09-06-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 09-06-2017

Friday, June 09, 2017

Govt tables measure to freeze pensions until 2022; latest package of ‘prior actions’ submitted

The latest and probably last round of “prior actions” demanded by creditors to conclude the long overdue second review of the Greek program was submitted to Parliament on Thursday, with the most prominent measure being a freeze on pensions in Greece until 2022.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1244896/govt-tables-measure-to-freeze-pensions-until-2022-latest-package-of-prior-actions-submitted

EU’s Dombrovskis urges lenders to unblock new loans for Greece

The time has come for eurozone lenders to provide Greece with new loans, a vice-president of the European Commission said on Thursday, a week before eurozone finance ministers meet to discuss the Greek bailout program.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219056/article/ekathimerini/news/eus-dombrovskis-urges-lenders-to-unblock-new-loans-for-greece

Job data point to emigration

The Hellenic Statistical Authority on Thursday announced that the unemployment index had posted a significant drop to 22.5 percent in March from a revised 22.9 percent in February and 23.8 percent in March 2016.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219081/article/ekathimerini/business/job-data-point-to-emigration

Exports and imports fall in April

After the jump in exports in March, there was a correction in April, as Hellenic Statistical Authority figures yesterday showed a 5.4 percent reduction on an annual basis excluding fuel. When the volatile element of fuel is included exports add up to 2.32 billion euros, up 9.7 percent on April 2016.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219080/article/ekathimerini/business/exports-and-imports-fall-in-april

$6.16 bln has taken flight since 2011

Divestment from Greece has amounted to $6.16 billion in the last six years, with the worst period being that from 2014 to 2015, when the Greek economy lost more than $5 billion, according to an annual report on investments published on Wednesday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219079/article/ekathimerini/business/616-bln-has-taken-flight-since-2011

ECB lowers ELA cap for Greek banks by 1.1 bln euros

The European Central Bank on Thursday lowered its Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) cap on the amount that Greek banks can draw from the Bank of Greece (BoG) by 1.1 billion euros, with the limit now at 44.2 billion euros.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1244741/ecb-lowers-ela-cap-for-greek-banks-by-11-bln-euros

ATHEX: Benchmark edges higher on ELA drop

Uncertainty prevailed for another day on the Greek bourse on Thursday, but banks led the benchmark higher due to the decline of the ELA cap.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/219074/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-benchmark-edges-higher-on-ela-drop

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KATHIMERINI: Turbulence between Athens and the Institutions regarding University-linked reforms

TA NEA: Compromise following the Argentina model. The IMF is going to remain in the Greek bailout programme without issuing new loans

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The boss has gone crazy! Illegal constructions are going to be legalized with big discounts and numerous installments

AVGI: Henry Dunant hospital case: “Orgies” linked to New Democracy

RIZOSPASTIS: Immediate response to the new anti-popular measures promoted by the government through hideous tactics

KONTRA NEWS: The Americans are tearing Turkey apart

DIMOKRATIA: Discounts for illegal constructions and payment of fines in 80 installments

NAFTEMPORIKI: Solomon’s solution for the IMF’s participation in the Greek bailout programme

TROUBLE FOR THERESA MAY AS ELECTION ENDS IN HUNG PARLIAMENT …

British Prime Minister Theresa May is fighting for her political life this morning. An election she called to strengthen her Brexit hand has instead delivered a severely decreased lead over the opposition Labour Party and a hung parliament: While the Conservatives will likely remain the biggest party, they will not be able to form a government on their own. Tom Watson, deputy Labour leader, said May “is a damaged PM, whose reputation may never recover.” The Telegraph’s Harry de Quetteville writes: “They must be cackling in Brussels. Can she even survive the next few hours?”

The two most relevant consequences for Playbook readers: May could be forced out of Downing Street, and Brexit negotiations are likely to be delayed again, even as the two-year negotiation clock continues to tick.

What is a hung parliament? Annabelle Dickson goes through the options: Parties can now form a minority government, a formal inter-party agreement, a coalition or, if they fail to form a government, head to a new election as early as August.

What we know so far about the UK election: Paul Dallison has this wrap-up.

UK election live blog: Catch up on everything you missed overnight and breaking news as it happens via the POLITICO U.K. election live blog.

Playbook ran a Twitter poll. Of 370 votes, 81 percent think May will be gone as prime minister if she lacks a majority in parliament.

TOP ELECTION READS ...

How U.K. press reacted to the election | A failed empress of Brexit, by Rafael Behr | May’s inner circle was too closed, by Sam Coates | How a progressive coalition could emerge, by Andy Grice | Theresa May’s failed gamble, the Economist, plus the Economist’s U.K. cover | Alan Beattie on why everyone lost in this election

BREXIT IMPLICATIONS …

— Brexit negotiations are now unlikely to begin in June.
— Robert Peston, political editor of ITV, tweeted “Brexit is now a total mess.”
— Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Labour would try to gain a majority in parliament by offering a program of government that set out “a new tone for Brexit negotiations.”
— Six questions Theresa May has ducked on Brexit, by Hugo Dixon.

Noteworthy individual results … 

— U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd faces a recount in her seat of Hastings.
Ben Gummer, widely credited for writing the Conservative Party’s manifesto, lost his seat of Ipswich to Labour’s Sandy Martin. Gummer was tipped by many to take over David Davis’s position as Brexit secretary.
— Nick Clegg, the former deputy prime minister and Liberal Democrat leader, lost his seat.
— Justine Greening, the Tory education secretary, has held onto her seat in Putney, by around 1,000 votes, down from 10,000.
— Angus Robertson, the leader of the Westminster grouping of the SNP — the third-largest party of the previous parliament — has lost his Moray seat to the Conservatives on a 14 percent swing.
— Anneliese Dodds, a member of European Parliament for Labour, will be shifting her career back home after winning Oxford East.
— Vicky Ford, Conservative member of European Parliament, won the seat of Chelmsford.

Spotted: Nigel Farage shoeless in Geneva Airport.

COMMISSION — JUNCKER SPEAKS ON DEFENSE OF EUROPE: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker “will make the case for Europe to take its defense in its own hands” at a conference in Prague alongside Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller.

COMMISSION — OETTINGER TO ADDRESS GLOBAL WORKPLACE PRIDE CONFERENCE: Commissioner Günther Oettinger is set to keynote the world’s biggest LGBT workplace conference in Brussels June 23. That would not be unusual for an EU leader, except for the fact Oettinger made controversial comments in 2016 that critics took to be racist, sexist and homophobic.

COMMISSION — EU CAPITAL MARKETS UNION 2.0 EXPLAINED: The plan includes nine new key “priorities” ranging from more powers for the EU’s markets watchdog to a tailor-made capital regime for investment firms so they’re not lumped together in the risk rules designed for the largest banks, reports Fiona Maxwell. Other priorities include assessing the possibility for an EU licensing framework for FinTech firms and presenting a pan-European personal pension product by the end of June.

COMMISSION — OCEAN COMMITMENTS: Protecting oceans is a priority for the EU, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, and Karmenu Vella, the European commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said in a joint statement. “The EU has taken a lead in creating a stronger system of ocean governance including better managing the oceans, reducing human pressure and investing in science,” they said. The EU’s ocean commitments include establishing a Union-wide reduction target for marine litter. The Commission will come up with an action plan for marine litter later this year.

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THE LOOMING WAR OVER EU REGIONAL FUNDS … 

Hot on the heels of Věra Jourová, the European commissioner for justice, arguing for new conditions being attached to EU subsidies to poorer regions (she later massaged the view, see below), Juncker said in Prague that “those who want to benefit from solidarity, such as in the form of EU cohesion funds, must be prepared to show solidarity.” Juncker barely a week earlier labeled as “poison” a German proposal looking into ways to freeze funding for countries that don’t comply with EU standards on the rule of law.

The upshot: There are many future regional subsidies up for debate in 2018, and that debate is running against the wishes of Eastern Europeans. The Commission, running out of ways to uphold EU law and summit agreements, increasingly talks about slowing down cashflow instead of taking recalcitrants to court.

COMMISSION — JOUROVÁ NUANCES POSITION ON EUROPEAN PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: At a meeting with justice ministers Thursday in Luxembourg, Jourová “sharply rejected” the suggestion. “No European public prosecutor [EPPO], no money,” she said during an interview with a small group of reporters including POLITICO on Wednesday. In that interview, as the transcript shows, Jourová indicated she would be a “strong promoter of having the EPPO as one of the preconditionalities” in the next EU budget cycle, as well as a means to simplify the disbursement of so-called cohesion funds. She made similar comments to POLITICO in December, saying: “I myself cannot imagine [a member country] receiving a further financial injection from the common European treasury without the willingness to be under the scope of the EPPO.” Details of the agreement reached by 20 EU governments today here.

COUNCIL — HOME AFFAIRS, TELECOMS MINISTERS GATHER: Home affairs ministers will today discuss migration reform, updates to the Schengen Information System and measures to combat terrorism. Agenda here. Telecoms ministers will discuss parcel delivery, ePrivacy rules and a revision of the EU telecoms rules. Agenda here.

COUNCIL — MINISTERS CONSIDER NEW WAYS TO HELP POLICE GET DATA FROM TECH FIRMS: The European Commission presented three options to EU justice ministers Thursday designed to make it easier for authorities to get electronic evidence directly from tech companies to aid in police and terrorism investigations.

ECB — HINTS EASY MONETARY POLICY IS ENDING: The ECB’s monthly meeting was one for the history books. The European Central Bank left its policies unchanged Thursday but did not mention the possibility of further interest rate cuts in a move that will be interpreted as a first cautious step towards ending its ultra-easy monetary policy. POLITICO’s Johanna Treeck reports from Frankfurt.

POSTCARD FROM THE EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT DAYS CONFERENCE: Sipho Mthathi, executive director of Oxfam South Africa, did not mince words in telling Playbook that European migration policy is creating African headaches. “Some of our governments are changing their approach and copying the European template. They started to make deals with other countries to make sure that people stay there … The European approach seems to be that they want to pay, and somebody else will take responsibility. But it’s creating a chain reaction where nobody takes responsibility.”

ARE THE CULTURE WARS COMING TO BRUSSELS? More than 1 million signatures against marriage equality have been collected by a French-registered organization called Mum, Dad and Kids. They call for “The incorporation into the European legislation of the following definitions of marriage and family: ‘Marriage means a legal union between one man and one woman’ and ‘family is based on marriage and/or descent.’” The organization claims that adoption of this law would “reinforce the European unity.”

For the law to be adopted it would require the consent of the 11 EU countries that already perform and recognize same-sex marriages: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Given it takes only 10 national parliaments to put up a “red flag” to any Commission proposal, and the commissioner who would be in charge of dealing with the proposal is Frans Timmermans (the guest speaker at the 2016 European Equality Gala), the chances of the Commission acting on this petition are zero.

FRANCE — SUNDAY FIRST ROUND PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS: Six French ministers, including Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and scandal-tainted Richard Ferrand, will compete for parliamentary seats, many of them for the first time. French President Emmanuel Macron has warned them they will be out of a job unless they win. Nicholas Vinocur has the story.

FRANCE — MACRON KEEPS ON TROLLING TRUMP: Macron has launched a website encouraging anyone who’s worried about climate change to move to France. POLITICO’s Nicolas Vinocur has the details.

SPAIN — CATALONIA TO CALL FOR INDEPENDENCE VOTE TODAY: Catalonia will call a referendum on splitting from Spain today, a spokesman for regional head Carles Puigdemont told Reuters. The move “could culminate in regional elections in Catalonia if plans to hold the vote are quashed, a central government source said. Under Article 155 of Spain’s constitution, Madrid has the power to intervene directly … This could involve sending in the police or suspending the regional government’s ruling authority.”

FINLAND — SIPILÄ LOVES EUROPEAN DEFENSE COOPERATION: Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said in an article: “Finland supports an increase in EU budget funding in the defense sector.” This work is critical for Finland as a non-NATO member, and Finland is particularly keen on how the EU’s new plan for “permanent structured cooperation” allows for “multi-speed cooperation.” Sipilä said Finland is proposing projects in space cooperation, maritime defense, logistics forces and developing the EU’s cyberdefense capability, and is looking for national governments to join different coalitions to move the work forward. Full article here.

CHART DU JOUR — EMPLOYMENT RATES OF 60-YEAR-OLDS BY COUNTRY: A chart, produced by the OECD, showing the different proportions of older people in employment across Europe.

QATAR’S MAVERICK DAYS NEAR THEIR END: Doha is now so isolated, it’s hard to see how it can withstand pressure from its neighbors. Elizabeth Dickinson reports from Abu Dhabi.

Key question: When U.S. President Donald Trump piled on Qatar, did he realize Doha is home to a regional U.S. command center?

Qatar faces pressure over 2023 world swimming championships. Could the 2018 soccer World Cup be next?

TRUMP WORLD — COMEY TESTIMONY: Full transcript here. Former FBI Director James Comey said he created written records of meetings with Trump because he thought the president would misrepresent them. He also said he’s never felt under pressure for political loyalty before dealing with Trump. Five takeaways from the hearing.

The White House deputy press secretary was eager to contest Comey’s statement, and felt compelled to say Trump was not a liar.

BRUSSELS CORNER …

MAYOR RESIGNS: Yvan Mayeur, the mayor of Brussels 1000, announced he would quit after revelations he secretly received €1,400 monthly to be a board member of the SAMU Social, the entity tasked with helping Brussels’ poorest and most vulnerable residents.