19-06-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 19-06-2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

Turkish PM Yildirim in Athens

Beginning an official visit to Athens on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim underlined the importance of good neighborly relations as did his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in a televised exchange before private talks.


Summer calm before the storm

Even though Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed last week’s Eurogroup deal as step in the right direction, Greece still has many rivers to cross as the agreement secured in Luxembourg fell far short of the goals set by the government.


Mitsotakis: Tsipras failed, nothing gained with debt issue, QE

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece’s foray into the markets for its borrowing needs – after the current bailout ends in August 2018 – first necessitated a re-inclusion of Greek bonds in the ECB’s Quantitative Easing (QE) stimulus program.


ECB, market sentiment next benchmarks for Greek economy’s exit course from crisis

Prospects of a full economic recovery for bailout-dependent Greece now shift to the European Central Bank (ECB) and markets’ sentiment, with the former tasked with determining if Greek bonds will be re-included in its Quantitative Easing (QE) stimulus program and the latter – in absolutely realistic terms – gauging the country’s credit-worthiness.


Greece blocks EU statement on China human rights at UN

Greece has blocked a European Union statement at the United Nations criticizing China’s human rights record, a decision EU diplomats said undermined efforts to confront Beijing’s crackdown on activists and dissidents.


Multi-faceted plan to clean up Menidi

In a joint press conference on Friday, five ministers heralded a comprehensive plan aimed at cracking down on crime in Menidi, northwestern Athens, where an 11-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet last week, and improving the education and social integration of the area’s significant Roma population.


RAE sounds out investors to implement power linkup with Crete

The Regulatory Authority for Energy has begun scanning the market for the concession of the project to connect the power supply of Hania and the rest of Crete with Greece’s main grid to another investor in case the Independent Power Transmission Operator (ADMIE) proves unable to meet the timetables set.


Greek bond yields drop to lowest since 2014

Greece’s short-dated government bond yields fell to their lowest since 2014 on Friday after eurozone governments threw Athens a credit lifeline worth 8.5 billion euros and sketched out new details on possible debt relief.


ATHEX: Enthusiasm contained on local bourse

The Greek stock market greeted the release of the 8.5-billion-euro bailout tranche by sending the benchmark to a new two-year high on Friday.








KATHIMERINI: New rendezvous in the summer of 2018

TO VIMA: The tight framework and the window of opportunity

REAL NEWS: Strict message by the PM to his ministers: “There are no excuses any more”

PROTO THEMA: What kind of deal did the government achieve?

AVGI: The backstage events of Brussels and Athens’ prospects

RIZOSPASTIS: The Greek people faces a never-ending road of sacrifices


TA NEA: Tsipras is apologetic after celebrating the Eurogroup’s outcome

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Dirty game with the handling of waste

KONTRA NEWS: Banks experience heart-attack due to the confiscation of bank accounts

DIMOKRATIA: Vicious hunt of real estate owners

NAFTEMPORIKI: The target for revenues from indirect taxes exceeds 30 billion Euros

A vehicle mowed down pedestrians, killing one and sending eight to hospital in north London overnight. The Muslim Council of Britain said on Twitter those hit were worshippers leaving a mosque and called the incident a “terror attack.” Follow the story as it develops here.

A bonus episode of Playbook’s new podcast series, EU Confidential, including an interview with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, is out now. Brexit looms as Solberg explains what it’s like to absorb EU rules with little say and how Brexit disrupts Norwegian businesses. Listen here.

PARLIAMENT — MARIYA GABRIEL LINKED TO SUBSIDIZED APARTMENT UNTIL MAY 2017: The Bulgarian investigative website Bivol has more.

COUNCIL — FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS MEET TODAY: Environment ministers will discuss their Paris climate agreement emissions commitments. Foreign affairs ministers are in Luxembourg with a packed agenda: from sparring Gulf countries to migration, counter-terrorism and the EU-NATO relationship.

LESSONS FROM HELMUT KOHL: The German chancellor who reunified his divided country passed away late Friday afternoon at the age of 87; he was a great European and as German as it gets, according to Rosemary Righter. Jean-Claude Juncker, whom Kohl mentored, was deeply affected, he said in a statement. EU flags at the Berlaymont flew at half mast.

How Kohl and Thatcher fell out (h/t Henry Mance). NYT on what the former German chancellor taught former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

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Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche and its junior coalition centrist party MoDem won around 350 seats in the 577 seat assembly, to the Les Républicains’ and its allies’ 137. Around 40 percent of the newly elected MPs will be women. Pierre Briançon has the full results and four takeaways from the second round vote.

Very, very low turnout: At around 42.6 percent, turnout for the parliamentary runoff hit a record low for national elections, and was barely higher than at the 2014 European ballot.

Winners: Party leaders Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen won seats. MEPs Constance Le Grip (EPP) and Louis Aliot (National Front) were also elected. Every one of the six ministers running for a seat won, meaning they won’t be forced to resign. Former special forces chief Jean-Michel Fauvergue, mathematician Cédric Villani and former Minister Stéphane Le Foll also won. Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade is the new representative for French citizens in the Benelux countries.

Limbo: Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls is facing a recount.

Losers: Former ministers Marisol Touraine, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Axelle Lemaire, Jean-Jacques Urvoas and Myriam El Khomri. National Front MEPs Sylvie Goddyn and Florian Philippot.

Aloof Macron can’t last: Pierre Briançon writes that being aloof was useful for getting a big majority in the National Assembly but questions whether Macron can keep his icy persona in place for long.


Calm before the storm: Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, went hiking in his home region of Savoy. British PM Theresa May spent Sunday evening at a village fete in her constituency. The U.K. issued an upbeat midnight message: we’re outta here!

Send in the clowns: Spin aside, the U.K. government is hobbling into Brussels today without a clear electoral mandate, as the Times editorializes. There’s no majority governing deal and May has been facing newspaper front pages that are the stuff of political nightmares. She has been notably unable to complete, let alone publish, a governing deal with the DUP.

Jam today, jam tomorrow: As Brexit talks start, the U.K.’s back is hard against a wall, and not even Brussels wanted it that way, writes David Herszenhorn. “Clearly the Brits are not ready yet and it’s a pity,” a senior Commission official told David. “Everybody has sympathy for [May] now because she put herself in an impossible situation … Where she is now, nobody can help her … It’s just hell.”

‘Shape up or ship out’: There is a plot among Conservative MPs to topple May if she can’t flip her momentum within 10 days, Tim Shipman writes. A former minister told Ben Riley-Smith: “If she weakened on Brexit, the world would fall in … all hell would break loose.”

The EU approach today: EU negotiators will be acting like a bomb disposal unit: methodical, calm, and yet on edge because the U.K. government is so unstable. Don’t forget there’ll also be boring logistics: much about the pace and rhythm of the talks is not settled.

How will talks be framed in the UK? The prime minister has barely acknowledged the unclear election result and is likely to entrench herself in a Brexit war footing whereby tough questions, scrutiny and opposition are defined as undermining the Brexit effort. The Grenfell fire fallout may affect framing. To the extent it can shape the message, the British government is putting on a brave face, saying it will “travel to Belgium confident it can achieve a bold and ambitious deal.” Brexit Secretary David Davis is expected to say: “We want both sides to emerge strong and prosperous.”

So what is the advantage of starting talks today for May? Political survival. Not starting these talks would create a political vacuum that a weakened PM may not be able to fill.

Don’t look to Labour for answers: As Buzzfeed’s Alberto Nardelli notes “Labour’s Brexit position remains confused and full of contradictions.”

Who’s who in the negotiations: POLITICO’s guide to the negotiators who will be on either side of the table. U.K. government biographies.

Insight into the UK challenge, from a former British diplomat in Brussels.

UK has appointed its top global trade negotiator: New Zealander Crawford Falconer is the new appointee. Then there’s the trade negotiator who got away.

Scale of skilled worker Brexodus takes shape: It’s big.

Just for fun: Leaked protocol agreement. Here’s Paul Dallison’s do and don’t list for each side of the negotiations.

GRENFELL TOWER FALLOUT: The Conservative-controlled (40 of the 50 councillors are Tories) local authority of Kensington and Chelsea, the wealthiest in the country, has been relieved of managing the Grenfell relief effort. A new Grenfell Fire Response Team made up of central government, police, Red Cross and fire brigades will take over. The Independent revealed the local authority had not only sent cash rebates to residents in recent years, but also stockpiled more than €300 million.

What would have made the tower safe? Possibly, adherence to existing British laws. Chancellor Philip Hammond told the BBC the cladding used on Grenfell Tower is banned on high-rises in the U.K., opening up a whole new political front.

Playbook’s construction expert source said it is impossible to keep a tower safe with no sprinklers and a single stairway, never mind the cladding. “This was a 24-storey building: That’s 70 meters high. External fire fighting equipment tops off at about 25-30 meters at best. This building had a single stair and no sprinklers. The occupants didn’t stand a chance, especially with a ridiculous stay-in-place strategy …

“No refurbishment of this building should have been permitted to occur without retrofitting sprinklers and incorporating a second stair. And that is the bare minimum. Lives would have been saved,” the source said. There should also have been a minimum 25-kiloliter water tank on the roof and a dedicated fire control room on the ground floor for the fire brigade, the source added.

3 emerging challenges for May …

Hammond rises: After canceling a widely anticipated speech in the days after the Grenfell fire, Chancellor Hammond appeared on both Andrew Marr and Robert Peston’s Sunday TV shows, in what has been interpreted by many as an embryonic leadership bid. Hammond criticized May’s general election campaign, saying the PM should have used him more and focused on the economy. Asked how long May had left in the job, he delivered the hollowest of endorsements: “Theresa is leading the government,” Hammond said. “And I think the government needs to get on with its job.”

Boris Johnson and David Davis allies have been jockeying to position their respective patrons, reports the Telegraph. Johnson and another senior minister, Michael Fallon, were photographed over beer in Kent, fueling speculation of a challenge.

May-a-culpa: Politics is cruel. Empathy is essential. Theresa May has been falling short, and the relentlessness of digital and television scrutiny exposes that fact, as this BBC News clip shows. May on Saturday admitted: “Frankly, the support on the ground for families who needed help or basic information in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough.”

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ROMANIA — SOCIAL DEMOCRATS RESIGN IN ATTEMPT TO TOPPLE OWN PM: Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu refused to step aside, even though 25 of his 26 ministers quit. Romania’s governing Social Democrats and their junior coalition partner, ALDE, have set in motion a no-confidence vote. Who’s pulling the strings? Socialist Party figurehead Liviu Dragnea. Carmen Paun has more.

LITHUANIA — LOCALS SLEEP WELL THANKS TO GERMAN TROOPS: David Stern writes that Germans are the second-favorite nationality of Lithuanians, after Latvians. The answer to why that is once again lies to the east, in Russia. “Some 650 Bundeswehr soldiers are heading up a multinational NATO infantry battalion of around 1,400 troops — part of the alliance’s ‘enhanced Forward Presence’ program. ‘They applauded us as we went through one town — that’s never happened to me before,’ said Michael, a lance corporal who for security reasons could not provide his last name.”

THE NETHERLANDS — NEW GOVERNMENT TALKS TO STRETCH UNTIL SUMMER: A deal to form government is unlikely to be struck before parliament’s summer break.

WHAT PORTUGAL IS TALKING ABOUT: At least 62 people have died in central Portugal forest fires.

ITALY — MAYOR LOST HER JOB FOR HELPING MIGRANTS: The Washington Post has the story of an Italian mayor who won an international award for helping migrants, and was ousted from her job.


IN TOWN: European ombudsmen are gathering today in Brussels for a conference.