EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 28-03-2017

EYE ON REPUTATION – NewsRoom 28-03-2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Greek PM seeks to nip dissent in bud

As signs of ideological rifts begin to emerge within the ruling party and the government over the contents of a deal with the country’s international creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has warned that any opposition will be viewed as affront to his leadership.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/217192/article/ekathimerini/news/greek-pm-seeks-to-nip-dissent-in-bud

Political reactions at prospect of privatization of dominant power utility; union calls strike

Increased speculation in Athens this week that the leftist Greek government will concede to creditors’ standing demands for a liberalization of the energy sector, especially in terms of power generation and transmission, is causing major political ripples.

http://www.naftemporiki.gr/story/1218882/political-reactions-at-prospect-of-privatization-of-dominant-power-utility-union-calls-strike

BoG: Clear risk to the economy from the endless negotiations

Central banker Yannis Stournaras warned on Monday of the risk of a full reversal of the economy’s course as the delays in the completion of the bailout review may “put in doubt all the targets for this year, the fiscal targets, the growth targets and the credit sector targets without exception.”

http://www.ekathimerini.com/217199/article/ekathimerini/business/bog-clear-risk-to-the-economy-from-the-endless-negotiations

Indirect tax takings miss their targets

The government has received its first major warning that the budget is in trouble in the form of indirect tax revenues for the first couple of months this year, and this at a time when its negotiations with the country’s creditors are in full swing.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/217196/article/ekathimerini/business/indirect-tax-takings-miss-their-targets

Contraction of credit continues unabated

Bank of Greece figures revealed on Monday a further contraction in the financing of the Greek economy last month, a result of the general uncertainty hanging over the economy and the drop deposits at the country’s banks.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/217200/article/ekathimerini/business/contraction-of-credit-continues-unabated

Fraport Greece signs funding deal with 5 lenders

Five leading financial institutions have signed a long-term financing agreement with German-Greek consortium Fraport Greece, which will soon be managing, operating, upgrading and maintaining 14 regional Greek airports under a 40-year concession contract.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/217182/article/ekathimerini/business/fraport-greece-signs-funding-deal-with-5-lenders

ATHEX: Stocks bounce back on news about progress in review talks

Reports of a near-agreement between Athens and its creditors in Brussels on the majority of issues found at least a few investors in the Greek stock market willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on Monday. The benchmark posted a moderate rise, albeit on low trading volume.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/217195/article/ekathimerini/business/athex-stocks-bounce-back-on-news-about-progress-in-review-talks

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KATHIMERINI: The agreement causes a left civil war

ETHNOS: Nationwide exams for doctors’ specialization certifications

TA NEA: 2017 will (also) be sacrificed at the altar of SYRIZA

EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: Negotiations get electrocuted

AVGI: Five political persons linked to New Democracy are involved in the Dunant Hospital scandal

RIZOSPASTIS: New dangers for the Greek people due to the closer military collaboration between Greece and the US

KONTRA NEWS: Auditors are going to raid seven foreign pharmaceutical companies

DIMOKRATIA: Former Defense Minister Giannos Papantoniou to follow the road of incarcerated former Defense Minister Akis Tsohadjopoulos

NAFTEMPORIKI: Government experiences short-circuit

IMERISIA: Public Power Company gets electrocuted

COUNCIL — DAY 2 OF JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS MEETING: Ministers will discuss draft laws on online contracts, anti-money laundering measures, online justice and returning foreign fighters. More here.

COUNCIL — SWEDEN SAYS NO EU FUNDS TO COUNTRIES THAT DON’T FOLLOW MIGRATION RULES: The Swedes want the EU budget to shrink post-Brexit, and they think there should be “consequences” for countries “not taking responsibility and following EU decisions, according to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Unfortunately for Sweden, according to a recent Jacques Delors Institute paper, the country is set to face the second-biggest hike in EU budget contributions thanks to Brexit.

COUNCIL — PIERRE SELLAL ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING FRENCH IN BRUSSELS: “The French do not like bad texts in French, it is discouraging sometimes for those when French is not their native language, and it is a big loss. French people should be more understanding!” The interview is published by Cambre Associates to mark global Francophone week.

COMMISSION — KATAINEN’S MARATHON DAY: Whatever you’re doing today, be grateful you’re not Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen. The man who has run nine marathons is bringing that attitude to his diary. He’ll start today at POLITICO’s “New European Order” event (watch here from 8 a.m. Brussels time), keynote at the “Forum for the Future of Agriculture,” then again at the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) on what happens to regional funding after Brexit. He’ll then meet ministers from Romania and New Zealand and round out the day with Bertrand Piccard, the co-pilot of the first successful around-the-world solar flight.

**A message from Google: 32 million school-aged students have had their lives disrupted by violent conflict. Education in emergencies allows students to progress and feel some sense of normalcy. Through a $50 million global education commitment, Google.org will support organizations that help provide education in challenging circumstances. To learn about the full portfolio, click here.**

COMMISSION — EU ROMA INTEGRATION AWARD: Today the winners of the Second EU Roma Integration Award for the Western Balkans and Turkey will be announced. The awards are designed to highlight the importance of specific Roma policies to completing EU membership bids. The Commission is currently running court cases against several of its own national governments over failures to integrate Roma communities.

IN TOWN TODAY … 

Kofi Annan: The former secretary-general of the U.N. is meeting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Commissioner Neven Mimica. Annan and Mimica will hold a joint session on preventing extremism at an event in Brussels today.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili: The Georgian prime minister will meet Juncker weeks after Moscow decided to absorb the military of the disputed territory of South Ossetia into its own forces.

Sadiq Khan: The mayor of London will appear at POLITICO’s “New European Order” event and meet Juncker, Parliament President Antonio Tajani, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, Vice President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič and Science and Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas.

National politicians including Poland’s Family and Labor Policy Minister Elżbieta Rafalska; Romania’s Justice Minister Tudorel Toader and the country’s Minister of EU Funds Rovana PlumbJo Johnson, the U.K.’s minister for universities, science, research and innovation and David Stanton, U.K. minister of state for justice; Spain’s Minister for Justice Rafael Catalá, Argentina’s Minister for Science, Technology and Productive Innovation Lino Barañao; New Zealand’s Forestry and Farming Minister Nathan Guy. Speaker of the Czech Republic’s Senate Milan Štěch will meet Tajani.

COMMISSIONERS ON TOUR …

Federica Mogherini: The EU foreign policy chief is in Jordan for the 2017 League of Arab States summit.

Dimitris Avramopoulos: The migration commissioner is in Hungary to meet Sándor Pintér, interior minister.

Cecilia Malmström: The trade commissioner is in Croatia to meet Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalić.

NATO — FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING RESCHEDULED TO MARCH 31. Rex Tillerson will be able to join the rescheduled event, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said.

ECJ — JUDGES FORUM CELEBRATES THE EU AT 60: Judges from across the EU’s various supreme and constitutional courts are gathering in Luxembourg today and patting themselves on the back for their role in upholding the rights of EU citizens and “building Europe.” You can watch the closing ceremony of the conference here from 5 p.m. local time.

EIB — DIRK HEILMANN RECRUITED AS HEAD OF MEDIA: Handelsblatt’s chief economist Dirk Heilmann will take over as new head of media of the European Investment Bank at the beginning of April.

ECB — CALLS FOR GREATER SCRUTINY: European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and his deflation and recession fighting superhero team get good press. They also evade the levels of scrutiny and transparency most other political institutions face. Transparency International is campaigning to change that via an event today including ECB board member Benoît Cœuré, European Parliament’s ECB Rapporteur Ramon Tremosa, Bruegel Director Guntram Wolff and the European Ombudsman’s Rosita Hickey. More details for POLITICO Financial Services Pros here from Johanna TreeckRelated report here. Event details and registration here.

TECH — ONLINE RIGHTS GROUP EXPANDS TO INCLUDE EUROPEAN TELCOS: Six European telecoms companies — Nokia, Orange, Telefónica, Telenor Group, Telia Company and Vodafone Group — are joining the Global Network Initiative (GNI). GNI asks its members to commit to actively working to uphold freedom of expression and privacy rights, and already includes five global internet companies (Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo) and 35 human rights and press freedom groups, and investors.

MIGRATION — CASH FOR RETURNS: Gift. Bribe. Call it what you like, but payments to migrants to return to their countries of origin are now key to Europe’s migration policy, writes Florian Müller. The amounts vary considerably across the EU, from upwards of €5,000 in Germany to nothing in the Czech Republic. That has created perverse incentives, with the European Commission warning of migrants “shopping” around for the best deal to go home.

**Don’t miss: Watch live today POLITICO’s event The New European Order, presented by J.P. Morgan and supported by ACI Europe and Dow Corning. In this politically-, emotionally-, and symbolically-charged moment, POLITICO will convene Mario Monti, president, Bocconi University and former Italian prime minister, Italy; Sadiq Khan, mayor of London; European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and other high-level speakers to examine where Europe stands now and what must be done to preserve Europe’s leadership in the global political and economic hierarchy. Invitation-only event — watch live on from 8 a.m. here.**

UN — PUSH TO RESTART CYPRUS PEACE TALKS: Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders will dine together in Nicosia’s U.N. buffer zone on April 2.

BULGARIA — ELECTION TAKEAWAYS: The Pro-EU GERB party won 96 seats out of 240, to beat a socialist party that relied on a mix of EU-antagonistic and pro-Moscow messages to get to its best result since 2005. GERB will need the support of “unruly nationalists” to secure a stable majority in parliament.

DUTCH ELECTION UPDATE: Edith Schippers, the center-right minister from the ruling VVD tasked with steering early negotiations to form a new Dutch government, has told parliament the “only workable” agreement is a four-way deal between PM Mark Rutte’s liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Christian Democrats (CDA), liberal D66 and the center-left GreenLeft.

FRENCH ELECTION CORNER …

How Le Pen could win: French pundit Serge Galam believes Marine Le Pen’s path to the French presidency requires unenthused masses to abstain from voting, allowing Le Pen’s committed base to deliver victory.

Putin love: Libération notes that two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin showered Le Pen with love, he was locking up hundreds of anti-corruption protestors. Le Pen’s top EU adviser Ludovic de Danne said Putin had wished Le Pen luck at their meeting.

FTI poll shows consistent but minority support for Le Pen’s view of Putin’s Russia: Those polled said it was important to work with Russia to stop Islamic fundamentalism and tackle globalization. The same poll had both major parties withering, with Macron taking a five-point lead over Le Pen.

The other Frexit candidate: François Asselinea, a former French conservative civil servant, had his first rally since officially entering the race for the presidency. Asselinea has set up a Frexit magazine.

Not keeping it in the family: L’Opinion reports Le Pen is not keen for her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen to enter a potential National Front government.

ITALY — 5STARS AND THE NORTHERN LEAGUE, THE COALITION GOVERNMENT OF BRUSSELS’ NIGHTMARES: It long seemed unthinkable, but the rise of the 5Star Movement and Northern League in the polls, coupled with a collapse in support for mainstream parties, has increased the chances of a coalition that may take the country out of the eurozone. “The plan [for a populist alliance] is there and it’s being discussed in the parliament’s corridors,” a person familiar with the situation told Giada Zampano.

SLOVENIA — JUSTICE EVADES A GROUP OF ‘ERASED’ CITIZENS: Irfan Bešrevič doesn’t exist. He’s one of the 25,671 citizens of other Yugoslav countries that Slovenia deleted without warning from its register of permanent residents in 1992 after it separated from the bloc. They lost all the rights they had the day before, writes Ginger Hervey. Two constitutional court rulings, three national laws, two European Court of Human Rights judgments, one compensation scheme and one referendum later, the issue is supposed to be settled, but it isn’t.

BREXIT CORNER …

Article 50 author John Kerr: I didn’t have the UK in mind. The man who wrote Article 50 did not imagine his own country would be the one to use it. Andrew Gray writes that Kerr imagined the exit procedure might be triggered after an authoritarian leader took power in a member country and the EU responded by suspending its voting rights. Check out this nifty guide to Article 50, annotated with comments from Lord Kerr.

Brexit primer: With the two-year Brexit clock about to start ticking, James Randerson has put together a list of must-reads to help you understand the talks.

European Parliament’s bad cop role in Brexit talks: European Parliament doesn’t mind playing the role of the bad cop in Brexit negotiations, MEPs told Maïa de La Baume. And with the power to veto an eventual Brexit deal, Parliament can disrupt talks if London doesn’t respect the principles the European Union is founded on, officials warned.

Quotable Manfred Weber: Speaking of bad cops, the leader of the EPP, Parliament’s biggest party, told visiting journalists Monday night that “The Brits made a historic mistake.” He added that in practise that means “I have no need to reflect anymore on their interests. I have to reflect on the needs of the 440 million.”

The ex-files …

Andrew Duff’s new paper on how to achieve a Brexit transition. The former MEP and EU treaty expert proposes a Joint Transition Authority to manage Brexit after a deal is agreed but not fully implemented. “The British side should stop pretending that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal.’ … there’s really nothing worse than no deal … The Commission should avoid legalistic posturing about not talking trade deals until after the U.K. has formally left the EU. It is perfectly possible to negotiate two things at once.”

Peter Mandelson broadsides against both Labour and Theresa May: The first six minutes of this podcast with Paul Adamson are about the Remain campaign, the middle about the Labour Party now, and the final six about May’s negotiating stance. “The Labour Party is making a major strategic blunder in thinking it can build its future electoral success on the back of those who voted to leave the EU. The entire front bench is culpable …” Labour has become “the handmaiden of the Tory government’s hard Brexit.”

InFacts launches fake news-busting page: The Remain-supporting organization is taking the tabloids and anyone short on facts to task.

What business wants: Demos, a think tank, has surveyed businesses in all four corners of the U.K. to find out what they actually want from Brexit negotiations. The full report is out later today. Preview material indicates Wales, Northern Ireland and the North East are the areas most at risk, along with manufacturing and agricultural industries. See the risks mapped in a table.

Michel Barnier on Brexit: What he said, what he meant: From the Playbook Plus blog.

UK — NORTHERN IRELAND GOVERNMENT DEADLINE PASSES: The deadline has now passed for parties in Northern Ireland to form a government, but snap elections aren’t expected. Secretary of State James Brokenshire said local leaders still have “a few short weeks to resolve matters.” If they can’t, Westminster may assume full control of Northern Ireland again.

KEEP AN EYE ON SERBIA: Serbia’s PM Aleksandar Vučić is favorite for the first round of this weekend’s presidential election. Despite Vučić’s best efforts, Luka Maksimovic, a 25 year-old, man-bun sporting parody candidate is getting a lot of attention. Russian President Vladimir Putin backed Vučić Monday.

TRUMP WORLD …

Check and balances … check! Donald Trump’s health care reform mess is proof checks and balances are still working in Washington D.C.

Trump’s rollback of climate change commitments expected today: Bloomberg has a detailed look at what made it in to the executive order.

Tara Palmeri making headlines in DC: Former Brussels Playbooker and scoop machine Tara Palmeri is making Sean Spicer nervous. So much so he lashed out in writing to colleagues saying she had “no real sources.” Tara’s best answer to Spicer’s comment: check out the sourcing in her last scoop here.

Honeymoon’s over for Trump and Putin: Trump had signaled he would pursue warmer relations with the Kremlin, but the honeymoon is over almost as soon as it began.

Trump’s son-in-law tapped to lead government policy SWAT team: Jared Kushner will lead a team tasked with fixing government using business ideas. How many governments have already tried that and failed? Quite a few by Playbook’s count.

MEDIA MOVES — THE ATLANTIC TO OPEN LONDON OFFICE: James Fallows will become The Atlantic’s first Europe editor. He will lead a team of 10 from London, moving there with his wife Deborah Fallows, also a writer for The Atlantic.

BRUSSELS CORNER …

New cycle paths for Brussels inner ring road: See you in two years. Pascal Smet, the Brussels region minister for mobility, announced new cycling paths and reorganization of the Brussels’ inner city ring. A website with simulations and details on the project is online.