Athens Digest 10.09.2019

• Cyprus president in Athens as East Med tension persists

• Greece promises citizens abroad the right to vote

• Industrial output drops by 2.1 percent in July

• Report: ΗELPE sale to involve Greek State stake only

# The Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is due for talks in Athens today as a dispute over the East Mediterranean natural gas drilling rights continues to put Greece at odds with Turkey. Anastasiades, joined by his foreign minister and government spokesman, is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Mitsotakis. The trip follows a visit to breakaway northern Cyprus by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who accused the island’s internationally-recognised Greek Cypriot leadership of trying to sideline the Turkish Cypriots, making remarks seen in Athens as hostile. Turkey is planning to expand drilling off the northern coast of Cyprus despite the repeated condemnation of its actions by the European Union.

# The Interior Ministry says it will accelerate plans to expand voting rights to include Greek citizens living abroad, urging lawmakers from all parties to back the initiative by the end of the year. Takis Theodorikakos, the interior minister, said draft legislation would be submitted to parliament before the end of 2019 giving Greeks overseas a postal vote. “It’s time for Greece to join the club of civilised and developed countries as far as the election process is concerned,” the minister told Skai radio. The issue has been tangled up with complex legal considerations for years with the main difficulty being eligibility rules beyond Greeks who are already registered voters.

# Industrial output fell by 2.1 percent on the year in July, the statistics authority reported. By sector, Elstat said mining output was 10.4 percent lower, manufacturing production was down by 1.9 percent on the year, and the Electricity Supply Index fell by 2.3 percent. The Water Supply Index was 2.9 percent higher. The year-on-year rate for overall industrial output saw a 0.3 percent rise in June.

On our Radar: ΗELPE sale to involve only Greek State?
Reportedly, Latsis Group subsidiary Paneuropean Oil may bow out of an effort to revive the sale of Hellenic Petroleum. The state holds a 35.5 percent stake in Hellenic Petroleum while Paneuropean holds 45.5 percent. The first HELPE sale attempt, in which the Greek State participated with 20 percent and Paneuropean Oil with 30.1 failed to attract investors.