Tuesday

26th Jan 2021

Germany praises Greece, but bail-out decision next week

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble on Thursday (1 March) said Greece has made "tremendous efforts" to adopt all the reforms required for the new €130 billion bail-out. A final green light is expected next week.

"We saw based on the troika report today that Greece has made tremendous efforts and today we were able to take a step forward," Schauble told reporters on his way out of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Ministers decided to give the eurozone bail-out fund - the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) - a green light for guaranteeing bonds and recapitalising Greek banks as part of the ongoing bond swap operation with private bondholders aimed at slashing some €100 billion off Athens' debt by 8 March.

Following the completion of the bond swap, eurozone finance ministers will talk on the phone on 9 March and receive a "final assessment" of the implementation of reforms adopted in the early hours of Thursday, as some still had to be translated into English. "It's a long list of prior actions and we prefer to check twice," Schauble said.

But he insisted that everything was still within the planned timetable, with a positive final decision expected on 12 March when eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels.

As for the increase of the eurozone firewall consisting of the EFSF and the upcoming €500 billion strong European Stability Mechanism - an issue which the International Monetary Fund has linked to its contribution to the second Greek bail-out - Germany has signalled willingness to look into it once the bond swap operation is finalised in Greece.

"Eurozone leaders confirmed their commitment to reassess the ESM-EFSF ceiling by the end of the month and accelerate payments into the ESM," EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy said in a press conference after the first day of the EU summit on Thursday. He added that the decision to boost the funds could be taken by finance ministers, meaning another summit of EU leaders would not be needed.

Even though the IMF board is meeting on 13 March, eurozone finance ministers are expected to receive the figure from the Washington-based lender in time for their meeting on Monday, enabling them to give the final green light to the bail-out.

Eurozone 'expected' Greek downgrade

Standard & Poor's has downgraded Greece to "selective default" due to a bond swap operation aimed at slashing some €100 billion off national debt.

Eurozone agrees to Greek bail-out, but doubts remain

After a 14-hour meeting eurozone finance ministers and bankers have agreed on a second bail-out package for Greece with extra supervision and an "absolute priority" on paying back its debts. But doubts remain on whether the country will avoid default.

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Budget deal struck, with Hungary threat still hanging

Ultimately, the European Parliament managed to squeeze an extra €16bn in total - which will be financed with competition fines the EU Commission hands out over the next seven years, plus reallocations within the budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. Giuseppe Conte: scapegoat or Italy's most cunning politician?
  2. Borrell to meet Lavrov, while Navalny behind bars
  3. Too few central and eastern Europeans at top of EU
  4. Rift widens on 'returns' deadline in EU migration pact
  5. EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map
  6. Migrants in Bosnia: a disaster foretold on EU doorstep
  7. Navalny protests sharpen EU sanctions talks
  8. Why Russia politics threaten European security

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us