07-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

07-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Shots fired at riot police outside PASOK offices in central Athens

Gunshots were fired at a riot police unit stationed outside the offices of PASOK in Exarchia, central Athens, on Monday evening, causing no injuries. It was the second such attack in recent months.


Bankruptcy risk without debt easing

Parliament’s State Budget Office (PBO) warned on Monday that the country will continue to face the risk of bankruptcy unless there is a serious easing of the national debt, adding that tax policy needs to change because it is hampering growth.


Reports from Eurogroup: Draghi cites importance of dealing with Greek NPLs, stalled property auctions

Eurozone finance ministers emphasized the need for the Greek government to continue agreed to reforms, according to reports related to the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Monday.


Associations of notaries vote to abstain from foreclosed property auctions until end of year

The latest “monkey wrench” in efforts to again resume auctions of foreclosed property in the country, especially assets belonging to major debtors and corporate entities, emerged with a decision by notaries’ groups this week to abstain from auctions for the remainder of the year.


Tsipras: ‘Paradise Papers confirm unfair, irrational, tragic reality of our world’

The revelations made by the so-called Paradise Papers, a trove of 13.4 million files leaked by  96 media around the world through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), confirm the “unfair, irrational, tragic reality of our world”, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a recorded statement posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts on Monday.


PPC hires consortium to put pressure on debtors

Public Power Corporation is hiring a consortium of eight companies to tackle mounting unpaid bills, while also raising the penalty for clients who delay payment to 7.25 percent.


ATHEX: BoA report sends benchmark into the red

Trade was subdued in the week’s first session at the Athens bourse, given the benchmark’s repeated failures last week to clear the 770-point mark and the slashing of bank stocks’ target prices by Bank of America on Monday.







KATHIMERINI: Auctions hang in the balance due to notaries abstaining from their duties

ETHNOS: Proton Bank, Piraeus Bank and the offshore companies

TA NEA: Half of Greeks are hostage to the tax-office due to expired debts

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: A mistake worth billions… The Parliament’s State Budget Office made false estimations in its report

AVGI: Paradise Papers: The elites are being provocative

RIZOSPASTIS: The government is setting up a NATO base in Alexandroupolis!

KONTRA NEWS: A hell of ‘black’ bank accounts

DIMOKRATIA: The cousin of FinMin Tsalakotos is a collection-agency ‘crow’

NAFTEMPORIKI: Inside the tax-vice



EU top brass have 2 non-EU summits in coming weeks: One with the African Union (AU) in the Ivory Coast, the other with the six members of the Eastern Partnership, a structure designed to keep Russian paws off Europe’s eastern flank. Preparations for each summit are still far from over and bilateral spats are threatening to overshadow the meetings.

Morocco vs. Western Sahara: Summit logistics are in AU hands alone for the first time. The first hiccup was an attempt by Morocco — which left the AU over its recognition of Western Sahara — to use the first EU summit after it rejoined to block invitations being sent to the Polisario Front, the U.N.-recognized leadership of Western Sahara (even though King Mohammed VI said during a speech in January he had no intention of causing trouble).

The Polisario Front accuses France of joining Morocco to cause trouble: “We are disappointed to see comments by the French Foreign Minister [Jean-Yves] Le Drian attempting to dictate the mandate of the AU,” Mohamed Sidati, Polisario’s EU representative, told Playbook’s Harry Cooper. The Moroccan government did not respond to a request for comment.

Ukraine’s euro aspirations: With some EU governments worried about looking overly welcoming to Ukraine, according to Playbook’s diplomatic source, the Eastern Partnership summit declaration is tangled up over a sentence about whether the EU “acknowledges the European ambitions” of Ukraine  language already embedded in the EU’s trade agreement with the country. “In the end, it is a rather simple choice: Either we export stability to our immediate neighborhood or we face instability right on our borders,” Jovita Neliupšienė, Lithuania’s ambassador to the EU, told Playbook’s Harry Cooper, pointing to her government’s plan to introduce a 10-year investment plan for Ukraine.

COUNCIL — EU MILITARY CHIEFS GATHER: The EU’s military committee, which brings together the leaders of the bloc’s armed forces, will today vote for a new chairman to take over from General Mikhail Kostarakos, as well as meet with counterparts from partner countries including Georgia, Jordan, Moldova, Serbia, South Korea and Tunisia, to discuss the fight against terrorism and radicalization. On Monday they met with General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO’s supreme allied commander Europe, to discuss EU-NATO cooperation on cyber defense.

COUNCIL — ALL 28 FINANCE MINISTERS MEET TODAY: They will discuss VAT reform, capital markets initiatives and, in the “any other business” section of the meeting, the Paradise Papers, which implicate politicians, celebrities and businesses in tax avoidance across the globe.

EFTA meeting: The EU’s finance ministers will today also meet their counterparts from the four EFTA countries — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. EFTA ministers will stress they want to be kept abreast of Brexit negotiations. Background on the meeting.

Eurogroup outcomes: The Eurogroup agreed a general plan to overhaul the 19-country bloc’s economic and monetary system in 2018. POLITICO’s Bjarke Smith-Meyer has more for POLITICO Financial Services Pro subscribers here.

Parliament hearing scheduled: Werner Langen, chairman of European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry committee, confirmed MEPs would hold a hearing on the Paradise Papers leaks November 28, noting that additional recommendations could be added to those already voted on by lawmakers last month. “I sincerely hope that the authorities in the countries involved will stand shoulder to shoulder to clamp down on the practices that have seen the light,” he said.

COMMISSION SPEECH DU JOUR: It won’t be Margrethe Vestager at Web Summit (she delivered her best one-liners already on Monday). But Jyrki Katainen with a speech titled “Make globalization great again” should provide some spice to an EPP Economic Ideas event hosted by the Martens Centre at 2:15 p.m.

CLIMATE — EU TROLLS TRUMP WITH BROWN: Today will see the EU institutions’ great and good gather in the Parliament’s hemicycle for an all-day summit on clean energy financing. Energy and Climate Change Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will highlight that EU gas emissions fell by 23 percent while the economy grew by 53 percent between 1990 and 2016. Jerry Brown, governor of California, will also announce an initiative with Cañete to boost carbon trading cooperation. Tune in for the press conference at 10:45 a.m. here.

ECHR — UK MASS SURVEILLANCE HEARINGS: The European Court of Human Rights this morning will hear three cases relating to the bulk interception of external communications by British intelligence services and the sharing of intelligence between the U.K. and the United States. No rulings will be delivered today.


Pics inside the arena: Vestager, Moedas and Guterres | Rock concert meets Web Summit

81,000 from 170 countries: That’s the total number of summit-goers, suppliers, staff and hangers-on passing through Lisbon this week. Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave told the packed Altice Arena that the world is being turned upside down: “We are at an inflection point that comes around once in several lifetimes.”

Exchange of the day: Recode’s Kara Swisher to the EU’s Margrethe Vestager “How fucked is Silicon Valley?” Vestager: “Enough to fine Google €2.4 billion.”

Idea of the day: A code of ethics for artificial intelligence and coders, like other professionals such as doctors or journalists apply to their work.

EU mention of the day: In a speech about the dangers of artificial intelligence, Stephen Hawking name-checked the European Parliament’s efforts to draw attention to the need for robot regulation and called on the Commission to take action on the reports coming its way. Hawking said he is an AI “optimist” but cautioned it “could be the worst event of our civilization.”

Summit sketch — Do you believe in unicorns? The thousands who have flocked to Lisbon for the summit do. They’ve joined a great collision of tech and politics that might be described as Davos for millennials, the Olympics for geeks, or a summit for people without chauffeurs. The Portuguese Communist Party is fighting to raise the country’s minimum wage to €600 a month, but 5,000 mostly young volunteers are giving it away for free. For them happiness is just a scan of your summit QR code away. But forget libertarian Silicon Valley bro culture, Web Summit is more about women’s lunches and panels on universal basic income. The summit is base camp for the progressive wing of the European Commission and European Parliament this week, and François Hollande — who dined with Vestager, Cosgrave and the Portuguese PM Antonio Costa Monday night — is attempting a comeback. It’s a place where Britain really is king: master of the European digital universe, with Portugal desperately vying for silver. Read Playbook’s full account — “My Kingdom for a Unicorn!” — here.

Tech’s growing pains: While the attendees at the summit view tech almost overwhelmingly as a force for good, the wider public across Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere is increasingly skeptical over the roles online products and services play in their daily lives. POLITICO’s Mark Scott reports from Lisbon.

EU’ve got to be kidding: Of the 25 top European investors in a new list by Forbes, the U.K. has 18 of the crème de la crème on the list, Israel three, Switzerland two, and there’s one each from Sweden and France. The post-Brexit message: 23 non-EU and two EU people.


UK — BORIS JOHNSON TRIPS UP, WITH HUMAN CONSEQUENCES: A British charity worker currently imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage is facing another five years in detention after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said she had been teaching journalists in Tehran when she was arrested.

POLAND — TIMMERMANS CONDEMNS JUDICIAL REFORMS: Speaking in the European Parliament, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said laws reforming Poland’s judiciary “would have a very significant negative impact … and would increase the systemic threat to the rule of law.”

The popularity of PiS: The University of Sussex’s Aleks Szczerbiak argues PiS is popular due to its generous social and welfare policies, as well as popular resistance to the EU’s migration policy.

GERMANY — EUROBONDS TO THE RESCUE: Norbert Röttgen, a former Cabinet minister under German Chancellor Angela Merkel, wants Paris and Berlin to start issuing joint bonds that could finance a range of common projects in a step toward closer integration that would require minimum involvement from national legislatures.

Fast track to 2-speed Europe: The Centre for European Reform’s Charles Grant argues that “if the EU wants to survive its (inevitable) future crises, the answer is easy: leave reluctant countries behind and allow others to move ahead on key policies.”

German revolving doors: Joachim Koschnicke, an adviser to Angela Merkel, is going private, joining premium lobbying firm Hering Schuppener.

FINLAND — WHERE FINLAND MEETS SWEDEN: “Without the Swedish speakers of Finland, we would all be speaking Russian,” writes Janne Strang, a nervous but proud Swedish-speaking Finn (Playbook’s maternal family are Swecomans).

**WATCH LIVE on November 29 from 6 p.m. CET, POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook Live with Carlos Moedas, European commissioner for research, science and innovation, presented by Merck. Request a seat at events@politico.eu**


By the numbers:

331: The number of companies that have moved their headquarters (on paper) out of Catalonia in the last week, adding up to a total of 2,152 since the October 1 referendum. h/t Maria Tadeo

200: The number of Catalan mayors who will be at BOZAR Brussels 5 p.m. today to support independence.

November 17 deadline for Puigdemont: A Belgian federal judge will decide November 17 if deposed former First Minister Carles Puigdemont should be transferred to Spain.

Flanders to Madrid: Shut up. Bart de Wever, head of the Flemish nationalist N-VA party, likened the Spanish government to Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.

Quote of the day: “Last time we checked, both Belgium and Spain were democracies,” said Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas — who is married to a prominent figure in Spain’s ruling Popular Party — on the diplomatic spat between Belgium and Spain.

ITALY — 5STARS, BERLUSCONI MAKE GAINS IN SICILY: Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right coalition won a regional election in Sicily with the populist 5Star Movement not far behind. Giada Zampano reports from Rome.


TRUMP IN ASIA — PREVIEW OF APEC SUMMIT: Europeans like to think they are the summit masters. In frequency maybe, but APEC is a step ahead on scale, featuring the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and others including G20 members Indonesia, Canada, Australia, Mexico, South Korea and Argentina.

Trump, Xi to give back-to-back speeches at APEC in Danang, Vietnam. Trump is scheduled to speak first and then will yield the stage to Xi. Associated Press reports “Mr. Xi is expected to propose some version of what he has called a ‘new type of great power relations,’ the idea that China and the United States should share global leadership as equals and break a historical pattern of conflict between rising and established powers.”

THE MEANING OF THE SAUDI PURGE: CNN concludes the weekend actions “represent an escalation in a years-long proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, threatening to activate new fronts in the region, with the Saudi show of force beginning with a sweeping consolidation of power from within.” Kristian Coates Ulrichsen for POLITICO breaks down what the hell is going on.