Monday

24th Feb 2020

Final deadline, as EU prepares for Grexit

  • Juncker said the commission has a scenario prepared in case of a Grexit. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The Greek government has been given a “final deadline” until the end of the week to present a proposal of reforms, ahead of a meeting of all 28 EU leaders in Brussels on Sunday (12 July).

But in a sign of the general pessimism following Tuesday's meeting of euro leaders, the European Commission said it already has plans for how to deal with a Greek exit from the eurozone.

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

  • Greek PM Tsipras (r) has a 'final deadline' for reform proposals. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

“We have a Grexit scenario prepared in detail”, said commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, although he added that it is something he is “strongly against”.

Referring to Athens' key issue of debt relief and debt restructuring, Juncker said "debt-related issues" could be discussed in October, but first a plan of reforms is required.

Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out any debt haircut for Greece.

“Tonight many around the table, also myself, said a haircut will not happen. That is a bailout essentially within the eurozone and that is banned”, she said.

The eurozone summit was called after 61 percent of Greek voters in a referendum last Sunday voted No to creditors' reform proposals.

Tsipras argued that the result has strengthened his negotiating position, but this was disputed by Juncker.

“The Greek position was very much weakened this evening”, he said. Merkel said it might have been strengthened but that the "freedom of movement" among his eurozone partners had narrowed.

Merkel also remarked that she is "not very optimistic" that an agreement can be struck with Greece.

Athens has been given until Thursday "at the latest", according to EU Council president Donald Tusk, to come forward with new proposals.

Following that, there will be another summit in Brussels, this time with all 28 EU government leaders.

Non-eurozone members will also be present “because we're all linked”, said Merkel.

Tusk said “two formats” are necessary Sunday with euro leaders meeting first "for maybe one hour" before all leaders get around the table.

The “challenge” for Sunday will be to “ascertain whether the conditions are there to be begin negotiations”, said Merkel.

Tusk said “all of us are responsible for this crisis, all of us are responsible to resolve it”, but noted “unfortunately we can't exclude this black scenario” of no agreement.

“The stark reality is that we have only five days left to find the ultimate agreement. Until now, I have avoided talking about deadlines. But tonight I have to say loud and clear that the final deadline ends this week”, said Tusk.

France's president Francois Hollande also alluded to a Grexit in the case of a failure Sunday.

"It’s true, if there’s no agreement [at Sunday’s summit] then we have to look at another option … France is obliged to envisage this option, which is for us not a solution", he said.

Ahead of Tuesday's meeting, several eurozone leaders expressed impatience with their Greek counterpart, who came to Brussels "empty-handed", in the words of Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite.

"Europe can find a solution to any problem. But for that you need two partners to talk, to trust each other, and understand each other. It is not yet the case", she said.

Belgian prime minister Charles Michel had said Tsipras is "not taking any initiative, zero, nothing, to stay in the eurozone.”

Tsipras is due to speak at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday (8 July) morning.

"The Greek side contines its effort with the people's mandate as a weapon and its desire for a viable agreement that brings an end to this story and guarantees an exit from the crisis," he said leaving the summit on Tuesday, reports AFP.

MEPs berate Greek PM in lively debate

MEPs from the main political groups gave Greek PM Tsipras a verbal beating for not being specific enough on reform plans for his country.

Moment of truth for Merkel on Greece

Merkel will make the ultimate decision on Greece on Sunday, at a summit whose outcome will have major implications for the future of Europe.

No breakthrough at EU budget summit

EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the EU's long-term budget, as richer states and poorer 'cohesion countries' locked horns. The impasse continues over how to fund the Brexit gap.

EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock

Cuts to innovation, space, neighbourhood and other programme-spending push down the latest budget proposal on the table of EU leaders. Rebates could stay on, to win the support of the net-payers for a deal.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel's party suffers worst ever result in Hamburg
  2. 'No need to panic' on coronavirus in Italy, EU says
  3. Erdogan says he will meet Macron, Merkel on Syria
  4. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  5. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  6. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  7. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  8. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win

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. EU speaks out against Israeli settler spike
  2. Polish rule of law crisis at point of no return
  3. Africa visit and EU parliament missions This WEEK
  4. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  5. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  6. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  7. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  8. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us