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Friday, May 22, 2015

IMF’s Lagarde on Greek deal: “Not a quick and dirty job”

Without a further thought, she quickly threw herself into a working dress, hastily pushed some loose hair under her head scarf and before opening the locker to get her broom, her feather duster and the big blue cleaning cart, she said: “It has to be a comprehensive approach, not a […]


Car Sales Increase in Greece Despite Crisis

More than eighteen automotive companies operating in the Greek market recorded a sales increase during the first quarter of 2015. A partial list of the companies that saw a sales increase in the first quarter of the year includes: Peugeot 485,3%, Smart 225%, Lexus 184,6%, Land Rover 137,5%, Porsche 150%, Kia Motors 73%, Mini 63, 7%, Audi 34,1%, Renault 27,1%, VW 22,5%, Volvo 18,6%, Mercedes 17,1%, Nissan 13,4%, Toyota 12,9%, Citroen 12,8%, BMW 10,7%, Suzuki 10,1%, and Ford 5,6%. The brands that faced a significant decrease in profits are: Subaru 73,7%, Lancia 73,6%, Alfa Romeo 46,3%, Chevrolet 46,1%, Abarth 30,8%, Fiat 30,2%, Skoda 16,5%, Honda 16,2%, Dacia 14,6%, Seat 12,3%, Hyundai 3,5%, Mitsubishi 2,8%, and Opel 2,3%. According to official data released by Greece’s Association of Motor Vehicles Importers Representatives (AMVIR), the upward trend in the first quarter of 2015 reached 13.7% compared to the same period last year. 25,072 new passenger cars were sold in the first quarter of this year in comparison with the first three months of 2014, when 22,046 new passenger cars were sold. Source: ANA-MPA


FIFA Satisfied With New Changes in Greek Soccer

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) sent positive feedback concerning the changes in Greece’s new sports law, dropping the threat of a Greek soccer’s “Grexit” from all future international tournaments. In a letter made public by the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) on Friday, FIFA expressed its satisfaction on the progress achieved regarding a law that was approved by the Greek parliament this month in an effort to combat violence and match-fixing, because officials seem to have taken into account the proposals previously expressed by FIFA and UEFA. FIFA had previously complained about an initial draft bill submitted to the parliament because it did not seem to comply with the independence rules of the sport’s administration, giving more power to the state to decide on football matters. For this reason, UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino traveled to Athens last month to meet with Greek lawmakers in order to discuss relevant amendments.


Germany and IMF oppose quick Greek deal, but Athens still hopeful

All the latest economic and financial news, as EU leaders hold a summit in Riga overshadowed by the Greek debt crisisIMF: No quick and dirty dealGreek spokesman: Deal can be sealed in 10 daysAngela Merkel: There’s still a lot to doMarkets ‘losing patience’ at slow progressEU leaders pledge commitment to Eastern Partnership 6.03pm BST France’s finance minister, Michael Sapin, also rules out a parallel currency for Greece.france's sapin says there is no plan b for greece, no parallel currency planned...only currency for ez is the € and it's shared by friends 5.57pm BST Europe’s stock markets didn’t like the news that German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had apparently mentioned the option of a Greek parallel currency such as IOUs.It caused jitters, even though it was denied quite swiftly, says Jasper Lawler of CMC Markets: The idea of a parallel currency is not without precedent but the news really just reflects Germany’s willingness to take the game of chicken to the very edge, taking any opportunity to show its not worried about a Grexit. Earlier in the month, Greece officials said Athens is not considering a parallel currency. 4.43pm BST Tsipras may have been all smiles at the EU summit in Riga.But the tough work begins this weekend when he is likely to face a groundswell of opposition at a two-day meeting of Syriza’s central committee. “Any going back on the above will be a distortion of the party’s physiognomy.” 4.36pm BST The Greek government has released a statement following prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ meeting with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.“Prime minister Alexis Tsipras held a meeting with the president of the EC, Jean Claude Juncker, in a very good climate in which they had a very constructive discussion. The Greek prime minister informed Mr Juncker of the progress in negotiations and expressed the need for a mutual effort by both the Greek government and the institutions so that a mutually beneficial agreement can be found soon within the framework of realism and shared responsibility.” 3.24pm BST The head of the International Monetary Fund has also warned against a “quick and dirty” deal for Greece.“I know there is a lot of work to be done. Parties are now working, receiving proposals, working in cooperation and we will continue to do so as fast as we can.” “It has to be a comprehensive approach, not a quick and dirty job.”IMF head Christine Lagarde states that Greek review cannot be a quick and dirty job, more work needs to be done. 3.17pm BST The Financial Times has the inside line on last night’s three-way meeting between the leaders of Germany, France and Greece.Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande told Alexis Tsipras that there’s no way that Greece will get any funds without the agreement of the International Monetary Fund. The message, delivered by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to Alexis Tsipras, her Greek counterpart, at a private meeting in Riga, Latvia’s capital, as well as by lower-level European officials to their Greek interlocutors, comes as the IMF has been weighing whether to withhold its €3.6bn portion of the €7.2bn bailout tranche Athens needs to avoid default.Eurozone and Greek negotiators have been pushing to complete a deal by the end of the month to free up bailout funds before the first in a series of loan repayments owed the IMF totalling €1.5bn falls due June 5. But securing IMF approval for a bailout deal significantly complicates that timeline.Eurozone tells Greece no deal without IMF 2.53pm BST Just in: Germany has officially denied that Wolfgang Schäuble has speculated that Greece will need a parallel currency, if talks with its creditors fail.The German finance ministry tweeted the denial at Bloomberg, which made the claim this morning.@markets Report is inaccurate. This sort of scenario is not up for debate. 2.43pm BST My summary of PM David Cameron's Riga press conference, which finished moments ago: "The more he spoke the less he said". 2.42pm BST Will Cameron recommend Brexit if negotiations fail? 'If I don't get what I want I'll rule nothing out'. FudgeCameron: We've had a number of Treaties since last time British people had their say, I want to give them proper choice on EU membership 2.41pm BST What happens if you can’t get agreement on issues which you say must change?Cameron says he rules nothing out, but he’s confident that he’ll get a deal. 2.38pm BST Cameron’s repeating that the rules on free movement need to be changed, to clamp down on Europeans coming to Britain looking for work, rather than having already found a job. 2.37pm BST Isn’t Britain going to irritate the rest of Europe by demanding changes at this busy time? Might we end up with even fewer friends?I’m not going to say I was met with a wall of love when I arrived, Cameron smiles, but a lot of people were excited about our election victory and keen to work together again. 2.33pm BST 2.32pm BST Are you in a hurry to get this referendum next year? Is that why you raised these issues at a summit about the EU’s links with the former Soviet member states?Our deadline is the end of 2017, but it will be good if can make progress before then. 2.32pm BST Will other European leaders really make concessions, though?We are one of the largest economies in the world, we’re the biggest military power in Europe, replies Cameron.Cameron gives grimmest possible warning for those covering summits to 2017: EU reforms 'will be discussed whenever we're gathered together' 2.27pm BST David Cameron is giving a press conference in Riga now.He’s explaining that his push for a new deal with EU will be a feature at several summits going forward. 2.07pm BST The Greek PM has now met with Jean-Claude Juncker....Meeting earlier with European Commission President @JunckerEU. #euco #Greece 2.01pm BST Donald Tusk’s team just uploaded his statement following the Summit - here’s the conclusion:The European Union is a partner for the long-haul. Our partnership, as well as the Riga Summit itself, are not about dramatic decisions or taking giant steps forward. No, our relationship is built on free will, respect and equality. And our partnership will go forward step-by-step, just as the European Union has been built.The EU is a trusted partner for the long-haul. My remarks following the #RigaSummit: #EaP 1.51pm BST David Cameron is going to have a busy week; after hosting Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday, he will jet to Paris and Berlin for talks with Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel. Related: Cameron to meet Juncker at Chequers in EU renegotiation 'charm offensive' 1.24pm BST A couple of photos of David Cameron leaving the summit just landed: 1.16pm BST Here’s the official statement: 1.15pm BST And that’s it. Not a humm-dinger of a press conference.I think I once went to a press conference even more boring than that but I'm not sure. 1.14pm BST Why does the declaration only talk about the European aspirations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine? No-one promised that the Eastern Partnership would be a route all the way to EU membership, Tusk says. This is a long-term alliance, and we have gone as far as we could today. 1.07pm BST .@Straujuma: #RigaSummit confirmed EU's stable and irreversible relations with #EaP countries - 1.06pm BST You promised good news for Georgia at this meeting - where is it?Latvian prime minister Laimdota Straujuma replies that Georgia, and Ukraine, could be included in the visa-free programme next year, if enough progress is achieved.“Georgia and Ukraine might enjoy a visa-free regime” next year says Latvian PM. Juncker says he's given them a list of issues to work on. 1.04pm BST I see @JunckerEU & @PrebenEUspox wearing #eu2015lv ties on stage. Good good good! 1.02pm BST Onto questions.Was the statement held up because Azerbaijan initially refused to sign up, because of the wording on Crimea? 12.58pm BST We have agreed that Energy and Transport policies will be key priorities in the years ahead, says Tusk.On mobility issues... we welcome the impact that Moldova’s visa-free programme has had, says Tusk. 12.55pm BST The leaders have agreed a 10-page declaration: my colleague Shaun Walker just got his hands on it:Riga summit declaration. To summarise: We reaffirm our commitment to declare the commitment to European affirmations 12.54pm BST The press conference is underway now in Riga -- this live feed is running translations in English, French and Latvian. European Council president Donald Tusk is explaining that all parties reaffirmed their joint interest in strengthening links between the EU and the six former Soviet states. 12.50pm BST Hmmmm. Bloomberg is reporting that Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, has raised the issue of a parallel currency for Greece:Schaeuble said to raise possibility of Greek parallel currency. "Schaeuble mentioned the idea of parallel currencies at a recent meeting WITHOUT ENDORSING IT" says the article. Quite a nuance. 12.41pm BST Tick tock...Waiting in Riga. At least when you wait ages for Putin you get an earthy animal metaphor at the end of it. Less sure about Tusk & Juncker 12.34pm BST Politico is reporting that Jean-Claude Juncker will be dining at the UK prime minister’s country retreat, Chequers, next week, as Cameron pushes his renegotiation strategy.Scoop: David Cameron will host private dinner Monday w/ Commission Prez Juncker at Chequers in England #eureferendum 12.30pm BST The summit is wrapping up.....#EaP #RigaSummit drawing towards an end. Press conference of @Straujuma @eucopresident @JunckerEU soon - 12.07pm BST French President Hollande told French journalists that the PMs Brexit agenda was not discussed at summit, not on agenda, or bilaterals 11.57am BST Jean-Claude Juncker is also expected to meet with Alexis Tsipras in Riga today.@EU_Commission chief @JunckerEU to meet with @PrimeministerGR #Tsipras on sidelines of #Riga @eu2015lv meeting to 'take stock' of progress[the euro’s] not just about monetary policy and economic reasons, but also the dignity of the Greeks”. 11.39am BST We’re expecting a press conference soon with Donald Tusk (President of the European Council), Laimdota Straujuma (Latvian Prime Minister) and Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the EC) in around 10 minutes.It will be streamed live here. 11.29am BST Reporters in Riga are tucking in:Dill for lunch at Latvia's Eastern Partnership summit. Looks like shameless post-Crimea appeasement of the Kremlin 11.14am BST AFP are reporting that European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to the summit with the words “Hi, dictator!”'Hello dictator,' says @JunckerEU to Viktor Orban via @lesoir 10.59am BST From Riga, my colleague Rowena Mason writes that Cameron will be pushing his reform agenda at the sidelines of today’s summit - particularly with smaller countries whose leaders he meets less often. Related: David Cameron plays down hopes of quick EU deal I'm meeting EU leaders at the #RigaSummit today. I plan to deliver EU reform before holding an in/out referendum by the end of 2017. 10.34am BST Despite the cautious statements of German chancellor Angela Merkel this morning, her Greek counterpart is still saying he is “optimistic” a deal will be found that would unlock bailout funds “ soon,” “Discussions last night with Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande were constructive and [held] in a very good and friendly atmosphere. I am optimistic that we can soon arrive at a stable, long-term and viable solutions with the mistakes of the past - and that Greece will return with cohesiveness to growth. I am optimistic.” 10.28am BST The European Union and Ukraine have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Riga, that paves the way for €1.8bn of aid. That’s on top of the €1.61bn already paid in earlier assistance.The EU says it’s a sign of solidarity with Kiev:Today we send the signal to the world - #Ukraine cares about reforms and #Europe cares about Ukraine #EUUkraine #Riga signature is an important milestone in the relationship between #EU and #Ukraine #EUUkraine #RigaSummit & #EaP into the summit, which ends Friday afternoon, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova were all pushing for language in the summit conclusions that would allow them to tell their citizens that painful reforms at home could eventually lead them into the European club. Ukraine and Georgia also had hoped for a clear signal that EU leaders would approve their bids for visa-free access to the bloc, a prize Moldova won last year. 9.54am BST 9.35am BST ECB president Mario Draghi is urging eurozone governments to implement structural reforms, in a speech in Sintra, Portugal.It’s not a new theme - Draghi acknowledges that he has raised this issue at every single ECB press conference since he took office. But he’s producing some compelling graphs to show why government need to reform labour markets to boost productivity and get Europe’s potential growth closer to America.For members of monetary union resilience is crucial to avoid that shocks lead to consistently higher unemployment, and over time, permanent economic divergence. It therefore has direct implications for price stability, and is no less relevant for the integrity of the euro area.This is why the ECB has frequently called for stronger common governance of structural reforms that would make resilience part of our common DNA.Monetary policy can steer the economy back to its potential. Structural reform can raise that potential, 9.14am BST German business morale has fallen slightly this month, in the latest sign that Europe’s largest economy is in a soft patch.The business climate index calculated by IFO, the Munich-based research institution, fell to 108.5 from 108.6 in April.Given the long recovery the German economy has already gone through, it is only more than normal that growth rates at some point in time will be lower than in the rest of the Eurozone, which in turn has been suffering from weak growth now for several years.CHART: Today's IFO completes picture of euro-area business surveys for May. Don't panic, levels remain high. 8.57am BST David Cameron began his push for EU reform with a meeting with Poland’s PM, Ewa Kopacz.It was a “friendly but tough’ chat, according to the Polish side - a taste of the reception Cameron will get in Riga?"PMs #Kopacz-#Cameron talks at #RigaSummit - main topic: EU single market - friendly, but tough" via @trzaskowski_ 8.49am BST The financial markets are getting tired at the apparent lack of progress towards a Greek deal, says Jeremy Cook, chief economist of World First:Despite the Greek government’s constant assertions that a deal is just around the corner it is looking like they may have been kidding themselves as well as the markets.We can but hope for some positive noises from the non-Greek participants later in the day. For now, they are the only ones to believe. 8.41am BST After staying up till 1am talking last night, Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras are seated side-by-side again this morning:Alphabet (#Germany #Greece) bringt sie zusammen: #Kanzlerin #Merkel + #MP @Tsipras sitzen b #Rigasummit nebeneinander 8.36am BST When he took office, Alexis Tsipras vowed that he wouldn’t wear a tie to these events until he’d secured a new Greek deal.Five months on, he’s sticking to his guns - despite the risk of being grappled by EC president Juncker.Στυλιστικά tips από τον Ζαν Κλοντ Γιούνκερ στον Πρωθυπουργό κατά την προσέλευση στη Σύνοδο Κορυφής #Tsipras #Juncker 8.33am BST No pressure, Mr Cameron:PM starts Renegotiation: We need immigration control, to return powers to Westminster from fishing to energy, & cut £60m a day cost, or Out 8.30am BST The summit is getting underway. European Parliament president Martin Schulz says it’s a “crucial” opportunity to bring more stability to the former Soviet states.#EasternPartnership Summit about to start. Crucial meeting for better, safer & more predictable future for the region & all continent#RigaSummit last one was a disaster (vilnius). this one just depressing. an exhibition of fear weakness timidity 8.23am BST #EaP #RigaSummit HoD familyphoto with @alexstubb representing Finland 8.22am BST PM will visit Paris and Berlin next week to meet Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande to kickstart EU renegotiation process in earnest 8.15am BST David Cameron arrived in Riga, banging the drum for a renegotiated settlement with the EU.“You’ll hear one day this is possible, the next day something else is impossible...“But one thing throughout all of this will be constant and that is my determination to deliver for the British people a reform of the EU so they get a proper choice in that in/out referendum that we’ll hold before the end of 2017.This will be a parliament of two halves: before the EU referendum and after it. Everything in British politics now hinges on the European issue, including the union with Scotland. But Europe’s hour has now arrived. Europe will be the centrepiece of the speech from the throne on Wednesday. The referendum bill will be published within hours. Cameron and his negotiators are in Riga talking to EU leaders this week. Germany is signalling cooperation within bounds. And all the signs are that the government wants the referendum early, possibly as soon as September 2016 – which is only 16 months away. All other legislative and political business, with the exception of the Scottish devolution plans, will be fitted around the needs of the referendum.....David Cameron faces sudden death over Europe. He cannot fail | Martin Kettle (@martinkettle) 8.01am BST 7.52am BST Angela Merkel has arrived at the EU summit in Riga, and made it clear that last night’s meeting with Alexis Tsipras did not deliver a big breakthrough.Greece must keep working “very, very intensively” with its creditors, she told reporters when asked about the three-way meeting with Francois Hollande. “It was a very friendly, constructive exchange, but it’s also clear that there must be more work with the three institutions. There is a lot to do.”“France and Germany have offered Greece and the Greek Prime Minister that whenever there are questions to be discussed, whenever there is help to be given, to do so but the conclusion needs to be found with the three institutions and there needs to be very, very intensive work.” 7.41am BST Europe would be riven with currency wars if it wasn’t protected by the euro, says European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as he arrived at the Riga summit. *JUNCKER SAYS CAN'T SIMPLY THROW GREECE OUT OF EURO: WIWOIf we didn't had the #euro, there'd be currency wars in Europe: Juncker ~@wiwo 7.38am BST The Greek negotiations must speed up, declared Valdis Dombrovskis, European commissioner for the euro, as he arrived in Riga.Dombrovskis put the onus on Greece to show its creditors a proper, detailed, reform plan.EU’s Dombrovskis Says Progress In Greece Talks Needs To Step Up -- BBG - Greece Must Present Comprehensive Reform PackageEU’s Dombrovskis: Not Discussing Debt Writeoff For Greece 7.37am BST Meeting yesterday with Chancellor #Merkel and President @fhollande. #Greece 7.35am BST There’s a mood of optimism from Athens this morning following last night’s meeting between Tsipras, Merkel and Hollande. “We think conditions have matured for (talks) to progress further and in the next 10 days, in May, for the deal to be sealed”.“Inclusion in this European Central Bank quantitative easing programme falls within the framework of priorities of the Greek government.”GREECE WON'T COMPROMISE ON LABOR REFORMS, PENSIONS: SPOKESMAN 7.35am BST Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.We’re watching events in Latvia today, where EU leaders are attending the Eastern Partnership summit Riga. En marge du Sommet du Partenariat Oriental à Riga, @fhollande s'est entretenu avec A.Merkel et A.Tsipras #Riga2015 almost two hours of talks the three “agreed on the need for the Greek authorities to keep working with the three institutions”, the aide said, referring to Athens’ “troika” of creditors - the European Union, the European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund. A Greek government source added that Merkel and Hollande “understood the need for a long-term deal” and said they were prepared to “personally contribute, if needed, to conclude the agreement soon.” Continue reading...


And also…a presidential advisor readies his pistols, it's all Greek for foreign drivers, and a load of bull

Every Friday journalists from euronews' various language teams choose a selection of stories from Europe and beyond which did not reach the ...


Tsipras-Juncker Meeting Conducted in ‘Good Atmosphere’

A meeting on Friday between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was conducted in a good atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation, Greek government sources reported. During the approximately half-hour meeting, Tsipras briefed Juncker on the progress of the talks, while Juncker said that significant progress has been made and that an agreement is feasible within the timeframe set by Athens, the sources said. Replying to questions, the sources admitted that things “will obviously be made much more difficult,” if a “tougher line” prevails among Greece’s partners, while stressing that all sides must now have an understanding of how the situation has developed. “If we want to realistically deal with the situation, there must be a realistic solution…and a realistic solution now is a mutually beneficial agreement,” the same sources added. Assessing the results of the Greek Prime Minister’s trip to Riga, the sources singled out the meetings on Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, as well as Friday’s meeting with Juncker, and expressed certainty that the trip had assisted Greece’s ongoing negotiations with creditors. All sides have expressed the political will to arrive at a solution, they pointed out. Following the meeting with Juncker, Tsipras also met with his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashvili and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. (source: ana-mpa)


FTSE moves higher as Vodafone rises 5% on continuing takeover talk

Mobile phone group boosted by hopes of a deal with Liberty GlobalLeading shares reached their highest level since the euphoria on May 8 which followed the Conservative election victory.The FTSE 100 finished up 18.25 points at 7031.72, as investors shrugged off worries about Greece running out of money before reaching agreement with its creditors. Sentiment was also helped by better than expected UK public sector deficit figures, although US markets slipped as the dollar surged on higher than expected inflation numbers, prompting new talk of interest rate rises.We think that Vodafone will have to talk to Liberty and will make some sort of announcement (in the next month or so) on whether or not it is in “exploratory talks”. We think that a merger is unlikely but that some form of commercial agreement to work together, though facing major challenges, may be the only feasible outcome other than a breakdown of talks. That would only emerge, if it does, after several months. We maintain an accumulate recommendation.We forecast fourth quarter group like for like sales growth of 3%, including 5% in the UK. This reflects continued market share gains in mobile and the broader electricals market. Management has already guided proforma headine pretax profit to be in the range of £355m-£375m. We expect this range mechanically to increase to £360m-£380m assuming that the Germany and Netherlands businesses, which we estimate made a combined loss of around £5m, are treated as discontinued. Our forecast rises from £365m to £367m, taking into account offsetting currency movements in the Nordics. Underlying momentum is strong and we forecast earnings per share growth of 16.5% in 2015. Our target price rises to 500p [from 480p]. Buy. Continue reading...