30-08-2017 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 30-08-2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tsipras vows business-friendly policies, but bureaucracy remains a scourge

The government is continuing to send out mixed signals with regard to its commitment to reforms that will invite much-needed investments, as its deeds do not appear to match its words.


IMF demands and surplus questions could derail autumn review

Greece is set for another nail-biter this coming fall as sources say that the International Monetary Fund intends to raise objections over the government’s primary surplus targets for 2018 and to demand that Greek banks be subject to asset quality reviews (AQRs).


Leaks point to Ankara drawing up plan B for Cyprus

Seeking to keep the pressure on Nicosia in the aftermath of the failed peace talks in July, reported leaks from Ankara suggest that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered officials to prepare a roadmap aimed at ending the international isolation of Turkish Cypriots.


Greece lagging in FDI among EU-Med countries

Greece accounted for just 60, or 0.56 percent, of 10,660 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in seven Mediterranean countries between 2011 and 2015, according to a study conducted by EY.


TAIPED readies for port privatization, starting with Alexandroupoli

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED) is preparing to hire advisers to explore the privatization of 10 port authorities in which it holds stakes.


Memorandum-mandated target to reduce PPC’s market share by end of year appears fleeting

Greece’s independent power regulator, officially called the “Operator of Electricity Market”, this week announced that state-owned Public Power Corp.’s (PPC) market share rose by 0.22 percent last month, month-on-month, to reach a dominating 85.77 percent of the total.


Top arbitration court orders Serbia to pay Mytilineos 40 mln$ in damages

The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled in favor of the Mytilineos mining group in its dispute with the state of Serbia, a legal battle stemming from a defunct 1996 contract to privatize the state-owned  RTB BOR mining company.


Motor Oil reports 41% hike in H1 2017 turnover

Greek refinery and petrochemical conglomerate Motor Oil posted encouraging H1 2017 results this week, with the highlight being a major increase in turnover and improved profit margins.







KATHIMERINI: Government doublespeak regarding investments

TA NEA: Hospitals crash: The lists of patience

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Blow against employers’ arbitrary actions affecting workers

AVGI: Publix sector goes online

RIZOSPASTIS: Working class children to face blighted schools and exam-marathons

KONTRA NEWS: Kim humiliates the great powers and paves the way for a world war

DIMOKRATIA: Carrot and stick by Labor Minister Achtsioglou

NAFTEMPORIKI: The investments bet

EUROZONE — GERMANY AND FRANCE RE-COMMIT TO DEEPENING INTEGRATION: If Monday was about a European political divorce, Tuesday was about Europe’s power couple renewing their vows. Three months after they first agreed to draw up a roadmap for further eurozone integration, the leaders of Germany and France said they’re ready to move forward, reports Reuters. While still only words, French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments to an annual gathering of French ambassadors and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s press conference remarks provide an obvious contrast to the current messy Brexit stalemate.

Don’t get too excited: Matthew Karnitschnig for POLITICO explains that while Merkel will back a European Monetary Fund and finance minister, she won’t agree to any significant budget for a future EU finance minister to manage.

Selmayr pushes eurozone integration in speech to bankers: Speaking to German bankers Tuesday night at an open-air reception, Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, Martin Selmayr, followed up Merkel’s endorsement of further integration with the plea: “The future of Europe will be very lonely … if we go in this debate too German.”

POLITICO’s Bjarke Smith-Meyer was at the event and said Selmayr’s key word was “compromise.” By that he meant “something at EU level that creates a stronger sense of belonging, that contributes to more equality between our member states,  to more convergence between our member states.” He said the EU should not act like “legal robots” when considering the impact of financial and economic governance on citizens. 

COMMISSION VERSUS POLAND: Polish Prime Minister Beata Syzdło issued a slick video message claiming some “EU politicians have made statements that are unjust for Poland.” She said the country remains democratic and committed to European values. The message came too late to persuade Merkel, who backed the Commission Tuesday, saying she is concerned by the situation in Poland and will discuss it today with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.


We’re two weeks out from Juncker’s much-vaunted State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. As a warm-up, he gave a barnstormer of a speech to EU ambassadors (also known as “heads of delegation”), delivering a Latin lesson and describing a mystery “sixth scenario” for the future of Europe.

Single white president: “I am very happy to see you. I know you, have followed you, for a long time; some better than others but I love you all.”

Latin class: Juncker tut-tutted at ambassadors unfamiliar with the phrase lacrimarum valle — vale of tears — a reference to Europeans being negative about themselves and the EU.

East meets West via Juncker: “I do not regret for a second that I was among those who allowed us to realize the great marriage, the great intersection between East and West.”

Be humble: “Europe is very small, it is the smallest of the continents, while we still believe that we are the masters of the world … we think we are the driving force of international politics — that is not true. So we need more modesty.”

Sixth sense: In addition to five suggested ways forward for the EU, published in March, Juncker said: “I am convinced there will be a sixth scenario which will finally be the one we propose. That is why we did not propose it because if we had proposed it, it would have been killed in the bud.”

Populism begets populism: “If one follows the populists, one becomes populist, one can see it in some of our national political parties.”

Pain in Ukraine: “I saw that my friend [President Petro] Poroshenko said a few days ago: “Here is Ukraine, it is the European Union and it is NATO. For the time being, it isn’t either. Everyone must know that.”

Russia relations: “I think we should think about better relations with Russia — it depends on Russia, it depends on us, but there won’t be any European security for centuries to come without Russia.”


It’s the first committee week after summer recess, which means at least some MEPs will be in town. Watch the live streams here from 9 a.m. CET, with highlights indicated below.

Maïa de La Baume and David Herszenhorn explain the light agenda has left some MEPs fuming.”This Parliament is a sham,” said Jean Arthuis, a French MEP and president of the budget committee.

Brexit: Guy Verhofstadt, the Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, will update MEPs on the employment affairs committee.

Budget: The EPP’s Siegfried Mureşan and the ECR’s Richard Ashworth will discuss a (somewhat scathing) report on the Council’s budget position, in which they criticize the idea of cutting long-term investment funding to plug the Brexit budget hole.

Foreign affairs: S&D MEP Liisa Jaakonsaari will lead a discussion on a new Council deal to boost relations between the EU and Kazakhstan (read her draft report here). David McAllister, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, will also present his draft report on “the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.”

Development: MEPs will vote on a report “addressing shrinking civil society space in developing countries,” drafted by EPP MEP Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio.

Trade: MEPs will meet in a closed-door session with Jean-Luc Demarty, the director general of the Commission’s trade department.

UNITED NATIONS — 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY WEEK PREVIEW: With host nation United States slimming down its U.N. presence, Michael Bloomberg will host a Global Business Forum on September 20 in New York during the United Nations General Assembly week. The line-up gives the World Economic Forum a run for its money and Europeans attending include Emmanuel Macron, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Hungarian President János Áder, Slovak Republic President Andrej Kiska, Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis and Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. They will be joined by Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, and more than 30 other world leaders.

DEFENSE — RUSSIA DENIES ZAPAD WAR GAMES PRETEXT FOR INVADING EUROPE: Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin rejected suggestions the Zapad 2017 war games involving 13,000 Russian and Belarusian troops are a ruse “for the occupation” of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine.

NATO battlegroups ‘fully operational’: Some 4,500 multinational troops stationed in Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania are now fully operational. “They send a clear message that an attack on one ally would be met by troops from across the Alliance,” said the organization in a statement.

Don’t give up on the Eastern Partnership: The forthcoming Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels, to which EU leaders and those of neighboring states will be invited, is an opportunity to reboot the EU’s eastern foreign policy, argues Laima Andrikienė, a Lithuanian MEP in an op-ed for delfi.lt, also published on her Facebook page. Andrikienė, who will prepare the Parliament’s position ahead of the summit, wants countries like Georgia and Ukraine to be offered membership of the EU’s customs union, as well as a massive financial injection of EU cash into the region.

TRADE — TRUMP’S OLIVE SIEGE AGAINST EUROPE’S FARMING FORTRESS: ‘America First’ and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) may not be compatible, a looming Spanish olive tariff is set to demonstrate. EU politicians and farmers now fear the Trump administration’s effort to impose the new olive tariff as early as November will set a precedent that could lay waste to corn, meat, vegetables and the CAP itself, which makes up 40 percent of the overall EU budget. Hans von der Burchard has the story.

GERMANY — IN THIS ELECTION, THIRD IS THE NEW FIRST: Merkel’s almost certain to win and Martin Schulz finish second, but four parties are in the race for bronze. The prize is a seat at the table of not only managing Germany, but re-designing Europe, writes Matthew Karnitschnig.

SCOTLAND — LABOUR LEADER RESIGNS: Kezia Dugdale on Tuesday resigned as Scottish Labour Party leader.


UK Brexit charm offensive falls flat: The British government’s decision to hold confidential briefing sessions for EU ambassadors in London appears to have fallen flat, report Simon Marks and Giulia Paravicini. The meetings, which weren’t officially announced, didn’t impress the representatives of the EU27 due to a lack of detail from the U.K. “And they were dismayed that a promise to provide a detailed position paper on how to calculate the U.K.’s financial obligations to the bloc once it leaves was subsequently withdrawn.”

Juncker gives UK papers an F: “The U.K. government is hesitating to show all its cards,” Juncker said Tuesday as Brexit negotiators resumed formal talks in Brussels. None of its position papers “is actually satisfactory, so there is still an enormous amount of issues which remain to be settled.”

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator delivers gloomy speech to EU ambassadors: According to Playbook’s source, Michel Barnier’s main message was that time is working against both sides because of the U.K.’s limited engagement. “Barnier had an upset tone, saying the U.K. is delaying everything and the the U.K. is not prepared at all. He stressed that the EU will need to renegotiate all sorts of agreements with the world, because once the U.K. is out, those agreements are not relevant anymore to the EU interest.”

UK wants to emulate EU in trade deal with Japan: Prime Minister Theresa May will this week meet with her Japanese counterpart Shinzō Abe and ask him to use his country’s recently signed trade deal with the EU as a blueprint for an agreement with the U.K. But Tokyo previously said it will not enter into trade talks with Britain before implementing its deal with the EU, and is very unlikely to start negotiating until London sorts out its future trading relationship with the bloc, reports Simon Marks.

392 lonely steps for the UK negotiating team: A video montage by the BBC about the distances small and large between the EU27 and U.K.

The ex-files — Hague says EU will have to get flexible: William Hague writes for the Telegraph that “The EU is having fun giving us the runaround — but sooner or later it will have to get flexible.”


Columnist fired by La Vanguardia: Gregorio Morán, a longtime columnist at the Barcelona-headquartered newspaper, was dismissed days after he published an article critical of the pro-independence movement.

Former European Parliament president slams independence claims: “How many times do European authorities have to say that a new state is outside the European Union?” asked Josep Borrell, who headed the European Parliament in the mid 2000s. “It would not have any international support.”

LITHUANIA CONFRONTS ITS HOLOCAUST: Attempts to lift the fog of war are met with accusations of rewriting patriotic history, writes Benas Gerdziunas, as Lithuania grapples with the thin line between its collaborators and resistance fighters. “80 percent of Lithuanian Jews, the Litvaks, were murdered during the six months of Nazi occupation … Five decades of (Soviet) atrocities followed. Some 5-10 percent of Lithuanians were exiled to Siberia, more than 50,000 perishing in the inhospitable Russian hinterland; many of these victims were also Jewish.”

UNITED STATES — HARVEY’S HELL AND THE POLITICAL FALLOUT: “Local, state and federal officials conceded that the scale of the crisis was so vast that they were nowhere near being able to measure it, much less fully address it.” The big question now: will Congress be able to act both quickly and over the longer-term, while juggling a potential government shutdown, to fund repairs?

MEDIA MOVES — MACRON HIRES JOURNALIST AS SPOKESPERSON: Emmanuel Macron’s office named TV journalist and opinion writer Bruno Roger-Petit as a spokesman Tuesday.