Athens Digest 24.09.2018

• Tsipras, Erdogan to meet in New York with packed agenda

• Conservatives maintain steady lead in poll

• Journalists detained due to minister complaint released


# The migrant flows from Turkey is expected to be one of the dominant issues on the agenda of tomorrow’s meeting in New York between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Their meeting will be held on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly and Tsipras will insist that the EU-Turkey agreement to stem the flow of migrants into Europe must be upheld. Tsipras sounded the alarm at the EU summit in Salzburg last week over the increase in migrant flows and Greece’s inability to cope. Other issues on the table will include Ankara’s extradition request for eight Turkish servicemen, tensions in the Aegean, Cyprus and bilateral ties. Tsipras will address the UN today at the high-level plenary on global peace in honor of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela.

# New Democracy continues to maintain a steady lead over ruling Syriza according to yet another poll published on Saturday of voter intentions which put the margin at 8.7-percent. The poll conducted by Metron Analysis on behalf of Ta Nea newspaper showed that 27.4-percent would vote for the opposition conservatives against 18.7-percent for the governing party. The center left Movement for Change coalition (KINAL) was in third place with 6-percent ahead of communist KKE with 5-percent and extreme right Golden Dawn on 4.5-percent. Undecided and un clarified votes were at 10.6 percent. Polls conducted in September show ND leading with margins of 4.9 to 10.9-percent. However, recent polls indicate that Syriza has improved its percentage compared to July.

# Three journalists of the Fileleftheros newspaper were released yesterday after their detainment the day before due to a legal complaint filed by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. The three men alleged in an article published on Friday that EU funds for migrant reception centres were mishandled. They were informed about the legal action taken by Kammenos on Saturday and stayed overnight at an Athens police station. An investigation into the affair was ordered by an Athens prosecutor yesterday. The detentions were denounced by the Athens journalist union as an affront to freedom of expression and by parties of the opposition.



On Our Radar: Greek betting giant poised to become an online market leader
An official announcement is expected as soon as today about the acquisition by Greek betting giant OPAP of a controlling interest in the company that manages, among others, the “Stoiximan” online betting website. According to reports, OPAP will acquire a 37.5-percent stake in the company. OPAP’s move is expected after the government plan to regulate online gambling through a draft bill it submitted a few days ago regarding licensing. OPAP which has a monopoly in non-online gambling was privatized in 2014. According to the Hellenic Gaming Commission, companies in the online betting market had a total revenue of EUR 5.3 bn in 2017 with gross profits (GGR) of just EUR 280.6 million (reportedly, Stoiximan makes over EUR 135 million). In the same year, the land-based betting market reached EUR 6bn, with gross profits of EUR 1.6 bn.