20-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

20-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gennimata elected leader of the center-left party to be created

PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata is the winner in the runoff for the election of the head of the new center-left party, defeating rival Nikos Androulakis by a clear margin on Sunday, with officials expressing their satisfaction with the turnout once again.


Flooding death toll reaches 20

The death toll from this week’s devastating flooding in west Attica prefecture (west of Athens proper)  reached 20 on Sunday, with the recovery of a body belonging to one of three missing people.


Rouvikonas raid on Defense Ministry fuels security concerns

The latest raid by members of the increasingly active anarchist group Rouvikonas (Rubicon) on Friday targeted the premises of the Defense Ministry in northern Athens, fueling concerns about security at key government offices and provoking vehement criticism from the political opposition.


Lesvos authorities going on strike over rising migrant population

With reception centers for migrants on the Aegean islands reaching breaking point, local authorities on Lesvos go on strike on Monday to draw attention to the problem.


BoG Gov denies press claim over pool, points to systematic and libelous attacks

Bank of Greece (BoG) Gov. Yannis Stournaras on Sunday flatly denied a same-day front-page article claiming he failed to list the size of a large pool at his vacation home in a previous statement of means, an omission that would entail a criminal offense.


One fifth of Greeks covering 83 pct of annual income taxes

The left-led government’s blase response to criticism of its overtaxation of the middle class can be explained by the fact that it actually only affects a relatively small section of the population: From a total of about 8.8 million taxpayers, 80 percent, or 7.1 million, pay from zero to 100 euros per month in taxes. As for the Single Property Tax (ENFIA), four in five property owners also pay from zero to just 42 euros per month.


Foreclosures to start with big debtors’ assets

The first online foreclosures, set to start on November 29, will concern the assets of individuals or enterprises with debts of 500,000 euros or more (in some cases over 2 million euros).


ATHEX: Weekly stock losses reined in

After the major drop on Thursday, Greek stocks posted a notable recovery on Friday, covering more than half of the previous day’s loss, and on increased turnover too.








KATHIMERINI: The government is now searching for a lifejacket in the form of a large social dividend

TO VIMA: The plan for the new EU Currency Union

REAL NEWS: An alert signal regarding flood hazards for 9 regions of Attica had been issued in September

PROTO THEMA: Attica’s Regional Authority head Rena Dourou undermined the anti-flood works and is responsible for the drowning of many people

AVGI: The great tax-evasion scam

RIZOSPASTIS: The capitalistic ‘mud of growth’ drowns popular needs


ETHNOS: Fofi Gennimata elected center-left leader with a clear mandate

TA NEA: New hope for the center-left alliance

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: New Democracy leader makes contradictory statements

KONTRA NEWS: 80% of the people mentioned in the Paradise Papers are straw men

DIMOKRATIA: Policemen address the Council of State about the massacre of their salaries

NAFTEMPORIKI: The scenarios regarding the post-Memorandum era

GERMAN COALITION TALKS COLLAPSE: Germany was thrust into political disarray overnight as talks to form a new coalition government collapsed after the liberal Free Democrats walked out of negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens, saying there was no hope the parties could break their stalemate. Before the breakdown, the Social Democrats (SPD) reiterated they would not renew a so-called grand coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democrats. If the SPD doesn’t reverse course, a new election is almost inevitable.

Matthew Karnitschnig reports for POLITICO that Germany is now unlikely to have a stable government for months, crippling Berlin’s ability to make pressing decisions on everything from foreign policy to eurozone reform. The uncertainty will weaken Merkel further and looks set to strengthen the far-right Alternative for Germany. The question is, will Merkel survive?

The Brexit upshot of Germany’s drama: Merkel has bigger problems that solving Theresa May’s self-made problems. For example: May’s insistence on leaving both the EU single market and customs union has put it on a collision course with Ireland over what sort of border will exist between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, making the start of EU-U.K. trade talks less likely. (RTÉ’s Tony Connelly explains how and why Ireland raised the stakes, in close coordination with Brussels). Meanwhile the first detailed statistical analysis of how the referendum outcome has affected U.K. inflation, wages and living standards shows that if you have an average salary, you’ve already lost a week’s wages thanks to Brexit costs.


Today the EU will decide where the European Banking Authority and European Medicines Agency will move after Brexit. That will expose internal EU27 tensions, but also show the EU27 are far more advanced in their post-Brexit planning than the U.K., which has no plan yet for replacing the regulatory functions provided by the two agencies (see Alex Andreou’s Twitter thread).

How to follow the vote like a pro: Carmen Paun’s guide has you sorted. The voting system is more complex than the Eurovision song contest. Fiona Maxwell and Cat Contiguglia explain how regional voting blocs are likely to emerge and why staff might end up in a country they have little interest living in. Why does it matter? According to Petra Wilson of FTI Consulting: “Without a smooth transition, we could see very real drug delays that could have a direct impact on the health and welfare of European citizens.”

German-Greek alliance: Surprising voting alliances are emerging. For examples, Athens will vote for Frankfurt to host the European Banking Authority in return for Berlin’s backing for its bid for the European Medicines Agency, Der Spiegel reports.

Graphic explaining the voting process | POLITICO’s live blog will run from 3 p.m. today.


2018 EU BUDGET OUTCOME: After an ultra-marathon 17-hour negotiating session ending at 3:50 a.m. Saturday, the final budget allocations are closer to Council’s than Parliament’s view. The bloc will make spending commitments of €160.1 billion next year and expect to pay out about €144 billion, reports Playbook’s Quentin Ariès.

Romanian center-right MEP Siegfried Mureșan, Parliament’s budget negotiator, told Playbook the big political news from the negotiation was a cut in EU accession funding to Turkey by €105 million. “Turkey is not respecting human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, rule of law, European values and democratic standards. Today we stopped pretending we do not see this … if Turkey continues to drift away from EU standards, more money will be cut.”

Coincidence? Mureșan said: “Compared to the draft budget proposed by the Commission, we have added €105 million for research and innovation (Horizon 2020), SMEs (COSME program) and Erasmus scholarships. We have also added €116 million to combat youth unemployment and €34 million to young farmers.” There’s also €800,000 for strategic communication — that’s code for exposing Russian disinformation campaigns.

COUNCIL — YOUTH AND EDUCATION MINISTERS MEET IN BRUSSELS: Topics include the European Solidarity Corps and EU youth policies. Full agenda here.

COUNCIL — RUTTE IN BERLIN: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will meet Merkel in Berlin today for a working lunch.

COUNCIL — NEW FRENCH EU AMBASSADOR: Philippe Léglise-Costa, who starts as French ambassador today, is no stranger to Brussels or the Council of the European Union: He was Former French President François Hollande’s EU adviser and France’s deputy EU ambassador.

COMMISSION — GENDER PAY GAP ACTION PLAN: European Commissioner for Gender Equality Věra Jourová will present an action plan to tackle the average 16 percent gender pay gap in Europe, according to her team (the pension pay gap between men and women is 40 percent, Frans Timmermans said). She will also attend the EU’s annual colloquium on fundamental rights, which this year is dedicated to women’s rights. Mary Beard is the other star guest.

COMMISSION — BIG BANKS CARTEL SETTLEMENT TALKS DEVELOP: Eight of the world’s largest banks are set to discuss financial settlements with the European Commission, drawing a line under a four-year probe into allegations they formed a cartel to rig the $5.3-trillion global foreign exchange market, the FT reports. POLITICO’s Nicholas Hirst broke the news of a possible settlement in the case more than a year ago, for POLITICO Financial Services Pro subscribers.

COMMISSIONERS ON TOUR: Federica Mogherini is in Myanmar for the Asia-Europe meeting of foreign ministersJohannes Hahn is in Macedonia. Carlos Moedas is in Paris to meet Emmanuel Macron’s EU affairs adviser, Clément Beaune, and OECD Director General José Ángel Gurría. Andrus Ansip is back home in Estonia, while Elżbieta Bieńkowska is in Poland.

THE EX-FILES: François Hollande meets Jean-Claude Juncker. Meanwhile Peter Mandelson, former British commissioner and deputy prime minister and now lobbyist at Global Counsel, meets Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and appears alongside former Irish PM John Bruton at a Center for European Reform conference on Brexit.

IN TOWN: The CEOs from Suez (Jean-Louis Chaussade), L’Oréal (Jean-Paul Agon) and Deutsche Börse (Carsten Kengeter) will join Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis at an awards ceremony for CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), which rates environmental impact for large organizations and investors). Details here | Register here.

EEAS ICYMI — EU AFGHANISTAN COMPOUND ALCOHOL SMUGGLING RING CLAIMS: EU anti-fraud agency OLAF is investigating claims disused fridges and adapted gas canisters were used to sneak whisky out of the official EU-designated area in Kabul. Rajeev Syal has more in the Guardian.

DEFENSE — UK AND FRANCE BEST MILITARY BUDDIES: Tom McTague writes that the latest sign of increased cooperation between Europe’s two great military powers is a Franco-British summit in January “intended to be higher in ambition and wider in scope than previous such events.”


MARGOT WALLSTRÖM’S JOURNEY FROM VIOLENT ASSAULT TO FEMINIST FOREIGN POLICY: The New York Times profiles Swedish center-left politician Margot Wallström, a two-term former European commissioner who is now among the world’s most innovative foreign ministers.

FRANS TIMMERMANS — I WAS ABUSED AS A CHILD: Timmermans wants to encourage other victims of abuse to talk about their experiences. “The fact of sharing such a terrible thing is an enormous burden. That’s why I can imagine how difficult it is for a woman to have experienced the same things,” he told La Stampa’s Emanuele Bonini.

RESIGNATIONS CONTINUE IN US: It’s too early to tell if former comedian Al Franken will be forced to resign his Senate seat or if Alabama voters will abandon Roy Moore, but Florida’s Democratic Party chairman resigned after women complained about sexually inappropriate comments. The story, by POLITICO’s Matt Dixon and Marc Caputo.


GERMANY — THE NEW BONN IDENTITY: Bonners feared the local economy would suffer after it ceased being the capital of West Germany. But the city has shaped itself as the new global green hub, writes Kalina Oroschakoff.

ITALY — LUIGI DI MAIO DOES WASHINGTON: He could be the EU’s next 31-year-old leader, joining Austria’s Sebastian Kurz. Whether he becomes Italy’s new prime minister or not, Di Maio, the 5Star Movement’s new moderate leader, cut an intriguing figure last week in the U.S. capital, the Washington Post writes.

IRELAND — GERRY ADAMS TO RETIRE: The Sinn Féin leader led his party to peace and electoral success, but critics say he must come clean about his past, writes Ken Murray.


SLOVENIA — GROWING SCANDAL AROUND CENTRAL BANK POLITICS: Boštjan Jazbec, governor of the Bank of Slovenia, is accused of attempting to prevent audits of the bank’s action in a series of bank rescues in 2013. Whereas politicians are sometimes accused of interfering in central bank independence, Siol reports in this case it may be the central bank improperly pressuring the European Central Bank to hide crucial documents around bank stress tests and rescues from auditors and national policymakers.

POLAND — JOURNALISTS BEING HARASSED: Poland’s Society of Journalists wrote to colleagues abroad to report a series of recent incidents of harassment against media and journalists critical of Warsaw. h/t Michal Broniatowksi.

FRANCE — CASTANER ELECTED: Christophe Castaner, the French government spokesman, was elected chief executive of President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche Saturday.

FRANCE — FILLON RETIRED: Former French PM and conservative candidate for the presidency François Fillon stepped down from French politics this weekend, handing over the presidency of his movement, Force Républicaine, to fellow conservative Bruno Retailleau.



BREXIT BILL OFFER LATEST: Theresa May will meet with key Cabinet ministers today, with reports they will discuss a plan to increase the U.K.’s Brexit bill offer to Brussels closer to €40 billion. More here from the Times.

BARNIER KEYNOTE SPEECH TODAY: The Center for European Reform’s “Relaunching the EU” report by Charles Grant will be published today. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier will speak from 11:30 a.m. Brussels time for 30 minutes. After that, John Bruton, Peter Mandelson and Jean-Claude Piris will debate Brexit. Livestream here.

IRELAND TO UK: YOU’RE NOWHERE NEAR ‘SUFFICIENT PROGRESS.’ Irish PM Leo Varadkar said: “I can’t say in any honesty that it’s close — on the Irish issue or on the financial settlement.”

TECH OFFERS UK POST-BREXIT HOPE: But there’s a catch, writes Mark Scott in his weekly Digital Politics column. Big Tech has a habit of outfoxing regulators, and the U.K.’s reliance on digital revolutionaries means the industry may have the government “over a barrel.”

THE COST OF BREXIT — £7.74 A WEEK PER PERSON: A report out this morning titled “The Brexit vote, inflation and U.K. living standards,” finds higher prices and reduced growth in real wages as a result of Brexit is equivalent to a £448 cut in annual pay for the average worker — or the loss of almost a week’s wages. More from Fiona Maxwell for POLITICO Brexit Pro subscribers.

FUN READ — ‘BRITAIN TO BRUSSELS: I WISH I KNEW HOW TO QUIT EU’: French reporter Marie Le Conte visited Brussels to discover a lot of people worried about Britain … the way you worry about a friend you haven’t seen in a while who has developed a drinking problem.

OPINION — FRANKFURT CAN’T COMPETE WITH LONDON: “I fear no City Brexodus — I’ve been to Frankfurt” — Sarah Baxter on why Brexit is a chore, but ultimately places like Frankfurt are not serious competition to the lifestyle of London. More on the Times.


SUEZ, PANAMA … ISTANBUL? ERDOĞAN’S GRAND CANAL: Environmentalists think it will be a disaster, and, Zia Weise reports, “It’s uncertain whether shipping companies would be willing to pay for a route they can use free of charge: The 1936 Montreux Convention requires that Turkey guarantee free passage to all civilian ships traversing the Bosphorus in peacetime.” Expect work to start in 2018 in any case.

GLIMPSE OF A POST-AMERICAN WORLD: As global powers band together on climate and trade based on the self-imposed exclusion of the United States from those discussions, we are starting to see a new world order, writes Nathan Gardels in the Washington Post.

TERROR — NEWS FROM THE ISIS FRONT: The BBC has secret details of a deal that let hundreds of ISIS fighters escape from Raqqa in Syria.


THE PROBLEM WITH BRUSSELS: Youssef Kobo argues that Brussels has so many politicians it amounts to a “total fragmentation of power.” Not even the best can make more than a dent in fixing the problems affecting the city’s youth, and, until they do, riots will keep flaring up.