21st Oct 2016

Bail-out delay prompts fear of Greek euro exit

  • Greek finance minister Venizelos says Germany is pushing Athens out of the euro (Photo:

Greece fears it is being pushed out of the euro after eurozone ministers delayed a decision on its second bail-out for another five days.

"We are continually faced with new terms ... In the euro area, there are plenty who don't want us anymore. There are some playing with fire, domestically and abroad. Some are playing with torches and some are playing with matches. But the risk is equally great," Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters in Athens on Wednesday (15 February) after a three-hour conference call with his 16 counterparts from the eurozone.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Greek politicians have pledged not to undo spending cuts after April elections and to find another €325 million of flesh to trim from the budget.

Bur eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said "further technical work" is needed before the ministers can sign off on the €130 billion bail-out, most likely on Monday.

He said in an emailed statement after the Wednesday tele-meeting that ministers want to see "detailed list of prior actions together with a timeline for their implementation" and "specific mechanisms to strengthen the surveillance of programme implementation" put in place before the deadline.

Germany, Finland and the Netherlands have been at the forefront in demanding stronger reassurances that Athens sticks to its promises.

"We just need to be reassured 110 percent," one diplomat told this website after the conference call.

In Helsinki, Finnish finance minister Jutta Urpilainen said creditor countries have become "very strict" after Greece broke promisses on its first bail-out in 2010.

"Ultimately the question is whether Greece has political will to sort out its economy and fulfill the conditions," she said during a press conference.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble in the past few days has used harsh language on Athens.

On Sunday he told Die Welt "we are not going to pour money into a bottomless pit" and that if Greece defaults on its debt the eurozone is "better prepared" now than two years ago. On Monday he said in Der Spiegel that Greece should "temporarily relinquish some of its sovereignty" if it wants more money.

German centre-right MEP Elmar Brok on Wednesday said Greek elections should be postponed for one year to let technocrats stay in power.

Such statements have produced strong reactions in Greece.

Greek EU commissioner Maria Damanaki told Tagesspiegel that her country's efforts are being underestimated "in certain European capitals."

German flags have been burned on the streets of Athens and banners, while some tabloids portrayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Nazi uniform.

Meanwhile, President Karolos Papoulias, who recently gave up his salary as a gesture of solidarity, told a meeting of military commanders this week: "I cannot accept that my country should be reviled by Schauble. I cannot accept this as a Greek. Who is Schauble to insult Greece? Who are the Dutch? Who are the Finnish?"


Europe ready to tackle Greek debt relief

The Greek government has built and broadened alliances in EU institutions and member-states that acknowledge the need to restructure the debt and deliver another economic model for the eurozone.

News in Brief

  1. Commuters seek compensation for Swedish ID checks
  2. EU needs 'firmness and dialogue' with Russia
  3. Moment of truth is coming on Ceta, says Belgian PM
  4. No immediate solution for EU-Ukraine deal, says Rutte
  5. Ceta could be last trade deal, Tusk warns
  6. Tusk: EU summit is no lion's den for British PM
  7. May: EU must stand against 'Russian aggression' in Syria
  8. Croatia appoints conservative Plenkovic as PM

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  2. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  3. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  5. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  6. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  7. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  8. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  9. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  10. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  11. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersFish Skin on Bare Skin: Turning Fish Waste into Sustainable Fashion