The Foreign Office in London has stressed the importance of maintaining EU unity against the course of action undertaken by Russia in Ukraine.

Ëïíäßíï

London

Asked by the Cyprus News Agency to comment on the agreement signed between Cyprus and Russia which allows Russian navy ships to use Cypriot ports, a Foreign Office spokesperson said that access to Cypriot ports is a matter for the Cypriot authorities. “But as the Cypriot President has made clear: ‘the use of Limassol port would not be for military purposes’,” they added.

A CNA source had commented earlier that the agreement is set in the context of the current concerns regarding Russian policy over Ukraine. The Foreign Office spokesperson noted that in the face of Russian aggression it is important to maintain EU unity. “We have been clear that as long as Russia continues to illegally destabilise a neighbour, it cannot be business as usual. That is why the UK has pushed for tough sanctions and they are working. Now is not the time to ease the pressure on Moscow.”

London considers a measure of Russia’s willingness to ease tensions its behaviour towards the agreement signed in Belarus aiming at ceasing fire in eastern Ukraine. The spokesperson described the fulfillment of “all of Russia’s commitments” under the Minsk Agreement as “imperative”.

“We and our EU partners have been clear that there needs to see actions not just words,” added the Foreign Office spokesperson.


Article written by CNA

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed on Wednesday gratitude over Cyprus` stance vis-a-vis EU sanctions against Russia.

President Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin

Speaking through an interpreter, during a joint press conference with the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, at his country house, in Moscow, Putin also revealed that one of the agreements signed allows Russian vessels to dock in Cypriot ports.

This concerns our vessels that take part in international efforts to combat terrorism and piracy, the Russian President explained.

Putin said that the new agreement signed between the two countries is not aimed against anyone.

The President of the Republic of Cyprus is paying an official visit to the Russian Federation since Tuesday.

On Wednesday, eight bilateral agreements were signed between the two countries, along with a Memorandum of Understanding between the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and the Central Bank of Russia.

Moreover, an MoU was signed between the Cyprus Investment Promotion Authority (CIPA) and “Invest in Russia”.

President Anastasiades noted from his part that Cyprus was from the beginning in favour of a constructive dialogue with Russia and expressed his government`s determination to work with a view to restore the strategic cooperation between Moscow and Brussels.

Referring to the Cyprus issue, Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia`s commitment to a principled stance for a comprehensive and just Cyprus solution, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, with President Anastasiades thanking him on behalf of the Republic of Cyprus.

Replying to a question on energy he said it constitutes an important part of our cooperation.

There are prospects, we are aware of it, we know that foreign companies, American, European and Asian are working in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone, he noted. Many of our partners, he added, including the Cypriot authorities, are interested in a more active cooperation with Russian companies and assured that Russia would look into the potentials. We do not rule out that something specific will come out of this, he said, expressing his will to expand this cooperation.

On his part, replying to a question over EU sanctions against Russia, Anastasiades recalled Cyprus` position that the crisis should be resolved through diplomacy. He reiterated Cyprus` support to the territorial integrity and independence of the Ukraine and the agreements reached in Minsk. Diplomacy and not military means is the way forward, he stressed.

President Anastasiades also expressed the view that it is gradually evident to all European partners that sanctions that can be damaging to a large country such as Russia can also have negative consequences not just for Cyprus but also for many other EU countries including industrially developed ones.

In an introductory statement earlier Putin spoke about the relations between the two countries which were always friendly and mutually beneficial. “Today’s meeting fully confirmed this”, he pointed out.

Referring to the agreements signed he said that among them is a joint programme of action for 2015-2017 that aims, among other things, to promoting economic cooperation.

As regards a loan of 2.5 billion euro Russia has granted Cyprus, he said that Russia accepted the restructuring of the loan with more beneficial terms.

He added that on most of the issues he discussed with President Anastasiades “our positions coincide.” Among the issues discussed, he said, were the situation in the Middle East and the relations between Russia and the EU.

Referring to the Cyprus problem he said that “Russia adheres to a principled position for a comprehensive and just settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions.”

He added that it is important for the solution to come from the Cypriots themselves without outside intervention.

On his part, President Anastasiades said that the consultations held “have an extremely significant political and socioeconomic meaning and, aside from everything else, demonstrate the importance that Cyprus and the Russian Federation attribute to the dialogue between them and to the further deepening of their relations”.

“Relations that are not affected by strategic cooperation of one or the other country, because it is mutually understood that such choices are not directed against any third country, but to the contrary aim to strengthen further the traditional and over the years historic relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Cyprus”, he stressed.

He expressed the belief, “that my visit to Moscow is a landmark for the further growth of the already excellent relations between the Russian Federation and Cyprus”.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island and occupied 37% of its territory.


Article written by CNA

An opinion survey has found that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots feel Cypriots above all and they are positive to establishing a Cypriot identity as an element that would bring the inhabitants of the divided island of Cyprus together, Chairman of the University of Nicosia Board Nicos Peristianis told a press conference on Wednesday.

ΕΝΤΟΝΑ "ΚΥΠΡΙΟΙ" ΝΙΩΘΟΥΝ ΟΙ ΕΛΛΗΝΟΚΥΠΡΙΟΙ ΚΑΙ ΟΙ ΤΟΥΡΚΟΚΥΠΡΙΟΙ

Peristianis presented the results of the survey conducted by IMR/University of Nicosia on behalf of the New Cyprus Association, according to which the fulfillment of this desire is not easy due to the lack of a collective identity and substantive communication between the two sides as well as because Cypriots find it difficult to imagine ways of building a “joint roof” and a common future.

Invited to determine their identity, Greek Cypriots responded: 48% Cypriot, 43% more Cypriot than Greek/equally Cypriot and Greek, 9% Greek/more Greek than Cypriot. Responds from the Turkish Cypriot side were: 88% Cypriot, 6% equally Cypriot and Turk, 6% Turk/Turkish Cypriot.

Asked how useful it would be to have a common Cypriot identity, Greek Cypriots replied: 67% very useful/quite useful and Turkish Cypriots 80% very useful/quite useful.

Moreover, 27% of the Greek Cypriots said that it would be better for a Cypriot identity to be established prior to a solution to the Cyprus problem, 26% both prior and after a solution and 24% after a solution, while 23% responded negatively. Turkish Cypriots replied 76% before a solution, 16% both before and after a solution and 8% after a solution

With regard to the type of the solution 44% of the Greek Cypriots and 15% of the Turkish Cypriots were in favour of a united state, 24% of the Greek Cypriots and 30% of the Turkish Cypriots in favour of a federation, 14% of Greek Cypriots and 29% of Turkish Cypriots in favour of two separate states, 8% of the Greek Cypriots and 19% of the Turkish Cypriots in favour of the current situation and 4% of the Greek Cypriots and 5% of the Turkish Cypriots in favour of a confederation.

The survey involved 500 telephone conversations and was conducted using a structured questionnaire for each of the two communities during the period of November to December 2014.


Article written by CNA

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin held a meeting today at the Presidential Residence in Moscow, where they held private talks, followed by extended consultations of the delegations of the two countries.

Nicos Anastasiades (L)-Vladimir Putin (R)

Nicos Anastasiades (L)-Vladimir Putin (R)

After their meeting, which took place in the framework of the Cypriot President`s official visit to Moscow, the President of Cyprus and the President of Russia signed the Joint Action Programme between the Republic of Cyprus and the Russian Federation for 2015-2017, which constitutes an umbrella document, covering numerous areas of the prolific cooperation between the two countries.

In the presence of the two Presidents, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Finance of Cyprus and the Ministry of Education and Sciences of Russia for cooperation in the fields of research and technology.

Also, the Protocol of the 8th Cyprus-Russia Intergovernmental Committee for Economic Cooperation was signed, as well as a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Defense of the two countries for cooperation in the naval field.

An agreement was also signed between the government of the Republic of Cyprus and the government of the Russian Federation on military cooperation. The agreement was signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, Ioannis Kasoulides and Sergei Lavrov.

Moreover, an Agreement was signed between the two countries for cooperation in the fight against the illegal movement of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as an Agreement for cooperation on combating terrorism.

In addition, a Programme of Cooperation was signed between the two countries in the field of Sciences, Education and Culture for the period 2015-2018.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency and the corresponding organization of Russia.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (‘CySEC’) signed today an updated Memorandum of Understanding (‘MoU’) with the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (‘Bank of Russia’), following the transfer of the functions of the Federal Financial Markets Service (‘FFMS’) to the Bank of Russia, which now oversees and regulates both the banking and the securities sector.

The signing of the updated MoU aims to further strengthen ties and enhance cooperation between the two supervisory Authorities, aiming specifically to facilitate the exchange of information and the more effective investigation of potential violations of the legislation governing the securities market.


Article written by CNA

The Eurozone Ministers of Finance approved the revise list of reform proposals submitted by Greece, in the Tuesday afternoon Eurogroup teleconference, thus completing Friday’s agreement. The next step will be for the national parliaments to approve.

Eurogroup chief  Jeroen Dijsselbloem (L)- Greek FM Yannis Varoufakis

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem (L)- Greek FM Yannis Varoufakis

According to the list of reform proposals sent by Mr. Varoufakis, the government’s main priorities are:

•To overhaul the VAT, combat smuggling of tobacco and fuel in order to collect taxes,
•Continue the fiscal consolidation by carrying out inspections and cuts of non-wage expenses in the public sector,
•Review privatizations without affecting or overturning any completed ones and to
•Address the humanitarian crisis

Additionally the government will take a number of initiatives in order to dissuade civil servants from taking early retirements, as well as associate the payment of insurance contributions with pensions.

Contrary to the government’s proclamations, the agreement does not include any references to the replacement of the controversial “ENFIA” real estate tax with another real estate tax on large property, nor are there any references to increasing the tax-free threshold.

The government has also agreed to carry out the increase of the minimum wage in consultation with the EU, ECB and IMF. The intention is to streamline wages in the public sector, while protecting those on lower wages, as well as inspecting expenses in all State sectors.

Mr. Varoufakis concluded his list with the explicit declaration that the plan is to tackle the humanitarian crisis, without a negative financial impact.


Article written by To Vima

Dr Anja Ulbrich, A.G. Leventis curator of Cypriot Antiquities in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, recently delivered a lecture on Cyprus, Island of Aphrodite: Her images, cult and sanctuaries during the era of the city kingdoms (Archaic and Classical Periods) at Senate House, University of London.

Aprodite

The lecture was organised by the Friends of the British School at Athens, chaired by the archaeologist Gerald Cadogan, and attended by Mr A. P. Leventis, the director of the A.G. Leventis Foundation, Dr Achilleas Hadjikyriacou, the cultural counsellor of the Cyprus High Commission, Doros Partassides, representative of Cyprus Television, and a mixed audience of archaeologists, classicists and the public.

The starting point of the intriguing, richly illustrated lecture was Greek literature, mostly Homer and Hesiod, which vaguely portrays Aphrodite, frequently called “Kypris” or “Lady of Cyprus” (potnia Kyprou in Greek), as the most important deity on the island with universal powers, facets and functions in the Cypriot society and religion during the age of the city-kingdoms (ca. 750-310 BC). 

Dr Ulbrich went on to explore the significance and various functions of the goddess by analysing the archaeological evidence from and for her sanctuaries in Cyprus proper. The first part of the lecture focused on the imagery of the votive figures in stone and terracotta from her sanctuaries, particularly those portraying her or referring to Cypriot Aphrodite, not called Aphrodite in Cypriot dedicatory inscriptions before the time of Alexander the Great. A second part investigated the distribution and topography of her cult-sites in Cyprus and in the urban centres and territories of the island’s 12 autonomous city-kingdoms.

Through the period under review, various different types of images of or referring to Cypriot Aphrodite were dedicated as votive figures to the goddess. They reflect both, her various aspects and functions as well as the multi-cultural nature of Cypriot society at the time. Thus,

the image-types of a naked female, sometimes supporting her breasts or of a pregnant enthroned woman or goddess, characterized Kypris as goddess of sex, love and fertility. They were introduced from Phoenicia in the 7th or 5th century BC respectively, probably through Phoenicians in the Phoenician city-kingdom of Kition in Cyprus. Equally Phoenician inspired are the locally created capitals in the shape of the head of the Egyptian goddess Hathor functioning as images of Cypriot Aphrodite protecting the Cypriot kings and dynasties like Hathor did for the pharaohs in Egypt. Locally developed Cypriot image types, like of a such as “the goddess with a vegetal crown” visualized Cypriot Aphrodite as a goddess of vegetal fertility and agriculture and or a mural crown as city-goddess. While the addition of a deer placed her as goddess of wild animals and hunting close to Greek Artemis, a winged Eros on her arm showed her as Greek Aphrodite, goddess of erotic love. 

A survey of the distribution of sanctuaries of the goddess in Cyprus, illustrated with various maps, showed that she was the dominant deity within the urban centres of all city-kingdoms as well as in towns in the territories. There she was worshipped in several sanctuaries at geographically prominent sites, such as on top of an acropolis, in a palace or near the city-gates, either in all her various aspects mentioned above, or different aspects of her were dominant at different urban cult places. The further away her sanctuaries lay from a city or larger town, the more her aspect of female and vegetal fertility and as a hunting goddess became prominent in the images of her votive-figurines. With increasing distance of from the urban centres and in the territory, more sanctuaries dedicated to a divine couple, including Cypriot Aphrodite, or to a male deity alone could be found. There, the male counterpart of the goddess had the qualities of a weather-god, a pastoral, and male fertility deity as well as of a war god.

The speaker convincingly concluded that both the imagery of the votive figures associated with Cypriot Aphrodite as well as the distribution and topography of her sanctuaries clearly confirmed the topos in Greek literature that Cyprus was truly the island of Aphrodite. 

The lecture was very well received with several questions came coming from the audience and was followed by a reception during which lively discussions were continued.

Commenting on the lecture, Dr Achilleas Hadjikyriacou, the Cultural Counsellor of the Cyprus High Commission, highlighted the fact that Dr Ulbrich’s research allowed the audience to appreciate the complex social, cultural, religious and historical connotations of the “Great Goddess of Cyprus”. As he stated: “Cyprus is widely known as the Island of Aphrodite, but there is still a lot to learn from the ongoing archaeological research regarding the importance of the Goddess as at a cross point of ancient civilisations, cultures and histories. Dr Ulbrich, a leading scholar in this field, has provided original insights into the presence of Aphrodite in the Iisland during the Archaic and Classical periods while at the same time she convincingly explored exploring the change in the Goddess’ physical representations and religious symbolisms across time and place.”


Article written by LGR

Greece sent a list of economic reforms to the European institutions and the International Monetary Fund around midnight on Monday in order to get a four-month extension to its bail-out, in a deal struck with the country’s Eurozone partners on Friday.

 Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

Read below the text of the letter published by Reuter news agency on Tuesday  that the  Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis sent to his Dutch counterpart Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, requesting an extension of the debt stricken country’s current aid programme:

Dear President of the Eurogroup,

In the Eurogroup of 20 February 2015 the Greek government was invited to present to the institutions, by Monday 23rd February 2015, a first comprehensive list of reform measures it is envisaging, to be further specified and agreed by the end of April 2015.

In addition to codifying its reform agenda, in accordance with PM Tsipras’ programmatic statement to Greece’s Parliament, the Greek government also committed to working in close agreement with European partners and institutions, as well as with the International Monetary Fund, and take actions that strengthen fiscal sustainability, guarantee financial stability and promote economic recovery.

The first comprehensive list of reform measures follows below, as envisaged by the Greek government. It is our intention to implement them while drawing upon available technical assistance and financing from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

Truly

Yanis Varoufakis

Minister of Finance

Hellenic Republic

I. Fiscal structural policies

Tax policies – Greece commits to:

• Reform VAT policy, administration and enforcement. Robust efforts will be made to improve collection and fight evasion making full use of electronic means and other technological innovations. VAT policy will be rationalized in relation to rates that will be streamlined in a manner that maximizes actual revenues without a negative impact on social justice, and with a view to limiting exemptions while eliminating unreasonable discounts.

• Modify the taxation of collective investment and income tax expenditures which will be integrated in the income tax code.

• Broaden definition of tax fraud and evasion while disbanding tax immunity.

• Modernizing the income tax code and eliminating from it tax code exemptions and replacing them, when necessary, with social justice enhancing measures.

• Resolutely enforce and improve legislation on transfer pricing.

• Work toward creating a new culture of tax compliance to ensure that all sections of society, and especially the well-off, contribute fairly to the financing of public policies. In this context, establish with the assistance of European and international partners, a wealth database that assists the tax authorities in gauging the veracity of previous income tax returns.

Public Finance Management – Greece will:

• Adopt amendments to the Organic Budget Law and take steps to improve public finance management. Budget implementation will be improved and clarified as will control and reporting responsibilities. Payment procedures will be modernized and accelerated while providing a higher degree of financial and budgetary flexibility and accountability for independent and/or regulatory entities.

• Devise and implement a strategy on the clearance of arrears, tax refunds and pension claims.

• Turn the already established (though hitherto dormant) Fiscal Council into a fully operational entity.

Revenue administration – Greece will modernize the tax and custom administrations benefiting from available technical assistance. To this end Greece will:

• Enhance the openness, transparency and international reach of the process by which the General Secretary of the General Secretariat of Public Revenues is appointed, monitored in terms of performance, and replaced.

• Strengthen the independence of the General Secretariat of Public Revenues (GSPR), if necessary through further legislation, from all sorts of interference (political or otherwise) while guaranteeing full accountability and transparency of its operations. To this end, the government and the GSPR will make full use of available technical assistance.

• Staff adequately, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the GSPR and in particular the high wealth and large debtors units of the revenue administration and ensure that it has strong investigative/prosecution powers, and resources building on SDOE’s capacities, so as to target effectively tax fraud by, and tax arrears of, high income social groups. Consider the merits of integrating SDOE into GSPR.

• Augment inspections, risk-based audits, and collection capacities while seeking to integrate the functions of revenue and social security collection across the general government.

Public spending – The Greek authorities will:

• Review and control spending in every area of government spending (e.g. education, defense, transport, local government, social benefits)

• Work toward drastically improving the efficiency of central and local government administered departments and units by targeting budgetary processes, management restructuring, and reallocation of poorly deployed resources.

• Identify cost saving measures through a thorough spending review of every Ministry and rationalization of non-salary and non-pension expenditures which, at present, account for an astounding 56% of total public expenditure.

• Implement legislation (currently in draft form at the General Accounts Office – GAO) to review non-wage benefits expenditure across the public sector.

• Validate benefits through cross checks within the relevant authorities and registries (e.g. Tax Number Registry, AMKA registry) that will help identify non-eligible beneficiaries.

• Control health expenditure and improve the provision and quality of medical services, while granting universal access. In this context, the government intends to table specific proposals in collaboration with European and international institutions, including the OECD.

Social security reform – Greece is committed to continue modernizing the pension system. The authorities will:

• Continue to work on administrative measures to unify and streamline pension policies and eliminate loopholes and incentives that give rise to an excessive rate of early retirements throughout the economy and, more specifically, in the banking and public sectors.

• Consolidate pension funds to achieve savings.

• Phase out charges on behalf of ‘third parties’ (nuisance charges) in a fiscally neutral manner.

• Establish a closer link between pension contributions and income, streamline benefits, strengthen incentives to declare paid work, and provide targeted assistance to employees between 50 and 65, including through a Guaranteed Basic Income scheme, so as to eliminate the social and political pressure for early retirement which over-burdens the pension funds.

Public administration & corruption – Greece wants a modern public administration. It will:

• Turn the fight against corruption into a national priority and operationalize fully the National Plan Against Corruption.

• Target fuel and tobacco products’ smuggling, monitor prices of imported goods (to prevent revenue losses during the importation process), and tackle money laundering. The government intends immediately to set itself ambitious revenue targets, in these areas, to be pursued under the coordination of the newly established position of Minister of State.

• Reduce (a) the number of Ministries (from 16 to 10), (b) the number of ‘special advisors’ in general government; and (c) fringe benefits of ministers, Members of Parliament and top officials (e.g. cars, travel expenses, allowances)

• Tighten the legislation concerning the funding of political parties and include maximum levels of borrowing from financial and other institutions.

• Activate immediately the current (though dormant) legislation that regulates the revenues of media (press and electronic), ensuring (through appropriately designed auctions) that they pay the state market prices for frequencies used, and prohibits the continued operation of permanently loss-making media outlets (without a transparent process of recapitalization)

• Establish a transparent, electronic, real time institutional framework for public tenders/procurement – re-establishing DIAVGEIA (a side-lined online public registry of activities relating to public procurement)

• Reform the public sector wage grid with a view to decompressing the wage distribution through productivity gains and appropriate recruitment policies without reducing the current wage floors but safeguarding that the public sector’s wage bill will not increase

• Rationalize non-wage benefits, to reduce overall expenditure, without imperilling the functioning of the public sector and in accordance with EU good practices

• Promote measures to: improve recruitment mechanisms, encourage merit-based managerial appointments, base staff appraisals on genuine evaluation, and establish fair processes for maximizing mobility of human and other resources within the public sector

II. Financial stability

Installment schemes – Greece commits to

• Improve swiftly, in agreement with the institutions, the legislation for repayments of tax and social security arrears

• Calibrate installment schemes in a manner that helps discriminate efficiently between: (a) strategic default/non-payment and (b) inability to pay; targeting case (a) individuals/firms by means of civil and criminal procedures (especially amongst high income groups) while offering case (b) individuals/firms repayment terms in a manner that enables potentially solvent enterprises to survive, averts free-riding, annuls moral hazard, and reinforces social responsibility as well as a proper re-payment culture.

• Decriminalize lower income debtors with small liabilities

• Step up enforcement methods and procedures, including the legal framework for collecting unpaid taxes and effectively implement collection tools

Banking and Non-Performing loans. Greece is committed to:

• Banks that are run on sound commercial/banking principles

• Utilize fully the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund and ensure, in collaboration with the SSM, the ECB and the European Commission, that it plays well its key role of securing the banking sector’s stability and its lending on commercial basis while complying with EU competition rules.

• Dealing with non-performing loans in a manner that considers fully the banks’ capitalization (taking into account the adopted Code of Conduct for Banks), the functioning of the judiciary system, the state of the real estate market, social justice issues, and any adverse impact on the government’s fiscal position.

• Collaborating with the banks’ management and the institutions to avoid, in the forthcoming period, auctions of the main residence of households below a certain income threshold, while punishing strategic defaulters, with a view to: (a) maintaining society’s support for the government’s broad reform program, (b) preventing a further fall in real estate asset prices (that would have an adverse effect on the banks’ own portfolio), (c) minimizing the fiscal impact of greater homelessness, and (d) promoting a strong payment culture. Measures will be taken to support the most vulnerable households who are unable to service their loans

• Align the out-of-court workout law with the installment schemes after their amendment, to limit risks to public finances and the payment culture, while facilitating private debt restructuring.

• Modernize bankruptcy law and address the backlog of cases

III. Policies to promote growth

Privatization and public asset management – To attract investment in key sectors and utilize the state’s assets efficiently, the Greek authorities will:

• Commit not to roll back privatizations that have been completed. Where the tender process has been launched the government will respect the process, according to the law.

• Safeguard the provision of basic public goods and services by privatized firms/industries in line with national policy goals and in compliance with EU legislation.

• Review privatizations that have not yet been launched, with a view to improving the terms so as to maximize the state’s long term benefits, generate revenues, enhance competition in the local economies, promote national economic recovery, and stimulate long term growth prospects.

• Adopt, henceforth, an approach whereby each new case will be examined separately and on its merits, with an emphasis on long leases, joint ventures (private-public collaboration) and contracts that maximize not only government revenues but also prospective levels of private investment.

• Unify (HRDAF) with various public asset management agencies (which are currently scattered across the public sector) with a view to developing state assets and enhancing their value through microeconomic and property rights’ reforms.

Labor market reforms – Greece commits to:

• Achieve EU best practice across the range of labor market legislation through a process of consultation with the social partners while benefiting from the expertise and existing input of the ILO, the OECD and the available technical assistance.

• Expand and develop the existing scheme that provides temporary employment for the unemployed, in agreement with partners and when fiscal space permits and improve the active labor market policy programs with the aim to updating the skills of the long term unemployed.

• Phasing in a new ‘smart’ approach to collective wage bargaining that balances the needs for flexibility with fairness. This includes the ambition to streamline and over time raise minimum wages in a manner that safeguards competiveness and employment prospects. The scope and timing of changes to the minimum wage will be made in consultation with social partners and the European and international institutions, including the ILO, and take full account of advice from a new independent body on whether changes in wages are in line with productivity developments and competitiveness.

Product market reforms and a better business environment – As part of a new reform agenda, Greece remains committed to:

• Removing barriers to competition based on input from the OECD.

• Strengthen the Hellenic Competition Commission.

• Introduce actions to reduce the burdens of administrative burden of bureaucracy in line with the OECD’s input, including legislation that bans public sector units from requesting (from citizens and business) documents certifying information that the state already possesses (within the same or some other unit).

• Better land use management, including policies related to spatial planning, land use, and the finalization of a proper Land Registry

• Pursue efforts to lift disproportionate and unjustified restrictions in regulated professions as part of the overall strategy to tackle vested interests.

• Align gas and electricity market regulation with EU good practices and legislation

Reform of the judicial system – The Greek government will:

• Improve the organization of courts through greater specialization and, in this context, adopt a new Code of Civil Procedure.

• Promote the digitization of legal codes and the electronic submission system, and governance, of the judicial system.

Statistics – The Greek government reaffirms its readiness to:

• Honor fully the Commitment on Confidence in Statistics, and in particular the institutional independence of ELSTAT, ensuring that ELSTAT has the necessary resources to implement its work program.

• Guarantee the transparency and propriety of the process of appointment of the ELSTAT President in September 2015, in cooperation with EUROSTAT.

IV. Humanitarian Crisis – The Greek government affirms its plan to:

• Address needs arising from the recent rise in absolute poverty (inadequate access to nourishment, shelter, health services and basic energy provision) by means of highly targeted non-pecuniary measures (e.g. food stamps).

• Do so in a manner that is helpful to the reforming of public administration and the fight against bureaucracy/corruption (e.g. the issuance of a Citizen Smart Card that can be used as an ID card, in the Health System, as well as for gaining access to the food stamp program etc.).

• Evaluate the pilot Minimum Guaranteed Income scheme with a view to extending it nationwide.

• Ensure that its fight against the humanitarian crisis has no negative fiscal effect.


Article written by

The well-known Cypriot photographer Doros Partasides hosted the famous UK author Victoria Hislop, upcoming actress Daphne Alexander and the director of the CTO UK office Orestis Rossides to a business lunch.

From Left to Right: Doros Partasides-Victoria Hislop-Daphne Alexander-Orestis Rossides

From Left to Right: Doros Partasides-Victoria Hislop-Daphne Alexander-Orestis Rossides

 Mr Partasides offered Ms Hislop his quality book with unique photos of Cyprus entitled ‘Faces of Cyprus’.

Daphne Alexander highlighted the many cultural attractions of Nicosia, including the new Leventis museum of art, and gave her an excellent book on the last divided capital in Europe.

 Mr Rossides invited Ms Hislop and her husband Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye and presenter of various programs on BBC TV, to visit lesser known areas of the Republic of Cyprus and experience the genuine hospitality of its people and its excellent food and wine.

 Ms Hislop recently published a most favourable article in the travel pages of the Sunday Times.

 Despite her heavy commitments over the next few months she will consider visiting the Republic of Cyprus with a view to discover and highlight its many cultural, natural and man made attractions.


Article written by LGR
Xylouris White

Xylouris White

On Tuesday 21st April Xylouris White will be playing at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch.

Xylouris White is the collaboration between two masters of contemporary music: Giorgos Xylouris (aka Psarogiorgis) the master lutenist who has been described as the future of Cretan music and Jim White, founder of the internationally acclaimed trio Dirty Three.

Xylouris White makes a compelling new blend of melody and rhythm – an exhilarating experience to watch.

Having first played together in Melbourne, the duo has been on a wonderful journey across three continents. Although these new experiences have added many riches, neither has lost touch with the best of their diverse traditions.

The Ace Hotel is located at 100 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JQ.

Presale tickets are £12.00 + b/f. For more information click here.


Article written by London Greek Radio
Kiamos & Stan

Kiamos & Stan

Yes music lovers, you heard us correctly, Stan and Panos Kiamos have joined forces to release a brand new song titled ‘Panw Sto Tzami’.

Stan confirmed the news of his collaboration with Panos Kiamos and Icon Music, through his official Facebook page. He wrote that in a few days, a brand new song from Panos Kiamos with lyrics and music by him and Icon Music will be released.

Note that the two singers are currently performing this season at Club 22 with Eleni Xantzidou.

Panos Kiamos, an established singer who is highly recognized for his previous strong collaborations with major singers in Greece, is bound to amaze the audience with the new song ‘Panw Sto Tzami’.

We are certain that their new song that will undeniably surprise and to say that we are looking forward to it, would be something of an understatement.


Article written by Malvina