23rd Mar 2018

Eurozone leaders to have series of Greece meetings

Eurozone leaders will this week begin a round of shuttle diplomacy focussed on debt-stricken Greece amid reports that Athens' deficit problems are greater than previously thought.

Eurozone chief Jean-Claude Juncker will travel to Greece on Wednesday (22 August). Antonis Samaras will make his first trip as Greek Prime Minister to Germany on Friday before heading to France the following day. The French and German leaders will have a get-together in Berlin on Thursday (23 August).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Greece's Antonis Samaras will travel to Germany and then France this week (Photo: DDanzig)

At the centre of all the meetings is the question of whether Greece should be allowed two extra years to fulfil the conditions demanded by its international creditors. But any extension implies extra money, considered an almost impossible sell in fiscally prudent nations such as Germany, Finland and the Netherlands.

Ahead of Samaras' Berlin visit, German politicians have already been indicating that there will be no more concessions.

"We cannot responsibly throw money into a bottomless pit," finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said at the weekend.

Volker Kauder, head of the governing conservative bloc in the Bundestag said: “There is no more latitude, either on the timeframe or the matter itself ."

Their words come after this week's edition of Der Spiegel news magasine reported that the Greek government needs to find up to €14bn by end of 2014, €2.5bn up from the previous estimate.

How to deal with Athens' financial plight continues to be a source of division between the eurozone's two biggest economies.

France's Francois Hollande wants Athens to be given some leeway noting that Greeks are weary of years of harsh austerity measures.

German chancellor Angela Merkel meanwhile has let it be known that she will not be able to get a third aid packet through the Bundestag. How to patch over these differences is set to be the focus of the two leaders' meeting on Thursday.

But while political tension about what to do with Greece is set to rise again as the summer vacation period comes to an end, no concrete decision is expected until the troika - officials from the EU commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - has produced its final assessment of Greece's reform progress. This is not due until late September.

Meanwhile the European Central Bank - seen by some as having the capacity to solve the eurozone's problems - continues to consider options to ease the crisis.

According to a report in Spiegel online, the ECB is examining ways to stop the borrowing rates of eurozone states, such as Spain and Italy, becoming unsustainable.

At its next meeting at the beginning of September, the bank is due to decide whether to install an interest rate ceiling after which it would automatically buy a country's bonds.

In July, Merkel and Hollande released a joint statement saying they were committed to the "integrity" of the eurozone. This was widely seen as implicit support for ECB chief Mario Draghi who the previous day had said he would do "whatever it takes" to save the euro.

Greece to deport undocumented migrants

Authorities in Greece rounded up 6,030 undocumented migrants in Athens over the weekend and arrested 1,525 for not meeting the legal conditions for residence.

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 plea for 'breathing space' falls on deaf ears for now

Greece's request for 'breathing space' will go unanswered for at least another month as international creditors say they are determined to wait for an assessment of its reform progress before granting Athens any leeway.

Hollande and Merkel in show of unity on Greece

The German and French leaders put on a careful display of unity on Greece on Thursday in Berlin, appearing briefly before press to urge Athens to continue reforms.

Samaras visit marks 'new relations' with Germany

Greek leader Antonis Samaras has said talks on Friday with Angela Merkel marked the start of new relations between Athens and Berlin but the German chancellor remained characteristically cautious.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU wants 'Paris' climate strategy within 13 months
  2. Workload of EU court remains high
  3. Spain's supreme court charges Catalan separatist leaders
  4. EU calls for 'permanent' exemption from US tariffs
  5. Summit backs guidelines for future EU-UK talks
  6. Macron support drops as public sector workers go on strike
  7. EU leaders condemn Turkey for illegal actions in Aegean Sea
  8. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case
  2. Germany and France promise new Russia sanctions
  3. EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'
  4. Tariffs and Turkey will top This WEEK
  5. EU leaders roll over Brexit talks amid Trump and Russia fears
  6. Europe needs corporate tax reform - a digital tax isn't it
  7. EU data chiefs rally behind UK over Cambridge Analytica
  8. Russian diplomats risk EU expulsions over UK attack