Thursday, 22 August 2013

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Germany finally admits to a third Greek bailout, but what form might it take? 
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Daily Press Summary

German government seeks to remove discussion of third Greek bailout from election campaign;
SPD Chairman: Merkel has already agreed to a debt union via the ECB

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday attempted to remove discussions of a third Greek bailout out of the German election campaign saying she “cannot say today what amount would possibly be needed… We can only decide in the middle of next year”, but warned that she would “prevent [another debt haircut] with all [her] might”.

In an interview with Osnabrücker Zeitung, SPD Chancellor Candidate Peer Steinbrück responded saying, “I say clearly that saving Europe and the cohesion of the continent will cost something, also us Germans. It is time that Mrs Merkel tells that honestly to the people”. In an interview with Handelsblatt, SPD Chairman Sigmar Gabriel said, “Merkel says Germany will not go into a debt union. In reality, the Chancellor has already long-organised such a debt union secretly via the ECB. But even before the election, the bill is going to arrive: in that Greece will is guaranteed to apply for another debt haircut.” Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder, from the CDU’s sister party CSU, also hit out at the recent comments saying, “It was completely wrong to announce a third programme [for Greece] now.”

Merkel added that she was surprised by such comments, noting, “All MPs have the details [of the situation in Greece]” and that “everyone knew” that further assistance would be needed at some point. ECB Executive Board member Jörg Asmussen, who was visiting Athens yesterday, said that the plan remained to assess Greece’s situation once it registers an annual primary budget surplus, likely at the end of this year.
FAZ FAZ 2 FAZ: Plickert FAZ: Güllner Süddeutsche Süddeutsche: Hulverscheidt FT FT 2 FT EditorialCityAM Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 Handelsblatt EUobserver Reuters Reuters Deutschland Expansión Diário Económico Welt Welt 2 Osnabrücker Zeitung Capital: Weidmann Telegraph

EU foreign affairs ministers yesterday agreed to suspend export licences for any equipment that could be used for repression in Egypt, but stopped short of immediate cuts in financial or military assistance to Cairo. Separately, France and the UK called on Syria to give access to UN weapons inspectors to verify reports that over 1,300 civilians have been killed using chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus.
Open Europe Blog FT Süddeutsche Süddeutsche: Brössler EU Council of Ministers PR BBC Irish TimesGuardian: Alexander Euractiv European Voice BBC Reuters EUobserver EUobserver

Banks and brokers may face EU curbs on the number of times a single asset can be passed on as collateral in repurchase agreements and other secured trades, under draft Commission proposals due to be published at the end of the year.

The Irish Independent reports that between 2010 and 2012, the Irish government paid the EU/IMF/ECB Troika €224m in administration and service fees as it drew down money from its bailout programme.
Irish Independent

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo suggested yesterday that Spain is not planning to ease border checks with Gibraltar for now, because “the relationship of trust with the Gibraltarian authorities is broken.”
El País

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta met his deputy Angelino Alfano yesterday to discuss the political future of Silvio Berlusconi and his possible expulsion from the Italian parliament as a result of his tax fraud conviction. The two failed to reach an agreement and their positions remain “distant”, according to sources.
Il Sole 24 Ore Repubblica Corriere della Sera

Some MEPs and environmentalists are urging the European Commission to take rapid action to prevent Poland from building two new 900MW coal power plants, which they argue violate EU laws on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), Euractiv reports.

The Telegraph reports that Poland may have shale gas reserves, which, according to the US Energy Department, could power the country for the next 300 years and prove crucial in freeing the country from its energy dependency on Russia.

Spain’s Social Security disbursed €7.8bn to pay pensions in August – a 5% increase compared with August 2012. Separately, new Spanish government data shows that around 7.9 million foreign tourists visited Spain in July, marking an all-time high for that month.
El País El País 2 Expansión Expansión 2 El Mundo

The European Commission has demanded that Slovakia repay some of the funding it has received from the EU’s structural funds since 2007, mostly due to technical flaws and misuse of funds, SME daily reports.

Czech utility giant, CEZ, has complained to the European Commission over delays by Romania in paying green energy subsidies that may cost the company up to €66 m, Reuters reports.

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