EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 03-03-2017

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 03-03-2017

Friday, March 03, 2017

Greece urges lenders to quickly define medium-term debt relief measures

Greece on Tuesday urged its lenders to define medium-term debt relief measures quickly so that the country can be included in the ECB’s bond-buying programme and be able to finance itself from the markets when its current bailout ends.


Rifts appear in government, opposition over bailout stance

The government appeared to shift its strategy on bailout talks on Thursday, indicating that some measures might go to a vote in Parliament before a Eurogroup on March 20. New Democracy also seemed divided over the stance it should assume on the prospect of new measures.


Tsipras to receive French counterpart for talks on program, investments

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to receive his visiting French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve for talks at the Maximos Mansion at noon on Friday that are expected to focus on the progress of the Greek program and French interest in investments.


Banks forgive 2.5 bln euros of corporate NPLs in 2016

Greek banks wrote off nonperforming loans totaling 2.5 billion euros last year, a new record, while senior bank officials say that this year write-offs will rise even higher, exceeding 3 billion, making cancellations one of the credit sector’s main weapons in its ongoing battle to reduce the amount of bad loans in its portfolios.


July deadline for income tax statements

The Finance Ministry’s online Taxisnet platform is expected to open in late April to receive the income tax declarations of more than 6 million taxpayers. Taxisnet will accept statements up to mid-July.


Security still clouds global tourism outlook-UN tourism body head

The United States stands to lose millions in tourism revenues by travelers who will shun the country because of its ban on the nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries, the head of a United Nations tourism body said on Thursday.


Papandreou re-elected as Socialist Int’l president

Former Greek prime minister and PASOK leader George Papandreou was re-elected as president of the Socialist International (SI), following unanimous support at the group’s conference on Thursday in Colombia.


Well-known investor demands ND leader take back charge of ‘shill bidding’

Well-known Greek-Russian businessman and investor Ivan Savvidis partially “resurrected” the now defunct television license tender issue, months after the controversial procedure was declared illegal by Greece’s high court last year, by sending main opposition New Democracy (ND) Kyriakos Mitsotakis an out-of-court notice on Thursday.







KATHIMERINI: Fines on fair and unfair about achieve the aims

ETHNOS: Employment plan for over 300.000 unemployed

TA NEA: “Power failure” on negotiation

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: ND party in upheaval situation

AVGI: Programmes of 3 billion for 300.000 employment

RIZOSPASTIS: Bargains against people for specialization of measures

KONTRA NEWS: Kyriakos “deletes”  Meimaraki

DIMOKRATIA: Turmoil in ND party between its members

NAFTEMPORIKI: Greece to proof that fulfills the agreements

IMERISIA: “Entrapped” generation

DRAFT CONCLUSIONS OF MARCH 9-10 EU LEADERS SUMMIT: It’s an early draft ahead of next week’s summit, but it’s getting interesting. See the text here.

WESTERN BALKANS SUMMIT SET FOR JULY 12: It’s to take place in Trieste according to Playbook’s source.

HOW EUROPEANS ARE COPING ON THE TRUMP FRONT LINES: Uncertain and jittery is how Matthew Karnitschnig found the European diplomatic corps in Washington D.C., the victims of political whiplash and 5 a.m. tweets. They’re banking on the Trump administration’s NATO embrace but worried about its attitude to the EU.

SCHENGEN SURPRISES! It’s a topsy-turvy migration scene in the EU, as these three developments on Thursday indicated.

Did you know? Schengen Zone countries do not have a common system for tracking ‘entry-exit’: It seemed so obvious, Playbook never considered that Schengen countries might not share a software system to track people coming in and out. The clue came Thursday when the Council of the European Union announced in a written statement that ambassadors had agreed “on a negotiating mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament on a proposal for an entry-exit system. This system will register entry, exit and refusal of entry information of third-country nationals crossing the external borders of the Schengen area.”

Migration 101: In a continent wracked by immigration traumas, populist-whipped anxiety, and the certainty of millions more attempted refugee arrivals, it’s shocking that until now countries that agreed to abolish internal borders did not even attempt a coordinated approach to securing their external ones, even at airports.

Meanwhile, Commission now supports locking up migrants as transition to ‘Australian solution’ nears completion: Migrants who are refused entry to the EU and dispute the decision should be detained to prevent them staying illegally, the European Commission said Thursday as it unveiled measures to get tougher on migration. That’s a long, long way from where this policy started in 2015.

The day the Commission announced its first refugee relocation and resettlement proposals in 2015, Playbook asked if the EU would need to consider the hardline and expensive Australian-style approach to cutting migrant inflows. The answer from a Commission spokesperson: a very dismissive “no.”

It’s hard not to notice how the EU has now adopted most aspects of Australia’s approach: a beefed up coast guard, detention centers, offshore processing, and payment deals with third countries to accept refugees.

Come on in Ukraine — visa-free access approved by governments: The measure, long desired by Kiev, was backed by ambassadors and must now be approved by the European Parliament. The approval process is expected to be complete by June, an EU diplomat told POLITICO’s Jacopo Barigazzi. Ukrainians with biometric passports would have the standard access to the zone of 90 days in a 180-day period. In a press release, the EU Council noted that Ireland and the U.K. had their own visa regimes, governed by national legislation.

COUNCIL — EMPLOYMENT AND TRADE MINISTERS MEETING TODAY: Employment ministers will discuss measures to coordinate countries’ social security systems. Details here. Trade counterparts are discussing granting China market economy status and new trade defense instruments in Malta. Details here.


As we approach International Women’s Day March 8, Playbook spotted three incidents Thursday that, while seemingly unrelated, remind us why the day was created and sustained for more than a century.

Misogyny alive and well in Parliament: “Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent,” said Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke during a debate about the gender pay gap in the Parliament. It’s not Korwin-Mikke’s first time at the rodeo: he’s also known for calling Muslim migrants “human garbage.” He is now being investigated for sexist remarks. Full details on Playbook Plus blog.

Protestors raise the idea of beating Federica Mogherini in Serbia: Vojislav Šešelj, leader of the Serbian Radical Party, said he would launch his campaign to become president today by heckling Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, when she speaks to Serbian parliament. “It will be a verbal protest,” he told reporters. “We won’t beat her. We won’t let her speak,” he said.

Commission organizes a male-majority International Women’s Day event. Three men and only one woman will speak at “Women@Work — The myth of male and female professions” event, sponsored by European Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who recently took charge of the human resources portfolio. Sarah Halls of the Brussels Binder campaign group called it “a really bad signal to send, just a missed opportunity.”

COMMISSION — JUNCKER VISITS SLOVENIA: Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is making a rare foray into Central Europe to Ljubljana, Slovenia. He will meet President Borut Pahor and Milan Brglez, leader of the National Assembly, before opening an EU building with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

PARLIAMENT — MEPs DEMAND REINTRODUCTION OF VISAS FOR US CITIZENS: In a resolution adopted Thursday, MEPs have called on the Commission to reintroduce visa requirements for Americans on the grounds that Washington doesn’t give Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot, Polish and Romanian citizens visa-free access to the U.S. The Commission has been violating EU law since April 2016 by not imposing the requirement, but is unlikely to do so given the impact the move would have on tourism and the transatlantic alliance.

PARLIAMENT — LE PEN LOSES HER IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION: The European Parliament plenary on Thursday voted to lift Marine Le Pen’s immunity over pictures she tweeted of Islamic State violence, including beheadings.

ECB — INFLATION RISES: New Eurostat data shows inflation accelerated to 2 percent in February from 1.8 percent in January, topping the European Central Bank’s target for the first time in four years. Debate rages about how much of the rise is due to the ECB’s monetary stimulus program.

THREE CHEERS FOR THE EUROZONE: Joseph Daul, leader of the European People’s Party, and Jyrki Katainen, Commission vice president, describe the biggest challenge facing the euro as “countering the populist narrative and proving it can keep Europe on the right path.”

WHAT WORKS — FINNS SHOWCASE LOW-CARBON INNOVATION: Katainen will join an event organized by Oras Tynkkynen, a former Finnish Green MP and Finnish government climate specialist now with the Sitra innovation fund, showing off Nordic case studies of scaling up climate-friendly technology. From 8:30 a.m. at Norway House on Rue Archimede.

OMBUDSMAN — CONTROLLING THE CONVERSATION MEANS BEING TRANSPARENT: Emily O’Reilly, the European Ombudsman, is encouraging EU institutions to publish documents and useful information throughout Brexit negotiations. She also launched an investigation into alleged maladministration at the European Investment Bank, after NGOs accused the lender of blocking a challenge to its new transparency policy (second link for POLITICO Pro Financial Services subscribers).


After German and French foreign ministers endorsed the principle of a multi-speed Europe, it was Eastern Europe’s turn to be less impressed. “We categorically declare ourselves against the creation of the so-called core of Europe and the rest, the periphery,” said Bulgaria’s Deputy PM Denitsa Zlateva. Slovakia’s PM Robert Fico warned against “a collection of individual, national interests which cannot help anyone today but can only do harm.” (Hmmm … sounds like someone forgot about his role in the migration crisis). The Visegrad Group issued its declaration here.

European media reacts…

Austria’s Der Standard: “Juncker has wisely put the ball in the governments’ court … it is above all the governments of the member states who are responsible for the current profound crisis — also in democracy.”

Germany’s Deutschlandfunk: “The goal is no longer to defend the EU against a monolithic bloc as in Cold War times, but to save an idea by making it more practicable and more acceptable for the people.”

Belgium’s De Standaard: “The Commission’s attempt to be ‘objective’ is not only an admission of weakness but also an expression of political realism.”

Romania’s Valentin Naumescu on Contributors: “A two-speed Europe would mean the end of the EU in its current form and its division into at least two categories of states.”

Croatia’s Večernji list: “If most people in the member states feel that the borders should be closed once more, that would mean the end of Schengen and the end of the right to travel freely, which is one of the basic European rights.”


Is Wilders really behind? Polling experts say no. The two parties are so close that the difference between them in the Peilingwijzer poll of polls is not statistically significant, say Tom Louwerse and Sarah de Lange. See here. “While the point estimate of the VVD is indeed slightly higher than that of the PVV, it would be incorrect to conclude from this that the VVD has taken the lead, because of the error margin. It might very well be that in reality PVV is still leading the VVD. To put it simply: one cannot ignore the uncertainty margins,” Louwerse told Playbook.

But there’s a reason Wilders is not playing up Nexit as in last elections: The Dutch don’t want it. Cynthia Kroet says you should not worry about Nexit because most political parties believe in the EU, the Netherlands depends on exports, no one wants to go back to the Dutch guilder, and it would be unconstitutional. That being said, Cynthia explains, the law can be changed. So maybe worry a little!


François Fillon’s supporters head for the lifeboats“Senior conservatives say they can no longer support the presidential candidate after he vowed to stay in the race despite being under investigation.”

How populism took control of French politics: Pierre Rosanvallon in Le Monde on how populism has taken over the French elections.

National Front thrives where employment doesn’t: A telling map from The Economist.

UK — NORTHERN IRELAND ELECTIONS: First counts won’t come in till the afternoon, but reports from several polling stations suggest turnout was up.


What if Brexit talks reach no deal? By John Bruton.

UK’s overseas territories at odds with May over Brexit goals: “British Virgin Islands’ goal is to maintain as many of the existing arrangements with the EU as possible,” wrote D. Orlando Smith, the finance minister for the islands.

Applying game theory to Brexit: An interview with Dr. Michael Huether.

Brunswick’s tips and insights into Britain’s post-Brexit trade future: The lobbying outfit suggests the U.K. will aim for a CETA-plus trade deal with the EU, and says there’s virtually no chance that could be in place in 2019. There’s also 10 tips from trade negotiators about how companies should position themselves.

SWEDEN — CONSCRIPTION REINTRODUCED: “We have had a difficult time manning the war units on a voluntary basis and it has to be addressed in some way,” said Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist. “Therefore, it is necessary to reactivate conscription.”

ITALY OPINION — EUROPE SHOULD LEARN FROM ITALY THAT TRANSFER UNIONS DON’T WORK: Despite 50 years of Italian government transfers and another 20 years of EU funds, the Italian south is as distant in wealth from the north of Italy as ever, writes Alberto Mingardi. The EU should not fall into the same transfer trap.


ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS RECUSES HIMSELF IN RUSSIA PROBE: A torrent of criticism has rained down on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the past 24 hours after Americans learned that, while under oath testifying to the Senate, he concealed two meetings with Russian diplomats during the 2016 election campaign. Sessions was forced into a recusal, amid calls by opponents for his resignation.

Edward Luce suggests Trump will never emerge from these Russian shadows: “Washington will be progressively enveloped by multiple probes into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.”