27th Nov 2022

Eurozone leaders meet to break Greece deadlock

  • Greek PM Alexis Tsipras (l) welcomed by EU Council president Donald Tusk (r) before the eurozone summit in Brussels. (Photo: Consillium)

Eurozone leaders are expected to decide on the broad political lines of a Greek bailout on Monday night (22 June) while technical work will continue to assess the details of the Greek reform plan submitted Sunday night.

"The most important thing is that leaders take full responsibility for the political process to avoid the worst-case scenario," EU Council president Donald Tusk said while arriving at the euro summit.

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

A meeting of euro finance ministers ended with no agreement on Monday afternoon, but the tone was more optimistic than before the weekend.

"It is a welcome step and a step in a positive direction, so I think it is also an opportunity to get that deal later this week and that is what we will work for," Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said at a press conference after the meeting.

The 12-page document sent by the Greek government to the creditor institutions - the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - is better "in form and substance" than the previous proposals, an EU source said.

"It argues, it contains figures and it talks about all aspects" of the issue, the source said, adding that it is the first time the Greek government answers the creditors’ demands.

"There is convergence on fiscal targets, but we need details on concrete measures", an EU official said, citing pensions, VAT, and business taxation as areas where work is still needed.

According to sources, the Greek government made concessions on pensions reform, one of its "red lines".

Early retirements would be limited and the allowance for low pensions would be suppressed in 2018 in what would be a highly symbolic measure.

The Greek government also proposed to keep three VAT rates, at 6 percent, 13 percent, and 23 percent. Books and medecines would be taxed at 6 percent and electricity at 13 percent.

The rates for restauration and some islands were still open to discussion.

"We have to check whether the list is ok and if it will work," another EU source said.

Some measures to compensate lower revenues from VAT and pension reform were also submitted, such as cuts in the defence budget.

No special tax on wealth was included in the proposal.

The Greek proposal did not mention debt relief, one of its major demands to creditors.

The issue, which is highly political, was expected to be addressed at the euro leaders summit.

"Debt is very important for Tsipras, but it is a difficult or even a toxic issue for some leaders from a domestic point of view," one of the EU official said.

Other issues to be decided by euro leaders is the extension of the current programme, for a length going from three to nine months, and the possible use of €10.9 billion fund to finance Greece during the extension.

After Monday's Eurogroup meeting, experts will be working "all the time" at a technical level and another meeting could take place on Thursday to reach a final agreement, or prepare an agreement by EU leaders later that day if no deal is reached Monday.

Eurogroup breaks up with no agreement on Greece

Eurozone finance ministers met briefly Monday to discuss Greece but broke off without agreement. A summit on Monday evening will set the political tone for the coming days' negotiations.

Greek talks heading 'in right direction'

New reform proposals from the Greek government "go in the right direction", the EU Commission has said. Eurozone leaders will try to reach a bailout deal tonight.

Greece talks to drag into EU summit

Talks aimed at preventing a Greek default are set to drag into the EU summit, after euro ministers broke off their meeting prematurely.

Euro summit delays decision on Greek bailout

Eurozone leaders acknowledged that the latest Greek reform proposals were "a positive step", but delayed a deal until later this week and didn't discuss debt relief.

ECB says more rate hikes to come

European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said more rate hikes will come, but also admitted a recession will not lower inflation — leaving some economist question the logic of the policy.

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges
  2. The 'proof' problem with EU sanctions — and how to fix it
  3. The EU gas cap: will the bottle ever be 'uncorked'?
  4. Enough talk, only rights can eliminate patriarchal violence
  5. Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'
  6. EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo
  7. 'No substance' price ceiling for gas leaves everyone disgruntled
  8. Paying consumers who save most energy could tame gas prices

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us