EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 21-04-2017

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 21-04-2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bailout talks to resume on Tuesday, says government spokesman

The government on Thursday sought to set out a roadmap for the return of economic stability to Greece, with its spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos announcing that foreign auditors will return to Athens next Tuesday and that a dragging bailout review will be completed by a Eurogroup summit on May 22.


WB President Kim: ‘No immiment’ plans for loan to Greece

World Bank President Jim Kim reiterated on Thursday that there are “no imminent” plans for a loan towards bailout-dependent Greece, confirming reports by “N” this month that the international development bank considers the prospect of lending to the eurozone member as premature.


Greece exceeding surplus target but IMF doubtful about future performance

Greece achieved a 2016 primary surplus almost seven times higher than its bailout target, but the International Monetary Fund is doubtful that the country can keep overperforming, according to a Bloomberg report Wednesday.


Primary surplus of 2016 to be eight times higher than planned

Last year’s primary surplus ranged between 3.8 and 4.1 percent of gross domestic product, Finance Ministry sources said ahead of the official announcement of the fiscal figures on Friday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority. The target had been for 0.5 percent of GDP.


Police fear bank bomb signals new wave of attacks

Officials at the Greek Police (ELAS) expressed concerns on Thursday about a possible resurgence of domestic terrorism after a small explosive device detonated outside a building housing the offices of Eurobank in central Athens late on Wednesday, damaging its premises and blowing out the windows of adjacent buildings.


EFKA revenues down 180 mln euros

Provisional data from the General Secretariat for Social Security show that February’s payments to the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) came to 165-170 million euros by the April 11 deadline, against a target of 252 million.


Part-time work is on the rise

In a country suffering from a protracted economic crisis and high unemployment, part-time employment offers a solution to companies struggling to stay afloat. It has also doubled in size since the start of the financial meltdown, a report by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) shows.


ATHEX: Wednesday’s stock gains evaporated

Bank stocks saw Wednesday’s gains evaporate on Thursday, leading to losses for the benchmark and most stocks on the Greek bourse.







KATHIMERINI: Schaeuble and the IMF clash

ETHNOS: Evaluation of public sector directors with objective criteria

TA NEA: The government accepts both the measures demanded and the suspension of debt alleviation talks

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Former BoG Governor Provopoulos and former Piraeus Bank head Mihalis Sallas prosecuted for the pillaging of social security funds

AVGI: New Democracy gets electrocuted due to the issue of the Pubic Power Company privatization

RIZOSPASTIS: Bloody surpluses – new measures by the government

KONTRA NEWS: Dangerous games with banks and bankers

DIMOKRATIA: Retrospective taxation of all real estate sales

NAFTEMPORIKI: Crucial talks at the IMF spring summit

IMERISIA: Raging war in the energy market


COMMISSION — HEALTH COMMISSIONER SHAMES ANTI-VAXERS: “In papers today: #Measles epidemic in Italy. 1st measles death in Portugal. Measles rise in Germany. Deplorable. Shame on you #antivaxers!” (sic) said Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, a former doctor, on Twitter.

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ESM — EUROPE’S BAILOUT FUND, NOT IMF, BEST EQUIPPED TO HANDLE GREEK BAILOUT: The EU’s own bailout arm is “better equipped” to handle the EU crisis than the International Monetary Fund, given its ability to address regional problems while offering lower lending rates and longer maturities to EU countries in need. That’s the argument put forward by European Security Mechanism Managing Director Klaus Regling, who made the comments in a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington.

PARLIAMENT — HUNGARY UNIVERSITY CHIEF COMING TO BRUSSELS: He will speak at an event April 25 in the European Parliament. h/t Pawel D. Wisniewski.

FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION — DRAMA AND DIVISION UNTIL THE END: A campaign conducted under a state of emergency enters its last day overshadowed by what French authorities believe was the terrorism-motivated murder of a French police officer last night on Paris’ iconic Champs Elysées boulevard.

It is not clear what impact the killing will have on the election, which is subject to a media blackout from midnight tonight. The shooting will certainly bring an extra level of tension to a campaign that has torn France between four leading candidates, with tens of millions who either won’t vote or can’t make up their minds.

How the terror attack sent a quake through the last days of the French presidential campaign and disrupted the candidates’ televised interviews Thursday night, by Pierre Briançon.

DON’T RELY ON NATIONAL POLLS FOR THIS ELECTION: Around half of French adults are either planning not to vote or haven’t decided who to vote for. That’s a wake-up call for anyone relying on dozens of eerily similar opinion polls to tell them what will happen Sunday.

Literally ‘no one’ is in first place: More people are planning not to vote than are planning to vote for any particular candidate.

Mathematically, no one is in first place: All four candidates are polling within each poll’s margin of error. That means they are statistically tied. They are also all polling within the historic French polling error rate (1969 to present) according to FiveThirtyEight, a polling journalism site and podcast.

French polls also suppress undecided voters from results: Not only that, but as with non-voters, the undecideds are a bigger group than the committed voters any individual candidate has secured.

Regional polling insights: Latest polls by region show big differences in support. Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, for example, hits 32 percent in Provence-Alpes-Côtes and bottoms out at 14 percent in Brittany.

WHAT WOULD SUIT THE EU? Emmanuel Macron is the president the EU bubble would prefer to deal with, though François Fillon could offer the best chance to keep the National Front away from the Elysee — EU officials’ ultimate goal. Both far left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and far right Le Pen are considered disasters. More on the EU programs of the top four candidates from Quentin Ariès and Maïa de la Baume.

HOW FRENCH MUSLIMS VOTE: The best research available suggests there are around 5 million French Muslims and 93 percent of those who voted in 2012 cast their ballot for Socialist candidate François Hollande. (There are no official figures because the French state does not collect race-related data.) With the 2017 Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon polling at just 8 percent overall, it’s clear that swathes of those who chose the Socialists in 2012 are looking elsewhere.

French Muslims find themselves facing a dilemma. “Traditionally loyal to the political left, partly for its track record of championing social equality, this year’s campaign has offered up no viable candidate from the mainstream,” write Claire Sergent and Katy Lee. “This means France’s Muslim population has had to wade through the campaign promises of a jumble of loose-cannon candidates in an increasingly polarized debate in which they have become prime targets themselves.”

Celebrity power games: While Pamela Anderson, of Baywatch fame and other notoriety, has endorsed Mélenchon, Emmanuel Macron’s press team didn’t seem worried. They happily pointed out their man had a phone conversation with former U.S. President Barack Obama.

HOW TO WATCH THE FRENCH ELECTION LIKE A PRO: Quentin Ariès has this handy guide to keeping on top of all the action as voters pick a president. Here’s a rundown …

Today: Candidates were planning to zig-zag the country and end with final rallies in the evening, though the Paris police shooting will almost certainly temper those plans. Check out a handy candidate experience and proposals summary, like this one from AFP.

Saturday: Candidates are now under a media ban. No polls, no statements. Voting starts in French overseas territories in the Pacific region, such as in New Caledonia.

Sunday: Voting starts at 8 a.m. Turnout statistics will be released at noon and 5 p.m. Voting closes between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. depending on location. The French media embargo ends at 8 p.m., though you can expect media outlets in Switzerland and Belgium to report before then. By 10 p.m. elections results will arrive from everywhere, likely generating a definitive result. They will be published on the French Interior Ministry website, searchable by region, city and district.

Results to watch for …

South: Right-wing battle expected in Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur.
In the North, it is Le Pen versus the left.
Angers, a city in the North West, is considered a bellwether for all candidates.
Brittany: Socialist stronghold that will tell us whether Macron can break through in rural areas. 
Grenoble: Left wing face-off that will tell us if Mélenchon can break through.

POLITICO’s election night line-up: Pierre Briançon, Nicholas Vinocur, Maïa de la Baume and Quentin Ariès will be in the top four candidates’ headquarters on Sunday night. Click on their names to follow them on Twitter. This awesome foursome will be backed by a Brussels live blog team, including Playbook. We aim to run the definitive English-language French election live blog.

Macron’s plan to win … over Germany. The favorite is boldly backing the EU and making friends in Berlin, write Nicholas Vinocur and Florian Eder. “Amid rampant Euroskepticism and some strong anti-German feelings at home, Macron’s outreach effort — he visited Berlin twice this year, more than any other candidate — was not an obvious political choice … Macron’s camp argues that his efforts to woo friends in Berlin and Brussels was ‘good populism.’”
Mélenchon and Le Pen are winning the social media war, as Trump and Leave campaigns did: This study by the Delors Institute Berlin shows the far left and far right candidates have deep and successful histories using social media. You can check the most searched for candidates on Google here.

How Le Pen played the media: “She couldn’t have done it without the press,” the Guardian says.

The moments that made Marine Le Pen: Come for the analysis, stay for a photo of a young Marine in a blue ball gown. Bloomberg.

Life under the National Front: In Hénin-Beaumont, it’s a reality. Deutsche Welle.

Post-Paris attacks France: Fake victims have been seeking media attention, reports Le Monde.

Franco-German alliance: French website Contexte.com and German Die Zeit have teamed up to cover the French and German elections.


Leak No. 1: POLITICO got hold of the Commission’s draft legal paper on its detailed negotiating mandate. Key points of the Commission’s hard line in the note:

— Full account should be taken of the fact Irish citizens residing in Northern Ireland will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens.
— The U.K. would be expected to bear any currency risk in the final repayment agreement, which the Commission wants to be denominated in euro.
— The U.K. would be expected to bear the cost of relocating the EU agencies currently based in Britain.

Leak No. 2: Latest draft political guidelines for the Council of Ministers.

Busy Channel Tunnel: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will visit British PM Theresa May next week in London. On Thursday, Antonio Tajani said after his meeting with May that the U.K. election will bring welcome clarity and stability to Brexit negotiations, and told the Guardian Britain would be welcomed back into the EU if voters changed their minds about Brexit. “If the U.K., after the election, wants to withdraw [Article 50], then the procedure is very clear,” he said. “If the U.K. wanted to stay, everybody would be in favor. I would be very happy.”

Will UK election impact the EU’s Brexit plans? A Council source said the Commission’s legal paper on the negotiating directives and draft negotiating political guidelines will be public before the election campaign gets properly underway and that major changes are not expected.

UK — MAY VERSUS CORBYN, BACK TO THE FUTURE: Rosa Prince, a political biographer, imagines what it would have been like if Theresa May had gone up against Jeremy Corbyn in a mock school election in their youth, “when hemlines were in flux and British membership of the European Economic Community was a mere twinkle in then-Tory leader Ted Heath’s eye.”


Council of Europe takes a softer approach to death penalty concerns: Thorbjørn Jagland, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, said the death penalty was incompatible with European convention of human rights. But Jagland was not ready to kick Turkey to the curb if it restores capital punishment.

First remarks of Turkey’s new EU ambassador: Faruk Kaymakci was speaking at the permanent representation of Germany’s State of Hessen, and offered an unexpected defense of Turkey’s EU membership bid. Top quotes follow …

“If the EU keeps its promises and if the EU plays fair with Turkey, then we will even accelerate our accession to the EU … The continuation of the accession process is good for Turkey and for the EU.”

“If we had received the same treatment that the EU is offering today to the Western Balkans, I think the situation would be completely different.”

“Economically, Turkey is almost a member of the EU.”

“The EU is not delivering on the migration deal.”

“Turkey is going in the right direction and the emergency law will be lifted, probably in the coming months.”

GERMANY — IT TAKES A (BAVARIAN) VILLAGE: Towns and villages around Germany are emptying as youths pack up and head to the cities. Not so in Trausnitz, a village with no supermarket, no butcher, no fishmonger or convenience store. “Last year, 15 children were born in the village, many more than any other year in the last two decades. Meanwhile, a young mayor has launched an ambitious plan that not only seeks to prevent people from leaving but aims to attract newcomers while providing for the village’s aging population.”

ESTONIA — DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, LOST IN TRANSLATION: Thursday’s Playbook included a reference to Estonia’s ‘designated survivor’ system, in which a minister is evacuated from the country to ensure the continuity of government in the event of an attack or threat. The reference generated both interest and heartburn given such plans are rarely discussed in public. The system is part of a wider set of planning the Estonian government undertakes to deal with threats to its national security, and it is applied in times of crisis rather than year-round, explained Ave Tampere, spokeswoman for the Estonian prime minister.


IVANKA TRUMP TO BERLIN: While in Berlin for the W20 women’s summit on April 25, Ivanka Trump will visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and will meet U.S. embassy staff and families.

TRUMP CAN’T STAND PROTESTORS: He may love rallies, but protests against him are getting under the U.S. president’s skin.

SCIENCE — GLOBAL MARCH IN DEFENSE OF SCIENCE SATURDAY: Marches will take place in 400 cities across the globe. Carlos Moedas, the EU’s research and innovation commissioner, will be getting out his banners and badges in Lisbon.