Monday

22nd Apr 2019

Words are not enough, Barroso tells Greece

  • Barroso tells PM Samaras to 'deliver, deliver, deliver'. (Photo: European Commission)

Greece must stop only talking about reforms but actually carry them out before its lenders' trust runs out, EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on his first visit to the country since it had to be bailed out.

"To maintain the trust of European and international partners, the delays must end. Words are not enough. Actions are much more important," he said Thursday evening (25 July)

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 key word here is: deliver. Deliver, deliver, deliver."

Barroso made his strong statement standing alongside prime minister Antonis Samaras and while the international team of inspectors - from the EU commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - are in the country determining how and when the Greek reform programme can be got back on track.

Samaras, for his part, said: "I told Mr Barroso that we are determined as a government to move ahead with structural changes, privatisation and implementation of agreed measures."

The two also discussed the need to tackle the country endemic tax evasion, to "drastically reduce" public expenditure, to change the business climate and better use EU funds.

But Samaras also noted that Greece's reform efforts are being undermined by negative comments from its euro partners, with Finns, Dutch and particularly Germans casting doubt on Athens trustworthiness and political will.

"I also told Mr Barroso about the need to avoid statements from foreign officials that make our efforts to reach our objectives more difficult," said the prime minister.

His rebuke comes as sceptical statements are emerging almost daily from Germany. Its economy minister Philipp Roesler recently said a Greek euro exit has "lost its horror" while Bavaria's finance minister Markus Soeder Thursday said that the eurozone will ultimately be stable if it consists only of strong members.

Newspaper reports, meanwhile, have variously said that it would be impossible to get a third Greek bailout through parliament and that the IMF is not prepared to give any more money to the country.

In Greece itself the three-party government has an uphill struggle to persuade citizens to stomach more austerity. It has tentatively agreed to see through a €11.5bn package of spending cuts for 2013-14, agreed months ago but held up due to elections in May and June.

The troika will return to Athens in September to decide whether Greece has made sufficient progress in upholding its promises to its creditors to get paid the next tranche of money - €31.2bn - from its second bailout, due to have been paid out since June.

Meanwhile Greece has to cover a €3.2bn bond payment due in late August. EU officials insist this does not present a problem and will be managed with "technical" steps.

Barroso to visit Greece as turmoil continues

European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will visit Greece Thursday in his first trip to the country since the outbreak of the financial crisis. High-level EU visits have been rare.

Greece running out of cash as talks continue

Coalition partners in Greece have so far failed to agree the details spending cuts required by international lenders to unblock more aid, just as a minister warned cash reserves are drying up.

Greek PM to ask for softer bailout terms

Greek leader Samaras is to meet top EU leaders in a bid to negotiate a two-year deadline extension on bailout terms. But patience among eurozone donors is wearing thin.

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. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us