Saturday

22nd Feb 2020

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 20 years of archives. 14-day 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. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

Vietnam sent champagne to MEPs ahead of trade vote

A trade deal with Vietnam sailed through the European Parliament's international trade committee and after its embassy sent MEPs bottles of Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne over Christmas.

Feature

Promises and doubts: Africa's free-trade adventure

The EU is hoping that a continent-wide free trade agreement in Africa will help lift millions out of poverty and help solve issues of security and migration. But its message of values and equal partnership do not resonate with everyone.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us