Monday

19th Oct 2020

European Commission takes hard line on Greece

  • A rash of meetings will take place between now and Tuesday evening to discuss Greece (Photo: YoungJ523)

The European Commission has presented a bleak picture of the likely political and financial follow-up to Greece's No referendum, refusing to say that the county will remain in the eurozone and indicating that the limited debt relief offer that was on the table prior to the referendum is now gone.

Speaking less than 24 hours after Greeks rejected the creditors' bailout terms, euro commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis made it clear that the referendum result was largely irrelevant as the same problems remain, and may have become more difficult in the meantime.

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

He noted that the referendum was "neither factually or legally correct" as Greeks were voting on proposals that had not been formally endorsed by the eurogroup of finance ministers and on a bailout programme that had expired.

"The 'No' result unfortunately widens the gap between Greece and other eurozone countries. There are going to be very few winners in this situation," he said.

While he stated that "the place of Greece is, and remains, in Europe", when asked whether he would extend this assurance to eurozone membership, Dombrovskis repeated only past comments that a No vote "makes a solution more complicated".

Restarting negotiations with Athens would need the official go-ahead from the eurozone finance ministers, who will meet ahead of the euro summit beginning at 6pm local time in Brussels on Tuesday.

Dombrovskis also said that the debt relief offered back in November 2012 was "not on the table any more" as the bailout programme that ran out on Tuesday (30 June) was "not successfully completed".

He said it was up to the eurogroup to "decide the new mandate of the commission and whether the new mandate includes the debt issue".

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras, who has said his negotiating hand has been strengthened following the referendum, has indicated he will submit new proposals at the summit.

But relations between Greece and several of its eurozone partners have deteriorated substantially over the course of the last week with Germany and several eastern states viewing the situation through the prism of whether Greece has played by the rules.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's vice-chancellor and a social democrat, Monday said that debt relief before the end of the reform process would be inconceivable and that Tsipras must be prepared to compromise.

Meanwhile France has adopted a softer line towards Greece with a meeting later Monday between president Francois Hollande and Germany's Angela Merkel set to be key for how the Greece saga further unfolds and the extent to which the negotiating door remains open to Tsipras.

Greece says No to creditors

In a result that sent shockwaves across the EU, around 60 percent of Greek voters Sunday rejected the bailout reforms proposed by creditors.

Tusk urges creditors to mellow on Greek debt

Tusk has said Greece's creditors should consider debt sustainability if Athens tables realistic reform, in what amounts to a more active role in the crisis by the former Polish PM.

Spain's Sanchez in storm over judicial appointments bill

Spain's socialist-led coalition has proposed changing how members of the country's top judicial body, the General Council of the Judiciary, are appointed - triggering a political and judicial storm about the independence, and drawing 'double standards' complaints from Poland.

News in Brief

  1. Italy takes extra measures as Covid-19 infections rise
  2. Coronavirus: Brussels worst in Europe, health minister says
  3. Vandalism sparks call for EU action on 5G disinformation
  4. Belgium installs curfew, closes restaurants and bars
  5. Ireland to probe Instagram's use of EU children's data
  6. Belarus: 10th weekend rally in a row against Lukashenko
  7. Warfare continues to rage in South Caucasus
  8. Turkish Cypriots elect nationalist president

Opinion

A ghost town haunts the future of Cyprus

One ghost town symbolises Cyprus' plight. Varosha, a Greek-Cypriot city in the occupied district of Famagusta on the east coast, has been cordoned off by the Turkish military since 1974. This is why I never saw my mother's home before.

Green Deal

EU's 2030 climate target left for December summit

EU leaders agreed on Thursday evening to increase the EU's climate ambition for the next decade "collectively". Roughly half of EU countries support a 55-percent emission-reduction target, but now aim to adopt a specific target in December.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. France marks trauma of history teacher's murder
  2. Spain's Sanchez in storm over judicial appointments bill
  3. Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience
  4. Brexit and EU budget in spotlight This WEEK
  5. A ghost town haunts the future of Cyprus
  6. EU leaders unsure how to talk to Turkey
  7. EU leaders discuss Turkey's air and sea 'provocations'
  8. EU's 2030 climate target left for December summit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us