EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 26-04-2017

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 26-04-2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tsipras on prime-time newscast: Austerity measures won’t be taken unless debt relief extended

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took to the prime-time airwaves on Tuesday evening to again warn that his coalition government won’t implement a new round of austerity measures if debt relief isn’t extended to the country.


Juncker against ‘major cuts’ to Greek pensions, calls for ‘reasonable’ debt relief measures

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has voiced skepticism over plans to impose further pension cuts in Greece while addressing the need to outline possible measures on debt relief next month.


Appeals court rejects second extradition request by Ankara for 3 Turkish servicemen

A second extradition request by Turkish judicial authorities for three out of eight Turkish military servicemen that fled to Greece last July in the wake of an unsuccessful coup in the neighboring country was rejected on Tuesday by an appellate council in Athens.


More airspace violations by Turkish warplanes reported on Tues.

No less than 71 violations of Greek airspace was reported on Tuesday over the eastern Aegean by Turkish warplanes, while four engagement between Greek and Turkish fighter planes were cited.


PASOK to hold emergency congress in September

PASOK, Greece’s once-dominant socialist party, will hold an emergency congress in September, its leader Fofi Gennimata has said.


Greek banks show negative return on equity

European Central Bank data out on Tuesday showed that eurozone banks’ return on equity dropped to 3.23 percent in the fourth quarter from 4.41 percent a year earlier. Banks in Italy, Portugal and Greece all had a negative return while banks in Germany, weighed down by excessive competition and inefficiency, made a return on equity of just 1.33 percent, the figures showed.


Demand for loans keeps shrinking

Demand for loans kept declining in the first quarter of the year, for the fifth quarter in a row, reflecting the deficits in investment and consumer confidence and the impact of major delays and postponements in the completion of significant investment moves such as the Elliniko development in southern Athens.


ATHEX: New 17-month high for bourse

European markets on Tuesday continued riding the wave of enthusiasm resulting from the first round of the French election on Sunday, which, combined with the resumption of the bailout review negotiations in Athens, gave Greek stocks even greater momentum. The benchmark ended a mere whisker away from the 700-point mark and the day’s trading volume came to almost 80 million euros.







KATHIMERINI: State revenues reduced due to excessive contributions

ETHNOS: Auditors Corps against undeclared employment

TA NEA: Tsipras: I will vote the measures and keep my fingers crossed

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata: PASOK c’est moi!

AVGI: Measures that will lead Greece out of the Memorandum-era

RIZOSPASTIS: Memoranda updated and tax safari!

KONTRA NEWS: Tsipras: I will cancel the deal with the harsh measures if the creditors do not reduce the debt

DIMOKRATIA: New Democracy’s leader Mitsotakis goes back to the roots

NAFTEMPORIKI: Changes in tax audits

IMERISIA: Stock market enjoys optimism burst

PIC DU JOUR: Angela Merkel and Beata Szydło make a new friend at the Hannover Messe trade fair.

COMMISSION — EU SOCIAL POLICY PILLAR LAUNCHES TODAY: Giving the EU a more social face is one of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s top priorities. The proposed new Pillar of Social Rights will lay out citizens’ existing rights, propose new ones and be a yardstick to help the Commission determine whether EU countries are adhering to the rules. (Here’s a refresher).

The most significant component of the package is a draft law on “work-life balance.” If agreed by national governments and the European Parliament, the Parental Leave Directive would give new fathers paternity leave and introduce new rights for parents to ask for time off. Věra Jourová, gender equality commissioner, told POLITICO she hoped the law would enable more women to enter the workforce. “We cannot expect miracles from mothers. We cannot expect them to be mothers and to build on their careers under current conditions,” she said, emphasizing the rules would offer options, not impose diktats, on EU countries.

That has already triggered a stinging war of words between BusinessEurope and the European Trade Union Confederation, reports Harry Cooper. “People want more jobs and more prosperity, not ill-conceived legislation undermining job creation,” said BusinessEurope’s president Emma Marcegaglia. ETUC’s general secretary, Luca Visentini, retorted: “Now is probably the EU’s last chance to create a more social Europe.”

**A message from Danfoss: Think pollution stops at your front door? It’s time to start #RethinkingEfficiency and make sure it does. 110 million EU citizens live in buildings with hazardous concentrations of pollutants due to inefficient ventilation. Find out how we can cut waste and engineer the wellbeing of millions of people with Danfoss.**

PLAYBOOK HEARS: Commission chiefs-of-staff Martin Selmayr (Juncker) and Olivier Bailly (Pierre Moscovici) had a “civilized debate” about the origins of the so-called European social model in the Commission’s weekly chiefs-of-staff meeting. The disagreement centered on a paper to be adopted by the Commission today on “social Europe,” the annex of which refers to 19th-century German leader Otto von Bismarck as the instigator of the decades-long development of the welfare state. Bailly wanted to add trade unions into the creation story. Selmayr countered that the role of churches would then need to be included. At that point, the Socialists and Christian Democrats decided to call it a draw.

PARLIAMENT’S HISTORY MUSEUM TO OPEN DAY BEFORE FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF: Interesting timing for the launch of the House of European History, a €56 million EU museum. The building looks great and will be open seven days a week and free to visit. What’s inside, like most things with the EU these days, is sure to spark controversy. If you can’t visit, you might enjoy the student activities available on the website including one titled “Why are people dying to get to Europe?” More on the Playbook Plus blog.

**Watch live on May 3: POLITICO’s Morgen Europa Live event with Martin Selmayr Head of Cabinet of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday, May 3 from 6 p.m. CET. Presented by Qualcomm, the event will feature a one-to-one interview with Florian Eder, Managing Editor, Expansion at POLITICO. Visit the website for more information.**

PARLIAMENT — PLENARY DEBATES: MEPs will debate the situation in Hungary with European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. They’ll also debate the outcome of Turkey’s constitutional referendum.


Can a European government shut a university for reasons other than those related to the quality of its education? That’s the question in Hungary’s dispute with the privately-run and George Soros-founded Central European University.

The next act in this drama unfolds today and Thursday in Brussels. The European Commission will debate whether to launch legal action against Hungary, Viktor Orbán will address the European Parliament plenary, and George Soros hits town.

CEU President Michael Ignatieff spoke to Playbook and insisted he isn’t looking for a fight with Orbán: “I just want to be left the hell alone.” He did, however, say the Hungarian PM’s office is engaged in “institutional hostage-taking.” Full interview on the Playbook Plus blog.

TURKEY SUBJECT TO NEW INTERNATIONAL MONITORING: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a human rights body, will resume monitoring Turkey following its controversial constitutional reforms, infuriating the country’s government. The Daily Sabah, close the Turkish government, wrote the decision will send Turkey-EU relations to a new low.
NATO AND TURKEY — ‘WE’RE EATING THE MERCEDES’: David Herszenhorn speaks with former Turkish NATO officers, who until recently lived comfortably abroad among the elites but since the failed Turkish coup last year have had to seek political asylum in Belgium. “One former colonel was on vacation … [he] rushed back to Belgium, only to be fired … [Another] said a friend at the Belgian foreign ministry had run a check and found that officer’s passport has been flagged, meaning he could be detained at any border crossing … Another officer, who thought his job was safe and whose wife and children still live in Belgium, was summoned to a meeting in Ankara in October. The officer was arrested and his family has not seen him since.”
NORDIC-BALTIC MINISTERIAL DECLARATION ON DIGITIZATION: Not content to wait around for the EU to get its act together, northern European countries plus Norway are self-organizing in another example of multi-speed Europe.

OPCW TURNS 20: The Dutch government has a long tradition of hosting and funding international and peace-building organizations. Today’s case in point is the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is turning 20 and has returned to prominence in the wake of recent chemical attacks in Syria. The Dutch King Willem Alexander and the crown princess of Sweden will participate in today’s ceremony.

Bert Koenders, the Dutch foreign minister, writes for Playbook about why the organization is now more important than ever — the OPCW is the reason the world knows for certain that the nerve gas sarin was used in the recent attack in Syria.

2017 WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX: The NGO Reporters Without Borders says of this year’s index, out today: “Violations of the freedom to inform are less and less the prerogative of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships.” Reporters in Bulgaria are facing a “difficult situation,” while press freedom in Poland, Hungary, Croatia and Italy is a “noticeable problem.” Even Nordic countries have been downgraded compared to previous years. Map here.


Emmanuel Macron is his own worst enemy: It’s not easy being a 39-year-old political novice on the brink of transforming France from a standing start. It doesn’t help when you act like you’ve already won the presidency, writes Pierre Briançon.

Is Macron just Matteo Renzi 2.0? Mujtaba Rahman writes in this op-ed for POLITICO that like the former Italian prime minister, Macron risks not being able to deliver on his promised reforms.

Meet Marine Le Pen, model European: Grilled for 80 minutes on the TF1 network Tuesday night, Le Pen went soft on Europe, telling viewers: “I am not an opponent of Europe, I feel European. I would like to see agreements between the nations freely consented, it is this Europe that I want to see emerge.” Sounds a lot like the European Council to Playbook.

Poll watch: The daily IFOP survey shows Macron at 61 percent and Le Pen 39.

Mélenchon turns to his supporters: The far-left candidate has joined the trend of polling supporters before providing leadership to them. Advice to his seven million voters on who to pick in the runoff may follow. The real question is whether those wanting to break the system will take instructions in any case.

The final, final results: There have been a lot of false starts on the exact election result, but here it is, as verified by the French interior ministry. Just over 37 million voted, with a turnout of 77.8 percent. Macron won by 2.7 percent, more than first reported.

Abstentions, blank and void votes: 24.3 percent
Emmanuel Macron: 24 percent
Marine Le Pen: 21.3 percent
François Fillon: 20 percent
Jean-Luc Mélenchon: 19.6 percent

THE BRUSSELS BATTLE FOR MACRON: Brussels loves a Europhile in power, and Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE’s leader in European Parliament, is first in line trying to secure a potential President Macron’s loyalty come May 8, reports Maïa de la Baume. But Verhofstadt, along with the Brussels bubble, should be careful what they wish for — Macron’s patronage is complicated.

First, Macron needs to win the presidency in the first place, and Brussels-based autograph-hunters are of no help there. Second, if he does win, he will become the center of gravity of any political family he may choose to join. If he selects ALDE, he could put the group in the frame for the European Council presidency, but he could also sideline Verhofstadt himself in the shadow of the new star. Third, a man who built the En Marche! movement from nothing and will have the EU27’s biggest state apparatus and military at his disposal, might simply prefer to start his own European political group. It’s not hard to imagine someone like Margrethe Vestager being a presidential candidate for such a new group in the 2019 European Commission elections.


Preview of City of London lord mayor speech: According to a text of the speech seen by Playbook, Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley (not to be confused with London Mayor Sadiq Khan) will say: “We must secure a mutually beneficial deal with the EU. This deal must aid the flow of goods and services with our biggest trading partner. For the firms I represent, and the millions they support, a deal is vital … A bonfire of regulation would have no benefit following Brexit, instead we seek mutual recognition and reciprocal market access.”

Inside the EU’s Brexit sherpa meeting: Speaking to six diplomatic sources, POLITICO pieced together a deeper picture of Monday’s EU Brexit meeting on the bloc’s negotiating guidelines. The language is tighter and more confident on defense and anti-terror, the French have sent a warning about financial services, and talk about where to relocate EU agencies has been punted to national leaders, who will sign off on the guidelines Saturday.

Brexit is good news for Irish smugglers: People have been finding creative ways to get across the border since 1922, when Ireland broke away from the U.K., explains Naomi O’Leary, and the greater the difference in tax and rules between the two countries, the more opportunity for profits after Brexit.

African, Caribbean and Pacific states worries: Development funding is on the line when the EU faces up to its post-Brexit budget black hole, and the representatives of 70 countries that benefit from EU grants and loans via the Cotonou Agreement are in town to urge the EU to stick to the United Nations’ 2030 agenda for development and sustainable development goals.

Things might get very messy: Negotiating the U.K.’s departure from the bloc could mean involving national parliaments as the scope of the negotiations are very broad, according to a Bundestag memo seen by POLITICO’s Janosch Delcker.

BREXIT RED HERRING ALERT: The likelihood of over-hyped or confused stories about aspects of Brexit negotiations is high. Two stories from experienced journalists caught Playbook’s eye Tuesday.

The first from Reuters’ Alastair Macdonald suggests that in the EU negotiating guidelines, “the final draft also spells out that any EU national living in Britain on Brexit Day should have a right to claim permanent residency after ‘five years’ there.” The EU isn’t suggesting that someone turning up in London in March 2019 should be able to use EU law to claim permanent residency there in March 2024. In fact, the guidelines, seen by Playbook, don’t make any reference to ‘Brexit Day’ or other dates. They do restate EU law, which is that if you’ve lived in another EU country for five years continuously as an EU citizen, you have the right to permanent residency there.

The second example, from the Daily Telegraph’s Peter Foster, promotes an “exclusive” that the U.K. is considering paying into the EU budget until 2020 in order to secure favorable exit terms. It’s not for the U.K. to offer those payments — it already owes them as a result of the 2014-2020 EU budget, which the U.K. agreed to back in 2013. The EU may cut a deal regarding these payments, but that’s up to the bloc to offer, not the other way around.


Europe’s women don’t love Ivanka: Donald Trump’s daughter was booed and hissed at during her panel at the G20 women’s event Germany. Ivanka Trump also faced tough questions from the moderator, Miriam Meckel, who asked: “What is your role, and who are you representing: your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?’” Trump dodged the question, but it may be a sign of things to come.

ALL 100 SENATORS HEAD TO WHITE HOUSE FOR NORTH KOREA MEETING: The president and senior cabinet officials have called them in to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear program.


BRUSSELS ATTACKS ARRESTS: Spanish police arrested four on Tuesday in connection with the Brussels terror attacks last March.

ELECTED: Marykate Collins of AmCham EU was on Tuesday elected chairwoman of the Brussels branch of Fine Gael, Ireland’s governing party.