Saturday

29th Apr 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Eurogroup makes 'progress' on Greek deal

Eurozone ministers endorsed an agreement in principle between the Greek government and its creditors over a new package of reforms. But talks on fiscal targets and debt could still block a final agreement.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Commission stops German-British stock merger

The decision to block the merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse was expected, as negotiations between the parties broke down a few weeks ago.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

New anti-trust complaint looms over Microsoft

At least three security software companies “met several times” with the European Commission to complain about Microsoft’s alleged abuse of its market position. A formal case could follow.

Investigation

MEPs oppose EU agency to prevent Dieselgate II

The European Parliament said on Tuesday that there should be more EU oversight on how cars are approved, but stopped short of calling for an independent EU agency.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process