Friday

18th Oct 2019

EU confirms Greek bailout breakthrough

  • Juncker has already started the political process with a series of top-level phone calls (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The European Commission has confirmed a “technical” accord with Greece on its third bailout, which is likely to inlcude the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt told press in Brussels on Tuesday (11 August): “We have achieved an agreement in principle on a technical basis and talks are still ongoing on details … What we don’t have at the moment is a political agreement and that’s what we need”.

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

She said the outstanding details are expected to be finalised later on Tuesday.

She also said deputy finance ministers from the 28 EU countries are to hold a telephone conference on Tuesday afternoon to “take stock”.

She noted the political process is already underway, with commission head Jean-Claude Juncker having spoken by phone with Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and with the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras on Monday.

Juncker also plans to speak with German chancellor Angela Merkel and with French president Francois Hollande by phone on Tuesday.

Breidthardt said the technical talks, at the Hilton hotel in Athens, are being conducted by the “mission chiefs” of the commission, the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF,) and the Greek finance ministry.

She declined to give further information.

But the fact the IMF representative has endorsed the agreement increases expectation the Washington-based body will take part in the new bailout.

The IMF previously said it will only join in if there is a restructuring of Greek debt, an idea disliked in Germany.

For its part, Greece’s Skai TV reports that of the 35 “prior actions” the creditors had asked for, the problematic details remain on: privatisations; non-performing bank loans; and energy liberalisation.

Greek officials told the Kathimerini daily the deal is to be discussed by parliamentary commitees on Wednesday and voted on Thursday.

They also said the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras, spoke by phone with the German chancellor and the French president on Monday.

If Tsipras gets the prior actions through parliament, euro-area finance ministers are likely to hold a snap meeting on Friday to discuss the accord.

The clock is ticking because Greece needs aid to repay an ECB loan on 20 August.

But Germany has said the deadline could be covered by a bridging loan instead of a full-blown bailout deal, worth up to €86 billion, if the bailout accord is not ready in time.

"We're talking about a program for three years, it needs to be negotiated thoroughly”, German deputy finance minister Jens Spahn told the ARD broadcaster on Tuesday morning.

"It must be convincing that it's not just about August 20”, he added.

“It's not just about making savings, that it works for the budget, but above all about how Greece ... earns money in the next few years, what is the 'business model' so to speak”.

Any political accord at euro finance ministers’ level will also have to be ratified by the Bundestag, and a handful of other euro parliaments.

But Tuesday’s news already prompted a rally on the Athens stock exchange and a drop in the cost of its two-year and 10-year bonds.

Deal reached on new Greek bailout

The Greek government says it has agreed terms with creditors on a third aid programme. But questions remain over the amount of the bailout and IMF participation.

Debt relief open to Greece, says Merkel

Greece could receive relief on its debt mountain within months as soon as creditors confirm that it is making good on promised economic reforms, Angela Merkel has said.

Merkel 'skeptical' about Greek bailout deal

Germany is still casting doubts on its readiness to endorse the agreement reached by Greece and the creditors and might try to get more concessions from Athens.

Greek deal puts Tsipras in straitjacket

The 29-page document agreed with Greece's creditors outlines wide-ranging reforms of the Greek economy and administration with tight deadlines and fiscal targets.

EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Remarks to Congress by the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, have shed light on the unusual nature of American diplomacy under president Donald Trump.

News in Brief

  1. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  2. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  3. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  4. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  5. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products
  6. G7: Libra should not operate until all risks addressed
  7. Kurds agree with US-Turkey ceasefire but not safe-zone
  8. US to host 2020 G7 summit at Trump golf club

Crucial summit: last EU-28 format?

The EU summit will be crucial for the future of the EU, but especially for the UK. The next EU summit will not be the same since the UK's withdrawal will have consequences for the power relations within the council.

EU parliament quietly hoards visitors' wi-fi data

The European Parliament is retaining the data of everyone who uses their wi-fi network, including journalists and visitors, and providing access to national authorities in case of investigations.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us