Wednesday

20th Nov 2019

Greece talks to drag into EU summit

  • Eurozone finance ministers postponed talks on Greece's bailout plan to Thursday after a fruitless day of negotiations. (Photo: Consillium)

Talks aimed at preventing an imminent Greek default are set to drag into Thursday’s (25 June) EU summit, after a promised evening of high drama ended prematurely with little movement from either Greece or its creditors.

Hastily arranged on Monday, Wednesday evening’s Eurogroup was billed as the final showdown in negotiations.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

It came after the Greek government proposed to raise an additional €8 billion, raising hopes of a deal to unlock the remaining €7.2 billion of its bailout programme.

But creditors remained unsatisfied and the meeting of eurozone finance ministers broke up after barely an hour, with no fresh proposal from either side.

For his part, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras spent most of Wednesday across the road from the EU Council in the European Commission.

He spoke with the creditors’ top represenatives: commission president Jean-Claude Juncker , the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Mario Draghi, and International Monetray Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde. The chairman of the Eurogroup, Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem also took part.

Finance ministers will reconvene at 1pm on Thursday, EU sources said.

Dijsselbloem noted that the Tsipras-creditors talks could go on past midnight. “We are determined to continue work during the night if necessary”, he told reporters.

Earlier on Wednesday, the IMF revealed its disquiet with the Greek plan, which focused on tax rises on businesses and wealthy Greeks.

Creditors want to scrap a planned levy on corporate profits over €500,000, as well as planned taxes on video games and 3G and 4G licences.

They also want Greece to increase pension contributions and to set up a Social Welfare Review aimed at reducing pension spending by 0.5 percent of GDP.

In a statement, the Greek government accused them of trying to “transfer the burden to wage earners and pensioners in a way which is socially unfair.”

Greece “cannot agree with such a direction”, it said.

The talks are aimed at helping Greece to repay €1.6 billion to the IMF by 30 June. But some national parliaments would need to ratify any agreement, tighetning the timeframe of the default.

Ministers indicated that the question of restructuring Greece’s debt, which stands at 175 percent of GDP, for the long term would not be raised in the negotiations.

Tsipras in Brussels, as markets fret

Tsipras is holding talks with Juncker, Draghi, and Lagarde in Brussels, but his pessimistic tweet, earlier on Wednesday, caused market tremors.

EU leaders want to quarantine migrants

Latest draft conclusions: Migrants should be detained and, where possible, sent home. But EU summit agenda being gatecrashed by Greece.

Greek talks postponed to Saturday

Eurozone finance ministers will meet for the fifth time in 10 days on Saturday after the latest talks aimed at sealing a Greek debt deal were hastily aborted on Thursday.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary, Poland block EU conclusions on rule of law
  2. France: wide EU backing for enlargement change
  3. EU Council calls for policy action to protect marine life
  4. ECJ: Poland's judicial independence in doubt
  5. Suspected 'middleman' in Caruana Galizia case arrested
  6. European populists more favourable to Russia
  7. Hungary's new commissioner approved by MEPs
  8. Balkan coal power plants fail to meet emissions targets

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us