Friday

29th Jul 2016

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)

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.

"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.

EU to tweak rules on Chinese 'dumping'

The EU Commission has tried to fudge the issue of whether China is a “market economy” amid efforts to protect European industry from cheap exports.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform
  2. GoogleHelping Emergency Services Find You When You Need It Most
  3. Counter BalanceWhat's New in the Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  5. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  6. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  7. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  8. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  10. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  11. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  12. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company

Latest News

  1. EU free movement cannot stay the same, UK says
  2. EU political pressure alone cannot save the rule of law
  3. Merkel: Attacks won't change refugee policy
  4. EU-Turkey relations after the coup
  5. EU quiet as Erdogan jails dozens of journalists
  6. EU's Strasbourg parliament should become a university
  7. UK will not guarantee EU citizens' rights, May insists
  8. EU lets Portugal and Spain off the hook