Athens Digest 11.09.2019

• Schinas wins top post for Greece at EU Commission, vows continued support to ‘frontline’ countries on migration

• PM brands Turkey as hostile in drilling row, Erdogan meeting expected this month

EU cyberwardens pick Athens for HQ

Recovering Greeks get back behind the wheel


# Former EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas has been named as the first Greek vice president in the next Commission, and vowed last night to continue strong support for countries on the front line of the migration crisis. He told ERT television in an interview from Brussels that “unprecedented resources” had already been used to combat the crisis. And he added: “I want to assure you that this European solidarity in funding and resources will not only continue but intensify. The frontline countries will not be left to their own fate.” And he added: “European migration policy must be holistic. It must start in the countries where migrants come from. We must create opportunities for the people to stay there and not fall into the networks of soul traders in the Mediterranean.” Schinas, 57, will become Vice-President for Protecting Our European Way of Life, coordinating policy on security, migration, jobs, and education.

# Kyriakos Mitsotakis says Turkey is acting in a provocative way towards Greece and ally Cyprus as his new government grapples with the escalating East Med had drilling dispute. “Turkey is behaving illegally off of the (coast of) the Republic of Cyprus and it continues to be provocative,” the prime minister said after talks in Athens with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. “Coupled with its hostile rhetoric, this is a sign of its international isolation.” Anastasiades flew to Athens as talks to reunify the island faced further obstacles. Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, insisted on a visit to northern Cyprus that the Turkish Cypriots must be granted full parity with the Greek-speaking majority as a condition for the negotiations to proceed. Despite the tension, Mitsotakis is expected to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

# Parliament today will begin hearings to ratify the move of the EU cybersecurity agency ENISA headquarters to Athens. The committee-level debate is set to seal the move for the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security which was previously based in Heraklion, Crete. The agency will maintain an office on the island, but the move to an EU capital _ Athens was approved last November _ is aimed at improving staffing issues. ENISA also manages the programme of pan-European cybersecurity exercises known as Cyber Europe.



On our Radar: Road Revival
The number of new vehicles on Greece’s roads shot up by 20.2 percent on the year in August, in the latest sign of the country’s financial recovery. The Greek Statistical Authority Elstat said 17,350 more cars _ new or second hand from abroad _ were added last month, compared to 14,434 in August 2018. That follows a 36.8 percent year-on-year jump last August. Elstat said new motorcycles over 50cc were also up, by 19.1 percent, on the year last month.