[Indicative templates] Athens Digest 14.11.2022

– Greece condemns Istanbul blast as ‘heinous attack’

– Commission: Economy to grow by 6 percent but slow down faster in 2023

– Easing gas prices helps inflation dip to 9.1% in October

– Med countries say migration solidarity “unfortunate and disappointing”

– PM to address spyware allegations, pushes reforms through parliament


The prime minister last night sent a message of support to the Turkish people and political leadership after an explosion in the centre of Istanbul left six people dead and more than 80 injured. “Greece unequivocally condemns all forms of terrorism,” Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote in a tweet, adding that he was “shocked and saddened by the news of the heinous attack.” Turkish authorities said they were investigating terrorism as a possible motive for the afternoon blast in the central Istiklal Avenue, that occurred as the area was packed with people.

The Greek economy will grow nearly twice the pace of the Eurozone average this year but faces a worse than expected slow down after the new year. The European Commission’s autumn forecast revised the Greek growth prediction upwards in 2022 from 4 to 6 percent, but added that the rate will drop to 1 percent in 2023, from the previously expected 2.4 percent. Funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan would provide “notable support” for the economy, the Commission said, while government support measures, set to continue through 2023, would ease the impact of high energy prices but also result in “hindering primary surpluses in the coming years.” The national debt will continue to fall next year to 161.9 percent of GDP from 194.5 percent in 2021. GDP in the Eurozone is set to grow by 3.2 percent in 2022 and just 0.3 percent next year.

The annual rate of inflation fell in October to 9.1 percent from 12 percent the previous month, thanks to a drop in the wholesale price of natural gas and the subsidy on electricity. The national statistics authority said the highest increases were in Food and non-alcoholic beverages at 14.8 percent, and transport at 13.8 percent. Education and communication fees were ranked the lowest, both at 2 percent.

Four Mediterranean countries in the European Union say member states’ response to a voluntary relocation effort for migrants has been “unfortunate and disappointing” and are seeking urgent progress on long-promised, comprehensive reforms. “Unfortunately, the number of pledges for relocation made by participating Member States only represents a very small fraction of the actual number of irregular arrivals that we have received so far this year,” said the document signed by the governments of Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus. The governments also appear critical of the “uncoordinated fashion” of rescue efforts in the Mediterranean involving private vessels, adding that they wanted the issue to be addressed at the EU-level: “We ask the European Commission and the Presidency to take the necessary steps to initiate this discussion.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to address criticism from opposition parties over ongoing allegations of illegal surveillance of senior politicians that has heightened political tension ahead of general elections next year. The prime minister will speak at New Democracy’s party executive today, while legislative amendments are heading to parliament to introduce operational reforms at the National Intelligence Service and ban the sale of spyware like Predator and Pegasus.  The newspaper Documento, meanwhile, reported that Cabinet aides to the prime minister George Gerapetritis and Akis Skertsos had also been targeted by spyware. Government officials have pointed to the newspaper’s close links to the opposition Syriza party, the general lack of evidence in the reports so far, and the piecemeal nature of the revelations, which they argue strongly suggest political motivation. Mitsotakis so far has been firmly opposed to calling a snap election in response to the allegations.

On our Radar: Authentic Winners
After taking the lead in the final stages of the race, Charalambos Pitsolis won the 39th Authentic Athens Marathon, finishing in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 44 seconds. The 29-year-old finished a minute in front of Constantinos Gelafsos who fell behind as the runners passed the Hilton Hotel in the final stretch before reaching the Panathenian Stadium. In the women’s race, Vasiliki Konstantinopoulou finished first with 2:46.01. The 26-year-old recovered after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer two years ago and said she was happy the hard work she put into training had paid off. “Honestly it’s hard to describe the feeling,” she said. “To get through the pain and to where you want to go, it’s an incredible feeling.”

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