20-06-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 20-06-2017

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Greek and Turkish PMs discuss the issues dividing the two countries

Seeking to contain a recent escalation of tensions in the Aegean, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim agreed to keep the lines of communication between Athens and Ankara open.


Minister under fire over leaked call with convict

Greece’s left-led government has come under fire from the opposition in the wake of reports and leaked audio of an alleged telephone conversation between Defense Minister Panos Kammenos and Makis Yiannousakis, a former shipowner who is currently serving life in prison in connection with the Noor 1 heroin smuggling case.


Regling: Greece foray into markets this year or 2018 if reform program continues

European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Managing Director Klaus Regling on Monday said it was likely that currently bailout-dependent Greece may return to the markets for its borrowing needs this year or 2018, “if its reform program continues with success”.


Greek state must boost indirect tax collection yearly in order to meet fiscal targets through 2022

Meeting an ambitious and memorandum-mandated 3.5-percent primary budget surplus target until 2022, which the Greek government recommitted to during last week’s Eurogroup meeting, will require a yearly increase in revenues flowing into state coffers from indirect taxes that reach an extra 3.5 billion euros in 2022 from the current annual collection.


Greek industrial index improved in April, yoy

The industrial turnover index shot up in Greece in April 2017, posting a 10.7-percent increase on an annual basis. The same figure for April 2016 was a negative 13.9 percent, the Greek statistics bureau (EL.STAT) announced.


Long-term unemployed in Greece nears 780K

The number of long-term unemployed continued to hover at very high levels in recession-battered Greece, recent figures show, despite a gradual decrease in the number of people considered as out of the job market in recent years.


Jetoil passed to firm partly controlled by Rosneft

The plan to save fuel firm Jetoil, of the Mamidakis group, has survived delays and disagreements, and appears to be back on track, paving the way for entry in the local fuel market of a new player with access to cheap Russian oil.


Banks set to increase issue of loans to more than 10 bln euros

Banks are planning for new loan issues adding up to over 10 billion euros within the year, mainly to enterprises, provided of course that estimates for an improvement in the economic environment are confirmed.


ATHEX: PPC stock falls but the bourse continues its price growth

The growth trend is continuing at the Athens Exchange, as Greek stock prices are going from strength to strength and the benchmark has returned to pre-capital controls levels for good. The bourse shook off the collapse of Public Power Corporation’s share price on Monday upon the listing of grid operator ADMIE, to rise above 820 points.







KATHIMERINI: Drug trafficking inside the University of Aristotle in Thessaloniki spirals out of control

TA NEA: Alter by international banking institutions: Markets are not delusional

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Vested interests splash in the waters of ‘Noor 1’

AVGI: Planet of migrants

RIZOSPASTIS: The nationwide protest at the NATO HQ in Thessaloniki will take place on Saturday

KONTRA NEWS: 1 million Euros for the reinforcement of unpaid workers

DIMOKRATIA: “Overlord” Yildirim in delirium

NAFTEMPORIKI: The preemptive funding line is under discussion again

Playbook breakfast with Cecilia Malmström: Playbook today interviews Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for trade and one of the faces of EU hard power. The event is full, but you can catch the livestream here from 8 a.m. Brussels time.

World Refugee Day: Socialist and Green leaders in the European Parliament want national leaders to finish their work on reform to the EU’s asylum system amid warnings from NGOs like the Red Cross that the EU’s migration pacts prioritize border control over refugee protection.

EU STAFF KILLED IN MALI: Federica Mogherini, the EU’s chief diplomat, confirmed the deaths of two staffers, a Portuguese soldier and Malian civilian, in the city of Kongaba over the weekend after a hostage situation in a hotel.

COUNCIL — EU AGENCY LOCATION DEBATE AT GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Ministers will vote on which criteria will be applied to choosing where to move the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority, currently based in the U.K., after Brexit. The Commission will make recommendations about possible locations by the end of September. Some fear Berlin and France have already done a deal whereby the banking authority moves to Frankfurt, while the medicines agency staff would stay in the U.K. for several years, before moving to an Eastern European city. Agenda here.

COUNCIL — LEADERS WILL REQUEST FOREIGN INVESTMENT SCREENING BY EU: Under pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron, national leaders will ask the European Commission to “examine ways to identify and screen investments from third countries” in strategic sectors including technology, according to the latest draft conclusions for this week’s European Council meeting, seen by POLITICO. More from Laurens Cerulus for POLITICO Pro Trade and Tech subscribers here.


COUNCIL — FOREIGN MINISTERS AGREE ON POSITIONS ON GULF CRISIS, MIGRATION, NATO: Ministers agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia by a year over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Read the conclusions here.

PARLIAMENT — GABRIEL EXPECTED TO BEAT CONTROVERSY TO SECURE COMMISSIONER POST: The most interesting thing may not even be discussed today as Mariya Gabriel seeks to become the new European commissioner from Bulgaria, filling the digital portfolio. There’s a virtual conspiracy of silence about ethics allegations made against Gabriel.

Why? The European People’s Party and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) blocs of MEPs both agree Gabriel is the right person for the job. The Commission badly wants to fill its empty chair. Gabriel is both well-liked and well-connected to figures like EPP President Joseph Daul. Many doubt a clean alternative Bulgarian candidate could be found, given the other EPP Bulgarian rising star, Eva Maydell, is 31 and about to take a maternity leave. So it is in few people’s interests to ask hard questions about how Gabriel allegedly benefitted from an undeclared, massively discounted apartment in Sofia until the week of her nomination as commissioner.

What did Gabriel do? She rented a 128-square-meter apartment in a luxury building in an upscale neighborhood in Sofia for just over €200 a month (allegedly a discount of at least 67 percent) for several years and failed to declare it as a financial interest, though she remembered to list shared access to a family car. According to Bivol, a Bulgarian investigative magazine, she was still paying the electricity bill this May. Gabriel says she simply wanted a place to store her belongings.

Have MEPs even discussed the issue? Yes, for about two minutes at the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs on June 12. They accepted Gabriel’s commitment to follow Commission rules, according to POLITICO’s sources.

What to expect today: The EPP will not ask Gabriel about the real estate issue, but the Greens may.

The problem is bigger than Gabriel: The issues with Gabriel’s declarations remind Playbook once again of the deficiencies of the MEP financial self-declaration system, which isn’t subject to independent verification. Declarations are available as PDF documents, often completed by hand and not machine-readable and are loaded in any of the EU’s 24 languages onto MEPs’ individual websites. There is no single database that can be searched. It’s not exactly best practice accountability.


Trade: MEPs will vote on upgraded trade defense measures that would block countries from dumping products even if they have market economy status. MEPs will also vote on measures to boost trade between the EU and Ukraine, before hearing from Roberto Azevêdo, the World Trade Organization’s director-general.

International relations: Turkey is on the agenda of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, specifically whether recent changes to the country’s constitution mean accession talks should be halted. MEPs will then vote on a new cooperation agreement between the EU and Cuba, which Parliament must consent to before it comes into force. The vote comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump rolled back some of his predecessor’s measures to boost relations with Cuba.

PODCAST DU JOUR: POLITICO’s Pierre Briançon and Nicholas Vinocur discuss whether Macron is still on track to reform France. Listen here (in French).

** You’re invited: Join us on July 11 in Brussels for POLITICO’s event “Modern Farming in Europe: unlocking the potential of farming 4.0.” Presented by Bayer, the event will discuss on how to grasp opportunities offered by smart farming while giving the appropriate tools and solutions to farmers to ensure sustainable and competitive Agriculture. It will start with an interview of Jyrki Katainen, European Commission vice president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, followed by a panel discussion. More information and registration here. **

ECHR — JUDGEMENT TODAY ON RUSSIA’S ‘GAY PROPAGANDA’ LAW: The European Court of Human Rights judgment on the case known as “Beyev and others v Russia” involving Moscow’s infamous propaganda law is set to be published here this morning.


The EU and U.K. on Monday began historic talks on Britain’s exit from the bloc. Here’s the wash-up …

NEXT: The U.K. will publish its detailed demands next Monday. Every issue is to be agreed “as soon as possible,” according to the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. The EU and U.K. will move to discussing their future relationship if the Council agrees there has been “sufficient progress” in divorce talks. That’s a victory for the EU side: it will be divorce first, future relationship next, despite U.K. hopes a trade pact could be negotiated alongside the exit deal.

AGREED: Dates, order and priorities. The EU and U.K. will negotiate for one week every month. Working groups will form on citizens’ rights, financial settlements and “other issues.” Katrina Williams (U.K.) and Sabine Weyand (EU) will take charge of Irish border plans, which British Brexit Secretary David Davis said took up more time than any other issue on the first day of the talks.

OPEN: Davis said both sides want this to be the most transparent negotiation “in modern history.” Tough standards to live up to.

HARD: Davis reinforced the U.K. will not be staying within the single market or customs union.

QUOTABLE: “We want to make sure the withdrawal of the U.K. happens in an orderly way,” said Barnier, arguing a deal was far better than no deal.

Davis described the talks as “very productive,” saying “it was clear from the opening that both of us want to achieve the best possible outcome … We stand a much greater chance of success if our teams work together.”

GIFT GAME — GET READY FOR HIKING BREXIT: Barnier received a mountaineering book and gave Davis a walking stick. Cue elegantly deniable crutch metaphors. Barnier: 1, Davis: 0.

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 — The number of officials in the room.

HOMOGENOUS: No diversity award for the Brexit teams.

REACTION ELSEWHERE: Watch the Dutch explain the work behind Brexit to their people (in English). The European Central Bank said Monday it is preparing for a hard Brexit, Fiona Maxwell Maxwell reports for POLITICO Pro Financial Services subscribers.

UK — HAMMOND TO DELIVER RECONVENED MANSION HOUSE SPEECH: Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s speech will take place alongside one from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney at 9 p.m. Brussels time tonight. Watch out for Hammond to make a subtle pitch to replace British PM Theresa May.

UK — MAY BRANDS ATTACK NEAR MOSQUE SICKENING: The British PM said there had been too much tolerance of extremism — including Islamophobia — in the U.K. European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans also reacted strongly (video here).

UK — THE TOXIC CULTURE IN DOWNING STREET BEFORE ELECTION: Top read from the Times’ Oliver Wright, Francis Elliott and Bruno Waterfield on allegations staff were bullied and harassed by the joint prime ministerial chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. According to the Times, Hill banned former UKREPer Helen Bower, May’s spokeswoman at the time, from joining May’s first trip to meet Donald Trump.

Opinion: Owen Jones argues the callousness of Theresa May’s government started right at the top.

PORTUGAL — EMBRACE OF EUCALYPTUS BEHIND DEADLY WILDFIRE: With at least 63 people dead and 3,000 firefighters battling a wildfire on several fronts, many believe Portugal’s embrace of eucalyptus is in part responsible. The eucalyptus, an Australian native plant, has been used in reforestation and to prevent erosion and covers over 900,000 hectares, a quarter of total forest land. But the leaves and bark of the tree are flammable. Paul Ames on Portugal’s killer forest.

FRANCE — MACRON’S REAL BATTLE STARTS NOW: Having spent six weeks making a name for himself on the global scene and having won a big majority in Sunday’s legislative elections, President Emmanuel Macron now has to move fast to ensure France regains its position as a European leader. POLITICO’s Nicholas Vinocur identifies the five key reforms Macron has to put in place in order to be remembered as a great reformer rather than just a slick PR man.

Ferrand to lead En Marche MPs: Cabinet Minister Richard Ferrand, who has been accused of dubious financial dealings, agreed to resign from government to lead the parliamentary group of Macron’s party.

GERMANY — SCHULZ PLANS A TAX HIKE: Martin Schulz, leader of Germany’s Social Democrats and candidate for chancellor, said he plans to tax the rich more and low-income earners less.

NORWAY — SNOW CRAB CLASH: This year, Norway seized one EU vessel and expelled several others from its waters off its remote Svalbard islands above the Arctic Circle, and insisted the European Commission has no right to issue fishing licenses there. Brussels and Oslo say the issue is the right to harvest snow crabs. In reality, it’s more likely a proxy fight for an even more valuable prize: oil. Kait Bolongaro has the story.

BELGIUM — SAVE OUR FRITES! Belgian national politicians and MEPs are worried the EU may crack down on a carcinogenic substance called acrylamide, which is produced during the heating of fries and other products, and ruin an important part of the country’s frites culture.

BELGIUM — CENTRISTS DITCH SOCIALISTS: The centrist Democratic Humanist Center (cdH) party has ditched its coalition partner, the French-speaking Belgian Socialist Party (PS), in Wallonia’s, Wallonia-Brussels Federation’s and Brussels’ governments. The move came after the Mayor of Brussels Ivan Mayeur resigned two weeks ago over reports he had received payments from an organization that helps the homeless. Elio Di Rupo, former Belgian prime minister and PS leader, described the cdH’s move as “a betrayal.”


BRANDED: A new book by Stavros Papagianneas argues the EU fails to deliver when it comes to communication at national, regional, European and global level.