Greece’s last Eurogroup or the beginning of a new solid European Union?

It looks like Italy will be the only "serious" ally of Greece today. Photo taken from last Tuesday's ECOFIN. From left to right: Mr Pier Carlo PADOAN, Italian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance; Mr Yanis VAROUFAKIS, Greek Minister for Finance. (EC TVnewsroom, 17/02/2015)

It looks like Italy will be the only “serious” ally of Greece today. Photo taken from last Tuesday’s ECOFIN. From left to right: Mr Pier Carlo PADOAN, Italian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance; Mr Yanis VAROUFAKIS, Greek Minister for Finance. (European Council TVnewsroom, 17/02/2015)

Today everyone’s eyes are fixed on the extraordinary Eurogroup meeting which is taking place in Brussels. This is simply put one of the most important gatherings in the Union’s history because one of its member states is under the “dilemma” of staying within the Eurozone by signing an extension agreement or exit and face imminent bankruptcy. This country is no other than Greece which is expected to be having both “allies” and “enemies” during this session.

The Greek government represented by the Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis expressed its will and need for an extension of the loan agreement or more precisely of the “Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement”, by sending yesterday an official letter to the president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The latter found Greece’s request adequate to convene a meeting with the rest of the Finance Ministers of the Eurozone in order to discuss this matter more thoroughly and conclude.

Greece’s proposal

It was only yesterday that the Greek government managed to officially state (in written) its purposes and reply to the rest of the European countries that were arguing in the last EU Summit and Eurogroup that they had no clue about Greece’s intentions and what exactly they really wanted. Yanis Varoufakis wrote a very “delicate” and “well-prepared” letter to Jeroen Dijsselbloem saying among others:

“The Greek authorities are now applying for the extension of the Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement for a period of six months from its termination during which period we shall proceed jointly, and making best use of given flexibility in the current arrangement, towards its successful conclusion and review on the basis of the proposals of, on the one hand, the Greek government and, on the other, the institutions”.

Support or NO support?

The decision of the President of the Eurogroup to convene a meeting where the Greek request will be discussed didn’t come unanswered by the German government. The German Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble rushed to reject the proposal characterising it as “trojan-horse” and inadequate since it does not secure that Greece will follow the necessary reforms.

However, the telephone call between Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras which lasted about an hour was enough to calm things down and reveal that both sides seek for a beneficial solution for Greece and Eurozone. Furthermore, the Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy and Vice Chancellor of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, stated that the request of the Greek government is a step towards the right direction and triggers further negotiations.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister is in favor of a friendly “Grexit” if Greece doesn’t sign and commit to implement structural reforms. The same policy applies for Finland which is clearly supporting Schäuble’s positions.

On the other hand, the Minister of Economy and Finances of Italy, Pier Carlo Padoan, is going to vote for Greece’s stay in the Eurozone in today’s Eurogroup. It was announced by the Italian government that Mr Padoan will go to Brussels for the meeting despite the fact that there is a crucial discussion about the country’s labour reform. This shows clear understanding of the importance of the situation by the Italian government and reveals also the very good relationship between the two countries.

The second biggest economy in Europe, through its Prime Minister Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti, said before the meeting of the 19 Finance Ministers that there is still hope and a solution is more likely to come for Greece. The statements of the European Commission and more specifically of its president Jean-Claude Juncker were similar mentioning that the Greek request was a “positive sign”.

Last but not least, the U.S. remains neutral but is pointing the finger to Athens to find a commonly agreed solution for everybody’s sake.

National parliaments the last word

The outcome of the meeting, if positive, is not the final one since it must be brought to the national parliaments, who will have to approve it. Thus, countries such as Finland and Germany have to take some time to vote for the issue of the extension of Greece’s loan agreement. This is something that must be taken into serious consideration by the representatives of each EU member state during the negotiations because time runs out on 28 February; the last day of the current bailout programme for Greece.

Grexit: a possible outcome or something that will be avoided at all costs?

GREXIT” is not out of the question in today’s meeting but is very difficult to happen since it is not just one or two countries that decide for Greece’s fate but 18. This fact makes a negative outcome even more unlikely, because it is quite hard to imagine that common sense will not prevail in the end; even Germany should have some of that.

But even in the case that there will be no result during this Eurogroup and Greece will face a dead-end, then the last “word” will probably be said and addressed to the Greek citizens, the majority of whom don’t want an exit from the Eurozone and won’t allow their country to go bust.

All in all, Eurozone is now facing one of its most historical moments; save a member state from bankruptcy or let it exit and change the way we think of this “union”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Commission’s Youth Initiative fails first hurdle by not sufficiently consulting young people

Ukraine takes EU money and runs to sign with Russia

China in my eyes

Brexit update: Leave campaign leads race but undecided voters will determine the outcome of the EU referendum

At the edge of humanity: refugee healthcare in Greece and the EU

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

The Parliament defies a politically biased Banking Union

COP21 Paris: The Final Agreement Adopted-full text

South Eurozone needs some…inflation and liquidity

Berlin to pay at the end for Eurozone banks’ consolidation

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

European financial values on the rise

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

ECB’s billions fortify south Eurozone except Greece; everybody rushes to invest in euro area bonds zeroing their yields

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Europe provides financial support to African countries while Turkey denies to change terrorism laws jeopardising the EU deal

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

Youth policy in Europe not delivering for young people

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Eurozone to enter the winter…

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

The Sting’s Team

YOUTH RIGHTS AT RISK FROM RISE OF EXTREME-RIGHT AND POPULISTS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Should Europe be afraid of the developing world?

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

The Franco-German axis considers that all EU needs now is more armaments

Health Education, is it a necessity?

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

EU-US relations on the dawn of the Trump era

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

A young European voice on Grexit: too high a bill and too big a deal!

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

Eurogroup asked to reduce public debts of its member states

Early signs of growth in Eurozone?

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

The EU Commission to fight unemployment tsunami with a…scoreboard

CHINA UNLIMITED. PEOPLE UNLIMITED. RESTRICTIONS LIMITED

G20 World Exclusive Interview: “The world, especially emerging economies and developing countries, require a more sustainable and quality development”, the Spokesperson of Japan underscores live from Antalya Turkey

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

The strong version of the EU banking union gains momentum

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

German and French bankers looted the Irish and Spanish unemployed

Deutsche Bank: the next financial crisis is here and the lenders need €150 billion from taxpayers

Commission to decide definitely on genetically modified Maize 1507 seed

The Tears of lovely Memories

IMF v Germany: Eurogroup keeps the fight under control

No recovery for EU economy in sight and a Brexit can aggravate things for everyone

Google once more under EU crossfire from a possible record fine and new Right to be forgotten case

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Community Manager – 1289

No end to Deutsche Bank’s problems: new litigations in the US and frailty in EU stress test

Trump’s Russian affair spills over and upsets Europe

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Global Talent – Professional Internships

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

More Stings?