Daily Press Review - 26/9/2019

ΠΟΛΙΤΗΣ NEWS Δημοσιεύθηκε 26.9.2019
Daily Press Review - 26/9/2019
The Government appears optimistic following discussions between the HIO and private doctors hospitals about them joining the GHS

European banks go through a new stress test


The banks have been called to go through a mini stress test. The European Banking Authority is holding the annual EU-wide transparency exercise and they are already in talks with 130 European banks, so that they will provide a series of data points about their activities. The three systemic banks of Cyprus, Bank of Cyprus, Hellenic Bank and RCB Bank are included in these 130 institutions. The transparency exercises are held every year and are part of the EBA's efforts to monitor risks and vulnerabilities and to reinforce market discipline. This data aims to inform the Authorities as well as the investors in a timely manner, as it comes to the factors that could affect the health of the banks. As of this year, the transparency exercise will disclose data with quarterly rather than semi-annual frequency, in order to provide users with more granular supervisory data for time series analysis. Furthermore, this year, the EBA will provide a more detailed overview of the banks' financial assets and risk weighted assets. The set of exercises conducted by the European Authorities provide a continuous flow of information and data on the European banks, taking up however a lot of resources and energy. This is why, the European Authorities require more information not by the banks themselves, but the supervisors. The EBA is expected to publish the results of this exercise by the end of November, along with the annual Risk Assessment Report.



The ten most expensive villas sold by APS

InBusinessNews presents the 10 most expensive villas on the website of APS, which manages the real estate portfolio of Hellenic Bank. The prices of the properties are between €650.000 to €1,27m. It should be noted that the asset management company hasn’t published a specific price for the bank’s most expensive property, which is located in Anthoupoli.



ETYK approve strike measures at JCC

ETYK approved strike measures at JCC, in the framework of its general meeting. As ETYK said in an announcement, the main theme of the meeting was the outright violation of the current agreements by the Company’s management and specifically, the fact that they haven’t provided employees with the incremental pay increase and ATA. As ETYK reports, the meeting stressed the fact that according to the Industrial Relations Code, nobody has the right to implement unilateral changes to the current agreements without a new agreement. As they underline, striking is never an end in itself for the union, but serves as a last resort in order to protect the rights of the colleagues and the labour institutions. “We hope that eventually, logic will prevail and the employers will comply with their contractual obligations, thereby avoiding destructive clashes”, the announcement concludes.



Gender wage gap drops to 13.7%

Cyprus has managed to significantly reduce the gender wage gap to 13.7% compared with 16% in the EU, according to the Minister of Labour, Zeta Emilianidou, in a welcome address that was read on her behalf by the director general of the Ministry, Christos Malikkides. According to the Minister, a comprehensive measures package that was planned and implemented between 2010-2015 by the Ministry of Labour, costing a total €2m, which aimed to tackle the root causes, which have created and still sustain the wage gap, helped reduce the gap. While Cyprus had the highest wage gap rate in the EU in 2010, it managed to come in 9th place among the countries with the lowest wage gap percentage in 2016 (13.9%), well below the EU average, which stood at 16.2%. In 2017, the gender wage gap was further reduced, standing at 13.7% compared with 16% in the EU. However, the Minister noted that the gender wage gap is both a product of social discrimination as well as an obstacle to the financial independence and growth of women.



SEK opposes abolishment of €350 company fee

SEK is opposed to the abolishment of the €350 fee that companies registered in the Registrar of Companies are obliged to pay every year, as part of strengthening the country’s public finances. Contributing to the effort for fiscal stability, SEK disagrees with the abolishment of the fee and tells the Parliament that rather than abolishing it, they should demand that it is paid by all companies (since more than 50% of companies still owe the annual fee in the past four years), the union said in an announcement. As reported, the €350 fee is equivalent to 96 cents every day, and doesn’t threaten the viability of any company. They argue that promoting the abolishment of this legislation is not logical and is equivalent to a parliamentary “own goal”.

 

Ports Authority workers’ 24-hour strike called off

Employees at the Cyprus Ports Authority have called off the 24-hour strike they had planned for tomorrow, Friday, to protest failure by their employer to meet demands relating to their Health Fund. Trade union sources told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that following a meeting last Monday with the CPA Board, the employees were given written assurances that satisfy their demands. Therefore, the work stoppage that had been planned for tomorrow was called off.



Deputy Ministry of Tourism – Limassol Municipality aim to boost tourist flow

The Deputy Ministry of Tourism and Limassol Municipality plan to increase tourist flow to Limassol through coordinated action and mutual assistance, the town’s mayor Nicos Nicolaides told CNA yesterday following a meeting with deputy minister Savvas Perdios. The mayor said Perdios expressed his deputy ministry’s intention to support actions to upgrade Limassol’s popular festivals, such as the Wine Festival and Carnival, with the aim of attracting more visitors to the town. This upgrade, said Nicolaides, could also provide an incentive for a further increase in the number of cruise ships that visit Limassol port, providing passengers the ability to combine their visit with one of town’s main events.



Court battle over ropes

Two shipping companies have been at loggerheads for the past five years, both outside and inside the court rooms, over the fact that the rope mooring one of the company’s ships at Limassol port was covered in a slimy substance, causing €2,500’s worth of damage. Politis writes that this is such an insignificant sum, when one considers how many millions these ships are worth. The case has finally been closed, after the court ruled that the plaintiff company did not have enough proof to substantiate that the company it was accusing of the damage was indeed to blame. The plaintiff company was thus forced to pay the €2,500 to fix the damage to its ropes, plus the legal fees for the court case.



Benefits for trade from Paralimni marina

Paralimni marina is expected to significantly boost financial activity in the free Famagusta area, according to an announcement by the contractor in charge of completing the project. “Through its year-round operation, the project is expected to beat seasonality and its effects with the creation of around 250 new, permanent jobs. The upgrade of the region’s tourism project will lead to a chain reaction of imprvlements in business activity and land value,” it said. Furthermore, as an infrastructure project with mooring facilities for boats, it will become an official entry point to the Republic of Cyprus, with the necessary protection from the marine and port police.



Paphos marina: Terms of reference to recruit surveyor still being prepared

The chairman of the Paphos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Andreas Demetriades, along with Paphos district MPs met earlier in the week with Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios to discuss matters relating to the town’s marina and cruise-ship reception centre. Speaking to CNA afterwards, Demetriades said that Perdios informed them that the terms of reference for the tender to recruit a surveyor for the marina and cruise-ship reception centre had been prepared and sent to the Transport Ministry for its opinion. Demetriades said the delegation then met with the permanent secretary of the transport ministry, which assured them that its opinion on the matter would be relayed to the deputy ministry by Friday, so that the tender can be opened at some point next month. Demetriades said that based on the deputy ministry’s schedule, the actual tender for the marina and cruise-ship reception centre should be opened in the spring of 2020.



Legal measures for drilling rigs a cost to Turkey

The article reports that the legal measures of the Republic of Cyprus that have been taken against Turkish drillings rigs operating in the Cyprus EEZ, including the issuance of arrest warrants against their crew members, have forced the American side to proceed with an embargo on materials. This was an extremely damaging development for Turkey’s energy research program. According to Turkish media, the embargo on materials does not come only from US companies, but also from companies from Britain and France. The Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, in a front-page article, called for a "US embargo on the Mediterranean". According to the newspaper, for two months the United States has been imposing an embargo on materials and services for Turkish drilling rigs, making it difficult for Ankara to drill off Cyprus as the corresponding Chinese materials are ineffective. Specifically, for Turkey's drilling in the Cyprus EEZ by Fatih - west of Paphos and Yavuz - Gulf of Karpasia, drilling companies Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Weatherford (USA), Geo-log (Italy) cancelled agreements and stated that they would not provide services, engineers, equipment and materials for these wells around the island.



USA blacklists oil company in Cyprus

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on four maritime firms and vessels transporting Venezuelan oil to Cuba, including Cyprus-based Caroil Transport Marine Ltd. Despite tough US measures against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA in January, Cuba’s state-run oil import and export company Cubametales and other Cuba-based entities “have continued to circumvent sanctions by receiving oil shipments from Venezuela,” the Treasury said in a statement. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States was continuing to take action against Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro, whom Washington considers illegitimate. Venezuela’s congress chief, Juan Guaido, has been recognised by most Western nations as the OPEC-member country’s rightful leader. “Venezuela’s oil… should not be used as a bargaining tool to prop up dictators and prolong the usurpation of Venezuelan democracy,” Mnuchin said in the statement. One of the sanctioned entities is Cyprus-based Caroil Transport Marine Ltd and three vessels it operates – the Carlota C, Sandino and Petion – for allegedly carrying Venezuelan oil and fuel to Cuba, a trade banned under previous US measures. Two Panama-based groups, Trocana World Inc and Tovase Development Corp, were sanctioned for owning the three tankers. A third Panamanian firm, Bluelane Overseas SA, was also sanctioned along with a vessel it owns called the Giralt.

Thomas Cook’s German subsidiary collapses too

There was a positive as well as negative development yesterday, relating to Thomas Cook’s collapse. The positive was that the company LLC Touroperator BG, which goes by the brand name Bibilo-Globus, announced that Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy will not affect its activities, noting that “Cyprus is a priority” for the company and assuring that it will continue to increase the number of tourists that it manages. The negative development was that Thomas Cook’s German subsidiary also filed for bankruptcy yesterday. The company transports a large number of German tourists to European destinations.



Hoteliers dragging their heels over the collective agreement

Hoteliers are dragging their heels when it comes to signing the collective agreement that was agreed with the trade unions, claiming that their main objective now is to record and manage the impact from Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy. This has led to a furious reaction from the employees, who have made it clear that they will not accept any further delays. The general manager of the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV), Michalis Antoniou, told Haravgi that the priority now was to manage the Thomas Cook crisis and its consequences, and that the collective agreement would be discussed at a later stage. The majority of hoteliers are seeking relief measures, he said, such as the non-payment of VAT and overnight fees for services that they are not going to be paid for. On the other hand, the general secretary of the hotel employees’ branch at PEO has described the hoteliers’ stance as unacceptable making it clear that the employees would not accept any further delays in signing the agreement. He further called on the Labour Minister to intervene and resolve the issue.





Responsible Gaming Awareness Week

The Responsible Gaming Awareness week will open with the “Responsible Gaming Conference”, that will take place on 7 October at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Nicosia. The Awareness Week will last until the 13th of October and will include a series of events that will be addressed to people of all ages. The Responsible Gaming Awareness Week is organised for the second consecutive year by the National Betting Authority, in cooperation with the Cyprus Gaming and Casino Supervision Commission.



Okypy to start getting paid for services

As the 3-month transitional period for state hospitals is coming to an end, the Organisation of State Healthcare Services (OKYPY) will start charging for the services they offer to the HIO. As of 1 September, OKYPY has started charging for the services they offer to the HIO. As such, the HIO will have a clearer picture about their earnings next week, based on the first month’s invoice. OKYPY officials believe that September will serve as an indication for the income it will receive in the GHS framework. The first 3 months served as a transitional period during which the state hospitals and health centres were able to use the previous system and this undoubtedly resulted in financial losses for the organisation. An OKYPY official expressed optimism that the issue of doctors leaving the public sector (and the issue of staff shortages in general), will soon be resolved, since they will provide financial and other incentives, while the work environment in state hospitals will be improved. According to the official, Greek doctors have already expressed interest in the 61 vacancies, as did a few of young Cypriot doctors. Also, the procedure of staffing hospitals with managing personnel and reception operators is still in progress, aiming to improve the services offered to the public.



Taking the plunge for the GHS

The Government appears optimistic following discussions between the HIO and private doctors & hospitals about them joining the GHS. This optimism stems from the fact that they have already started discussing after the President’s involvement. Discussions are still going forward in a positive climate, and many demands by the doctors and hospitals were satisfied so far. Alithia’s sources report that the two sides are talking almost every day, behind the scenes, and it appears that both sides want to achieve a positive result.

 

Limited contraception options

Women in Cyprus have access to only a few methods of contraception, there is a lack of information on proper protection and ways to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, and there is an insufficient amount of family planning centres. Speaking to Phileleftheros, Aphrodite Elisseou – Xenofontos, the president of the Pancyprian Gynaecological and Obstetrics Company (PGME), explained that only 3 out of the 6 contraception methods are available in Cyprus. On the other hand, Maria Epaminonda, the head of the Cyprus Family Planning Association, added that young people are not adequately informed and don’t receive the right support. Mrs. Elisseou – Xenofontos said “Unfortunately, contraception options in Cyprus are very limited. The available methods include condoms, contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices (IUD– also known as coil)” . In the end, she expressed hope for the future to introduce more options and access to more methods of contraception in Cyprus. In the article, they continue to describe and explain the effectiveness of the available contraception methods in Cyprus.

 

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