Sunday

4th Dec 2022

Euro summit delays decision on Greek bailout

  • Greek PM Alexis Tsipras (r) and French president Francois Hollande (l) at the euro summit in Brussels. Further work is needed before an agreement is reached. (Photo: Consillium)

Eurozone leaders acknowledged on Monday night (22 June) that the latest Greek reform proposals are "a positive step”, but delayed a bailout agreement until a Eurogroup meeting on Wednesday (24 June) or the EU summit on Thursday (25 June).

"What Greece proposed is some progress, but intensive work is necessary and very little time is left," German chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference after the euro summit in Brussels.

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

The 12-page document sent by the Greek government on Sunday night contains proposals to address the fiscal targets set by its creditors, with a primary surplus at 1% of GDP this year, 2% in 2016, 3% in 2017, and 3.5% in 2018.

The proposals also include measures to reduce the pension system and raise VAT.

"We've gone 90% of the way," a EU official said.

"If we agree on a 23% VAT rate for restaurant and catering, we are there," the source added, joking that the bill would be paid by German and French tourists.

Eurozone leaders did not discuss the issue of debt relief, one of the Greeks' main demands.

"This is not time to discuss that issue," Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president told reporters after the meeting.

Officials said the current bailout programme should be concluded before debt relief is addressed.

One source said Germany isn’t keen to talk about debt relief, or how Greece can finance itself in the long term, until the programme review is concluded.

"They want the programme review first," the source added, suggesting that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will have to meet the latest creditors' demands on VAT before getting a commitment on debt and financing.

The principle of extending the current programme is now accepted by all sides, but its length was not discussed.

While the Greek government has been asking for a nine-month extension, some eurozone countries are said to accept only a two or four-month extension.

In any case, French president Francois Hollande told reporters, "all countries ruled out a third bailout programme".

Several options are on the table to provide Greece with money after the end of the current programme on 30 June, including unused structural funds and facilities from the EU €315 billion investment plan.


Juncker mentioned a €35 billion investment programme for 2015 to 2020 that could start in the second semester of this year.

Meanwhile, the Greek government proposed to reform the products and services market to reduce the cost of living for the population and open the Greek economy to more competition.

"Greece is expensive because there are 500 regulatory obstacles," in many products and areas such as pharmacies, milk, olive oil, the distance between hotels or the Sunday opening of shops, the EU official said.

The detail of the proposals will now be assessed by experts from the three creditors institutions, the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They will assess "the cost of the measures proposed, their impact on economic growth in Greece and which structural reforms can be added to tax and budgetary measures," Francois Hollande said.

EU council president Donald Tusk said he hoped "that the Eurogroup can achieve results on Wednesday evening that can be presented Thursday morning" before the EU summit on Thursday evening.

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. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

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