02-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

02-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Bond yields drop ahead of anticipated swap

Greek state bond yields have shown a significant decline since the start of the week, as, according to Bloomberg, November 13 is the most likely date for the new issues that will replace the paper stemming from the Greek debt restructuring of 2012, or private sector involvement (PSI).


Head of Parliamentary Budget Office: No honeymoon after bailout ends; fiscal targets should be lowered

The coordinator of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO), an independent body unaffiliated with the government, on Wednesday warned that the country’s exit from the era of bailout memorandums, set for next August, “won’t resemble the beginning of a honeymoon”.


Concern over spike of 200 percent in migrant arrivals

Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas on Wednesday conceded that the migration problem is becoming more difficult to manage as the number of people arriving on the shores of Greek islands from Turkey since August is up 200 percent compared to the same period last year.


Navy frigate runs aground off greater Athens area; no damage reported

A Hellenic Navy frigate went aground off a small islet off the greater Athens area mainland on Thursday morning while returning to its anchorage on the island of Salamina after a regularly scheduled military exercise.


Prosecution lawyer attacked by Golden Dawn supporters

A prosecution lawyer in the ongoing trial against Golden Dawn, as well as another woman, were attacked by supporters of the neo-Nazi party on Alexandras Avenue in Athens on Wednesday.


Economic euphoria dampened in October, indices show

The rising course of the Economic Sentiment Index and the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) came to a halt in October, readings showed on Wednesday, in a sign of adjustment after the euphoria of the summer months and possibly due to the relative instability that continues to linger in the financial environment.


TAIPED pushes for OTE, AIA stake sales

Privatizations fund TAIPED has started the process for the sale of its holdings in OTE telecom and Athens International Airport (AIA). It is now commissioning financial consultants to be tasked with coming up with a utilization model and assisting the process until transactions are complete.


ATHEX: Month begins with stock rise

Stock prices at Athinon Avenue remained on a rising course on Wednesday, albeit at a slower pace than Tuesday. Banks again led the way in growth and trading activity, with the four systemic lenders accounting for 57 percent of turnover.







KATHIMERINI: Double social security contributions for 2018 for 20,000 freelancers

ETHNOS: Golden Dawn supporters unleashed – Witnesses [testifying against the Neo-Nazi party] are unprotected

TA NEA: Cheap real estate assets are going to be considered expensive by the tax office after the revision of the objective values

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Storm-troopers return. Golden Dawn provokes with raw violence in front of the justice court!

AVGI: New Democracy favors lawlessness in the TV field

RIZOSPASTIS: “Next day” scenarios are going to affect the people negatively either way

KONTRA NEWS: The Ministry of Finance is going to seize tens of thousands of bank accounts and bonds

TO PONTIKI: New Democracy struggles with scandals and inner-party clashes

DIMOKRATIA: Shameless Vicky Stamati [convicted wife of also convicted former Defense Minister Akis Tsohadjopoulos] is being provocative

NAFTEMPORIKI: The plan for bond swaps worth 30 billion Euros


EU NEEDS AN ‘FBI FOR CUSTOMS,’ SAYS ANTI-FRAUD CHIEF: Giovanni Kessler, the outgoing chief of Europe’s anti-fraud agency OLAF who recently left Brussels to head the Italian customs agency, told POLITICO’s Giulia Paravicini that fragmented customs enforcement makes fraud and smuggling easier. “We have 28 customs agencies for goods and 28 border guard agencies for people, so 56 agencies for one border,” Kessler said. If one case brought home the dangers of fragmentation, it was OLAF’s investigation that concluded this year into how British authorities allegedly turned a blind eye to a massive cross-border fraud network that allowed ultra-cheap Chinese goods to flow into Europe, costing the EU some €5 billion in lost duties and VAT.

COMMISSIONERS ON TOUR: European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger is in Lithuania. Development Commissioner Neven Mimica visits Tanzania, meeting President John Magufuli.

NATO — STOLTENBERG IN KOREAN DEMILITARIZED ZONE: Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited the DMZ, as it is known to locals, early Thursday Brussels time, where he was briefed on the North Korea crisis and met South Korean, U.S. and U.N. personnel. Stoltenberg is wrapping up a week-long visit to Japan and South Korea, where he has called for diplomatic, political and economic pressure on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear arms and ballistic missiles.

Why is the North Atlantic going West Pacific? Stoltenberg will set out his philosophy that global challenges demand global solutions in remarks to the press in Seoul this morning. He will also announce a new cooperation program between NATO and South Korea. Tune in from 9 a.m. Brussels time to watch the speech.

GRAPHIC DU JOUR — WHERE THE EU CIVIL PROTECTION MECHANISM IS USED: The emergency system was activated 87 times between 2014-2017.

EBRD — NEW INFRASTRUCTURE CHIEF: Jean-Patrick Marquet is the new managing director for infrastructure at the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He will manage an €11-billion portfolio across 37 countries.


UK DEFENSE MINISTER RESIGNS: Laura Kuenssberg got the scoop, tweeting Wednesday evening that Michael Fallon resigned, admitting his behavior in the past may have “fallen short.”

Inside the dark side of Westminster: Pippa Crerar in the London Evening Standard recalls her experiences. James Greenhalgh, a former parliament intern, alleges in a video he was groped in 2012 by a then-MP at a parliament bar.

As a point of transparency: Playbook has seen the spreadsheet circulating widely online of 36 British ministers who have allegedly engaged in sexual indiscretions or office romances. We haven’t published it because we can’t verify it from Brussels.

Theresa May’s letter about ‘alleged mistreatment of staff.’ h/t CNN’s Max Foster

IN FRANCE: Eric Monier, a top official in the French media group TF1 and a former manager in public broadcaster France 2, is under investigation over multiple allegations of sexual and moral harassment, according to Buzzfeed France.

ACROSS THE POND: U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) senior vice president of news Michael Oreskes stepped down on Wednesday amid allegations of sexual harassment.



Puigdemont won’t attend court, says lawyer: Paul Bekaert, the Belgian lawyer of ousted First Minister Carles Puigdemont, confirmed the Catalan leader would not attend a court hearing in Spain in response to a summons relating to charges of rebellion.

Madrid to Catalonia: ‘We’ve got this.’ Diego Torres, after a tour of Madrid ministries, reports that after weeks of trying to regain control of the Catalan crisis, Madrid finally feels it is back on the front foot. Even fleeing ex-ministers acknowledge there will be a vote for a new Catalan government December 21, and the independence movement may be splitting.

Academics and MEPs demand EU action: A letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, signed by over 100 academics and politicians and obtained by Playbook, says: “The violation of basic rights and freedoms protected by international and EU law cannot be an internal affair of any government … The silence of the EU and its rejection of inventive mediation is unjustifiable.”

Long read: Sedition in Catalonia , a three-part series of personal reflections by Spanish academic Miguel Otero Iglesias.


19 DAYS … until Danish local elections on November 21, 2017.

49 DAYS … until the Catalan regional election on December 21, 2017.

71 DAYS … until the Czech presidential election begins on January 12, 2018.

87 DAYS … until the Cypriot presidential election on January 28, 2018.

87 DAYS … until Finland’s presidential election on January 28, 2018.

CLIMATE — BANKS LINKED TO TAR SANDS POLLUTION IN NEW REPORT: As negotiators prepare to gather in Bonn, Germany for 10 days from November 6 for the “COP23” climate conference, a new report accuses banks of driving climate change by financing tar sands pipelines and mines. The report, by the Rainforest Action Network, an activist group, catalogues what it says is €100 billion in lending to “top tar sands producers and pipeline companies since 2014” and grades 33 banks from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. Details here.

Energy realities bite into climate spin: International climate negotiators who want a firsthand look at the difficulty of cutting greenhouse gases should visit the German town of Neurath, which lies just 60 kilometers from Bonn, writes Sara Stefanini. There they’ll find the second-most polluting plant in the EU. “The power station illustrates how politically and economically difficult it is to implement policies to shift toward renewable sources of energy. If one of the world’s wealthiest and self-proclaimed greenest countries is running into problems, the message it sends to the delegations in Bonn is a depressing one.”

DIGITAL POLITICS — BALTICS GO WHERE LONDON FEARS TO TREAD: Instead of cracking down on Uber, Estonia just passed a law officially embracing ride-sharing. Joanna Plucinska explains how the country circumvented the bitter divisions that plague the arrival of tech disrupters.

WOMEN WHO RULE THE WORLD: German Chancellor Angela Merkel clings on to first place in the Forbes list of the most powerful female political leaders in the world, with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May coming in second. EU High Representative Federica Mogherini comes in at fifth place and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło is 10th.

**Watch Live — November 16 from 8:50 a.m. CET, POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook Breakfast with Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission vice president for energy union, presented by Iberdrola. Get your questions answered live using Sli.do and be part of the discussion.**

CENTRAL EUROPE — MEASURING CHINESE INFLUENCE: The Association for International Affairs has launched an international project, ChinfluenCE, mapping Chinese political and economic influence in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

GREECE — REFUGEES DEMAND TRANSFER TO GERMANY: A group of women and children went on hunger strike in Athens Wednesday, demanding they be transferred to Germany to be reunited with their families. Reuters has more.

UK — LONDON TO IMPOSE BUDGET ON NORTHERN IRELAND: Attempts to agree a power-sharing deal between political parties in Northern Ireland failed Wednesday, which could lead to London imposing a budget for the first time in a decade. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, said Dublin would want to have “an appropriate role” in any arrangement involving direct rule from London.


Bumper committee day: Wednesday was a big day for select committee hearings in London. An array of senior British officials and Cabinet ministers appeared at 19 committee hearings across the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Charlie Cooper, Cat Contiguglia and Hans von der Burchard have the full rundown here. Highlights below …

Parliament orders UK government to release Brexit impact studies: MPs unanimously supported a Labour motion calling on the government to share 58 Brexit impact studies with parliament’s exiting the European Union select committee. The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said: “Motions of this kind have in the past been seen as effective or binding.” Peter Kyle, a Labour MP, called on the studies to be released to the public also. Here’s a list of the 58 sectors the U.K. has completed studies on, but not released, h/t Faisal Islam.

ICYMI — The EU already published its studies: You can read the EU’s studies, like this one published on the website of the European Parliament. Average total GDP loss by 2030: EU27: 0.1-0.5 percent; U.K.: 1.3-4.2 percent.

By the numbers … 

57: The number of customs posts spanning the Swedish border. Only 11 are staffed.

10,000: The number of financial services jobs lost from Day 1 of a hard Brexit, according to Sam Woods, the head of the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Watchdog opens Brexit probe: The U.K. Electoral Commission opened an investigation Wednesday into whether millionaire UKIP donor Arron Banks breached campaign finance rules during the Brexit vote. The watchdog also confirmed it will investigate whether Russia interfered in the referendum campaign, the Times reports.


AUSTRALIA — PARLIAMENT CITIZENSHIP CRISIS SPREADS TO RULING LIBERAL PARTY: Stephen Parry, president of the Australian senate, resigned Wednesday after he was confirmed to be a citizen of both the U.K. and Australia. Under Australia’s constitution, MPs can’t hold dual citizenship. Parry is the eighth parliamentarian to be tossed as a result of the scandal, including the now ex-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, leader of a junior party in the governing coalition. Australian MPs sign declarations to confirm they have checked their citizenship status.