Friday

24th Nov 2017

Greece, Spain up for more austerity despite violence

  • Thousands gathered Wednesday in front of the Parliament building in Athens (Photo: mkhalili)

Outbursts of violence in both Greece and Spain are not preventing the respective governments from pushing ahead with the further austerity measures asked for by international lenders.

After weeks of haggling, the three-party coalition in Greece on Thursday (27 September) announced a "basic agreement" on €11.5 billion worth of spending cuts needed for the next tranche of bailout money to be disbursed.

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.

But one of the three leaders, Fotis Kouvelis, said there were still some "outstanding issues", without giving any details. Centre-right Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has struggled to convince his two junior coalition partners from the left to agree to more wage and pension cuts.

Popular anger against the cuts turned violent on Wednesday as over 50,000 gathered in Syntagma square with riot police firing tear gas on protesters. A general strike also paralysed transportation into and throughout the country, as well as hospitals and schools.

Similar violence erupted in Spain ahead of a fresh set of spending cuts the government was set to approve later on Thursday.

Spain is under a 'light' bailout of €100bn for its banking sector but is expected to ask for more financial assistance soon, as the recession is worsening and unemployment has hit 25 percent, the highest in Europe.

"The violent images from Spain and Greece prove that this violent austerity inevitably leads to social tension," Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras said Thursday during a press conference in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Greece will inevitably need to have a second and possibly even a third debt restructuring, according to Tsipras, unless EU leaders agree to slash all its debt and give some "breathing space" to the economy.

Tsipras said this could be done with a "debt conference" as happened for Germany after the second World War, when 60 percent of the country's debt was pardoned and the rest had to be repaid once the economy the started growing.

He criticised the current Greek government for having promised to re-negotiate the terms of the bailout only to agree to all prescribed austerity measures a few months later.

"It is a dead end, a vicious circle of austerity, recession, deficit and debt. Greece's gross domestic product has shrunk by 20 percent from the beginning of the crisis. This is unprecedented in a country where there is no war."

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.

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.

Spanish regions agree to deficit plan

Spain's regions have agreed to spending cuts designed to meet EU targets, with Prime Minister Rajoy ruling out reports that he will ask for a bailout this weekend.

Eurozone gives Greece 10-day ultimatum

Eurozone ministers have given Greece 10 days to implement budget cuts in return for a bailout cash, as Germany Merkel braves protesters on a visit to Athens.

News in Brief

  1. Rwanda may resettle 30,000 migrants from Libya
  2. EU tax haven blacklist may include Turkey
  3. No UK 'capital of culture' city post-Brexit
  4. EU sets up natural disaster rescue team
  5. Spain sends migrant arrivals to unfinished prison
  6. Iceland prepares for biggest volcano to blow
  7. Greek parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal
  8. Family of murdered Malta journalist to sue police

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya