Athens Digest 29.05.2018

• Over to the PMs as Macedonia talks progress

• Former FinMin urges Greece to seek protection over Italy crisis

• Part time employment hits 30 percent mark

• 40 migrants arrested in Heraklion for forged travelling documents

# Stage one of the Macedonia-name talks is officially over. The foreign ministers of Greece and FYROM Nikos Kotzias and Nikola Dimitrov met in Brussels at yesterday’s Foreign Affairs Council, and declared that negotiations will now be led by the prime ministers of the two countries. Officials in Athens cautioned against over-optimism, however, appealing for “patience and calm” over the next month. “The two ministers made significant progress, but the negotiations have not ended. They are, in fact, at their most critical stage,” a government official in Athens said.

# Former Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis has backed calls for a Greece to seek a precautionary credit line from bailout lenders, arguing that it would reduce the risk created by the political crisis in Italy. Hardouvelis, who served in the government of former conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras, told Skai television: “We’ve seen that over the past few months anything that happens abroad has a direct effect on us.” Greek bonds have been affected by the Italy-related unease in global financial markets as an interim prime minister was brought in and the country is headed for another general election.

# Part-time employment now accounts for 30 percent of private sector jobs, according to data published by the Single social security fund, EFKA. The November figures show that 629,187 out 2.1 million salary earners now work part-time _ a number that has steadily risen during the financial crisis and that is undermining efforts to reduce unemployment in the long-term and re-introduce suspended labour rights. In related results, the fund said that the lowest-paid third of workers in the private sector, received an average salary of EUR 385. Greece’s largest trade union, the GSEE, has called a general strike tomorrow to demand the scrapping of bailout-era labour reforms.

# Police on the island of Crete say 40 migrants have been arrested in the last week trying to leave Kazantzakis International Airport at Heraklion using forged documents. Police said the 29 men and 11 women were arrested while trying to board flights to France, Germany, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium.The suspects aged 18 to 57 from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Algeria, Libya, and the Palestinian Authority. The counterfeit and falsified travel documents were purportedly from various European Union countries including Germany, Spain, France, Denmark, Italy, and Belgium. A 47-year-old Spanish woman has been arrested in Heraklion on counterfeiting charges.

On our Radar: Greeks still leaving
Greece’s emerging recovery has not stopped its workforce leaving, according to a new survey by Eurostat. Working-age Greeks living in other EU countries rose from 6 percent in 2017 from 4.7 percent in 2012. The equivalent 2017 figure was lowest in Germany, at just 1 percent, and highest in Romania, at a whopping 19.7 percent. The EU average is 3.8 percent. Greeks showed the highest disparity in unemployment rates among its population living a home and abroad, respectively at 57.8 percent and 77.3 percent. Some 31.4 percent of Greeks who move abroad are university graduates