BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece can choose its own reforms to unblock the flow of loans from international creditors and stave off bankruptcy, but it will have a hard time avoiding privatizations and a pension reform because of their budget impact, European officials said.
A new left-wing government and euro zone creditors agreed last week that Athens would present within days a list of its own reforms that must achieve similar fiscal results to the measures agreed by the previous conservative-led cabinet.
BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – With incendiary interviews, an undiplomatic demeanor, a celebrity photo shoot and an obscene finger gesture, Yanis Varoufakis is becoming part of Greece’s debt problem rather than the solution, or so his euro zone partners believe.
Many Greeks regard their new finance minister as a breath of fresh air, a man who has told his colleagues in the Eurogroup a few home truths about the futility of forcing austerity policies on an economy that has endured a depression for five years.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission warned of “catastrophe” if Greece has to abandon the euro and its chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged EU governments to show solidarity as Athens struggles to secure more credit.
A day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece might stumble out of the euro zone because new, left-wing leaders failed to negotiate new borrowings, Juncker’s economics commissioner said EU hardliners underestimated the risk that this would start a fatal domino collapse of the common currency.
BRUSSELS, March 13 (Reuters) – EU chief executive
Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
called on Friday for European governments to show solidarity
with Greece and resolve a credit crunch that risks dumping it
out of the euro zone.
Their comments, as the bloc’s German paymaster presses its
demands that Athens’ new leftist government honour commitments
to international creditors, highlighted Juncker’s concern over a
risk of grave damage to the EU, but may also fuel suspicion in
Berlin that the EU Commission could try to water down any deal.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two hundred years after Napoleon’s ambitions to rule Europe died at Waterloo, France won a small battle on Wednesday to prevent the minting of a euro coin commemorating an event that shaped today’s continent.
Belgium withdrew a proposal to strike a special 2-euro piece in honor of the Anglo-Dutch-German victory outside Brussels on June 18, 1815, an EU official said, averting an EU ministerial vote after Paris objected on the grounds that glorifying a time of conflict ran counter to efforts to foster European unity.
BRUSSELS, March 11 (Reuters) – European leaders will ask
their foreign policy chief next week to draw up a plan to
counter Russian “disinformation campaigns” over the conflict in
Ukraine, draft conclusions of an EU summit showed.
EU leaders, meeting on March 19-20, will give the High
Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini three
months — until their next summit in June — to work out how to
support media freedom and European values in Russia.
BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek representatives started talks with official international creditors in Brussels on Wednesday, taking the first step toward an agreement on the reforms Greece must implement to unblock further aid as Athens runs out of money.
It is the first such meeting between Greece and its official creditors since the new, left-led government in Greece took power at the end of January on a pledge to end the fiscal discipline that was the condition for almost 240 billion euros in loans that Athens has received since 2010.
BRUSSELS, March 10 (Reuters) – European Union finance
ministers gave France two more years on Tuesday to cut its
budget deficit to within EU limits, extending the deadline for
the third time since 2009 as Paris struggles to enact reforms.
The euro zone’s second biggest economy has repeatedly missed
deadlines and budget consolidation targets and, under EU budget
rules sharpened during the sovereign debt crisis, was facing
fines of up to 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion) by late last year.
BRUSSELS, March 9 (Reuters) – Warning Greece it had “no time
to lose”, euro zone ministers agreed technical talks between
finance experts from Athens and its international creditors
would start on Wednesday with the aim of unlocking further
“We’ve talked about this long enough now,” an
impatient-sounding Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem
said after chairing Monday’s meeting of euro zone colleagues,
their first since Feb. 20, when they extended Greece’s bailout
deal to June.
BRUSSELS, March 9 (Reuters) – The head of euro zone finance
ministers urged Greece on Monday to “stop wasting time” and
buckle down to serious talks and implementation of a reform
programme to secure urgently needed fresh funds from its
“Little has been done since the last Eurogroup (meeting two
weeks ago) in terms of talks, in terms of implementation,”
Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on arrival for a
meeting of ministers of the 19-nation currency bloc.