Thursday

14th Dec 2017

More pressure on Greece as EU finance ministers meet

  • The Greek funding saga appears to be going on without end (Photo: DimitraTzanos)

Finance ministers are meeting in Cyprus to put more pressure on Greece to implement promised budget cuts, so that bailout payments can resume in November.

The informal meeting of finance ministers taking place Friday and Saturday (14-15 September) in Nicosia was originally expected to be a "huge event", with Greece's troika report and a possible Spanish request for more financial assistance to be dealt with.

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.

None of that is now expected to happen. The troika of international lenders (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) has just started its mission in Athens, where there is still no final agreement on the €11.5bn worth of spending cuts that had to be implemented by end of June.

The Greek programme is "massively off track" as one EU diplomat put it, and Greece will need more money this year than planned, but no member state, be it Germany, Netherlands or France want to hear about a third bailout.

Instead, what EU officials in Brussels expect is that the troika will "fudge" the report so that payments from the €130bn bailout can resume in November and possibly in bigger tranches this year to fill the billions-strong gap that has emerged amid worsened recession, fewer tax revenues and privatisations than expected.

"The bailout money is stretched over the next two years, until 2014, so they could pay more this year and less in the coming years, as long as there is no extra money involved, it's fine," one EU source told this website.

Der Spiegel reported on Monday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is increasingly of the view that it is better that the troika not shed too close a light on the state of Greece's finances.

With general elections coming up in autumn 2013, Merkel cannot politically afford to have the idea of a third bailout be seriously discussed and would rather have the troika embellish the report and find a way to frontload payments this year to keep the country afloat.

But the Washington-based IMF is reluctant to sign off the plan. The only agreement that seems to emerge so far is to delay the troika report until after the 6 November, when President Barack Obama stands for re-election.

Spain and banking union

Meanwhile, ministers in Nicosia are likely to have a first look at the banking union plans unveiled by the EU commission putting the ECB in charge of supervising banks in the 17 euro countries. With central bank governors present at the meeting, they will discuss the practicalities of how to move from the current, national-based system to the new centralised one.

"It would be a disaster if we missed this transition, especially since we are still in an economic crisis," one EU diplomat told several journalists in Brussels on Wednesday.

As for Spain, with the ECB having announced a bond-buying scheme that could help lower its borrowing costs, market pressure has been alleviated for the moment. "We don't expect any request from Spain," another EU official said earlier this week.

EUobserver understands that France is still pressuring Spain to ask for financial aid, but the centre-right government of Mariano Rajoy is wary of filing a request in the absence of a firm commitment from Germany that it would approve it.

Merkel is wary of going to the Bundestag to ask it to endorse another Spanish programme, after the €100bn agreed in June for its banks.

Greece should get more time, France says

France is in favour of giving Greece more time to meet its bailout conditions. Meanwhile, German media says there are plans to increase the EU bailout fund to €2 trillion.

Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland

Public pressure about low corporate taxes appear to have pressured Facebook to launch plans to stop routing international ad sales through its Dublin-based headquarters in Ireland.

Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland

Public pressure about low corporate taxes appear to have pressured Facebook to launch plans to stop routing international ad sales through its Dublin-based headquarters in Ireland.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch takes Germany to court over road taxes
  2. Russia sanctions hit Germany hardest
  3. Italy likely to hold national elections on 4 March
  4. ECB expected to continue pumping money into markets
  5. Report: Pro-Kremlin trolls targeted Scottish referendum
  6. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  7. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  8. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  2. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  3. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  4. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  7. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  8. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  10. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  11. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  12. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe

Latest News

  1. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  2. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short
  3. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  4. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  5. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  6. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  7. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  8. Romania searching for EU respectability