ISSN 2330-717X

Merkel Under EU Pressure Over Greek Rescue Terms

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(EurActiv) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s insistence that the EU should not change the terms of the Greek rescue programme came under thinly disguised criticism yesterday (19 June), ahead of a key eurozone ministers meeting planned at the end of the week.

“No departures can be made from the reform measures, we have to count on Greece sticking to its commitments,” Merkel said on Monday (18 June) at the Group of 20 summit in Mexico, sticking to her long-held position.

An EU official said that the situation in Greece will be one of the key issues under discussion when finance ministers from the eurozone meet tomorrow (21 June) in Luxembourg.

Not to change memorandum ‘delusional’

The official explained that the troika – representing the Commission, the European Central bank and the International Monetary Fund – would have to consider the current situation when they arrive in Greece after a government has been formed following Sunday’s election.

The suggestion that the memorandum of understanding signed by the Greek political establishment before the country received the green light for second rescue package should remain the same was “delusional”, the official said.

“Because the economic situation has changed, the situation of tax receipts has changed, the rhythm of the implementation of the milestones has changed, the rhythm of privatisation has changed – if we were not to change the MoU [memo of understanding] – it does not work,” the official said.

Commission sources refused to endorse his comments.

ESF/EFSF to come under discussion

Also on the packed agenda for the eurozone ministers will be the prospects of Spain, which is seeking help for its stricken banking sector.

Spain is bearing the entire cost of bailing out its banks, something it wanted to avoid by securing direct rescue-fund aid for them. Ministers will discuss the options for rescue money to be sent from the European Financial Stability Facility, or the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

Plans to use the ESM face a hurdle since the fund cannot be used until it is ratified by 90% of its membership. The ESM is supposed to come into effect in July but has not yet been ratified by many eurozone member states’ parliaments, including those in Germany and Italy.

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