08-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

08-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Parliamentary Budget Office comments on the correction of its report

The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) admitted it made mistake in a quarterly report assessing the Greek state budget for the years 2020-2026, saying it not included updated information that became available after its publication.

http://www.amna.gr/en/article/202740/Parliamentary-Budget-Office-comments-on-the-correction-of-its-report

Gov’t now sees growth this year at just 1.6 pct

The Finance Ministry is now downwardly revising its estimate for this year’s growth rate to 1.6 percent, from 1.8 percent, according to an internal document seen by Bloomberg.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223049/article/ekathimerini/business/govt-now-sees-growth-this-year-at-just-16-pct

Greek tax authorities to begin ‘Paradise Papers’ probe

The head of Greece’s independent public revenues authority has reportedly ordered an investigation into whether the now infamous “Paradise Papers” include names of Greek taxpayers.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1292736/report-greek-tax-authorities-to-begin-paradise-papers-probe

Govt eyeing options for resumption of foreclosed property auctions; protests, abstentions have blocked process

The Greek government appears ready to ensure the holding of auctions of foreclosed properties and the safety of notaries, after another round of pressure by creditors this week to finally resume the process and a decision by associations representing the latter to abstain from auctions until the end of the year.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1292892/govt-eyeing-options-for-resumption-of-foreclosed-property-auctions-protests-abstentions-have-blocked-process

SEV calls for labor inspection system reforms

The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) is calling for the reorganization of the labor market’s monitoring mechanisms and the penalty system, along with the reduction of non-salary obligations (taxes, social security contributions etc), in order to help combat undeclared or partly declared labor.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223052/article/ekathimerini/business/sev-calls-for-labor-inspection-system-reforms

Trade deficit soars in January-September

The Greek trade deficit rose 18.4 percent in the first nine months of the year compared to 2016, to 16.13 billion euros, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures revealed on Tuesday, even though the monthly reduction of imports in September resulted in a slowdown in the growth of the deficit.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223051/article/ekathimerini/business/trade-deficit-soars-in-january-september

ATHEX: Bank stocks fall on worries

Bank stocks dragged the Greek benchmark lower on Tuesday due to concerns over new European Central Bank rules regarding bad loans, new financial reporting standards and delays in property auctions due to the abstention of notaries.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223036/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-bank-stocks-fall-on-worries

www.enikos.gr


www.protothema.gr

www.newsbomb.gr

www.cnn.gr

www.newsbeast.gr

KATHIMERINI: Scenery of shame within universities [due to drug use in campuses]

ETHNOS: The great scheme of the employers [who don’t declare their employees]

TA NEA: The Arabian middle man – Military District Attorney intervenes on the issue of an armament’s deal with Saudi Arabia

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Were the mistaken calculations included in the Parliament’s State Budget Office report intentional or a product of frivolity?

AVGI: Heavy fines for employers who do not declare or insure their employees

RIZOSPASTIS: The Communist Party’s Union of Workers (PAME) will respond with its protest tomorrow to the anti-popular prior-actions promoted by the government

KONTRA NEWS: CEO of large bank tops the list of Paradise Papers

DIMOKRATIA: New tax-burden of 500 to 1200 Euros for real estate assets

NAFTEMPORIKI: The government is racing to launch auctions

AROUND THE EU INSTITUTIONS

COMMISSION — OETTINGER AND CAR INDUSTRY TRY TO WEAKEN EMISSIONS PLANS: The European Commission will today propose a carbon emissions reduction target for cars and vans of 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2021 levels, in a joint proposal by Miguel Arias Cañete and Maroš Šefčovič. However, the commissioner from Germany, Günther Oettinger, has formally decided to push the matter to a debate and vote rather than wave the proposal through, two Commission sources told Playbook. German car industry representatives applied pressure on their compatriot Martin Selmayr, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, via a phone call, Joshua Posaner, Kalina Oroschakoff  and Anca Gurzu report for POLITICO Pro Transport and Energy and Environment subscribers.

Under the proposal, carmakers would boost the number of cleaner cars — and ideally electric vehicles — in their fleets to 30 percent by 2030. Carmarkers wouldn’t be penalized for missing the mark but would gain credits toward their wider emissions reduction target if they comply. “Europe’s car industry must regain the trust of its consumers,” Cañete told POLITICO. While Oettinger has previously compared clean car targets to the command economy, Šefčovič told Playbook that Europe’s economic future depends on ditching old mobility.

What paperwork to expect: Four legislative proposals, an action plan and a couple of other non-legislative initiatives.

The wider emissions context: EU greenhouse gas emissions last year decreased 0.7 percent year-on-year, according to estimates from the European Environment Agency published Tuesday.

COMMISSIONERS’ DIARY

College meets Bulgarian government: Juncker and the College of Commissioners will today meet Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and members of the government, less than two months before Sofia takes over the Council presidency.

Moscovici in Berlin: Pierre Moscovici, commissioner for economic and financial affairs, is today in Berlin for the French-German Business Forum, during which he will meet Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, Finance Minister Peter Altmaier, FDP leader Christian Lindner and Green leader Cem Özdemir.

Hahn flying to Albania: The Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Johannes Hahn today meets Ivanna Klympush, Ukraine’s vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, before flying to Albania later in the day.

COUNCIL — UK, MALTA, LUXEMBOURG POUR COLD WATER ON TAX BLACKLIST: At a meeting of EU finance ministers Tuesday, the U.K., Malta and Luxembourg urged colleagues against imposing sanctions on countries placed on a so-called blacklist of tax havens, which is set to be signed off December 5. The EU has sent letters to roughly 50 countries and territories to warn them they risk being blacklisted as tax havens. Bjarke Smith-Meyer has more for POLITICO Pro Financial Services subscribers. 

EEAS — MOGHERINI SAYS US ASSURED HER OF IRAN NUCLEAR COMPLIANCE: U.S. lawmakers “on both sides” have reassured the EU they are working to ensure America remains in the Iran nuclear accord, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters in Washington, our U.S. colleagues Katy O’Donnell and Andrew Hanna from sister publication Europe Brief report. She did not take a position on an oversight proposal from Republican Senators Bob Corker and Tom Cotton, saying the EU does not interfere in domestic politics, and that her only priority was action that complied with the deal.

EUROZONE OPINION — RADICAL REFORM NEEDED: In his latest Europe at Large column, Paul Taylor argues that in order for the eurozone to remain stable, urgent reforms are needed — and soon. “Beyond a quick fix of the most gaping holes, leaders should agree next year on the long-term goal of building a new roof: issuing common bonds linked to fiscal and economic policy conditions once they have reduced legacy risks to sovereigns and banks,” he writes.

NATO DEFENSE MINISTERIAL MEETING TODAY AND THURSDAY: The elephant in the room today is not Russia, for once, but Donald Trump. More precisely his security discussions in China, Korea and Japan rather than his demands for more defense spending by NATO allies. For the first time, ministers will debate the North Korea issue and also discuss the anti-ISIS coalition NATO has joined.

The Korea issue — which can only be solved diplomatically — emphasizes growing NATO-EU cooperation. To that end, Federica Mogherini will participate in the session on adapting NATO to new challenges. The rise of Donald Trump encourages those EU-NATO links, although while on tour in East Asia, the president has signaled his support for a more cooperative and global approach (POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia reports from Seoul).

NATO-watcher and former Ambassador Stefano Stefanini told Playbook that Sorin Ducaru, the outgoing NATO assistant secretary general for emerging challenges, has moved NATO’s cyber efforts forward, but will be replaced December 1 by Antonio Missiroli. Stefanini argues he will have to take NATO into the territory of AI and quantum computing. Here is a new GLOBSEC paper, co-authored by retired Generals Philip Breedlove and John Allen, on the wars of the future.

Mattis in town: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will join the NATO summit today before moving on to London, where he will meet the U.K.’s newly appointed Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson.

New EU defense chief: Claudio Graziano, the top general in Italy’s armed forces, was elected Tuesday to lead the EU’s highest military body as the bloc gears up for greater integration of defense and security initiatives.

Finland pushes for more military cooperation with US: After decades maintaining neutrality, fears about an increasingly aggressive Russia on its eastern border are pushing Finland to cooperate more closely with NATO. Reid Standish reports from Helsinki for POLITICO.

POSTCARD FROM WEB SUMMIT IN LISBON

Playbook debated whether competition enforcers are able to conduct a dawn raid on an algorithm (yes, it seems), battled to get a panel of geeks and politicos to come up with a list of winners from Brexit (China and the U.S., in case you were wondering) and learned that Estonian PM Jüri Ratas has a bone-crushing handshake. Watch out, Donald!

Digital sliding doors: As European Commissioner for Innovation Carlos Moedas gave Paris the 2017 European Capital of Innovation award, former French President François Hollande hit the stage at Web Summit to urge entrepreneurs not to be “limited by profit” and POLITICO’s Nicholas Vinocur and Joanna Plucinska issued a digital report card on his successor Emmanuel Macron.

Web Summit organizers polled 286 tech investors: Four in five disagreed with the statement that “The tech industry has done enough to combat the increase of fake news.” And 60 percent agreed that “Silicon Valley is guilty of a shameful inability to tackle sexism in the industry.”

Virtual immortality: A man created a “dad bot” to talk to his dead father.

EU NATIONAL NEWS

ITALY — RENZI DIGS IN: Having lost a regional election in Sicily that has been widely seen as a test run for next year’s national election, Matteo Renzi refuses to budge. “They have been trying to put me on the sidelines for months, but they will not succeed this time either,” he said Tuesday.

GERMANY — GREENS SOFTEN CLIMATE STANCE: Negotiators in Berlin have so far failed in their bid to form a coalition government since the September election, leading some to shift their red lines. For the Greens, this means softening positions on energy and transportation, signaling a willingness to compromise with Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the liberal Free Democrats. Matthew Karnitschnig has the full details.

GERMANY — LUKEWARM RESPONSE TO SCHULZ PARTY MEMBER PLAN: Martin Schulz, former European Parliament president and defeated candidate for German chancellor, indicated he wants to take a leaf out of U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s book: boost the role of party members in the running of his party. The suggestion hasn’t won many powerful fans, but maybe that’s the point.

FRANCE — FORMER MILITARY CHIEF LASHES OUT IN NEW BOOK: I publish, therefore I am, is a reliable French political credo. And so it is this week with Pierre de Villiers, the former French army chief who resigned in July over Emmanuel Macron’s defense cuts. Le Monde has extensive extracts of his book on the episode.

UK — LABOUR POLITICIAN SUSPENDED OVER HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS FOUND DEAD: Carl Sargeant, a minister in Wales, had stepped down pending an investigation into his “personal conduct” towards a number of women.

CATALAN CRISIS …

Puigdemont addresses 200 Catalan mayors in Brussels: “We will never renounce this ideal of a country, of this notion of democracy,” deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont told mayors, who had flown from Spain to Brussels to hear him speak. While the event looked impressive, it’s not an indication of any new strength or momentum for the independence camp — the mayors are long-standing independence supporters.

Catalan independence parties fail to form united ticket: Catalan secessionist parties failed to agree on a united ticket to contest the December 21 election, Reuters reports.

Opinion — Catalonia is none of Europe’s business: Intervening in Spanish politics undermines the foundations of European democracy, writes Fabrice Pothier, replying to an earlier POLITICO article by Richard Youngs.

BREXIT 360°

UK plans for EU citizens’ residency rights: An excellent Twitter thread by Nick Gutteridge explains a new U.K. paper designed to accommodate EU concerns about how EU27 citizens can confirm their rights and status after Brexit. And a useful blog post by Michael O’Connor.

EU27 ambassadors meet today: Ambassadors will meet this afternoon, but there are conflicting reports about whether they will discuss options for where the U.K.-EU relationship may end up in 2019-2021. EU countries continue to reject the idea — as they always have — that there can be a “bespoke” or “creative” arrangement that gives the U.K. access to EU single market benefits without the costs other EU countries bear. So the question remains: Will the U.K. choose some kind of super trade deal or a much tighter form of single market membership with all its attendant obligations and costs?

POLITICO’s sources say the talks will be limited to general principles and the creation of task lists to enable the Council’s Article 50 working party to prepare a more detailed discussion about the final relationship in coming weeks. Eurasia Group suggested more detailed discussions are possible.

Two sets of conclusions: According to a document written for the German Bundestag, seen by POLITICO, Germany and France are keen to avoid the impression Brexit talks will proceed “automatically” to future trade arrangements at December’s EU leaders’ summit. They are considering preparing two sets of draft conclusions. Details here for POLITICO Brexit Pro subscribers.

Brits lose faith in government: Only 26 percent of Brits have faith in Prime Minister Theresa May’s ability to deliver a good deal on Brexit, down from 44 percent earlier this year, according to a poll for the Telegraph.

What impact assessments? Brexit Minister Steve Baker denied the U.K. has drafted 58 sectoral Brexit impact assessments, choosing instead to describe them as “a wide mix of qualitative and quantitative analysis” during a debate in Westminster. That’s Whitehall code for scattered documents and links. David Davis made a similar suggestion in a letter to MP Hilary Benn. The government said it would ready to hand over redacted material on the issue within three weeks. POLITICO Brexit Pros can read more here.

Opinion — Let civil servants do their job: The Brexit impact studies should not be published, argues former senior civil servant Jo Clift.

ROMANIA — BRUSSELS WANTS TO VET LEGAL CHANGES: During a meeting with Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader in Brussels Tuesday, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans suggested international constitutional experts at the Venice Commission should vet draft changes to Romania’s justice laws that prompted anti-corruption protests over the weekend.

THE EX-FILES — FORMER PM APPOINTED COMMS CHIEF: Former Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu was appointed president of the country’s telecoms authority, a move previewed several weeks ago by Playbook.

TRUMP WORLD

NOT INVITED: President Donald Trump isn’t welcome at a summit called December 12 by French President Emmanuel Macron to mark the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement. With even war-ravaged Syria signing up to the agreement Tuesday, the United States is now the only country outside the international accord.

TRUMP ASIA TRIP LATEST: POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia previews Trump’s trip to China today to meet President Xi Jinping. Overnight, the U.S. president delivered a hard-hitting speech in Seoul, issuing a warning to North Korea: “Do not underestimate us. And do not try us.”

BRUSSELS CORNER

UNIONS PROTEST: Belgian unions will this morning gather in the European quarter to demonstrate for “a true social Europe.” They will march from Parc Cinquantenaire to the European Parliament.