17-07-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 14-07-2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cyprus leader blames Turkey for talks collapse, says drilling to continue

In a wide-ranging interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades blamed Turkey for the collapse of the latest United Nations-mediated effort to reunify Cyprus, said Nicosia would not change its plans to drill for hydrocarbons off the island’s coast and appealed for calm in the region.


Ankara continues ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in bid to prevent hydrocarbon research in Cyprus’ EEZ

A Turkish frigate, identified as the Gökçeada, was reportedly shadowing a survey ship commissioned to begin exploratory drilling in block 11 of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), part of Ankara’s stepped up pressure to force the island republic to stop hydrocarbon research in its own waters.


IMF to insist on ‘unsustainable debt’ and say banks need 10 bln euros

The International Monetary Fund has again found that Greece’s debt is unsustainable under every scenario, according to the report the Executive Council will be discussing on Thursday to decide on the Fund’s participation in the Greek program, sources say.


H1 2017 Greek general govt budget surplus target surpassed by 1.5 bln€

The Greek central government posted a primary budget surplus of 1.93 billion euros in the first half of the year, exceeding a memorandum-mandated target by 1.5 billion euros.


Varoufakis: ‘Parallel payment’ presented to SYRIZA leadership as far back as 2013

Controversial former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his idea for a “parallel system” of payments was greeted quite positively when he presented it as far back as 2013 to leftist SYRIZA party’s leadership, including Alexis Tsipras.


OECD survey: Only 13% of Greek citizens had confidence in gov’t in 2016

Greece is among the four countries that recorded the greatest loss of citizens’ confidence in their government for 2016, according to results of the OECD’s “Government at a Glance” report, which was published this week.


EU grant program remains idle

Not a single euro of subsidies has been granted yet to applicants who applied to join the Competitiveness program of the European Union-subsidized Partnership Agreement for the Development Framework, known in Greece as ESPA.


ATHEX: Fifth straight week of gains for the bourse

The main index of the Greek stock exchange posted yet another 28-month high on Friday, as investors saw the majority of stocks increase in price and confidence, presenting significant opportunities in the recently stabilized economy in Greece. The benchmark enjoyed small gains in spite of the drop of the banks index, completing the fifth consecutive week of growth – a feat unseen in the last four years.








KATHIMERINI: Taxes cause Greeks ‘shock and awe’

TO VIMA: The economy becomes more autonomous

REAL NEWS: Debts owed to the state will undergo haircut of 30%

PROTO THEMA: SYRIZA government expressed remorse for the prosecution of former head of statistics authority Georgiou in order to convince the creditors to release the bailout loan tranche

AVGI: Greece’s way out of the crisis is based on 7 interventions

RIZOSPASTIS: Strikes in the tourism and retail sector: “No more” must be expressed with participation in the strike and solidarity


TA NEA: Ongoing heist. Shock for 2,240,000 pensioners, businessmen and farmers.

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Interview with Energy and Environment Minister Giorgos Stathakis: Social criteria for the settlement of illegal constructions

KONTRA NEWS: French slap for Turkish President Erdogan

DIMOKRATIA: Former PM Papandreou got slapped by courts and lost the lawsuit against Falciani

NAFTEMPORIKI: Guide for out-of-court settlements regarding debts owed to the state

BREXIT NEGOTIATION FIRST FULL ROUND STARTS TODAY: A full Brexit wrap further down in Playbook. Essentials on today’s events: A photo-opportunity handshake will take place at 9:15 a.m., with serious business officially scheduled to start after lunch, running through until Thursday afternoon. The issues include citizens’ rights and the U.K.’s financial settlement (the Brexit bill), which promises to be the biggest source of tension. Full official schedule here.

Why the break between handshake and talks? There’s no official reason but it’s a handy media management technique. The parties can fill up media discussion in both morning and evening using this schedule. Beyond today, the parties should be careful to move quickly. There’s time for only two or three of these monthly negotiation rounds before the EU will have to decide if enough progress has been made to justify starting talks on the future EU-U.K. relationship, concluded Mujtaba Rahman of Eurasia Group in a weekend note to clients.

UK negotiator David Davis will bring with him a spy-proof briefcase and use a footballing analogy to hammer home his position on the European Court of Justice when he meets Barnier today, U.K. Sunday papers reported. “If you’re Manchester United and you go and play Real Madrid, are you going to let Real Madrid nominate the referee?” Davis will reportedly say. Given the EU has also rejected leaving the matter in the hands of U.K. courts, that leaves us with the International Court of Justice or joint panels of EU and U.K. judges to resolve disputes in different sectors, said Mujtaba Rahman.

**A message from Aviva: The U.N. High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is happening in New York this week, with panels on the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the new European Consensus on Development, a sustainability action plan. So how can private finance and business help deliver a sustainable future?** 

COUNCIL — FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS MIGRATION, NORTH KOREA: Foreign ministers gather this morning to discuss North Korea and Libya, followed by a working lunch with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the International Organization for Migration’s William Lacy Swing. Expect a press conference at around 3:30 p.m. (if we’re lucky!)

COUNCIL — GRUELING AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES MINISTERS MEETING: In their last meeting before the summer break, agriculture ministers will spend two days discussing everything from antimicrobial resistance and African swine fever to food origin labeling and dual quality foods. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have also requested and received time for a debate on the future financing of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).


COMMISSION — MOSCOVICI REJECTS BUDGET SANCTIONS: Speaking to FranceInfo TV, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici said: “When you sanction a country, you humiliate it, you force it, you punish it, it’s not the right thing … We succeeded in reducing the [budget] deficits in the EU countries from 6 percent in 2011 to 1.3 percent on average [now], not by punishing and fining but by putting smart pressure and constructive dialogue with governments.” Watch here (in French).

TOP COMMISSIONER MEETINGS: Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger is in Athens to meet Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the country’s Alternate Minister for Finance George Chouliarakis. Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica meets U.N. Secretary General António Guterres in New York. Commissioner for Internal Market Elżbieta Bieńkowska is in Słupsk, Poland to meet the city’s openly gay mayor, Robert Biedroń, as protests continue against the Polish government’s judicial reforms.

PARLIAMENT  — MEPs ON TOUR: In Parliament’s last week before the summer break, some MEPs are on study trips abroad, including to Canada, Croatia, Morocco and the U.S. Details here.

ICC — WHO KNEW? Today is International Criminal Justice day. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini issued a statement noting, “The European Union will continue to fully support multilateral global governance, based on international law, human rights and strong international institutions.”

TECH MEETS POLITICS: POLITICO’s new European chief technology correspondent Mark Scott starts today.

TAKE YOUR STATE DIGITAL AND GLOBAL, OR BECOME OBSOLETE: Estonia’s President Kersti Kaljulaid on the stark choice facing high-wage countries with aging populations … like nearly all of Europe.

Estonia will today host a conference in Tallinn on the free movement of data in the EU: European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel makes her first appearance in the post. You can watch the livestream here. Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip will speak at 4 p.m local time.


Clarification: Friday Playbook referred to how “Article 49” could be used to request the resignation of U.K. staff from the European Commission upon Brexit. That was Article 49 of the EU staff regulations, rather than Article 49 of the EU Treaty.

EU clarifies stance on Britain’s exit tab: As the U.K. and Brussels head into the first proper round of Brexit talks today, the two are at odds over Britain’s exit bill. David M. Herszenhorn reports the EU’s Brexit negotiation team, led by Michel Barnier, has worked out and shared a methodology for computing the U.K.’s financial obligations, and the figure stretches to at least 11 figures, possibly 12. At the low end of the EU price sheet, the consensus is €65 billion, at the top end, €100 billion or more. Barnier has ordered his team not to confirm a firm number even exists. Read the full story here.

Brussels to break vow not to talk trade in Brexit talks: Simon Marks, Giulia Paravicini and Annabelle Dickson have this scoop: Barnier plans to raise the thorny issue of EU import quotas on the sidelines of this week’s negotiations, according to half a dozen officials briefed on the talks. “Although not the trade discussion the U.K. has pushed for, talks on quotas would move negotiations past Britain’s exit from the bloc and start to imagine global trade post-Brexit.”

Meet phased Brexit: The British government sees a need for a phased Brexit, says Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Meet the neighbors: POLITICO’s data guide to Europeans living outside their home country, by Ginger Hervey and Sanya Khetani-Shah.

Hold the butter! Barnier’s team mulls how to adjust the amount of agricultural produce to allow into the EU after Brexit, report Simon Marks and Giulia Paravicini.

What Brexit? U.K. energy diplomats keep calm and carry on negotiating the EU’s post-Brexit energy laws, in parallel to divorce talks. Anca Gurzu with the full story for POLITICO Pro Energy and Environment subscribers.

What Brexit 2? Britain’s response to Brexit is “farcical” and a “disgrace,” senior German politicians told Irish counterparts. Playbook’s own conversations with German MPs in June and July tally with this Irish story. Several were outright angry at their British counterparts’ lack of knowledge about how the EU works.

Opinion — Britain’s global role after Brexit: By Tom Tugendhat, the new Conservative chair of U.K. parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee. “Grand strategy cannot be made behind closed doors … A new foreign policy vision can only be successful if there is public consensus behind it.”

Tony Blair claims EU leaders are willing to compromise on free movement if UK stays: Playbook heard from around a dozen diplomats and Brussels insiders who do not believe the EU would give up free movement of workers to keep the U.K. in the bloc. Most said the EU should pay a price if Britain is willing to backtrack, but not that price.

POLAND — PROTESTS SUNDAY OVER COURT GUTTING: Opponents gathered in cities and towns to protest plans to sack the Polish Constitutional Court and replace it with judges friendlier to the current government. The demonstrations continued past sunset, including in Warsaw where protestors played Chopin music and projected onto the Supreme Court building the words: “This is our court.” Some of the reforms, on parliament’s expanded role in appointing judges, passed the Polish senate at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

EPP MEPs were among those directly tackling the government. Michał Boni wrote and shared dozens of tweets about the protests.

Liberal Polish opposition figures called for international oversight of the judiciary vote this week, reports Michał Broniatowski.

Brussels-based Polish journalist caught up in the partisan fighting: The Commission’s midday briefing Friday gained a surprising afterlife in the Polish media. Polsat’s Dorota Bawolek found her question about the judicial law spliced and shared by supporters of the government, who attacked her online (example here).

The start of the snowball was an article published Friday evening by Katarzyna Szymanska-Borginon, another Brussels-based Polish journalist, who criticized her colleagues for attempting, in her view, to force the Commission to talk badly about Poland. Bawolek was one of several journalists to ask about the draft law at the briefing, questions that Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein declined to comment (see video).

CENTRAL EUROPE: Changes to the Polish judicial system will help the government kill several birds with one stone, writes Jeffrey C. Isaac in this essay on the methods of so-called illiberal democracy. h/t Wojciech Przybylski of Visegrad Insight.

GERMANY — ANTI-FAKE NEWS PUSH HAS MIXED RESULTS: The German government’s push against fake news prompted Facebook to roll out a tool in the country to let journalists spot false news when it is flagged by Facebook users. The results of this experiment, so far, are mixed, reports Laurens Cerulus. While fact-checkers say it is helpful, they’re also still in the dark about how the social network compiles the list of posts to be reviewed.

GERMAN ELECTION — SCHULZ’S 10-POINT PLAN: Martin Schulz, Germany’s Social Democrats’ candidate for chancellor, presented his push to take Germany into an era of more investment and eurozone integration.

GERMAN ELECTION — MERKEL PLEDGES TO SERVE FULL TERM IF ELECTION: “I made clear when I announced my re-election bid that I would run for four years,” Angela Merkel told ARD television Sunday.

FRANCE — MACRON POSITIONS HIMSELF AS TRUMP’S BRIDGE TO WARY EUROPE: “Our countries are friends, so we should be too,” French President Emmanuel Macron said of President Donald Trump in an interview Sunday in Journal du Dimanche. Macron insisted Trump “understood the meaning of my approach, including the link between global warming and terrorism, and he told me he would try to find a solution … We talked in detail about what would allow him to come back to the Paris agreement.” Here’s Washington Post on Macron positioning himself as Trump’s principal European interlocutor.

CYPRUS — PRESIDENT BLAMES TURKISH GOVERNMENT FOR TALKS COLLAPSE: Read a summary of the interview in Ekathimerini here.

TRADE — EU, BRAZIL STEP UP MEASURES TO CURB TRADE-DISTORTING SUBSIDIES: Simon Marks has this scoop: The EU and Brazil will today tell the World Trade Organization they’re ready to shake up trade-distorting farm subsidies, compete fairly with global partners and refrain from inhibiting agricultural production in developing countries. Officials briefed on the proposal told Simon the EU would seek to eliminate the most trade-distorting export support measures inside the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) during the next budget cycle.


UK BELGIAN PARADE: Belgium, the only non-Commonwealth country allowed to parade its troops in full uniform and bearing arms in the U.K., conducted its annual parade in Whitehall, London, on Saturday.

SURVIVORS OF BIGGEST FRENCH ROUND-UP OF JEWS TELL THEIR STORY 75 YEARS LATER: Some 13,000 Jews were taken by French police into a velodrome in Paris in 1942. Only about 100 survived the war. Two of the survivors spoke to HuffPost. Story and video (in French) here.

SERBIA — CHINA’S BACK DOOR TO EUROPE: Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has made clear his ambitions to boost the infrastructure of his 7-million strong country in the Western Balkans. It’s China, not the EU, which is making this possible, writes Matthew Karnitschnig. The country has already loaned Serbia money to build a bridge over the Danube in Belgrade and a thermal power plant.

FRAGILE TURKEY — ERDOĞAN BACKS DEATH PENALTY: “Nobody who betrays this nation can remain unpunished,” an increasingly belligerent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told tens of thousands of supporters in Istanbul one year after he defeated an attempted coup. Erdoğan also felt the need to send voice and text messages to all Turkcell users.

FRAGILE CHINA: “Efficiency can mean doing dumb things quickly,” writes Bret Stephens on why China is not guaranteed to rise and dominate.

FRAGILE TRUMP — PRESIDENT TO BE A NO-SHOW IN UK: At least until PM Theresa May can guarantee better coverage, according to the Sun.

As Trump’s approval rating continues to drop at home, the Economist writes in an editorial on Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Russian interest groups in the 2016 election campaign: “Legally and politically the ending is unclear. Morally, the verdict is already in.”

PODCAST DU JOUR — PIERRE VIMONT: The godfather of French diplomats spoke to Paul Adamson.