20th Mar 2018

MEP bailout enquiry in Portugal after postponed Greek trip

  • Greece is in its sixth year of recession (Photo: Gerard McGovern)

A delegation of MEPs tasked to probe the impact of the bailout arrived in Portugal on Tuesday (7 January).

Austrian centre-right MEP Othmar Karas, who is leading the inquiry along with centre-left French MEP Liem Hoang Ngoc, said Portugal is showing signs of recovery.

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 he noted that the country has been given mixed messages from the troika of international lenders - the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Portugal was told about flexibility that never occurred. The Portuguese people have endured significant sacrifices and they deserve to be more clearly informed,” he said in a statement.

The MEPs' trip represents the first time the work of the troika - representatives of which check whether the terms of bailouts are being adhered to - has been formally examined.

Critics - several of whom sit on the European Parliament’s powerful economic affairs committee - say that troika representatives operate without democratic scrutiny while their decisions have significant impact on the social fabric of a country.

The delegation is set to continue its work in Cyprus on Friday and Saturday and then Greece and Ireland later on.

Greece was scheduled as the first visit but was cancelled at the last minute on Monday (7 January) by European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Greek Prime Minister Samaras.

The trip was reportedly postponed, with no new date set, because it would clash with the official launch of the Greek EU presidency in Athens, according to Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

A spokesperson from Greece’s opposition Syriza party told the paper the government is “running scared of a discussion about the goals and effects of the [EU-IMF] memorandum.”

Greece received the first tranche of its €240 billion in bilateral loans in 2010 and hopes to exit the bailout by the end of the 2014.

But with a debt burden at 190 percent of GDP in 2013, the country finds itself in its sixth year of recession and has the highest unemployment rate in the EU.

A member of the Greek delegation accused member states and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of being opposed to the enquiry from the start.

“Since the start of the enquiry the European Council and the IMF have made it clear that they are not interested in democratic accountability and transparency,” said German left MEP Jurgen Klute in a statement.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

EU insists on US tariffs exemption

Europe is "an ally, not a threat", the EU Commission says - as the US is poised to impose duties in steel and aluminium. Common action on Chinese steel overcapacity could help diffuse the crisis.

Trump starts countdown to EU trade war

EU sales of steel to US to face 25 percent tariff from 23 March, with Europe to hit back on motorbikes and bourbon in looming trade war.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework