Greece Pushes for Eurozone Summit Meeting to Unblock Debt Talks. Photo BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece asked on Wednesday for a summit meeting of eurozone leaders that would allow him to make his case for easier terms on sorely needed aid to help his country avoid bankruptcy. Without new rescue money by July, Greece could default on its debts and throw the 19-member eurozone into another period of chaos. There could also be a domestic upheaval in Greece similar to last summer, when the country had a referendum on the terms accompanying its third bailout, followed by snap general elections. Mr. Tsipras’s latest plea is similar to one he used a year ago, when he won plaudits at home for negotiating one-on-one with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. However, at a summit meeting in July, the left-wing Mr. Olga Gerovasili, a government spokeswoman, said that Mr. A government official, who spoke on the customary condition of anonymity, told reporters that Mr.
Mr. OPEN Multimedia Feature Mr. Continue reading the main story. Why the IMF must walk away from Greece. By Meg Lundsager ReutersMay 17, 2016 The depth of distrust between Greece and its creditors grows increasingly clear as both sides resume negotiations for a new bailout program. The International Monetary Fund is demanding more European debt relief for Greece -- at a minimum, a longer payback period on its European Union loans. But Germany insists that the fund lend to Greece even if Athens receives no immediate additional debt relief. More relief would not be needed for “the coming years,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. Yet, additional IMF loans would only paper over Greece’s economic problems and postpone the reforms Athens needs to make to remain in the euro zone. Given Greece’s poor record in meeting previous loan conditions, the Europeans seek Greek parliamentary approval of additional budget measures, imposed if Athens fails to meet its targets.
More. Greece's latest financial emergency is both tragic and absurd | Business. It’s that time of year again. Greece is running out of money. There are violent protests in Athens. Eurozone finance ministers are gathering in Brussels in an “emergency” conclave to decide what to do next. The International Monetary Fund has already made it clear what it thinks should happen. It says Europe should cut Greece some slack by easing the terms of its bailout agreement and offering a solid dose of debt relief. Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, has said that if Germany and its allies in the Eurogroup of finance ministers insist on making unrealistic demands of Greece she will not risk any more of the fund’s money. This makes sense because it appears clear to all but the hardliners that the situation in Greece has become a mixture of the tragic and the absurd. There are three possible ways forward.
Lagarde says this is unworkable. That leads to the third option: Greece runs out of money and defaults. Factbox: Greece Legislates Tax and Pension Reforms. ATHENS — Greek lawmakers early on Monday approved new tax and pension reforms, a move the left-led government hopes will help unlock fresh bailout funds under a financial lifeline worth up to 86 billion euros extended to Athens last year. Here are key points of the reforms, approved with a majority by the Greek parliament.
Introduces unified retirement rules and a national pension at 384 euros, cuts supplementary pensions, plans to gradually phase out a top-up stipend for pensioners now on lower incomes and recalculate pensions. It also tightens rules on widower or legacy pensions and readjusts replacement rates to curb early retirement. The target is to reduce pension spending by about two percentage points to around 15 percent of GDP by 2019.
Sets social security contributions at 20 percent of employees' net monthly income - with 13.3 percent burdening employers and 6.7 percent employees. Includes EU farming subsidies on taxable income. Continue reading the main story. Greek Debt Talks Enter Familiar Summer Tumult. Photo BRUSSELS — The Greek debt talks are entering an all-too-familiar stage, as the country’s creditors on Monday sought to overcome a standoff over whether to give new aid to Athens. Eurozone finance ministers discussed the bailout terms and for the first time formally debated ways to possibly ease Greece’s giant debt burden.
But the talks here on Monday were inconclusive. The ministers said they would meet again on May 24 in hopes of signing off on a long-delayed review of whether Athens is complying with the terms of the 86-billion-euro bailout agreed to last summer — its third financial lifeline since the crisis began seven years ago. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, told a news conference Monday evening that there could be an agreement leading to more aid for Greece at that May 24 meeting. OPEN Multimedia Feature Greece needs the money to make a debt payment in July. The situation does not seem to have changed much in a year. Video. Greece’s Debt Crisis Explained. Time to End the Greek Debt Tragedy. It’s the season when Greece’s continuing debt saga approaches what has now become a familiar summer climax, with citizens protesting austerity cuts and international creditors squabbling over the terms of loans.
It’s time to exit this cycle and face reality: Without relief, Greece’s economy will never recover, with repercussions the European Union can ill afford. Last July, the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was forced to accept a raft of austerity measures imposed by international creditors in order to receive a bailout. This has taken a toll, and around a quarter of the population is unemployed. Still, on Sunday, Greek legislators approved an additional 5.4 billion euros in austerity measures, the day before European finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss whether Greece was meeting the terms of last year’s bailout program and could qualify for an infusion of 5.7 billion euros.
Greek citizens were in the streets protesting the idea of more cuts. . I.M.F. Takes Firmer Stand Favoring Relief for Greek Debt. Photo BRUSSELS — The International Monetary Fund is increasing demands for Greek debt relief, setting up another potential standoff with creditors over the country’s bailout, and threatening to create more political and economic uncertainty at an already tumultuous time for Europe. This I.M.F.’s position opens the next act in the long-running Greek debt crisis, casting the fund against Germany and many of the other eurozone creditors.
The fund is playing the role of the financial police, adamant that Greece will never return to growth if its debt burden is not sustainable. And Germany is the political pragmatist, leaning on Greece to stick with its austerity commitments lest it set a bad precedent for future bailouts and provoke unrest at home. The tenor of the debate, while echoing the recent rhetoric, has changed in this latest run.
Whether they represent the fund’s absolute position or a starting point for negotiations, the demands leave Germany in a difficult spot.