Daily Press Review - 11/4/2019

ΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ NEWS Δημοσιεύθηκε 11.4.2019
Daily Press Review - 11/4/2019
The next 24 hours will be crucial for the General Health System (GHS), as the HIO expects the final replies of pharmaceutical suppliers and clinical laboratories

Opposition divided over Co-op


Phileleftheros reports that the opposition has been divided in two and will go to the House with two separate bills for the Co-op. AKEL, DIKO and EDEK have united in one front, while the Greens and Citizens' Alliance have united in another. The two “fronts” of the opposition agree to the demand that the Minister of Finance, Harris Georgiades must quit, but they disagree as it comes to the responsibilities of the parties. The Greens and Citizens' Alliance wish to demonstrate the responsibilities for those who ruled the Co-op before 2013, apart from DISY, AKEL and DIKO. On the other hand, the three-party front focuses on the post-2013 period, where the Co-op was controlled by the current government. EDEK, even if they will support the AKEL-DIKO bill, has certain doubts with regards to demanding that the MoF quits, since as the president of the party Marinos Sizopoulos notes, political responsibilities are assumed and not distributed. The three parties, if all their MPs are present in tomorrow’s meeting, will get 29 votes and as such they are expected to pass their bill.  On the other hand, the Greens- Citizens' Alliance front will not get more than 6 votes. ELAM will support the latter with their bill, while DISY and Solidarity Movement MPs are expected to vote against both bills. AKEL, DIKO and AKEL will demand that the Minister of Finance quits, they will assign responsibilities to the Government and the President of the Republic. Furthermore, they will demand that the CO-op’s assets are protected and returned to the citizens. At the same time they will call the Government to respect the Co-op Probe findings and terminate its stance of contempt. They will also demand that criminal and civic blame is assigned, while they make specific mention to the MoF’s decision to grant free shares to the citizens, and will underline that at the same time that he made promises, he was methodically planning the collapse of the Co-op and its concession to Hellenic Bank.



Could have the Co-op been saved?

Charis Chiletis, former member of the Co-op, argues in an article in Politis, that when we reached a breaking point, there was no other way but to sell the Co-op to Hellenic Bank. The author argues however, that up until that point, the government and the Co-op’s management didn’t proceed with the right actions in order to avoid such a situation. He argues that the borrowers were not given incentives in order to pay back their loans, the Co-op didn’t reach any settlements or agreements (subtracting overcharges etc.) that could have alleviated their situation and made it easier for some people to pay back their debt.

 

Kornos left without a bank

Haravgi reports that after the Kokkinochoria area and the Kiti region, the community of Kornos has started feeling the consequences due Hellenic Bank’s closure of the only bank branch in the community. The Community Council of Kornos issued an announcement yesterday expressing the residents’ deep discontent with regards to the decision of Hellenic Bank, to immediately close down the HB branch of the community. The community authority demands that the bank’s decision is immediately revoked, warning that this will result in many, serious social and economic problems. The announcement said that the senior citizens of the wider area, which are in the thousands, will be very affected and it is certain that their quality of life will be undermined. They believe that the bank will lose rather than gain from closing the bank, since many of their customers in the community, will have to transfer their accounts to another banking institution that may decide to open a branch in the community. AKEL’s local group also issued an announcement, calling the bank to immediately revoke its decision and the government and the MoF to react to the decision, underlining that the specific branch serves 2 thousand customers from 620 households.

 

Aristos Damianou on public debt

AKEL MP, Aristos Damianou said that the Fiscal Council has found, what we have also said, that as a result of the Co-op selloff to Hellenic Bank, the public debt has skyrocketed by 15 percentage points. It’s not enough to make assertions, the Fiscal Council must act further.

 

They turned a blind eye at the Co-op selloff

The Fiscal Council didn’t evaluate the impact of the Co-op selloff, on the country’s public finances, even though according to its operating regulations, it should have acted so both before and after the government’s deal with Hellenic Bank. The matter surfaced yesterday after AKEL’s MP, Aristos Damianou, in the framework of the House Institutions Committee, which focused on examining the operation of the Fiscal Council. Specifically, Damianou underlined that according to the legislation, he Fiscal Council should give its ex ante assessment and evaluation of the fiscal policy, but it has the capacity to make an ex-post assessment of each decision. He asked whether this practice was followed in the case of the Co-op. The president of the Fiscal Council, Demetris Georgiades said that this didn’t happen. He also said that the Council does not intend to investigate the matter in the future, saying that the agreement was checked by the EU supervisory authorities. In a statement after the meeting, Damianou said that the Co-op deal caused a great damage on the country’s public finances, while it skyrocketed the public debt by 15 percentage points. As such, the Council should have examined the matter, both before and after the government reached a deal with Hellenic Bank.



Subversion of vote on state officials’ employment in private sector

The House Plenary postponed a vote for a bill proposed by the Greens that was in its agenda for tomorrow, which concerned the adoption of a more severe legislative framework with regards to employment in the private sector of former senior state officials in the private sector. The vote has been postponed after the Attorney-General sent a letter to the House Institutions Committee saying that the bill’s provisions may be unconstitutional. The article reports that the immediate need for a legislative regulation of the matter of employing former state officials and public employees in the private sector, emerged when the former Minister of Finance, Makis Keravnos (19/5/2004 30/8/2005) was swiftly hired as Hellenic Bank’s CEO.



BoC to approve new chairman on 14 May

Alithia reports that Bank of Cyprus, will approve the appointment of the new chairman of the Bank’s Board in the Annual General Meeting that will take place on Tuesday 14 May. Specifically, Mr Takis Arapoglou will success the chairman Josef Ackermann. At the same time the AGM will examine, between other things, the resumption of the bank’s cooperation with PwC as Auditors of the Company, as well as the salaries of the Members of the Board.



Remember when the Church was going to grant land?

Phileleftheros’ author reminds readers that following the 2013 financial crisis, the Church said it would provide some of its properties that it inherited by citizens over the years, to unemployed people that would work in farming and. husbandry, helping them make a living as well as reinstate a different type of economy that will be based on production and not only services. In the end they decided that it’s better to build towers than grow vegetables, the author says sarcastically. Besides, the author says, how cn one profit from producing tomatoes? The author goes on to say that the only one to express interest in this land was a Hungarian investor, who sent his plans back and forth for a while, for a development called Eden that would be built on church land.

 

Taking down the ‘unsightly’ commercial billboards

Deputy Ministry of Tourism will seek to “hit the brakes” on visual pollution. As the study of the Spanish experts has shown, the Deputy Ministry should develop a program for the reduction of visual pollution, which is at extremely high levels. The program will include the elimination of the most critical "dark spots" by providing incentives and other measures to educate and improve the structured environment after identifying the elements of the Cypriot architectural identity that need to be highlighted. In his statements to the newspaper "Phileleftheros", Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said that visual pollution is a matter of concern and that many incentives will be taken in order to upgrade infrastructure and specific areas. An important contributor and driving force of change as mentioned would be the local authorities.



Yiannis Karousos: Ayia Napa Marina is a gem for the Eastern Mediterranean

As one of the most ambitious projects, a gem, a unique reference point not only for Cyprus but for the entire region of the Eastern Mediterranean, the mayor of Ayia Napa, Yiannis Karousos said about the Ayia Napa marina. The mayor of Ayia Napa Yiannis Karousos, members of the city council and the Technical Department, recently visited the marina which is under construction. "The construction of the Ayia Napa marina strengthens our maritime tourism while at the same time upgrades the tourist product of the entire island, decisively contributing to attracting quality tourism throughout the year and the expansion of the tourist period. At the same, the marina will contribute to our vision of making Ayia Napa the best tourist resort in the Mediterranean”, he added.



 “Neo Plaza” Announcement of cooperation for the commercial development of the first fashion outlet & fun park, in Cyprus

DANOS - an alliance member of BNP PARIBAS Real Estate and Neo Plaza Ltd is pleased to announce their cooperation for the commercial development of the “Neo Plaza” Fashion Outlet and Fun Park in Cyprus. The two companies are joining forces to reach and cooperate with local and international retailers with presence in commercial and leisure parks and strategic investors who would like to participate in this dynamic investment in the country. This cooperation took place under the impetus for the commercial development of the first open-type Discount and Entertainment Park, which will be developed in the Kokkinotrimithia district, near the city of Nicosia, in an area of over 35,000sqm which aims to offer excellent mix of brand-name choices, restaurants and entertainment for the whole family, starting officially in the spring of 2020.



32 people caught red-handed playing poker at an illegal casino in Limassol

Members of the Crime Prevention Squad last night 10 April 2019 conducted an operation in an illegal casino at Limassol. When the police arrived at the premises, 32 people were found playing poker. They collected €4.625.



We should follow the example of the British

Following the decision of the Sovereign Bases to donate all the PCs and TVs collected from illegal casinos in their territory to schools, the author criticises Cypriot authorities because they haven’t taken any similar measures and initiatives as the British, so far.



Awaiting agreement with pharmaceutical suppliers

The next 24 hours will be crucial for the General Health System (GHS), as the HIO expects the final replies of pharmaceutical suppliers and clinical laboratories. Thus far it seems to be going well in regard to clinical laboratories, since 15 have already registered and another 15 have submitted applications that are pending. Meanwhile, the registration process for private pharmacies still continues. As it comes to pharmaceutical suppliers, according to the newspaper’s sources, it is expected that the HIO, the Ministry of Health and the Associations will announce their agreement within the next few days, while all the parties have the proposed memorandum, which includes everything that the parties agreed to in the past months. Phileleftheros’ sources also say that the Cyprus Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (CAPC/SFEK) and the Cyprus Association of Research and Development Pharmaceutical Companies (KEFEA) will hold their final meetings. Both associations seemed optimistic yesterday, as it appears that the agreed terms of seem to satisfy everybody’s requirements.. It should be mentioned, the article reports, that the medicine manufacturers and not their local representatives, have the final say on whether their medicines will be integrated in the GHS or not. Today, the Health Committee will continue its discussion on the regulations for private pharmacies and the way they will be integrated in the GHS.



Healthcare professionals protest

Healthcare professionals at state hospitals are protesting for never having been invited to discussions with regards to the organisational structure and hierarchy of state hospitals in the GHS framework. According to Phileleftheros, these professionals include radiology technicians, physiotherapists, radiotherapy technicians, occupational therapists, and nuclear medicine practitioners, and despite being a large group, their lack of inclusion during the debates is undeniable. Their representative Mr. Pieris Economou, argued that they should not be ignored but rather invited to voice their opinions, because they contribute as much as doctors or nurses do, and warned that if they are not heard they will not be obliged to implement any changes as they were not included at the time any decisions were made. He concluded that if they are invited, even now, they are ready to commence discussions with an open mind for cooperation.



They are preparing to take legal measures

Cyprus Association of animal food Importers, the Association of Flour Mills, the companies exporting and importing plasters, fertilizers and iron, as well as the Cyprus Shipping Agency, have decided to take measures in relation to the privatisation of the port of Larnaka. Among other things, it was decided to work with legal advisors to examine the legality of the process of conceding the port of Larnaka without any public consultation with the stakeholders. Moreover, the alienation process of state property on terms and conditions that will not be the subject of parliamentary consultation and approval will be also examined, as well as whether the terms of the evaluation process and the possible approval of the tender are within the terms of the announcement of the tender procedure. If the Minister of Transport doesn’t respond to their requests with written assurances, the ports users will seek suspension of the bidding and the privatization process through legal measures.



Concerns over the delays in relation to the development of Larnaka port and marina

The next few weeks will define the efforts that are being made in order to assign the development of Larnaka marina as well as the port to the Ampa Ltd S Israel Shipyards Ltd consortium. On March 15, the government demanded and secured a new two-month extension from the Cabinet to better assess the Israeli tender and get the necessary clarifying responses from prospective investors, an extension that expires around mid-May. Stakeholders in Larnaka, expressed their keen concern about the new delay in the bidding and consequently the realization of the project. According to them, the new delays are due to the interests of another city. Indeed, their information refers to telephone communications of businessmen and economic agents with party leaders in an attempt to stop the investment in Larnaka. The same stakeholders and members of the administrative committee for the development of the Larnakca port and marina decided not to stay with their arms crossed.



Today’s important energy meetings in Lebanon

Today's meeting between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy Nicos Christostodoulides and George Lakkotrypis with their counterparts in Lebanon are considered critical for the relations between Cyprus and Lebanon in the energy sector.  Their agenda includes two very important issues for both countries, the validation of the Cyprus - Lebanon transnational agreement for the definition of their exclusive economic zones, and the start of negotiations for an agreement for potential hydrocarbon explorations that extend to the two countries' EEZ. The problem which the four ministers are called upon to resolve is the ratification by the Lebanese Parliament of the 2007 agreement between the two governments for the determination of their EEZ. Important for the ratification of EEZ agreement will be the meeting of Nicos Christodoulides with the president of the Lebanese Parliament immediately after the meeting with the Foreign and Energy Ministers.

Πολιτική Δημοσίευσης Σχολίων
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