Saturday

21st Sep 2019

Greek MPs recalled from holidays for bailout vote

  • Tsipras is likely to face an even bigger rebellion inside his Syriza party this time round (Photo: Αλέξης Τσίπρας Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας)

The Greek parliament is expected to vote on Thursday evening (13 August) on a series of reforms, including tax hikes, which are likely to stoke a left-wing rebellion against prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

The reforms constitute the prior actions required by Greece's creditors - the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - before new bailout money can start being disbursed.

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

The bailout deal will also need to be endorsed by the Eurogroup on Friday and ratified by eurozone countries.

Greek MPs have been called back from their summer holiday for a vote according to a fast-track procedure.

Discussions started at committee level on Thursday morning and will be followed by a plenary debate in the evening. Voting should take place late in the night, as was the case in previous votes in July.

Reforms

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreed by the Greek government on Tuesday details what is expected from the Greek government over the next three years.

The reduced VAT rate for islands are to be abolished in several steps by the end of 2016 and the VAT system is to be streamlined.

Taxes on fuel for farmers is to be raised from €66 per 1,000 litres to €200 from October.

Early retirement will be phased out, with the retirement age to be set at 67 years in 2022 at the latest.

A previous pension reform voted in 2010 at the creditors' request are to be implemented and measures introduced by Tsipras’ government earlier this year are to be repealed.

The price of off-patent drugs and generic medicine is be cut to 50 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively, of the patent price.

Measures on healthcare introduced by the left-wing government have to be taken back.

The government is required to launch a strategy to address the issue of non-performing loans - loans which are not being repaid to Greek banks.

The list of prior actions also includes implementation of an already-agreed privatisation programme and gas market reform.

Opposition

Tsipras said on Wednesday the bailout deal “will put a final end to economic uncertainty".

But the Greek PM is facing strong opposition from the left wing of his Syriza party.

He was voted into power in January on an anti-austerity ticket and he called a referendum, in July, on creditors’ demands in which Greeks voted No.

In July, 39 Syriza MPs already voted against the first set of prior actions and 36 MPs voted against the second set.

Rebels could be more numerous on Thursday, casting a shadow over the future of the Syriza-led coalition government.

A vote in support of the creditor's demands would trigger an “immediate divorce”, Costas Isichos, a former Tsipras government minister, warned.

Greek deal puts Tsipras in straitjacket

The 29-page document agreed with Greece's creditors outlines wide-ranging reforms of the Greek economy and administration with tight deadlines and fiscal targets.

Merkel 'skeptical' about Greek bailout deal

Germany is still casting doubts on its readiness to endorse the agreement reached by Greece and the creditors and might try to get more concessions from Athens.

Deal reached on new Greek bailout

The Greek government says it has agreed terms with creditors on a third aid programme. But questions remain over the amount of the bailout and IMF participation.

Merkel urges Bundestag to back Greek bailout

Merkel has urged MPs to back the Greek bailout deal in a Bundestag vote on Wednesday, while saying the migrant crisis will be Europe's next big challenge.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us