Saturday

23rd Sep 2017

Tspiras hopes 'Club Med' to soften EU austerity

  • Tsipras (c) is hosting France's Hollande (r) to discuss alternatives to austerity policies avocated by Germany's Merkel (l) (Photo: Consillium)

Leaders of France, Italy, Portugal, Malta and Cyprus are gathering in Athens on Friday (9 September) for an “EU-Med” mini-summit, which Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras hopes will promote a left-wing answer to Europe’s multiple crises at next week’s Bratislava summit.

Tsipras said he hoped the meeting would help give weight to Europe's southern states, which were worst hit by Europe's many problems.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

”We [the Mediterranean countries] are in the eye of the storm of the refugee crisis, the security crisis and terrorism, and the economic crisis. Today we have a north which accumulates surpluses and a south that suffers heavy deficits. There is no European convergence when such disparities exist,” Tspiras told Le Monde in an interview published on Thursday.

The Bratislava meeting is supposed to be a show of unity after the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

But Tspiras hopes that the southern gathering will help to prevent that discussions on the EU's future are monopolised by the Visegrad group of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, who have said their proposal will be to roll back some of the EU’s powers, notably in the field of migration.

The Greek PM also wants to form a counterweight to Germany, and its belt-tightening agenda for the EU.

He said that the EU’s stability and growth pact was ”not the Gospel”, did not work in practice, and should be reviewed so that EU countries can create growth.

Senior German lawmakers already warned against a stronger role for what they call the ”Club Med” in the EU.

"I am deeply concerned that the southern EU countries will jointly form a strong coalition of reform-unwilling redistributors, threatening the financial stability in Europe,” German conservative MEP Markus Ferber told Die Welt.

The MEP said a strong and stable union was more essential than ever following the Brexit vote.

"After Britain's departure, the 'Club Med' will have a blocking minority that can prevent all kinds of laws in Brussels that it does not like," Ferber said.

Germany's EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger was also worried about the Athens meeting.

"It would not be good if the divide deepened between EU member countries with big budget problems ... and those with minimal fiscal issues," he told the Passauer Neue Presse.

Part of Tsipras’ anti-austerity push will be to gather support for his country’s debt relief demands.

Also on Friday, eurozone ministers will examine Greece’s economic situation. Creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, say Greece will never manage to pay back its €328 billion, but Berlin has refused to open debt relief discussions before the German elections in 2017.

Opinion

Future of Europe needs more social investment

The Rome declaration committed to a more social Europe, but the EU's economic governance model is preventing the pledges made in the Italian capital from being truly realised.

EU takes time to ponder tech giant tax

The EU commission published a paper that outlined several options on how to increase tax income from internet companies' activities, but fell short of proposing legislation.

EU commission changes gear on trade

The EU executive seeks new deals with Australia and New Zealand, while aiming to overhaul the global investment protection system. It also wants to screen foreign investments.

EU preparing to screen Chinese investments

The EU is to screen foreign investments to avoid takeovers in sensitive sectors. But the plan, mainly aimed at China, will raise political and technical difficulties.

Investigation

EU bank accused of muzzling watchdog

An ongoing review of the the European Investment Bank's "complaints mechanism" could make the oversight branch less independent and less effective.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  2. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  3. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  4. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  5. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead
  6. EU to step up sanctions on North Korea
  7. Tusk calls 'euro summit' in December
  8. Report: May to seek two-year EU transition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel