Sunday

17th Feb 2019

Eurozone gives Greece 10-day ultimatum

  • Merkel and Samaris met in Berlin in August (Photo: primeminister.gov.gr)

Eurozone finance ministers have given Greece 10 days to implement budget cuts in return for a delayed bailout tranche.

"We stressed that before the next disbursement Greece clearly and credibly should demonstrate its commitment to fully implement the programme ... by the 18 October at the latest," said Jean-Claude Juncker, chair of the eurozone finance ministers, on Monday (8 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He noted that most of the 89 "prior actions" - a list of budget cuts, privatisations, labour market and tax reforms agreed in March - had been agreed upon within the three-party coalition in Athens, but that no money could flow before everything is implemented.

The €31.5 billion tranche of bailout money has been delayed since June, awaiting a report by experts from the "troika" of international lenders - the EUuropean Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) - who are still in Athens trying to figure out how to plug the widening gap in Greek finances.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde, during the same press conference, also said that "more work needs to be done" and that "acting means acting, not just speaking."

She denied reports that the IMF was at odds with the EU over Greece's debt sustainability scenario, a projection underlying the €130 billion bailout agreed in March, which assumes that debt-to-GDP will fall to 120 percent by 2020.

"There are no figures yet, the troika has not finalised its report," Lagarde said.

In a separate report issued Monday, the IMF warned of a possible worsening of the euro-crisis amid "rising social tensions and adjustment fatigue" in the "periphery" - meaning countries such as Greece, Portugal and Spain where anti-austerity protests have intensified in recent weeks.

About 8,000 protesters took to the streets of Athens on Monday on the eve of a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel shouting "Merkel raus [out]" and "Angela, go home."

Some 7,000 policemen are to be deployed during her six-hour visit to the Greek capital, with large parts of the city closed to protesters.

Merkel is on her first visit since Greece went bankrupt in 2009 and had to ask for two consecutive bailouts. Her visit is designed to show support for centre-right Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as he struggles to implement further austerity measures.

Blamed for most of Greece's woes in Greek press, Merkel has softened her stance in recent months.

But her message is likely to be more of the same: no money until the troika says the austerity measures are being implemented properly.

Agenda

Merkel to visit Greece this WEEK

German Chancellor Merkel will Greek PM Samaras in her first visit to the debt-ridden country since the crisis began.

News in Brief

  1. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Opinion

Eastern Europe Matters

The foreign ministers of Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic reflect on 10 years of the Eastern Partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us