Friday

1st Mar 2024

€8bn Greek payment on ice until referendum

Greece will not receive an €8 billion tranche of EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) money until after its referendum on the eurozone rescue plan, reports indicate.

"The [IMF] board would not want to give money to Greece and then wonder what will happen ... The board will want comfort that Greece will fulfill its commitments and right now Papandreou is unable to give that," a senior IMF source told Reuters on Wednesday (2 November).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

  • The IMF wants to wait until there is more clarity on Greece's future, amid talk it might exit the euro (Photo: John D. Carnessiotis, Athens, Greece)

German finance ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus said earlier in the day: "The tranche has not yet been paid. That is the situation today. How things proceed is yet to be seen."

He hinted that Berlin would like the referendum to happen quickly, adding: "According to everything we hear from Greece, there is no urgent need for the payout until mid-December, more or less."

European finance ministers last week approved the €8 billion payment, the sixth tranche of a €110 billion package agreed to back in April 2010.

But the "dramatic circumstances" of the last few days - in the words of Austrian finance minister Maria Fekter - have made them wary of going ahead. Fekter told AFP that she and her European colleagues, due to meet in Brussels next week, would "listen very closely to what the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, for example, have to say."

The IMF still has to give its permission, having earlier said it wants to see a clear 12-month time-table to bring down public debt.

Greek media said the body's officials were "completely taken aback" by the referendum plan.

Christine Lagarde, the fund's managing director, will meet with Greek PM George Papandreou on Wednesday evening, on the eve of the G20 summit in Cannes, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French leader Nicolas Sarkozy.

"After the meetings we expect at least an indication of what will happen with the disbursement of the sixth tranche of the first Greek package," Juergen Michels, chief euro-area economist at Citigroup in London, told Bloomberg.

Brussels issues 'urgent appeal' for Greek unity

On the eve of the G20 meeting of the world’s leading economies, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso went over the head of Greece’s prime minister and called for national and political unity in the country.

Opinion

Democracy at a discount

With his referendum initiative, Papandreou has put democracy on the agenda and made clear that the management of the eurozone crisis is a battle over what should have the upper hand: Economics or politics;capitalism or democracy, asks Erik O. Eriksen.

Greek PM survives confidence vote, looks to transitional government

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou narrowly won a vote of confidence in the country’s parliament early Saturday morning. Paradoxically, the leader at the same time appears ready to step down and make way for a transitional, unity administration.

Papandreou pulls back from referendum

Greek PM George Papandreou is readying himself to step down, according to reports, and is likely to be replaced by a former vice-president of the ECB. A referendum on the new bail-out deal for Greece appears to have been shelved.

Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms

Recent polling puts the Flemish nationalist parties, the right-wing N-VA and far-right Vlaams Belang at a combined majority in the Flemish parliament, leading to fears about a far-right government take-over — even sparking worries about the future of Belgium itself.

Latest News

  1. Deepfake dystopia — Russia's disinformation in Spain and Italy
  2. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats
  3. EU won't yet commit funding UN agency in Gaza amid hunger
  4. EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds
  5. Right of Reply: The EU-ACP Samoa agreement
  6. The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse
  7. Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms
  8. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us