Athens Digest 18.10.2018

• Foreign minister sacked over Cabinet clash as coalition gets priority

• Socialists back call for Moria emergency plan, MSF says sexual assault cases frequent

• Faculty protests anarchist ‘office’ at university

• Bids in for Henry Dunant hospital


# Nikos Kotzias has been forced out of the government to prevent its collapse following a heating Cabinet clash over the Macedonia deal. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras accepted the foreign minister’s resignation and assumed the post himself, 24 hours after Kotzias had angrily confronted Defence Minister Panos Kammenos and accused him of undermining the deal with FYROM. According to reports, during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting Kammenos accused Kotzias of mismanaging secret foreign ministry funds. Although Tsipras sided with Kammenos, his coalition partner, he said in a statement aimed at stamping out cabinet quarrels: “I will not tolerate duplicity or self-centred actions.” Lawmakers north of the border are expected to vote on the agreement tomorrow, but MPs from the conservative opposition have staged a walkout in protest, calling the deal a national humiliation.

# Socialist leader Fofi Gennimata says her party is backing calls by aid agencies to carry out emergency evacuations at the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos as the winter approaches and amid mounting reports of frequent sexual violence at the site. Gennimata told European Socialist leaders at a meeting in Brussels that urgent measures were needed to reduce the population at the overcrowded camp. Earlier, Greece’s branch of the aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it had treated 23 people for rape and sexual assault at the their Moria clinic this year, including nine minors.

# Staff members at the University of Athens’ School of Philosophy will walk off the job today in a protest called by the department against an office occupation staged by the anarchist group Rubicon which says… it wants to have contact with students. The group has gained notoriety for its activism and numerous attacks at high-profile sites including court buildings and consulates.

# Piraeus Bank, Greece’s largest lender, says a binding-offer phase for the 100 percent sale of its subsidiary Imithea SA, owner and operator of the Henry Dunant Hospital Center, has been completed. Advised by PwC, the bank said it will now proceed with a required evaluation process. Built in 2000, the hospital went into receivership in 2014 and was taken over by Imithea which returned the institution to financial health before the planned sale.



On our Radar: (Still) Losing Ground
Despite making a minor improvement over the last 12 months, Greece has lost ground relative to other countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. It saw Greece slip from 53rd last year to 57th in 2018, flanked by India and the Philippines. The United States returned to the top spot for the first time since the global financial crisis a decade ago _ followed by Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. The annual survey uses 98 indicators in the each of the 140 countries in the study, but the WEF report’s authors noted that countries which improved showed high adaptability to the digital economy.