(EUobserver) The United States has warned Greece not to give harbour to an Iranian oil tanker suspected of smuggling oil to Syria in defiance of EU sanctions, saying it would treat the act as support for terrorism. The ship was previously seized by the British navy and detained in Gibraltar, but Gibraltar let it go despite US pressure, while Iran has denied any wrongdoing.
(JN) Os juros da dívida grega a 10 anos negociada em mercado secundário estão abaixo dos 2%, um mínimo histórico que reflete a política monetária do BCE.
A dívida pública da Grécia corresponde a quase ao dobro do PIB do país (181% em 2018), mas isso não impede que o custo do Estado grego com as obrigações soberanas continue a baixar.
Segundo os dados da Bloomberg, os juros da dívida grega a 10 anos – o prazo de referência – baixaram 5,7 pontos base para os 1,981%, um novo mínimo histórico. No mesmo prazo, a dívida grega “custa” (juro) menos do que a dívida dos Estados Unidos cujo peso do endividamento público no PIB ronda os 100%.
Este é o reflexo da política monetária do Banco Central Europeu (BCE) em que os juros diretores ficam em níveis historicamente baixos até ao fim do primeiro semestre de 2019, existindo a possibilidade real de haver um novo corte nos juros.
Essa hipótese ganhou hoje mais força após a divulgação de uma quebra do PMI para a indústria alemã, que já estava em contração. O maior risco de recessão na maior economia da Zona Euro poderá levar o BCE a aplicar o que tem sugerido nos últimos discursos de Mario Draghi: novos estímulos através dos instrumentos disponíveis estão na calha se for necessário para reanimar a economia e a inflação.
Esta quinta-feira, 24 de julho, o conselho de governadores do BCE vai reunir-se em Frankfurt para decidir o rumo da política monetária numa das últimas reuniões com Draghi como presidente. Contudo, não é expectável que haja já uma decisão sobre mais estímulos.
“Não esperamos nenhuma ação concreta até à reunião do BCE em setembro, que deve abrir uma sequência de taxas de depósitos mais baixas, seguida pelo lançamento de um programa de compra de ativos no final do ano”, referia Franck Dixmier, analista da Allianz Global Investors numa nota divulgada hoje.
Além do efeito BCE, as obrigações soberanas da Grécia também poderão estar a beneficiar da recente eleição de Kyriakos Mitsotakis, da Nova Democracia, um partido conservador que foi bem acolhido pelos mercados financeiros do que o Syriza de Alexis Tsipras.
Mas também é verdade que a trajetória de descida dos juros gregos já ocorre desde o verão de 2018, altura em que fez a “saída limpa” do programa de ajustamento. Os juros a dez anos começaram a negociar abaixo dos 4% em fevereiro e dos 3% em maio. Em julho, quebraram a barreira dos 2%.
ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s opposition conservatives returned to power with a landslide victory in snap elections on Sunday, and Prime Minister elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he had a clear mandate for change, pledging more investments and fewer taxes.
The win appeared driven by fatigue with years of European Union-enforced belt-tightening, combined with high unemployment, after the country almost crashed out of the euro zone at the height of its financial travails in 2015.
Conservative New Democracy had a commanding lead of 39.6 percent of the vote based on 73 percent of the votes counted versus 31.6 percent for incumbent leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza, the official interior ministry tally showed.
Exit polls showed New Democracy winning between 155 and 167 seats in the 300 member parliament, taking advantage of an electoral system which gives bonus seats to the frontrunner.
Mitsotakis said in a televised address that the election outcome gave him a strong and clear mandate to change Greece.
“I am committed to fewer taxes, many investments, for good and new jobs, and growth which will bring better salaries and higher pensions in an efficient state,” Mitsotakis said.
Tsipras said he respected the will of the Greek people.
“Today, with our head held high we accept the people’s verdict. To bring Greece to where it is today we had to take difficult decisions (with) a heavy political cost,” he told journalists.
Tsipras took over from the conservatives in 2015 as Greece was at the peak of a financial crisis which had ravaged the country since 2010. Initially vowing to resist deeper austerity, he was forced into signing up to another bailout months after his election, a decision which went down badly with voters.
The handover will take place on Monday, after Mitsotakis’s swearing in as new Prime Minister.New Democracy conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis waves as he speaks outside party’s headquarters, after the general election in Athens, Greece, July 7, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
Sunday’s poll was the first national election since the country shook off close scrutiny by its European partners who loaned Greece billions in three bailouts.
Tsipras signed up to the latest, in 2015, in return for debt relief.
Mitsotakis, 51, assumed the helm of New Democracy in 2016. Although he is regarded as a liberal, his party also harbours members with more right-wing views.
Golden Dawn, an extreme right-wing party detractors accuse of having neo-Nazi sympathies, lost significant ground with early results suggesting it may not reach the 3 percent threshold to parliament.
“The basic reason (for the result) is the economy,” said analyst Theodore Couloumbis. “In the past 4.5 years people saw no improvement, on the contrary there were cutbacks in salaries and pensions,” he said.
The focus now turns to Mitsotakis’s picks for the key economics ministries – finance, energy, development and foreign affairs. He has been tight-lipped on choices during the campaign.
Mitsotakis will inherit an economy that is growing at a moderate clip – at a 1.3% annual pace in the first quarter – and public finances that may fall short of targets agreed with official lenders.Slideshow (27 Images)
The Bank of Greece projects that the 3.5% of GDP primary surplus target that excludes debt servicing outlays is likely to be missed this year and reach just 2.9% of economic output.
With Greece still challenged by its debt overhang, the fiscal policy stance of the new government will be closely watched.
The real test will be next year’s budget with Mitsotakiss expected to outline the key contours in the traditional economic address in Thessaloniki in September.
“I want the government that will be elected to do its best for the people, who are hungry,” said pensioner Christos Mpekos, 69. “To give jobs to the young so they don’t leave.”
Tsipras says that a vote cast for Mitsotakis would go to the political establishment, which forced Greece to the edge of the precipice in the first place.
But he has also been roundly criticised for mismanagement of crises and for brokering a deeply unpopular deal to end a dispute over the name of neighbouring North Macedonia.
Greece wrapped up its last economic adjustment programme in 2018 but remains under surveillance from lenders to ensure no future fiscal slippage. While economic growth has returned, Greek unemployment of 18 percent is the euro zone’s highest.
New Democracy has promised to invest in creating well-paid jobs with decent benefits. It has also promised to be tough on crime in some neighbourhoods of Athens where there is a strong anti-establishment movement.
In one neighbourhood, activists stormed a polling station and made off with a ballot box.
(Express) BREXIT proves that countries are better to remain in the European Union rather than taking their own “nationalistic approach”, according to Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek leader claimed that Britain with its “very significant power” not being able to find a way out of the Brussels bloc should act as a warning to other would-be leavers. He accused Brexiteers of pushing an exaggerated patriotic agenda in order to win the historic EU referendum in June 2016. In a separate warning, he said that the EU is failing to convince voters of the project’s virtues ahead of May’s European Parliament elections.
This is leading to a surge of anti-EU and populist political movements springing up across Europe, he added.
In a bid to quash nationalist views in Greece, Mr Tsipras said: “Brexit was a very bad development for Europe and very bad for Britain as well.
“Whatever we are watching now is the result of a chauvinist rhetoric that promised a breakthrough with a nationalistic approach, not with finding collective solutions,” he added in an interview with the Financial Times.
“If the UK, which is a very significant power, has so many difficulties in finding a way froward for Brexit, then just imagine, what about Greece?
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras says ‘difficult’ Brexit shows why countries should not leave EU (Image: GETTY)
“The development with Brexit prove that this path, the nationalistic path, is not a path that offers an easy way for a breakthrough in solving problems.”
But despite Britain’s apparent difficulties in leaving the EU, anti-Brussels parties are still springing up across the bloc, according to Mr Tsipras.
“It has to do with the current austerity policies and with the face of Europe, which is not so attractive for European citizens,” he said.
“The EU seems to be not so democratic, not so friendly to people’s needs.”
Mr Tsipras’ left-wing Syriza party is losing ground to ring-wing parties ahead of an October election, which is being championed by the Greek prime minister.
But he claims that leftie movements on the Continent should not be written off, especially if Britain takes part in the European elections on May 23.
If British MEPs take their seats, the Labour Party have a good chance of being the UK’s largest party in the EU Parliament, he added.
“I think the game is still open in Europe. Even if currently there is an impression that the conservative right and the extreme rightwing have better results, I think this is something that will not last for ever,” Mr Tsipras said.
A agência de notação financeira conclui que as reformas implementadas na Grécia estão a dar frutos. Rating ainda está no quarto nível de lixo.
A Grécia recebeu na sexta-feira uma notícia positiva de uma das agências de rating que durante a fase mais aguda da crise colocou a classificação da dívida do país perto do nível de insolvência.
Esta sexta-feira a Moody’s elevou o rating da Grécia em dois níveis, de B3 para B1, o que corresponde ao quarto nível de lixo. A perspetiva passou de “positiva” para “estável”.
Em julho de 2015 a mesma agência cortou o rating da Grécia para Caa3, o nono nível de lixo e que corresponde a default com reduzidas perspetivas de recuperação.
A expectativa de que a Moody’s tomasse esta decisão de melhorar o rating levou os juros a dez anos da Grécia a tocarem esta sexta-feira num mínimo de 2006, com a taxa a situar-se nos 3,648%.
A melhoria do rating abre agora a porta para que a Grécia volte a emitir dívida no mercado, de modo a reforçar a almofada financeira numa altura em que já deixou o programa de ajustamento da troika.
A Moody’s justifica a subida do rating com a conclusão que as reformas implementadas estão a começar a dar frutos e os riscos de serem revertidas são reduzidos. A agência cita a “sólida” evolução orçamental e a sustentabilidade da dívida pública, que melhorou no médio prazo devido ao pacote de medidas de alívio aprovadas em junho do ano passado.
A Standard & Poor’s atribui à Grécia um rating de B+ (quarto nível de lixo) com perspetiva positiva. A Fitch dá uma notação financeira de BB- (terceiro nível de lixo), também com perspetiva positiva.
Apesar de estar fora do programa de ajustamento desde agosto do ano passado, o Governo grego é monitorizado de perto a cada trimestre. Os credores estão preocupados com os atrasos nas reformas e também mostram reservas quanto à subida do salário mínimo para 650 euros.
Certo é que a Grécia terá de continuar a registar saldos primários (excluindo o serviço da dívida) na ordem dos 3,5% do PIB. Na quarta-feira, questionado pelos jornalistas gregos sobre a possibilidade de o país ter um excedente orçamental primário mais baixo do que 3,5%, Pierre Moscovici foi direto: “Os compromissos têm de ser respeitados”.
Segundo a Comissão Europeia, a Grécia deverá crescer 2,2% este ano, acelerando face a 2018.
Greek prime minister wants a closed Orthodox Christian seminary he was visiting in Turkey to be reopened as part of efforts to boost ties between the two countries. Mr Tsipras attended mass and toured the Theological School of Halki on a wooded isle off the Istanbul shoreline
Socialist, green and leftist political parties should learn from governments in Southern Europe and unite against rising right-wing anti-European populism ahead of the EU elections, leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said.
Speaking in Athens on Monday (28 January), Tsipras said pro-EU progressive forces should unite for the next EU elections in May.
“This broad progressive alliance will have a clear position against neoliberalism and those policies that fuel the far-right and anti-European populism,” he said. “But it will also come with a clear position in favour of Europe, in favour of a Europe of democracy, social cohesion and rights,” the leftist premier added.
Tsipras praised the governments of Portugal and Spain, which successfully formed alliances between leftist and socialist parties.
“Looking at Europe as a whole, my feeling is that the European South – not all the countries but Spain, Portugal and Greece – are important oases in a political desert. Europe is, unfortunately, heading in the wrong direction, on dangerous paths,” the leftist leader said.
Tsipras also called on progressive forces to get over their ideological differences to form a majority in the next European Parliament.
Together with his senior Syriza party ally, MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, Tsipras has tried to build bridges between Europe’s fragmented left-wing political parties in a bid to create a broad alliance for the EU elections in May.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his close ally, senior Syriza MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis, are launching a number of initiatives to build bridges among Europe’s fragmented progressive political forces and create a broad alliance ahead of the EU elections.
The Greek premier, who was the lead candidate for the leftist GUE-NGL political group in the 2014 EU election, coordinates this effort “centrally” while Papadimoulis focuses on the European Parliament as such.
“The Left does not benefit from the failure created by neo-liberalism” with votes until now going to the extreme-right, Papadimoulis said, hoping to reverse this trend.
The ‘new Right’ phenomenon
Tsipras warned about the rise of the “new Right”, represented by Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, Austria’s Sebastian Kurz and Italy’s Matteo Salvini.
“There is a great risk that the forces of anti-European right-wing populism will have significant gains in the coming years, and they will also take the lead in the forthcoming EU elections,” Tsipras warned.
“The new Right lays a mark on the EPP [European People’s Party], either through parties that have leaders as I described before or through parties that base their rhetoric on the fear of losing votes from the rise of marginal and extreme right-wing political parties in their countries,” he said.
“The EPP will have losses in the next EU election and this is a big bet for the progressives,” Tsipras said.
Greek leader Alexis Tsipras has called a confidence vote after his defence minister, the far-right and pro-Russia Panos Kammenos, quit government and pulled his party, Independent Greeks, out of the ruling coalition. His move, which came after Greece ratified a name-deal with Macedonia opening its doors to EU and Nato membership, leaves Tsipras five MPs short of a majority in parliament. The confidence vote is expected on 16 January.
Years of EU-led austerity in Greece continue to ravage a population that struggles with crippling poverty and access to basic health care and education, according to a new report from the Council of Europe (CoE).
Dunja Mijatovic, the CoE’s commissioner for human rights, told EUobserver that Greeks are still suffering from the aftermath of international bailouts and imposed economic structural reforms.
Greece is about to launch a campaign to claim €280 billion ($323 billion) in war reparations from Germany, reports Der Spiegel.
The German magazine notes that as long as Greece was dependent on EU support, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had avoided raising the issue. But now, after the end of the third bailout program, Athens is ready to take initiatives to claim the money, it says.
The issue is resurfacing a few days before the official visit of Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Athens where he will meet the President of the Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Tsipras.
Der Spiegel says it is no coincidence that the two highest ranking Greek politicians have both raised the issue in the last few days.
It marks the beginning of a long campaign, which, according to the German magazine, will start in November.
The Greek Parliament will endorse an audit report ready since August 2016, according to which Greece is entitled to €269.5 billion of repairs from the Second World War.
In addition, Greece demands the repayment of a €10.3 billion occupation loan.
The report remained under wraps throughout the last two years, but Tsipras seems ready to bring it back to the surface and start a campaign for war reparations, says Der Spiegel.
In the second phase, Greece intends to present its arguments at world organizations such as the European Parliament, the European Council, and the UN.
In the third phase, Greece plans to call on Germany to negotiate war reparations. For its part, the German government is expected to reject the request. Already in the past, it has made it clear that Greece has no legal right to claim damages for the Second World War.
In the opinion of some Greek lawyers, this German denial may open the way for the case to be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, says the German magazine.
(KTG) Greece should have been grateful to European aid and kept its mouth shut, the former chief of Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem said more or less in an interview on Saturday. He has clearly not recovered yet from the traumatic experience with former Greek finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. At the same time and after three painful bailout agreements that increased the debt and pushed millions to impoverishment, Dijsselbloem dared saying that “Greece is obviously not a success story, demands on Greeks were to heavy” and that the Greek “crisis has been so deep, that you can’t call it a success”
Euro zone countries have asked for too much from the Greek people in return for international bailout loans, former Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in an interview on Dutch television on Saturday.
“On reforms, we have asked a lot from the Greek people, too much,” Dijsselbloem told current affairs program Nieuwsuur. “Reforms are hard enough to accomplish in a society with a well-functioning government, but this was obviously not the case in Greece.”
“Greece is obviously not a success story,” Dijsselbloem said. “Their crisis has been so deep, that you can’t call it a success.”
At the same time, in the usual North European arrogance, he said that Greece should be grateful for the help it received and keep its mouth shut.
Speaking about former ex finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, Dijsselbloem has obviously not recovered from the traumatic experience in front of the cameras in February 2015 in Athens.
“Politics is just a tricky job, you have to compromise, Greece was dependent on help from others, and then to put a big mouth against the people who help you … We set conditions for that. Disagree, but you can not raise a big finger at them,” Dijsselboem said.
Is Dijsselbloem such a political naive to believe that Varoufakis was acting on his own and that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras did not agree with the negotiation policies in the first half of 2015? Apparently….
Does Dijsselbloem who blindly followed the strict austerity orders by German finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble during 2013-2018, now show some kind of remorse? Hardly.
He is one – yet another one – self-righteous, thin-weight man who found himself in a powerful position and who now has nothing else to do than write a book about his glorious past, when he was at the spotlight of media.
He and his Labor party were defeated big in the Dutch parliamentary elections last year and is set to publish a book on his time as head of the Eurogroup.
The book has the title “The Euro crisis the story from the inside” or else “The Animal Farm of Eurogroup and EU solidarity.”
The man who had nothing to say during his term as Eurogroup chief, suddenly has found his tongue and keeps giving interviews whenever sees a microphone in front of him.
In an interview last week with Greek daily tanea, Dijsselbloem also admitted that mistakes were made by the Europeans in handling the Greek crisis, saying that they initially experimented and it took four years for them to stand on their feet and set up mechanisms to confront the crisis.
He conceded that a different policy should have been implemented in Greece, as the bailout programmes were very strict, and their implementation was very difficult. He noted, however, that Greek politicians made many mistakes before the crisis.
The former Dutch Finance Minister who has zero knowledge about finances and who turned Eurogroup chief thanks to Schaeuble went so far to blame on Germany for its delay in accepting the need for collective European action, with the implementation of bailout programmes in countries that were in danger.
Greek Sunday newspaper Documento has also in interview with Dijsselbloem today.
The former eurogroup chief accuses PASOK and New Democracy saying “intermingling interests were enjoying protection by the previous governments.
(EurActiv) Police in Greece said on Tuesday (28 August) they had arrested three members of a Greek NGO on suspicion of helping migrants illegally enter the country.
The members of Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were detained on the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of migrants are housed in squalid conditions in cramped camps.
“The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed,” a police statement said.
Members of the group were in contact with migrants on social media groups and “actively assisted” their illegal entry into Greece from 2015 onwards, according to the statement.
To keep tabs on migrant flows, the accused also illegally monitored Greek coastguard and EU border agency Frontex radio traffic, authorities said.
Any information gathered was not shared with Greek authorities, the police said.
Overall, six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals were implicated in the case, they added.
Among those arrested was Sara Mardini, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee student and scholarship recipient of Bard College in Berlin.
Persona Grata Goods: Yusra Mardini: From Syrian refugee swimmer to voice for change https://ift.tt/2I5SAG9 | Upcoming film on Syrian refugee Olympic athlete!
“Yusra and her sister Sara were encouraged to swim before they could walk by their father, a coach, and the Olympic d…
Yusra Mardini: From Syrian refugee swimmer to voice for change
Tokyo 2020 is on the horizon for Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, but the star of the Refugee Olympic Team knows that her greatest battle lies outside of the pool.
In 2015, the Mardini sisters, Sarah and Yusra, employed their swimming skills to pull the water-logged boat that brought them over from Turkey with another 18 people onboard.
“They did nothing wrong, they want to help people out of idealism,” said Yusra’s swimming coach Sven Spannekrebs.
“I was on Lesbos a few weeks ago and saw what all the volunteers are doing: A great job,” he told AFP via email.
Spannekrebs said Mardini and another detainee, Sean Binder, were “long-term volunteers for ERCI (and) never engaged in any illegal activity as suggested by the authorities.”
He also cast doubt on the claim that the activists were illegally listening in on encrypted coastguard radio.
“The channels that the radios had access to are open to anyone to listen,” the coach said.
Police said two ERCI activists had already been arrested in February onboard a jeep with concealed fake army license plates.
ERCI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lesbos has been a key gateway into the European Union since the start of the bloc’s migration crisis in 2015.
At the height of the influx, some 5,000 migrants and refugees, mostly from war-torn Syria, landed on the island’s beaches on a daily basis.
It now has the highest concentration of migrants in Greece, with the worst conditions in the camp of Moria where over 8,300 people live, according to UN figures — about triple the nominal capacity.
Most wait months for their asylum applications to be processed. Living conditions are squalid and violent flare-ups common.
The overcrowding also means that the vulnerable — including women and unaccompanied minors — are in close quarters with non-family men.
Earlier this year, three Spaniards and two Danes were also accused of trying to help migrants illegally enter Greece.
They were cleared in court in May.
- The yield on the 10-year Greek bond is at about 4.3 percent — the highest across the region.
- Analysts have pointed out that Greece ends this third rescue with a “massive cash buffer”— meaning that it won’t need market help for nearly two years.
Monday is an historic day for Greece as nearly a decade of external financial help comes to an end.
The Syriza-led government has managed to end a third bailout rescue, implementing all the measures demanded by creditors, despite earlier doubts whether the inexperienced party would manage to complete the arduous task.
“Today we celebrate the end of a very long and difficult journey,” European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told CNBC via email.
“What matters now is to build on this achievement by sticking to sound fiscal and economic policies,” he added.
However, some analysts argue that this is more a “symbolic” moment and there is plenty yet to do to improve the Greek economy. “Both the EU and the Greeks will try to put a positive spin on the end of the bailout, but there is little to celebrate,” Constantine Fraser, European analyst at research firm TS Lombard, told CNBC via email.
CNBC looks at what the completion of Greece’s third financial rescue means and how markets are set to react.
As of Monday August 20, Greece will be a self-financing nation, so will no longer receive regular financial tranches from its European creditors.
As a result, whenever Athens finds it suitable, Greece will be able to tap financial markets to fund its activities — just like any other country in a relatively healthy economic situation.
The first time that Greece asked for financial help was in 2010, when the country’s public debt pile became so high that investors were no longer willing to keep financing Athens.
Since then, Greece has relied on European creditors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to keep its finances afloat. The financial crisis was perpetuated by a number of political events, including the historical spat between former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and other euro zone finance ministers.
As a result, Greece is the last country in the euro zone to end a financial assistance program on the back of the sovereign debt crisis. Portugal, Ireland and Spain (Madrid only requested some help towards its banking system) have all came back from the brink.
After eight years of economic turmoil, Greece can finally claim financial independence. And European institutions are also happy to officially turn the page on the financial crisis that seriously dented the continent’s economy.
“On Monday, there might be some positive movements in Greek bond markets, responding to a feelgood factor on the day, but I’d expect most of the news to already be priced-in by now,” Fraser from TS Lombard said.
The yield on the 10-year Greek bond is at about 4.3 percent — the highest across the region.
Analysts have pointed out that Greece ends this third rescue with a “massive cash buffer”— meaning that it won’t need market help for nearly two years.
This buffer stands at 24.1 billion euros ($27.4 billion), thanks to money that Greece put aside during the financial program and tranches from European creditors. The amount is expected to cover all sovereign needs for the next 22 months. This means that Greece won’t have to tap the markets in the coming year-and-a-half, unless it thinks there are favorable conditions to do so.
“Greece has build up a massive cash buffer, so they wont have to tap bond markets, in theory, for roughly two years. So the end of the bailout programme on Monday should not have an impact on the bond yields,” Carsten Hesse, European economist at Berenberg, told CNBC.
Nonetheless, he warned that there could be some contagion risks from other market events that could affect the performance of Greek bonds on Monday.
On the back of the ongoing economic turmoil in Turkey, Greek bonds saw “a little bit of contagion last week,” Hesse said. “But luckily, Greek banks have very, very little exposure to Turkey and trade between Turkey and Greece is also little. So, in theory, there should not be an impact (in the bond market).
“The threat is more politically. If a larger part of the (exiled) 3.5 million Syrians would come to Greece due to a potential massive crisis in Turkey, it would be a big political problem for Greece and could impact the standing of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.”
Greece is one of the main arrival points of Syrian refugees, which has caused several controversies at the European level. The EU made a pact with Turkey to stem the number of refugees crossing to Europe — something that could be at risk if the economic crisis there exacerbates.
Other analysts nonetheless, argue that Greece has yet to rebuild its reputation.
“Now Greece needs to bring confidence to the markets both by political actions and by the country’s gradual exit to the markets,” Constantinos Zouzoulas, head of research at Axia, told CNBC via email on Saturday.
Nevertheless, in the short term, and despite the program exit, Greek government bonds most likely to continue to be impacted by the turmoil in the neighboring countries, since, although not directly exposed, Greece is seen as a weak link, ” Zouzoulas added.
“It is a historic day for Greece and will likely be used heavily by the current government coalition, with a view on the 2019 parliamentary elections,” Ricardo Garcia, chief euro zone economist at UBS, told CNBC via email.
Ahead of a general election next year, Tsipras will want to sell this moment as a key milestone that he and his party managed to achieve. Syriza is currently second to opposition party New Democracy in opinion polls — a position that the left-leaning party wants to reverse.
”(The end of the bailout) should also strengthen business and consumer confidence in Greece, as well as entice more foreign direct investment,” Garcia said.
After a decade of economic turmoil and about 260 billion euros in bailout money, Athens seems to be slowly returning to growth. It registered a positive growth rate of 1.4 percent in 2017, after contracting 0.2 percent in the previous year.
According to forecasts from the European Commission, the country is set to grow 1.9 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent the year after. But Garcia, like other analysts, warned that “there is much more to be done, looking, for example, at competitiveness rankings.”
“However, Greece has already made a huge adjustment on the fiscal and current account side,” he added. “Nonetheless, it is important that fiscal discipline remains in place, and that reforms continue.”
Greece Monday said it would respond “in an appropriate and proportionate manner” after Russia announced it was kicking two Greek diplomats out of the country in a retaliatory move over a decision by Athens to expel two Russian envoys.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned Greek Ambassador Andreas Friganas and handed him a diplomatic note informing him of “tit-for-tat measures” taken by Moscow.
Two Greek Embassy staff as well as the director of Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias’s political bureau, Giorgos Sakellariou, were ordered to leave, Kathimerini understands.
Speaking to Kathimerini on condition of anonymity, diplomatic sources described the Russian response as “asymmetric.”
They said the Greek decision was made on the basis of clear evidence that specific individuals from inside the Russian Embassy in Athens were engaged in activities intruding into Greece’s domestic affairs.
The same sources added that Greece will respond in “an appropriate and proportionate manner.”
In July, Athens expelled two diplomats based at the Russian Embassy in Athens and barred two more from entering Greece after evidence showed they tried to foment opposition to a name deal between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) which opened the path to the Balkan state’s EU and NATO membership.
Russian officials had at the time described the Greek move as “unjustified” and warned of an “in-kind” response.
(KeepTalkingGreece) Germany has earned around 2.9 billion euros in profit from interest rate since the first bailout for Greece in 2010. This is the official response of the Federal Government to a request submitted by the Green party in Berlin. The profit was transmitted to the central Bundesbank and from there to the federal budget.
The revenues came mainly due to purchases of Greek government bonds under the so-called Securities Markets Program (SMP) of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Previous agreements between the government in Athens and the eurozone states foresaw that other states will pay out the profits from this program to Greece if Athens would meet all the austerity and reform requirements. However, according to Berlin’s response, only in 2013 and 2014 such funds have been transferred to the Greek State and the ESM. The money to the euro bailout landed on a seggregated account.
As the Federal Government announced, the Bundesbank achieved by 2017 about 3.4 billion euros in interest gains from the SMP purchases. In 2013, approximately 527 million euros were transferred back to Greece and around 387 million to the ESM in 2014. Therefore, the overall profit is 2.5 billion euros.
In addition, there are interest profits of 400 million euros from a loan from the state bank KfW.
“Contrary to all right-wing myths, Germany has benefited massively from the crisis in Greece,” said Greens household expert Sven Christian Kindler said and demanded a debt relief for Greece.
“It can not be that the federal government with billions of revenues from the Greek interest the German budget recapitalize,” Kindler criticized. “Greece has saved hard and kept its commitments, now the Eurogroup must keep its promise,” he stressed.
“Sorry, Angie, I couldn’t make more, yet 2.9billion is not bad profit either…”
The Eurogroup is meeting today to approve the last bailout tranche for Greece and eventually take crucial decisions on a settlement of the Greek debt, before the country exits the 3. fiscal adjustment program in August.
According to ESM chief Klaus Regling, Greece has been given loans of over 270 billion euros.
(JN) Nós não somos a Grécia, nós não somos a Grécia, nós não somos a Grécia. Houve um tempo em que o fado lusitano se engrandecia vituperando aqueles que, como nós, se debatiam para desenlaçar um apertado nó no pescoço. Na verdade, era mais instinto de sobrevivência do que desejo de maledicência. Sempre que Bruxelas agitava um documento sombrio ou produzia uma declaração paternalista sobre a nossa propensão para o abismo orçamental, ouvíamos o primeiro-ministro e a ministra das Finanças entoar a cantilena. Não nos deu a vitória na Eurovisão, mas ajudou a abrir caminho para metermos um solista português no palco do Eurogrupo. A proclamação de Pedro Passos Coelho e Maria Luís Albuquerque veio a provar-se verdadeira.
- Greece will also start running a budget surplus of 0.9 percent next year in a sharp reversal of a budget deficit of 1.2 percent seen this year
- The Commission also forecast that Greek public debt would fall rapidly over the next two years to 170.1 percent of GDP in 2019
Greece’s primary surplus is likely to rise to 3.9 percent of GDP, beating a target of 3.5 percent, next year when the country is to exit the latest euro zone bailout programme and return to market financing, the European Commission forecast on Thursday.
In a regular forecast for all European Union economies, the Commission said that Greece would have a primary surplus — the budget balance before debt servicing costs — of 2.0 percent this year. The surplus is projected to be 3.7 percent in 2019.
The Commission also forecast that Greek public debt, the highest in the European Union, would fall rapidly over the next two years to 170.1 percent of GDP in 2019 from 179.6 expected this year.
The country will also start running a budget surplus of 0.9 percent next year in a sharp reversal of a budget deficit of 1.2 percent seen this year.
(BBG) Greece is taking a step closer to get the respect it deserves from Europe.
Yields on the country’s government bonds, which have already taken great strides lower this year, hit a new low last week on news the government is preparing a major debt swap. The exercise, first reported by Bloomberg News, should allow Greece to sell bonds in future — and help end its dependence on the largess of its main creditors.
It comes after Europe’s peripheral debt markets all made impressive gains in recent months. Spreads on Spanish, Italian and Portuguese bonds have all tightening against their German equivalents.
The European Central Bank’s gentle tapering its quantitative easing program has reassured investors that the buyer-of-last-resort won’t disappear soon. That’s helped Portuguese yields to drop by about half in the past six months to trade less than 30 basis points above Italy.
Greece has performed even better — despite the fact its bonds still don’t figure in the ECB’s Public Sector Purchasing Program. While they are technically eligible, the ECB’s governing council still has to decide that it’s confident that Greece’s debt load is sustainable. Letting Greece into the program would put the country back in the euro zone fold.
Success in the next round of talks with creditors, early in 2018, should finally provide the necessary conditions. The IMF is no longer the barrier to progress it was: It stepped out of the way to allow Greece to increase its debt-load in July. It also softened its requirements on stress tests and bank asset reviews. Domestic politics are also less of an issue. Elections aren’t due for two years, and the ruling Syriza party’s ratings in the polls are lifting as the economy improves.
In the meantime, it makes sense for Greece to establish a simpler yield curve, with larger and more liquid benchmarks. That ought to attract more investors back to what is at present a backwater. That will be of importance not only to the ECB, but most importantly, when it comes to raising new money, something Greece surely needs to do.
Greece hopes to raise at least 6 billion euros to establish a capital buffer for when it falls out of the formal protection of its bailout next year. If the bond swap is a success, expect it to be followed by another fundraising, creditors permitting.
2017 has been a watershed for the euro zone’s peripheral countries. Greece will be hoping 2018 will see a permanent transformation from being a semi-detached basket case into an integral member of the European project.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.
(BBG) The Greek government is planning an unprecedented debt swap worth 29.7 billion euros ($34.5 billion) aimed at boosting the liquidity of its paper and easing the sale of new bonds in the future.
Under a project that could be launched in mid November, the government plans to swap 20 bonds issued after a restructuring of Greek debt held by private investors in 2012 with as many as five new fixed-coupon bonds, according to two senior bankers with knowledge of the swap plan. The bank officials requested anonymity as the plan has yet to be made public. The maturities of the new bonds may be the same as for the existing notes, which range from 2023 to 2042.
“The move aims to address the current illiquidity of the Greek bond market,” according to analysts at Pantelakis Securities SA in Athens. It will also “establish a decent yield curve, thus facilitating the country’s return to public debt markets.”
The move comes as Greece prepares for life after the end of its current bailout program in August 2018. The debt swap is a step toward the country’s full return to markets required to avoid a new bailout program. The government plans to tap the bond market in 2018 to raise at least 6 billion euros to create an adequate buffer to honor debt obligations, according to a government official.
The government has yet to decide on the exact timing of the swap, the Greek official said on condition of anonymity. One of the bank officials said that transaction could start on Nov. 13 and the settlement could happen a week later. The goal is to conclude the swap before the next mission of the country’s creditors, which is scheduled for the last week of November.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in October that tapping markets soon wouldn’t be aimed at getting fresh money so much as to better manage the country’s debt and make its bonds more attractive. The new bonds, following the swap, are expected to have the same value as the old ones and will have a fixed coupon, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said.
Yields on Greek bonds dropped Wednesday with the 15-year tenor hitting a fresh year-to-date low at 6.03 percent, a level unseen since September 2014. Five-year notes yielded a six-week low of 4.39 percent. The Athens benchmark stock index rose by 1.4 percent as of 2:22 p.m. Athens time, after touching its highest level since Sept. 22.
Greece returned to markets in July for the first time since 2014, raising 3 billion euros through new five-year bonds. Now, with the swap plan, the government wants to ensure it can tap the market for enough funds to refinance its debt obligations in 2019, which originally amounted to 19 billion euros. The government managed to reduce this number by 1.6 billion euros with the July bond issuance.
The country’s third bailout review started last week. Both Greek and European officials estimate that the review could be completed at the end of January or in early February.
— With assistance by Viktoria Dendrinou, and Vassilis Karamanis
(BBG) Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is on the way out. His replacement could prove even tougher.
Those cheering the looming departure of Wolfgang Schaeuble from the German Ministry of Finance should hold the champagne. His successor may not be as ornery, but southern Europeans — and above all Greeks — shouldn’t expect any better treatment.
Schaeuble has held a wide range of positions since he was first elected to the German parliament in 1972; he’s been interior minister, chief of staff to the chancellor and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party now headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel; he nearly became president at one point and chancellor at another. Only one of his post-World War II predecessors at the Ministry of Finance has served longer than his eight years, and not by much. But Schaeuble has always served his party in whatever position it could offer, and he’ll still be a formidable figure as speaker of the parliament, formally the second most senior office-holder in Germany after the president, just ahead of the chancellor.
Schaeuble’s protestant philosophy of political service is important for the understanding of his tenure as finance minister. Of course, it took personal conviction to steer his unwavering course of austerity, balanced budgets and respect for rules. Schaeuble was trained at the University of Freiburg, where ordoliberalism was developed in the 1930s through 1950s. This theory married a liberal, pro-market approach with a strong state, whose role is to maintain a high level of social security. Ordoliberalism has faded somewhat since the 1970s, but it still influences much of German economic thinking, and Schaeuble was close to its origins in his formative years. As finance minister late in his life, he tended to lean toward the “ordo” part. He once confessed to his brother: “The older I get and the more I see as finance minister, the more skeptical I get about capitalism.”
By and large, though, Schaeuble merely upheld his party’s long-standing political line, which was obvious long before he took up the finance minister’s job — as the economic foundations of the European Union and the euro area were being discussed. Markus Brunnermeier, Harold James and Jean-Pierre Landau described the “Rhine divide” between expansionist, pro-stimulus France and rules-loving Germany in their recent book, “The Euro and the Battle of Ideas.” More of a constitutional lawyer than an economist (although trained in economics, too), Schaeuble maintained continuity as best he could. His single-minded discipline has been his biggest asset to Merkel, whom he has served loyally though she had outmaneuvered him politically after Helmut Kohl was forced to give up party leadership in 1998.
This is not the end of the Schaeuble era in politics. This year, the parliament even changed the rules so he could open its first session after the election as the longest-serving member. Before, the oldest legislator got the honor, but in 2017, it would have been an Alternative for Germany (AfD) member — and the German establishment couldn’t allow it. It played the king of clubs: Schaeuble. Now that parliament includes an unruly group of nationalists elected from the AfD party and a Social Democratic faction that is determined to oppose Merkel, Schaeuble is in a better position to help the chancellor and the CDU. Keeping the debate in hand is suddenly important, and Schaeuble is a rock of fortitude, exuding a “natural authority,” as liberal Free Democratic Party leader Christian Lindner noted in a tweet supporting Schaeuble’s move.
That Merkel is willing to move Schaeuble out of the finance minister’s job shows the seriousness of her intention to build a stable coalition with the FDP and the Greens. But the finance ministry will likely go to the FDP, which won more votes in the election than the Greens, and made clear its ambition to secure the finance post even before the election campaign was over. Unfortunately for Greece and other southern European nations seeking financial help, the party’s potential candidates are likely to be as tight-fisted as Schaeuble. The FDP is not ordoliberal — it’s unabashedly neoliberal. It is firmly opposed to fiscal stimulus, debt write-offs, transfers of German money to neighboring countries, and budget deficits, and its opposition has less to do with continuity than Schaeuble’s was: It’s a matter of principle.
Schaeuble could be expected to look for compromise within the established rules. Setting up the European Stability Mechanism, for example, was such a compromise, allowing the transfer of financial reputation to the distressed economies without the straight transfer of taxpayer cash. The FDP dislikes the ESM, mistrusts it as a dishonest trick. Its leaders’ belief in capitalism is stronger than Schaeuble’s; their belief in solidarity is weaker. The FDP wants to go after EU countries that don’t stick to their fiscal commitments; Schaeuble was willing to give them a pass. Eurogroup partners knew Schaeuble was hard to please, but they got used to his acerbic style and figured out how to work with him. That may be more difficult with an FDP minister, who, at least initially, is likely to be more of a zealot than a tradition-keeper in the Schaeuble vein. It’s likely that southern Europeans will be nostalgic for Schaeuble soon enough.