Kamis, 22 Maret 2012

Items of interest in Greece

Lenders to wait more for recapitalization

The process of recapitalizing banks that took part in the private sector involvement (PSI) plan is in danger of being postponed by at least one month, as all crucial decisions that need to be made by the government on the way the recapitalization will materialize, the rights and the buy-back price have been put off until April, while impending early elections are threatening to delay the process even further.
While local lenders have seen with a degree of uneasiness this week the failure of Bank of Cyprus to raise as much capital as it had planned for, the recapitalization process is eagerly anticipated for banks to breathe some fresh air.
The original timetable provided that by end-February the final provisions about loans would have been ready and that by end-March the government would have defined all the terms of the process, so that the accounting reports for 2011 could be published with considerable losses but without shaking the credit system.
However, in the past month since the law for the framework of the process was voted through, nothing has been done, adding to the industry’s worries.


More hospital disruptions ahead

Disruptions in state hospitals are set to continue in the coming days, as doctors Thursday said that they will continue staging work stoppages in protest over unpaid backpay and the government’s cuts in the health sector.
Doctors at public hospitals also said they will snub an electronic prescription scheme that was recently introduced by the Health Ministry in a bid to discourage staff from over-prescribing.
In a press conference Thursday, the head of the union representing Greece’s hospital doctors, known by its acronym OENGE, sounded the alarm over the mammoth debts owed to clinics by the newly-formed National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY).
“The national health system is headed for collapse at an accelerating pace,” OENGE chief Dimitris Varnavas said, putting EOPYY debts at 4 billion euros. Unless a solution is found, he said, the system will last until early summer.
Doctors and staff from some 35 hospitals across the country have so far joined the action, Varnavas said, predicting that participation will surge in the coming days.
Doctors complain that they have not been paid emergency duty wages for December last year as well as for this January and February. Varnavas said that the union is demanding that all back-pay be submitted in full, preempting speculation that the government intends to slash the amount paid to doctors by 30 percent.
As part of receiving the second bailout package from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, Greece has promised to reduce health spending by about one billion euros. Measures agreed to include cuts in spending on medicines by state pension funds and legislation enabling the prescription of cheaper, generic drugs.
Seeking to cut down on waste and corruption in the issuing of drugs, the Health Ministry introduced an electronic prescription system combined with a one-euro fine on doctors who issue hand-written prescriptions. The fine is scheduled to go into effect in June.
Protesting doctors Thursday said they would all switch back to hand-written prescriptions unless the government scrapped the fine and resolved the issue of outstanding emergency duty wages.



Parliament Could Have Eight Political Parties, Poll Shows

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Greece’s parliament may contain as many as eight political parties after the next election with none gaining an absolute majority, an opinion poll shows.
The New Democracy party, led by Antonis Samaras, is the second largest in parliament and would garner the most votes with 22.5 percent, a five percentage-point drop from the month before, according to a poll conducted by VPRC for Epikaira magazine between March 15 and March 19. The socialist Pasok party, led by former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, and the Communist Party of Greece would each get 12.5 percent.
Last month’s poll showed Pasok at 11 percent with the Communist Party at 14 percent. Greek parties need to clear a 3 percent threshold to enter parliament.
The Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, would receive 12 percent and the Democratic Left 11.5 percent, the poll indicated. Eleven percent expressed support for the Independent Greeks party, set up on Feb. 24 by Panos Kammenos after he was expelled from New Democracy for voting against measures needed to receive the loan package. Golden Dawn would receive 3.5 percent support and the Laos party 3 percent, the poll showed.
Venizelos, who replaced former Prime Minister George Papandreou as party leader on March 18, had a negative rating of 73 percent, three percentage points lower than the month before. Samaras had a negative rating of 72 percent compared with 70 percent the month before. Fotis Kouvelis, leader of the Democratic Left, had a negative rating of 47 percent.
Prime Minister Lucas Papademos won parliamentary approval for a new 130 billion-euro ($172 billion) international bailout on March 21. Passage of the legislation moves the country a step closer to elections that may be held as soon as next month. Greece pushed through the biggest sovereign restructuring in history earlier this month, opening the way for the second bailout.
Of the 802 people polled, 54 percent said the loan package agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund is the wrong path for the country. Twenty-two percent said it is flawed but needs to be implemented for the country to overcome the crisis.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.53 percent.

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