22nd Oct 2016

Germany warns Greece to stick to reforms after elections

  • Elections are set for 25 January (Photo: YoungJ523)

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned Greece that it needs to stick to reform promises no matter who comes to power after snap elections, set to be held on 25 January.

"The tough reforms are bearing fruit and there is no alternative to them," said Schaeuble on Monday (29 December) after the Greek parliament earlier the same day failed for a third time to elect a new president, triggering the general election.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We will continue to help Greece help itself on its path of reform. If Greece takes another path, it will be difficult," Schaeuble said.

He also noted that any new government would have to stick to pledges made by the outgoing conservative government of Antonis Samaras.

"New elections will not change the agreements we have struck with the Greek government," the German minister noted.

The strong reaction from Berlin reflects uncertainty about what January's vote will mean for Greece's committments under its bailout programme, as it may sweep the anti-austerity, debt-restructuring Syriza to power.

Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras and currently topping the polls, has said it wants to renegotiate its bailout terms with Greece's creditors - the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) - including a major write-off of eurozone-held debt.

EU officials have viewed the prospect of a Syriza-led government with increasing nervousness.

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici reacted to the news by saying that a "growth-friendly reform process" is "essential for Greece to thrive again".

However, earlier this month in an interview with the Financial Times, the top official spoke more frankly.

"The idea of contemplating not reimbursing debt, is, in my view suicidal, with a risk of default," said Moscovici.

The ECB reacted to the political situation by saying it would "wait for the views and suggestions of the Greek authorities on how to best proceed with the review" while the IMF said financial aid to the country would be suspended until a new government is formed.

Meanwhile, inside the country, political parties are already staking out their positions ahead of the vote.

“I am here to ensure that we do not allow anyone to put in danger or doubt Greece’s position in Europe,” said prime minister Samaras, according to Greek daily ekathimerini

He called the elections "the most crucial" of the last decades.

Tsipras, for his part, said the main centre-right and centre-left parties would seek to discredit his party.

“They will use lies, monstrous lies about Syriza, its intentions and its policies,” he noted.

Greece has had two bailout programmes, worth €240bn, but has been required to carry out major reforms and spending cuts in return.

It currently has an unemployment rate of 25.5 percent and its economy is only just beginning to recover after six years of contraction.


Europe ready to tackle Greek debt relief

The Greek government has built and broadened alliances in EU institutions and member-states that acknowledge the need to restructure the debt and deliver another economic model for the eurozone.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity