EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 10-03-2017

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 10-03-2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Progress in Greek bailout review talks, labor issues remain open

Greece and its international lenders are close to a deal on its bailout review but differences remain on labor issues, the government’s spokesman said on Thursday.


Greece and Creditors End Talks With No Breakthrough

Labor reforms and growth measures remain sticking points as economy shows new signs of fragility


Envoys leave without deal, Merkel slams Greece over refugee response

Representatives of Greece’s international creditors were expected to leave the capital on Friday without having reached an agreement with government officials on contentious issues including pension reform and overhauls to labor rights and the tax system.


Greece to get EBRD funding for renewable energy drive

Cash-strapped Greece will get more funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) after its board approved up to 300 million euros ($316 million) to fund renewable energy projects.


ECB eases ELA cap for Greek banks

The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday lowered the cap on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) that Greek banks can access from the Bank of Greece (BoG) by 100 million euros.


Piraeus Bank finally appoints new CEO

Former Eurobank chief executive officer Christos Megalou is the new head of Piraeus Bank, completing the administrative changes in the group after more than a year.


EU Ag Commissioner in Greece; allays criticism over lack of PDO protection for specific Greek products

Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan arrived in Greece this week, amid heightened concerns by local producers over the loss of feta cheese’s status as a Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) product under the CETA agreement between Canada and the EU.


Archbishop insists dialogue on way religion is taught in schools must continue

The dialogue between the Church and State over the way religion is taught in schools must continue, said the Archbishop of Greece Ieronymos after a meeting of the Holy Synod.


Spain’s Puig lands Greek cosmetics firm Apivita

Despite the compelling rumors, it is Spain’s Puig and not France’s L’Oreal that is the new owner of Greek natural cosmetics company Apivita, as the latter announced on Thursday.


Police receive anonymous tip on cabbie killer

Police say they are working on an anonymous tip with regard to the identity of the suspect who shot and killed a cab driver earlier in the month and injured another in February.


Aegean cancels Athens-Berlin routes on Friday, March 10 due to strike at Tegel Airport

Aegean Air on Thursday announced that its flights to and from Berlin’s Tegel airport on Friday March 10 were cancelled due to a strike announced a union representing ground crews at the German facility.







KATHIMERINI: The “Big Brother” of tax office

ETHNOS: Forest maps are being revised

TA NEA: The appointment between Troika and Government was over without any agreement in main issues

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: 6.500 permanent recruitments in Public sector

AVGI: Technical approach will be reached under debt and surplus conditions

RIZOSPASTIS: Government-Quartet-Federation of Greek Industries (SEV): They are trying to achieve positive results through progress of anti-popular negotiation

KONTRA NEWS: Troika has left. We wish them to have a nice trip

DIMOKRATIA: “Divorce” for Syriza and Gianna Angelopoulou

NAFTEMPORIKI: Many consequences are awaiting Europe

IMERISIA: Red alert from tax office regarding to 1.3 million VAT identification numbers


Here is the ‘working document‘ that will form the basis of today’s discussion, effectively a draft of what EU27 leaders plan to declare in Rome on March 25 on life after Brexit.

First published by Agence Europe, the most contentious point in the document is towards the end where it states that “we work together” but “on the understanding that some of us can move closer.” That is code for agreeing that a multi-speed Europe will become the norm rather than exceptional EU operating procedure.

Some Central and Eastern European countries including Bulgaria, reports Jacopo Barigazzi, would love to soften that language to make clearer that the EU treaties are not changing and that this type of “enhanced cooperation” is a second or last resort, not the first resort for each challenge the EU faces.

POLITICO’s live-blog continues here.


DONALD TUSK RE-ELECTED IN LANDSLIDE: It wasn’t quite a consensus. Only 27 of the EU’s 28 leaders backed Donald Tusk’s re-appointment as president of the European Council, with Poland resisting until the end. Observers generally agreed: it was embarrassing for Poland internationally — and possibly effective for Poland’s Law and Justice party at home.

POLAND IN A CORNER: “Far from seeming rattled by the discord, EU leaders expressed confidence that they had not let a petty Polish domestic political dispute take precedence over the Continent’s collective interests. In several cases, they even laughed at Poland’s expense, saying Warsaw’s efforts had only helped Tusk,” write David M. Herszenhorn, Quentin Ariès and Joanna Plucinska.

TUSK THROWS SOME SHADE: “I prepared my beloved quotation: be careful of the bridges you have burned because once they have gone you can never cross again,” said Tusk. “I want to dedicate this saying to all member states. But today especially to the Polish government.” More from Duncan Robinson.

POLAND PURSUES A SUMMIT STRIKE: Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said that she doesn’t accept the summit’s conclusion to reappoint Tusk: “It’s clearly written that summits end with conclusions. If one country doesn’t accept it, it means the summit is not relevant. If now there is a way to find a different solution, that only shows that there are no rules. And Poland doesn’t agree with this. And I definitely won’t accept any document from this summit.”

Szydło also headed a Polish government-wide effort to blame Tusk for the loss of the Polish government’s support based on a speech Tusk delivered in Wroclaw in December, in which he criticized the Polish government for ignoring protests against it. “He clearly supported the others and stood against the Polish government,” said Szydło, who then accused Tusk of being a liar. More background from FT here.

How Tusk’s re-appointment played outside the Polish government …

Statement from Joseph Muscat, Malta’s president, and Tusk here.

EPP spokesperson Siegfried Mureşan: “The result of the battle between pro-Europeans and euroskeptics: 27-1. Not bad.”

Poland’s diplomatic suicide, by Wojciech Przybylski | Polish psychodrama casts shadow over summit, writes James Crisp

THERESA MAY’S BREXIT POKER FACE: “She didn’t come to talk about Brexit, but in Brussels there’s not much else they want to hear about from Theresa May,” writes Charlie Cooper. “The closest anyone got to a nugget of new information from the British prime minister was her Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny.” But despite a one-on-one session with May, even Kenny couldn’t pry that information from the PM.

NORD STREAM 2 MAKES IT ON THE SUMMIT AGENDA: The Russia-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline was squeezed into summit discussions Thursday evening, EU sources told POLITICO. Szydło spoke against the project, arguing it undermines the EU’s support for Ukraine. Denmark wants the Commission to do a wider impact assessment of the project, given EU countries do not see eye-to-eye on the matter.

SUMMIT COLOR: Lithuania’s president Dalia Grybauskaitė didn’t hold back in her assessment of the new summit room. “Screaming colours in new EUCO building — to keep everyone awake. #SpaceEgg,” she tweeted.

CZECH MATES: Bohuslav Sobotka, the Czech Prime Minister, is expected to be represented at day two of the EU leaders summit by his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico. So Czechoslovakia is back for a day.


The U.K. has offered to host a Western Balkans summit in 2018, to counter Russian meddling, May told her colleagues. Tusk said in a statement that “Tensions and divisions have got out of hand, partly because of unhealthy external influences, which have been destabilising several countries for some time.”

Despite the recognition of the need to engage with the people of the Western Balkans, EU leaders are holding out little in terms of money, new timelines for EU membership, or even a concrete new strategy. As EU leaders discussed the region, it moved on without them. And not in a good way.

Escalation of Kosovo-Serbia tensions: The Kosovo parliament has voted to suspend dialogue with Serbia, a move rejected by the EU External Action Service.

UN court rejects Bosnian genocide claim against Serbia: “The United Nations’ top court on Thursday dismissed a request by Bosnia to reconsider its 2007 ruling that cleared Serbia of blame for genocide during the 1992-95 Bosnian war,” reported Associated Press.  The request was filed two weeks ago at the request of the Muslim Bosniak member of the Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, Bakir Izetbegović. The Serb member, Mladen Ivanić, didn’t consent to the appeals request, leading to the U.N’s rejection of the appeal.

SPAIN — CORRUPTION FIGHT THREATENS FRAGILE PEACE: The centrist alliance that gave Mariano Rajoy another term is on the rocks, with the prime minister accused of breaking promises to tackle graft, writes Diego Torres. It’s a problem as Rajoy governs with the smallest parliamentary backing in the history of Spain’s democracy.


COMMISSION — DOMBROVSKIS IN POLAND: Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis is in Warsaw today, to meet with Andrzej Duda, Poland’s president, and Mateusz Morawiecki, the deputy prime minister.

PARLIAMENT — WHERE IRISH IS LOST IN TRANSLATION: Few people understand it, even fewer can articulate it and millions of euros are spent promoting it — no, not the inner workings of the European Parliament, but the Irish language. That has not deterred supporters of the language from pushing it to be a full working language of the EU.

This year the Parliament has advertised 26 new posts for Irish speakers, recruited 14 Irish speaking contract staffers and is expected to splash out an estimated €3.7 million to cover the costs of translation and interpretation, training of Irish officials and subscription to Irish-language databases to comply with the new linguistic requirement, reports Maïa de la Baume.

PARLIAMENT — WHO DID WE MISS IN THE ’40 MEPs THAT MATTER IN 2017′ LIST?  For every member of the POLITICO’s list of the MEPs that matter in 2017, 19 parliamentarians didn’t make the cut. The excluded included the leader of two parties and 17 policy committees, 14 entire national delegations and every British MEP except Syed Kamall. Those calls by Playbook and POLITICO’s reporting team were bound to provoke debate.

Tell Playbook who we missed. Voting is open until 6 p.m Friday, March 10. You can vote from a list of 20 MEPs with claims to join the original 40 members of the list here.

NOTED — SURPRISE GERMAN SUPPORT FOR JUNCKER’S WHITE PAPER: Werner Mussler, the economics-focussed EU correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, isn’t known for his effusive praise of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. But he offered some in the case of the recent White Paper on the Future of Europe. Two examples here and here.

ECB — INFLATION FORECAST UP AS DRAGHI URGES EU TO STAY THE COURSE: Johanna Treeck on Draghi’s monthly press conference, in which Bloomberg notes Draghi had to twice pause and check notes before answering reporters’ questions.

CYPRUS — TURKEY TELLS GREEK CYPRIOTS — PEACE TALKS PROGRESS UP TO YOU: Turkey’s prime minister told Greek Cypriots Thursday that schoolroom commemoration of a 1950 referendum that called for Cyprus’ union with Greece would have to be changed if talks to reunify the ethnically split island are to move forward. Menelaos Hadjicostis reports.

US GOVERNMENT BACKS REUNIFICATION: American, U.N. and Cypriot leaders involved in Cyprus reunification talks gathered at the Atlantic Council on Wednesday for a discussion moderated by POLITICO’s Sara Stefanini. Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the Obama administration, declared “this settlement is close.” U.S. State Department officials said it will be impossible to get Turkey to guarantee the process until after the country’s constitutional referendum in April. Jonathan Cohen, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary for Cyprus/Greece/Turkey emphasized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s personal commitment to the process. “This was among the first phone calls the new secretary of state made,” he said.

SPAIN — NO LOVE FOR SCOTLAND, SNP FAILS TO MAKE FRIENDS: Diego Torres reports on how Scottish National Party Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins traveled to Madrid this week to convince Spanish lawmakers that Scottish efforts to stay in the EU single market are different from the bid by some Catalans for independence.

ICYMI — MALTA LOST A NATIONAL LANDMARK THIS WEEK: The Azure Window rock formation collapsed in a storm.

TECH MEETS POLITICS: This column by FT’s John Gapper on how algorithms do better than most asset managers is a reminder of yet more automation requiring regulation.

TRADE WARS — CHINA’S LATEST SHOT AGAINST UNITED STATES: The Chinese government has directly rejected an assertion by the Trump administration that it is somehow not bound by the rules of the World Trade Organization.

TRUMPWORLD — DEMOCRATS THINK THEY’VE FOUND A WAY TO SPLIT TRUMP FROM HIS VOTERS: The new administration’s health care plans, labeled “Trumpcare” by Democrats, will be cast by the administration’s opponents as a tax break for the rich that will take health insurance away from the people who elected the president.

RUSSIA — PUTIN TELLS GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER HE WANTS TO NORMALIZE RELATIONS: Russian President Vladimir Putin received German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel Thursday and extended an invitation for Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Moscow. Associated Press reported that a German diplomat who traveled with Gabriel described the two-hour talks as “lengthy, good and intensive.”

WONK CORNER … The top posts this week from thewonk.eu

European Commission White Paper on the Future of Europe, analyzed by Grayling

Brexit in perspective — Global Britain: A Free Trading Future? Brunswick Group

Double Dutch: Why Wilders wins, even if he stays out of government, Rem Korteweg for CER


Belgian woman arrested over suspected attack: “Federal prosecutors said Thursday that the 24-year-old woman, identified as Molly B., was picked up during a police raid overnight on March 7. A statement said a probe shows ‘indications of assistance being provided by the woman to persons with the intention to commit an attack in Europe.’ She is charged with taking part in the activities of a terrorist organization,” reported Associated Press.

Paul McClean for the Financial Times is now based out of the Brussels bureau on a secondment.

Book talk: Charlotte McDonald-Gibson, author of Cast Away: Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis will be discussing her book at Waterstones in Brussels on March 19. Joining her will be Elizabeth Collett, Director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe.

NEW EPISODE OF BELGIUM TRAINS: A train on Thursday from Liège to Brussels lost a wagon in the middle of its journey. Le Soir has the story h/t Elodie Lamer.