ανάπτυξη και την απασχόληση με τη πρωτοβουλία της Επιτροπής που θα υποστήριζε την ανασυγκρότηση και τις επενδύσεις στη πραγματική οικονομία, όπως είχε συζητηθεί και υιοθετηθεί στη συνεδρίαση του Κολλεγίου των Επιτρόπων της Τετάρτης 24 Ιουνίου 2025.

Παρόλα αυτά, δεν έγινε εφικτή η τυπική ολοκλήρωση και παρουσίαση στο Eurogroup της τελικής εκδοχής αυτού του εγγράφου, ούτε της περίληψης μιας συνολικής συμφωνίας, λόγω της μονομερούς απόφασης των ελληνικών αρχών να εγκαταλείψουν τη διαδικασία το βράδυ της 26ης Ιουνίου 2015".

Για να διαβάσετε τις προτάσεις (στα αγγλικά) πατήστε εδώ

List which takes account of the proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June 

Table 1. Greece: Prior Actions Policy Actions to be taken in consultation with EC/ECB/IMF staff: 2. VAT reform Adopt legislation to reform the VAT system that will be effective as of July 1, 2015. The reform will target a net revenue gain of 1 percent of GDP on an annual basis from parametric changes. The new VAT system will: (i) unify the rates at a standard 23 percent rate, which will include restaurants and catering, and a reduced 13 percent rate for basic food, energy, hotels, and water (excluding sewage), and a super-reduced rate of 6 percent for pharmaceuticals, books, and theater; (ii) streamline exemptions to broaden the base and raise the tax on insurance; and (iii) eliminate discounts, including on islands. The increase of the VAT rate described above may be reviewed at the end of 2016, provided that equivalent additional revenues are collected through measures taken against tax evasion and to improve collectability of VAT. Any decision to review and revise shall take place in consultation with the institutions. 3. Fiscal structural measures Adopt legislation to:  close possibilities for income tax avoidance (e.g., tighten the definition of farmers), take measures to increase the corporate income tax in 2015 and require 100 percent advance payments for corporate income as well as individual business income tax by end-2016; eliminate the preferential tax treatment of farmers in the income tax code; raise the solidarity surcharge;  abolish subsidies for excise on diesel oil for farmers and better target eligibility to halve heating oil subsidies expenditure in the budget 2016; 1. 2015 supplementary budget and 2016-19 MTFS Adopt effective as of July 1, 2015 a supplementary 2015 budget and a 2016–19 medium-term fiscal strategy, supported by a sizable and credible package of measures. The new fiscal path is premised on a primary surplus target of 1, 2, 3, and 3.5 percent of GDP in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The package includes VAT reforms (¶2), other tax policy measures (¶3), pension reforms (¶4), public administration reforms (¶5), reforms addressing shortfalls in tax collection enforcement (¶6), and other parametric measures as specified below. (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June  in view of any revision of the zonal property values, adjust the property tax rates if necessary to safeguard the 2015 and 2016 property tax revenues at €2.65 billion and adjust the alternative minimum personal income taxation.  eliminate the cross-border withholding tax introduced by the installments act (law XXXX/2015) and reverse the recent amendments to the ITC in the public administration act (law XXXX/2015), including the special treatment of agricultural income.  adopt outstanding reforms on the codes on income tax, and tax procedures: introduce a new Criminal Law on Tax Evasion and Fraud to amend the Special Penal Law 2523/1997 and any other relevant legislation, and replace Article 55, ¶s 1 and 2, of the TPC, with a view, inter alia, to modernize and broaden the definition of tax fraud and evasion to all taxes; abolish all Code of Book and Records fines, including those levied under law 2523/1997 develop the tax framework for collective investment vehicles and their participants consistently with the ITC and in line with best practices in the EU.  adopt legislation to upgrade the organic budget law to: (i) introduce a framework for independent agencies; (ii) phase out ex-ante audits of the Hellenic Court of Auditors and account officers (ypologos); (iii) give GDFSs exclusive financial service capacity and GAO powers to oversee public sector finances; and (iv) phase out fiscal audit offices by January 2017.  increase the rate of the tonnage tax and phase out special tax treatments of the shipping industry. By September 2015, (i) simplify the personal income tax credit schedule; (ii) re-design and integrate into the ITC the solidarity surcharge for income of 2016 to more effectively achieve progressivity in the income tax system; (iii) issue a circular on fines to ensure the comprehensive and consistent application of the TPC; (iv) and other remaining reforms as specified in ¶9 of the IMF Country Report No. 14/151. On health care, effective as of July 1, 2015, (i) re-establish full INN prescription, without exceptions, (ii) reduce as a first step the price of all off-patent drugs to 50 percent and all generics to 32.5 percent of the patent price, by repealing the grandfathering clause for medicines already in the market in 2012, and (iii)) review and limit the prices of diagnostic tests to bring structural spending in line with claw back targets; and (iv) collect in the full the 2014 clawback for private clinics, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, and extend their 2015 clawback ceilings to 2016. Launch the Social Welfare Review under the agreed terms of reference with the technical assistance of the World Bank to target savings of ½ percent of GDP which can help finance a fiscally neutral gradual roll-out of the GMI in January 2016. Adopt legislation to: (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June  reduce the expenditure ceiling for military spending by €400 million with a targeted set of actions, including a reduction in headcount and procurement;  introduce reform of the income tax code, inter alia covering capital taxation], investment vehicles, farmers and the self- employed, etc.;  raise the corporate tax rate from 26% to 28%;  introduce tax on television advertisements;  announce international public tender for the acquisition of television licenses and usage related fees of relevant frequencies;  extend implementation of luxury tax on recreational vessels in excess of 10 meters and increase the rate from 10% to 13%, coming into effect from the collection of 2014 income taxes and beyond;  extend Gross Gaming Revenues (GGR) taxation of 30% on VLT games, expected to be installed at second half of 2015 and 2016; and  launch the tender process for the issuing of 4G and 5G licences. 4. Pension reform The Authorities recognise that the pension system is unsustainable and needs fundamental reforms. This is why they will implement in full the 2010 pension reform law (3863/2010), and implement in full or replace/adjust the sustainability factors for supplementary and lump-sum pensions from the 2012 reform to achieve equivalent savings and take further steps to improve the pension system. Effective from July 1, 2015 the authorities will phase-in reforms that would deliver estimated permanent savings of ¼- ½ percent of GDP in 2015 and 1 percent of GDP on a full year basis in 2016 and thereafter by adopting legislation to:  create strong disincentives to early retirement, including the adjustment of early retirement penalties, and through a gradual elimination of grandfathering to statutory retirement age and early retirement pathways progressively adapting to the limit of statutory retirement age of 67 years, or 62 and 40 years of contributions by 2022, applicable for all those retiring (except arduous professions, and mothers with children with disability) with (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June immediate application;  adopt legislation so that withdrawals from the Social Insurance Fund will incur an annual penalty, for those affected by the extension of the retirement age period, equivalent to 10 percent on top of the current penalty of 6 percent;  integrate into ETEA all supplementary pension funds and ensure that, starting January 1, 2015, all supplementary pension funds are only financed by own contributions;  better target social pensions by increasing OGA uninsured pension;  Gradually phase out the solidarity grant (EKAS) for all pensioners by end-December 2019. This shall start immediately as regards the top 20% of beneficiaries with the modalities of the phase out to be agreed with the institutions;  freeze monthly guaranteed contributory pension limits in nominal terms until 2021;  provide to people retiring after 30 June 2015 the basic, guaranteed contributory, and means tested pensions only at the attainment of the statutory normal retirement age of currently 67 years;  increase the health contributions for pensioners from 4% to 6% on average and extend it to supplementary pensions;  phase out all state-financed exemptions and harmonize contribution rules for all pension funds with the structure of contributions to IKA from 1 July 2015; Moreover, in order to restore the sustainability and improve the structure of the pensions system, the authorities will by 31 October 2015, legislate further reforms to take effect from January 1, 2016 (i) specific design and parametric improvements to establish a closer link between contribution and benefits; (ii) broaden and modernize the contribution and pension base for all self-employed, including by switching from notional to actual income, subject to minimum required contribution rules; (iii) revise and rationalize all different systems of basic, guaranteed contributory and means tested pension components, taking into account incentives to work and contribute; (iv) the main elements of a comprehensive SSFs consolidation, including any remaining harmonization of contribution and benefit payment rules and procedures across all funds; (v) abolish all nuisance charges financing pensions and offset by reducing benefits or increasing contributions in specific funds to take effect from 31 October 2015; and (vi) harmonize pension benefit rules of the agricultural fund (OGA) with the rest of the pension system in a pro rata manner, unless OGA is (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June merged into other funds. The consolidation of social insurance funds will take place by end 2017. In 2015, the process will be activated through legislation to consolidate the social insurance funds under a single entity and the operational consolidation will have been completed by 31 December 2016. Further reductions in the operating costs and a more effective management of fund resources including improved balancing of needs between better-off and poorer-off funds will be actively encouraged. The authorities will adopt legislation to fully offset the fiscal effects of the implementation of court rulings on the 2012 pension reform. In parallel to the reform of the pension system, a Social Welfare Review will be carried out to ensure fairness of the various reforms. The institutions are prepared to take into account other parametric measures within the pension system of equivalent effect to replace some of the measures mentioned above, taking into account their impact on growth, and provided that such measures are presented to the institutions during the design phase and are sufficiently concrete and quantifiable, and in the absence of this the default option is what is specified above. 5. Public Administration, Justice and Anti Corruption Adopt legislation to:  reform the unified wage grid, effective 1 January, 2016, setting the key parameters in a fiscally neutral manner and consistent with the agreed wage bill targets and with comprehensive application across the public sector, including decompressing the wage distribution across the wage spectrum in connection with the skill, performance and responsibility of staff. (The authorities will also adopt legislation to rationalise the specialised wage grids, by end-November 2015);  align non-wage benefits such as leave arrangements, per diems, travel allowances and perks, with best practices in the EU, effective 1 January 2016;  establish within the new MTFS ceilings for the wage bill and the level of public employment consistent with achieving the fiscal targets and ensuring a declining path of the wage bill relative to GDP until 2019;  hire managers and assess performance of all employees (with the aim to complete the hiring of new managers by (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June 31 December 2015 subsequent to a review process).  reform the Civil Procedure Code, in line with previous agreements;  strengthen the governance of ELSTAT. It shall cover (i) the role and structure of the Advisory bodies of the Hellenic Statistical System, including the recasting of the Council of ELSS to an advisory Committee of the ELSS, and the role of the Good Practice Advisory Committee (GPAC); (ii) the recruitment procedure for the President of ELSTAT, to ensure that a President of the highest professional calibre is recruited, following transparent procedures and selection criteria; (iii) the involvement of ELSTAT as appropriate in any legislative or other legal proposal pertaining to any statistical matter; (iv) other issues that impact the independence of ELSTAT, including financial autonomy, the empowerment of ELSTAT to reallocate existing permanent posts and to hire staff where it is needed and to hire specialised scientific personnel, and the classification of the institution as a fiscal policy body in the recent law 4270/2014; role and powers of Bank of Greece in statistics in line with European legislation. Publish a revised Strategic Plan against Corruption by 31 July 2015. Amend and implement the legal framework for the declaration of assets and financing of the political parties and adopt legislation insulating financial crime and anticorruption investigations from political intervention in individual cases. 6. Tax administration Take the following actions to:  Adopt legislation to establish an autonomous revenue agency, that specifies: (i) the agency’s legal form, organization, status, and scope; (ii) the powers and functions of the CEO and the independent Board of Governors; (iii) the relationship to the Minister of Finance and other government entities; (iv) the agency’s human resource flexibility and relationship to the civil service; (v) budget autonomy, with own GDFS and a new funding formula to align incentives with revenue collection and guarantee budget predictability and flexibility; (vi) reporting to the government and parliament; and (vii) the immediate transfer of all tax- and customs-related capacities and duties and all tax- and customs-related staff in SDOE and other entities to the agency.  on garnishments, adopt legislation to eliminate the 25 percent ceiling on wages and pensions and lower all thresholds of €1,500 while ensuring in all cases reasonable living conditions; accelerate procurement of IT infrastructure to automatize e-garnishment; improve tax debt write-off rules; remove tax officers’ personal liabilities for not pursuing old debt; remove restrictions on conducting audits of tax returns from 2012 subject to the external tax certificate scheme; and enforce if legally possible upfront payment collection in tax disputes.  amend (i) the 2014–15 tax and SSC debt instalment schemes to exclude those who fail to pay current obligations (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June and introduce a requirement for the tax and social security administrations to shorten the duration for those with the capacity to pay earlier and introduce market-based interest rates; the LDU and KEAO will assess by September 2015 the large debtors with tax and SSC debt exceeding €1 million (e.g. verify their capacity to pay and take corrective action) and (ii) the basic instalment scheme/TPC to adjust the market-based interest rates and suspend until end-2017 third-party verification and bank guarantee requirements.  adopt legislation to accelerate de-registration procedures and limit VAT re-registration to protect VAT revenues and accelerate procurement of network analysis software; and provide the Presidential Decree needed for the significantly strengthening the reorganisation of the VAT enforcement section in order to strengthen VAT enforcement and combat VAT carousel fraud. The authorities will submit an application to the EU VAT Committee and prepare an assessment of the implication of an increase in the VAT threshold to €25.000.  combat fuel smuggling, via legislative measures for locating storage tanks (fixed or mobile);  produce a plan whereby the SGPR intensifies fight to tax evasion and undeclared deposits, by checking bank transactions in banking institutions in Greece or abroad, with a view to recover unpaid taxes;  develop a costed plan for the promotion of the use of electronic payments, making use of the EU Structural and Investment Fund; 7. Financial sector Adopt: (i) amendments to the corporate and household insolvency laws including to cover all debtors and bring the corporate insolvency law in line with the OCW law; (ii) amendments to the household insolvency law to introduce a mechanism to separate strategic defaulters from good faith debtors as well as simplify and strengthen the procedures and introduce measures to address the large backlog of cases; (iii) amendments to improve immediately the judicial framework for corporate and household insolvency matters; (iv) legislation to establish a regulated profession of insolvency administrators, not restricted to any specific profession and in line with good cross-country experience; (v) a comprehensive strategy for the financial system: this strategy will build on the strategy document from 2013, taking into account the new environment and conditions of the financial system and with a view of returning the banks in private ownership by attracting international strategic investors and to achieve a sustainable funding model over the medium term; and (vi) a holistic NPL resolution strategy, prepared with the help of a strategic consultant. (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June 8. Labour market Launch a consultation process similar to that foreseen for the determination of the level of the minimum wage (Art. 103 of Law 4172/2013) to review the existing frameworks of collective dismissals, industrial action, and collective bargaining, taking into account best practices elsewhere in Europe. Further input to the review described above will be provided by international organisations, including the ILO. The organization and timelines shall be drawn up in consultation with the institutions. No changes to the current collective bargaining framework will be made prior to the conclusion of the review and in any case not before end-2015. Any proposed changes to the legislative frameworks will only be adopted in agreement with the EC/ECB/IMF. The authorities will take actions to fight undeclared work in order to strengthen the competitiveness of legal companies and protect workers as well as tax and social security revenues. (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June 9. Product market Adopt legislation to:  implement all the pending recommendations of the OECD competition toolkit I, including inter alia truck licenses, and the OECD toolkit II recommendations on beverages and petroleum products;  open the restricted professions of engineers, notaries, actuaries, and bailiffs, and liberalize the market for tourist rentals and ferry transportation;  eliminate non-reciprocal nuisance charges and align the reciprocal nuisance charges to the services provided;  (i) reduce red tape, including on horizontal licensing requirements of investments and on low-risk activities as recommended by the World Bank, and administrative burden of companies based on the OECD recommendations, and (ii) establish a committee for the inter-ministerial preparation of legislation. Technical assistance of the World Bank will be sought to implement the easing of licensing requirements.  adopt the reform of the gas market and its specific roadmap, and implementation should follow suit.  take irreversible steps (including announcement of date for submission of binding offers) to privatize the electricity transmission company, ADMIE. On electricity markets, the authorities will reform the capacity payments system and other electricity market rules to avoid that some plants are forced to operate below their variable cost, and to prevent the netting of the arrears between PPC and market operator; set PPC tariffs based on costs, including replacement of the 20% discount for HV users with cost based tariffs; and notify NOME products to the European Commission. The authorities will also continue the implementation of the roadmap to the EU target model prepare a new framework for the support of renewable energies and for the implementation of energy efficiency and review energy taxation; the authorities will strengthen the electricity regulator’s financial and operational independence; (26 June 20h00) List which takes account of proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June 10. Privatization  The Board of Directors of the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund will approve its Asset Development Plan which will include for privatisation all the assets under HRDAF as of 31/12/2014; and the Cabinet will endorse the plan.  To facilitate the completion of the tenders, the authorities will complete all government pending actions including those needed for the regional airports, TRAINOSE, Egnatia, the ports of Pireaus and Thessaloniki and Hellinikon (precise list in Technical Memorandum). This list of actions is updated regularly and the Government will ensure that all pending actions are timely implemented.  The government and HRADF will announce binding bid dates for Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports of no later than end-October 2015, and for TRAINOSE ROSCO, with no material changes in the terms of the tenders.  The government will transfer the state's shares in OTE to the HRADF.  Take irreversible steps for the sale of the regional airports at the current terms with the winning bidder already selected.

Rock 'n' Roll America (BBC4 TV Series, from 3 July 2015)



Series of 3 episodes: first episode, "Sweet Little Sixteen", Friday 3 July 2015, 9pm


"In Cold War mid-1950s America, as the new suburbia was spreading fast in a country riven by racial segregation, rock 'n' roll took the country by surprise. Out of the Deep South came a rhythm-driven fusion of blues, boogie woogie and vocal harmony played by young black pioneers like Fats Domino and Little Richard that seduced young white teens and, pre-civil rights, got black and white kids reeling and rocking together.

This fledgling sound was nurtured by small independent labels and travelled up from the Mississippi corridor spawning new artists. In Memphis, Elvis began his career as a local singer with a country twang who rocked up a blues song and sounded so black he confused his white listeners. And in St Louis, black blues guitarist Chuck Berry took a country song and turned it into his first rock 'n' roll hit, Maybellene.

Movies had a big role to play thanks to 'social problem' films exploring the teenager as misfit and delinquent - The Wild One showed teens a rebellious image and a look, and Blackboard Jungle gave them a soundtrack, with the film's theme tune Rock Around the Clock becoming the first rock 'n' roll Number 1 in 1955.

Featuring Jerry Lee Lewis, Don Everly, Little Richard, Tom Jones, Wanda Jackson, Pat Boone, the Spaniels, PF Sloan, Joe Boyd, Jerry Phillips, Marshall Chess, JM Van Eaton (Jerry Lee Lewis's drummer), Charles Connor (Little Richard's drummer), Dick Richards (Bill Haley's drummer)".

Clips (if in UK)

Mikis Theodorakis: Ninety Years Old Next Month (born 29 July, 1925)



90 years old on 29 July, 2015

(I was thinking we were already in July).




Δρόμοι παλιοί που αγάπησα και μίσησα ατέλειωτα
κάτω απ' τους ίσκιους των σπιτιών να περπατώ
νύχτες των γυρισμών αναπότρεπτες κι η πόλη νεκρή

Την ασήμαντη παρουσία μου βρίσκω σε κάθε γωνιά
κάμε να σ' ανταμώσω κάποτε φάσμα χαμένο του πόθου μου κι εγώ

Ξεχασμένος κι ατίθασος να περπατώ 
κρατώντας μια σπίθα τρεμόσβηστη στις υγρές μου παλάμες

Και προχωρούσα μέσα στη νύχτα χωρίς να γνωρίζω κανένα
κι ούτε κανένας κι ούτε κανένας με γνώριζε με γνώριζε



DROMOI PALIOI (OLD STREETS)
Lyrics: Manolis Anagnostakis
Music: Mikis Theodorakis
First Performance: Margarita Zorbala



Eurogroup Statement on Greece: Implications for the Greek Referendum Question; Lagarde Comments on Legal Issues; Varoufakis Protests



The Eurogroup Statement

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/press-releases-pdf/2015/6/40802199986_en.pdf

Eurogroup statement on Greece

Since the 20 February 2015 agreement of the Eurogroup on the extension of the current financial assistance arrangement, intensive negotiations have taken place between the institutions and the Greek authorities to achieve a successful conclusion of the review. Given the prolonged deadlock in negotiations and the urgency of the situation, institutions have put forward a comprehensive proposal on policy conditionality, making use of the given flexibility within the current arrangement. 

Regrettably, despite efforts at all levels and full support of the Eurogroup, this proposal has been rejected by the Greek authorities who broke off the programme negotiations late on the 26 June unilaterally. The Eurogroup 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.

 [1] Supported by all members of the Eurogroup except the Greek member.

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Since the current arrangements expire on 30 June, what can sensibly be proposed as the YES/NO question for the referendum on July 5th? 

An academic friend writes: "The referendum wording is good. It's on the troika plan, only, not about euro membership or the drachma".

Christine Lagarde (on YouTube): debts to the international community; referendum legal issues - Lagarde says Greek referendum will be invalid after Tuesday

Bloomberg Business - Tsipras Asking Grandma to Figure Out If Greek Debt Deal Is Fair - "The 68-word ballot question namechecks four international institutions and asks voters for their opinion on two highly technical documents that weren’t made public before the referendum call and were only translated into Greek on Saturday".

European Commission Press Release - Scroll down to see KEY DOCUMENT:

List of prior actions - version of 26 June 20 00.pdf    (rejected by Greek government) - List which takes account of the proposals of the Greek authorities received on 8, 14, 22 and 25 June - 
Kathimerini - EU executive publishes offer that Tsipras rejected


Greece: a "Bank Holiday" and Capital Controls on Monday?  BBC News - Greece debt crisis: ECB 'to end' bank emergency lending

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Has Greece "shot itself in the foot"? Spiegel Online - Pressestimmen aus Griechenland: "Selbst in den Fuß geschossen"

Lagarde to Tsipras, Mignatiou

Yanis Varoufakis' complaint; the Finance Minister makes his case

More from Mignatiou - Αλ. Τσίπρας: Οι Θεσμοί επέλεξαν να παραμείνουν Τρόικα που σκοτώνει τη δημοκρατία στην Ευρώπη

Yahoo News - Greece on the brink

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Laouto and Violin, Monodendri Amphitheatre; Vasilis Kostas Quartet; Greece; Zagori




Early arrivals


Vasilis plays a Skaros on solo laouto

YouTube: Vasilis Kostas Laouto Improvisation


A Middle-Eastern flavoured form of jazz fusion? Hard to categorise.

From Berklee - Vasilis Kostas Quartet on Tour in Greece this Month

With the collaboration of the Mediterranean Music Institute, composer, laouto, and guitar player Vasilis (Vasileios) Kostas toured Greece this month with his quartet, which includes student Layth Sidiq on violin, Giannis Papatriantafyllou on upright bass, and Nikos Magnisalis on percussion.

YouTube "A Minor"

"The Village" - "To Horio"

"Synchronon"

"Trying to Remember"

"The Sides of the Soul"

"Classic"