09-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

09-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Linking Greece’s debt repayments to European creditors with GDP growth resurfaces

A French plan, initially hatched during the previous Hollande administration, to link the rate of repayment of Greece’s debts to European creditors with annual GDP growth in the country appears ready for implementation.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1293275/linking-greeces-debt-repayments-to-european-creditors-with-gdp-growth-resurfaces

ND calls for Kammenos to quit over Saudi defense deal

New Democracy on Wednesday called for the immediate resignation of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos over the sale of Greek army missiles and bombs to Saudi Arabia.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223055/article/ekathimerini/news/nd-calls-for-kammenos-to-quit-over-saudi-defense-deal

Terrorist group targeting police, embassies under the microscope

Ballistics tests have indicated that a guerrilla group called Organization for Revolutionary Self-Defense is behind an armed attack against riot police in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia on Monday night.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223044/article/ekathimerini/news/terrorist-group-targeting-police-embassies-under-the-microscope

Notorious urban terrorist Koufontinas receives 2-day prison furlough

Greece’s most notorious urban terrorist, condemned to 11 life sentences for his role in the notorious “November 17” group, has received a two-day furlough from prison officials.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1293257/notorious-urban-terrorist-koufontinas-receives-2-day-prison-furlough

Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotaki responds after name appears in Paradise Papers

Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki, the spouse of conservative New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has issued a statement after her name appeared in a list of 130 Greeks on the so-called Paradise Papers.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223056/article/ekathimerini/news/mareva-grabowski-mitsotaki-responds-after-name-appears-in-paradise-papers

Greeks rule the waves in containers, review shows

Greek shipowners remain the dominant force in the global industry, staying on top of the tankers and dry-bulk carriers chart while also rising to third in containerships, according to the Review of Maritime Transport Review 2017 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Greeks have also increased their lead in the global shipping list based on capacity.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223053/article/ekathimerini/business/greeks-rule-the-waves-in-containers-review-shows

Banks want freeze on corporate bond issues

Banks appear reluctant to proceed with new corporate bond issues scheduled by the end of the year due to the outflow of deposits they entail in what is a difficult period given that the capital controls remain in place.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223068/article/ekathimerini/business/banks-want-freeze-on-corporate-bond-issues

ATHEX: Banks index declines to 7-month low

Led by banks, the benchmark of the Greek stock market continued to fall on Wednesday, as investor concerns heighten on a variety of issues, hence the increased trading activity that saw the biggest turnover of the last five sessions.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/223075/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-banks-index-declines-to-7-month-low

www.enikos.gr


www.protothema.gr

www.newsbomb.gr

www.cnn.gr

KATHIMERINI: Creditors issue ultimatum regarding the starting of auctions [for assets linked to NPLs]

ETHNOS: Good journalism goes to heaven. Our newspaper will keep publishing Paradise Papers data despite criticism and attacks

TA NEA: Close encounters between Defense Minister Kammenos and the Saudi Arabia middle man

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion. Marevas Mitsotaki’s offshore company raises questions

AVGI: New Democracy leader Mitsotakis has separated himself from ethics, society and logic

RIZOSPASTIS: Nobody should be absent from today’s rallies!

KONTRA NEWS: The authorities ‘caught in the act’ the brother of former PM Simitis

TO PONTIKI: Face off between Tsipras and Mitsotakis on corruption issues

DIMOKRATIA: The noose around former PM Simitis tightens!

NAFTEMPORIKI: French ‘wrench’ for the debt

THE WOMEN WHO SHAPE BRUSSELS POWER LIST

Now more than ever, women in Brussels are driving Europe’s major political and policy debates. In 2017, they also became one of the main subjects of discussion, as sexual harassment and violence — overwhelmingly women are the victims — hit the headlines.

Playbook and POLITICO’s Lenaic Fund for Quality Journalism fellow Judith Mischke consulted women and men across all sectors of the EU capital to create a list of the 20 women changing their organizations and the world.

Who’s in: A collective entry of tech titans, featuring women from 16 EU and four non-EU countries, tops the list. You’ll also find two European commissioners, two NATO heavyweights, the brains of the Brexit task force, the extraordinary women who are the face of Finland in Brussels and many more.

Women shaping Brussels — The ranking | The list, explained

Who’s not in: It’s inescapable how white the list is — just one woman of color, Shada Islam, is on it. (Others, such as Karima Delli MEP, are featured on other POLITICO power lists, and our own Nirvi Shah, editor of POLITICO Pro paywalled content, isn’t included for obvious conflict of interest reasons.) We also decided not to include those who were on last year’s list.

AROUND THE EU INSTITUTIONS

COMMISSION — JUNCKER READY TO TAKE CONTROL ON GLYPHOSATE: National experts will today meet in Brussels to discuss whether to renew EU authorization for use of the controversial herbicide glyphosate. According to Playbook’s source in Wednesday’s College of Commissioners meeting, President Jean-Claude Juncker said that if EU national government representatives fail to make a decision, the Commission should jump in and be guided by the Parliament, as the voice of citizens, in its actions. In other words: get ready for the Commission to approve a five-year renewal for glyphosate in the coming weeks if national governments don’t make a decision. Simon Marks, Giulia Paravicini, Florian Eder and Carmen Paun have the full story for POLITICO Pro Agri and Food, Health and Energy and Environment subscribers.

COMMISSION — BULGARIA ‘READY’ FOR EURO: “Bulgaria is ready” to join the eurozone, Juncker said Wednesday during a press conference with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, ahead of Bulgaria’s Council of the EU presidency starting January. Story here for POLITICO Pro Financial Services subscribers.

COUNCIL — VENEZUELA SANCTIONS: EU foreign ministers are set to impose an arms embargo on Venezuela when they meet next week after diplomats signed off on the initiative, bringing the bloc into line with the U.S., which imposed similar sanctions earlier this year. Reuters has the story.

COUNCIL — PRESSURE TO ACT ON RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION: Dozens of European security experts and lawmakers from 21 countries signed a declaration ahead of next week’s foreign affairs council calling for the EU to act against Russian fake news. “EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has spent the last two years trying to avoid naming Russia as the main source of hostile disinformation. If Europe wants to defeat this threat, its leaders need to call it out by name,” the declaration says.

PARLIAMENT — PANAMA PAPERS REPORT OUT: As Paradise Papers revelations continue to emerge, MEPs on the Panama Papers inquiry committee released a 121-page report summarizing their findings and recommendations, to be voted on in Strasbourg this month. Malta in particular comes under the microscope: While MEPs, who visited Valletta earlier this year, acknowledge the island’s tax regime complies with rules, there are question marks over the institutions tasked with investigating money-laundering, which MEPs said were “highly politicized.” The report also suggests “there are reasons to believe that [police are] not well equipped to fulfill [their] task optimally.”

Jourová to meet Maltese justice minister: Věra Jourová, European commissioner for justice, today meets Owen Bonnici, Malta’s justice minister, to discuss the island’s reluctance to participate in the European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

EPP calls for media action: In a letter to Mariya Gabriel, European commissioner for digital economy, the European People’s Party’s David Casa calls on the Commission to investigate alleged attempts by Pilatus Bank to stifle media freedom in Malta.

NATO OUTCOMES …

Defense ministers discuss Afghanistan: They expect to increase NATO’s training mission to 16,000 troops from 13,000 in 2019. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will give a press conference at noon.

New command structure, cyber ops center agreed: Defense ministers agreed on an outline design for adapting the Alliance’s command structure. This includes a new command for the Atlantic  focused on secure sea lines of communication between North America and Europe — and a command to improve military mobility within Europe. Allies also agreed to stand up a new cyber operations center to help integrate cyber into NATO’s planning and operations at all levels, with scope for national capabilities to be integrated into NATO operations.

By the numbers: Stoltenberg said at the end of the Cold War, NATO had around 22,000 personnel working in 33 commands. Today it’s less than 7,000 working at seven commands. “We reduced the command structure at the end of the Cold War because tensions went down,” but now, instead of focusing on “expeditionary operations” there must be a dual focus on the alliance’s presence in Europe, he said.

PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW

Weeks before the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels, Ivanna Klympush, Ukraine’s vice prime minister for European integration, was in town this week to make her country’s case for continued EU support as Kiev implements a major overhaul of pension, health and education systems while fighting a war on its eastern border with Russia. “It’s very difficult to do everything simultaneously,” Klympush told Playbook’s Harry Cooper.

Standing up for Europe: Klympush said Ukraine is “among the only nations today that is ready to stand and defend European values with their lives,” pointing out the violent Euromaidan protests that toppled former President Viktor Yanukovich took place after he refused to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The conflict with Russia has so far resulted in 10,000 deaths and 1.7 million internally displaced people. “Ukraine is standing as the eastern front of Western civilization and is allowing the EU to enjoy a prosperous and peaceful life.”

More money needed: Ukraine won’t ask to join the EU’s customs union or the Schengen area any time soon because the country still has “a lot of homework to do.” Even so, Klympush believes the country would benefit from more direct investment, as outlined in a plan prepared by Lithuania that envisages €5 billion a year until 2027.

Corruption fight continues: Near-daily reports of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are in fact a sign new agencies tasked with investigating corruption are bearing fruit, according to Klympush. And unlike MEPs, who only have to upload a scanned note outlining their financial interests, Ukrainian politicians have to declare everything they own online and face a prison sentence if they do so incorrectly. When asked about the latest Paradise Papers revelations involving President Petro Poroshenko’s offshore structures, Klympush said: “I don’t see anything compromising … We will have to see if there is any fire behind the smoke.”

TRUMP’S UKRAINIAN CHALLENGE: In the coming months, U.S. President Donald Trump must decide whether to sign off on a plan to send military hardware to Ukraine to aid it in its fight with Russia. “It’s a tough decision,” writes Vijai Maheshwari for POLITICO. “But here in Kiev, we understand. Whatever you decide Mr. President, you’ve already done a lot for the country.”

POSTCARD FROM WEB SUMMIT IN LISBON

Man vs. the machines: That’s Playbook’s call on the major theme bubbling out of the social and political debates this week.

Empires strike back: Portugal and the U.K. both once ran mighty empires, and you could feel in the air that they both want them back, even if only in the virtual sense. For Portugal it is pride driving the digital transformation. For the U.K., a sense that no matter how bad Brexit gets, it can’t mess too much with Britain’s digital magic.

Robot rulz, OK: U.K. Digital Minister Matthew Hancock told the Web Summit’s VIP Forum that work is underway in the U.K. government to deliver on an election promise to develop rules for robots and artificial intelligence ethics.

Will Europe rise again? The slanging match did. A panel on Europe’s future descended into a Brexit slanging match, most notably between Victor Negrescu (Romania’s Europe minister) and Alex Deane (FTI). More heat than light is Playbook’s verdict. Which is a metaphor for the process, come to think of it.

Quote du jour: “We’re all for digitization, just not at the expense of our democracy.” Ann Mettler, the European Commission’s director-general for political strategy.

He tweets, therefore he is: Brad Parscale, Trump campaign digital director, was asked on-stage what Trump could do to increase his re-election chances: “Keep tweeting,” he said.

Offer of the day — A nation-sized lab: Estonian PM Jüri Ratas told the crowd: “I’m inviting all innovators to come try your new tech in Estonia. We’re happy to offer a nation-scale testbed for your ideas.”

By the numbers: 42 percent of attendees (about 25,000) and more than a third of speakers at Web Summit are women (about 400), event organizers announced. That’s on-par with general EU events in Brussels.

DIGITAL — VESTAGER, TECHNOPHOBE: Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, has taken an increasingly skeptical approach to Silicon Valley’s tech giants, reflected not least by the way she uses their services, writes Nicholas Hirst. Although she uses Facebook and Twitter for work, she keeps her accounts carefully scrubbed of personal information.

BREXIT 360°

Don’t get your hopes up: Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, told European commissioners Wednesday not to expect anything groundbreaking from this round of talks, which start today, reports Florian Eder for POLITICO Brexit Pro subscribers. Barnier also shared a detailed calendar for the coming month’s talks, obtained by POLITICO.

Parliament marks red lines on citizens’ rights: In a statement released Wednesday, the Parliament’s Brexit steering group said: “We don’t recognize reports suggesting that a deal on citizens’ rights is almost finalized … There are still major issues that have to be resolved.”

Irish PM sees Brexit progress: “It is likely that we will be able to say that sufficient progress has been made at the December [Council summit], allowing us to move on to discussions on transition and the future arrangements, but that’s just my prediction,” Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s taoiseach, told lawmakers.

Chances of a December deal dwindling: The FT reports today that Brussels has given London two to three weeks to set out how much it is prepared to pay the bloc, or risk missing the December window. Eurasia Group’s Mujtaba Rahman thinks “a deal in December is likely, but our odds are falling, now at 70 percent — with strong downward pressure.” The U.K. thinks Barnier can’t “deliver” the EU national governments to a pragmatic compromise, so they’re effectively bypassing him. That risks a disorderly process and an annoyed Commission. It’s also not clear the EU will give enough to allow Theresa May to show she is getting something meaningful in return for handing over €60 billion.

UK — CHAOS KEEPS COMING BUT MAY CARRIES ON: The departure last night of Britain’s pro-Brexit International Development Secretary Priti Patel forces Theresa May to shuffle her ministerial team once again, just seven days after Michael Fallon stood down as defense secretary. Now the PM has to try to preserve the delicate balance in her Cabinet at a time of acute difficulty for her government, writes Annabelle Dickson.

CATALAN CRISIS

Puigdemont’s fate lies with courts, not government: Charles Michel, Belgium’s prime minister, told parliament it was for judges to decide whether to send former Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont back to Spain.

Independence parties to contest election separately: Catalan pro-independence parties missed an official deadline for presenting coalitions this week, which could ruin Puigdemont’s chances of a comeback, Diego Torres reports for POLITICO.

Strikes cripple Catalonia: Some 150,000 rail passengers were affected by strikes organized by pro-independence protestors Wednesday, hailed by the Catalan National Assembly as a “resounding success.” h/t The Spain Report