22-05-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 22-05-2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

EU’s Moscovici confident Eurogroup will reach deal on Greece

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday he was confident an agreement between Athens and its creditors could be found at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday in Brussels.


Dijsselbloem: Greek debt relief examined, if necessary, after program ends in 2018

Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, in statements to the Dutch Parliament last week, expressed a view that the ambitious 3.5-percent primary budget surplus that the Greek state must post – on an annual basis and as a percentage of GDP – should extend to 2022.


Bloomberg: Latest austerity package will either win debt relief or crush economy and lead to another Greek bailout

Bloomberg paints a “make or break” dilemma for Greece’s leftist government in the wake of the latest ratification of an austerity and reform-laced package on Thursday evening.


CEPS director Gros to ‘N’: It’s not in Greece’s interest to quickly return to markets for borrowing

Greece must absolutely avoid expensive borrowing from the markets for no less than 10 years, the director of the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Daniel Gros says.


Deal between Greek power company, China’s CMEC on hold after Commission objection

A high-profile agreement between state-run Public Power Corp. (PPC) and Chinese utility operator CMEC is on hold, according to Greek Deputy Economy Minister Stergios Pitsiorlas, who told reporters on Friday that the EU Commission maintains that construction of a new lignite-fired power plant in northern Greece can materialize only through an open international tender.


Athens-listed Intralot may seek listing on foreign stock market

Athens-listed gaming systems provider and sports betting firm Intralot may consider listing on another international stock market as business in its domestic Greek market shrinks, the chairman said on Thursday.


Greek bond yields decline

Investors started focusing on the positives in the eurozone on Friday, particularly after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s optimistic comments the day before.


ATHEX: Stock index down 0.63 pct on the week

Investors in Greek stocks chose their moves carefully on Friday in anticipation of Monday’s Eurogroup, keeping daily turnover below 80 million euros for a second day in a row and creating a mixed picture at the end of a southbound week. This was in line with the instability seen on foreign markets too.








KATHIMERINI: New excessive contributions without any reward

TO VIMA: Games with the special payrolls in the public sector

REAL NEWS: “Angela, do your duty!”

PROTO THEMA: Five years of vicious taxation

AVGI: Crucial decisions for the next decade

RIZOSPASTIS: The next day for the Greek people demands constant struggle against capitalism


TA NEA: Joint front by Merkel and Schaeuble on the debt issue: “See you in 2018!”

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Eurogroup convenes, Schaeuble decides

KONTRA NEWS: Significant Greeks included in the Malta list of tax evaders

DIMOKRATIA: The research for oil and natural gas in Crete and the Ionian Sea begins

NAFTEMPORIKI: Closed cards ahead of today’s Eurogroup meeting

The European Business Summit — one of the largest EU policy events of the year — runs today and Tuesday in Brussels.

EUROGROUP MEETS TODAY UNDER FIRE ON GREECE: The usually secretive, mostly consensus-driven group of eurozone finance ministers is taking more and more flak these days. The latest to take a shot is German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who has broken with his country’s orthodoxy to say Greece needs direct debt relief and claim the majority of eurozone governments agree with him. There were further reports over the weekend about Spain changing its tune and also wanting eurozone reform.

Moscovici optimistic despite the fire: Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, on French radio said he was hopeful eurozone finance ministers would reach a deal on Greece’s tortured third bailout, after the Greek parliament last week passed another omnibus bill containing austerity measures and structural economic reforms.

Worth watching: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is meeting his new French counterpart Bruno Le Maire bilaterally.

New report on eurozone confidence: 51 percent of investors and business leaders said they expect the eurozone to shrink or disband in coming years, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute. The report’s lead author, Jacques Bughin, said most companies want “more of Europe” but “are still doubting, even fearing, the eurozone’s durability in its current form,” which may limit further recovery. Report here.

**A message from Ibec, Irish business: In the late 1980s, during the push for the EU Single Market, Ireland was considered a cohesion country in need of structural funds. A generation on, Ireland is now not just a net EU contributor to the EU budget, but a hub of European business. Learn more.**

COUNCIL — THE GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL GETS ITS MOJO BACK: This traditional EU gatekeeper (known to insiders as GAC) was pushed to the sidelines following the reorganization of the EU that came with the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Now, instead of national governments sending junior ministers to the GAC, Brexit has brought the big beasts back to the table, including foreign ministers and deputy prime ministers. David Herszenhorn and Jacopo Barigazzi run you through the GAC’s new lease of life.

Today’s General Affairs Council will confirm EU Brexit negotiating directives: Don’t expect any surprise changes to the EU’s well-publicized set of ambitious financial and citizens’ rights demands. Do expect a lot of election-linked huffing and puffing in the U.K. in reaction. One development of interest to insiders, which is sure to annoy the U.K., is that the Commission intends to publish most Brexit negotiation-related documents, whereas the British prefer to keep them private.

THE ‘EU DIALOGUES’ ARRIVE IN DUBLIN TODAY: European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and European Parliament Vice President Mairead McGuinness are in Ireland and about to jump into the lions’ den.

COMMISSIONERS ON TOUR: Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans is in New York to meet organizers of the city’s women’s march, David Miliband from the International Rescue Committee and Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change. Security Commissioner Julian King receives INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei.

ECB — MERKEL PUSHING FOR GERMAN TO REPLACE DRAGHI? With Mario Draghi’s term in the European Central Bank ending in fall 2019, Der Spiegel reports the German chancellor is pushing for his successor to be the Bundesbank’s Jens Weidmann. Whether Merkel really wants Weidmann or not, it’s unlikely to happen. The better questions insiders are asking is which other German could be acceptable to all ECB members and what role the appointment will play in a bigger bargain about EU and eurozone reform.

**A message from the European Business Summit: EBS2017, the biggest debating and networking platform in Brussels, starts today! 2000 participants, 200 high-level speakers and 300 international journalists will meet today and tomorrow to discuss a business contribution to a new narrative for Europe. Speakers include German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (Bold), British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond (Bold), EU Commission Vice-Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis (Bold), Jyrki Katainen (Bold), and Maroš Šefčovič (Bold), other EU Commissioners and business leaders. Follow us on Twitter @ebsummiteurope and discover the full program and the speakers here. **

NATO SUMMIT PREVIEW — STOLTENBERG REFUTES CLAIMS OF SUMMIT TURMOIL: Bloomberg’s David Gura interviewed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who took the unusual step of saying a recent Foreign Policy article about the summit was “totally wrong.”  The interview is here. In a related development, a NATO spokesperson responded to claims aired last week that the NATO summit had been reworked to deal with U.S. President Donald Trump’s whims and reportedly short attention span, telling POLITICO: “The NATO leaders’ meeting was not ‘downgraded’ as it was never scheduled as a formal summit,” and that time-limited interventions are routine.

Tip for foreign leaders: Keep it short and give him a win. Foreign officials and their consultants say some rules have emerged for engaging Trump, who is unlike any American president they have known.

WHO — WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY STARTS TODAY: Health officials, diplomats, the medical industry and civil society are gathering for nine days in Geneva. WHO chief Margaret Chan will kick off the event by giving her last address in office. A new director general will be elected Tuesday.

MAN OF THE YEAR — The Commission’s Frans Timmermans was awarded the title by Poland’s liberal-leaning Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.

GERMANY — MERKEL REFUSES TO CHANGE COURSE, AND IT’S WORKING: In mid-March, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats were in a virtual dead heat with center-left Social Democrats (SPD). That sort of data might make poll-conscious and insecure politicians change tack. Not so Merkel. And as of Sunday, the CDU was 12 percentage points ahead of the SPD. There are no tricks, reports Matthew Karnitschnig. It’s vintage Merkel.

POLAND — WHY REFUGEES AREN’T WELCOME: About three-quarters of people in Poland are against accepting refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, and politicians know blocking migrants is a vote-winner. Jan Cienski explores the lingering consequences of a nearly homogenous Poland, via the horrors of World War II and the border and regime changes that followed.

CHECK OUT POLITICO POLAND: Polish coverage 24/7 from POLITICO via our new partnership with Onet, under the direction of Michał Broniatowski.

SPAIN — SÁNCHEZ RE-ELECTED SOCIALIST LEADER: What is it with European Socialist leaders resigning only to re-campaign at length to get their old jobs back? The latest case in point, after Italy’s Matteo Renzi, is Spain’s Pedro Sánchez. Diego Torres explains.

MALTA — THE EUROPEAN PANAMA? The European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network has over the weekend released damning reports about how international companies use Malta as a base for tax evasion. Check here for all the ‘Malta files’ stories from the network, which include Le Soir, El Mundo, Mediapart, Politiken and Malta Today. Reuters’ Francesco Guarascio also reported on Malta’s unorthodox approach to regulating online gambling.

FRANCE — NEW PM PUSHES QUICK REFORMS: Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said Sunday he will “go fast” to implement President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promise to overhaul labor law.

AUSTRIA — MEP TO LEAD GREENS INTO ELECTION: MEP Ulrike Lunacek will lead the campaign for the Austrian Greens as the country’s snap election looms.


SNP and UKIP manifestos this week: British PM Theresa May will also launch a Welsh Conservative policy manifesto today. According to the text of a speech shared with reporters, to be delivered today, May will say the election is a simple choice between whether people want her or Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn running Brexit negotiations. More on the U.K. election in POLITICO’s Sunday Crunch newsletter.

Opinion — The only winner of Britain’s election will be populism, according to Adam Barnett. He argues May’s likely landslide victory will reinforce the idea the system is rigged. “May is pledging to stand up to the EU, to the Scottish National Party’s calls for independence, and to Islamic terrorists. Corbyn is only promising to stand up to May. In doing so, he has failed the key test of a populist strategy — he has unwittingly allied himself with the ‘enemies of the people.’”

Labour halves gap with Conservatives: Opinion polls published Sunday show Labour between nine and 12 points down on the Tories, much closer than polls in the early days of the election campaign. However, even the closest poll would give May a 46-seat majority, up from today’s 12.

Socialist split risk: A quarter of Labor voters are calling for the party to split if it loses the election.

Oops: “Boris Johnson has suggested Theresa May promised to give the NHS an extra £350 million a week at the launch of the Conservative Party manifesto, when neither she nor the document made any such promise,” reported the Guardian.


Brexit plays into old divisions in Northern Ireland: In the latest report from POLITICO’s Great British Realignment series, Peter Geoghegan explores the attitudes of the residents of Belfast, in Northern Ireland, where voters are angry about having to go to the polls for the fourth time in 18 months.

“In Tigers Bay, a loyalist neighborhood of North Belfast, the gable end of a redbrick terraced house has ‘Vote Leave’ scrawled on it in white letters. Across the street, red, white and blue union flags flutter in the breeze. Two minutes’ walk away, the color of the kerbstones has changed to green, and nationalist Sinn Féin posters warn of the threat from Brexit. Here the scars of the three-decades-long Troubles are still all too visible. Around a sixth of the 3,500 people killed during the conflict died in North Belfast, and the violence has left a legacy of substance abuse, mental illness and corrugated iron ‘peace walls’ separating Protestants and Catholics.”

David Davis’ toughest-talking interview yet: Britain’s Brexit minister ratcheted up his rhetoric in an interview with the Sunday Times, saying he is ready to walk away from the negotiating table if he is presented with the EU’s expected set of demands. Interview with Bojan Pancevski and Tim Shipman.


What to expect from Trump’s Israel trip: Annie Karni looks ahead at the Israel leg of Trump’s tour. Annie asks whether Jason Greenblatt, a long-time Trump real estate adviser, can cut a peace deal.

Moderate Trump on display in Saudi Arabia: Trump tried a new modest tone in Saudi Arabia on Islam, terror and equality.

IRAN — ROUHANI HOLDS: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s resounding victory in the race for another term was a source of relief for international observers and for many Iranians. It meant the joint comprehensive action plan for scrapping the country’s nuclear program worked. But as POLITICO’s David Patrikarakos points out, everyone is now waiting to see what Trump will do next.

BRAZIL — YET ANOTHER POLITICAL CORRUPTION SCANDAL: At each major turn in Brazil’s long-simmering political crisis, secret recordings have produced bombshell after bombshell, tripping up some of Brazil’s most powerful politicians.

TURKEY — ERDOĞAN BACK AS PARTY LEADER: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is back as the leader of the conservative AKP party, a move made possible by his win in last month’s constitutional referendum, AFP reports.

In other Turkey news, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned a violent clash in Washington D.C. last week between Erdoğan’s security personnel and protesters.


‘The internet is broken’: Twitter and Blogger co-founder Evan Williams reflects on what he has wrought on society and how he is trying to change things.

When nudge comes to shove: An overview from the Economist of how policymakers globally are embracing experimental data-driven shifts in how public services are delivered.


PANEL WATCH: The opening plenary of the European Business Summit starting today may be called “A new narrative for Europe,” but it’s playing a familiar tune: six of the seven advertised panelists are men. The closing plenary Tuesday is all-male and at a session Playbook will moderate Tuesday, five of the six panelists will be men.

CHANGING ROLES: Laurianne Krid is the new FIA Region I director general, promoted from her previous post as policy director.