Thursday

15th Nov 2018

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.

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

"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.

Opinion

The eurozone's debt moment

After Greek elections, Brussels and Berlin can no longer shun the issue of debt relief.

Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline

Italy would be committing economic "suicide" if it fell in line with EU rules, its deputy leader has said, in a sign that Rome has little intention of bowing to pressure ahead of Tuesday's budget deadline.

News in Brief

  1. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  2. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  3. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown
  4. Second UK cabinet minister resigns over Brexit deal
  5. UK Brexit secretary quits morning after deal agreed
  6. Romanian MPs call for national 'Magnitsky Act'
  7. Tusk: Brexit summit on Sunday 25 November
  8. Full text of Brexit withdrawal agreement published

Stakeholder

An open China brings opportunities to Europe

Some 60 years ago, the first major World Fair after World War II was held in Brussels. Sixty years on, China International Import Expo (CIIE), the first world expo dedicated to expanding imports, will open in Shanghai, China.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  2. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  3. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  4. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM put Orban on spot
  5. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  6. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  7. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  8. EU to review animal welfare strategy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us