Athens Digest 24.06.2019

• Latest poll gives conservatives clear majority

• Travel service balance posts EUR412mn surplus between January and April

• Poverty and social exclusion threatens almost one in three Greeks

• Deadline for Athens casino resort bids extended for a third time until July 31

# Ahead of next month’s national elections, the latest poll of voter intentions published yesterday gave opposition New Democracy a clear majority in Parliament and a 9-point lead over ruling Syriza. The poll, conducted by Metron Analysis on behalf of To Vima newspaper suggested 38.5-percent for conservatives, 29.5-percent for Syriza, 8-percent for the Movement for Change, 5.2-percent for communist KKE and 3.5-percent for extreme right Golden Dawn. The size of ND’s majority will depend on the percentage of the parties which will not beat the 3-percent threshold to enter Parliament. This poll gave 2.8 percent for the Greek Solution and 2.5 for the party of former Finance Minister Varoufakis, MeRA 25. Based on these results, ND will have 164 lawmakers in the 300-seat Parliament, with Syriza getting 87 seats. Movement for Change will get 24, ahead of KKE with 15 and Golden Dawn with 10.

# Bank of Greece data published on Friday showed a significant EUR412mn increase in the balance of travel receipts in the first four months of the year (January-April), up from a surplus of EUR336 million in the same period last year. The trend was linked to a rise of 22.8-percent (or EUR241mn) in travel receipts. “The rise in travel receipts is attributed mainly to a 22.6-percent increase in average expenditure per trip, as inbound traveller flows rose only slightly by 0.5-percent,” the BoG said. In April alone the balance of travel services showed a surplus of EUR200mn compared to a surplus of EUR209mn in the same month last year.

# Almost one in three Greeks are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority’s (ELSTAT) “2018 Survey on Income and Living Conditions of households (EU-SILC), with reference income period the year 2017.” More specifically, the results of the data showed that  31.8- percent of the total population  (3,348,500 persons) was at risk – a decrease of 3-percent compared to 34.8-percent recorded in the survey of the previous year (3,701,800 persons). Broken down, the results showed that the risk of poverty or social exclusion is higher for persons aged 18-64 years (35-percent).

# The deadline for binding offers for  a license to build and operate a casino resort at the site of the capital’s old airport coast has been extended for a third time by the country’s gaming commission until July 31. The new deadline was set because town registration details for the property on the southern coast of Athens airport have yet to be sorted out. The previous deadline was on June 28. The permit will allow the start of the Ιntegrated Resort Casino, an 8-billion-euro project by Lamda Development backed by China’s Fosun and Arab funds. The resort is part of the post-bailout agreement between Greece and its international creditors.

On Our Radar: New Archbishop of America enthroned in New York 
The new archbishop of America, Elpidophoros, was enthroned in New York on Saturday at the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of members of the Greek Orthodox Church, representatives of the Greek diaspora, the ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus to the US as well as Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos. Mareva Grabowski, the wife of New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was also present at the ceremony. The 51-year-old Elpidophoros, who was born in Turkey, is the seventh Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.