Sunday

28th May 2017

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.

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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms