Friday

20th May 2022

Greece situation 'dramatic'

  • 'We are carrying our people's dignity as well as the aspirations of all Europeans' Tsipras (Photo: danoots)

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said on Monday (15 June) that "the economic situation in Greece is dramatic" but promised to help secure a bailout deal.

Draghi, who was speaking at a hearing in the European Parliament, said "urgent action is necessary".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“While all actors will now need to go the extra mile, the ball lies squarely in the camp of the Greek government to take the necessary steps”.

His remarks came as the Greek government and its creditors are locked in a standoff, blaming each other for the collapse of negotiations on Sunday.

Commission officials, on Monday, gave journalists a detailed account of the weekend’s failed talks, stressing the fact that the Greek delegation did not produce any concrete new proposal to reach a deal to unblock a last €7.2 billion tranche of the current bailout.

On Saturday and Sunday, said one official, experts from the ECB, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) were in the commission building, ready to negotiate with the Greeks, but that there was nothing to talk about.

"We are ready at any point to reconvene at very short notice," the official said, adding that “the negotiation will go on as soon as there is a serious proposal from the Greek authorities".

In Athens, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras gave a different account.

He said in a statement that "the Greek government has been negotiating with a specific plan and documented proposals" and that he would now "wait patiently until the institutions adhere to realism".

Tsipras warned that Greece's "sincere wish for a solution as well as efforts to bridge the gap" shouldn’t be seen "as a sign of weakness".

“We are not only carrying a historical past underlined with struggles," he added.

"We are carrying our people's dignity as well as the aspirations of all Europeans. We cannot ignore this responsibility. It is not a matter of ideological stubbornness. It has to do with democracy".

In an unusual move in what now amounts to a communications war between Athens and its lenders, the commission's economic policy spokeswoman, Annika Breidthardt, detailed at a press conference the proposal presented last week by the EU, the ECB and the IMF to the Greek government.

The proposal is "substantial, balanced and it makes full economic sense," she said, adding that the other 18 eurozone countries were "also democratically accountable" for an agreement.

On the highly symbolic issue of pensions, Breidthardt denied that that creditors are seeking cuts on the smallest pensions.

She pointed out that pensions are the most expensive part of Greece's spending and that Greece has the most expensive pension regime in Europe.

She said that while creditors asked for savings representing 1 percent of GDP each year, the Greek government proposed measure representing only 0.004 percent of GDP.

"We're looking at a comprehensive agreement that includes measures on a lot of issues," another EU official said, adding that “if revenus coming out of VAT reform are enough, we will be happy to ask less on pensions".

Commission grilled on RePowerEU €210bn pricetag

EU leaders unveiled a €210bn strategy aiming to cut Russian gas out of the European energy equation before 2027 and by two-thirds before the end of the year — but questions remain on how it is to be financed.

News in Brief

  1. Half of Gazprom's clients have opened rouble accounts
  2. Macron seeks 'quick' EU answer on Moldova application
  3. German chancellor to tour Western Balkans
  4. UN: more than 8,000 civilians killed or injured in Ukraine
  5. EU agrees new minimum gas storage target
  6. EU justice agency to have more roles on war crimes
  7. More than 50,000 Ukrainians refused entry into EU in 2021
  8. Germany open to EU treaty change 'if required'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge sanctioning the likes of ex-chancellor Schröder
  2. MEPs call for a more forceful EU response to Kremlin gas cut
  3. Catalan leader slams Pegasus use: 'Perhaps I'm still spied on'
  4. More EU teams needed to prosecute Ukraine war crimes
  5. French EU presidency struggling on asylum reforms
  6. EU states warn of looming food-price crisis
  7. Ultraconservatives in Putin's shadow
  8. Nordic Bridges unveil latest highlights of Spring programme

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us