Athens Digest 13.06.2018

• Deal! Athens, Skopje agree on North Macedonia

• Regling doubles down on reforms

• Fraport seeking damages in airport renovation spat

• U.S. embassy makes complaint over anarchist attacks


# In a landmark deal, Greece and FYROM have reached agreement to rename the former Yugoslav republic as North Macedonia, backed by constitutional amendment, clearing a path to NATO membership and faster integration with the European Union. PM Alexis Tsipras hailed the breakthrough as a success for Greece and regional stability, maintaining that it would remove any tacit claim to the territory or heritage of Greek Macedonia. NATO and the EU also welcomed the news as a boost for the entire region.

# Ratification, however, may not be straightforward. FYROM President Gjorge Ivanov is opposed to any constitutional change, and Panos Kammenos’ Independent Greeks party has ruled out backing coalition partner Tsipras on the agreement. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the opposition leader, tore into the government, accusing it of dividing the nation with “secret diplomacy” that had failed to build consensus. Tsipras could find an ally in the Socialist Movement for Change which has appeared supportive of a compromise.

# ESM managing director Klaus Regling has told Greek bankers that Greece’s recovery will not be completed without a long-term commitment to reforms, warning that market access remains fragile and that post-programme surveillance will be more demanding than other post-bailout Eurozone members. “In the coming days, we will need to reach an agreement over whether Greece needs further debt relief measures. There have been times when I thought that the debate focused too much on what further debt relief measures could be put in place. It would be better if the focus was primarily on Greece’s reform efforts: because it is reforms that will ultimately convince investors” he said speaking at an event organized by the Hellenic Banking Association, in Athens.

# German airport operator Fraport is seeking EUR 27 million in compensation from the Greek state, arguing that 14 regional airports that it manages in Greece had been poorly maintained before their privatisation, adding to the company’s costs. The claim _ lowered from an original EUR 60 million _ has been referred to arbitration that is expected to be concluded favourably for the private operator by the end of the year. The government had initially disputed the company’s right to seek compensation. The 14 airports saw a 10 percent rise in traffic in 2017 following the switch from state control, according to company officials, with a further increase seen so far this year.

# The U.S. Embassy in Greece has condemned attacks by anarchist groups at the offices of the Hellenic-American Union in Athens and Thessaloniki. “We urge our Greek law enforcement partners to protect these institutions and bring the perpetrators to justice” an embassy statement said. The latest attack occurred in central Athens on Tuesday when a group of masked youths carrying sledgehammers attacked the HAU building, damaging the front entrance. The attacks were carried out in solidarity with terror group gunman Dimitris Koufodinas, who went on hunger strike for two weeks after his prison leave was canceled.



On our Radar: Georgiou’s torment
The legal troubles that continue to face Greece’s former chief statistician Andreas Georgiou have drawn renewed international condemnation. Following a series of legal reversals, a panel of Supreme Court judges ruled that Georgiou has exhausted his right to appeal a conviction for violation of duty for allegedly failing to submit data for approval before their release. The American Statistical Association said the news was “deeply troubling” and represented the “yearslong harassment of a loyal public servant performing his official duties with integrity, honesty, accuracy, and conformity to international statistical standards.”