29-05-2017 | EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 29-05-2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis dies aged 98

Former Greek Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, one of Greece’s most prominent veteran politicians, died early on Monday, his family said. He was 98.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218803/article/ekathimerini/news/former-greek-prime-minister-constantine-mitsotakis-dies-aged-98

ND continues to field double-digit percent point lead over ruling SYRIZA

The latest opinion poll unveiled over the weekend gives main opposition New Democracy (ND) a 16.6-percentage point leading of ruling SYRIZA.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1240340/nd-continues-to-field-double-digit-percent-point-lead-over-ruling-syriza

Next Eurogroup must indicate measures for the sustainability of Greek public debt

Article by Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218779/opinion/ekathimerini/comment/next-eurogroup-must-indicate-measures-for-the-sustainability-of-greek-public-debt

Failure to clinch Eurogroup deal narrows options for Tsipras

In the aftermath of Greece’s failure to seal a deal at last Monday’s Eurogroup, the government find itself now with its back against a wall, as the road map outlining the way out of the crisis it had so painstakingly cultivated in recent months, was tossed out.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218789/article/ekathimerini/news/failure-to-clinch-eurogroup-deal-narrows-options-for-tsipras

ExxonMobil plans to invest 5 billion in Greek fossil fuels

US oil major ExxonMobil plans to invest around 5 billion euros in the development of hydrocarbon deposits off Greek shores.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218787/article/ekathimerini/business/exxonmobil-plans-to-invest-5-billion-in-greek-fossil-fuels

Eurobank economic bulletin: Greek GDP rate lags behind EZ average by 2.2% points

The divergence between Greece’s growth rate and that of the Euro zone average by 2.2 percentage points was the highlight of Eurobank’s weekly economic report last week.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1240477/eurobank-economic-bulletin-greek-gdp-rate-lags-behind-ez-average-by-22-points

More NPLs added in April to the pile generated in the first quarter

A month with just 16 working days is a bad month for banks and their bid to reduce nonperforming loans. April was such a month as it saw an uneven battle from the banks’ side to cut their NPLs following a difficult first quarter.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218795/article/ekathimerini/business/more-npls-added-in-april-to-the-pile-generated-in-the-first-quarter

ATHEX: Quiet trade leads stocks higher at end of losing week

Featuring the lowest daily turnover in the last 20 sessions, the Greek stock market edged higher on Friday, managing to close at the day’s high thanks to some positive corporate news for smaller firms such as Galaxidi Marine Farm and Boutaris.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/218770/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-quiet-trade-leads-stocks-higher-at-end-of-losing-week

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SUNDAY PAPERS

KATHIMERINI: Say no to hatred and violence!

TO VIMA: Tsipras is hostage to Schaeuble and the IMF

REAL NEWS: Tsipras to Merkel and Macron: “Either I get debt relief or the IMF walks”

PROTO THEMA: 75% deems the counter-measures “unimportant”

AVGI: “Split” solution? No, thanks!

RIZOSPASTIS: NATO’s summit in Brussels sounds the drums of war for the Balkan people

MONDAY PAPERS

TA NEA: The dream is gone

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Bombs of political nonsense

KONTRA NEWS: Clear solution at the upcoming Eurogroup meeting or clash at the Summit

DIMOKRATIA: “Bombs” regarding the acquittal of former Statistics Authority head Georgiou

NAFTEMPORIKI: The ten new taxes of 2018

HAPPENING TODAY: French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin meet at Château de Versailles. Macron has promised tough talk at the meeting. British Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn take part in Sky News/Channel 4 head-to-head election interviews at 8:30 p.m. local time. It’s also a bank holiday in the United Kingdom and Memorial Day in the United States.

ANGELA MERKEL PREVIEWS A NEW TYPE OF TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE: “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” That’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s now famous takeaway from U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Europe. “The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent … That’s what I experienced over the past several days,” she told an election rally audience in Bavaria.

What Merkel’s speech means: Both sides of the transatlantic relationship are starting to doubt the reliability of the other. Merkel’s comment (which is similar to comments she made in January) underlines that point but it doesn’t fundamentally re-engineer the relationship. It’s not hard to imagine Vladimir Putin being pleased by this: he would like to see the U.S. and EU divided. But Putin won’t like the conclusion Merkel has drawn from the newly distant EU-U.S. relationship. Merkel argued for a more coherent and united Europe to pick up the policy and security slack left by President Trump.

Analysis — POLITICO’s Matthew Karnitschnig and Henry Farrell for the Washington Post offer two different takes …

Karnitschnig says don’t worry: “While timing is everything in politics and the juxtaposition of Merkel’s comments just hours after the failed G7 summit is notable, it would be a mistake to read too much into them. Like any good politician, Merkel knows how to play to her audience. And in Germany, a healthy dose of U.S. criticism always goes down well, especially in the age of Trump … Were Merkel, ever a cautious leader, to signal a German pivot away from the U.S., she would hardly choose a Bavarian beer party as the venue.”

Farrell says this is serious: “One of the key purposes of NATO was to embed Germany in an international framework that would prevent it from becoming a threat to European peace as it had been in World War I and World War II. In the words of NATO’s first secretary general, NATO was supposed ‘to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.’ Now, Merkel is suggesting that the Americans aren’t really in, and, by extension, Germany and Europe are likely to take on a much more substantial and independent role than they have in the past 70 years.”

**A message from ETNO CEOs: Growth and employment require investment in digital infrastructures. How is Europe doing on this front? 14 telecom CEOs have decided to write to EU ministers on the state of the sector and to express their concern about the lack of ambition of on-going digital reforms. Read their views here.** 

COUNCIL — COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL TODAY: There’s a heavy agenda, with ministers getting down to business from 9:30 a.m. They’ll discuss a future EU industrial strategy, how to improve the EU single market for services and conduct a “competitiveness check-up” by looking at how the real economy is functioning.

Ministers to sign off new car emissions rules: EU countries are expected to adopt “a general approach” today for a new system of type-approval and market surveillance for motor vehicles. More information here.

76 steel CEOs lobby for softer carbon emission regulations: The CEOs said in a letter addressed to EU heads of state and governments that they “pull their weight” when it comes to fighting climate change but the EU is set to implement “technically unachievable steel benchmarks.” Two key dates are today’s Competitiveness Council and negotiations between the Council, Commission and Parliament that commence Tuesday. Read the letter here. 

COMMISSION — POLAND HAS A PROBLEM WITH FRANS TIMMERMANS: Matthew Karnitschnig interviewed Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski on the sidelines of the Globsec security conference in Bratislava. Waszczykowski message? The Polish government doesn’t have a problem with the EU or the European Commission; the issue is actually with the European Commission’s First Vice President Frans Timmermans. Full story here.

COMMISSION — DON’T BLAME US FOR TRUMP LEAKS: Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, deplored leaks from Thursday’s EU meeting with Trump. The Commission, for its part, told the EUObserver that if any leaks occurred, they did not come from the Berlaymont.

Remember Martin Selmayr’s ‘horror scenario’ tweet from a year ago: Selmayr may have been quiet last week, but the same couldn’t be said of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff during the 2016 G7 summit. There Selmayr warned of a scenario where Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Boris Johnson and Beppe Grillo held high office. One year on it’s two from four, given the risen of Trump and Johnson.

PARLIAMENT — NEW COCKTAIL CLUB CAUSES A STIR: Maïa de la Baume reports on European Parliament’s plans to create a €1.9-million “House of Citizens,” which critics are dismissing as a cocktail venue for MEPs to meet constituents, NGOs and lobbyists.

According to a document prepared by the Parliament’s Secretary-General Klaus Welle and seen by POLITICO, the project will involve converting a 19th-century private mansion into a six-room “discussion venue for European citizens and events,” where MEPs can meet with members of civil society.  The project is presented as being part of the long-term goal of bringing the institution closer to EU citizens, including via a publicly accessible garden.

PARLIAMENT — ICYMI, ANOTHER LE PEN FUNDING SCANDAL: EUObserver’s Nikolaj Nielsen got his hands on an audit document showing Marine Le Pen’s political group in the European Parliament, the Europe of Nations and Freedom, did not meet budget obligations for “10 service providers with a total value of €492,506.88.” Another €53,876.31 was unaccounted for.

TECH — EU CONSUMER PROTECTIONS NEED A NEW SET OF TEETH: The Continent’s antiquated rules governing consumer rights need to be transformed to keep pace with the real world, but that’s proving to be a difficult task, writes Joanna Plucinska. “Six consumer laws dating back as far as 1993 that tackle everything from unfair contracts to pricing to misleading advertising are in the midst of being re-evaluated … Consumer tech protections are woefully underused and poorly understood by average Europeans.”

MIGRATION — DEATH AND DESPERATION HIT MERCHANT NAVIES IN MEDITERRANEAN: As the number of migrants from Northern Africa is increasing due to warmer temperatures, commercial shippers in the Mediterranean routes bear the psychological and financial brunt of rescuing asylum seekers at sea, writes Emma Diltz for POLITICO. 

EMERGENCY INNOVATION: Today the European Emergency Number Association and the traffic app Waze will announce four pilot emergency organizations that will test the impact of Waze’s anonymous crowdsourced data on improving first responses to emergencies. 

G7 WRAP …

A very low bar cleared: No agreement on the Paris pact on climate change, no strong wording to tackle migration, no real press conferences after the meeting. But, writes POLITICO’s David Herszenhorn, “It could have been worse. A lot worse.” The good news is Trump showed up, and at some points he listened.

Did Trump really ignore the Italian prime minister’s speech? BBC correspondent James Landale set Twitter alight when he posted a video that seemed to show Trump forgoing translation headphones and appearing to snooze during the Italian prime minister’s G7 speech. But things may not be as they seem. Trump’s press spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump “wears a single ear piece for translation in his right ear.” Gizmodo reckons Trump was wearing a piece, it was just very small.

That handshake: Emmanuel Macron said Sunday his tough handshake with Trump in Brussels “was not innocent,” adding “we need to show that we won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, while not overhyping things either.” Macron also demonstratively chose to embrace Merkel before Trump. Video here.

Communiqué cut short: This year’s statement is six pages compared to 32 last year.

Why are EU institutional leaders at the G7? Former European Commission President José Manual Barroso used to boast he was the senior member of the G7 by the time he left office, having been to 10 summits. No one bought that line, but with most summit sessions acting as a G7 + 2, by including the European Commission and Council presidents, that’s still a win for smaller EU members that get to be represented at the top table, David Herszenhorn explains.

Theresa May attacks Jeremy Corbyn: The truce is over. May said her opponent in the British general election would be a lame duck at the table of the world’s most powerful leaders.

G7 must face down Russia or suffer disaster, writes Ukraine president: History teaches us appeasement doesn’t work, writes Petro Poroshenko for POLITICO. “Russia won’t stop its campaign of aggression unless we force its hand … Today, like on the eve of World War II, time is against us … Russia’s new generation of hybrid warfare is gaining momentum. And its effects spread beyond Ukraine. The Kremlin’s tentacles are reaching for the throats of the key capitals of Europe and its transatlantic allies.” 

NATO CORNER …

Opinion — Trump is a blessing for NATO: Christoph B. Schiltz for Die Welt argues that “His pushing and shoving, his nerve and his obstinacy have led the alliance, after years of shilly-shallying, to finally undertake more in the fight against international terrorism.”

Multi-speed NATO? Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita believes we’re living in a time of a “multi-speed” NATO and “differing visions of the Alliance.” It calculates four speeds: that of the U.S., Turkey, Eastern Europe and Western Europe.

TRENDS IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE: GLOBSEC analyzes public opinion surveys in seven Central and Eastern European for its 2017 trends report.

HUNGARY — SOCIALISTS PICK CANDIDATE TO RUN AGAINST VIKTOR ORBÁN: László Botka, the 44-year-old mayor of the southern city of Szeged, will run for the prime ministership in the 2018 election.

SLOVAKIA — PROSECUTOR WANTS TO BAN FAR-RIGHT PARTY: Slovakia’s prosecutor general has asked the supreme court to ban far-right party Kotleba, or The People’s Party Our Slovakia.

TURKEY — MESSY RELATIONS WITH EU CONTINUE: Turkey’s foreign minister accused European intelligence services of infiltrating and co-opting Turkish media in a BuzzFeed interview. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also accused the New York Times of peddling “terrorist” propaganda.

UK ELECTION: Weekend polls have the Conservatives ahead by between 6 and 14 points. Takeaway: the race has tightened. If you were too busy enjoying the sun over the weekend to stay up to speed with all the goings-on in the U.K., POLITICO’s London team and the Sunday Crunch newsletter will bring you up to speed.

UK — BATTLE OF THE BRITISH NATIONALISMS: David Torrance, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s biographer and a political commentator, writes for POLITICO that class has been displaced by appeals to Scottish or British patriotism as the basis of British party politics. “Since last June’s Brexit referendum, a hitherto rather harmless British nationalism has gone from ‘banal’ to sub-UKIP mainstream, the ‘red, white and blue Brexit’ of a thousand U.K. government soundbites … it’s almost impossible to figure out where patriotism ends and nationalism begins.”

BREXIT — OTHER BILLS TO CONSIDER: Bloomberg reports banks and investors “will be $100 billion worse off” if London loses clearing business. The Irish Times reports new Irish borders because of Brexit would mean traders would face a €100-bill for every cross-border transport.

MALTA — GOVERNMENT UP SIX POINTS IN LATEST POLL: Elections take place Saturday in Malta. The Labour government, plagued by controversy, remains 6 points ahead of the EPP-aligned Nationalist Party. 

FRENCH CORNER …

Poll watch: French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is in the lead in Normandy according to an IFOP poll, fighting off opponents from Les Républicains and National Front. The same pollster believe the former Prime Minister Manuel Valls will face a tough battle in Southern Paris as most leftist voters are intending to vote for the radical left candidate from Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s party.

Far left could be the new opposition: Mélenchon’s Unbowed France is considered by 39 percent of French voters to be on course for the role of the main opposition force in the next French National Assembly. The National Front is lagging behind at 23 percent.

TRUMP WORLD …

From untouchable to scandal: Once considered to be the golden child of the new U.S. administration, colleagues and critics are lining up to take shots at Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law. The pressures comes after multiple sources confirmed to multiple media outlets that Kushner attempted to set up highly unusual, and some say potentially treasonous, back-channels to the Russian government before Trump assumed office.

The Economist’s David Rennie has the must-read analysis: “The way to understand Mr Kushner’s discussions with the ambassador is that a trusted counsellor to the then president-elect had more faith in Russian spooks than in Americans.” The worst case scenario is Kushner sought to collude with a hostile government to hoodwink his own. Trump slammed the slew of stories over the weekend as “fake news.”

BRUSSELS CORNER …

20-KILOMETER RUN RESULTS: Donald Tusk’s spokesman Preben Aamann is in good shape after the G7 and Trump, finishing in 1:22:47 on Sunday, beating Playbook by 13 minutes. Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo finished in 1:56:43. Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud also completed the course. Full results here. The Belgian Red Cross intervened 487 times during the race, which was run in hot and sunny conditions.

DIED: Zbigniew Brzezinski, adviser to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and a world renowned foreign policy analyst, at 89. Constantine Mitsotakis, the former Greek prime minister who strengthened ties with the EU, at 98.