Sunday

4th Dec 2022

Eurogroup breaks up with no agreement on Greece

  • Greek PM Alexis Tsipras (l) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met early on Monday in Brussels. A euro leaders summit is still to take place Monday evening (Photo: European Commission)

Eurozone finance ministers met briefly on Monday (22 June) to discuss Greece but broke off with no agreement, due to confusion and timing of the Athens’ latest proposals.

Eurozone ministers are instead expected to meet later this week but a summit of euro leaders will still take place on Monday evening.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

Heading into the special eurogroup meeting, finance ministers lined up to criticise Athens and downplay the likelihood of a breakthrough that would see Greece get the remaining €7.2bn in bailout money ahead of a 30 June deadline.

Shortly after the meeting started Finnish finance minister Alex Stubb tweeted: "Eurogroup ends. Work continues. Institutions assess proposals."

But the signs that it could end up a fruitless gathering were already apparent before it started.

Going into the meeting Stubb spoke of wasting "air miles" while his Irish counterpart Michael Noonan said "we're still not quite clear what the actual proposals are".

The confusion came about after it emerged that Greece had sent two versions of its latest proposals to creditors early on Monday morning, leaving little time for technical experts to form a view, and in turn to give that assessment to finance ministers.

This led to a situation where EU economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici was early Monday speaking about proposals that were a "good basis" for progress while German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, in the early afternoon, said "the situation has not changed since Thursday" (when euro finance minister last met).

"I don't know of any new proposals," said Schaueble.

Speaking after the meeting, eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said: “Yes there were two versions” adding that “ministers would have liked to have had (the proposals) earlier”.

Technical experts were “unable to give us a full and in-depth assessment, so they gave us a first impression.”

But he sounded a more positive note by saying that the proposals are “broad and comprehensive”.

In general terms, he said, Greece’s creditors have said the proposals are a basis for negotiations.

While Monday’s meetings had been billed in the last few days as last-chance meetings for Greece, by this morning France and Germany were already playing down expectations.

President Francois Hollande said a deal on Monday "would be better" but if one is not reached then the "foundation" needs to be set for a deal later this week. Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that "there are still a lot of days in the week in which decisions can be taken".

But despite their calm reactions, there are real fears about the rate of withdrawals from Greek banks and about the possibility of Greece defaulting on the money it owes to the IMF at the end of the month.

Euro leaders are this evening set to have a general discussion on Greece with all eyes watching for a political signs of commitment to keeping the debt-ridden country in the eurozone.

Meanwhile all EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday of this week - setting a second natural deadline for agreement.

Agenda

Greece, migration dominate this WEEK

The Greek bailout saga is set to reach a climax this week, as euro leaders and then all EU leaders gather for summits at the beginning and end of the week.

Opinion

EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals

This global tax rate for multinationals could yield up to €64bn annually. Yet, the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orbán has been blocking it for months. The impotency of the EU to strike a deal is irresponsible and incomprehensible.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals
  2. Belarus dictator's family loves EU luxuries, flight data shows
  3. How Berlin and Paris sold-out the EU corporate due diligence law
  4. Turkey's EU-funded detention centres ripe with abuse: NGO
  5. In green subsidy race, EU should not imitate US
  6. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  7. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  8. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us