Monday

25th Sep 2017

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

  • Greece's uncertain eurozone future was left unchanged by Juncker's meeting with Samaras (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Greece's request for 'breathing space' will go unanswered for at least another month as its lenders say they are determined to wait for a formal assessment of its reform progress before granting Athens any leeway on its bailout programme.

The blunt message was delivered in person by eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday (22 August) in Athens.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

"I have to underline this will depend on the findings of the troika mission and we have to discuss the length of the period and other dimensions," Juncker said in reference to Greek hopes to be allowed a further two years to reach budget targets.

While noting that he was on Greece's side and condemning EU politicians who continue to speculate about Greece's exit from the eurozone, Juncker said it was the country's "last chance" to avoid bankruptcy.

The troika report - put together by experts from EU commission, the ECB and the IMF and due out late September - will also influence the more immediate decision of whether Athens gets paid the next tranche of its €130bn bailout.

For his part, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said that Greeks – who are witnessing their country’s fifth year of recession – “want light at the end of the tunnel.”

Promising that "credibility" will soon be restored, he said that the privatization programme – long a point of criticism for lenders – will be widened and that an €11.7bn austerity package is near to being finalized.

Samaras has also being putting in some very public diplomatic spadework for his beleaguered country.

He told Bild - Germany’s most widely-read newspaper and fervent guardian of the public purse – that a deadline extension would not mean more German taxpayers’ money.

“We require no additional money. All we want is a little room to breathe, to get the economy going and to increase government revenues. More time does not automatically mean more money.”

He left a similar message in Thursday’s edition of the left-leaning Sueddeutsche Zeitung

“The Germans will get their money back. I am guaranteeing that personally. And all the others will also get their money back. We will fulfill our obligations fully.”

He also noted that his country will be “broke” if it does not receive the next slice of the bailout.

The Greek leader has two more important meetings this week, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday and France’s Francois Hollande on Saturday.

Merkel herself is facing a political tightrope as she tries to keep Greece in the eurozone while facing down political allies increasingly unhappy at sending money to Athens.

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.

EU takes time to ponder tech giant tax

The EU commission published a paper that outlined several options on how to increase tax income from internet companies' activities, but fell short of proposing legislation.

EU commission changes gear on trade

The EU executive seeks new deals with Australia and New Zealand, while aiming to overhaul the global investment protection system. It also wants to screen foreign investments.

EU preparing to screen Chinese investments

The EU is to screen foreign investments to avoid takeovers in sensitive sectors. But the plan, mainly aimed at China, will raise political and technical difficulties.

Investigation

EU bank accused of muzzling watchdog

An ongoing review of the the European Investment Bank's "complaints mechanism" could make the oversight branch less independent and less effective.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel wins fourth term, exit polls say
  2. EU to hail 'aspirations' of former Soviet states
  3. UK says credit downgrade was wrong
  4. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  5. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  6. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  7. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  8. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel