Sunday

15th Dec 2019

Greece to push through 2014 budget without creditors' approval

Greece's 2014 budget is set to hit the statute book without the approval of the country's creditors, after the country's government tabled its spending plans to the Greek parliament.

The Greek government tabled its draft budget on Thursday (21 November) shortly after Troika officials - representing the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - left the country without reaching agreement on the 2014 tax and spending plans.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The Greek parliament will vote on its 2014 budget in early December (Photo: Constantine Gerontis)

The current review of Greece's progress began in September but has since stalled. No more funds from Greece's €240 billion loan package will be released until there is an agreement.

After six consecutive years of recession which have wiped out more than 25 percent of its economic output, the Greek economy is expected to grow by a meagre 0.6 percent in 2014.

The country also expects its primary surplus to hit €812 million for 2013, before rising to €2.96 billion in 2014.

However, as a result of interest payments on its debts, which currently amount to around 190 percent of GDP, the government said it expected a gap in funding to the tune of between €500 million and €800 million next year.

For its part, the latest estimate of the Troika puts the shortfall at around €1.5 billion.

“For the first time, the major sacrifices made by the Greek people are paying off, with the first signs of recovery this year,” said deputy finance minister Christos Staikouras.

"Good progress has been made, but a few issues remain outstanding," said a statement by the Troika on Thursday (21 November). It added that the budget "could serve as a basis for the completion of the ongoing review of the country’s economic programme."

Troika officials will return to Athens in December. Deputies in the Greek parliament will also vote on the budget in early December.

Commission spokesman Simon O'Connor Thursday admitted that the two sides were still some way apart.

"From our point of view there are further discussions that need to take place on this before we can say whether we agree," he said, commenting that "the possibility is there for Greece to table a supplementary amending budget."

Earlier, economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn told MEPs in Strasbourg that he expected the review to be completed in either December or January.

But pressure remains on Greece to make further spending cuts, reform its tax framework and complete a sell-off of its remaining state-owned assets.

For his part, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a Greek newspaper, the Ta Nea daily, that "many finance ministers of the eurozone are starting to lose patience" with Athens.

Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels on Friday (22 November) to discuss recommendations made earlier this month by the commission to reform national budget plans.

News in Brief

  1. EU Scream podcast wins media award
  2. Sturgeon will set out Scottish independence plan next week
  3. Slovenia, Croatia ex-leaders highlight jailed Catalans
  4. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  5. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  6. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  7. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  8. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality

EU values face scrutiny This WEEK

Rule of law, environmental protection, and minority rights will feature high on the agenda in Brussels and Strasbourg as 2019 comes to a close.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU values face scrutiny This WEEK
  2. EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK
  3. Huge win for Conservatives in UK election
  4. Behind bars: a visit to an imprisoned Catalan politician
  5. Leaders agree 2050 climate neutrality - without Poland
  6. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  7. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  8. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us