28-07-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

EYE ON GREECE | EU 28-07-2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

PM eyes shift to growth, saying sovereignty can be regained

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday underlined the importance of jump-starting growth in Greece, saying it was tantamount to the debt-racked country regaining its national sovereignty.


FT: New Greek bond fifth most traded euro debt; nearly half of investors from US, followed by UK

FT on Wednesday reported that Greece’s five-year, three-billion-euro bond on Tuesday was the fifth most-traded euro-denominated sovereign debt in Europe.


EU announces new emergency support for Greek refugee crisis

The European Commission announced a new emergency support package for Greece Thursday to help it deal with the refugee crisis that has seen tens of thousands of migrants and refugees stuck in the country.


Turkish Cypriots announce Maronite return to villages

Turkish Cypriots announced Wednesday that Maronites can return to the villages of Asomatos, Kormakitis and Karpasia in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus.


Acropolis, other Greek sites to open as guards scrap strike

The Acropolis and other ancient monuments and museums in Athens will be open this weekend after Greek Culture Ministry employees called off a planned two-day strike.


Flexible labor boosts job market’s growth potential

The expansion of flexible labor led to the creation of 150,000 new jobs in the country from the second quarter of 2014 to the first of 2017, according to National Bank of Greece’s monthly economic bulletin.


National signs off Banca Romaneasca

National Bank of Greece has signed the agreement for the sale of its Romanian subsidiary Banca Romaneasca to OTP Bank Nyrt, the Hungarian lender said in a statement Thursday. The acquisition will boost OTP’s market share in Romania to about 4 percent.


ATHEX: PPC, Piraeus lead stock drop

The Greek bourse continued its southbound course on Thursday, with trade dominated by the stocks of PPC and Piraeus Bank, which fell 5.38 percent and 5.31 percent respectively.







KATHIMERINI: Part-time jobs reduced unemployment

TA NEA: The notes of… happiness. Smiling Greeks –as seen by the PM- await the ENFIA real estate payment notices

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Climate of consent between PM Alexis Tsipras and Regional Authority head of Sterea Ellada, Kostas Bakogiannis [nephew of New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis]

AVGI: Housing programme for 30,000 refugees

RIZOSPASTIS: The government is asking for consensus in order to maintain its anti-popular attack

KONTRA NEWS: Sweeping changes in the government in September

DIMOKRATIA: The government is sending the bill to the citizens

NAFTEMPORIKI: September holds a ‘heavy’ agenda

JUNCKER THE COMEDIAN: On Thursday during a press conference with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s phone rang. “That’s my wife, sorry!” he exclaimed, before checking his phone. “No, it was actually Mrs. Merkel,” he added to laughter.

LATEST EU CONFIDENTIAL: Playbook speaks with European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc about why she’d like to see drones over every European farm, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary as a Brexit negotiator, and what it would take to get more fast train lines in Europe. Playbook also talks to transport reporter Joshua Posaner about the scandals engulfing the German car industry. Listen now with just one click, or download and listen offline, via iTunes.

6 SUMMER SPOILERS — THE POLITICAL PROBLEMS MOST LIKELY TO WRECK OUR HOLIDAYS: From Italy’s beaches to the streets of Catalonia and the far-flung Himalayas, here is Playbook’s guide to the problems that could ruin your time off.

ANGELA AND THERESA’S ALPINE SUMMIT: What a coincidence! Europe’s leading stateswomen are both hiking in Italy for their summer breaks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. PM Theresa May are almost certainly the only power women with security details crisscrossing the mountain paths. Here’s Quentin Letts’ guide to what to expect if they bump into each other.

COUNCIL — MALTESE PM MUSCAT HOPEFUL BREXIT MIGHT NOT HAPPEN: Joseph Muscat opens up to Volkskrant’s Marc Peeperkorn on Brexit and why he thinks Brits are well-prepared negotiators.

Top quote: “I’m starting to believe that Brexit won’t actually happen. I see encouraging signs that the tide is turning … The referendum was democratic, but has resulted in a situation in which everyone loses. Doubt is creeping in. It would be good if a political leader in the U.K. would stand who’s courageous enough to seize this momentum and say: let’s submit the final Brexit deal again to the people.”

On May: “She’s well prepared … There’s no such thing as an unprepared British civil servant. It’s not that London is ill-prepared, but that the EU is extremely well-prepared.”

Money can’t buy love: Muscat also said money won’t be enough to make Eastern European countries more willing to accept refugees. “It’s not about money or rules, it’s about values,” he argued. Full interview here in Dutch and highlights in English here.

COUNCIL — THE PEOPLE’S PALACE FOR ROMANIA’S EU PRESIDENCY: Former President of Romania Nicolae Ceauşescu’s “House of the People” is the world’s second largest administrative building, after the Pentagon. Nearly three decades after his execution, the palace is set to be used during the Romanian EU presidency as the venue for informal ministerial meetings. More info here.

EIB — WERNER HOYER REAPPOINTED: The leading liberal running an EU institution, Werner Hoyer has been reappointed for his second six-year term as president of the European Investment Bank, from January 2018 to December 2023. Hoyer and his supporters had feared a backlash against Germans running the EU’s finances after nearly a decade of austerity policies and the reappointment of Klaus Regling at the European Stability Mechanism.

THE EX-FILES — NATO CHIEFS WEIGH IN ON US-RUSSIA SANCTIONS ISSUE: As the U.S. Senate on Thursday gave final approval to a package of sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea that constrains President Donald Trump’s bid to defrost relations with Moscow, two former NATO chiefs speak out on the topic. In an opinion article in TIME, Admiral Stavridis, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the former supreme allied commander at NATO, outlines six steps the U.S. should take to ease European fears over its warming relationship with Russia. Meanwhile, NATO’s former Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in the FT writes leaders must look at the bigger picture and not let themselves get bogged down in commercial crossfire.

TRADE WAR, WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? The EU-Japan trade deal has energized European policy elites, and it’s leaving EU trade officials looking forward to a rerun of their 2002 trade war with the U.S., report Hans von der Burchard and Jakob Hanke. EU officials say U.S. President Donald Trump has backed himself into a corner: he is committed to a protectionist route, but is unable to win a trade war.


French President Emmanuel Macron was mired in a misquotation drama Thursday. According to AFP, the president said he wanted to set up “migration hotspot” processing centers in Libya. Macron’s team and the European Commission denied that. Macron’s Europe minister said he imagined a more hands-off role supporting the United Nations and subject to change according to local security conditions, rather than unilateral action. “External processing of asylum claims is not being considered. Resettlement is what we are working on and always in partnership with the UNHCR,” a Commission source told Playbook.

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “France and the EU follow a joint approach to migrants in Libya in order to avoid often deadly flows across the Mediterranean. This approach is based on working, in cooperation with the Libyan authorities, to improve the situation of migrants, assist those irregular migrants who are stranded there to return voluntarily to their homes and opening up safe and legal pathways to Europe through resettlement.”

The EU’s resettlement scheme now offers €10,000 per refugee resettled (twice the previous amount) to countries willing to accept them. The Commission considers other models of processing applicants outside of the EU to be a “legal nightmare,” though European national leaders including Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán and Malta’s Joseph Muscat support that approach.

MIGRATION — ARCHITECT OF EU-TURKEY DEAL WANTS WEST AFRICA PACT TOO: Gerald Knaus, director of the European Stability Initiative think tank and an architect of the 2016 migration deal between the EU and Turkey, tells Janosch Delcker deals with West African countries could stem the influx of migrants reaching Italy from Libya.


Brussels is nice in August: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told EU diplomats he and his team will work through August, including on the August 15 public holiday, at Juncker’s request, as both Brussels and London want to speed up talks.

Sticking to the October Brexit calendar: Four diplomats who attended a recent Barnier briefing told POLITICO Barnier wants to up the pace of negotiations and avoid British reluctance to talk about a financial settlement becoming a problem at the October EU leaders summit. POLITICO’s sources denied an earlier report in the Telegraph, apparently based on a single source, that talks “will be delayed for two months because of the U.K.’s refusal to engage with Brussels.”

Anguilla says ‘we’re just like Gibraltar’: In evidence to the House of Lords, the British overseas territory Anguilla said it was not consulted prior to the EU referendum, did not get a vote, and must be listened to more seriously as it has a direct border with an EU member (France), just like Gibraltar and Northern Ireland. The territory is heavily dependent on France and the Netherlands for essential goods and services.

Labour, the Brexit chameleon: As Charlie Cooper writes, Labor is as divided on Brexit as the ruling Tories.

The Brexit threat to the U.K.’s £7-trillion funds industry, by Mark Latham.

IN OTHER UK NEWS: Anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K. are at a record high. Boris Johnson takes Global Britain Down Under, makes headlines.

SWEDEN — GOVERNMENT RESHUFFLE OVER DATA LEAK SCANDAL: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven avoided calling an early election Thursday by reshuffling his government in a bid to put an end to a scandal engulfing his government. The scandal centers on allegations that since early last year, Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist and Interior Minister Anders Ygeman were aware sensitive data was outsourced by the country’s transport agency to countries like Serbia. Facing the threat of a no-confidence vote called by the Alliance, a group of center-right opposition parties, Löfven moved Ygeman and a third minister into different roles. Hultqvist remains in place but faces a no-confidence vote in September.

Unimpressed opposition: “What has been appalling really is that despite our calling for accountability, the prime minister has tried to outsource responsibility to the transport authority, blaming others,” Anna Kinberg-Batra, leader of the opposition Moderate Party, told Playbook’s Harry Cooper. “If you discover a breach this grave, why not alert the prime minister and each other?” she added, alluding to the fact the two ministers kept the situation from the PM until a few months ago. Rejecting Löfven’s assertion she was causing political instability at a time of global uncertainty, Kinberg-Batra said the PM should “be very careful to use the word ‘crisis’ because this is a major security crisis on his watch.”

ITALY — BERLUSCONI IS BACK, AND RISING: He’s about to turn 81, has had open-heart surgery and is banned from public office until 2019. None of that will stop four-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s comeback, reports Giada Zampano. His first task will be to seize the leadership of the right.

AUSTRIA —  CHANCELLOR TO TURKEY: YOU’LL NEVER BE A MEMBER. Christian Kern, in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, ruled out any future EU membership for Turkey.

FRANCE — MACRON TAKES ON ITALY: Emmanuel Macron’s decision to nationalize his country’s biggest shipyard, STX, in western France, after an Italian firm’s offer to buy it is has led to a clash with Rome.

MOLDOVA — PRESIDENTIAL POWERS REFERENDUM UNCONSTITUTIONAL: Moldova’s constitutional court ruled a vote on whether the country should switch from a parliamentary to a more presidential system is unconstitutional. Side note: Take a tour of President Igor Dodon’s wine cellar.

THROWBACK FRIDAY — DALLI AFFAIR DOCUMENTARY: Danish reporters with the BBC have published an investigative documentary on Dalligate, the affair that led to the sacking in 2012 of John Dalli, then European commissioner for health and consumer policy. It involves Chinese-Americans wanting to invest in goldmines, Paypal transfers, tobacco industry pay-offs and more.

TRUMP WORLD — ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI CALLS NEW YORKER REPORTER TO UNLOAD: An extraordinary story from the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza: “He started by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. It escalated from there.” It’s unclear how the New Yorker interview will impact Scaramucci’s standing with Trump, but the president has already praised Scaramucci’s brawler instincts, writes Josh Dawsey.


ELECTED: Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, the French MP representing the country’s citizens living in the Benelux countries, has been appointed rapporteur for the EU defense union in the Assemblée Nationale.

CHANGING ROLES: Jack Schickler moves from European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström’s team to become a communication adviser to European Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King. Nathalie Gross has moved from Weber Shandwick to CEFIC, Europe’s biggest industry association, to become its communication manager. Jules Johnston is now competition reporter at Parr.