21st May 2019

Tsipras asks for quick deal

  • Greek PM Tsipras asked Merkel for an acceleration of talks to reach an agreement that would allow Greece to receive a new loan. (Photo: Bundeskanzlerei)

A meeting between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday (23 April) was described as "positive and constructive" but is unlikely to immediately break the impasse between Greece and its creditors

The two leaders met for about an hour in Brussels before the start of the EU emergency summit on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

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

Tsipras was looking for political support from Merkel on the eve of a meeting of euro finance ministers in Riga.

"They discussed the significant steps and the progress made since their previous meeting in Berlin" on 23 March, a Greek source told EUobserver.

Tsipras asked that talks be accelerated in order to reach "a first interim agreement" by the end of April, next week.

The Greek PM now expects "a political sign" from the Eurogroup, the source added, with the two sides locked in disagreement over what reforms Athens has to carry out in order to unlock €7.2bn in bailout money.

At a press conference after the summit, Merkel refused to comment on the meeting, saying both leaders agreed their discussion would remain "confidential".

A German source downplayed the significance of the meeting, telling EUobserver that bilateral talks were usual before a summit and that immigration had "probably" been the main issue discussed.

Contrary to what happened at the last EU summit and to what Tsipras had announced on Twitter on Thursday, French president Francois Hollande did not participate in the meeting.

Hollande had only a short bilateral talk with Tsipras Thursday evening after the emergency summit.

"Greece must continue to give the necessary informations and show it has taken decisions on reforms," Hollande said at a press conference.

While Tsipras is asking for quick deal, Greece’s lenders still consider the reforms they asked from Greece in February are not detailed enough.

"There is still a lot to be done," EU commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said on Thursday, adding that "it will apparently take some more time" before an agreement is reached.

Greece and its lenders already agreed that there should be a 1.5 pecent primary budget surplus in 2015 and an unspecified target for 2016, according to Greek sources cited by Bloomberg news agency.

The 2014 memorandum between Greece and its lenders had set a 3 percent target for 2015 and the Tsipras government had been asking flexibility on the issue since it came to power at the end of January.

The two sides also have converged on privatisations, one of the four areas where Greece said it would not compromise, Bloomberg also reported.

But disagreements remain on the three other issues, pensions, VAT and labour laws, which the Greek government describes as its red lines.

Greece raids public sector coffers to pay pensions

The Greek government is forcing the transfer of public sector money to the central bank so it can pay pensions and salaries as the impasse with its international creditors continues.


Limit Greek loans to debt servicing

Most Europeans are losing patience with the current Greek government while the Greeks are losing patience with Europe.

Eurozone slams door on Greek hopes

Greece is no closer to agreeing a new deal with its eurozone creditors after the latest round of talks broke up acrimoniously, with one fellow minister describing the meeting as a "complete communication breakdown".

News in Brief

  1. Sweden Democrat MEP ousted for revealing sex harassment
  2. 80% of Erasmus students find job within three months
  3. September elections in Austria after Strache scandal
  4. Swiss voters approve tighter gun controls in line with EU
  5. Report: May's fourth Brexit vote a 'retread' of old ideas
  6. Turkey insists on right to drill for oil off Cyprus coast
  7. Anti-Salvini banners become new trend in Italy
  8. EU flies rainbow flag on anti-homophobia day


Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  3. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  4. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  5. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  6. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  11. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  12. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us