27-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

27-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Monday, November 27, 2017

Macron receives visiting Tsipras for talks

Government sources in Athens on Friday commented on the same-day meeting in Paris between French President Emmanuel Macron and visiting Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, saying talks revolved around political developments in Europe and the ongoing (third) Greek bailout.


Tsipras and Mitsotakis to face off over Saudi arms deal as evidence piles up over Kammenos’s role

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis will cross swords on Monday in Parliament in what is being billed as a grand showdown over the transparency of the controversial arms deal with Saudi Arabia, and the role played by Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.


Regling says Greek aid loan needs may be smaller than previously expected

The head of the eurozone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund has told a German newspaper that Greece was making good progress with its reform drive and it may not need as much credit as previously planned.


Another body recovered in west Attica a week after flooding

Another body was reportedly discovered in the Mandra township on Monday morning, with authorities waiting to identify the body, given that one man remains missing from last week’s devastating floods in western Attica prefecture (west of the greater Athens area).


Bill to match tax fines with EU case law

The inspection plans of Greece’s tax authorities have been upended by the decisions of the Council of State and the case law of the European Union, forcing the government to proceed to the adjustment of fines imposed on tax dodgers.


Revised budget data show excess revenue

The budget data for 2017 now appear to be not only within the targets but even better, for the first 10 months of the year, with the revenue shortfall of 2.8 billion euros of the provisional figures replaced by a surplus of 326 million.


Retail turnover skyrockets in Greece with ‘Black Friday’ promotion

“Black Friday” appears to have been a resounding commercial success in Greece for a second year in a row, as long queues outside retail stores and telecom providers’ outlets were coupled with reports of significantly higher turnover during the day.


DG Comp, Athens agree to sell-off of 40% of power utility’s lignite-fired capacity

Negotiations between the EU’s competition watchdog, DG Comp, and representatives of Greece’s energy ministry regarding the sell-off of 40 percent of the Public Power Corp.’s (PPC) lignite-fired power production reportedly concluded with an agreement on Thursday.


ATHEX: Stocks rise 1.14 pct over week

Mid-caps pushed the benchmark higher at the end of the week on what was a day of mixed fortunes for blue chips. Judging from the low turnover, many foreign investors decided to take the day after Thanksgiving off too.








KATHIMERINI: The middle-man of the controversial Saudi Arabia arms deal wanted to become a “partner” of the stated-owned Greek Defense Systems

TO VIMA: The scam with the arms deal

REAL NEWS: Ongoing crime in Western Attica. They knew about the flood hazards for 20 years but did nothing to prevent them

PROTO THEMA: Missile hits the government

AVGI: Low taxation for slicks, excessive taxation for the honest

RIZOSPASTIS: Communist Party of Greece holds today a large event to celebrate the 100 years of the Russian Revolution


ETHNOS: Six moves for the beneficiaries of the social dividend

TA NEA: Desert storm

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The parliament will become a battle field

KONTRA NEWS: Political parties and bankers to stand trial for the uncovered loans of 350 million Euros handed out to PASOK and New Democracy

DIMOKRATIA: MIT intervention in the arms deal with Saudi Arabia

NAFTEMPORIKI: Countdown for the third bailout programme review


DONALD TUSK IN AFRICA: The European Council president is in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) from Tuesday to Thursday for the African Union-EU summit and related meetings.

COMMISSIONERS ON TOUR: Commission Vice Presidents Federica Mogherini and Andrus Ansip are already in Côte d’Ivoire for the summit. Energy and Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete is in Florence to deliver a speech on electricity regulation. Home Affairs and Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos attends the 8th Bosphorus Summit. Internal Market Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska travels today in Austria and Poland.


Finance: MEPs on the economic and monetary affairs and employment committees will discuss the annual growth survey with Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici.

Migration: MEPs will discuss the state of play on the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) with the Estonian EU presidency.

UK and free movement: MEPs will discuss an infringement procedure against the U.K. regarding its (largely unknown) obligation for EU nationals to have so-called comprehensive sickness insurance in order for them to acquire permanent residence. Read here for an explanation by UCL’s Aleksandra Herbeć.

COMMISSION — ICYMI, STATE OF THE ENERGY UNION: POLITICO’s Anca Gurzu and Sara Stefanini rate the Commission’s energy scorecard.

FUTURE OF EUROPE — NEW REPORT: The “New Pact for Europe” report is a collaboration between the King Baudouin Foundation, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Open Society Initiative for Europe and the European Policy Center, which former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy heads. The report was written by Janis Emmanouilidis and edited by Jacki Davis.


Swedish ban: The director of a Stockholm cultural center has been banned by the Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Literature Prize, from attending a Nobel banquet after 18 women told newspaper Dagens Nyheter they were assaulted or raped by the man between 1996 and 2017. The man, who wasn’t named, denied wrongdoing to the paper.

UK — Second apparent suicide linked to Labour Party harassment claims.


LAUNCHING: Austrian privacy advocate Max Schrems is launching a new not-for-profit organization to help EU citizens challenge privacy violations before European courts. The European Center for Digital Rights, which will officially debut in Brussels November 28, will go by the acronym NOYB — internet slang for “none of your business.” More information here for POLITICO Pro Technology subscribers.

THE FAR RIGHT’S SUCCESSFUL ONLINE PITCH TO EUROPEAN YOUTH: Le Soir’s Marine Buisson reports that new far-right groups have boosted their youth outreach.


IRELAND — SNAP ELECTION LOOMS AS GOVERNMENT FACES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE: The Irish government is teetering on the verge of collapse. The opposition Fianna Fáil party will put forward Tuesday a parliamentary no-confidence motion in Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who is under pressure to resign over her handling of a police whistleblower controversy. Sinn Féin, the country’s third largest party, had tabled its own no-confidence motion against Fitzgerald. While the main party leaders are still in talks, and the Irish president would have to agree to dissolve parliament before an election could take place, both Fianna Fáil and the ruling Fine Gael party plan to select their election candidates within the next 10 days.

CHINA HITS GREAT WALL IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: As Viktor Orbán’s Hungary hosts the sixth China-Central and Eastern Europe summit in Budapest today, Lili Bayer writes that Beijing isn’t getting the traction it hoped for in the region, at least among EU member countries. China has had more success in Western Balkan countries like Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

GERMANY — CDU, CSU AND SPD SIGNS POINT TO ANOTHER GRAND COALITION: Angela Merkel wants to avoid a new election, Horst Seehofer is open to another grand coalition and Social Democrats are angling for specific policy shifts as the price for signing up as the junior government partner once again, including more supplementary pensions for low-income pensioners and changes to private health insurance.

6 key players in Germany’s (southern) power struggle: POLITICO’s own Bavarian political expert, Florian Eder, guides you through the CSU’s messy in-fighting. Long dominant with an absolute majority in the regional parliament, which represents 13 million Germans, “the CSU is trying to work out what needs to change so that everything can stay the same politically in Germany’s second most populous state, which prides itself on being home to major companies including BMW and Siemens.” Read the story here.

SPAIN — OUTSIDE BRUGES: The ousted president of the Catalan region, Carles Puigdemont, launched his campaign for the December 21 snap regional election from a suburb of Bruges over the weekend. In an interview in La Vanguardia, he said Catalonia should hold a referendum on EU membership.

Ex-Catalan leader says region needs international support for independence: Artur Mas, Puigdemont’s predecessor as regional leader, said Catalonia shouldn’t make bold steps toward independence even if separatists win next month’s election, and should instead focus on seeking international support for their cause. Diego Torres has the interview.

ITALY — FARMERS UNION PUSHES ASIDE VATICAN IN RURAL POLITICAL PECKING ORDER: Coldiretti, the Italian farmers’ union, is flexing its political muscle, write Simon Marks and Giulia Paravacini. The union claims 1.6 million members and staffs 800 regional offices, and is led by 37-year-old Roberto Moncalvo, who is leading a highly contentious campaign to enshrine the “Made in Italy” label for the country’s most cherished foodstuffs.

POLAND — PROTEST DEATH THREATS AGAINST MEPs: A group of right-wing protestors hanged images of Civic Platform MEPs in the town of Katowice over the weekend in response to them backing a resolution condemning the PiS government’s moves to reform the country’s judiciary. MEP Michał Boni told Playbook: “I fully understand that one might have different opinion regarding the vote on the resolution. However this symbolic execution, coupled with the lack of proper and fast reaction from the Polish authorities, reflects the progressing fascism in the public life, which de facto, kills the democracy.”

Polish opposition party elects new leader: Poland’s liberal Nowoczesna (Modern) party elected Katarzyna Lubnauer as its leader Saturday in an upset for its former president and founder Ryszard Petru, local media reported. The party also changed its official name from Ryszard Petru’s Nowoczesna to Nowoczesna, reports Michał Broniatowski.

FRANCE — NEW CENTER-RIGHT PARTY: A breakaway group of French politicians launched a right-leaning political party Sunday as an alternative to the conservative Les Républicains. Agir will stand for “liberal, social, European, humanist and reformist ideas,” according to Le Figaro.

FRANCE — MACRON ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: French President Emmanuel Macron announced proposals to tackle harassment and promote gender equality on Saturday. “It’s time for shame to change camps,” Macron said. New measures include better teacher training on gender equality, anti-pornography measures and new powers for the media watchdog to sanction online content and video games.

ROMANIA — ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS: More than 20,000 people joined anti-government protests in Bucharest to protest judicial reforms by the ruling Social Democrats that opponents say would limit anti-corruption efforts.


Irish border emerges as biggest point of difference: Liam Fox and junior ministers insisted Sunday there could be no Irish border deal before a deal on an EU trade agreement, a position that would leave Brexit negotiations permanently deadlocked. The former first minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster, who now props up Theresa May’s government, said Saturday: “Northern Ireland does not want to be part of the customs union.” Foster herself has been unable to form a government in Northern Ireland, which voted to remain in the EU.

Commentators in Britain, almost without exception, are working on the assumption Ireland will simply give in to British demands. Some, including Juliet Samuel, make the case that actually the border issue is an artificially stirred-up problem: “Although it is extremely important to all who live and farm around it … we are talking about a very, very small contributor to the economics of the EU single market.”

The counter-view is put by Chris Johns, a British immigrant to Ireland, who writes in the Irish Times: “The idea that Leo Varadkar, or anybody else in this state, would under any circumstances sign up to another hard border displays so much ignorance, so much arrogance, so much stupidity that I am left wondering about all those stereotypes of my fellow Brits – stereotypes that I have wearily tried to reject and counter over the past 30 years.”

Guy Verhofstadt interview: European Parliament’s point man on Brexit told POLITICO’s Matthew Karnitschnig his main concern is citizens’ rights.

House of Lords European Union (Approvals) Bill debate: Third reading of the draft bill will take place at 2:30 p.m. London time.

Ivan Rogers lecture on David Cameron and Europe: Worth the read. Full transcript here.

Correction: Playbook wrote Friday that British MEP John Procter voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum, instead of EU lawmaker Rupert Matthews. Procter campaigned to remain in the European Union.



EGYPT — HUNDREDS KILLED IN EXTREMIST ATTACK: The Egyptian army launched air raids after at least 305 were killed in a terror attack.

HUMAN-TRAFFICKING BUSTS: Police in five African countries arrested 40 human traffickers and rescued hundreds of victims, including 236 children, as part of the German government-funded Sahel Project, which targets human trafficking in the region.

CHEMICAL WARFARE BECOMING THE NEW NORMAL: Chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon explains why.


ELECTED: Eva Maydell, an EPP MEP from Bulgaria, is the new president of the 70-year-old European Movement International. She is the first woman and first Eastern European to be elected to the post, and replaces Socialist MEP Jo Leinen, who held the role since 2011.