14-09-2018 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

14-09-2018 | EYE ON GREECE |

Friday, September 14, 2018

Tsipras confident pension cuts will not be implemented

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appeared optimistic on Thursday that the pension cuts slated for January 1 will not be implemented.


Zaev to Europarliament: Faith in Europe led to us to historic agreement with Greece

The prime minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Zoran Zaev, told MEPs at the European Parliament on Thursday that his country’s “faith in Europe is one of the incentives that led us to a historic agreement with Greece”.


Turkish court rejects bid to convert Hagia Sophia to mosque

Turkey’s state-run news agency says the country’s highest court has rejected a request for Istanbul’s Byzantine-era Hagia Sophia church-turned-mosque-turned-museum to be reconverted into a mosque.


NGOs sound alarm over island migrant centers

A total of 19 NGOs have sounded the alarm over deteriorating conditions at overcrowded migrant reception centers on the Greek islands and urged Greek authorities to take action.


Seven injured, one more seriously, during rock slide at iconic Navagio cove

The number of injured from Thursday’s rock slide at the well-known Navagio cove on the Ionian island of Zakynthos has reached seven, including a 34-year Czech woman who has sustained a spine fracture.


ENFIA shift with polls in mind

The government has planned changes to the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) with an eye to the upcoming election, as the 30 percent reduction announced for 2019 will only concern owners of real estate assets valued at up to 60,000 euros.


ATHEX: Banks index slides again, by 6.65 pct

Bank stocks dragged the Greek benchmark down with them yet again on Thursday at Athinon Avenue, as credit sector stocks’ southbound course since the banks published their second-quarter results continues unabated – and this time the turnover was higher.







KATHIMERINI:  The burden of ENFIA will fall on the same shoulders

ETHNOS:  The mistakes in the declaration form regarding the selection of university schools includes ‘traps’ for thousands of candidates

TA NEA:  “I cannot inherit anything”. Citizens reject inheritances -The middle class is in limbo

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON:  Pensions: The government gains benefits while New Democracy undermines the efforts to avert their slashing

AVGI:  New Democracy and PASOK have the nerve to speak of slander when it comes to the precarious loans they received

RIZOSPASTIS:  Workers’ union PAME affiliated with the Greek Communist Party will continue and escalate its rallies

KONTRA NEWS:  Real estate ENFIA tax reduced by 30% for 3,5 million citizens

DIMOKRATIA:  Wikileaks: The USA ‘removed’ late archbishop Christodoulos due to his negative stance towards a deal on the FYROM name issue

NAFTEMPORIKI:  The stance of the creditors on the pensions issue

THE CLOCK IS TICKING: The Commission is set to deliver on its promise to end annoying clock changes. The proposed directive on “discontinuing seasonal changes of time,” obtained by Playbook, contains only seven articles, but really, the first one says it all: “Member states shall not apply seasonal changes to their standard time or times.”

Nudging towards daylight saving: Countries are urged to decide on their preferred time by April 1, 2019, (with a last chance to change to winter hours next October), assuming Council and Parliament cooperate. Perhaps that’s a case of the Berlaymont planning ahead for some less dramatic headlines than those we’ll no doubt get in the days after Brexit kicks in.

Lark or owl? Of course, the law can’t bridge the one divide ripping apart the Continent and the world — the one between morning larks and night owls, like yours truly. The latter tribe outnumbered the former in the Commission’s bumper consultation, with a majority of respondents calling for making summertime eternal. Here are the fullest results of the consultation for you, ahead of publication today.

THE ART OF NO DEAL: The British government’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit were the talk of the party at Somerset House last night. If you needed a symbol for what Brexit is all about, look no further than the Brexiteers’ pride in being allowed to carry around their fabled blue passports again, after years of burgundy impertinence. But it’s also a symbol of how difficult it is to get rid of even the external signs of European identity.

On Thursday, the U.K. government published the second tranche of its no-deal Brexit prep documents. In one, it pressed Brits whose passports were issued before October 2009 to renew their documents “soon” if they plan to travel to Schengen-area countries after Brexit day on March 29, 2019. “But they can’t have a blue one just yet,” note Annabelle Dickson and Joshua Posaner: The new design won’t be ready until late next year.

So what will a no-deal Brexit look like? It’ll be all about queuing, traffic jams, paperwork. “And those are just the bits of government advice that are comprehensible,” writes our own Tom McTague.


RULE OF LAW FRENZY: As expected, the governments of Poland and the Czechia are standing firmly by the side of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after European Parliament voted to trigger Article 7 procedures against Hungary. Czech PM Andrej Babiš told Parlamentni Listy in an interview on Thursday: “This nonsense only contributes to negative moods in the EU.” (He also said that Czech MEPs who voted in favor of censure on Wednesday “betrayed us.”)

More of a surprise: European Parliament President Antonio Tajani was also unhappy about the outcome of the vote. Talking to Radio24, he suggested taking action against three more countries — Malta, Romania and Slovakia — to, in his words, balance things out. “Why was nothing done then against countries like Malta and Slovakia, when you had two journalists killed here, and in the case of Slovakia, leading to the resignation of a center-left prime minister?” Tajani said, referring to the assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak. “And why has nothing been done about Romania?”

Tajani’s political manoeuver: “You can’t have two weights and two measures, which is why Forza Italia says you cannot just attack one right-wing government when no corrective measures were applied to two left-wing administrations. Worse things happened there than in Hungary,” Il Presidente said. The implication is that the vote in the chamber over which Tajani himself presides was a politically motivated punishment. (It passed by a two-thirds majority.)

NEVER FEAR, PARLIAMENT IS ON THE CASE: MEPs on the civil liberties committee will travel to Slovakia and Malta next week to inquire about the countries’ rule of law — and investigate why journalists were assassinated there after reporting on corruption and organized crime. According to a draft program for the visit, they’ll meet with government members and the countries’ prime ministers, Peter Pellegrini and Joseph Muscat.

But did anyone check the calendar? The Slovak Cabinet will be in Košice on September 17 — when MEPs arrive in Bratislava — to meet with the Czech government to jointly celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. And a meeting (marked “to be confirmed”) with Malta’s Muscat may be difficult to get on September 20, when the committee has penciled it in … because it’s the day of the informal Salzburg summit of EU leaders.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER’S CONCERNS: “I still think Romania and Bulgaria have to enter as soon as possible the Schengen area. Efforts have to be made as far as the rule of law in these countries is concerned,” The Commission president told Romanian Digi24 television. “I have the impression that there is a huge and controversial dispute in Romania between the president and the government and part of parliament. Do I have the feeling that everything is fine in Romania? I don’t.”


WHAT’S AN ‘UNOFFICIAL DELEGATION’ AGAIN? The MEPs who went on a recent trip to the Maldives, ahead of the presidential election there later this month, are keen to assure everyone their visit was purposefully private to avoid trouble. But their travel companions keep referring to the visit as being work-related, or an “unofficial delegation.” Exhibit A: this article on the website of “Vocal Europe,” an organization chaired by Henri Malosse, former president of the European Economic and Social Council (EESC) and one of those who traveled to the Maldives.

The EESC, meanwhile, declares there’s no such thing as an ‘unofficial delegation’: Dilyana Slavova, who chairs the EESC’s external relations section, said in a statement “that those EESC members were acting in their private capacity, and not on behalf of the EESC. The EESC never sends unofficial delegations to third countries, and its members are not authorized to speak on behalf of the European Union, but only on behalf of the EESC.”

Who paid for it? “The EESC didn’t pay a cent,” said Daniela Vincent, the spokeswoman of Luca Jahier, Malosse’s successor as EESC president.



SALVINI VS. MOSCOVICI: European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici “should wash his mouth out before insulting Italy, the Italians and their legitimate government,” Deputy PM Matteo Salvini said in a statement Thursday. Salvini was responding to comments made by Moscovici earlier that day that he feared “little Mussolinis” (whom he did not name) might be emerging in Europe. More from Reuters.

BIG BROTHER IN BERLIN: With its wide-open modern spaces and light flooding through a glass ceiling, Berlin Südkreuz station — located just a few kilometers south of Angela Merkel’s chancellery — looks like an architectural metaphor for transparency. But it’s also the place where the German government is trialing its own miniature version of a Chinese-style surveillance state. And critics say that authorities have been anything but transparent about what’s taking place inside the station. Read Janosch Delcker’s feature about it here.

FAR-RIGHT FINISHING SCHOOL IN FRANCE: This month, the doors will open at the Institute of Social, Economic and Political Sciences in Lyon, which its high-profile backers hope will become a breeding ground for France’s next generation of conservative thinkers and leaders. It also marks the return to public life of Marion Maréchal, who is the college’s director. Maïa de la Baume interviews the one-time great hope of the French far right.

HOW TO GET AROUND SANCTIONS: Spiegel reports that Germany, France and Britain will create a “special-purpose entity” that will allow EU oil importers and other companies to finance their business with Iran — circumventing banks and other traditional channels, and ergo U.S. sanctions. H/t Jakob Hanke

ONE HUNDRED DAYS OF PEDRO: Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is under fire over allegations that he plagiarized his Ph.D thesis, the resignations of Cabinet ministers and a number of embarrassing U-turns. Diego Torres writes about his 100 days of commotion.

KOZLOVSKA LATEST: Polish authorities reacted angrily to the Bundestag’s invitation to Ukrainian human rights activist Lyudmyla Kozlovska to speak at a conference on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. President Andrzej Duda called his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to complain, Michał Broniatowski writes in to report. And Poland’s foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador.

BELGIAN PORKIES: Belgium has confirmed that African swine fever has spread to the country.