Daily Press Summary
SYRIZA continues to lead election polls in Greece; ARD poll finds 61% of Germans would support Grexit if Greece does not stick to its bailout terms
In an interview with the WSJ, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis confirmed that €3bn in deposits has been withdrawn from the Greek banking system in the past two months. He also warned that political uncertainty is likely to undermine economic growth this year. A new poll by Palmos for TVXS found that 50% of Greeks believe bank deposits will be safe if SYRIZA win, while 34% believe they will be in danger. The poll also put SYRIZA well in the lead on 28.1% with New Democracy on 22.6%.
Meanwhile, an ARD-Deutschlandtrend poll found that 61% of Germans favour Greece leaving the euro if it does not stick to the terms of its bailout. It also showed that 68% of Germans reject a haircut on Greek debt, with 28% in favour. A Greek GPO poll for Mega TV published on Wednesday found that 52.6% of Greeks believe Eurozone creditors will blink and give into Greek demands for debt relief if the negotiations are on a collision course. Separately, statistics released yesterday showed that unemployment in Greece fell slightly from 26% in September to 25.8% in October.
TVXS WSJ ARD Deutschlandtrend Kathimerini Bloomberg Elstat Kathimerini 2 Economist
A new My Word poll for Cadena SER has Spain’s anti-establishment party Podemos in the lead on 27.5%, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular on 24.6% and the Socialist Party on 19%.
Open Europe Blog Cadena SER
A Times leader article notes that the Fresh Start group of Conservative MPs has worked with Open Europe to identify a wide-ranging set of EU reforms that could be agreed within the EU’s existing decision-making bodies and without treaty change. Nevertheless, the Fresh Start-Open Europe paper notes that, “there is a clear trade-off between the permanence of treaty change on one hand, and the relative ease of achieving change through the current structures on the other.”
Times: Leader Fresh Start-Open Europe report
Support for Pegida in Germany barely shifts in wake of Charlie Hebdo attack
The leaders of populist, anti-immigration parties in Netherlands, Denmark and Italy have called for a tougher line against the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe in the wake of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, while France’s Front National leader Marine Le Pen demanded a referendum on the re-instatement of the death penalty.
In Germany, Frauke Petry, Alternative für Deutschland’s leader in Saxony, promised closer co-operation with the ‘anti-Islamification’ Pegida movement, citing a “substantive overlap” between Pegida and AfD. However, ARD’s Deutschlandtrend poll has found that, in the wake of the Paris attack, those expressing a degree of “understanding” towards Pegida only increased from 21% to 22%, while those expressing “little or no understanding” fell from 76% to 72%.
Open Europe blog FT Bloomberg Independent Twitter: Le Pen FAZ Süddeutsche EurActiv
Juncker proposes a further €1.8bn in EU aid for Ukraine
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday proposed a further €1.8bn in EU bailout aid for Ukraine, on top of the €1.6bn it has already provided. The proposal will need approval from EU member states. Separately, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that the EU could not consider removing sanctions on Russia until all twelve points of the peace agreement signed between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists in September are met. Meanwhile, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini spoke of potential for lifting sanctions “partially or fully” due to “limited but positive” signals from Russia and a “different Russian attitude”.
FT FAZ Süddeutsche Reuters Guardian
Bloomberg reports that, according to unnamed officials, ECB staff presented a plan to the Governing Council for €500bn in purchases of investment grade assets on 7 January. No final decision was taken and the plan was one of the number discussed for further ECB asset purchases.
Television and radio news programmes must give similar levels of airtime to UKIP as the other three main parties during the six-week formal General Election campaign, according to a consultation published by Ofcom yesterday. It comes as David Cameron said he would not take part in TV leaders’ debates unless the Green party is also included.
Guardian Times Sun
Writing in City AM, shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills Chuka Umunna argues, “The EU needs to change to make it work more effectively, become more growth focused, and address legitimate concerns people have. That is why Labour will continue to make the case for reform, not exit.”
City AM: Umunna
Writing on Liberal Democrat Voice, the party’s newly appointed foreign affairs spokesman Tim Farron argues, “As Liberals we are sceptical about all institutions, including the EU. Tories and UKIP, though, are not sceptics: they are isolationists. To be sceptical is to ask tough questions and hold those in power to account.”
A new WIN/Gallup poll shows that 51% of Britons would like to see the UK leaving the EU while 49% want the country to stay. In Germany, 27% prefer to leave while 73% want the country to remain in the EU.
Data released this morning showed that German exports fell by 2.1% in November compared to October, against expectations of a 1% decline. Imports increased by 1.5% over the same period meaning the current account surplus fell to €18.6bn in November compared to €22.5bn in October.
Destatis Reuters Süddeutsche
New data released this morning show that France’s trade deficit stood at €3.2bn in November, down from €4.3bn in October. The decrease is largely due to a 1.9% fall in imports, while exports grew by only 0.6%.
Le Monde Douane
According to the Italian national statistics office ISTAT, Italy’s public deficit in the third quarter of 2014 was 3.5% of GDP – a 0.2% increase compared to the third quarter of 2013.
Santander announced yesterday that it will raise €7.5bn in a new share sale and slash the bank’s dividends by two thirds. The move is an attempt to address longstanding concerns about the bank having one of the lowest capital levels in Europe.
FT FT 2 WSJ
We have a NEW website