22-06-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 22-06-2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moscovici: Greece ready to exit excessive deficit procedure

The European Commission will recommend that Greece is removed from the excessive deficit procedure (EDP), European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said on Wednesday.


Minister defends Kammenos over contentious call

The alleged phone conversation between Panos Kammenos and a former shipowner currently serving life in prison for heroin smuggling remained a source of acrimony on Wednesday as the government sought to offer its backing to the defense minister.


UN presents draft common document for Cyprus talks

Ahead of the June 28 Cyprus conference in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Greek-Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis Wednesday informed Cypriot political party leaders on the draft common document, regarding security and guarantees, he received earlier in the day from the UN secretary-general’s special adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide.


Tourism Minister says arrivals will top 30 mln this year

The tourism sector is showing genuine signs of growth this year that suggest it will be the main driver of the Greek recovery, as it will help state revenues, the private economy, the country’s current accounts and employment. The government is for the first time speaking of 30 million arrivals in 2017.


New unified social security fund posts surplus in first 5 months since creation

The unified social insurances fund (EFKA) appears to be easily exceeding revenue targets in the first five months of since its inception, posting a surplus of 91.4 million euros when a forecast deficit was budgeted at 318 million euros over the same period.


Privatization goal at 17 bln euros up to 2060

A European Commission report seen by Bloomberg puts the target for Greek privatization revenues at 17 billion euros from 2017 to 2060. This will include 4 billion euros from bank assets.


Greek two-year bond yield falls to lowest since early 2010

Greek government borrowing costs fell to their lowest level since early 2010 on Wednesday, the latest leg lower after the country reached a debt deal with its creditors last week.


ATHEX: Little buying interest in most stocks

The Greek stock market appeared to play second fiddle to the bond issue of the Mytilineos group on Wednesday – the book closure date is on Friday – with turnover on the local bourse slumping to just over 50 million and stocks presenting a mixed picture.







KATHIMERINI: Tourism is expected to offer breathing air to the economy

TA NEA: Tsipras addresses his cabinet: “We feel vindicated”

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The seven plagues of Europe

AVGI: Opposition opts for controversial tactics

RIZOSPASTIS: The workers and the unions respond to the destructive policy with new rallies

KONTRA NEWS: Greece is drowning in the garbage

TO PONTIKI: Which Ministers are faced with Tsipras’ discontent

DIMOKRATIA: What is going to happen with uninsured private vehicles

NAFTEMPORIKI: The 4 scenarios for the debt

BREAKFAST WITH ESTONIAN PM JÜRI RATAS: Playbook breakfast 8.a.m today. The event is fully booked, but you can watch the livestream here.

Ratas will hope he performs better than Boris Johnson did on BBC radio Wednesday. Listen to this car crash interview with the British foreign secretary, who appears to have not even listened to the queen’s speech.

COUNCIL — PREVIEW OF THE SUMMIT OF EVERYTHING: French President Emmanuel Macron makes his debut, British PM Theresa May could be bidding farewell. Leaders expect to discuss virtually everything today and Friday: from the defense industry, to counter-terrorism and the fight again radicalization, to EU-Russia relations. The real question is whether they’ll have the space and mental energy to actually decide anything. You can read European Council President Donald Tusk’s invitation letter here and the latest agenda here.

May the floor be with you: May is expected to brief leaders on her “big and generous” post-Brexit citizens’ rights offer. There is no time scheduled for a response to May’s statement, and some diplomats are warning she shouldn’t disrupt the agreed negotiation format by using the summit as the forum for her offer.

‘Caretaker May’: Tom McTague deconstructs realities ahead for the zombie prime minister, who is trapped in office but unable to govern. “Brexit is the one issue keeping her in place — and yet it is also the noose around her neck … much of the prime minister’s planned legislative program as outlined in the Conservative Party manifesto was either ditched or kicked into the long grass … Senior MPs and Conservative aides who spoke to POLITICO said without Britain’s impending departure from the EU May would now be gone, having lost her parliamentary majority and mandate to pass any meaningful domestic legislation.”

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Macron going solo. The French president’s first European summit today will be free of party politicking, writes POLITICO’s Maia de la Baume. Rather than to seek party affiliation with, for instance, the liberal ALDE party, an Élysée source said the French centrist president had a preference for “ad-hoc formats.” In other words: you have to come to him. He’ll meet with the Visegrád Group (Poland, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia). That cherry-picking of meetings and leaders didn’t stop Macron telling several European newspapers that on policy issues, “Europe is not a supermarket.”

Macron’s price for saving Europe: France will push for tougher trade defense and screening of Chinese investments in return for “saving” the EU from populism, report Jakob Hanke and Maia de La Baume.

Opinion — Don’t let the French ruin the single market: Former European commissioner from the Netherlands, Frits Bolkestein writes: “According to the French, ‘vital strategic interests’ are at stake when a foreign company makes a bid for a French-owned one. This Colbertist instinct — that French wealth should serve the French state — runs deep among its elite. But it is also catching on elsewhere.”

The immediate Brexit issue: What to do with the EU agencies based in London: the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency? As POLITICO reported Tuesday, national diplomats have not been able to decide on common criteria on how to relocate the agencies.

Benelux, Baltics and Nordic leaders met Wednesday: Brexit and migration were on the agenda. If they achieved anything meaningful, they forgot to spread the news.


Bjarke Smith Meyer reports European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici is angling to replace Jeroen Dijsselbloem as president of the Eurogroup, while also keeping his current job. In recent weeks, four officials from different EU bodies told POLITICO of the commissioner’s intentions.

The campaign won’t get far without the backing of the German and French governments. If successful, this will be a concrete step towards creating an EU finance minister with powers comparable to those of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. If Moscovici succeeds, he would likely be in both chairs only until January (the end of Dijsselbloem’s planned term of office), but the trial run would be a useful test of the broader idea of expanding the finance commissioner’s powers.

In an interview with Playbook last week, Moscovici said the dual role is one “I have been preparing for.” The commissioner declined to comment now. The whole story for POLITICO Financial Services Pro subscribers.

KOHL’S WIDOW’S REVENGE AGAINST MERKEL: Der Spiegel reports the reason there won’t be a major German event commemorating former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died last week, is that his widow, Maike Kohl-Richter, did not want Merkel to speak at such a service. Instead, she wanted Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán. In the end, a European ceremony in Strasbourg has been scheduled for July 1. European Commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker, Macron and Merkel will speak.

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Introducing new chief technology correspondent Mark Scott: With Europe operating as the main global theater for debate on the politics of technology, POLITICO seeks to provide coverage to match. Mark Scott will join us as of mid-July from The New York Times, to help us deliver that. Mark will travel widely through EU capitals and the U.S. in his new role.

Introducing Playbook 2.0: We’re adding two new products to the Playbook effort starting this week: the “EU Confidential” podcast (with a new episode each Thursday) and a weekend edition of Playbook — “Brussels Playbook Plus” — that you’ll receive mid-morning (around 10 a.m.) Saturdays.

You can listen to the first two podcast episodes starring Moscovici and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg here. Joining Playbook on the podcast each week is a “Brussels brains trust” of Lina Abu Rous and Ailbhe Finn.

Readers of POLITICO’s print edition will be familiar with Playbook Plus: a lighter and more visual version of Playbook, with full credit to Harry Cooper and Quentin Ariès who already assist on the daily Playbook.

IRISH EUROPEAN MOVES: Newly appointed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has appointed Helen McEntee the new minister for European affairs. McEntee was one of the few female ministers appointed in the reshuffle and she replaces Dara Murphy, who backed Varadkar’s leadership rival Simon Coveney.

The second half of Murphy’s former role — data protection (think Apple, Google, Irish regulation of EU-wide internet providers) — has gone to Pat Breen, who is the new minister for employment and small business.

FRANCE — POST-ELECTION CABINET RESHUFFLE: A quarter of the ministers Macron appointed a month ago have left under a cloud, writes Pierre Briançon, but there’s a silver lining for the French president. It has allowed him to reshuffle his cabinet to strengthen his already-firm control, and slightly tilt the balance of his government, whose first version appeared to be erring on the conservative side.

Nathalie Loiseau, director of the National School of Administration, replaces Marielle de Sarnez as EU affairs minister. Nicole Belloubet, a member of French Constitutional Council, replaces François Bayrou as justice minister. Former Socialist junior minister for the budget, Florence Parly, replaces Sylvie Goulard as minister for armed forces.

THE NETHERLANDS — COALITION TALKS SHIFT TO THE RIGHT: The liberal party D66 is ready to start coalition talks with the center-right Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the conservative Christian Union (CU), local media reported. A first attempt failed after differences between D66 and CU on social issues.


Macron’s Brexit game plan: “Emmanuel Macron is ready to make Brexit hurt — but only insofar as Britain’s pain makes Europe stronger,” writes Nicholas Vinocur. “Macron does not want the European Commission, which negotiates on behalf of member countries, to go easy on Britain. Instead, officials said, he sees Brexit as a grand opportunity to leverage Franco-German influence on the global stage, drive integration and press ahead with reforms that Britain would normally have opposed from inside the EU tent.”

Updated Brexit power matrix: With Brexit talks now up and running, Playbook has revisited the Brexit power matrix, which we published in March to map the relative influence of nearly 100 figures on both sides of the negotiation. Lots has changed since then. Download the matrix graphic here, read the full analysis here, and read the highlights below.

Who’s up: The U.K.’s Oliver Robbins and EU’s Sabine Weyand are ranked higher than in the original matrix thanks to their new roles in leading Irish border discussions. The team at the U.K.’s Department for Exiting the EU is now in place and has risen up the ranks, along with Team Barnier.

Who’s in: Macron, Varadkar, and London Evening Standard editor George Osborne.

Who’s out: Candidate for German chancellor Martin Schulz (given his low opinion poll ratings in Germany), receding populists Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Steve Bannon, and Theresa May’s unpopular former advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.

UK — QUEEN’S SPEECH WRAP: If there’s one thing aristocrats don’t like, it’s vulgarity. They have even less tolerance if the vulgarity is the empty, messy, common type. As those words neatly describe British politics at the moment, we shouldn’t be surprised that the queen stole the show with what appeared to be a coded message at the opening of parliament Wednesday.

The queen, no EU fan, wore a hat that looked so much like an EU flag that even the Daily Mail interpreted it as an EU nod. Her majesty completed the look with a fully blue and yellow outfit. Whatever it was — the Independent analyses the possibilities, with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek — it wasn’t an endorsement of May’s government.

What was in the speech: Some 27 bills and draft bills, including eight related to Brexit. After the speech, May apologized for the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

What was missing from the speech: Plans on fox hunting, grammar (selective) schools, the “dementia tax” (link for POLITICO Health Pro subscribers) pension triple lock, energy cap, Donald Trump’s state visit. h/t Sebastian Payne.

The art of killing with compliments: “He fought a spirited campaign and he came a good second.” May speaking of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.