26-06-2018 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

26-06-2018 | EYE ON GREECE |

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

ND government to block name deal if not already ratified

Main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday his party will not approve the deal struck between Athens and Skopje on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) if the Greek parliament has not already ratified it when New Democracy is elected in government.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230053/article/ekathimerini/news/nd-government-to-block-name-deal-if-not-already-ratified

Protesters clash with riot police in Thessaloniki over name deal event

Protesters clashed with riot police outside the Thessaloniki International Fair conference center on Monday where ruling SYRIZA is holding an event to present the benefits of the name deal achieved between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) last week.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230049/article/ekathimerini/news/protesters-clash-with-riot-police-in-thessaloniki-over-name-deal-event

Tsipras congratulates Erdogan, calls for release of Greek soldiers

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his victory in his country’s general elections on Sunday, while also calling for the “immediate release” of the two Greek soldiers who have been detained since early March.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230046/article/ekathimerini/news/tsipras-congratulates-erdogan-calls-for-release-of-greek-soldiers

DSA sees huge surpluses, low growth

Greece must achieve high primary surpluses for an exceptionally long period while producing a low growth rate of 1 percent in the long term, according to the baseline scenarios recorded in the Greek debt sustainability analysis (DSA) the European Commission published on Monday.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230057/article/ekathimerini/business/dsa-sees-huge-surpluses-low-growth

S&P raises Greece’s long-term foreign, local currency sovereign ratings to B+ from B

S&P on Monday raised Greece’s long-term foreign and local currency sovereign ratings to B+ from the previous B rating.

https://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1364565/skaip-raises-greeces-long-term-foreign-local-currency-sovereign-ratings-to-bkai-from-b

Greece posts primary budget surplus of 1.525 bln euros in Jan-May period

The Greek state posted a primary budget surplus of 1.525 billion euros in the Jan-May period, over-exceeding a surplus target of 180 million euros. The figure failed to equal a primary surplus of 1.84 billion euros posted during the same period last year.

https://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1364555/greece-posts-primary-budget-surplus-of-1525-bln-euros-in-Jan-may-period

ATHEX: As European markets head lower, ATHEX bucks trend

Athinon Avenue outperformed the majority of European stock markets on on Monday, as its benchmark headed higher, mostly on blue chip gains, although the mid-cap and small-cap indexes ended lower.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230056/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-as-european-markets-head-lower-athex-bucks-trend

www.enikos.gr


www.protothema.gr

www.newsbomb.gr

www.cnn.gr

www.newsbeast.gr

KATHIMERINI: The Institutions reject the appointment of 22 general secretaries in ministries

ETHNOS: 15,000 new labor positions to be subsidized by the State

TA NEA: Slaves to the tax office

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Greek debt under the scrutiny of the IMF

AVGI: ‘Free meal’ fighters for Macedonia

RIZOSPASTIS: EU supports the inhumane policy regarding the handling of the refugee crisis

KONTRA NEWS: Mitsotakis is playing his last cards

DIMOKRATIA: Danger for the payment of pensions

NAFTEMPORIKI: The Greek debt’s sustainability terms

FRESH TOMATOES, ANYONE? As EU countries’ European affairs ministers meet today in Luxembourg to discuss allowing other candidates into the club, FYROM still has a few things to learn about wielding power. “Whoever supports the start of the accession talks for Macedonia with the EU next week, we promise to send you a fresh package of Macedonian tomatoes,” Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov tweeted, assuring potential backers it was “the tastiest tomato in the world.”

Now if that’s not a hint to the enlargement-skeptical Dutch about what tasty delicacies they could be missing out on, we don’t know what is. Of course, it may instead provide the Netherlands with some welcome evidence that the EU’s anti-bribery standards have not yet taken root in FYROM. And what about the Italians, delicate when it comes to all things food-related? FYROM may be stepping on some toes there too, as just about anything that grows on their blessed soil is, by Italian conviction, a world champion in its class, even if it is picked by those migrants that the country’s government wants so desperately to get rid of, and at wages way below the absolute minimum.

GOOD MORNING. It’s General Affairs Council day, and ministers have a full agenda. On their plates: enlargement, Poland, migration and Brexit (talks on the latter, sans Britain, aren’t starting until the evening).

WHAT THE GAC

GERMANY TO BACK FYROM AND ALBANIA BIDS: The Germans are today expected to back a Commission proposal to start accession talks because “both countries have made remarkable efforts in recent years to move closer to the EU,” a German government source told POLITICO. Still, there is “still a way to go for both Albania and FYROM,” the source added.

(Playbook special service: The postal address for that box of tomatoes is Auswärtiges Amt, Werderscher Markt 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany.)

STILL CONCERNS ON POLAND: Germany and France have been a backbone of the Article 7 procedure examining (and perhaps at some point sanctioning) Poland for rule of law concerns. However far this process will get, it would have gotten nowhere without the backing (and pushing) of the Big Two. Today, the Polish government is invited to formally explain its point of view to peers.

French Minister Nathalie Loiseau is supposed to present the joint view of Paris and Berlin, a German government source told Playbook. Paris and Berlin share the view that despite some recent improvements to the judicial reforms, the “independence of the judiciary in Poland is seriously endangered.” Warsaw is not off the hook: “We hope Poland will revise its reforms to address our concerns about the rule of law,” the German government source said.

HUNGARY IN THE (EP’S) SPOTLIGHT: The European Parliament’s civil liberties’ committee on Monday called on EU countries to start an Article 7 procedure against Hungary, by 37 votes against 19. The vote needs endorsement in plenary. Dutch MEP Jeroen Lenaerts (from the same EPP group to which Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party belongs) voted in favor. Maïa de la Baume has more.

Nothing to see here: EPP group Chairman Manfred Weber told Belgium’s De Standaard newspaper that it’s up to the Commission to “study this issue and make a judgment,” not Parliament, and that an infringement procedure was the appropriate way of dealing with Hungary’s NGO law, which bans helping migrants. Viktor Orbán “promised that he would respect the outcome of this mechanism,” Weber said, establishing yet another red line. “If Orbán did not respect a judgment of the court, he could no longer be a member of the EPP. But let us not be naive: Parliament is not well placed to judge.”

MIGRATION ROW

DISEMBARKATION CENTERS: The UNHCR last week wrote a letter to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov (of the Council presidency) to announce a proposal it promised to share shortly on “arrangements, within and outside the EU, to ensure predictable and safe disembarkation of those rescued at sea.” The option was discussed in more depth at Sunday’s mini migration summit, a Commission spokesperson said, and while the option of creating centers, camps or “possibilities” within the EU was left subject to “arrangements between EU countries,” (in case someone volunteers), leaders appeared to have a joint interest in the African option.

Art of the deal: The EU would need to make deals with coastal North African countries in order to build camps to house people who are brought back after being rescued at sea. Those centers ought to help “channel those disembarked in third countries into resettlement if they need protection” and would be a starting point for returns if they don’t qualify as refugees. Of course the Turkey model wouldn’t be easy to replicate with, say, Libya. But well, the lowest common denominator of Europe’s migration policy is exactly that.

No (real) Australian way: Those who have already entered the EU won’t bet sent back. “This option was definitively rejected as it is not in line with European or international law in the field of asylum,” a spokesperson said.

What the latest draft summit conclusions say: “In this context, the European Council supports the development of a concept of regional disembarkation platforms, in close cooperation with relevant third countries as well as UNHCR and IOM [the International Organization for Migration]. Such platforms should allow for rapid and secure processing to distinguish between economic migrants and those in need of international protection, in full respect of international law and without creating a pull factor.”

NEW CONCLUSIONS DRAFT: President Donald Tusk issued the latest draft of conclusions for the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday. You won’t be surprised to learn that not many of those Commission proposals from its mini summit made it into Tusk’s version of what leaders are supposed to agree on. POLITICO has obtained the document; Jacopo Barigazzi has the story.

Three observations:

— Major general: Tusk is more generic, less concrete and falls short of a call to action (for example, there’s no mention of timelines or deadlines for adoption of the files that have already passed through trilogues). “Concerning the Dublin Regulation, however, more work is needed to find a consensus based on a balance of responsibility and solidarity,” Tusk writes, adding that the “incoming Austrian presidency is invited to continue work.”

— Secondary movements are secondary: Tusk appears much less concerned about refugees registered in one country who try to move to another, keeping the issue to one plain paragraph: “Concerning the situation internally in the EU, secondary movements of asylum seekers between member states risk jeopardizing the integrity of the Common European Asylum System and the Schengen acquis,” the text reads. (German Chancellor Angela Merkel is keen to do something on secondary movements due to domestic pressure.) What should the EU do? “Member states should take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements and to closely cooperate amongst each other to this end.”

— The power play between the Commission and Council is starting to annoy EU governments: “It’s good that the Commission tried to facilitate dialogue, but the Commission doesn’t write conclusions,” one diplomat told Jacopo, complaining about seeing the two institutions competing for territory. “We would prefer that the two sides could reinforce each other.”

GERMANY UPDATE

COLD MIGRATION SHOWER: The Bavarian CSU — nowadays the regional party most talked about in the EU’s corridors — has been willing to try just about anything to meet a perceived popular demand for stricter asylum policies. Unfortunately for them, voters are ungrateful as hell to those patronizing them. A few pieces of evidence that show things aren’t quite going to plan for the CSU …

— Angela Merkel is more popular than both CSU leader Horst Seehofer and the Bavarian minister-president, Markus Söder, according to a Forsa poll. Approval ratings among CSU voters: Merkel 61 percent, Söder 56 percent, Seehofer 55 percent. Three out of four Bavarians (and two-thirds of CSU voters) think there are issues more important than refugees. (Full disclosure: The survey doesn’t say whether the CSU’s migration ideas are the only policy field people are unhappy with.)

— Dangerous game: A few of the CSU’s grand seigneurs have turned against the current leadership’s confrontational course. And the CDU’s Armin Laschet, the minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia, said his party would be “quick” to set up its own structures in Bavaria in case the CSU walks away from the government and the joint Bundestag group. Deadline for that is early August.

What if? Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble would be, by popular consensus, the next chancellor if Germany needed a substitute for Merkel any time in the next few weeks. He was in Poland Monday and debated Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (and some students) at an event moderated by our own Ryan Heath. Schäuble left no doubt about his stance, Ryan writes in to report. “Open borders were the beginning of European integration,” Schäuble said at the Natolin campus of the College of Europe. “If we want to preserve Europe, it has to be a continent of open borders. This is our greatest achievement. When we were still arguing about borders, there was often neither stability nor peace in Europe.”

Happening tonight in Berlin: A special committee of (the three) governing parties’ officials tasked with mediating coalition disputes is meeting to talk migration — and manners.

BACK TO BRUSSELS

2019 ELECTION — FACEBOOK PROMISES TO DO BETTER: Facebook is well prepared to resist any disinformation campaigns surrounding the European Parliament election next May, Joel Kaplan, the company’s vice president for global public policy, told a parliamentary hearing in Brussels on Monday. More here from Joanna Plucinska.

EU COMPETITION HAS A WOMEN PROBLEM: Despite the fact that the world’s most famous competition enforcer is Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s competition department has a problem promoting women, Ryan Heath writes.

PRIVACY RULES CHECKUP: Laurens Cerulus breaks down what has changed since Europe’s new privacy rules came into force a month ago.

TALKING TURKEY

WHAT ERDOĞAN’S WIN MEANS: Zia Weise has five takeaways from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s victory in Sunday’s pivotal twin elections.

Back to the future: What will Istanbul look like in 2025? Novelist Elif Shafak gets out her crystal ball — and it’s not looking good.

BREXIT CORNER

SCOOP FROM THE SKIES: EU countries should prepare their airports for a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission told diplomats at a briefing earlier this month, reports Saim Saeed.

DEFENSE COOPERATION: Defense ministers from nine EU countries including the U.K. on Monday pledged to form a joint European military intervention force that will allow British support to last post Brexit. More details here.

ON THE OUTS WITH BRUSSELS, HUNGARY BREAKS RANKS ON BREXIT: Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó tells the Daily Mail in an interview that the EU would suffer economic devastation without a post-Brexit trade deal with the U.K.

TRUMPWORLD

ON YOUR BIKES: Harley-Davidson, the legendary producer of all-American motorbikes, said on Monday it will shift some of its production outside the U.S. to avoid the tariffs the EU imposed on U.S. exports in response to American duties on steel and aluminum, reports Jakob Hanke. Donald Trump isn’t amused.

TRUMP’S MAN IN BERLIN: This would be a challenging time for any U.S. ambassador in Berlin. But Ric Grenell seems tailor-made to exacerbate tensions, reports Emily Schultheis in this must-read feature.