28-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

28-11-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Govt, opposition clash in Parliament over controversial munitions deal with Saudi Arabia

The latest political furor made its way to Parliament on Monday, with the leftist-rightist coalition government clashing with the opposition over a controversial munitions deal with Saudi Arabia that has attracted intense scrutiny both inside the country and abroad.


More than 142K applications already filed for this year’s holiday welfare bonus

More than 142,000 applications had been filed via an electronic platform, by noon on Monday, by people seeking to receive a one-off welfare bonus next month, dubbed a “social dividend” by the leftist-rightist coalition government.


Greece, EU strike ‘preliminary deal’ on coal-fired plants sale, says minister

Greece and the European Union have reached a “preliminary deal” on the coal-fired plants the country will sell to comply with an EU court ruling, Greek Energy Minister George Stathakis said on Monday.


Super League chief charged with corruption

The general director of soccer’s Super League and former president of the Greek Football Federation (EPO) Vasilis Gagatsis was indicted on Monday on corruption charges.


Counter-terrorism unit conducting raids in two Athens neighborhoods

Greece’s counter-terrorism unit on Tuesday launched a major operation in the Athens neighborhoods of Kallithea and Neos Cosmos as part of a crackdown on an organized crime group.


Food industry a vital part of Greek manufacturing sector

The Greek food industry boasts the greatest share of enterprises in manufacturing and is the biggest employer while enjoying the second highest turnover in the country’s secondary sector, according to data from the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE).


HELEX 9-month profits up on 2016

Hellenic Exchanges, the company that operates the Athens Stock Exchange, on Monday announced an increase in its nine-month net profits to 2.2 million euros this year from 1.9 million a year earlier.


ATHEX: Local bourse unable to get out of the rut

Turnover at the Greek bourse remained disappointingly low and stocks continued to display a lack of direction on Monday as the week began with another mixed session. The benchmark only managed to avoid posting a drop on the day in the closing auctions, but losing stocks outnumbered the gainers.







KATHIMERINI: Full political coverage for Defense Minister Kammenos

ETHNOS: The missiles against the government missed their target

TA NEA: Tsipras and Kammenos are both fatal and guilty

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: The opposition’s scandal accusations backfired!

AVGI: The masks have fallen

RIZOSPASTIS: Our future is socialism!

KONTRA NEWS: Keep Mitsotakis in his place! His inadequacy is supporting PM Tsipras!

DIMOKRATIA: The regulation regarding illegal constructions is open to use

NAFTEMPORIKI: The creditors’ auditors will be welcomed with the launch of online auctions


EU and African leaders are gathering at the African Union-EU summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire to focus on boosting opportunities for Africa’s young people. Business leaders kicked off the week at the EU-Africa Business Forum with a keynote speech from Andrus Ansip, vice president for the EU’s digital single market, who flagged the importance of private-sector investment for Africa’s future. His comments unsurprisingly reflect the main initiative to be launched at the summit, the EU’s €44-billion External Investment Plan, recently signed off by MEPs and EU governments, that’s modeled on the Juncker Investment Plan.

EU, African foreign ministers meet today: Some 19 EU foreign ministers will meet their African counterparts to discuss “global governance and multilateralism” — co-chaired by High Representative Federica Mogherini and Agapito Mba Mokuy, Guinea’s foreign minister, whose government currently holds the presidency of the African Union.

Pan-African parliament-European Parliament summit: Three years after the Pan-African parliament adopted a protocol giving the institution legislative powers, few countries have ratified it. MEPs and African parliamentarians will today discuss how to encourage its adoption, with a closing speech by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, ahead of which he said: “This summit must put the African continent securely at the top of our political agenda … To this end, we are pursuing permanent dialogue with African leaders.”


EU BAILOUT EXPERTS HEAD TO ATHENS: EU experts are headed to Athens today for the next round of talks with the Greek government over its bailout program. At the same time MEPs on the budgetary control committee will hear from Baudilio Tomé Muguruza, a member of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), about the Commission’s handling of the crisis. “At the start of the Greek program, the Commission had no experience in the management of such a process,” the ECA’s report into the matter reads. “Despite a growing number of conditions, the first and second programs did not adequately prioritize their relative importance and they were not embedded in a broader strategy for the country.” At a press conference Monday, Margaritis Schinas, the Commission’s chief spokesman, said the institution is “open to constructive analysis,” pointing out that “many of these recommendations have already been implemented.”

ECB — BAD LOAN PLAN COMES UNDER FIRE: Bloomberg reports that despite accusations of overreach, the European Central Bank is sticking to the core of a plan that forces banks to “provision fully for loans that turn sour from the start of next year, with a two-year deadline for unsecured non-performing debt and seven years for secured.” Italian banks have to deal with €318 billion of bad loans. The draft guidance for future non-performing loans will be the subject of a public hearing November 30.

Council says ECB plan illegal: A Council legal opinion obtained by Reuters argues the ECB’s bad-loan plan is outside its mandate.

COMMISSION — GOVERNMENTS VOTE IN FAVOR OF GLYPHOSATE RENEWAL: National experts met in Brussels Monday and voted in favor of a Commission proposal to renew weedkiller glyphosate’s license for another five years. Germany decided to back the proposal at the last minute, having abstained for months, leaving France and Italy on the outs. Berlin’s changed position was likely made possible after coalition talks with the country’s fiercely anti-pesticide Greens fell apart a week ago. Even so, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina confounded those who hoped the vote would lay to rest the debate, saying they will still move to ban the chemical over the next three years. POLITICO’s Simon Marks and Giulia Paravicini have the details of what went down.

A victorious commissioner: Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis and his adviser Vilija Sysaité arrived, grinning, directly from the vote to record an episode of POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast. When asked about the meeting, Andriukaitis raised his arms above his head in a sign of victory and said: “Can’t you see from our faces that we won?”

COMMISSION — EUROPEAN LABOR AGENCY: The Commission outlined its thinking on Monday for a new European Labor Authority, first flagged by President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union address in September, and a European social security number, via a series of somewhat-loaded questions in a consultation.

PARLIAMENT — TAJANI DEMANDS SZYDŁO INTERVENE OVER THREATS TO MEPs: In response to protestors hanging images of Polish Civic Platform MEPs who voted in favor of a resolution condemning government plans to overhaul the country’s judiciary, Antonio Tajani said he planned to write to Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło. He said he would seek her assurance of “the security of elected MEPs to express their opinions independently without threat and oppose those who spread hatred by exhibiting outrageous pictures of hanged politicians.”

An eye for an eye: Szydło said “these kinds of acts need to be condemned,” although she noted the “need to condemn acts of aggression that happen … towards praying individuals at the ‘Krakowskie Przedmiescie,’ or on the 18th of every month when Jarosław Kaczyński with Law and Justice politicians goes to Wawel to visit the grave … of President Lech Kaczyński.” Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro told Radio Trójka: “From what I know, there should be some sort of investigation,” adding he didn’t want to take a position because it’s up to the public prosecutor to deal with the matter.

Poland: Fascist or patriotic? In the latest POLITICO debate, Tomasz Wróblewski, president of the Warsaw Enterprise Institute, argues that “A few immature extremists don’t make Poland a fascist country,” while the Central European University’s Maciej Kisilowski describes Kaczyński “as an aspiring autocrat moving fast to make the most of a short window of opportunity in which political and economic circumstances are lined up in his favor.”

PARLIAMENT — ‘A SMALL GUESTHOUSE’ FOR VISITORS: The European Parliament plans to spend more than €600,000 upgrading and extending a property it owns near Paris that acts as a museum and conference center used in part by MEPs and EU staff. Part of the upgrade may include the construction of  “a small guesthouse” for visitors. According to a document issued by the Parliament’s top staffer, Secretary General Klaus Welle, and obtained by POLITICO’s Maïa de la Baume, senior MEPs agreed earlier this month to spend an estimated €364,000 to modernize the house of Jean Monnet, one of the EU’s intellectual forefathers.


Brexit debates: The environment committee today holds a public hearing on the impact of Brexit on the environment, public health and food safety. The constitutional affairs committee holds a separate hearing on the implications of Brexit on the Irish border.

Migration: The civil liberties committee holds a public hearing on migration pacts between the EU and third countries, and will debate allegations the Italian government paid off Libyan security officials to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean. MEPs will also discuss concerns that asylum seekers are being employed illegally.

Social affairs: French MEP Guillaume Balas will present his proposals on a far-reaching Commission proposal that would see the alignment of EU social security systems.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE — SHORTLIST FOR HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER: The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly will vote for a new human rights commissioner in January. The shortlisted candidates are Slovenia’s Goran Klemenčič, France’s Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Dunja Mijatović.


GERMANY — MERKEL PRESSURES SPD TO JOIN COALITION: German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged SPD leader Martin Schulz to join her in another grand coalition, citing a challenging global environment and the need for a stable Germany. “There are European elections in 2019 … so there is a big expectation that we take positions,” she said, referring to proposals on the future governance of the EU’s currency and economic union.

FRANCE — GENDER EQUALITY MINISTER TO CODIFY HARASSMENT: Cat-callers, wolf-whistlers and harassers of the world, beware. Marlène Schiappa, France’s junior minister for gender equality, wants to make unwanted public advances to women a punishable offense. “The idea is to establish a fine, as well as a process and an amount so these fines can be imposed on the street harassers,” Schiappa told POLITICO’s Nicholas Vinocur and Marion Solletty.

ITALY — BERLUSCONI SUGGESTS POLICEMAN AS FUTURE PM: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suggested General Leonardo Gallitelli, a member of the Italy’s military police, as a possible candidate for prime minister if he wins an election in 2018, according to local media.

FRANCE — LE PEN U-TURN ON EUROPE CONTINUES: National Front chief Marine Le Pen has deleted promises to lead France out of the EU from her party’s manifesto, saying “We are Europeans, not anti-Europeans,” according to L’Opinion.

IRELAND — ON CUSP OF NEW ELECTION: Ireland is on the verge of a snap election after talks Monday failed to resolve the government’s political crisis over Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s deputy Frances Fitzgerald. Talks will continue today in an attempt to head off a planned no-confidence vote.

PORTUGAL — 2018 BUDGET BACKED: Left-wing parties backed a government budget plan that seeks to trim the country’s deficit to 1.1 percent of GDP next year.


6 days to go: The U.K. has six days to meet Council President Donald Tusk’s deadline to commit more money towards the U.K.’s exit bill and suggest a proposed Irish border system that will respect the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU customs union. While neither side wants a policed border, the U.K.’s Brexit policy will make some kind of oversight inevitable.

Belgium and Brexit: The next country caught between a rock and a hard place is Belgium. “Caught between its traditional support for advancing European integration and its longstanding links to the Anglo-Saxon world, Belgium finds itself at a crossroads at which its two deepest foreign policy instincts conflict with one another,” writes Alexander Mattelaer for Egmont Institute.

Impact studies (sort of) published: Brexit studies handed over to a House of Commons committee Monday didn’t include “commercially, market or negotiation sensitive information,” Brexit Secretary David Davis said in a letter to MPs. Annabelle Dickson has the details for POLITICO Brexit Pro subscribers.


TILLERSON SPEECH ON EUROPEAN RELATIONS: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will deliver remarks on “The U.S. and Europe: strengthening Western alliances” at 5 p.m. today Brussels time, at the Wilson Center in Washington D.C. Livestream here.

WASHINGTON POST UNCOVERS STING: A woman pretended to be a victim of sexual assault by Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in what appears to have been an attempt by right-wing website Project Veritas to discredit the Washington Post.

LAKE CHAD — WORLD’S MOST COMPLEX HUMANITARIAN DISASTER: The New Yorker’s Ben Taub reports from the Lake Chad region which, in recent years, has become the setting of the world’s most complex humanitarian disaster.