23rd Mar 2018

Greece and EU to tackle labour market reform

  • Labour market reforms are “sensitive” for Greece’s left-wing government (Photo: Eric Maurice)

Greece believes it is on track to agree the next disbursement of its bailout by the end of September, pending agreement on labour market reforms.

A Greek source told EUobserver on Tuesday (30 August) that all other creditor demands had been satisfied and that talks should conclude shortly after eurozone finance ministers meet on 9 September, with the €2.8 billion payment to be made by the end of next month.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The source said the reforms are “sensitive” for Greece’s left-wing government, however.

They added that if some EU states were to push for a tough definition of what constituted EU “best practice” in terms of the balance of rights between workers and employers then there could be a “substantial” delay.

The negotiations have also been clouded by the case of Andreas Georgiou, the former head of the Greek statistical office, Elsat.

Greek judges have reopened a case against Georgiou on grounds that he abused his powers when he reported, in 2009, that Greece had a higher than disclosed deficit, prompting the debt crisis and EU rescue package.

The Greek courts have not questioned the accuracy of his figures.

But the EU commission has taken his side amid concern that the case could lead other civil servants to keep quiet if there is something wrong.

The commission’s spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Monday that there was no doubt on the accuracy of the Elsat numbers from 2010 to 2015 but that there was a need to “depoliticise the Greek administration”.

The Greek finance minister also met with the EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici in Brussels on Monday to create a new consultation mechanism, called a “red telephone”, to help settle such disputes more quietly, amid concern in Athens that right-wing anti-EU groups would start accusing the EU of interfering in Greek courts.

The €2.8 billion payment is to help Athens service its huge debt pile.

But EU finance ministers will in October begin to address the issue of whether to write off some of the debt in order to allow Athens to return to normality more quickly and to make the International Monetary Fund more likely to participate in what is left of the rescue programme.

New figures from Greek statistical body Elsat out on Monday said the economy had shrunk by 1 percent in the first quarter of this year and by 0.9 percent in the second quarter.

The previous estimates were that it had contracted by 0.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

The shrinkage, for the fourth quarter in a row, means that Greece is now the only EU state to have endured a recession over the whole of the past year.


'Greece has become a small problem'

One year ago Greek voters rejected austerity in a referendum, but got it anyway. For one Greek scholar, that bailout has created a window of opportunity for recovery.

Athens stock exchange to reopen

The Athens stock market opens Monday after five weeks of closure meanwhile the political tensions surrounding the Greek crisis continue to simmer as the French finance minister criticises his German counterpart for 'Grexit' plans.

Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks

Angela Merkel - who started her fourth term as Germany's chancellor earlier this week - is wasting no time on big issues like eurozone reforms. On Friday she is meeting Emmanuel Macron where the two will seek common ground.

VW dismisses complaints on Dieselgate fix

'I think customers who want to get information (...) are able to receive information if they want," VW management board member Hiltrud Werner told EUobserver. Consumer groups disagree.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions