26-09-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

26-09-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Greek bank stress tests to start in February?

While underscoring its independence, the European Central Bank suggested on Monday it was still flexible enough to accommodate the repeated demand by the International Monetary Fund for a fresh review of the state of the local credit sector, as it emerged Greek banks will undergo their stress tests earlier than their European Union peers are put through theirs next year.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/221977/article/ekathimerini/business/greek-bank-stress-tests-to-start-in-february

Parliament votes down Kammenos probe

Parliament on Monday night rejected the proposal submitted by opposition New Democracy to set up a committee to investigate claims by a convicted drug smuggler that Defense Minister Panos Kammenos tried to pressure him into testifying against prominent businessman Vangelis Marinakis.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/221964/article/ekathimerini/news/parliament-votes-down-kammenos-probe

Latest poll: ND lead over ruling SYRIZA eases to 13 percentage points, 30.5% to 17.5%

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) continued to field a double-digit percentage point lead over ruling SYRIZA in the latest poll, which was unveiled on Monday evening.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1279567/latest-poll-nd-lead-over-ruling-syriza-eases-to-13-percentage-points-305-to-175

Lew: Debt relief remains a significant prospect; positive developments in Greece

Former US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will stress that fiscal improvement by Greece over the last few years lays the foundations for much needed future growth, while at the same time reiterating that reforms in the country must continue in order to attract investments.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1279387/lew-debt-relief-remains-a-significant-prospect-positive-developments-in-greece

Dijsselbloem eyes swift end to Greek review, ‘clean exit’

On an official visit to Greece ahead of the launch of a third review of the country’s third international bailout next month, Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijssebloem on Monday said he believed Greece could complete pending reforms by the end of the year with a view to a “clean exit” from fiscal supervision next year.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/221965/article/ekathimerini/news/dijsselbloem-eyes-swift-end-to-greek-review-clean-exit

Athens ice cream factory to close

Froneri Hellas (formerly Nestlé) has announced the closure of its ice cream factory in the west Athens neighborhood of Tavros, citing measures being taken to alleviate financial difficulties the company is facing.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/221948/article/ekathimerini/business/athens-ice-cream-factory-to-close

Piraeus Port Authority reports higher profits, turnover for H1 2017

The Cosco-managed Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) on Monday announced higher profits and turnover in its H1 2017 results.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1279580/piraeus-port-authority-reports-higher-profits-turnover-for-h1-2017

OTE hit with 6.3 million euro fine

The National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) will impose a 6.3 million euro fine on OTE, Greece’s biggest telecoms operator following an investigation launched after complaints were filed by competing telecoms provider Forthnet, as well as mobile companies Wind Hellas and CYTA.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/221947/article/ekathimerini/business/ote-hit-with-63-million-euro-fine

ATHEX: Bourse creaks under credit sector sell-off

Greek stocks took a tumble on Monday on the heels of the German election result and ahead of statements by ECB governor Mario Draghi about bringing forward a stress test for local banks.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/221973/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-bourse-creaks-under-credit-sector-sell-off

www.enikos.gr


www.protothema.gr

www.newsbomb.gr

www.cnn.gr

www.newsbeast.gr

KATHIMERINI: Instability in Germany – Restlessness in Athens


ETHNOS: Greeks’ sacrifices were not in vain

TA NEA: Burnt government. Parliament majority is hostage to Defense Minister Kammenos

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Affectionate relations between New Democracy leader Mitsotakis and shipowner Marinakis

AVGI: Agents of disaster. New Democracy suffers defeat in parliament regarding the case of Noor 1 and Marinakis

RIZOSPASTIS: Time to act alongside the Communist Party because capitalism is not the future

KONTRA NEWS: Clear exit from the Memorandum era

DIMOKRATIA: The lost city of Alexander the Great has been found

NAFTEMPORIKI: Banks’ stress tests are going to take place earlier

European leaders are far from speechless these days. French President Emmanuel Macron will give the third fancy EU speech in two weeks, on the heels of Jean-Claude Juncker’s and Theresa May’s visions for Europe.

How Macron aims to conquer Europe: At Sorbonne University, the French president will launch a Europe-wide version of his rapidly scaled and populist-busting En Marche! movement. Nicholas Vinocur and Maïa de La Baume report Macron and his acolytes have no intention of joining the liberal ALDE group ahead of the 2019 EU elections. Their goal is much bigger.

How to watch the German election transition like a pro: Emma Anderson and Judith Mischke have this guide to how Merkel will form government, including possible coalition partners, likely sticking points and key people and dates to watch.

EU’s ‘Big 4’ strike again: This time with a promise to tax companies with digital business models as much as their traditional competitors, according to a paper obtained by POLITICO‘s Florian Eder, author of Playbook’s German-language sister newsletter Morgen Europa. Germany, France, Italy and Spain call for a “profound review of the current tax systems in order to ensure an efficient, equitable and transparent taxation,” and want other EU countries to agree to that at an informal summit in Estonia this weekend.

**A message from Uber: Uber’s CEO says sorry and wants to make things right. Following the decision of Transport for London to not renew Uber’s license to operate, Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sent an open letter to Londoners saying: “While Uber has revolutionized the way people move in cities around the world, it’s equally true that we’ve got things wrong along the way. On behalf of everyone at Uber globally, I apologize for the mistakes we’ve made.”**

COUNCIL — TUSK MEETS THERESA: Council President Donald Tusk is in London today for a working lunch with Prime Minister Theresa May. According to a Council source, Tusk will inform May a decision on whether Brexit talks can move to the next phase of negotiations will be taken on the basis of an assessment made by the European Commission of “actual progress at the negotiation table.” He will also say there will be no Brexit discussions at the informal gathering of EU leaders in Tallinn this week. Whether that EU27 plan will work is one thing, the other face-saving discussion the pair will need to have is about what each side is going to say after the EU leaders’ dinner in Estonia Friday.

European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström is meeting British Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox. Don’t expect fireworks — Playbook’s EU source claimed it would be a boring “regular” meeting.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met May Monday: “Saying there will be no physical infrastructure [at the Ireland-U.K. border] is a very strong statement,” Varadkar said. “The way I believe you can best achieve that is for the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, to stay in some form of customs union and some form of single market with the European Union.”

COUNCIL — POLAND’S DUDA SIDES WITH BRUSSELS: As ministers at the general affairs council discussed what to do about Poland, Michał Broniatowski reports Polish President Andrzej Duda scrapped plans to dismiss all 87 Supreme Court judges. In doing so he deepened a rift with his mentor Jarosław Kaczyński, the Law and Justice (PiS) party chief widely perceived as pulling the strings of Prime Minister Beata Szydło. European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said he was pleased at both Duda’s openness and that all ministers accepted the need to be strict about rule of law issues.

COUNCIL — GREECE EXITS DEFICIT PROCEDURE: Ministers at the general affairs council agreed to close Greece’s excessive deficit procedure, which is a red-flag label for countries in breach of EU budget rules. The Commission first proposed the move in July.

COUNCIL — GOVERNMENTS WANT NEW IDENTIFICATION MECHANISM: Statewatch obtained a confidential paper drafted by the Estonian EU presidency that calls on the Commission to propose a new approach that would simplify law enforcement access to databases. “The systems should be swiftly accessible without prior authorization and in one search using, where possible, alphanumeric identity data, facial images or fingerprints,” the paper reads.

EUROZONE — 5 FRONTS IN THE COMING EUROZONE BATTLE: Efforts to reform the single currency bloc will need to overcome more than Franco-German differences, writes Pierre Briançon.

PARTY PEOPLE — EPP’S WEBER FEARS COLLAPSE OF CENTER PARTIES IN 2019 EU ELECTIONS: Manfred Weber, the parliamentary leader of Europe’s biggest political family, the European People’s Party, told reporters at a reception Monday night that in 2019, “there is a danger given [electoral] problems for big parties that no candidate [for Commission president] can gain an absolute majority in the European Parliament.” He noted Jean-Claude Juncker only passed the threshold by 44 votes in 2014. Other EPP officials agreed it may be hard for the EPP, Socialists and liberal ALDE group to win the 400 or so seats needed to ensure 367 votes for a single centrist candidate.

PARLIAMENT SOAPBOX …

2018 budget vote: MEPs on the budget committee will vote today on over 2,000 amendments on the 2018 EU budget, which the Commission has suggested should be around €161 billion. In a move that echoes previous budget battles, the EPP, S&D and ALDE groups will likely back efforts by the EPP’s Siegfried Mureșan to reverse attempts by national governments to cut research, youth unemployment and EU agency funding.

Are celebrities breaking EU law? The Parliament’s money-laundering and tax evasion committee is today holding a public hearing at which UEFA and FIFA representatives will respond to allegations of wrongdoing in the transfers market. Details here. Watch it live here.

Tajani does … Italy: European Parliament President Antonio Tajani visited the European Food Safety Agency Monday, delivering the commencement speech at the European College of Parma and addressing all EFSA staff.

JRC — EU FOR FACTS EVENT: The EU’s independent Joint Research Council will ask what role there is for evidence in policy-making in an increasingly “post-fact” world. Watch the conference online.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE — REFUGEE CONDITIONS ON AEGEAN ISLANDS: The Council of Europe presented evidence of maltreatment and degrading conditions in a report on refugee conditions on the Aegean islands. The Greek government’s response.

GERMAN ELECTION FALLOUT …

Frauke Petry won’t join AfD in German parliament: The co-chair of the far-right party dropped the bombshell at a press conference, then walked out.

Andrea Nahles to become new SPD parliament leader: The outgoing labor minister is to replace Thomas Oppermann as the parliamentary group leader of the decimated party.

How did the SPD lose the workers, and can it win them back? In his latest Europe at Large column, Paul Taylor analyzes what it means that workers across Europe (and beyond) are walking away from the center-left. “The questions the SPD will need to answer include: whether to protect job-for-life incumbents or favor precarious job-creation for the unemployed; how to provide credible social rights for a growing army of gig workers in service industries; how to share the cost of the welfare state in an aging society; and how to reconcile a diverse, tolerant community with a more traditional national identity.”

Russian influence? TIME’s Simon Shuster tweeted: “#AfD candidate in German elections told me Russian state media propelled their campaign. “They gave us a platform …We love them.”

A bit of perspective: This FT graphic shows why it isn’t necessarily “Apocalypse Now” for Angela Merkel.

Farewell to 4 MEPs: Michael Theurer and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP), Beatrix von Storch (AfD) and Fabio De Masi (Die Linke) are moving to the Bundestag.

HOW EUROPEAN MEDIA SAW THE RESULT: “Bitter victory” was a much-repeated headline across Europe Monday, referring to Merkel’s situation. Overview here.

Expressen, Sweden: Merkel’s “policies have enabled a far-right party to enter the German parliament and become the third-largest force.”

La Repubblica, Italy: “Xenophobic movements and populists have long since emerged in the rest of Europe but the German exception was cherished because people thought it took fitting account of the past.”

Lidové noviny, Czech Republic: “Above all the grand coalition was punished for pushing its critics and opponents into a corner. The more it condemned critics as populists and extremists, the more points the latter were able to score.”

ICYMI — MERKEL’S (SORT OF) ON TWITTER: The dormant @AngelaMerkel Twitter account, created in August, is in the hands of Merkel’s CDU party, having previously been a fake, according to Twiplomacy’s Matthias Lüfkens.

BREXIT 360° …

Davis and Robbins’ task this week: Explaining what May meant in her vision for Brexit via specific proposals. If they can’t do that and achieve some clear progress, the question will be: are the negotiations essentially doomed as a set of technical discussions, and does that mean only political solutions at the European Council are relevant?

The shadow debate: May will put her stamp (or attempt to put it) on Brexit negotiations three times in the space of a week: her Florence speech Friday, today’s Donald Tusk meeting, and this coming Friday at the EU leaders’ dinner. It’s notable that none of the interventions will be at the Brussels negotiating table. In fact, it suggests what many have suspected all along: that May wants the discussion kicked up to the October European Council table for political rather than technical solutions. Meanwhile, Brexit Secretary David Davis will travel to The Hague today to meet with Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bert Koenders, even though both men were in Brussels Monday afternoon.

What Barnier told MEPs and ministers Monday: That it was clear a Brexit transition period implies maintaining the full EU legal basis for both citizens and businesses. According to POLITICO’s source in the Parliament Brexit steering committee, he said “progress is very likely to remain insufficient but October is a stepping stone for December.” EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in a meeting with EU ministers ruled out Brexit transition talks until the divorce talks are over.

What EPP’s Manfred Weber thinks: “Great speech, but not a lot of clarification … danger that a big country is leaving the European Union in 2019, and nothing changes … so U.K. cannot keep 100 percent of the benefits of EU membership during the transition in order to ensure the right message about leaving is sent.”

Support for second referendum grows: That’s according to a poll shared exclusively with POLITICO. Just over half of those surveyed said they backed some form of second referendum, with the most popular scenario being a vote to either accept the government’s Brexit deal, or to stay in the EU.

The ‘real fight’ over Brexit cash has now started, writes Bloomberg.

DExEU Brexodus: A total of 124 people, accounting for one in five employees, have left the U.K.’s Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) since it was created last year, leaving 482 employees in the department, Bloomberg reported Monday.

CATALAN CORNER …

How did we get here? Catalans were critical to Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy and helped write the constitution. Arnau Busquets Guàrdia examines how millions in a proud and diverse population went from dealmaking to insurrection.

Ansip the latest commissioner caught up in referendum fight: Jordi Puignero, Catalan secretary for telecommunications, cybersecurity and digital society, wrote to Digital Vice President Andrus Ansip to complain Madrid breached the fundamental rights of Catalans to telecoms services.

SWITZERLAND — NEW VOTE TO BAN EU MIGRANTS? The populist Swiss party UDC is launching a new initiative to fight back against the EU-Swiss deal on EU migrants in the country, aiming to ban the government from signing any new freedom of movement agreements with the EU and forcing it to renegotiate the existing one (which the EU refused).

TRUMP WORLD — USE OF PERSONAL DEVICES WIDESPREAD IN TRUMP WHITE HOUSE: Top White House aides including Ivanka Trump and Gary Cohn, along with Jared Kushner, occasionally used private email accounts for official business, reports Josh Dawsey.

BRUSSELS CORNER …

BEGINNING TODAY: The trial of the two terrorists at the heart of the November 2015 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari.

DEBATING: Friedrich Neumann Stiftung for Europe, the German liberal foundation in Brussels, hosts the Idealist Quarterly tonight at Le Chemin des Vignes next to the European Parliament for a discussion, led by Gerald Hensel, on “Building fearless democracies.” Details here.

PETITIONING: More than 635,400 citizens are calling on the European Commission to stop waterways from being flooded with plastic waste. Joan-Marc Simon of the Rethink Plastic Alliance told Playbook the EU has to ditch bandaid efforts and fundamentally rethink plastic usage, as the Commission debates the issue at a major conference today.