Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Europe's Unserious Plan for Greece

The latest deal on debt won’t work, and everybody knows it.
By The Editors

21 Ιουνίου 2017, 9:00 π.μ. EEST


  • Grace periods come to an end. As interest rates creep up, Greece’s debt repayments will rise too. The perpetual primary surpluses creditors are demanding will squeeze the economy so hard that they’ll be self-defeating even in narrow fiscal terms.


Bloomberg

Brexit Bulletin: The New Political Reality

By Simon Kennedy  and Robert Hutton
21 Ιουνίου 2017, 9:52 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Prime Minister Theresa May will make her first attempt to engage with Britain’s new political landscape on Wednesday as she publishes a Brexit-heavy legislative program.

Queen Elizabeth II will read out the plan for the next two years. It’s set to include a bill designed to convert thousands of European Union rules into British law and another to regain control of trade policy from the bloc.

Rick Perry just denied that humans are the main cause of climate change

By Steven Mufson June 19

The Washington Post

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday denied that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change.

Asked in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” whether he believed that carbon dioxide was “the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate,” Perry said that “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Greece says court decision not to extradite Turkish soldiers must be respected

Mon Jun 19, 2017 | 9:07am EDT

Reuters

A court ruling to not extradite eight Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece following the failed coup attempt last year must be respected, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.

His comments came at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim in Athens

"The Greek justice system has ruled on this issue ... and this decision must be fully respected," Tsipras said in response to a question.

In Greece, China Finds an Ally Against Human Rights Criticism


By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE and SOMINI SENGUPTAJUNE 19, 2017


GENEVA — China has long won diplomatic allies in the world’s poor countries by helping them build expensive roads and ports. Now, it appears to have similarly won over a needy country in Europe.

At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council this month in Geneva, the European Union sought to draw renewed attention to human rights abuses in China — only to be blocked by one of its member countries, Greece. A spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens called it “unproductive criticism.”

Monday, June 19, 2017

Greece’s Open Wound of Division

Nikos Konstandaras JUNE 16, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — Many Greeks were surprised when a mild-mannered former prime minister who tried to use unity and consensus to lead the country out of an economic and political impasse was seriously injured by a parcel bomb last month.

What followed was even worse: The attack was not greeted with unanimous condemnation, suggesting that Greece has a long way to go to heal divisions that were exacerbated by the economic crisis, that have shaped politics and that obstruct efforts to get Greece on its feet.

EU's Wieser-Hope Greece Can Tap Markets by Spring 2018: ORF

By REUTERSJUNE 17, 2017, 7:30 A.M. E.D.T.


The New York Times

VIENNA — Thomas Wieser, the EU official who runs preparations for Eurogroup meetings, hopes Greece will be able to tap international markets for money between autumn this year and spring 2018, he told ORF radio on Saturday.

Greece blocks EU statement on China human rights at U.N.

Sun Jun 18, 2017 | 5:43pm EDT

Reuters

By Robin Emmott and Angeliki Koutantou | BRUSSELS/ATHENS
Greece has blocked a European Union statement at the United Nations criticizing China's human rights record, a decision EU diplomats said undermined efforts to confront Beijing's crackdown on activists and dissidents.

The EU, which seeks to promote free speech and end capital punishment around the world, was due to make its statement last week at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, but failed to win the necessary agreement from all 28 EU states.

Friday, June 16, 2017

E.U. Reaches Debt Deal for Greece Worth 8.5 Billion Euros

By JAMES KANTER and NIKI KITSANTONISJUNE 15, 2017


LUXEMBOURG — European Union officials agreed on Thursday to unlock loans of 8.5 billion euros for Greece, to ensure it meets huge payments on its debt next month.

The deal, reached by eurozone finance ministers, will ensure that Greece can pay about €7 billion, or $7.9 billion, next month on its towering pile of loans. If Greece defaulted on its debt, it could set off an economic crisis, reviving fears about the future of the eurozone.

The agreement included formal participation by the International Monetary Fund, said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup of finance minsters.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Greece Declares Emergency After Earthquake Hits Lesbos

By NIKI KITSANTONIS
JUNE 13, 2017

The New York Times

ATHENS — The Greek government declared a state of emergency on the island of Lesbos on Tuesday, the day after a strong earthquake struck the island, killing a woman, injuring several people and leaving hundreds of residents homeless.

Israel’s prime minister in Greece to tout energy projects

By Costas Kantouris | AP June 15 at 8:40 AM

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Under heavy security, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited northern Greece on Thursday to discuss plans to become a key supplier of European energy through an ambitious Mediterranean undersea natural gas pipeline project.

Netanyahu met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.

More than 3,500 police officers were deployed around the city, which historically had a large Jewish community that was almost wiped out during the Nazi occupation in World War II.

Greece to Get Some Cash-And Some Idea of Future Debt Relief

By REUTERSJUNE 15, 2017, 8:54 A.M. E.D.T.
 The New York Times

LUXEMBOURG — Greece's international lenders prepared on Thursday to unblock as much as 8.5 billion euros (7.44 billion pounds) in loans that Athens desperately needs next month to pay its bills, and to give some idea of what debt relief they may offer over the long-term.

The chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters the size of the payment to Athens would be discussed during the meeting, since lenders agreed that Greece had pushed through all the requested reforms.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Britain’s Theresa May comes under pressure to soften her stance on Brexit


The Washington Post

By Griff Witte and Karla Adam June 12 at 3:30 PM
LONDON — When Britain voted last week in an election that ended with Prime Minister Theresa May hanging onto her job by a thread, Brexit wasn’t on the ballot.

Even though the country had split nearly down the middle in last year’s referendum – 52 percent to 48 – and continues to be closely divided, none of the major parties ran on a platform of reversing the public’s decision to leave the European Union.

ECB Said to Be Unlikely to Include Greece in QE in Coming Months

by Alessandro Speciale
13 Ιουνίου 2017, 2:00 π.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

The European Central Bank is unlikely to include Greek bonds in its asset-purchase program for the foreseeable future, a person familiar with the matter said, as European creditors aren’t prepared to offer substantially easier repayment terms on bailout loans to improve the nation’s debt outlook.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Greece puts faith in France to solve bailout impasse


The Washington Post

By Derek Gatopoulos | AP June 12 at 8:43 AM
ATHENS, Greece — France’s finance minister says Greece is on course to reach a crucial funding deal with bailout lenders this week.

“A new crisis on the Greek issue must be calmly avoided,” Bruno Le Maire said after meeting Monday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The French minister traveled to Athens ahead of a meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday of finance ministers from countries using the euro currency.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Comey: White House lied about me, FBI


The Washington Post

By Devlin Barrett, Ellen Nakashima and Ed O'Keefe June 8 at 8:38 PM
Former FBI director James B. Comey on Thursday used a dramatic appearance before a national audience to sharply criticize the character of the president, accusing Trump of firing him over the Russia investigation and then misleading the public about the reasons for the dismissal.

Trump and his team, Comey said, told “lies, plain and simple,” about him and the FBI in an effort to cover up the real reason for his sudden sacking last month. Comey said that after one particularly odd private meeting with the president, he feared Trump “might lie” about the conversation, prompting him to begin taking careful notes after each encounter.

Theresa May Loses Overall Majority in U.K. Parliament

By STEVEN ERLANGER and STEPHEN CASTLE

JUNE 8, 2017


LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain suffered a major setback in a tumultuous election on Thursday, losing her overall majority in Parliament and throwing her government into uncertainty less than two weeks before it is scheduled to begin negotiations over withdrawing from the European Union.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

UPDATE 1-Greece targeting sub-5 percent yields for market return

Wed Jun 7, 2017 | 2:17pm EDT

Reuters

* Greece wants yields below 5 pct before debt market return

* ECB support would boost chances considerably

* Decisions will depend on outcome of Eurogroup meeting (Adds detail, background, quotes)

By Lefteris Papadimas and Marc Jones

Trump offers to help resolve Gulf crisis, UAE tightens squeeze on Qatar

 Wed Jun 7, 2017 | 8:40pm EDT

Reuters

By William Maclean and Tom Finn | DUBAI/DOHA
U.S. President Donald Trump offered on Wednesday to help resolve a worsening diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab powers as the United Arab Emirates invoked the possibility of an economic embargo on Doha over its alleged support of terrorism.

In his second intervention in the row in as many days, Trump urged action against terrorism in a call with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, a White House statement said.

Greece Calls on Europe to Offer Growth Incentives, Help Break Debt Impasse


By REUTERS
JUNE 7, 2017, 10:39 A.M. E.D.T.



The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece urged its European lenders on Wednesday to offer incentives that will boost growth and help break an impasse between the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund on the size of relief the country needs to make its debt sustainable.

During a meeting of euro zone finance ministers last month, Greece, its euro zone lenders and the IMF failed to agree on the debt relief measures to be implemented after its current bailout expires in 2018, mainly because of different growth assumptions. They are now aiming for a deal at a June 15 Eurogroup meeting.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Greek Ruling Party Says IMF Debt Proposal Not Helpful in Impasse

By REUTERSJUNE 6, 2017, 10:12 A.M. E.D.T.

The New York Times

ATHENS — A proposal by IMF Chief Christine Lagarde offering a way out of Greece's debt impasse with its European lenders does not contribute towards reaching an "honourable solution," Greece's ruling Syriza party said on Tuesday.

Greece to Launch New Tender for Gas Grid Sale in June-Energy Minister

By REUTERSJUNE 6, 2017, 10:21 A.M. E.D.T.
The New York Times

ATHENS — Greece will launch a new tender competition for the privatisation of its natural gas grid operator DEFSA in June, Energy Minister George Stathakis said on Tuesday.

Stathakis announced the tender in an interview with Greek news website liberal.gr without disclosing details.

The Latest: Hamas ‘shocked’ by Saudi comments on Qatar


The Washington Post
By Associated Press June 7 at 1:00 AM
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The Latest on the Gulf crisis after Saudi Arabia and other nations cut ties to Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

Gaza’s ruling Hamas says it is shocked by Saudi Arabia’s call on Qatar to stop supporting the Islamic militant group.

Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, have cut ties with Qatar and moved to isolate the Gulf nation, accusing it of harboring extremists. Qatar has denied the allegations.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that Qatar must sever ties with Hamas and its historic parent, the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood.

Hamas said in a statement early Wednesday that al-Jubeir’s remarks “constitute a shock for our Palestinian people and the Arab and Islamic nations.”

Hamas alleged that Israel “exploits these statements to carry out more violations against the Palestinian people.”

Qatar has hosted Hamas leaders and has financed major projects in Gaza.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Despite Economic Problems, Greece's Tourism Looking Good In 2017

JUN 5, 2017, 11:23 AM

Lea Lane ,   CONTRIBUTOR

Forbes

The past few years have been tough ones for the Greek economy and for its tourism industry. As a traveler who has written two guidebooks on Greece, I've felt sure that tourism there would eventually bounce back, but when?

News is good: The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) announced that it expects a record-breaking 30 million international visitors to Greece for 2017. This represents a growth rate of 7%, or an additional 2 million additional visitors over the previous year. 900,000 U.S. travelers are expected to visit the country this year.

Cementing a long-term deal with Greece

Souda Bay gives the U.S. a singulary valuable port in the Eastern Mediterranean

The Washington Times

By John Sitilides - - Monday, June 5, 2017
ANALYSIS/OPINION:
Since World War II, the Mediterranean Sea has been the home to the U.S. Sixth Fleet, whose mission is to conduct “the full range of Maritime Operations and Theater Security Cooperation missions to advance security and stability in Europe and Africa.” It was an essentially uncontested naval force through the mid-2000s, operating with near impunity from the Strait of Gibraltar to Israel, from the Black Sea to the Suez Canal.
Today, Russia and China are operating within the Eastern Mediterranean region with growing ambition and determination to challenge America’s historic naval posture and extensive power projection reach.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Τα προβλήματα με την ελάφρυνση του χρέους

Μιράντα Ξαφά
Huffington Post

Μετά την κατ' αρχήν αποδοχή από την κυβέρνηση των μέτρων που ζητούν οι δανειστές για να κλείσει η δεύτερη αξιολόγηση, μόλις ψηφιστούν τα μέτρα προβλέπεται να ανοίξει η συζήτηση για το χρέος. Παρά το γεγονός ότι το θέμα αυτό συζητείται παρασκηνιακά μεταξύ Ευρωπαίων και ΔΝΤ εδώ και μήνες, λύση που να είναι πολιτικά αποδεκτή από όλους τους εμπλεκόμενους στη  διαπραγμάτευση δεν θα είναι εύκολο να βρεθεί. Μία πρόσφατη μελέτη τριών επιφανών οικονομολόγων εξηγεί γιατί.

Greece Seeks Debt Clarity as Creditors Resist Concessions

by Alessandro Speciale  and Viktoria Dendrinou
31 Μαΐου 2017, 6:27 μ.μ. EEST 1 Ιουνίου 2017, 1:12 μ.μ. EEST

Bloomberg

Greece may not be offered a substantially improved debt-relief package when euro-area finance ministers discuss its bailout in Luxembourg next month, officials directly involved in the negotiations said.

Euro-zone creditors are unlikely to commit to further details of measures beyond the extension of maturities in rescue loans that they discussed last week, the officials said, asking not to be named because the ongoing talks are private. Such a deal on its own might still not be enough to convince the European Central Bank to start buying Greek bonds, they said.

Ending Greece’s Perpetual Debt Crisis

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
JUNE 1, 2017

The New York Times

For nearly a decade, Greece has struggled under suffocating debt, which now totals more than 300 billion euros ($338 billion), or nearly double its annual economic output. Waves of austerity measures to satisfy creditors have inflicted great suffering: More than a quarter of Greeks are unemployed, and vital services, like health care and transportation, are running as bare-bones operations. The economy is in recession, and there is virtually no way Greece can dig itself out of such a deep hole.