31-07-2018 | EYE ON GREECE | EU

31-07-2018 | EYE ON GREECE |

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Seventy bodies of wildfire victims identified, 14 missing

The fire service said on Monday it has identified 70 of the bodies recovered by rescue teams in the deadly blaze that ripped through a seaside town in east Attica last week, while 14 remained missing.


Candlelight vigil for victims of wildfire held in Athens’ main Syntagma square

Hundreds of people gathered in Syntagma square on Monday evening to remember the 92 victims of the recent wildfire in eastern Attica prefecture, following a call mostly circulated over social media.


FYROM sets Sept. 30 for referendum on name deal with Greece

The parliament of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Monday set Sept. 30 as the date for a referendum on NATO and EU membership bids and on its agreement with Greece on the country’s name.


Moscovici sees scope for handouts, market confidence

European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici is sticking to his positive take on the economic situation in Greece, claiming in an interview with Austrian magazine Profil that there is scope for more social justice in Greece.


Latest law obliges Greek banks to take due diligence measures for transactions exceeding 1,000 euros

A recently passed law in Parliament obliges banks and other credit institutions in Greece to exercise “due diligence measures” for every non-regularly recurring money transfer, even between accounts belonging to the same depositor.


Moody’s raises outlook on Greek banks to positive

Moody’s Investors Service said on Monday it has shifted its outlook on the Greek banking system from stable to positive on expectations of an improvement in the banks’ funding and asset risk over next 12 to 18 months.


ATHEX: Bank stocks lead benchmark 0.9 pct higher

Bank stocks helped the Greek market’s main index climb almost 1 percent on Monday, following their outlook upgrade by Moody’s and despite the increase in the yield on Greek bonds on the secondary market.







KATHIMERINI:  Vague image and contradictions on behalf of the government

ETHNOS:  The accusations of the victims

TA NEA:  Put the blame on the dead

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON:  Let’s avoid worse events in the future

AVGI:  Wildfire victims to be supported – Interventions for the next day

RIZOSPASTIS:  Wildfire victims to be supported – Interventions for the next day

KONTRA NEWS:  Documents of the arsons in the hands of the authorities

DIMOKRATIA:  The government is falling apart

NAFTEMPORIKI:  Banks are racing to secure investment grading

NO CUTS HERE PLEASE: The European Commission has urged EU countries not to impose further cuts on administrative spending in the next long-term budget, according to an internal paper discussed at a meeting of the College of Commissioners earlier this month. The paper, seen by Playbook, rebuffs the idea that working for EU institutions is a cushy gig, notes that the Commission has implemented a 5 percent cut to staff in the current budget cycle and argues that further cuts would be both unfair and counterproductive.

Unfair: The EU institutions “have managed to neutralize” the effects of staff cuts in previous years by increasing working hours to 40 hours from 37.5 per week, the paper says. That’s more “than in almost all member states’ central civil services,” the paper notes — in an implicit dig at national governments, which are pushing for further cuts. And while EU officials may be entitled to more days off than anyone else, lunch breaks don’t count towards work time, unlike “in some member states,” the paper adds (here’s looking at you, Austria).

Counterproductive: The paper suggests that any further cuts to EU staffing or a deterioration in employment terms would make it harder to attract European employees. “EU staff endured a 9.9 percent loss in terms of real purchasing power in the period 2004-2017,” the paper says. “This compares with a much more limited reduction of 1.4 percent for national civil servants in central governments.”

Expat problem: All that makes it more difficult to attract expats from some EU countries, making it difficult for the EU institutions to fulfill the objectives of the staff regulations, according to the paper. Hiring staffers from countries including Denmark, Germany, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Finland and Sweden is “increasingly challenging” because, the paper argues, changes in recent years have made the EU “less and less competitive” as an employer, compared to private enterprises. Recruits from those countries “are already significantly under-represented” in the entry-level management grades of AD5 to AD8, according to the paper.

Brexit is no reason to cut EU staff numbers: It isn’t that big a deal, according to the Commission — my story here for you.


MIGRATION BLUEPRINT: Gerald Knaus, who provided the blueprint for the EU’s refugee agreement with Turkey in 2016, will publish a paper today on how to organize migration centers (or whatever you want to call them) to handle asylum requests on European soil in a joint effort between different EU countries. The idea is simple (after all, it was crafted at an EU summit): Create a one-stop shop for migrants to request asylum and to appeal negative decisions, and ensure a final “no” leads to a swift return while a “yes” means people can leave centers and quickly be distributed among the willing.

Knaus’ proposal, as flagged in a Welt interview: The ideal host for the first of these centers would be Spain, which has been on the frontline of the migration crisis since the preferred route for crossing the Mediterranean shifted from Libya/Italy to Morocco/Spain. Plus it has a government with an interest in showing that managing migration is possible without disrespecting human rights and while still saving lives at sea.

TRUMP’S ITALIAN CHEERLEADER: Unlike other European leaders who have used their press conferences with Donald Trump to highlight policy disagreements, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte, in D.C. to meet Trump on Monday, was a veritable cheerleader. In return, Trump congratulated Conte, who never campaigned for office or ran in Italy’s election, on his “tremendous victory.” David Herszenhorn has more.

VIKTOR, UNFILTERED: Read the full Orbán. The Hungarian prime minister’s speech, delivered over the weekend, is now available in English. His friends in the European Peoples’ Party — “Christian Democrats,” in other words — might want to pay attention to what he’s got in mind for the family, which includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk. “Let us confidently declare that Christian democracy is not liberal,” Orbán declared. “Liberal democracy is liberal, while Christian democracy is, by definition, not liberal: it is, if you like, illiberal.”

Speaking of friends in awkward places: In the wake of the affair surrounding a photograph of German footballer Mesut Özil with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which reignited a divisive debate over the place of ethnic Turks in German society, Berlin is bracing for the Turkish leader’s September visit, Matthew Karnitschnig reports.

PRIME MINISTER JEREMY HUNT? You may not have heard of Jeremy Hunt until recently, but Brexit could now be the new British foreign secretary’s route to the top at Westminster, writes Charlie Cooper. “His main qualification for the job: He’s not Boris Johnson.”

WHO’S PATH TO REDEMPTION: Katie Jennings reports that the World Health Organization is hoping to capitalize on recent success tackling the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak — and make a case to an increasingly isolationist America that it’s one international body worth opening the wallet for.

NORTH KOREA BACK AT IT: The U.S. has detected new activity at a North Korean factory that built intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching America, according to Reuters.

HEADING OFF CRITICISM: What’s a Romanian Swede to do when he wants to give the finger to Bucharest? Invest in a “MUIE PSD” license plate, have it confiscated on a trip to Romania, and hey presto! H/t Carmen Paun.