18th Oct 2021


Greece, Greece, and Greece on EU agenda This WEEK

  • Organised in one week, the referendum will decide on Greece's euro membership (Photo: secretlondon123)

Exit polls on the Greek referendum, expected at around 9pm local time on Sunday (5 July) will give Europe a first glimpse into the future of its single currency.

Whether it’s Yes or No, the outcome is likely to prompt snap meetings of euro finance ministers, Greek creditors, and the European Central Bank’s governing board.

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A No could see Greek PM Alexis Tsipras try to restart negotiations on better terms.

It could also cause severe market turbulence, as traders bet on a potential Greek euro exit, with Japanese markets to open just two hours after the exit polls.

A Yes could see Tsipras announce his resignation, leading to early elections, and more uncertainty.

Amid strong feelings on the streets of Athens, it could also trigger protests.

The only scheduled meeting on the outcome so far is a debate with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council head Donald Tusk at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

Other news

Despite the Greek eclipse, next week’s other big story is the EU-US free trade agreement.

MEPs will debate their position on the text on Tuesday and vote on Wednesday.

The main sticking point is ISDS - a provision, which the US wants, to let private firms launch legal actions against EU states to protect their interests.

The vote was due last month. But disarray in the centre-left S&D group, which couldn’t decide if it was pro- or anti-ISDS, led to the postponement.

Parliament will also on Wednesday vote on whether to curb pay for CEOs of publicly-listed firms.

They’ll vote the same day on how to reduce the surplus of carbon credits which bedevils the EU’s carbon-offset scheme, the ETS.

They’ll vote on Thursday on copyright. The dossier includes the right to photograph public buildings, cross-border access to online content, and protection of authors’ rights.


EU single market commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska will the next day meet the CEO of Ringier Axel Springer Media, one of the firms which loses money due to people’s use of Google to get round paywalls.

Other notable guests in the EU capital will be Lu Wei, China’s cyber tsar, who is to meet commissioner Andrus Ansip, in charge of the digital market, on Tuesday.

EU enlargement chief Johannes Hahn will hold talks with Turkey’s EU minister, Volkan Bozkir, on Wednesday.

Juncker will, on Thursday, meet Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, the PM of Iceland, whose country went through a Greece-type crisis seven years ago.


He will also meet Serb leader Alexandar Vucic on Thursday.

Their meeting comes ahead of solemnities, on 11 July, to mark 20 years after Serbia’s genocide of Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica, Bosnia.

Vucic, a nationalist, says it wasn’t genocide.

Meanwhile, Russia and Western powers have turned the anniversary into a political tug-of-war. The Netherlands and the US have sponsored a “genocide” resolution at the United Nations Security Council.

So far, Russia is saying No. But the price of its veto could be Vucic’s allegiance, complicating Serbia’s plans to join the EU.


Athens on edge as referendum looms

Three days before the referendum, closed banks, frequent demos, and streams of leaflets are a reminder that the future of Greece is at stake.


Srebrenica revisited

Twenty years after the massacre, Srebrenica still triggers dispute, and an endless stream of resolutions.

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