Category Archives: European Union

Greece delays EU agreement on Russia sanctions

Ambassador refuses to agree to key passage of statement, raising European concerns over new Greek governmentThe new Greek government has picked its first fight with the European Union, delaying agreement on further EU sanctions against Russian-backed s…
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Greece’s debts: what happens next?

The new Syriza government in Greece now faces the challenge of renegotiating its debts. Phillip Inman explains the options on both sides in a game of high-stakes brinksmanship Continue reading…
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Posted in austerity, Business, Economic policy, Economics, Europe, European Union, Eurozone crisis, Greece, World news | Comments Off

Contributing Op-Ed Writer: Europe’s Anti-Business Stance

The debate over stimulus vs. austerity misses the point.
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Europe calls for swift passage of law to collect flight passengers’ data

European commissioner for justice ordered to redraft PNR legislation after terror attacks as counter-terror discussions loomThe European executive on Wednesday called for the prompt passage of legislation to collect and retain information on anyone fly…
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‘Hope begins today was their mantra’: the inside story of Syriza’s rise to power

Ten years ago, Syriza scraped just 4% of the vote in Greek elections. This week, the leftwing party took control under the charismatic leadership of Alexis Tsipras. How did it do it? For 22 days, Paul Mason followed the party’s campaign trail and saw an anti-austerity message delivered with youthful plausibility win over a nation
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Greece’s new young radicals sweep away age of austerity

From minimum wage to prescriptions, Alexis Tsipras is making good his promises to voters in startling fashion

One by one they were rolled back, blitzkrieg-style, mercilessly, ruthlessly, with rat-a-tat efficiency. First the barricades came down outside the Greek parliament. Then it was announced that privatisation schemes would be halted and pensions reinstated. And then came the news of the reintroduction of the €751 monthly minimum wage. And all before Greece’s new prime minister, the radical leftwinger Alexis Tsipras, had got his first cabinet meeting under way.

After that, ministers announced more measures: the scrapping of fees for prescriptions and hospital visits, the restoration of collective work agreements, the rehiring of workers laid off in the public sector, the granting of citizenship to migrant children born and raised in Greece. On his first day in office – barely 48 hours after storming to power – Tsipras got to work. The biting austerity his Syriza party had fought so long to annul now belonged to the past, and this was the beginning not of a new chapter but a book for the country long on the frontline of the euro crisis.

Related: Alexis Tsipras begins rolling back Greek austerity policies

Related: Yanis Varoufakis: maverick economist with Greece’s fate in his hands

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Posted in alexis tsipras, Business, Currencies, Economics, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, European monetary union, European Union, Financial sector, Greece, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Rating agencies, syriza, World news | Comments Off

Greek election ‘severe blow to Cameron’s hopes of EU treaty change’

Former Swedish PM Carl Bildt warns that appetite for treaty change in EU has diminished since Syriza won the Greek election Continue reading…
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Greek markets tumble as government halts privatisations and pushes for debt relief – live

Alexis Tsipras has told his first cabinet meeting that the new Greek government must not let voters down

2.10pm GMT

Another symbolic moment: The railings that have protected Greek MPs from the public are being removed today, reports Yannis Karagiorgas of Euronews.

No more railings outside the Greek Parliament @euronewsgr @euronews http://t.co/yNZgXVLWvb pic.twitter.com/dDx5M8ZIG3

1.55pm GMT

Photo of the day?

1.53pm GMT

The rout is turning into a crash:

Greek Banking stocks having their worst day ever. National Bank Of Greece (-28%), Eurobank (-22%), Alpha Bank (-22%), Piraeus Bank (-28%)

1.45pm GMT

Alexis Tsipras has spooked the Athens market, and holders of Greek bonds, by his early moves as PM, says Felix Herrmann, a market strategist at DZ Bank.

Herrmann told Reuters:

Tsipras has announced his new cabinet and his new finance minister seems to be a rough guy from the very far left of the political spectrum,”

“This is raising fears that there’s a clash coming up between Athens and its lenders. The fact that he joined a coalition with the far right is not helping either.”

1.23pm GMT

Over in Berlin, Angela Merkel’s spokesman has told reporters that the chancellor expects to hear Greece’s new economic strategy soon…..

“I expect, as do all European partners, that the new Greek government will present its overarching economic and financial strategy imminently, and its clear ideas on how things proceed regarding the continuation of the current programme and how to fulfil Greece’s obligations,”

“It will then be for European partners to discuss matters on the basis of these concrete suggestions,”

12.57pm GMT

Varoufakis pledged to re-hire ministry cleaners, iconically protesting since Sep. 2013 http://t.co/AaQyXqdbEF pic.twitter.com/IvVemd6CRB

12.55pm GMT

Back to finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’s press conference… and he reveals he’s going to visit his counterparts in France (Michel Sapin) and Italy (Pier Carlo Padoan) soon.

No mention of a trip to Berlin, though…..

But not Schauble? Strategic mistake? MT @ManosGiakoumis: #Greece FinMin @yanisvaroufakis to meet #France & #Italy FinMins in coming days

12.50pm GMT

The Athens stock market may be falling out of bed, but outside life continues as normal, reports crisis-watcher @teacherdude .

BTW the sky hasn’t fallen in, Greeks going about their business same as usual

12.48pm GMT

Varoufakis says that he is planning to cut costs at the finance ministry by cutting the number of advisers.

#Varoufakis will immediately reinstate sacked cleaners at Ministry of Finance. #Greece

Varoufakis also said there’ll be less consultants in finance ministry to rehire sacked cleaners #Greece

12.38pm GMT

Finance minister Varoufakis insists that Greece will seek a new deal with its creditors…..

Greek Fin Min: Creditors Gave More Money Than They Ought, But It Has Been Thrown Into a Black Hole

12.37pm GMT

Breaking: Greece’s new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is giving a press conference in the finance ministry.

Varoufakis is saying that Greece is “turning a page on the mistake of the bailout”.

Passation de pouvoir Hardouvelis/Varoufakis au ministère des Finances grec. Devinez qui est qui #Grece pic.twitter.com/kV81nbtuLU

12.15pm GMT

Yanis Varoufakis, the new Greek finance minister, in defiant mood. Not about austerity this time, but his blog.

Writing in his personal blog, he vowed to continue posting his thoughts, defying those who consider it “irresponsible for a finance minister to indulge in such crass forms of communication”.

For hope to be revived we must all strive to change the ways of a dismal past. Maintaining an open line with the outside world may be a small step in that direction.

So, keep watching this space!

11.59am GMT

Greek shares continue to fall sharply, led by the banks.

#Greece Greek banks no-confidence vote is pretty clear… @LVDTA pic.twitter.com/Xc1UwkOMWy

11.50am GMT

Addressing his first cabinet meeting, Alexis Tsipras said the first priority of his government would be to address Greece’s humanitarian crisis.

The people demand we bleed in order to defend its dignity.

11.33am GMT

New Greek PM Tsipras is right. He does need a haircut pic.twitter.com/B4bX7CkMtt

AM

11.24am GMT

Holger Schmieding, chief economist at German bank Berenberg has recently returned from Athens and is fired up over the situation in Greece.

Just back from Athens, I feel almost compelled to shout it from the rooftops: it’s not about the debt. it’s about the economy, stupid – to borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton.

In Athens, much of the discussions I had revolved around the debt: how much will Europe cut the burden now that Greek voters have asked for it? Or: wouldn’t it be cheaper for Europe to write off half its claims on Greece than to risk losing it all?

11.01am GMT

Shares are now being routed in Athens – shares in its biggest banks, such as Piraeus and Eurobank, are down by around 20%.

Greek stocks -7% and counting pic.twitter.com/SUzan3SvOZ

Greek markets today. *high whistle* pic.twitter.com/cjU9v2DJLZ

10.51am GMT

The five-year bond which Greece sold to investors last April, in its triumphant return to the markets, has hit its lowest ever level.

The yield on the debt (which moves inversely to the price) hit an all-time high of 13.5% this morning; showing a greater risk that Greece will default.

10.12am GMT

Alexis Tsipras’s determination to renegotiate Greece’s borrowings will alarm many in the eurozone, particularly the north.

But as HSBC’s well-respected chief economist, Stephen King, explains, it takes two to create a debt crisis:

It’s amazing to think that creditors believe they are in no way responsible for the €zone crisis.

1/2 Germans struggle to understand that a large BoP surplus means their savings are used to acquire foreign rather than domestic assets…

2/2 ….and that those foreign assets may, at times, offer the wrong mix of risk & reward. Creditors and debtors two sides of same coin.

9.59am GMT

And here’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis attending the first cabinet meeting, where PM Tsipras warned the government faces a very difficult task.

9.51am GMT

9.43am GMT

Greek bonds have weakened sharply since Greece froze its privatisation plans and vowed to seek debt relief.

That has driven up the yield, or interest rate, further into dangerous levels.

9.32am GMT

Greek banking stocks have shed a third (!) of their value this week:

Update: Greek bank stocks not liking Syriza’s victory, -32% so far this week, on for 2nd biggest weekly fall ever: pic.twitter.com/qSlURYFLao

9.27am GMT

Alexis Tsipras then told his cabinet that the international mood towards Greece is changing.

He predicts positive talks with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads up the eurogroup of finance ministers, in Athens on Friday.

We must not disappoint the voters who gave us a mandate.

9.22am GMT

*GREEK GOVT SIGNALS BEGINNING OF NEW ERA, TSIPRAS SAYS

9.20am GMT

Alexis Tsipras has just held his first cabinet meeting in Athen, and details are hitting the wires now.

We are a government of national salvation. Our aim is to negotiate debt relief.

“This gov’t has no other dependencies or bosses than the people,” Greek PM Tsipras tells his cabinet in its first meeting #Greece

Oh. Tsipras already lowering expectations… *TSIPRAS: GREEKS DON’T EXPECT TO CHANGE ECONOMY IN ONE DAY

9.11am GMT

Economist Megan Greene of Manulife Asset Management (a eurozone-crisis expert) says Tsipras’s government is ready for a fight with its lenders:

All indications so far (coalition w Indy Greeks, Varoufakis as finmin) point to new Greek govt going into talks w the troika w guns blazing.

9.05am GMT

The sell-off is accelerating:

#Greece Athens stock exchange -3.81%, Banks -10%, PPC -7.74, OLP -8.9%

9.01am GMT

Greece’s new foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, has insisted this morning that Athens still wants to play a full part in European affairs.

#Greece ForMin:Anyone who thinks that in the name of the debt, Gr will resign its sovereignty &its active counsel in EU politics is mistaken

8.59am GMT

Greek bank shares are also falling again, sending the main ATG index into the red for the third day running.

8.45am GMT

Shares in energy firm PCC and Piraeus Port have both tumbled by around 7% at the start of trading in Athens, after the government halted plans to sell its majority stake in both firms.

8.28am GMT

Syriza is also planning to help poorer Greeks by raising the minimum wage:

New Greek gov’t has crossed off Piraeus port & energy privatisations. SYRIZA wants raising of minimum wage to be 1st bill #Greece

8.22am GMT

Germany’s biggest newspaper isn’t showing much sympathy for a Greek debt deal, flags up ING analyst Carsten Brzeski:

Asking for the Grexit by accident? This morning’s Bild lists earlier German statements ruling out debt forgiveness for Greece.

8.16am GMT

European stock markets have inched higher, despite events in Greece.

The FTSE 100 has gained18 points or 0.3% in early trading to 6830. Investors are cheered by Apple, which smashed profit forecasts last night.

FOMC policy statement today Patience the buzz But tightening via dollar strength & balance of external risks strengthen case for later hike.

8.04am GMT

The new Greek government has also pledged to reverse the unpopular ‘mobility scheme’ which was used to lay off thousands of public sector workers, rolling back another key bailout measure.

George Katrougkalos told Mega TV:

“It will be one of the first pieces of legislation that I will bring in as a minister.”

Day 1, potential major stand-offs: privatisations(Piraeus Port, Public Power Co.), public sector layoffs/re-hires, Russia sanctions #Greece

8.01am GMT

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial markets, the world economy, business and the eurozone.

“We will halt immediately any privatisation of PPC.”

#Greece Productive Reconstruction Min Lafazanis said PPC will ‘return to the state’, its privatisation will be halted imminently. #economy

One of the first decisions announced by the new government was stopping the planned sale of a 67% stake in the Piraeus Port Authority, agreed under its international bailout deal for which China’s Cosco Group and four other suitors had been shortlisted.

“The Cosco deal will be reviewed to the benefit of the Greek people,” Thodoris Dritsas, the deputy minister in charge of the shipping portfolio, told Reuters.

Handover ceremony at Finance Ministry to take place tomorrow at 2 p.m. #Greece

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Alexis Tsipras begins rolling back Greek austerity policies

New prime minister says there is no time to waste, as privatisation programme demanded by EU and IMF is put on hold

In a dramatic start to his tenure in office, Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has begun unpicking the deeply unpopular austerity policies underpinning the debt-stricken country’s bailout programme.

After storming to power on Sunday, the leftwinger said there was no time to waste. “We will continue with our plan,” he told his first cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “We don’t have the right to disappoint our voters.”

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European counter-terror plan involves blanket collection of passengers’ data

Exclusive: European commission plans to request 42 items of personal information about air passengers

A new European commission counter-terror plan will require the blanket collection and storage for up to five years of personal data records of all passengers flying in and out of Europe, the Guardian can reveal.

Civil liberty campaigners say the revised European passenger name record plan – in the aftermath of the Paris attacks – breaches a recent European court of justice ruling that blanket collection of personal data without detailed safeguards is a severe incursion on personal privacy.

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