Tuesday

26th Mar 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 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.

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