Friday

23rd Feb 2018

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.

Opinion

Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme

Growth predictions are positive, exports increasing, unemployment dropping and credit-ratings up, says the head of Greece's Syriza delegation to the European Parliament. Now the government in Athens is looking to design its own reform programme.

Analysis

We are not (yet) one people

Talks on the next EU budget will start on Friday. Brussels wants to do much more than before – and needs a lot more money. But arguing about funds won't be enough.

News in Brief

  1. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  2. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  3. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012
  4. MEP Andrieu will chair parliament pesticide committee
  5. Juncker's right-hand man warns of 'institutional blockage'
  6. Greek parliament to open probe on PMs and EU commissioner
  7. May gathers Brexit ministers to hammer out UK position
  8. Tajani asks Juncker for all EMA Brexit relocation documents

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  2. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  3. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  4. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  5. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  6. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  7. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  8. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'