04-08-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 21-08-2017

Happy Summer Holidays

We will resume on Monday, August 21st 2017

Best Regards,

Petros Constantinidis

Friday, August 4, 2017

Athens denies backing Maduro

Athens has denied foreign reports that it resisted calls by other European Union member-states for sanctions against Venezuela’s socialist government over a violence-marred vote in the South American country.


Judges blast Commission for response to court ruling

Greece’s Union of Judges and Prosecutors issued a stern response Thursday to concerns expressed by the European Commission over the conviction of the Hellenic Statistical Authority’s former chief for breach of duty. “The sound interpretation and application of laws is assigned by the Constitution to judicial authorities, whose judgment cannot be influenced by political considerations, duress or admonishments,” it said.


Construction firms fined for cartel practices

Aktor was hit on Thursday with a 38.5-million-euro fine – a record in Greece – and another nine construction companies were fined, for a total of 80.7 million euros, concluding the first stage of the infamous case of the “contractors’ cartel” which, for a period of 23 years, from 1989 to 2012, were found to have been rigging the tenders for a series of public works, including those co-funded by the European Union.


Long-delayed out-of-court settlement framework for arrears owed by Greek businesses debuts online

The Greek state on Thursday launched a long-awaited online platform for the out-of-court settlement of arrears owed by private businesses, a memorandum-mandated obligation.


Hydrocarbon block concession model stays, for now

The inner cabinet on Thursday decided against introducing any changes to the block concession model for hydrocarbons surveying and utilization, to the relief of investors, but the decision announced by the office of Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis leaves open the possibility of reviewing the model in the future.


Minister: Arbitration would be best to resolve pending issues related to Skouries investment

Greece’s relevant economy and environment minister on Thursday said recourse to arbitration would be the best solution to resolve all pending issues related to the Hellas Gold investment in northern Greece.


ECB lowers ELA cap for Greek banks

The European Central Bank has lowered the cap on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) Greek banks draw from the domestic central bank by 1.6 billion euros to 38.9 billion euros, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.


ATHEX: Little action at local bourse

A mixed bag of a session at the Greek bourse on Thursday produced little change in stock prices, although turnover did improve.







KATHIMERINI: Hikes in PPC energy bills ante portas

TA NEA: Nicolas Maduro… you are as cool as a Greek. Greek government raises protection shield for Venezuela’s blood-bathed regime

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The acquittal of former Statistics Authority head, Georgiou, becomes a new prerequisite by the country’s lenders

AVGI: Second generation National Healthcare  System

RIZOSPASTIS: The profiteering of hoteliers demands an attack against labor rights

KONTRA NEWS: Stupid political feud in the parliament while the people are having a hard time

DIMOKRATIA: 38,5-million-Euro fine for [construction company] Aktor-owner Bombolas

NAFTEMPORIKI: New relaxation of capital controls

LATEST EU CONFIDENTIAL PODCAST — WITH ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: Listen immediately with just one click here, or download each podcast to have ready for listening offline via iTunes.

COMMISSION — JUNCKER TEMPERS RESPONSE TO US SANCTIONS: In a statement released Thursday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he welcomed the weakening of the Russia sanctions adopted by the U.S. this week, suggesting the threat of EU-coordinated countermeasures was in part responsible. Read the statement here.

COMMISSION — VESTAGER TAKES AIM (AGAIN) AT VISA: Following several complaints about the fees Visa charges customers, the Commission issued another so-called statement of objections, this time about the fees charged by Visa on tourists making purchases inside the EU. More information here.

COUNCIL — TUSK TESTIFIES IN POLISH COURT: European Council President Donald Tusk testified Thursday on Polish officials’ alleged negligence following the 2010 plane crash that killed then-President Lech Kaczyński, in a hearing Tusk’s lawyer described as politically motivated. “There is no need for any new hearing but I am a citizen and I have my duties,” Tusk said before entering the Polish national prosecutor’s office. Michał Broniatowski has the details.

After emerging eight hours later, Tusk spoke to reporters and questioned Poland’s future in the European Union. Visibly agitated, he warned about what he described as Poland’s weakening position within the bloc. “It smells like an introduction to an announcement that Poland does not need the European Union and that Poland is not needed for the EU,” he said, adding, “I am afraid we are closer to that moment.”

ECONOMY — UK AND EU FORTUNES DIVERGE:  The eurozone economy is growing twice as fast as the U.K.’s (though its unemployment rate is also double Britain’s) but that doesn’t mean much, nor if the trend is reversed. Why? Both economies need each other to do well. Pierre Briancon examines the terrain.

IMPROVING EUROPEAN DEFENSE VIA MILITARY SCHENGEN: The ability of NATO forces to operate in Europe is still hindered by border restrictions.Not to mention the infrastructure challenges: roads and bridges too weak to bear the weight of heavy equipment, low-clearance tunnels and tiny air strips. The Netherlands and the top U.S. Army general in Europe want to change that with a military Schengen zone, reports David Herszenhorn from the Papa Air Base in Hungary.


Pictures of alleged collusion between Save the Children and people smugglers: The NGO was snapped taking “controlled deliveries” of migrants, according to Il Corriere.

Italy sees surprise reduction in migrant levels: Data from the Italian interior ministry shows about 11,100 migrants made the dangerous crossing in July compared to more than double that amount in the same month in 2016 (just over 23,500).

Libyan strongman threatens to bomb Italian vessels: In a tweet Wednesday, Arab news network Al Arabiya reported General Khalifa Haftar, whose forces control the eastern part of the North African country, ordered the Libyan National Army to bomb any non-commercial vessels in Libyan waters.

Hypocrisy in two front pages: The Daily Express published two front pages a year apart; one calling for border controls, the other complaining about delays for holidaymakers.

CYPRUS — UN STEPS BACK FROM REUNIFICATION PROCESS. Outgoing U.N. envoy Espen Barth Eide told reporters reunification would likely need to be driven by Cypriot leaders rather than be resurrected by the U.N.


A history of German campaign posters: Victor Brechenmacher takes you on a visual tour from Adenauer to Merkel to see how post-war German politicians appealed for votes.

Greens lagging in polls: The Greens still hover at around 8 percent in the polls, despite Germany being rocked by scandals involving alleged collusion between polluting car manufacturers. Reuters’ Michelle Martin explains why.

Schulz insists I am not an ‘alien’: Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor, dismissed accusations he’s too much of a newcomer to win the forthcoming election in a Der Spiegel interview.


Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is expected to talk Brexit in a speech in Northern Ireland today.

Weak economy means soft Brexit: A weakening economy has boosted the hand of British Chancellor Philip Hammond, who wants a soft Brexit. Annabelle Dickson has the analysis here.

Because Sabine Weyand said so: The EU’s Brexit boss lady (officially the deputy negotiator) tweeted Thursday that this article by Simon Nixon was well worth the read. She only ever tweets what she means. The article’s title is “Without a Brexit divorce deal, all the transition talk will have been a waste.”

UK spent more than €1.3M on Brexit head-hunting: Though it refused to negotiate a higher salary for a leading candidate to be Britain’s top trade negotiator, since July 2016 Liam Fox’s department for international trade had spent €1.3 million on Brexit recruitment consultants as it struggles to fill vacancies for all the “Global Britain” free trade deals it hopes to do from 2019. Richard Vaughan for the i paper .

I was dressed for EU success, says Sam Cam.

UK — LABOUR TAKES AIM AT CONSERVATIVES: Annabelle Dickson has this juicy story about how Labour MPs are making the most of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s lack of a parliamentary majority. “Relations between government and opposition whips … have gone into ‘deep freeze’ … Conventions that eased the passing of legislation by enabling MPs to miss votes without disadvantaging their own side have been cast aside … Labour hopes to frustrate Tory MPs with the threat of surprise votes.”


ANDRÁS FEKETE-GYŐR — HUNGARY’S HIPSTER PATRIOT PLANNING LIFE AFTER ORBÁN: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is coasting to a likely election victory in April, but an opposition group called Momentum wants to do more than enter parliament after the ballot. It already stopped Budapest’s 2024 Olympics bid, and now is doing everything from going door-to-door to creating a bespoke car-pooling app with a longer-term plan to usurp Orbán’s “illiberal democracy.”

Top takeaways from Momentum leader András Fekete-Győr, a 28 year-old former supporter of Orbán’s Fidesz …

Momentum does background checks on all new members, of whom there are 1,100. Core supporters are in Budapest and Western Europe, but the party plans to run in all constituencies in the 2018 election, though it has polled as low as 1 percent nationally.

Critics say Momentum is politically clueless and banal, and even Fekete-Győr admits the party drafted a style guide before it developed a policy program. But Momentum did something other Orbán critics have failed to do. Instead of leading with a fight around Orbán’s treatment of the Central European University or foreign-funded NGOs — far removed from the daily life of most Hungarians — Momentum used the Olympics bid as its way to talk about the problems of Fidesz’s governing style.

Fekete-Győr calls for a “modern, digital country” that’s “in the eurozone, at the core of Europe,” and complains “Hungary spends more on professional sport than on higher education.”


Senate confirms UK, Portugal, NATO ambassadors: The United States Senate on Thursday confirmed dozens of presidential appointments to senior positions, including three ambassadors who will be based in Europe.

Robert Mueller impanels Washington DC grand jury in Russia probe. Here’s what that means.

Boy Scout fake news: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied Trump made up a conversation he said he had in a phone call with the head of the Boy Scouts, but was forced to admit that while the president had “direct conversations” with Boy Scout leaders, there were “not actual phone calls” with the group.

Trump family delivers ‘real’ news show: Hosted by his daughter-in-law Lara Trump in TV anchor style on Trump’s Facebook page, the first video led with: “Want to know what President Trump did this week? Watch here for REAL news!”

VENEZUELA — AT LEAST 1M FALSE VOTES, SAYS POLLING CONTRACTOR: The announcement by U.K. company Smartmatic added to widespread allegations of fraud in the election that handed sweeping controls to the government.


José Ángel Gurría (OECD secretary-general, from Mexico).

Cecilia Malmström (European commissioner for trade, from Sweden).

Erna Solberg (prime minister of Norway).

Marietje Schaake (MEP and member of the 2017 POLITICO28 list, from the Netherlands).

Pierre Moscovici (European commissioner for finance and tax, from France).

Taavet Hinrikus (CEO of TransferWise, from Estonia).

Victoria Espinel (CEO of BSA, The Software Alliance, from U.S.).

Violeta Bulc (European commissioner for transport, from Slovenia).