Athens Digest 01.02.2019

• Deputy PM warns that NPLs could lead to bank recapitalizations

• EWG concerned over NPLs, minimum wage and delays

• SYRIZA MEPs vote against EP resolution over Venezuela

• ND enjoys 14.2 point lead over SYRIZA ahead of Euro election

• Piraeus Bank assigned as Onshore Account Bank in syndicated financing scheme for TAP pipeline construction

# Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis warned a Parliament committee yesterday that Greece’s that if nothing is done about the NPLs, banks may be forced to demand new capital which the Greek taxpayer will have to pay for. He announced the government’s final proposal to tackle NPLS will be submitted to Parliament by late February or early March. Meanwhile, according to several reports last night, the EWG members expressed concerns over delays in the implementation of commitments by Greece, including the new framework of the first residence protection and the privatizations Concerns were also expressed about the new legal framework to tackle NPLs as well as the high increase of the minimum wage, recently announced by the government.

# Two MEPs of the ruling SYRIZA party voted against the European Parliament resolution to recognize Venezuela’s Juan Guaido as the only legitimate interim president. The MEPs of SYRIZA who gave a negative vote were Stelios Kouloglou and Constantina Kouneva. The third SYRIZA MEP, the Parliamnt’s VP Dimitris Papadimoulis wasn’t present during the vote procedure.

# New Democracy’s popularity average was at a high of 39.2-percent in January ahead of SYRIZA, of the European United Left, with 25-percent, according to the European Parliament’s Public Opinion Monitoring Unit’s “Report on developments in the political landscape.” In the poll of polls conducted by the European Parliament ahead of elections for representatives at the bloc’s legislative body on May 23-26, extreme-right Golden Dawn came in third with 7 percent, ahead of Movement for Change on 6.8-percent and the Greek Communist Party (KKE) on 6.4 percent.

# Piraeus Bank announced yesterday that it has been appointed as the Onshore Account Bank in Greece of the syndicated financing scheme for the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline – TAP. The TAP project financing of EUR 3.9bn was the largest project financing approved for a European infrastructure project in 2018. The financing is provided by a group of 17 commercial banks, alongside with the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) and European Investment Bank (EIB).

On Our Radar: Greece mulling measures to deal with Brit tourists and residents in case of no deal Brexit
Greece is bracing for a no deal Brexit with a series of measures that will ensure that Britons will continue to work and visit the country as they have done, according to a Bloomberg report yesterday. The report cited a foreign ministry official saying that the Greek government is preparing draft bills and presidential degrees that will be needed in the event of a so-called hard Brexit. It added that there is no official statement from the government about the preparations since the working assumption is that a deal will be struck between Britain and the EU. The official said that one of the measures Greece is mulling is to maintain the visa-free status for people coming from the UK. The official added that Greece will probably retain the status of UK citizens living in the country and not treat them as citizens from non-EU countries.