Athens Digest 18.09.2018

• Calling Euclid: Syriza’s courtship with PES

• Another shot from defence minister

• With new envoy, the UN makes another push for Cyprus talks

• Iran embassy attack by anarchists prompts police probe

# Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will attend tomorrow’s meeting of finance ministers from the Party of European Socialists _ in the latest overture by Greece’s Syriza party ahead of next year’s European elections. Tsakalotos will take part as an observer at the Berlin event before traveling on to London for a series of meetings with investors. The Tsipras government has conspicuously eyed links with the PES as its longstanding Greek member, Pasok, continues to poll in single digits domestically as part of the troubled Movement for Change centre-left alliance. Last month, Tsipras appointed Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, a former top Pasok official and Cabinet member, as his new minister of public sector reform.

# U.S. Defence Minister Jim Mattis flew to Skopje to bluntly denounce alleged Russian interference in campaigning for FYROM’s upcoming referendum. But his NATO colleague in the Greece has vowed to derail the agreement. Panos Kammenos stepped up his opposition to the Prespa Agreement, telling Antenna Television that his Independent Greeks party, a junior member of the coalition government, would do “everything in its power” to kill the deal before it reaches the Greek parliament for approval.

# Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades traveled to Athens as the United Nations mounted its latest push for reunification talks. He met PM Tsipras in Athens and the two men appeared supportive of a negotiation framework set out by Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his new special envoy Jane Holl Lute. Anastasiades is reportedly planning a meeting with Guterres, and his trip to Greece occurred a day before the official opening of the UN General Assembly in New York that will continue until October 5. In Athens, the two leaders also discussed energy cooperation, the political and financial crisis in Turkey, and upcoming tripartite talks with Egypt.

# The police have launched an inquiry into the actions of one of its officers after he appeared to take no action against members of an anarchist group who attacked the Iranian Embassy in Athens. In a video posted by the group Rubicon, the police guard outside the embassy was seen being instructed to stand outside the reinforced sentry booth while the attackers smashed its windows and threw glass bottles at the embassy building. The group has carried out numerous attacks in Athens.

On our Radar: No Jobs on Offer
In the latest sign that Greece’s economic recovery will be slow for those hardest hit by the crisis, the country offered the fewest job vacancies in the European Union in the second quarter of this year. Eurostat said the rate in Greece was at just 0.7 percent _ lagging behind the rest of the euro area where the vacancy rate was 2.1 percent. The rate was 2.2 percent across the EU. The Czech Republic led the ranking with 5.4 percent, followed by Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.