14-07-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 14-07-2017

Friday, July 14, 2017

PM: Name issue must be resolved in mutually acceptable way before FYROM joins NATO, EU

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday that the name dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) must be resolved before the tiny Balkan neighbor can join the European Union and NATO.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220034/article/ekathimerini/news/pm-name-issue-must-be-resolved-in-mutually-acceptable-way-before-fyrom-joins-nato-eu

Tsipras dismisses Turkish threats, as Ankara tries to block drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ

A verbal tit-for-tat continued on Thursday between Athens and Ankara in the wake of last week’s failed UN-brokered talks on the Cyprus issue and the expected commencement of exploration drilling in Cyprus’ EEZ within days, a development that has generated a particularly prickly round of comments by the Turkish side.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1258386/tsipras-dismisses-turkish-threats-as-ankara-tries-to-block-drilling-in-cyprus-eez

Gov’t drafts bill boosting civil service wages, jobs

A draft bill that has been submitted to Parliament by the government paves the way for wage increases for certain local authority workers by offering a range of benefits, as well as guaranteeing job security for current employees and even foreseeing new hirings.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220054/article/ekathimerini/news/govt-drafts-bill-boosting-civil-service-wages-jobs

OECD: 5.1% reduction in Greek state expenditures from 2009 to 2016

The OECD’s “Government at a Glance” report this week dissected Greece’s fiscal performance over the past several years – in a survey that covered most of the world’s nations as well — noting that revenues have now exceeded pre-crisis (2009) levels: from from 40.4 percent in 2007 to 48.3 percent in 2015.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1258348/oecd-51-reduction-in-greek-state-expenditures-from-2009-to-2016

New terminal for Athens airport

Athens International Airport (AIA) intends to tackle a spike in incoming traffic with the operation of a third terminal station by the end of this year. This is the terminal that until now operated only to cover the peak days of the summer season.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220060/article/ekathimerini/business/new-terminal-for-athens-airport

Ultimatum to ADMIE over Crete’s power interconnection

The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) will grant a two-month deadline to the new shareholders of the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) for submitting a binding timetable regarding the electricity connection of Crete to the country’s continental network.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220029/article/ekathimerini/business/ultimatum-to-admie-over-cretes-power-interconnection

ELA funding to Greek banks drops 7 percent

Emergency central bank funding to Greek lenders dropped by 2.8 billion euros, or 6.9 percent, in June compared to the previous month, Bank of Greece data showed on Thursday.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220058/article/ekathimerini/business/ela-funding-to-greek-banks-drops-7-percent

ATHEX: Index on a level unseen in 28 months

The benchmark of the Greek bourse rose on Thursday to heights unseen since March 2015 as stocks from all sectors enjoyed a session of significant gains, on increased trading too.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/220057/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-index-on-a-level-unseen-in-28-months

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KATHIMERINI: Bill regarding municipalities pointing to cronyism

TA NEA: Citizens do not trust for the government

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Municipalities: An omnibus bill for the closing of wounds.

AVGI: They want to own TV broadcasting licenses without paying a single Euro

RIZOSPASTIS: Everyone should get involved in the organization of the strike fight

KONTRA NEWS: Macron to Merkel: ‘You are strangling  other EU countries in order for Germany to profit’

DIMOKRATIA: Joint Ministerial Decision for the exemption of agricultural fields  from forest maps

NAFTEMPORIKI: The great two ‘thorns’ of the third bailout programme review

Today is Bastille Day in France. Around 200 troops from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force will lead a march ahead of thousands of French servicemen and women, with U.S. President Donald Trump as special guest, marking 100 years since the United States entered World War I. David Herszenhorn recaps how Trump and Macron went from mano a mano to tête-à-tête.

Latest EU Confidential podcast: Playbook talks Trump, trade, data and Brexit with MEP Marietje Schaake and POLITICO’s trade editor Christian Oliver. We ask: is it great or gross for the EU to promote discount Ryanair flights for Erasmus exchange students, and is it okay for bosses to ask staff to babysit after work hours? Listen now or download for later.

**A message from Google: The future of journalism means using the power of digital for fact checking, investigative reporting and immersive storytelling ― three major trends that emerged when awarding the third round of the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund. See the future here. **

BREXIT CORNER …

The U.K. government on Thursday published its Repeal Bill, as well as its negotiating positions on nuclear issues, judicial matters and the privileges and immunities of EU institutions post-Brexit. The fallout will continue today: from Eurocrat personal worries and party politics to the devilish details of trying to reverse-engineer 40 years of law-making.

More central power, less checks and less devolution: Meet the Great Repeal Bill. It’s possibly the least appropriately named draft legislation in history. Charlie Cooper explains.

Scotland and Wales come out fighting: The Scottish and Welsh governments said they could not support the bill, calling it a Westminster power grab in a joint statement.

Read all the UK’s position papers that will form the basis of Brexit discussions next week. Download here. There is no position paper on the financial settlements, even though the issue is set to be discussed Monday.

ECJ collision course now set: The U.K. and EU are on a collision course over the role of Europe’s top court. In its position paper, the British government said the European Court of Justice should not apply to U.K. cases that were not before the court on the day the U.K. leaves the EU, even where the facts of the case occurred before withdrawal.

Jeremy Corbyn backs payment of a legal obligations to EU: Britain’s Labour leader also wants to remain within Europe’s nuclear energy regulator Euratom and expressed skepticism that the U.K. could strike a quick trade deal with the U.S., reports James Randerson.

What Britons actually want: RAND has a new report on what Brits want out of Brexit. “The British public want a deal on Brexit and are willing to compromise to get one.” They place “greatest value on having the ability to make trade deals and retaining access to the single market.”

The gifts keep on giving: The diplomacy of Brexit gift exchanges.

COMMISSION — EU TELLS BRITISH OFFICIALS THEIR JOBS DEPEND ON HOW NEGOTIATIONS UNFOLD: European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger and HR Director Irene Souka laid out the reality of post-Brexit life for British European Commission staff at a meeting Thursday. According to Playbook’s sources in the room, Oettinger said they could be asked to resign on March 29, 2019 under Article 49 of the EU Treaties. He said he is “willing” to ask that those legal provisions not be used “against” British staff, but added that if negotiations go badly there are no guarantees, particularly as some national governments may insist on firing British staff in the event of a “no Brexit deal” scenario.

Oettinger went off-script (and also answered questions), saying he would do what he could to support staff, lifting the mood. He also promised to pressure Jan Jambon, the Belgian interior minister, to make permanent residency and citizenship applications by British EU officials a formality (Belgium frequently blocks holders of EU-staff identity cards from claiming residency because they pay into a separate social security system).

COMMISSION — BRUSSELS MOVES ON HUNGARY: The European Commission on Thursday launched infringement proceedings against Hungary over its law on foreign-funded NGOs. It also decided to take a second step in its infringement procedure over Hungary’s Higher Education Law, which critics believe targets the Budapest-based Central European University, founded by financier George Soros.

POLAND — GOVERNMENT MOVES TO TAKE CONTROL OF TOP COURT: Poland’s parliament, under the leadership of the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, passed a law dissolving an independent body responsible for nominating judges. At the same time, PiS submitted a draft law that would force the entire Supreme Court into retirement and give the country’s justice minister the ability to decide which judges can stay in their current roles.

ITALY — FADING 5STARS MOVEMENT LASHES OUT ON MIGRATION: Luigi Di Maio, a 31-year old vice president of the Italian lower house of parliament, visited Brussels this week with the message that Matteo Renzi has sold out Italy in exchange for lenient treatment of the country’s budget deficit in Brussels. “As a result, the whole weight of the migration emergency is now on the shoulders of Italians,” Di Maio told POLITICO’s Giulia Paravicini, without offering specific evidence as proof of his claims.

TURKEY — ONE YEAR AFTER ATTEMPTED COUP, THE COUNTRY’S FREE PRESS STILL ON TRIAL: Canan Coşkun has been on trial four times this year. She’s a journalist for Cumhuriyet, the Turkish newspaper that has been most outspokenly critical of the government. The latest case: sued for being talking back to a court official, acquitted within minutes. It’s cases like this, and the dozens of journalists behind bars in Turkey, taking the shine off government efforts to mark the first anniversary of the attempted coup that shook the country in July last year. Beating back the coup was a triumph of democracy, jailing journalists a government doesn’t like is not. Zia Weise has this long read on the situation, from the front page of this week’s POLITICO print edition.

EUROPEAN STABILITY MECHANISM — REGLING SPEAKS OUT: The European Stability Mechanism’s Managing Director Klaus Regling spoke to Handelsblatt. Top takes: Greece will be grand if it just sticks to its current promises, EU integration now enjoys its best prospects in more than 10 years thanks to the Merkel-Macron motor, and Regling’s open to a European Monetary Fund. Regling also sees the value of giving the euro area some limited fiscal capacity to help members cope with shared crises. English version here. German version here. Health warning: one Playbook reader emailed to call the interview a “Teutonic love-fest.”

** Watch POLITICO’s Spotlight video on ‘Cohesion in Europe post-2020: make or break?’ (BOLD) with Florian Eder, POLITICO’s Managing Editor, Expansion and Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources and Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the newly elected President of the European Committee of the Regions.**

MIGRATION — RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OFFER SAFE PASSAGE TO EUROPE FOR SOME REFUGEES: Religious communities cover the cost of settlement for some of the most vulnerable fleeing Syria, writes Michele Bertelli.

FRANCE — PARIS MATCH GETS GREEN LIGHT TO PUBLISH NICE ATTACK PICTURES: Le Monde reports here.

GEORGIA — RUSSIA CONTINUES TO GRAB LAND: Land grabs by Russia and South Ossetia have continued unabated and seem to be accelerating now that Trump is president and media attention has dwindled. h/t Matt Norton

CHINA — JOINT EU STATEMENT OF DEATH OF CHINESE NOBEL LAUREATE LIU XIAOBO: European Council President Donald Tusk and Juncker wrote Thursday: “We consistently expressed our opposition to his conviction and asked for his release. Most recently, we urged the Chinese authorities to respect his wish to receive medical care in Germany. Unfortunately these calls were not heeded … We call on the authorities to remove all restrictions on the movement and communications of his family members.”

COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS — NEW PRESIDENT: As previewed by Playbook a week ago, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, a Belgian Socialist senator from the country’s German-speaking region, is the new CoR president. Lambertz replaces Finnish center-right politician Markku Markkula, and wants a Europe that expresses more solidarity.

EUROPOL — ROB WAINWRIGHT ANTI-TERRORISM INTERVIEW.

TRUMP WORLD — TRUMP CALLS BRIGITTE MACRON ‘BEAUTIFUL,’ ‘IN SUCH GOOD SHAPE’.

MEDIA MOVES: We’re about to enter a whole new phase of ‘Fake News’ craziness. Sarah Posner.

BRUSSELS NAVEL-GAZING READS …

REBORN BRUSSELS — THE BUREAUCRATS WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD: Bloomberg editor-in-chief John Micklethwait takes a deep-dive look and decides “Britain is shamed and Brussels triumphant,” but asks whether that’s good for Europe.

Top quotes: “Two events have changed everything … Far from killing the EU, Brexit has helped reunite it … the person who’s really raised spirits in Brussels is Macron, who’s brought the prospect of France embracing economic reform … Hence the hope of a deal: As Macron reforms France, Merkel will allow greater integration of the diverse monetary and economic institutions in the eurozone.”

A PRE-SUMMER TOUR OF THE EU INSTITUTIONS: By Daniel Guéguen, founder of lobbying firm PACT European Affairs and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. Guéguen does not hold back.

On Juncker’s chief of staff Martin Selmayr: “Replaced authority with authoritarianism. The result is a kind of bottleneck, creating a real barrier between the political and administrative levels of the Commission.”

On the cosy Parliament relationships: “It is unbelievable to see that 100 percent of legislative proposals were adopted at first or ‘early second’ reading in 2016! This system, the epitome of anti-democracy.”

On EU’s Lisbon Treaty: “Intended to simplify the EU decision-making process, the Treaty of Lisbon has, after eight years, succeeded in creating an institutional monster … detail trumps the essential, debate is carefully avoided and soft consensus reigns supreme.”

EU ANTI-FRAUD AND PATENT OFFICE SEARCH FOR NEW CHIEFS: Applications for the OLAF anti-fraud director-general post close July 27. The patent job is free from July 2018.

POSTCARD FROM BERLIN — TECH IS IN THE AIR, PLAYBOOK HAPPY HOUR …

Playbook is back this morning from Berlin after participating in the Tech Open Air conference at the stunning Berlin Funkhaus, along the river in East Berlin (see the pics on Playbook’s Instagram), and hosting with Florian Eder (of POLITICO’s Morgen Europa newsletter) the first Playbook Happy Hour. Around 70 readers joined us at the journalists’ club on the top floor of Axel Springer headquarters. Look out for more such events next time Playbook is in your city. PIC.

Tech Open Air was a refreshing change from the fawning, hyped and moneyed conferences that often exist at the intersection of tech and politics. The contrast between the Brussels bubble and Berlin was neatly described by one tech worker who has lived in both cities and worked in both tech and politics: “In Berlin it’s so much easier to meet people with different life perspectives.” Best description of the conference: “It’s not a tech conference, it’s a founders’ conference,” said Saskia Gennrich of Berlin’s Natural History Museum. Catch up with Playbook’s interviews with Elon Musk’s long-time right-hand man Branden Spikes and Quora CEO (and former Facebook chief technical officer) Adam d’Angelo here.

BRUSSELS CORNER …

ELECTED: The new ECPA 2.0 (youth branch of the European Center for Public Affairs) president is Hélène Verbrugghe (Lysios Public Affairs).