Monday

20th Nov 2017

Extra aid for Greece on table after Luxembourg meeting

  • Greece may need a further €25 billion to cover its debts next year (Photo: Aster-oid)

Another round of aid for Greece and an overhaul of its bail-out package is under consideration, European officials have said following a meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg on Friday (6 May) that attendees struggled to keep secret.

With the likelihood of Athens' ability to return to money markets in 2012 ever-diminishing, a select clutch of eurozone finance ministers gathered in the Grand Duchy to discuss possible options.

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.

Finance ministers from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Greece attended the meeting alongside EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn.

Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou informed the core eurozone states on his own economy's state of play.

Even taking into account the €110 billion EU-IMF loan, Greece must find an estimated additional €25 billion by next year to finance debt repayments.

"We think that Greece does need a further adjustment program," eurogroup chair and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said following the meeting.

However, the possibility of Greece withdrawing from the single currency was not discussed, as had initially been reported by Germany's Der Spiegel Online.

"We're not discussing the exit of Greece from the euro area. This is a stupid idea - no way," he said. "We don't want to have the euro area exploding without any reasons."

French business broadsheet Les Echos is reporting that Papaconstantinou had won agreement on a further €20-25 billion being made available.

A restructuring or controlled default on the country's debt appears to have been ruled out, favouring instead an additional chunk of bail-out cash.

"We were excluding the restructuring option which is discussed heavily in certain quarters of the financial markets," Juncker continued.

Possible options beyond hiking the sums in the €110 billion rescue package provided to Greece last May include extending the payment period.

Athens has already won one round of easing for its payment terms this year. Allowing the EU's €440-billion rescue fund to purchase Greek bonds may be another option.

No decision has been made however, but the choices are to be presented to EU finance ministers later this month.

The ministers who organised the bungled secret meeting have since come in for criticism for their handling of the situation.

Finance ministries and the European Commission issued a series of denials or statements saying little more than 'no comment' after Der Spiegel first reported the meeting, only to confirm that the meeting had gone ahead afterward.

Officials however stressed that no discussion on a Greek euro withdrawal was discussed, but admissions that they had lied about the meeting raise questions as to whether these statements are honest as well.

The single currency declined in the wake of the rumours, sliding to $1.4316 at one point, down 1.3 percent.

One EU official told this website: "Why we needed another hamfisted cloak-and-dagger game that only sends journalists and speculators into a frenzy and makes us all look a bit silly beats me."

Senior experts from the EU-IMF-ECB troika descend upon Athens on Tuesday to review the government's latest €26 billion austerity plans and scheme to sell off €50 billion in state assets.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

EU commission wants 'credible' tax haven blacklist

The EU's finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters that he wants a credible EU blacklist of tax havens following the latest media tax avoidance revelations of the wealthy elite in the Paradise Papers.

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse