Sunday

16th Jun 2019

Troika to return to Athens next week

  • The Greek Parliament: PM Papandreou is to hold a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning outlining the cuts agreed (Photo: Gerard McGovern)

Troika inspectors are to return to Athens “early next week”, the European Commission and the Greek government announced on Tuesday night after something of a breakthrough in discussions between the two sides, but there is still no deal on the dispersal of the latest round of bail-out cash to the heavily indebted country.

Following a second evening conference call in as many days between Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, deputy prime minister Theodoros Pangalos and the heads of the so-called EU-ECB-IMF troika mission, the commission said in a statement that “good progress” had been made in the talks and said: “technical discussions will continue in Athens over the coming days.”

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“The full mission is now expected to come back to Athens early next week to resume the review, including policy discussions.”

A statement from the Greek finance ministry also described the talks as delivering “satisfactory progress”.

The talks over the last two days have centred on what measures can be adopted immediately to assure international lenders that the country can cut this year’s deficit.

According to local reports, the measures involve hikes in taxes on drinks, tobacco, utilities and roads as well as municipal taxes and an equalisation of taxation on heating oil and fuel.

Public-sector workers are likely to see salaries slashed by up to 50 percent and caps on pensions are to be introduced.

Tens of thousands of civil servants are to be sacked or placed in a labour reserve status by the end of the month. The final number of those who will lose their job remains unknown but as many as 100,000 individuals could be affected.

The troika is also demanding the immediate closure or merger of a range of publicly-owned enterprises.

The prime minister is to hold a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning to outline what was agreed in the conference calls.

Separately, the Italian government has also said that it is drafting fresh measures to boost the country’s ailing economy after its credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s on Monday.

Finance minister Giulio Tremonti said on Tuesday that the plans include fiscal incentives to boost private-sector investment in high-speed internet and a highway from Rome to Venice.

The incentives will be unveiled in a decree before the end of the month, while further decrees will be announced by the end of 2011 privatising local utilities and liberalising the services sector.

Greece in limbo after EU conference call

While negotiations between the Greek government and international lenders remain inconclusive, a report out of Athens suggests that the prime minister is looking to hold a referendum on staying in the euro.

Mass strikes, protests hit Italy, Spain over EU-imposed austerity

Popular anger over Europe’s strategy of austerity for exiting the eurozone crisis spread to Italy on Tuesday as the country was paralysed by a general strike. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Italians poured into the streets of over a hundred cities and towns to protest what Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin demand.

Merkel, Sarkozy: ‘Future of Greece is in euro’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy attempted to calm market anxiety over a possible Greek default on Wednesday evening, affirming their commitment to Greek membership of the euro.

Greek civil servants block troika from entering finance ministry

Inspectors from the so-called troika of the EU, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund returned to Athens on Thursday to review the Greek government’s austerity work, only to find staff from seven key ministries blockading their way.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us