13-10-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

13-10-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lagarde: No request for new austerity measures by Greece ‘whatsoever’ – cites ‘compliance’

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde herself emphasized on Thursday that the Fund has not asked for new austerity measures from the government in still bailout-dependent Greece.


Stournaras warns against review delay

Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras warned on Thursday that any delay in the completion of the third bailout review would pose a serious risk to the local economy.


Well-known criminal lawyer murdered in Athens office

Well-known criminal lawyer and the son of former New Democracy MP Nondas Zafeiropoulos, Michalis Zafeiropoulos was murdered in his office in central Athens on Thursday night.


Supreme Court orders probe into homophobic newspaper front page

A Supreme Court prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation over the October 11 front page of the Eleftheri Ora daily newspaper, which made homophobic references and incited violence against gay people.


Cash prizes for lucky cardholders

The Finance Ministry appears set to start conducting cash and prize draws, rewarding 1,000 lucky credit or debit card holders every month.


Unpaid taxes grow at a rate of over 1 bln euros per month

The shortfall in tax revenues looks unlikely to shrink anytime soon as hundreds of thousands of taxpayers are unable to meet their tax obligations due to overtaxation. Data from the Independent Authority for Public Revenue revealed on Thursday that in August alone – even before the start of payments for the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) – unpaid taxes amounted to almost 1 billion euros.


ATHEX: Small gains in quiet session

Investors engaged in reduced activity at the Greek bourse on Thursday, with trading volume dropping below 40 million euros, as they wait for developments on the fiscal and credit rating fronts.







KATHIMERINI: The state responds to citizens’ taxation fatigue with confiscations

ETHNOS: Cold-blooded execution in the center of Athens

TA NEA: Michalis Zafeiropoulos: Heinous crime

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Games with other people’s homes. The gentlemen’s agreement between the government and banks for the freezing of auctions for houses worth less than 300,000 Euros was not confirmed

AVGI: Inside the world of New Democracy

RIZOSPASTIS: Strike is the workers’ weapon and we shall not hand it over to employers!

KONTRA NEWS: PM Tsipras flew over the Aegean Sea and the Turkish jets backed off

DIMOKRATIA: 300-million-Euro present for pensioners

NAFTEMPORIKI: IMF – Lagarde:  “Uphold the agreement!”


As EU ambassadors gather this morning they’ll have something much more interesting than a Brexit “deadlock” (to borrow Michel Barnier’s description) to grapple with. European Council President Donald Tusk would like EU officials to start preparing the ground for trade talks, based on what an official familiar with Tusk’s thinking rated as “considerable progress” in Brexit talks.

“Considerable” is the not the same as “sufficient’ progress, but the upbeat tone of the Council draft document — read it here — indicates Tusk is relaying a message from some of the national capitals he’s visited: They’re nervous about the lack of progress and ticking clock.

The draft conclusions will generate significant debate, but remember: “No conclusions have ever come out of a summit as they were draft,” as an EU diplomat told Playbook’s sister newsletter Morgen Europa. The document notes the U.K.’s promise to meet its financial obligations to the EU through to the end of 2020, but states, “this has not yet been translated into a firm and concrete commitment.”

COUNCIL — MINISTERS DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE AND MIGRATION: National emissions reduction targets, the role of forestry in climate policy and preparations for the COP23 climate summit top the bill for environment ministers. Migration ministers will discuss new Commission proposals on the reintroduction of border controls within the Schengen area and proposals on migrant resettlement. MEPs from Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee voted for new rules for the resettlement of asylum seekers from third countries, which must now be agreed with EU governments before coming into force.

COUNCIL — 20 GOVERNMENTS BACK PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: At Thursday’s meeting of justice ministers, 20 governments confirmed their support for the European Public Prosecutor, with the new Dutch government expected to reverse its opposition to participating.


Consumer summit: Commissioners Vytenis Andriukaitis and Věra Jourová are the headline acts at a consumer summit in Bratislava, with the theme “Equal quality of products for all citizens.”

Tail-end of Tusk’s tour: The European Council president meets Romanian President Klaus Iohannis this morning in Bucharest before flying to Bratislava in the afternoon to meet Visegrád leaders.

IMF, World Bank and G20 finance annual meetings: Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for Taxation Pierre Moscovici and Commissioner for International Cooperation Neven Mimica represent the EU at the meetings in Washington D.C.

Citizens’ dialogue: President Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg, Vice President Frans Timmermans in Sicily and Vice President Maroš Šefčovič in Finland will take part in EU town hall meetings today.

Erasmus and Brexit: Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is in Lyon celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus student exchange program.

COMMISSION — TIMMERMANS’ TEENAGE TAKEOVER: Timmermans symbolically hands over his desk and job to Ritah Nakaayi (23) for a day as part of an equality campaign.

LATEST EU CONFIDENTIAL PODCAST: We’ve just released episode 17 of POLITICO’s EU Confidential, featuring back-to-back interviews with Karl-Heinz Lambertz, president of the European Committee of the Regions, and George Kaminis, the center-left mayor of Athens. Listen immediately or download for later here via iTunes.

Kaminis explains why he finds it hard to work with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, calling his version of economic reform a “fairytale,” and pitches himself as an alternative PM who can be better trusted with EU and Greek tax money than the country’s left-wing government. “Cities have performed much better than governments” on asylum and other migration issues, said Kaminis.

PARLIAMENT — ANTONIO TAJANI’S ITALIAN JOB: While the European Parliament president denies it, there is plenty of speculation he could return to Italy as Silvio Berlusconi’s pick for prime minister in the 2018 election. To lose one president to domestic politics may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two would look like carelessness on Parliament’s part. Tajani says he is so popular in Italy that “two soccer stadiums” full of people wrote his name on the ballot in 2014 European elections, but when POLITICO asked about his prime ministerial prospects, he said: “Nobody has ever talked to me about it.” Jacopo Barigazzi and Maïa de la Baume have more.

EUROGROUP — DIJSSELBLOEM TO GET €150K SALARY FOR PART-TIME EUROGROUP ROLE: Normally the Eurogroup president does the job for love, not money. Since Jeroen Dijsselbloem quits Dutch parliament October 25, he has negotiated for the European Stability Mechanism to pay him €14,500 a month, which apparently is the going rate for two-and-a-half days of work a week. De Telegraaf.

ECB — NO INTEREST RATE RISES: The European Central Bank’s interest rates will stay low well into the future, President Mario Draghi said during a panel discussion in Washington Thursday.

BREXIT 360° …

EU Withdrawal Bill removed from UK parliament calendar: The Telegraph reports the delay is due to a feared rebellion by Conservative MPs “on more than a dozen hostile amendments.

Deadlock! Barnier was direct Thursday: He will not recommend EU leaders trigger talks on the future EU-U.K. relationship as divorce proceedings are stuck on the main three issuesCompare the two transcripts: Michel Barnier here, David Davis here.

Detailed analysis — what we learned from Round 5 of the Brexit talks: For POLITICO Brexit Pros.

Quote du jour: John Crace, the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer, took a look at Barnier’s body language: “His eyes glazed over and his head began to drop. Barnier was even managing to depress himself. This was futility on a grander scale than anything he had previously encountered.”

The most interesting thing all day was Madeleina Kay, Sheffield’s self-proclaimed superhero a.k.a. EU Supergirl, who joined the Barnier-Davis press conference before being escorted out.

Non-Brit reporters grumpy: Officials from the Brussels International Press Association (API) officially complained to the Commission after only British reporters were called on to ask Barnier and Davis questions after the talks. Deputy Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said it was just a case of bad luck, prompting boos from reporters. Full exchange here.

Winterstein clarified to Playbook that the Commission prioritized questions from TV reporters (because “the subject in question is market-sensitive”) and noted the five reporters asked follow-up questions, chewing up all the available time. Spokesman Margaritis Schinas wrote to API: “The press-room belongs to all accredited journalists, not to any negotiating parts, officials, diplomats, pranksters, or … superwomen.”

More people, please: The British civil service is planning to hire an additional 2,000 staff to cope with Brexit, the FT reports.

CHART OF THE WEEK — EU27-INDIA TRADE BOOST: Trade between the EU27 and India has more than tripled since 2000, but the U.K. has not managed to improve trade numbers significantly.

AUSTRIA — FAR RIGHT JOINS THE ESTABLISHMENT: Heinz-Christian Strache is known for dog-whistling and thinly veiled anti-Semitism. He’s also set for a major role in the next Austrian government, if his Freedom Party finishes second as expected in Sunday’s election, writes Matthew Karnitschnig.

GERMANY — RUMORED AS FINANCE MINISTER, WERNER HOYER IS COY: The whispers have been growing louder all week. Is Werner Hoyer — the only liberal running an EU institution, the European Investment Bank — headed to Berlin to replace Wolfgang Schäuble at the finance ministry? If Hoyer rejects that idea, it wasn’t clear during an interview with POLITICO’s Katy O’Donnell Thursday.

“Why should I say that I would not take this role?” Hoyer said when pressed by Katy. “I’m not arrogant enough to say I’m not interested.” Hoyer was careful to note he hasn’t been to Berlin for six weeks, saying: “I deliberately don’t go there, because I would only fuel these speculations.”

GERMAN ELECTION: THE SEQUEL. An election this weekend in Lower Saxony, Germany’s fourth most populous state, could put the parties that will make up the country’s next government (CDU, FDP and the Greens) within striking distance of running the left-controlled German upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat. Janosch Delcker has the story.

GERMANY — PETRY TO LAUNCH NEW PARTY TODAY: Former AfD co-leader Frauke Petry, who quit the far-right party after the German federal election, will today launch her Blue Party. More from Welt.

SPAIN — CATALAN POLICE SPEAK OUT: “What is important is to depoliticize this police force so it serves all citizens,” one local police officer told Euronews.

ITALY — GENTILONI VICTORIOUS ON ELECTORAL LAW: Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni won a secret vote in parliament on reforming the electoral system Thursday, local media reports.

UK — A NEW PARTY: Defeated UKIP leadership candidate Anne Marie Waters is launching a new far-right party, called For Britain.


XI JINPING, WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL MAN? He has more clout than Donald Trump, writes the Economist.

DUTERTE THREATENS TO DEPORT EUROPEAN DIPLOMATS: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte accused European countries of “interfering” in his country’s war on drugs and threatened to expel ambassadors. “You think that we are a bunch of morons here … The ambassadors of those countries learn a lesson now. Because we can have the diplomatic channels cut tomorrow, you leave my country in 24 hours, all of you,” Duterte said.

TRUMP MAKES WITHDRAWING GREAT AGAIN: The U.S. administration issued a statement on its withdrawal from UNESCO, the U.N. agency focused on education, science and culture based in Paris. The Trump administration says the U.N. body had been too critical of Israel.

A WHITE HOUSE IN CRISIS: Gabriel Sherman for Vanity Fair, on a seething President Trump whom advisers fear is “unraveling.”