Tuesday

26th Mar 2019

Greek parliament backs austerity plan

  • Tsipras (r): 'Everything else in its own time' (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The Greek parliament on Saturday (11 July) backed the government's proposed package of austerity measures to obtain a third bailout sending a positive signal to a key meeting of euro finance ministers later today.

The motion - which would allow the government to use proposals as basis for negotiations with its creditors - was passed by 251 votes in favour, 32 against and 8 abstentions.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras said the vote gives him a "strong mandate" to continue negotiations in Brussels. However it came at a heavy political price for the government.

The energy minister and the parliament speaker voted against the proposals which run contrary to the spirit of a government that was elected on the back of a promise to end austerity in January.

"The priority now is to have a positive outcome to the negotiations," Tsipras said after the vote. "Everything else in its own time."

The cross-party support in Athens comes as Reuters reported EU sources saying the country's creditors - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - believe their Greek reform proposals are positive.

Their assessment feeds into the meeting of the euro finance ministers at 4pm in Brussels.

The outcome of the meeting - with several hawkish finance ministers - will define Greece's immediate future in the eurozone with euro leaders and then EU leaders meant to meet Sunday to follow up on the Eurogroup's findings.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the proposals were "extensive" but did not spell out whether they were sufficient.

Tsipras' government has asked creditors for a third loan package of €53.5bn until 2018.

In return he has set out plans to save around €13bn, including previously no-go areas such as raising the retirement age and VAT hikes.

Athens is also hoping for a concession from creditors on its debt pile, considered by the IMF as unsustainable.

EU council president Donald Tusk Thursday noted that a good Greek proposal should be matched by creditors, and made special reference to the debt question.

"The realistic proposal from Greece will have to be matched by an equally realistic proposal on debt sustainability from the creditors. Only then will we have a win-win situation."

But it remains a toxic question for some hardline eurozone countries.

"Broad support in Greece gives it more credibility, but even then we need to consider carefully whether the proposal is good and if the numbers add up," said Dijsselbloem, according to Reuters. "One way or the other, it is a very major decision we need to take."

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.

EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law

The European Parliament backed a law on copyrighted content online. Defenders says it will safeguard right holders from being exploited by big tech firms. Critics say it spells the end of internet freedoms and curtails expression.

Opinion

Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?

Ahead of the European Parliament election in May, the bloc is ideologically split between authoritarians seeking to reduce its sway, and those seeking a moderate track. In essence, voters have to decide if they want to move forwards or backwards.

Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem

Romania will move its embassy to Jerusalem, its prime minister has said, shattering the EU line on the Arab-Israeli conflict while the country holds the EU rotating presidency.

News in Brief

  1. EU tables plan for joint approach to 5G security
  2. MEPs agree to scrap summer time clock changes by 2021
  3. European Parliament votes on reform of copyright
  4. New French-German parliament meets for first time
  5. EU parliament reduces polling ahead of elections
  6. UK parliament votes to take control of Brexit process
  7. EU publishes no-deal Brexit contingency plans
  8. EU urges Israel and Gaza to re-establish calm

Magazine

The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted

It is a divisive 'Brussels bubble' debate: whether to give the European Parliament more of a say on who becomes the next European Commission president. But the issue goes right to the heart of European integration.

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. EU lawmakers pass contentious copyright law
  2. France takes Chinese billions despite EU concerns
  3. Europe before the elections - heading back to the past?
  4. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  5. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  6. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  7. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  8. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us