Friday

20th Sep 2019

Ex-ECB man to be new Greek PM

  • The former ECB official is now set to lead the government (Photo: Maciej Janiec)

Former vice-president of the European Central Bank, Lucas Papademos is set to be named the new, technocrat prime minister of Greece, a changeover demanded by the EU and IMF.

A senior Greek source confirmed to EUobserver that the name has all but been agreed, although Papademos is demanding a longer term in office than the current administration of George Papandreou favours and much longer than the six-week caretaker government that the opposition conservatives have demanded.

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

“He wants more than four to five months,” the contact said, in reference to the term limit demanded by Papandreou.

“The other problem is that there are still people in New Democracy that want to stay out of a coalition government,” the official continued. “They don’t want to see their image damaged by agreeing to the spending cuts and so on.”

But the official, close to the discussions, expected Papademos to be installed by the end of the evening.

Other names in the frame have included EU ombudsman Nikiforos Diamantouros and former European commissioner Stavros Dimas, a New Democracy man but a political moderate who made his name in Brussels as an environment chief willing to take on the corporate sector and potentially more amenable to the centre-left Pasok.

The new government had been demanded by the core EU leaders, the ECB and the IMF in return for access to the latest, €8 billion tranche of bail-out cash. Although the dispersal of the funds had been signed off by eurozone premiers and presidents on the 23 October, an abrupt announcement of putting a new €130 billion bail-out deal to a referendum by Prime Minister Papandreou that angered the rest of the bloc’s leaders resulted in a fresh demand for a unity government.

On Monday night, EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers: “This unilateral announcement of a referendum was a breach of confidence.”

“We therefore reiterated our long-standing call for a national unity government in line with what we have seen in Ireland and Portugal where this has worked, and where this has been crucial and essential to have the sufficient political backing and confidence in support of very difficult EU-IMF programmes of reform and fiscal adjustment,” he told reporters.

In the two countries at election time, Brussels said that the main Irish and Portuguese political parties could have differing policies on all other areas but the economy.

EU officials have said that this is necessary so that if the government changes, the policies remain the same.

“It is essential that entire political class is now restoring the confidence that had been lost,” he said.

The new Greek authorities must now send a letter co-signed by the leaders of the centre-left Pasok and the right-wing New Democracy party “reaffirming their strong commitment” to implement what was agreed by EU leaders at a summit from 26-27 October, eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said at the same press conference.

He explained that a new Greek government was needed as a result of the domestic political demands in core eurozone countries: “It is awfully difficult to explain to German, Austrian, Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourger citizens to show solidarity [with Greece] ... if inside Greece there is no willingness to come to common analysis and to national consensus.”

He said the move took a lot of teaching the country’s leaders what needed to be done. “I’m very glad that after months of explanations and pedagogical efforts, the Greek political class has made the decision to work together. it should have been done months ago.”

Greek elite cobble together fragile unity government

Greece’s two mainstream political parties have agreed on a pact for a unity government after intense pressure from the EU, which warned the country would be left to go bankrupt if a cross-party consensus was not achieved.

Greek PM to president: unity talks on the way

At a midday audience with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, Prime Minister George Papandreou said that moves toward cross-party consensus is necessary to put to rest EU fears that the passage of a €130 billion bail-out deal is at risk.

Greek PM survives confidence vote, looks to transitional government

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou narrowly won a vote of confidence in the country’s parliament early Saturday morning. Paradoxically, the leader at the same time appears ready to step down and make way for a transitional, unity administration.

Greek leaders return to talks as coalition deal founders

An agreement on a Greek national unity government to be headed by the parliament’s speaker fell apart apart at the eleventh hour, deepening the country’s political turmoil just weeks before the country is expected to run out of cash.

Hungary tops EU anti-fraud investigation list

In its annual report, the EU's anti-fraud agency said it concluded nine investigations into Hungary and found irregularities in seven cases. In total, the agency recommended the recovery of €371m EU-wide.

News in Brief

  1. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  2. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  3. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  4. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  5. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  6. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  7. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  8. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  2. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  3. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  4. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  5. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  6. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  7. A new Commission for the one percent
  8. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us