1st Dec 2021

Eurozone ministers face new Greek budget battle

Eurozone finance ministers will face a race against time to resolve the latest disagreement over Greece's spending plans and agree a short-term extension to its bailout program as they gather in Brussels on Monday (8 December).

On Sunday, the Greek parliament backed a budget plan for 2015 which the government hopes will be the start of a gradual move away from austerity, including tax cuts, for the first time since the countrynfaced economic ruin in 2009.

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

  • Greek MPs backed spending plans for 2015 on Sunday. (Photo: 2dubstEEr)

The Greek economy has returned to growth this year following six consecutive years of recession which have wiped out more than a quarter of its economic output, and the government has forecast a 2.9 percent growth rate in 2015 alongside a budget deficit of 0.6 percent, although this is regarded as optimistic by the European Commission.

However, its creditors say that the 2015 spending plan has a shortfall of between €2 billion and €3 billion and that further cuts to public spending and pensions will be required. Prime minister Antonis Samaras has vowed not to impose any new tax rises or austerity measures in a bid to keep his fragile coalition government from collapsing.

"There's disagreement on the budget, financing needs, scheduled payment of back taxes, VAT, and unfortunately lots of other questions," Thomas Wieser, the Austrian official who advises the Eurogroup ministers, said in an interview for Greek media Real News on Sunday.

The disagreement threatens to put a spanner in the works of attempts by Athens to ease away from its bailout.

The Greek government is confident that the country can start to return to the markets to finance its debts in 2015 nearly five years after it was forced into the first of two bailout programmes totalling €240 billion.

It had hoped to agree an emergency credit line with its creditors from the EU, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank before Christmas, but EU officials have now signalled that this is unlikely to be concluded before January.

Interest rates on ten year Greek bonds currently stand at 7.2 percent, still slightly higher than the level which governments can sustain, but far lower than during the crisis.

Greece is waiting to receive the latest €1.8 billion loan from its creditors.

Eurozone ministers agree to pay Greece €8.3bn

Eurozone finance ministers agreed to pay out €8.3 billion of Greece's bailout package on Tuesday, closing a protracted battle between the Athens government and its creditors over the latest round of austerity reforms.


Portugal and Greece: the odd return to markets

In the past few weeks, Portugal and Greece have returned to the markets in moves seen in Brussels as heralding a rebound in Southern Europe. But a fragile recovery has barely begun and will take years.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

News in Brief

  1. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border
  2. Report: Germany's Scholz 'backs compulsory Covid jabs'
  3. Omicron 'present in Europe at least 10 days ago'
  4. German court finds ex-Islamic State member guilty of genocide
  5. Report: Shell is considering return to Libya
  6. Report: EU to reveal €300bn infrastructure plan
  7. Barbados becomes world's newest republic
  8. Far-right Zemmour will run for French presidency

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  2. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months
  3. Ombudsman launches probe into Commission tobacco lobbying
  4. Lead MEP wants 'mandatory relocation' in EU asylum law
  5. The EU's 'global gateway' - an answer to China, or a dead-end?
  6. Osman Kavala in a Turkish jail - taking injustice personally
  7. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  8. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us