07-06-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 07-06-2017

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Barroso: Grexit not off the table yet; certain quarters in Europe would pay for Greece to leave EZ

Grexit isn’t off the table and everything depends on Greece, former EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso said in Athens on Tuesday, while addressing the Concordia Summit’s European conference, which is taking place in the Greek capital.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1243682/barroso-grexit-not-off-the-table-yet-certain-quarters-in-europe-would-pay-for-greece-to-leave-ez

EWG teleconference called off; 10 out of 140 prior actions remaining to conclude Greek program

A Euro Working Group teleconference previously scheduled for Wednesday was called off on account of 10 out of 140 “prior actions” – which Athens must implement in order to conclude a second review of the Greek bailout – are still pending.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1243659/ewg-teleconference-called-off-10-out-of-140-prior-actions-remaining-to-conclude-greek-program

Greek gov’t angles for compromise on debt relief

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos Tuesday sought to rally the members of leftist SYRIZA’s political committee amid doubtful prospects for a Eurogroup meeting on June 15 on aid and debt relief for Greece.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218996/article/ekathimerini/news/greek-govt-angles-for-compromise-on-debt-relief

Bigger fines, not closures for no receipt issue

Fines of up to 5,000 euros will be the penalty – instead of shutdowns – that tax inspectors will impose on lawyers, doctors, hoteliers, private tuition establishments etc found not to have issued receipts, according to a decision signed by Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219009/article/ekathimerini/business/bigger-fines-not-closures-for-no-receipt-issue

Gov’t to launch new gas grid sale in June

Greece will launch a new tender competition for the privatization of its natural gas grid operator DESFA in June, Energy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said on Tuesday.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219004/article/ekathimerini/business/govt-to-launch-new-gas-grid-sale-in-june

Numerous factors hamper manufacturing

High taxes and social security contributions, Greek bureaucracy, high energy costs and unclear and dysfunctional zoning laws are the factors that have led to the contraction of the local manufacturing sector, according to a study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE).

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219008/article/ekathimerini/business/numerous-factors-hamper-manufacturing

Moody’s: Less ELA dependence boosts banks

Moody’s has qualified local systemic banks’ significant reduction of their dependence on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) from the Bank of Greece as a credit-positive event. The ratings agency notes that the reduction of ELA has had a considerably positive impact on the credit sector, reducing the cost of its financing and resulting in the bolstering of lenders’ profits.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219007/article/ekathimerini/business/moodys-less-ela-dependence-boosts-banks

Banks beat NPE target but not that for NPLs

Greek banks made progress in their fight to cut their exposure to doubtful and nonperforming loans in the first quarter, data from the country’s central bank showed on Tuesday.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219003/article/ekathimerini/business/banks-beat-npe-target-but-not-that-for-npls

ATHEX: Turbulence rattles bourse

The sudden cancellation of Tuesday’s Euro Working Group meeting and the international uncertainty on various fronts contributed to the losses registered at Athinon Avenue in Tuesday’s trading session, although the low turnover indicated that some players are still waiting for a clearer picture before making any decisive moves.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219002/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-turbulence-rattles-bourse

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KATHIMERINI: Barroso: Some people would pay in order for Grexit to happen

TA NEA: The kindness of strangers and the nagging of the party

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The welfare state stands to be “executed”

AVGI: SYRIZA message to the creditors: “Forget the measures if you do not provide a solution for the debt!”

RIZOSPASTIS: Block NATO plans and Greece’s involvement!

KONTRA NEWS: Alert in Italy: Public debt reached 2 trillion Euros

DIMOKRATIA: Illegal service to employees of the Bank of Greece

NAFTEMPORIKI: Red loans were reduced  through erasures

Last day of UK election campaigning today. If you’re in the mood for the naughtiest Theresa May video out there, watch here.

The 27 words Donald Trump wouldn’t say: POLITICO’s Susan Glasser with the scoop on the U.S. president’s NATO speech edits.

JUNCKER’S DEFENSE DAY: The EU will today unveil a multi-million-euro European Defense Fund, marking the first time money from the bloc’s budget will be used to buy military equipment and on joint defense capabilities. A reflection paper on the future of the EU’s defense activities will also be published. The Commission will go as far as to make defense budget forecasts for the 2021-2027 period, as an indication of how seriously it is pushing the defense effort.

“While there is still much skepticism about the defense plan — given the EU’s struggles to better integrate the defense programs and capabilities of individual countries — supporters of closer military cooperation praised the fund as a crucial first step,” Jacopo Barigazzi, David M. Herszenhorn and Harry Cooper write. The Commission believes there are both economic and strategic reasons for the fund.

On Friday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver what is billed by Berlaymont sources as the “big defense speech” of his term, at a security conference in Prague.

DEVELOPMENT DAYS: Thousands of activists and politicians are descending on Brussels today and Thursday to discuss the 20 million people across Africa who are facing famine. Delegates will sign off on a resolution prepared by members of European Parliament, EU governments and the Commission called the New European Consensus on Development. It includes measures to ensure EU and country aid activities, worth €75.5 billion last year, are coordinated. A major focus will be on the conditions the EU and its member countries attach to the money they give. “There is pressure on the aid budget already in 2018,” said Natalia Alonso, deputy director of Oxfam International. Agenda here.

COMMISSION — NEXT STEPS FOR EU CLIMATE DIPLOMACY: Today, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed meets Miguel Arias Cañete, the European commissioner for climate action and energy, to discuss the global response to the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. The U.N. has announced a global leaders’ summit in 2019.

On Sunday, G7 environment ministers will meet in Bologna. Expect a big fight over the meeting conclusions. Cañete will sit down with Catherine McKenna, Canada’s climate minister, to plan out the EU-China-Canada summit set for September, and with Japan’s Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto. On June 12, Cañete will meet Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a fierce opponent of the Paris agreement.

Hungarian PM’s shock over Trump’s Paris decision: “I’m still in a state of shock, and so is Hungary,” Viktor Orbán told a Hungarian radio station last week, according to an English transcript of the show. “There is a consensus in Hungary — and I myself am part of it — that climate change is real: it’s not invented, it’s a reality. And there’s also a consensus that it’s dangerous.” Hungary was the first EU member to ratify the 2015 agreement.

** WATCH LIVE on June 20 from 8 a.m. CET, POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook Breakfast with Cecilia Malmström, European commissioner for trade. Presented by Samsung, the event will address the future of Europe’s trade relationships with the United States, the United Kingdom and China. Find out more on our website.**

PARLIAMENT — MARIYA GABRIEL HEARING, LIKELY JUNE 20, MAY GET SPICY: That’s according to five POLITICO sources. The European Parliament’s conference of presidents is expected to finalize Thursday, the date of Gabriel’s hearing, which will probe her nomination for the post of European digital commissioner.

Did Commissioner-designate Gabriel get a special property deal as an MEP? Gabriel is facing uncomfortable questions at home in Bulgaria over allegations she benefited from access to a luxury apartment for below market rent. Despite earning more than 10 times the average Bulgarian salary as an MEP, prior to 2013 Gabriel is reported to have paid €200 per month — one-quarter of the market rate — for a 128 square meter apartment. BIVOL, Bulgaria’s top investigative website, reported in May that it has seen Gabriel’s tax return and she did not declare the rental arrangement as a gift. That may spill over to her Brussels hearing. The article is available in English here.

PARLIAMENT — COMMITTEE CHAIRS MEET BARNIER: The conference of committee chairs, the body led by Cecilia Wikström that steers European Parliament’s policy work, will soon hold an away day during which members will meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

PARLIAMENT — MEET THE GREEN MEP KEEPING PESTICIDE IN YOUR ORGANIC FOOD: Emmet Livingstone profiles Martin Häusling, who disagrees with the European Commission’s efforts to bring organic food labeling laws into line with the general expectation that “organic” means “pesticide-free.” Häusling believes organic farming is about a broader concept of sustainable production, not a single pesticide criteria, and his insistence on this point has brought EU internal negotiations to the point of collapse.

PARLIAMENT — MALTA’S THERESE COMODINI CACHIA REJECTS NATIONAL SEAT TO STAY IN BRUSSELS

COUNCIL — EU ASYLUM REFORMS DEADLOCKED, WILL MISS TARGETS: The EU will fail to meet a target of the end of June to reform its asylum policies, senior diplomats told POLITICO. New data showed Italy could face an unprecedented number of migrants arriving on its shores this year. Jacopo Barigazzi has the details.

COUNCIL — MALTA RESPONDS TO ESTONIAN CARETAKER WORK: News that Estonian ministers will chair several Council meetings this week, while Malta is still the EU presidency holder, prompted this response from the Maltese government: “The Maltese PM is still to form the new cabinet and we are considering contingency plans. The work by the Maltese presidency continues and at this [week’s] Council meetings we should expect important achievements, following extensive work conducted at technical level during the Maltese presidency.”

FRANCE — MARIELLE DE SARNEZ FACING A ROUGH CAMPAIGN TRAIL: L’Obs reports the former MEP and now French EU affairs minister (and MP candidate for a constituency in Paris) will likely survive allegations she misused EU funds.

CENTRAL EUROPE — MEET DANUBE VALLEY, LATEST COMPETITOR TO SILICON VALLEY: Anton Spisak writing for the Financial Times.

TECH MEETS POLITICS — VODAFONE FLIPS ITS ADVERTISING BLACKLIST SYSTEM: Vodafone, Europe’s largest mobile company, will draw up a “whitelist” of websites where its ads can appear in an effort to steer clear of fake news sites and hate speech. Vodafone’s Matt Peacock told Playbook: “We do not want our brand on a site that is laughing at overweight women, for example, because that’s against our commitment to diversity.”

“No more relying on algorithms to protect the brand,” Peacock said. “You need human beings to make judgments about hate speech and fake news. It will ensure our money doesn’t go to websites that don’t deserve the money,” and redirect cash “back into professional journalism.”

COMMISSION SPEECH DU JOUR: Speaking of internet positioning, European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans argued Tuesday for an “internet of values.” His tag line: we must reject a YOLO (you only live once) society. We must instead embrace a “WOHOW” society (we only have one world).

PODCAST DY JOUR: Jonathan Portes on the U.K. and immigration on E!Sharp.

LONDON ATTACK — UK POLICE RAN SECURITY CHECK ON ATTACKER. Youssef Zaghba, the third identified London attacker, told Italian authorities “I’m going to be a terrorist” when questioned in 2016. British police ran a security check on him via the European Schengen Information System (SIS II) database in January when he passed through London’s Stansted Airport, two Italian security officials told POLITICO’s Giulia Paravicini. This raises questions about claims by British authorities that Zaghba was not a “subject of interest” to U.K. security services.

UK ELECTION …

The morning after Jeremy Corbyn wins: Every poll during Britain’s election campaign has had Labour behind the Conservative Party. But a Jeremy Corbyn victory is no longer unimaginable. Rosa Prince walks you through what might happen if Corbyn moves into Downing Street. “With a sigh, Corbyn switches his phone into silent mode. It has been ringing all morning: Labour advisers seeking instructions, members of the media demanding answers … Corbyn has retreated to his allotment to get away from the photographers outside his house. He finds peace among his potatoes and neat lines of corn. Besides, according to union rules, if you’re forced to work at the weekend, you’re owed a day off in lieu — and he hasn’t had a break since the campaign began.”

Corbyn’s final interview: He tells the Daily Mirror he’ll win Thursday, “for the many, not the few.”

Theresa May won’t let human rights ‘get in the way’ of anti-terror measures: The PM said she would be willing to change human rights laws to impose greater restrictions on terror suspects.

Today’s poll insight: Dan Healy from FTI Consulting explains the company’s latest commissioned poll results. “I have Labour and the Conservatives statistically tied on the popular vote,” but everything else is bad news for Labour. The party’s supporters are less committed to voting for it and its younger supporters are less likely to vote.

Today’s front pages:Vote May or we face disaster” (Express) | “Apologists for terror” (Daily Mail, on Labour) | “Jezza’s Jihadi Comrades” (The Sun) | “May threatens to dismantle human rights laws” (the Guardian) | “True Brit” (Metro), on the story of a Romanian migrant who chased terrorists armed with a crate.

Scottish Nationals hampered by Brexit and their own success: The only way is down for Nicola Sturgeon in Thursday’s election, as she struggles to keep both urban and rural voters united behind the party’s positions on independence and the EU, reports Peter Geoghegan.

CANADA — FREELAND MAKES PLAY TO FILL US LEADERSHIP VOID: As the United States gives up the mantle of global leadership, Canada intends to step in to the extent it can, said Chrystia Freeland, the country’s foreign minister.

TRUMP WORLD UPDATE …

This week was supposed to be about infrastructure. Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, POLITICO’s Playbookers in Washington D.C., report it didn’t turn out that way. The James Comey hearing Thursday was always going to be a distraction, but when Trump popped off at Sadiq Khan, the infrastructure focus died. Palmer and Sherman write: “There’s a good chance that Congress leaves for the August recess without repealing and replacing Obamacare, without passing an infrastructure package and without progress on tax reform.”

BRUSSELS CORNER …

LAUNCHING: A new alliance of pro-democracy, anti-populist activists and organizations is launching today, with European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager as the keynote speaker. It’s called ALL for Democracy.

TERROR AND LOBBYING: Brussels-based Alastair Bealby lost his close friend Martyn Hett in the recent Manchester bombing. Bealby writes for the Guardian that the murder caused him to quit his job as a PR consultant for MSL Group (part of the Publicis empire) because he could no longer stomach promoting Saudi Arabia’s government, with its links to extremism.

DETAILED: Belgian police detain 12 in connection with the 2016 Brussels attacks, following 14 house searches based on information obtained from a laptop computer.