03-07-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 03-07-2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tsipras to defend his government’s record in Parliament

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will face off Monday in Parliament with New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the aftermath of last month’s unpopular Eurogroup deal and the garbage collectors’ strike, which was arguably his government’s first serious crisis on the domestic level.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219741/article/ekathimerini/news/tsipras-to-defend-his-governments-record-in-parliament

PASOK leader calls for creation of new center-left political movement

Democratic Alignment and PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata has called for the creation of a new center-left political movement, whose leader will be elected directly by the people in a vote in October.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219738/article/ekathimerini/news/pasok-leader-calls-for-creation-of-new-center-left-political-movement

BoG: ‘Reduce debt or face 4th bailout’

The annual Bank of Greece report published on Friday stresses the immediate need for a change in the fiscal policy mix to make it more growth-friendly, while bringing down its growth expectations for 2017 from 2.5 percent to 1.6 percent. Crucially it warns that a fourth bailout might be necessary if the country’s debt is not sufficiently reduced.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219725/article/ekathimerini/business/bog-reduce-debt-or-face-4th-bailout

EU Commission’s Costetllo: Primary budget surplus goals for Greece after 2022 ‘realistic’

The European Commission’s mission chief to Greece, Declan Costello, expressed a view that primary budget surplus goals set for Greece after 2022 are “realistic”.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1254067/eu-commissions-costetllo-primary-budget-surplus-goals-for-greece-after-2022-realistic

PPC sees core profit in 2017 around 700 mln

Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece’s dominant power utility, sees core profit of around 700 million euros this year, down from about 1 billion euros in 2016, its chairman said on Friday.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219722/article/ekathimerini/business/ppc-sees-core-profit-in-2017-around-700-mln

OLP and OLTH can boost GDP by 5.6 bln/year

Business at Greece’s two privatized ports, Piraeus and Thessaloniki, could increase the country’s gross domestic product by up to 5.6 billion euros a year, a survey by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) has found. The strategic position of Greece’s two main ports is seen as crucial for international trade.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219747/article/ekathimerini/business/olp-and-olth-can-boost-gdp-by-56-blnyear

Greek retail sales rise 3 percent in April led by books, stationary

Greek retail sales by volume rose 3 percent in April compared to the same month a year ago, after an upwardly revised 1.2 percent decline in March, statistics service ELSTAT said on Friday.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219695/article/ekathimerini/business/greek-retail-sales-rise-3-percent-in-april-led-by-books-stationary

ATHEX: H1 ends with 28 percent rise for the bourse

The first half of the year has just ended with the main index of the Athens stock market adding a remarkable 27.98 percent in that period, thanks to five consecutive months of growth (unseen since late 2013) capped by a 6.26 percent rise in June.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219721/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-h1-ends-with-28-percent-rise-for-the-bourse

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SUNDAY PAPERS

KATHIMERINI: Taxes and contributions undermine growth

TO VIMA: The center-Left awakes!

REAL NEWS: ‘Omerta’ covering for former PM Simitis

PROTO THEMA: 120 installments for debts up to 50,000 Euros

AVGI: The scenarios regarding Greece’s exit to international markets

RIZOSPASTIS: Workers respond with strikes to the attacks launched by the government and the capitalists

MONDAY PAPERS

TA NEA: The bet of the center-Left for a new “Change”

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Democratic Coalition is soon going to decide which side it is on

KONTRA NEWS: A close relative of a former PM received a kickback worth 1,5 million Euros

DIMOKRATIA: The complete plan regarding forest maps

NAFTEMPORIKI: Tax-marathon for 11,35 billion Euros

COMMISSION — MOSCOVICI HINTS AT HIGHER AMBITIONS (AGAIN): European Commissioner for finance and tax Pierre Moscovici hinted that he is interested in the role of either Commission president or Eurogroup president, telling Germany’s Welt am Sonntag that “the post of president of the Commission could interest me.” Moscovici told Playbook in June he would be honored to hold the Eurogroup position. His team insist the German interview was not a campaign pitch but part of a wider effort to warn Europe’s social democrats to put forward new ideas or face political death.

COMMISSION — TRADE TALKS WITH SOUTH AMERICA AND JAPAN THIS WEEK: Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for trade, returned from Japan over the weekend hopeful that a political agreement for the EU-Japan trade deal will be signed Thursday. Her Japanese counterparts were more cautious at a Saturday press conference. The EU and the South American bloc known as Mercosur will restart talks with the EU today (they stalled in 2016) that will run all week.

COMMISSION CONFERENCE ON FUTURE OF RESEARCH: European Commissioner Carlos Moedas is hosting today a conference today on “research and innovation, shaping our future.”

COUNCIL — FULL ESTONIAN PRESIDENCY PROGRAM: Read or download the program, as well as details for each sectoral council, here.

PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK: This week’s top four debates will be:
— Tax: Vote on Commission proposal to make multinationals disclose taxes paid in each country (Tuesday)
 Estonia: Estonia’s presidency priorities are up for debate with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Wednesday)
— Turkey: It risks a freeze on EU accession talks if it changes its constitution (Wednesday)
— Counterterrorism: Vote to set up a new committee (Thursday)

**A message from the EPP Group: At our initiative, MEPs will vote this week to set up a special Committee on terrorism to examine possible failures in the cooperation and information sharing between competent authorities in member states. Suspension of Turkish EU accession talks and improved tax transparency are also on our agenda.** 

TECH MEETS POLITICS …

VESTAGER MULLING EXPANDED INTERIM POWERS: The Financial Times’ Rochelle Toplensky reported Margrethe Vestager is not satisfied with the current “interim measures” at her disposal as European Commissioner for competition. When POLITICO asked Vestager last week about whether she wants new powers to suspend suspect business behavior, even before final EU rulings, Vestager said she is looking into whether there are national practices to copy at EU level. But she cautioned: “We are not at all there yet.”

UBER TO EU REGULATORS — LET’S BE FRIENDS: Uber is under fire across the Continent, but sees the EU as a potential ally against local authorities suspicious of it. Joanna Plucinksa interviewed Frances Frei, the ride-hailing app’s new senior vice president of leadership and strategy.

GOOGLE’S NEXT BATTLEFRONT? COURT: Sue Google, Vestager urges burned rivals. More in the Times.

Googlexit: Google staff members retweeted this opinion article published in the Guardian over the weekend. The author suggests Google would leave the European market if its back was “seriously against the wall” and it was legally required to hand over information about its algorithm.

POSTCARD FROM CATALONIA …

Playbook spent Friday in Barcelona gauging the political temperature ahead an expected independence referendum on October 1. The verdict? High and rising.

Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont told visiting reporters Friday that “nothing will stop us” from going ahead with the referendum — including a possible order by the Spanish government to suspend him from office. The Spanish state, he said, could not suspend enough officials to prevent a referendum from taking place and would not resort to sending in the army if Catalonia declares independence later in 2017.

Why now? “Is there ever a right moment for this?” Puigdemont said.

What happens after a Yes vote? Catalan leaders would not give details to reporters, citing the threat of more court action by Madrid, but Puigdemont said “from the first minute we will act as a completely independent state.” He added: “We are a European nation.” And claimed: “Spain is a state against Catalonia.”

How far will Catalan leaders go to secure independence? Local politicians spoke openly to Playbook about being willing to go to court or jail, but all dismissed resorting to violence. “I am always against terrorism. Our reaction will be a civic reaction,” Puigdemont said.

What happens after a No vote? Puigdemont agreed there should be new elections immediately, implying a suspension of the independence campaign.

Any chance for compromise with Madrid? Puigdemont and other Catalan ministers did not rule out using a threatened or actual Yes vote to negotiate greater autonomy within Spain (“we’ll see”) but say there is little public support for this option. If socialist leader Pedro Sánchez were to promise a renegotiation of Catalonia’s status within Spain and also launch a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, that could change the political calculus, they said.

What do non-politicians say? Most Catalans, via opinion polls and institutions — from Barcelona football club to all 13 chambers of commerce and around 80 percent of municipalities — support holding a referendum. The level of support for independence is lower than the level of support for the referendum itself.

What about the EU? The EU steadfastly refuses to comment on the issue, and Catalan leaders admit that no other EU country wants to recognize them yet. Catalan leaders expect at least a year of transition, but insist that an independence vote does not strip them of their rights as EU citizens, and that the EU will eventually recognize them. Puigdemont laughed at the idea that Jean-Claude Juncker would meet the leader of Kosovo but not Catalonia, effectively comparing Kosovo’s status as a partially-recognized state to where Catalonia is headed.

What about Spanish public debt? Puigdemont said Catalonia was happy to pay its share. He said there would be a debate about whether this should be on a per capita basis or not.

Is there scope for negotiation? Catalonian ministers told reporters they are willing negotiate the terms of the vote, saying they could agree, for example, on requirements for minimum turnout and the need to gain 55 percent of public support for independence. But they will proceed whether this dialogue happens or not. Without it, all they need is 50 percent + 1 to declare independence.

Brexit all over again? Playbook spoke to members of the Catalan left who aren’t convinced the groundwork has been done for the “real referendum,” and don’t believe Catalonia is ready to declare independence.

Extra reading: Tobias Buck for the FT surveyed a range of Catalans about the simmering dispute between Barcelona and Madrid.

Did you know? Catalonia’s parliament and zoo are located in the same park in Barcelona.

SPAIN — SÁNCHEZ PROMISES TO STEER SOCIALISTS LEFT: Pedro Sánchez, recently confirmed as head of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, performed a trade deal u-turn. He wants to seduce Catalans with talk of internal multiculturalism but without dropping his overall belief in Spanish unity, writes Diego Torres.

BREXIT CORNER … 

LONDON CONVENTION ON FISHING IN NEED OF NEW NAME: U.K. Environment Minister Michael Gove said Sunday that the U.K. will leave the London Fisheries Convention it struck with other European countries to allow foreign fishermen access to each others’ waters.

ECFR LEAVES LONDON: The European Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, is scaling back its operations in London as being in the U.K. is no longer “appropriate” because of Brexit, according to co-chairman and former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt. ECFR director Mark Leonard hinted Berlin could become the think tank’s next biggest European office due to the pivotal role Germany is set to play in the EU’s foreign policy.

PODCAST DU JOUR: Paul Adamson talks to Jonathan Powell, the former Downing Street chief of staff involved in the Good Friday peace process in Ireland. Leaving the EU customs union forces a hard border in Ireland that creates a physical target for terrorists, Powell said. The DUP plays the role of kingmaker in the Brexit process, he added: “Nothing that the DUP does not want will get through any negotiations in Northern Ireland.”

OTHER UK NEWS … 

TODAY: The Northern Ireland Secretary is due to announce next steps after a deadline for restored power-sharing expired last week.

CONSERVATIVE REBELLION ON AUSTERITY: Cabinet ministers may be leading an austerity revolt, but Theresa May has won a stay of execution nonetheless, writes POLITICO’s Annabelle Dickson.

TROUBLE AT THE TOP FOR SCOTLAND’S POWER COUPLE: “Sturgeon is now seen as aloof, with little interest in the average voter’s day-to-day concerns or in listening to them. Her small clique seems unable or unwilling to absorb this … A focus group of one — her husband — cannot always provide the right answers,” writes Chris Deerin.

FRANCE — EDOUARD PHILIPPE, SUFFERING SIDEKICK OF LIBERAL STRONGMAN MACRON: When Emmanuel Macron speaks before a joint session of both houses of the French parliament to lay out his vision for the next five years, spare a thought for his overshadowed prime minister, writes Pierre Briancon. Meanwhile, Macron — an alpha male on the global stage and a ruthless opportunist at home — is creating a new political mould, writes Paul Taylor: the liberal strongman.

AUSTRIA — SEBASTIAN KURZ TAKES CONTROL OF PARTY WITH INCREASED POWERS: Austria’s 30-year-old Wunderkind foreign minister was elected leader of his center-right People’s Party on Saturday, paving the way for his candidature as chancellor in October snap elections.

MALTA — FULL OF SUN AND MISSING ITS SOLAR TARGETS: Space and tourism collide in sunny Malta, writes Anca Gurzu.

TRUMPWORLD — PRESIDENT AS WRESTLER: The U.S. president tweeted himself wrestling a CNN logo to the ground.

QATAR CATCH UP: Qatar said Saturday it isn’t afraid of war as a consequence for missing a deadline to comply with a list of demands from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, told reporters the list was “made to be rejected.” Demands include includes shutting down the state-funded Al Jazeera news network and reducing ties with Iran. The AP rounds up what you need to know about the stand-off.

MEDIA MOVES …

WALL STREET JOURNAL ENDS EUROPEAN PRINT EDITION: According to the FT, the U.S. finance newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is now focusing on digital subscriptions with more national content.

EBU EUROVISION LAUNCH JOURNALISM INITIATIVE: European public broadcasters are worried that independent journalism and its business models are under threat. They have a new report on what to do about it.

BRUSSELS CORNER …

DIESEL SCAM: Flemish public broadcaster VRT reports that tens of thousands of car owners in Belgium are successfully passing technical tests at car inspection centers despite the illegal removal of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) from their cars. Belgium is using testing methods at least 10 years behind best practice, according to VRT. The upshot: EU rules are being ignored, affecting the cars and health of EU officials themselves.

APPOINTED: French center-right MEP Arnaud Danjean was appointed as president of a strategic review of French defense and national security. He will remain a MEP.

MOVING: Ronald van Roeden is the new Dutch “Coreper 1” ambassador to the EU, after previously serving as an EU sherpa to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. He replaces Wepke Kingma, who was confirmed as Dutch ambassador to Berlin last week.