07-07-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 07-07-2017

Friday, July 07, 2017

Cyprus talks collapse, UN chief ‘very sorry’

Talks to reunify the divided island of Cyprus collapsed amid anger and recriminations in the early hours of Friday, marking the end of a process seen as the most promising in generations to heal decades of conflict.


Certainty over ESM’s approval on Friday

A top eurozone official in Brussels and a senior Finance Ministry source in Athens expressed certainty on Thursday that the board of the European Stability Mechanism will issue its approval on Friday for the disbursement of the 7.7-billion-euro tranche to Greece. Also on Friday or in the next few days Athens will send a request to the International Monetary Fund for it to participate in the bailout program.


ND seeks probe into minister’s alleged link to drug convict

The government remained in defensive mode Thursday as the main opposition New Democracy submitted a request for a special parliamentary committee to investigate allegations by a convicted drug smuggler that Defense Minister Panos Kammenos tried to pressure him into testifying against a prominent businessman.


Greece aims for 6 bln euros in privatizations revenues in 2017-18

Greece aims to raise 6 billion euros in privatization revenues through 2018, the head of its privatizations agency said on Thursday.


Greek economy to grow by up to 1.5 percent this year, says IOBE

Greece’s economy will grow by 1.5 percent or slightly lower this year, the leading IOBE think tank forecast on Thursday, sticking to a previous forecast in April.


Greek unemployment drops to 21.7 pct in April

Greece’s jobless rate dropped to 21.7 percent in April from 22.0 percent in the previous month, statistics agency ELSTAT said on Thursday, but remained the eurozone’s highest.


ATHEX: Energy stocks fuel index rise

The benchmark at Athinon Avenue kept edging upward on Thursday during a session when stock market heavyweight banks saw the limelight stolen by energy large-caps.







KATHIMERINI: Current university-entry examination system will be maintained

TA NEA: Tsipras’ dance with junior partner Kammenos leads him to decadence

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The City Transport Organization of Thessaloniki (OASTH) passes on to the state after 60 years of being private

AVGI: All of the proposals regarding the new high-school

RIZOSPASTIS: Tourism arrival records accompanied with vicious exploitation of workers

KONTRA NEWS: Media barons’ unaccountability ends

DIMOKRATIA: The whole of Germany is included in the Panama Papers

NAFTEMPORIKI: Full speed ahead for privatizations

NEW EPISODE OF EU CONFIDENTIAL: This week, we talk the politics of data, what Brexit has already ruined, how to handle sexual harassment by MEPs, and Brussels roadworks rage. Listen with one click to the latest Playbook podcast from your phone or computer.

**A message from the EPP Group: 80 percent of EU citizens consider that the EU should do more in the fight against terrorism. We agree! Which is why, at the initiative of the EPP, ALDE and ECR Groups, the EP decided to set up a special committee dealing exclusively with the fight against terrorism and looking at failures in cooperation among member countries.**

G20 SUMMIT IN HAMBURG: POLITICO will run a live blog from the summit, from 10 a.m. local time. Follow along here.

Latest: Violent protests saw 76 police officers injured Thursday. The latest round of talks to reunify Cyprus fell apart in the early hours of Friday, as both sides failed to reach a deal on resolving the decades-old conflict. “I’m very sorry to tell you that despite the very strong commitment and engagement of all the delegations and different parties … the conference on Cyprus was closed without an agreement being reached,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. He is expected at the G20 in Hamburg today, where he’ll meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump readies for his turn with Putin: Trump heads into a high-stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, pursuing his expressed desire to improve relations with Moscow amid the radioactive politics around the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election, writes Michael Crowley. The two leaders are scheduled to meet for 30 minutes, and will reportedly be accompanied only by their top diplomats — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov — and translators.

Summit flash points: Bloomberg has a great guide to potential policy flash points in Hamburg, by Alan Crawford and Sam Dodge. As their opening gambit, world leaders condemned North Korea’s latest missile test. Pyongyang “increasingly poses a new level of threat to international peace and security,” say EU and Japan.

Martin Schulz warns of G20 ‘fighting arena’: Angela Merkel’s Social Democratic rival and other left-wing ministers in her coalition government called for a “new spirit of cooperation” at G20 and more freedom, justice and global solidarity. “International cooperation too often becomes a fighting arena,” he warned. “That’s dangerous.”

‘The Germany Problem’: You don’t have to agree with U.S. President Donald Trump to see that Germany’s role in the global economy has side effects, according to the Economist. While Germany is an exporting powerhouse, its reliance on this strength forces the rest of the world to borrow and spend to excess.

Mr. May makes global debut: British Prime Minister Theresa May touched down in Germany on Thursday with virtually the last member of her pre-election inner circle still left standing — her husband, Philip. This first husband is one of just two male G20 “plus ones” — the other being Merkel’s husband — and he’s likely to keep a low profile, writes Annabelle Dickson.


Finally … Trump backs NATO’s collective defense clause: “The United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment,” he said on a visit to Poland Thursday. Mention of Article 5 had been excluded from his speech at NATO headquarters in May against the advice of security officials.

He praised former Polish President Lech Wałęsa: Trump singled out former Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa during a speech in Warsaw that was organized and attended by members of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, Wałęsa’s political foes. The U.S. president also declined to come down on whether or not Russia interfered in last year’s U.S. election and called on Moscow to end “destabilizing activities.”

And skipped Jewish Ghetto Uprising monument: Trump sent his daughter Ivanka in his stead, a move that was perceived as a victory for Poland’s ruling PiS party, which has downplayed the persecution of 3 million Polish Jews who perished in the Holocaust, writes Annie Karni.

PARLIAMENT — CONTENTS OF JUNCKER’S HANDWRITTEN APOLOGY TO TAJANI: Jean-Claude Juncker apologized in a hand-written note to Antonio Tajani for calling the European Parliament ridiculous this week. “Dear Antonio, I excuse myself for losing my temper this morning. I regret this incident. You know the respect that I have for the Parliament,” the note said.


Japan’s dig at Trump: In case Trump didn’t get the hint from the EU, Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe drilled it home on Thursday in Brussels, saying the EU-Japan deal was as good as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that Trump refused to finalize. “Just like the TPP, this is a high-quality agreement,” Abe said.

Hulk Hogan: While EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström received most of the media attention, Phil Hogan, the EU’s agriculture commissioner — who skipped Thursday’s summit with Japan to sell the deal to wine and cheesemakers near Bordeaux — closed the agriculture and geographic indicator chapters of the landmark deal in a 16-hour marathon session in Tokyo Friday evening and Saturday morning.

Officials that Playbook spoke to were impressed at what Hogan wrangled out of the discussions. Europe’s top farm lobbyists seem to agree, bucking the agricultural sector’s reputation for dogged criticism of Brussels’ trade negotiations and showering the EU-Japan trade deal with praise. Emmet Livingstone has more for POLITICO agriculture Pros. Official EU documents on the deal herehere and here.

COMMISSION — THE FUTURE OF FARMER SUBSIDIES: Hogan will hold a press conference today on the future of the EU’s common agricultural policy, outlining the results of a three-month EU-wide consultation conducted earlier in the year.

COMMISSION — FOLLOW THE RULES … OR ELSE! VESTAGER ON WARPATH: Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, has formally accused some of the world’s largest multinationals of flouting EU rules on mergers, raising the prospect of weighty fines for General Electric, Merck and Sigma-Aldrich, and Canon. The charges are the latest salvo in a wider push by Vestager to ensure multinationals respect the Commission’s procedural rules.

COUNCIL — CIVIL SOCIETY WARNS ROMANIA NOT READY FOR PRESIDENCY: A group of Romanian civil society organizations led by Europuls, an organization founded by Romanian EU experts, has published a letter (in Romanian) warning that the country is falling behind in preparations to lead the Council of the EU in the first half of 2019. The authors cite a low level of communication, slow progress in recruiting and training experts, a lack of civil society, media and academic involvement as evidence for their concerns.

COUNCIL — JUSTICE MINISTERS MEET IN TALLINN: It’s day two of the Estonian presidency’s first ministerial get-together in Tallinn. Ministers will discuss new data retention rules, proposals to introduce new rights for people buying goods online and measures to ensure recognition of asset freezes across the EU. Later in the day, interior ministers will meet their counterparts from so-called Eastern Partnership countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Details here.

ECJ — COURT TAKES AIM AT AIRLINES’ EXTRA FEES: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that cancellation fees charged by airlines could be unfair and that misrepresentation of ticket prices online were against EU rules. The decision stems from a €25 handling fee levied by Air Berlin when ticket holders cancel a reservation.

ENVIRONMENT — ACCESS TO JUSTICE GIVES EU A HEADACHE: The little-known Aarhus convention became the “green” issue of the week in Brussels. The 2001 international pact guarantees the public and NGOs the right to challenge government environmental decisions. A U.N. committee found in March that the EU fell short in complying with the convention, but the Commission is urging EU countries to reject the findings. Details for POLITICO energy and environment Pros here.

NGOs have very limited access to the ECJ and the Commission does not want “an enormous pool of potential litigants.” Unusually, even national diplomats think the Commission’s being too tough, and worry that its reaction could kill the convention’s compliance mechanism. An opinion from the Council’s legal service, obtained by POLITICO’s Marion Solletty, says there’s a compromise to found. NGOs, of course, prefer that governments reject the Commission’s position.

THE ULTIMATE EUROPEAN CITY: The ideal European city isn’t Rome, Paris or London, but rather a combination of eight cities — from Cork in Ireland to Leuven in Belgium — according to the EU’s in-house science service.

The best performing city from Central and Eastern Europe is Prague, which came in just behind Paris and Munich in the rankings of cities of 1 million or more residents. Copenhagen, Edinburgh and Eindhoven top the rankings for smaller cities. (Playbook also heard howls of outrage on Twitter that London was not rated higher.)

GERMANY — FOREIGN MINISTERS REJECTS ITALIAN PORT PROPOSAL: Germany and other EU member countries on Thursday rejected an Italian proposal to open up European ports to vessels carrying migrants.


David Davis faces off with big business, which eyes a softer Brexit: Big business spies its chance to alter the course of Brexit, and it involves wooing Brexit Minister David Davis today at Chevening, a 17th-century country mansion he shares as an official residence with Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.

Michel Barnier to meet Corbyn: The EU’s Brexit negotiator will meet British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Brussels next Thursday, ahead of the next round of formal negotiations on July 17. The meeting is set to take place a day after Barnier briefs European commissioners on the British proposal on the rights of the 3.2 million EU citizens living in the U.K.

Listen up, London — Brexit is going to hurt: A “frictionless” trade between a hard-Brexit U.K. and the EU is an impossible dream, Barner said in remarks to EU civil society representatives Thursday.

Brexit must read: Ambrose Evans Pritchard dissects Brexit labor market numbers and it’s not pretty. After years of attracting workers — partly because of the dire economic situation in Europe’s south and low wages in Eastern Europe — the tables have turned. Continental Europe is back on track and Theresa May is painting herself into a corner on immigration. “She vows to walk away from a bad deal — an outcome that she herself makes more likely — yet has no credible Plan B in place for how to do so. It has the Greek debacle of Alexis Tsipras written all over it,” Evans Pritchard writes.

APPOINTED: Theresa May has hired BBC editor Robbie Gibb, head of the public broadcaster in Westminster, to be her director of communications.

REAL EUROPE … Greeks are very pessimistic about their future.

SPOTTED IN ALMEDALEN: Former European Parliament President Pat Cox visited the Swedish political festival in Visby, Sweden, where he discussed Brexit and its impact on Ireland and the Continent’s future.

TURKEY — LONG MARCH ON ISTANBUL: As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan touches down at the G20 summit, his main opposition is leading 10,000 or more people on a 450 kilometer march to Istanbul, where marchers are due to arrive Sunday. Zia Wiese caught up with the organizers as they walked along the coastal highway, escorted by police.