Thursday

27th Feb 2020

Time running out for Greece, warns euro commissioner

  • Dombrovskis - 'time running out' for Greece. (Photo: European Parliament)

Time is running out for Greece to broker a compromise that will allow it unlock the remaining €7.2 billion in its EU-IMF bailout needed to avoid a default, the bloc’s eurozone commissioner has said.

In an interview with Bloomberg news on Monday (13 April), eurozone commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said that technical negotiations between Greece and its creditors were “ongoing..and should go until the end of April” but added “time is running out”.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Riga at the end of next week. Dombrovskis described the meeting as ”a preliminary date” where Greece must present economic reforms and its plans to implement the conditions of what remains of the bailout programme.

Despite managing to settle a €450 million repayment to the IMF last week, Alexis Tsipras’ government is facing an acute cash-flow crisis. Athens faces repayments totalling €2.4 billion this week, and a total of €16 billion over the next four months to redeem treasury bills and repay loans to the ECB and IMF.

The situation has prompted Greek officials to look at possible alternatives to the EU and IMF, but Tsipras came away from a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin last week without the prospect of a rival rescue plan.

“There is more time for negotiations but Greek authorities are emphasising that their cash flow position is getting very difficult,” said Dombrovskis, adding that “this should be a reason for the Greek side to accelerate talks.”

Tsipras government presented a revised economic plan to eurozone finance ministers last week that forecasts a growth rate of 1.4 percent in 2015 and a second successive budgetary surplus, a key demand of its creditors.

The 26-page document contains a raft of tax increases aimed at boosting treasury coffers by between €4.6 billion and €6.1 billion, alongside an extra €1.1 billion in spending commitments, most of which comes from increases to state pensions.

The government also promised that it would not default on its debt repayment obligations. However, the plans from Athens have yet to convince their creditors.

The continued impasse between Greece and its creditors, despite more than two months of negotiations since Tsipras’ Syriza party took power following elections in January, has prompted some European governments - such as the UK and Finland - to make contingency plans for a Greek exit from the currency bloc and increased the chances of an ‘accidental Grexit’.

Meanwhile a report in Tuesday's Financial Times suggested that Greek officials are preparing for a default if no deal on the bailout money is reached.

"We have come to the end of the road . . . If the Europeans won’t release bailout cash, there is no alternative [to a default],” one government official told the newspaper.

Analysis

Greece: too much talk, not enough vision

Wild and often contradictory remarks, delays, and internal divisions make the new Greek government a difficult eurozone partner.

Greece risks default in mid-May, S&P warns

Greece will be forced to default on its debts if a deal with its EU creditors is not reached by mid-May, a leading credit rating agency has said.

Feature

Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Panic-buying, plus resentment at the media for fuelling the panic, are the paradoxical responses of residents of the Italian towns of Vicenza and Vo', where Italy's first victim of the coronavirus died last Friday.

Greek island riots require measured response, says EU

Residents on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios have been met with riot police, following protests against plans to erect new migrant detention camps. The European Commission says measures by Athens' authorities must be "necessary and proportionate."

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. WHO on coronavirus in Europe: 'be prepared'
  2. Frontex hits activist pair with €24,000 legal bill
  3. Turkish jets keep violating Greek airspace
  4. 'Fragmented' Slovakia goes to polls amid corruption woes
  5. EU development policy needs a fresh start
  6. EU critical of China on Swedish dissident publisher
  7. NGOs urge EU to tackle meat consumption 'problem'
  8. Coronavirus: voices from a quarantined Italian town

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us