11-05-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 11-05-2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

EBRD: Greek GDP growth rate at 2.0% in 2017; 2.2% in 2018

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is the latest institutional body to calculate  lower Greek GDP growth rate for 2017, down from the forecasts previously made by Athens, European creditors and even the IMF.


Capital controls to stay till at least end of 2018

Greece will spend at least three-and-a-half years under the restrictions of capital controls as their abolition is not expected to come any earlier than the end of 2018, according to a competent credit sector source.


Greek, Turkish military chiefs to keep ‘open channel of communication’

The chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff (GEETHA), Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar on Wednesday agreed to keep “an open channel of communication” to curb tensions in the Aegean.


Call for former tax official to face trial for breach of trust

A prosecutor on Wednesday sought the indictment of the former general secretary for public revenues, Katerina Savvaidou, on charges of attempted breach of trust.


Greece’s annual inflation rate clocked at 1.6% in April

The annualized inflation rate in Greece eased to 1.6 percent in April, slightly down from 1.7 percent in March, increases that came after several consecutive months of deflation or zero inflation, mostly the result of increased VAT rates and special consumption taxes in the bailout-dependent country.


Foreign funds buy 3-month treasury bills

Foreign investment funds participated in an auction of Greek treasury bills on Wednesday for the first time since 2015, highlighting the improvement in the image of Greek debt since a provisional agreement was reached between the government and the country’s creditors last week on the second bailout review.


Greek government bond yield lowest since 2012 debt restructuring

Greek government borrowing costs hit their lowest level in over five years on Wednesday as Athens looks set to clinch vital bailout loans from its international lenders.


ATHEX: Stock market defies gravity for a 12th day

The main index of the Greek stock exchange made it 12 in a row on Wednesday for the first time since its 1999 heyday, as it continued its push toward the 800-point mark. The general picture, along with the recovery of bond prices, points to a return to normality for the local market after the government’s agreement with the country’s creditors.







KATHIMERINI: Shocking decision for contract workers of Municipalities

TA NEA: Fake recruitments

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Healthcare sector: The great bet

AVGI: The political climate is changing

RIZOSPASTIS: The working jungle has been reinstated

KONTRA NEWS: Greece’s exit to the international markets are going to take place via a Chinese passport

TO PONTIKI: Survival games for MEGA, Lambrakis Press Group and Pegasus Group

DIMOKRATIA: The government is eliminating tax returns!

NAFTEMPORIKI: The measures are going to be voted at the last moment

WATCH OUT FOR US TO BAN IN-FLIGHT LAPTOP USE FROM EU AIRPORTS: European airlines expect the U.S. government to announce it is adding some European airports to its laptop ban list. Security issues are not covered by the EU-U.S. Open Skies Agreement so there is little the EU could do if the idea goes through, according to Playbook’s airline industry source.

IT’S M-DAY IN FRANCE: The dust will settle soon on who will join Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche movement and who will not: parties must finalize their parliamentary election candidate lists today. There are also two potential En Marche copycats: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pushing for a new center-left movement to sweep away the ashes of the Socialists and Greens, and so is Socialist former presidential hopeful Benoît Hamon.

More Macron news below.

The politics of turbulence: Meanwhile, former Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls might be expelled from his party for making overtures to En Marche. The fact that we have little idea who will land where is a French symptom of much wider political turbulence in Europe. Old alliances and parties are being cast aside; long-held assumptions are no longer valid, writes Matthew Karnitschnig.

**A message from Google: European masterpieces have been popular with Americans since Henry Frick was buying Rembrandts. Nothing changes: Seventy percent of the users for Polish app DailyArt are in the U.S. thanks to Play Store: an open market with no borders. Learn more.**

COMMISSION — BARNIER TO ADDRESS JOINT PARLIAMENT SITTING IN IRELAND: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is in Ireland today and Friday. He will visit the Northern Irish border and meet with Ibec, the Irish business lobby. Ibec CEO Danny McCoy said his group will demand special Irish provisions for freedom of movement and “a temporary EU state aid framework” to “offset the worst effects of Brexit on otherwise viable firms.” More details here.

Most significantly, Barnier will at 11:30 a.m. address a joint sitting of both houses of the Oireachtas, an honor normally reserved for a head of state or government. In fact, Ireland’s own president hasn’t given such an address since 1999. Playbook’s Irish government source said the invitation is a deliberate signal about how grave the country considers the threat of a poorly managed Brexit. The government and political parties will reply to Barnier’s address. Watch live here or a replay here.

Enda Kenny expected to resign next week: Irish Taoiseach (PM) Enda Kenny told his Fine Gael party on Wednesday that he would address matters to do with his leadership next week, when he is widely expected to announce his resignation, two sources present at the meeting told Reuters.

COMMISSION — TRUMP’S TRADE SURPLUS COMPLAINT REJECTED IN LETTER: Brussels has written a letter President Donald Trump’s administration, rejecting criticism of the EU’s €134 billion trade surplus with the U.S. Trump’s team had initially tried to raise the matter with individual national governments only to be told to take the complaint home or to Brussels instead. More for POLITICO Trade Pros here.

How to revive TTIP, by Anthony Gardner, the former U.S. ambassador to the EU (also for Trade Pros).

COMMISSION — THE FLAGGING CENTRAL EUROPE EFFORT TO DERAIL VESTAGER’S GAZPROM DEAL: Nicholas Hirst, Anca Gurzu and David M. Herszenhorn report that governments opposed to a settlement between Gazprom and the European Commission (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) are not getting far with their complaints. The Commission has the power to make settlements with suspected competition law infringers as a way to avoid costly and protracted legal processes. The full story here for POLITICO Pro Energy and Environment subscribers.

COMMISSION — GLOBALIZATION PAPER HIGHLIGHTS EU’S TAX FAILURE: The Commission’s new paper on globalization mentioned the importance of curbing tax avoidance. It didn’t mention internal EU divisions on tax dodging, and the Continent’s own tax evasion problems.

COMMISSION — RATING DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET PROGRESS: POLITICO scored the Commission on its digital single market efforts here. Spoiler alert: It passed. Just.

Oops! Those pesky tracked changes: When the Commission launched its digital single market review, it accidentally published a draft of the document that included comments and changes from the Commission’s secretariat-general and Andrus Ansip’s cabinet. Read the tracked changes version here.

Midnight breakthrough on access for the visually impaired to copyright-protected books: Negotiators from the European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached a compromise on how to implement the Marrakesh Treaty, which facilitates access to published works for those with visual impairments. The upshot: There will be an EU-wide exception to copyright law to allow for the creation and dissemination of special formats of printed works, such as using braille or daisy, the European Commission said in a written statement.

ECJ — COURT EXPANDS EU RESIDENCE RIGHTS OF NON-EU PARENTS OF EU CITIZENS: Going against U.K. and Dutch policy, and signaling how complicated Brexit residency negotiations will become, the EU’s top court said a non-EU citizen who is a parent of a child with EU citizenship cannot be denied residence rights simply because the other parent is available to look after the child on EU soil. Judgment summary here. Full opinion of the advocate general here.

The FT reports: “The original case was brought on behalf of eight women, from countries including Venezuela and Suriname, who had children fathered by Dutch men. Although the children had been acknowledged by their fathers, in most cases they had little or no support from them … none of the eight women had a right to reside in the Netherlands.”

ECJ — COURT RULES AGAINST COMMISSION ON STOP TTIP PETITION: The General Court of the European Union on Wednesday afternoon annulled the Commission’s decision to dismiss a European citizens’ initiative calling for an end to TTIP talks, arguing not registering a petition because talks are ongoing did not stand up. Read more here, for POLITICO Pro Trade subscribers.

COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS PLENARY SESSION: Top EU guest speakers will be Antonio Tajani, Jyrki Katainen and Günther Oettinger on the 2018 EU budget, which is due to be presented later this month. On Friday, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström, president of the Congress of the Council of Europe, will debate with members. Full agenda here.

AUSTRIA — UPHEAVAL IN GOVERNMENT AS VICE CHANCELLOR QUITS: Austria’s Reinhold Mitterlehner quit as vice chancellor, economy minister and chief of his center-right party ÖVP, the junior partner in Austria’s Social Democrat-led government, headed by Chancellor Christian Kern. Now there are fears the government will collapse, and that could mark a crucial first step in ushering the far-right Freedom Party into power. Matthew Karnitschnig explains.

Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s 30-year old foreign minister, is expected to be voted new ÖVP leader.

Killing Mitterlehner with good manners: After a year-long feeding frenzy during which party colleagues and opponents alike attacked Mitterlehner over his performance, once the bloodlust was satisfied by his resignation Wednesday, no one had a bad word to say. “It’s just all so Austrian,” sighed Playbook’s source.

PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW — ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: The former NATO secretary general talked about why he was happy to go into business the day after leaving NATO, how he changed his mind on U.S. President Donald Trump and why he thinks the EU needs to clamp down on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Nord Stream gas pipeline. He’s also got advice for how European leaders should handle difficult populist parties. Full interview here.

Top takeaways: The EU should extend Russian sanctions by 12 months and include businesses and individuals that participated in the seizure of Ukrainian-owned companies, Rasmussen said. And Trump’s not so bad now that he has appointed Rex Tillerson and James Mattis and dropped bombs in the Middle East.

EU SET TO EXTEND RUSSIA SANCTIONS: EU leaders must decide at their June summit whether to maintain the measures. Jacopo Barigazzi reports on the state of play.

GERMANY — SCHULZ EFFECT MAY FAIL A THIRD TIME SUNDAY: Martin Schulz’s political honeymoon will be over this weekend if he can’t help his SPD party keep control in the regional election for Germany’s most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia. Janosch Delcker reports on the SPD leader’s efforts to win, and what Angela Merkel’s CDU is doing to prevent that from happening.

HUNGARY — YOUTH PUSH TO BREAK THE ORBÁN GRIP: Based mainly in Budapest and organized via social media, Hungary’s first sustained protest movement in years is free from the constraints of traditional party politics. That’s helped it kill the 2024 Budapest Olympics bid but imposes a potential ceiling on the movement. Unable to worship heroes from the post-Soviet era of social change (chief among them Viktor Orbán, the man the current generation is protesting against) they reach for the ideals of the 1848 revolution instead, Lili Bayer explains.

**A message from the European Business Summit: Trade and investment liberalization is a key competitiveness driver for businesses. But as the US moves closer to protectionism and Asia takes a more prominent role in the international trade market, Europe needs to adapt to this new world order. The future EU27 will need a new geopolitical and trade strategy. How can policy-makers strategically coordinate now in establishing a European economic diplomacy to generate new market opportunities for businesses? Join the debate with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on 22 May at the European Business Summit!


As Team Macron tries to build a government, three camps seem to be giving him divergent advice about how to handle key partner Germany and EU integration, according to Playbook’s sources. There is a further cast of players on the fringes, including high-level EU officials, who worry the Macron bubble is going to burst nastily. One of the few opinions shared widely in this cacophony of voices: Macron needs to avoid the handcuffs of a conservative parliamentary majority (45 percent voted for conservative candidates in the first round of the presidential race) to succeed with reforms.

A sketch of the camps …

Fiscal orthodox: This camp is populated by those with orthodox economic views that amount to: “Do what the Germans say, keep heads down until we have some reforms to show.” It’s the camp represented by Sylvie Goulard.

Get tough with Germany: This camp argues Germany needs to move in France’s direction, and Macron ought to call Berlin’s bluff and refuse to respect the fiscal stability pact, knowing Berlin won’t get a more cooperative French government if Macron’s presidency fails. The camp is represented by Laurence Boone and Shahin Vallée.

The wise owl realist camp: This camp urges Macron and his advisers not to misinterpret his victory as a public mandate for bold steps towards European federalism such as creating an EU treasury and finance minister. “You’re an accidental president, the French people have not suddenly adopted EU federalist views,” they argue in substance. These people voted against Marine Le Pen, not in favor of a eurozone finance minister with powers to order Paris to change its national budget, and Macron needs to let France’s wheels catch up with its engine. This group is represented among others by former Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine.

MACRON ADVISER IN BRUSSELS: Jean Pisani-Ferry, Macron’s chief ideas developer, will discuss the impact of Macron’s election with Guntram Wolff and the FT’s Tony Barber at Bruegel. Livestream from 1 p.m.

MACRON’S WAY OR THE HIGHWAY: Pierre Briançon reports the negative reaction from Macron’s team to former Prime Minister Manuel Valls and former Minister Bruno Lemaire wanting to join En Marche is proof the president-elect means business when it comes to reforming France.

UK ELECTION — TORIES TARGET BLAIR COUNTRY: Dehenna Davison is conservative and 23, born the year Tony Blair took over the leadership of the U.K. Labour Party. Now she wants the parliamentary seat Blair held for 24 years and Labour for 86. The fact she could win is a sign of how much British politics has changed since Blair left office, reports Tom McTague.

UK ELECTION — LABOUR’S POLICY MANIFESTO LEAKED: A major energy, rail and postal re-nationalization program and plans to abolish university tuition fees will be in the Labour Party manifesto, according to reports Wednesday.


MAY APPOINTS PETER HILL NEW PRINCIPAL PRIVATE SECRETARY: Hill worked under Peter Mandelson at the European Commission. As May’s most senior civil servant inside Number 10, he replaces Simon Case, now the director general for the U.K.-EU partnership for the U.K. in Brussels.

UK WILL NEED TO EAT MORE FISH IF IT WANTS TO TAKE BACK CONTROL: Unless the Brits suddenly develop an appetite for fish, they will find themselves playing a weak hand in talks on a post-Brexit deal on fisheries, writes Kait Bolongaro.

TRUMP WORLD — GREAT DEALS ARE MADE IN CHINA: Why are Trump family businesses doing so many deals in China right now? Jill Abramson in the New York Times.


AWARDED: François Hollande will award Belgian federal prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw the Légion d’Honneur for his work in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris and Brussels, reported RTBF.

APPOINTED: Leanda Barrington-Leach, from Cambre Associates, has been appointed strategic communications coordinator at the European External Action Service.