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Category Archives: European Union
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…
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…
The debate over stimulus vs. austerity misses the point.
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…
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
Former Swedish PM Carl Bildt warns that appetite for treaty change in EU has diminished since Syriza won the Greek election Continue reading…
Alexis Tsipras has told his first cabinet meeting that the new Greek government must not let voters down
- Latest: Finance minister pledges to rehire cleaners
- Tsipras tells ministers “We will push for debt relief”
- Sale of power company and port are frozen
- Shares tumble
- Civil service layoffs to be stopped
Another symbolic moment: The railings that have protected Greek MPs from the public are being removed today, reports Yannis Karagiorgas of Euronews.
Photo of the day?
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%)
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.”
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,”
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…..
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
Varoufakis says that he is planning to cut costs at the finance ministry by cutting the number of advisers.
Varoufakis also said there’ll be less consultants in finance ministry to rehire sacked cleaners #Greece
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
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”.
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!
Greek shares continue to fall sharply, led by the banks.
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.
New Greek PM Tsipras is right. He does need a haircut pic.twitter.com/B4bX7CkMtt
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?
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
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.
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.
And here’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis attending the first cabinet meeting, where PM Tsipras warned the government faces a very difficult task.
That has driven up the yield, or interest rate, further into dangerous levels.
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
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.
*GREEK GOVT SIGNALS BEGINNING OF NEW ERA, TSIPRAS SAYS
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
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.
The sell-off is accelerating:
#Greece Athens stock exchange -3.81%, Banks -10%, PPC -7.74, OLP -8.9%
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
Greek bank shares are also falling again, sending the main ATG index into the red for the third day running.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.”
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
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.”
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.