Athens Digest 23.01.2019

• Prespa Agreement over first Greek hurdle

• Post bailout inspection focuses on labour market

• Capital Economics: Gloom creeps into Greek outlook

• Knossos, White Tower removed from development list

• Greek Streak: Giannis, Stef, and now Yorgos

# A two-day debate in full session will begin in Parliament today to ratify the Prespa agreement after it was approved at committee level. The opposition leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, renewed a pledge last night to use “all means necessary” to prevent the deal from being ratified, while officials in his party said the threat of a no-confidence motion was still being considered. In response, a government official called the option a ‘gift’ for the prime minister, arguing that it would shore up the majority that he has already secured in parliament. Counting declared supporters of the deal and those widely expected to back it, the government has garnered the support of at least 152 MPs in a parliament of 300 seats.

# Officials from creditor institutions will continue meetings with the government’s financial leadership today. Talks would concentrate on fiscal developments and labour issues including the minimum wage. Meanwhile, according to Capital Economics, worries over growth prospects and political turmoil in the European Union may again expose Greece’s vulnerabilities. “We think that government bonds in the eurozone ‘periphery’ will fare quite poorly in the next two years – particularly in Italy and Greece – as growth disappoints and deficits overshoot expectations,” the London-based economic research consultancy. It expected the yield on 10-year Greek government bonds to reach 5.25 percent in that period, from the current level of 4.13 percent.

# The Culture Ministry says it has amended a list of properties slated for private development, to remove scores of archaeological and museums. The Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete was among the site removed from the lis, as was the White Tower of Thessaloniki. The Culture Ministry said the ancient sites had been put on a provisional list of a public real estate development fund but had never been considered for final selection. Employees at ancient sites staged protests last year, and had demanded that the government clarify its position on the issue.

On our Radar: Stef the Star
Suddenly, Giannis Antetokounmpo has company on the world stage of famous Greeks. Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Rafael Nadal in his first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open and joked after his qualification: “For sure. All we need is Antetokounmpo here.” Messages of congratulations for 20-year-old ‘Stef’ flooded in from Greece’s people and politicians. But there was room for another place on the nation’s success list: Yorgos Lanthimos’ slightly off-the-rails period comedy ‘The Favourite’ has picked up 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay.