Wednesday

11th Dec 2019

Moscovici to arrive in Greece amid uncertainty over elections

  • Syriza's Alexis Tsipras is tipped to win early elections if no Greek president is elected on Thursday (Photo: Lorenzo Gaudenzi)

EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici will arrive in Athens on Monday (15 December), amid rising anger about Brussels interference in this week's presidential elections.

Moscovici’s visit is meant to focus on reaching agreement on the last economic reforms Greece must make before the final tranche of €1.8 billion from its €240 billion bailout is paid out - however the dynamics of the presidential election are set to take centre stage.

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

Antonis Samaras’ governing coalition, led by the centre-right New Democracy party, brought forward the presidential elections this month in a bid to stave off early parliamentary elections that it fears could bring the left-wing Syriza opposition to power.

The vote will be held in the Greek parliament on 17 December. It could trigger parliamentary elections, if there are three failed attempts to elect a president.

The government is reliant on the support of several minor parties for its majority and has raised the spectre of Greece being forced out of the eurozone if Syriza takes power.

“Everything is hanging by a thread … and if it is cut, it could lead the country to absolute catastrophe,” said the deputy premier, Evangelos Venizelos, at the weekend.

The European Commission has all but endorsed the Greek government candidate.

In a TV debate last week Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned Greeks against electing “extreme forces”, adding that he would “would prefer if known faces show up”, an apparent reference to Stavros Dimas, the former EU environment commissioner, who is standing as the Greek government’s presidential candidate.

For his part, Moscovici has urged Greece to stick to the economic reform package it has agreed with its creditors, which Syriza has pledged to re-write.

In interviews with Greek media over the weekend, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras described the warning as "a tale of fiction" and accused Samaras of engaging in "a frenzy of fear-mongering".

Meanwhile, n a statement on Sunday (14 December), Pierre Laurent, President of the pan-EU Party of the European Left, which includes Syriza, said that the EU executive’s involvement “on the electoral process of a sovereign country is unbearable, and gives rise to serious questions for the future of democracy in Europe.”  

“I call all democrats to express themselves against these authoritarian practices,” he added, noting that “the process must take its course, even toward parliamentary elections, if the ruling coalition does not obtain the necessary majority in the presidential election.”  

A Kapa Research survey released at the weekend revealed that 57 percent want Dimas, who served as foreign minister between 2011 and 2012, to become the next president.

The left-wing Syriza party held a narrow leader over Samaras’s centre-right New Democracy party according to a poll by Alco published on Saturday.

Syriza would top the poll with 27.6 percent of the vote if parliamentary elections were held now, while Samaras's New Democracy party would obtain 24 percent.

All eyes on Greece as presidential elections begin

Greek MPs are gathering for a first attempt to choose a president, with EU officials concerned about the prospect of snap elections and a sweep to power by the far-left Syriza party.

Greek PM offers compromise on elections

Samaras has offered to bring forward parliamentary elections and include independent MPs in government in a bid to secure a majority for his presidential candidate.

Hungary quizzed over EU rules amid twitter row

Hungary attempted to defend its rules on academia, the judiciary, and the media questions by EU countries, while government spokesman breached EU rules by live-tweeting from the closed doors hearing.

Spanish King meets party leaders to break deadlock

The Spanish King Felipe VI started 48-hours of meetings with the political leaders on Tuesday to determine whether the socialist caretaker prime minister Pedro Sánchez stands a chance of becoming the new head of government.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary asked to apologise after council leak
  2. MEPs: Finnish budget proposal 'impossible to implement'
  3. EP committee supports 'Future of EU Conference'
  4. EU survey: climate change must be parliament's priority
  5. Zahradil resigns as rapporteur on EU-Vietnam trade deal
  6. Russia plans 'Arctic Air Defence" with S-400 missiles
  7. Belgium: King does another round of consultations
  8. Thousands protest Orban's theatre clampdown

Exclusive

Zahradil 'conflict of interest' over EU-Vietnam trade deal

Right-wing Czech MEP Jan Zahradil is leading European Parliament negotiations on a trade deal with Vietnam. As rapporteur, he is supposed to be neutral but has neglected to declare his involvement in a group with ties to the Communist party.

Investigation

Data watchdog raps EU asylum body for snooping

The European Asylum Support Office combed through social media to monitor refugee routes to Europe for three years. The agency sent weekly reports on its findings to member states, the EU Commission and institutions such as UNHCR and Interpol.

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. Hungary quizzed over EU rules amid twitter row
  2. Spanish King meets party leaders to break deadlock
  3. EU alarmed by prospects of battle for Tripoli
  4. EU must manage climate and industry together
  5. Does Malta's Labour Party now belong in S&D?
  6. Green Deal targets pit Left against Right in parliament
  7. Human rights abusers to face future EU blacklists
  8. Zahradil 'conflict of interest' probe may flounder

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us