Tuesday

24th Oct 2017

Troika to return to Greece in search of debt deal

  • The Troika will return to Athens later this week, the Eurogroup agreed on Monday (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Greece's creditors will return to Athens later this week in a bid to conclude the latest review of the country's €240 billion bailout programme, eurozone finance ministers agreed on Monday (17 February).

Officials from the Troika - who represent the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - began their review in September, but left Athens in December without agreeing on the next round of labour market reforms and spending cuts.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

They also remain at loggerheads with Athens after claiming there is a €3 billion shortfall in the country's 2014 budget.

Neither the €1 billion tranche of funding tied to the review or any additional aid will go to Greece until there is an agreement.

But speaking with reporters in Brussels on Monday, economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn said "encouraging progress" means there is "a chance" of reaching a deal.

"In view of the progress made and assurances given by the Greek finance minister we now expect mission teams to return to Athens towards the end of this week," he noted.

"If everything goes according to plan we can complete the review before the end of March," he added.

The Greek government has caused some surprise in Brussels in recent weeks by bullishly talking up its economic performance.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Sunday the country had registered a budget surplus of more than €1.5 billion despite the fact that EU statistics agency Eurostat will not formally publish its budget data until April.

Samaras' government says that the terms of its bailout mean it is entitled to relief on its debt burden, which currently stands at over 175 percent, when it achieves a surplus.

While refusing to speculate on the figures, Rehn noted that "data for last year may be better than expected."

The Greek government also expects its battered economy will grow this year for the first time since 2007, following six years of recession which have wiped out more than 25 percent of the country's output.

Meanwhile, the chair of the eurozone ministers’ club, the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said any decision on whether Greece would need further restructuring of its debt or further loans would not take place until after the summer break.

"The debt has to be reduced and that is precisely what we will talk about after the summer," he noted, adding that further payments could be made to take Greece up until August. He said the Troika's return to Athens is a "positive step… but no guarantee of a positive outcome."

While Athens does not face an imminent cash-flow crisis, IMF analysts believe that Greece will require at least €10 billion in additional loans to cover its bills over the course of 2014 and 2015.

For his part, Klaus Regling, who chairs the EU's bailout fund, said that there was still €10.1 billion remaining under the first stage of the bailout package, which will be completed at the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, fellow bailout country Cyprus received a clean bill of health from ministers on its €10 billion rescue. "The country's economy is proving more resilient than expected ... and the programme is on track," said Rehn.

Eurozone ministers agree to pay Greece €8.3bn

Eurozone finance ministers agreed to pay out €8.3 billion of Greece's bailout package on Tuesday, closing a protracted battle between the Athens government and its creditors over the latest round of austerity reforms.

Investigation

How Romania became EU's workers' right 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

News in Brief

  1. Don't let City of London 'drift away', Luxembourg warns
  2. Far-right enters German parliament officially
  3. Orban declares migrant-free zone in Eastern Europe
  4. Madrid set to use force to stop Catalonia independence
  5. May: EU member states will not lose out with Brexit
  6. Slovakia pledges to be 'pro-European' oasis in region
  7. Report: Catalan leader to address Spanish senate
  8. Fiat-Chrysler 'obstructed justice' reports Le Monde

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Martens CentreI Say Europe, You Say...? Interview With EU Commission VP Jyrki Katainen
  2. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  4. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  5. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  6. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  7. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  10. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  11. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  12. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe

Latest News

  1. MEPs demand external probe into EU Parliament sex abuse
  2. EU states overcome divisions on posted workers
  3. How Romania became EU's workers' right 'guinea pig'
  4. Left unchecked, Poland's attack on rights will harm EU
  5. EU commission denies May 'begged for help' comments
  6. Interpol needs EU help to stop abuse
  7. Glyphosate protesters hold meeting with Commission
  8. Catalan MPs weigh independence declaration