19-07-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 19-07-2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

EU’s take on a successful Greek return to bond markets

Greece’s imminent return to markets will be a step towards a successful exit from its eurozone-funded bailout program, but it will not be an overnight change.


Defense minister not to face committee until September

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos will appear before Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee in September to answer MPs’ questions about his conversations with convict Makis Yiannousakis, the owner of the Noor 1 cargo ship involved in a major heroin smuggling operation in 2014.


Turkish warnings for helicopters carrying Greek president on island tour

The military helicopters transporting Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on his tour of Aegean islands on Tuesday suffered radio interference from Turkey.


West Nile Virus case confirmed in Greece

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) said that the first case of the West Nile Virus has been confirmed in Greece this year. The watchdog said that no cases of the virus in humans had been recorded in 2015 and 2016.


Fewer credit cards, higher annual spending per card, according to Bank of Greece

Bank of Greece (BoG) figures this week showed that the number of credit cards issued by Greek banks dropped to 2.6 million in 2016, down by roughly 100,000 compared with the previous year and by 300,000 compared to 2014.


Modiano market sale completed by Greek privatization fund

Greece’s privatization fund (HRADF) on Tuesday afternoon announced that the sale of the landmark Modiano enclosed market in the northern port city of Thessaloniki has been completed, with One Outlet S.A. purchasing 43.63 percent of the  property’s indivisible ownership.


Trainose sale to happen next week, OLTH to wait

Next week will likely see the conclusion of the sale of railway service operator Trainose, while the contract for the sale of 67 percent of Thessaloniki Port Authority (OLTH) has been put off until September.


ATHEX: Benchmark comes off high

As signs had shown on Monday, stocks on the Greek bourse confirmed on Tuesday that they have run out of steam – at least for the short term – suffering sizeable losses as the benchmark fell from a 28-month high. The quality of the drop points to it being more than a mere correction after the recent gains.







KATHIMERINI: The government is reaping whirlwinds

TA NEA: The government is following a divisive strategy. Opposition parties lash out against the government for the accusations and the attempted interventions in the justice system

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Businessmen refuse to pay anything but they make demands nevertheless! Owner of Star TV Channel Vardinogiannis attacks ministers on the issue of TV broadcasting licenses

AVGI: Look who is talking about the manipulation of the justice system

RIZOSPASTIS: Battle to the last moment for tomorrow’s national strike

KONTRA NEWS: The Germans now want to build us hotels and medical centers

DIMOKRATIA: The Turks threatened the President of the Hellenic Republic

NAFTEMPORIKI: Vandalism of stores in the center of Athens is a hit at the heart of commerce

CARTOON DU JOUR: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker compares European Parliament in session and on holiday, courtesy of Agence Europe.

BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS DAY 3: It’s more of the same: working groups will meet today to discuss citizens’ rights, financial settlement and other separation issues. For Day 2 wrap, see below.


The European Commission is moving into contingency planning mode as it debates the rapidly evolving situation in Poland this morning.

This cautious approach by an angry but essentially impotent Brussels means EU funds to Poland won’t be cut off and avoids the ‘nuclear option’ of stripping Poland’s voting rights in the Council, and may come to be justified by an unexpected display of political defiance by Polish President Andrzej Duda.

On Tuesday, Duda bucked his political patron Jarosław Kaczyński by suggesting counter-proposals and a willingness to block the government’s current effort to bring the judiciary under its control.

Commissioners from the European People’s Party will caucus before the wider Commission meeting, according to Playbook’s sources, amid growing pressure inside the EPP from its Polish party Civic Platform, whose members are angry at the lenient treatment of both the Polish and Hungarian governments over rule of law concerns.

A senior European diplomat admitted to Playbook the extent of concern among national governments: “Now nobody can say that rule of law is still valid,” the diplomat said, adding: “The problem remains: how to deal with the issue without creating deep division?” Full details on Playbook Plus blog.

**A message from Aviva: Yesterday the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance presented its initial recommendations on how to make Europe’s financial system more sustainable. Missed it? Read on to see how better disclosure on ESG issues will be crucial — and how #sustainability league tables for companies will help.**

COMMISSION COLLEGE TODAY — POLAND, HYBRID THREATS AND DIVERSITY: Besides Poland, commissioners will discuss a progress report on “hybrid threats” the EU faces and diversity and gender equality among the Commission’s 33,000 staffers.

Gender equality and diversity: The two things to look out for in today’s report concern promotions for women and a new approach for including LGBT staff at the Commission. European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger must today explain what he’ll do regarding the threat by his predecessor Kristalina Georgieva to freeze promotions and appointments for men if not enough top- and middle-level Commission jobs go to women.

The Commission wants to make sure overall at least 40 percent of its top staffers are women by 2019, but has for years made slow progress on the issue. Oettinger has consulted widely on the strategy — a matter of pride for his staff, who have worked to overcome suspicions regarding the commissioner’s approach to diversity issues.

What you won’t see in the diversity report: References to race and ethnic diversity. The Commission follows the French and Belgian model of not collecting data on race. Thus while the Commission issues detailed instructions for what national governments must do to include Roma, Europe’s largest ethnic minority, it doesn’t know the status of its own Roma inclusion (nor, for that matter how it’s doing including people of color).

COUNCIL — EMPLOYMENT, SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND  EQUALITY MINISTERS MEET IN TALLINN: Speaking of gender issues, ministers will today sign a declaration on gender equality and on Thursday discuss men’s roles in caring for children and other dependents. The main theme of the meeting will be work-life balance. In addition to Estonian ministers, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility Marianne Thyssen, Luca Visentini of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and Maxime Cerutti, social affairs director in BusinessEurope, headline the event.

COUNCIL — THERESA MAY AND ESTONIAN JÜRI RATAS MEETING: “The prime minister said we are leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe and we are determined to maintain close friendships with our allies like Estonia,” said a Downing Street spokesperson. “Noting that the U.K. and Estonia both meet the NATO 2 percent spending commitment, both leaders agreed that our defense relationship is particularly strong, with 800 British troops deployed in Estonia.”

EUROPOL — RACE IS ON TO REPLACE UK’S ROB WAINWRIGHT: Though the post of executive director at Europol is not listed as vacant on the Hague-based organization’s website, the Dutch government announced in a written statement Tuesday that Wil van Gemert, the current deputy executive director at Europol’s Operations Department, is the Dutch candidate to replace Rob Wainwright, the organization’s current British chief.

EIB — A TOUR OF €12 BILLION IN NEW INVESTMENTS: The EU’s long-term lending institution approved new financing for 63 projects Tuesday. The most interesting include: €1.5 billion for the new Line 15 of the Paris Metro, €500 million for Bangalore metro in India, support for mobile banking in Ethiopia and €506 million on new research and development for next generation animal health treatment in France and automotive glass manufacturing in Morocco.

EU’S FRANCO-GERMAN MOTOR: 5 AREAS OF DISAGREEMENT. Nicholas Vinocur writes that while Paris and Berlin seem like the best of friends of late, there are still plenty of topics on which they disagree. Exhibit A: French President Emmanuel Macron, like U.S. President Donald Trump, isn’t a fan of Germany’s trade and current account surplus. Exhibit B: Speaking of topics on which Macron and Trump align, the French president is also not happy about German defense spending, or lack thereof. Read the rest here.


UK to reject EU demand for Brexit bill estimate: U.K. negotiators aren’t planning to present their own estimate of financial obligations owed to the EU upon Brexit during this week’s round of negotiations. David Davis had told the House of Lords EU committee last week that British officials had been engaged in interrogating the EU’s position on the so-called Brexit bill “on a line by line, almost word by word basis.” There is a consensus among EU negotiators the Brexit bill should be at least €65 billion, based on the U.K.’s share of the EU’s common budget which has already been planned for up to 2020.

UK and EU broach thorny issue of post-Brexit trade rules: Brussels and London have started talks on the complex issue of how they will trade globally once they are separate entities within the World Trade Organization, EU officials said Tuesday. Officially, trade relations are not on the agenda but both parties stand to suffer if they can’t agree on their WTO obligation quickly. The goal is to agree on a joint U.K.-EU proposal on WTO “schedules” (a kind of passport for the international trade system) by fall, reports Hans von der Burchard. Such an agreement would help ensure the remaining members of the 164-country WTO approve the U.K.’s post-Brexit trading rights.

EU Ambassador to the US David O’Sullivan on 50 ways to leave your lover, and the EU: POLITICO’s Katy O’Donnell reports O’Sullivan said in at a panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute that Brexit negotiations are “actually not that difficult — I mean, you essentially airbrush the U.K. out of the European treaties.” It’s the next part, he said, that will be hard: “Every day, frankly, in the course of going through this, our teams discover a further complexity that needs to be, one way or another, sorted out.”

O’Sullivan insisted: “There is nothing punitive in the approach of the European Union to this process. This is not something that the EU is doing to the U.K., this is something that the U.K. has chosen to do to itself and to the rest of the EU.” Britain’s desire for a hard Brexit “is going to take many, many years to negotiate.” O’Sullivan noted the recent trade agreement with Canada took “nearly eight years.”

31 British aristocrats to vote in a new lord and debate Brexit: Buzzfeed has the story.

SOFT POWER — FRANCE TAKES THE CAKE OVER US IN NEW REPORT: The Soft Power 30, published by PR firm Portland Communications, ranks countries on their ability to influence others through attraction and likeability rather than coercion. The United States, which topped the ranking last year, fell to third place after Donald Trump was elected president. Other top Europeans: the U.K. in second place and Germany in fourth.

DIPLOMACY — WHERE IS THE EU IN NORTH KOREA? Foreign affairs website Bruxelles 2 writes the EU, which has no embassy in Pyongyang, can be represented by a rotating presidency of one of the seven EU national embassies there: Germany, U.K., Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Sweden or the Czech Republic.

TRADE — REPORT ON COMMISSION’S LATEST NEGOTIATIONS WITH MEXICO: Documents are here, more details for POLITICO Pro Trade, Agriculture and Food and Financial Services subscribers here.

HUNGARY — RUSSIAN SPOOKS RETURN TO BUDAPEST, ANGERING NATO: Officials from allied countries say Russia increasingly sees Hungary as an operational backdoor into Europe, but the Hungarian government insists it has no special relationship with Moscow, reports Lili Bayer.

UK — THE PRIME MINISTER’S MR. NICE GUY: Gavin Barwell, the prime minister’s chief of staff, has to defy the odds and keep Theresa May in Downing Street. As a popular former MP, he is uniquely positioned to achieve that. “Barwell was cheered by backbench Tory MPs when he was introduced at May’s first meeting with her party after the election,” reports Annabelle Dickson.

UK — JOHNSON AND DAVIS CONTINUE LEADERSHIP PLOTTING BY ANY OTHER NAME: Boris Johnson is doing little to dampen speculation he is destabilizing PM May, courting the 2017 intake of Conservative MPs with a drinks reception. Such events are normal for cabinet ministers, one cautious newbie MP told POLITICO’s Annabelle Dickson. And in fact, Brexit secretary David Davis was the first to wine and dine the group. One veteran Tory MP told POLITICO Johnson had spent an earlier summer drinks party – the backbench 1922 committee shindig — desperately trying to remember the names of colleagues as he circulated the room. Johnson told the gathering what a great job May was doing and that ministers must get on with the job.

UK — INTELLIGENCE AGENCY GCHQ REPORTS RUSSIAN HACKING ON ELECTION: The report says “state-sponsored hostile threat actors” were responsible for the cyberattack, which may also have targeted water companies and the manufacturing industry, write Robert Mendick, Cara McGoogan and Ben Farmer.

FRANCE — MÉLENCHON LATEST CAUGHT UP IN PARLIAMENTARY EXPENSES INVESTIGATION: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the radical left French former presidential candidate and MP for the city of Marseille, is under investigation for misusing parliamentary funds to hire political staffers while he was an MEP. His team back in 2014 told French website Médiapart it was totally normal for him to combine his parliamentary work with more political activities. With François Fillon and Marine Le Pen, Mélenchon is now the third French presidential candidate under investigation.

FRANCE — CRUNCH TIME FOR MACRON: Le Monde reports Macron’s planned public spending cuts have created the first tensions between the president and the military, research officials and local authorities.


SEPARATISTS DECLARE NEW STATE OF ‘LITTLE RUSSIA’: Pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine have declared a new state: Malorossiya (Little Russia). In Russian here, the Washington Post story in English here.

UKRAINE CORRUPTION COURT BACKSLIDING: The EU no longer wants Ukraine to establish a specialized anti-corruption court, which Brussels and the U.S. had called for until last week. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko seems to have instead persuaded Brussels that an “anti-corruption panel” within the supreme court would do. Transparency International complains the new system lacks the independence of a separate court and is out of step with the view of major NGOs in Ukraine.


New Trump-Putin meeting disclosed: Trump held a second, previously undisclosed hour-long meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a dinner for G20 leaders. Halfway through the meal, Trump left his seat to sit next to Putin. Trump was alone, and Putin joined only by his official interpreter. After reports of the meeting emerged overnight, Trump responded on Twitter by claiming media outlets are “becoming more and more dishonest” in their White House coverage.

New plan to repeal but not replace Obamacare fails: Unhappy Republican senators have now pulled the plug on a Republic health care bill and a simple plan to repeal Obamacare in the space of two days. Trump responded by saying he would let the current system fail and would not “own it” when (if) it did. He perhaps forgot Republicans now control all levels of government and the Supreme Court.

Unfit in office: The president who loves to spend his time physically appraising others has virtually no interest in his own physical fitness.

New Russian ambassador: The White House announced it planned to nominate former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a one-time Trump campaign critic, as the ambassador to Russia.


EMBASSY ANGST: The United States government is scrambling to keep its new embassy on track after the Brussels government warned it may block plans to demolish a modernist building the U.S hoped to buy and replace. Both L’Echo and Tijd report negotiations have reached a near-impasse.

THE EX-FILES: Former head of France’s Socialist Party and ex-EU Affairs Minister Harlem Désir was appointed as the special representative on freedom of the media at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

REPLACEMENT: Former Maltese Nationalist Party MP Francis Zammit Dimech replaces Therese Comodini Cachia as an MEP. Comodini Cachia left European Parliament in June for the Maltese Parliament.