Tags Posts tagged with "EU Summit"

EU Summit

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Greek PM Alexis Tsipras agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that it was necessary to take steps to conclude the second review of the Greek fiscal adjustment program by mid-February during their meeting on the sidelines of the informal EU Summit in Malta, Friday. The two leaders also talked about the Greek-Turkish relations, with Chancellor Merkel informing Mr. Tsipras about her talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. Their talks also included the Cypriot issue, the refugee crisis and matters of regional security and peace. Mr. Tsipras underlined his commitment to a just and viable solution to the Cypriot problem and the significance of the implementation of the EU-Turkish refugee agreement. On the escalation of Turkish territorial claims against Greece the Greek PM called on Turkey to respect international law, adding that its actions in the Aegean undermined the two countries relations and peace and stability in the region. Mr. Tsipras will meet later with EC President Jean Claude Juncker and French President Francois Hollande. Both Mr. Juncker and Mr. Hollande commented on the new US President Donald Trump during their arrival at the Summit. The EC President said he did not feel threatened by by Mr. Trump, while Mr. Hollande dubbed the US President’s interventions unacceptable.

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Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy (ND) presented his plans for Greece to exit the current economic crisis during a series of contacts in Brussels with European officials on the sidelines of the EU Summit. Mr. Mitsotakis agreed to visit Berlin on February 13 in a brief encounter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European People’s Party (EPP) meeting in Brussels. The leader of ND stressed that a front-loaded program of reforms with lower primary surpluses could act as a springboard to drag the country of the current depression, while he was critical of the Greek government’s unilateral decisions. “The Greek government’s unilateral decisions strengthened the arguments of those who wanted to cause problems to the completion of the second review of the Greek program”, Mitsotakis stressed. Mr. Mitsotakis also met with the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and Frans Timmermans and Commissioner of Financial and Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici and laid out his program of reforms. During his contacts, he claimed that the current government had neither the will nor the competence to implement the necessary reforms and lead the country to economic growth. On the pressing refugee crisis, the president of ND argued that although the tide of refugee and migrants flows had been contained, the problem had to be addressed in a more complete way. He also touched on the need to face the challenge of youth unemployment that was plaguing the EU.

ÓåéñÜ óõíáíôÞóåùí ìå Åõñùðáßïõò áîéùìáôïý÷ïõò åß÷å óôï ðåñéèþñéï ôçò Óõíüäïõ ÊïñõöÞò ôïõ Åõñùðáúêïý Ëáúêïý Êüììáôïò (Å.Ë.Ê.), ï Ðñüåäñïò ôçò ÍÝáò Äçìïêñáôßáò ÊõñéÜêïò ÌçôóïôÜêçò. ÓõãêåêñéìÝíá, óõíáíôÞèçêå ìå ôïí Ðñüåäñï ôçò ÊõðñéáêÞò Äçìïêñáôßáò, Íßêï ÁíáóôáóéÜäç, ôïí Ðñüåäñï ôçò ÅõñùðáúêÞò ÅðéôñïðÞò, Jean-Claude Juncker, ôïí ðñþôï Áíôéðñüåäñï ôçò ÅõñùðáúêÞò ÅðéôñïðÞò, Frans Timmermans, ìå ôïí Áíôéðñüåäñï ôçò ÅõñùðáúêÞò ÅðéôñïðÞò, Valdis Dombrovskis, ôïí Åõñùðáßï Åðßôñïðï áñìüäéï ãéá ÄçìïóéïíïìéêÝò êáé ÏéêïíïìéêÝò ÕðïèÝóåéò, Pierre Moscovici êáé ôïí Ðñüåäñï ôïõ National Coalition Party ôçò Öéëáíäßáò, Petteri Orpo. (EUROKINISSI/ÃÑÁÖÅÉÏ ÔÕÐÏÕ ÍÄ/ÄÇÌÇÔÑÇÓ ÐÁÐÁÌÇÔÓÏÓ)

ӥ鱜 � 쥠ŵ߯�존キﵲ 執堳�屩辱鯠�ӵ�ﵠʯ��ˡ�ʼ쬡�(Ůˮʮ), �͝Რħ쯪Რʵﲠ̧�ܪ粮 ӵ㪥걩읭ᬠ�觪堬場ﭠб��ʵꞲ ħ쯪Წ ͟ꯠm᳴ᳩܤ笠�б��ŵ�Ű鴱ﰞean-Claude Juncker, ��䱯 �ŵ�Ű鴱ﰞrans Timmermans, 쥠�m���ŵ�Ű鴱ﰞaldis Dombrovskis, �ŵ߯ Űߴ ᱬ�顠ħ쯳鯭﬩ꝲ ꡩ ϩ꯭﬩ꝲ հ精, Pierre Moscovici ꡩ �б��National Coalition Party �֩롭䟡etteri Orpo. (EUROKINISSI/ÑVʼnϠԕЏՠ̈́/ć̇ԑǓ ЁЁ̇ԓϓ)

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mit1

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, leader of Greece’s major opposition party New Democracy (ND) presented his plans for Greece to exit the current economic crisis during a series of contacts in Brussels with European officials on the sidelines of the EU Summit. Mr. Mitsotakis agreed to visit Berlin on February 13 in a brief encounter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European People’s Party (EPP) meeting in Brussels. The leader of ND stressed that a front-loaded program of reforms with lower primary surpluses could act as a springboard to drag the country of the current depression, while he was critical of the Greek government’s unilateral decisions. “The Greek government’s unilateral decisions strengthened the arguments of those who wanted to cause problems to the completion of the second review of the Greek program”, Mitsotakis stressed. Mr. Mitsotakis also met with the Vice-Presidents of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and Frans Timmermans and Commissioner of Financial and Economic Affairs Pierre Moscovici and laid out his program of reforms. During his contacts, he claimed that the current government had neither the will nor the competence to implement the necessary reforms and lead the country to economic growth. On the pressing refugee crisis, the president of ND argued that although the tide of refugee and migrants flows had been contained, the problem had to be addressed in a more complete way. He also touched on the need to face the challenge of youth unemployment that was plaguing the EU.

ÓåéñÜ óõíáíôÞóåùí ìå Åõñùðáßïõò áîéùìáôïý÷ïõò åß÷å óôï ðåñéèþñéï ôçò Óõíüäïõ ÊïñõöÞò ôïõ Åõñùðáúêïý Ëáúêïý Êüììáôïò (Å.Ë.Ê.), ï Ðñüåäñïò ôçò ÍÝáò Äçìïêñáôßáò ÊõñéÜêïò ÌçôóïôÜêçò. ÓõãêåêñéìÝíá, óõíáíôÞèçêå ìå ôïí Ðñüåäñï ôçò ÊõðñéáêÞò Äçìïêñáôßáò, Íßêï ÁíáóôáóéÜäç, ôïí Ðñüåäñï ôçò ÅõñùðáúêÞò ÅðéôñïðÞò, Jean-Claude Juncker, ôïí ðñþôï Áíôéðñüåäñï ôçò ÅõñùðáúêÞò ÅðéôñïðÞò, Frans Timmermans, ìå ôïí Áíôéðñüåäñï ôçò ÅõñùðáúêÞò ÅðéôñïðÞò, Valdis Dombrovskis, ôïí Åõñùðáßï Åðßôñïðï áñìüäéï ãéá ÄçìïóéïíïìéêÝò êáé ÏéêïíïìéêÝò ÕðïèÝóåéò, Pierre Moscovici êáé ôïí Ðñüåäñï ôïõ National Coalition Party ôçò Öéëáíäßáò, Petteri Orpo. (EUROKINISSI/ÃÑÁÖÅÉÏ ÔÕÐÏÕ ÍÄ/ÄÇÌÇÔÑÇÓ ÐÁÐÁÌÇÔÓÏÓ)

ӥ鱜 � 쥠ŵ߯�존キﵲ 執堳�屩辱鯠�ӵ�ﵠʯ��ˡ�ʼ쬡�(Ůˮʮ), �͝Რħ쯪Რʵﲠ̧�ܪ粮 ӵ㪥걩읭ᬠ�觪堬場ﭠб��ʵꞲ ħ쯪Წ ͟ꯠm᳴ᳩܤ笠�б��ŵ�Ű鴱ﰞean-Claude Juncker, ��䱯 �ŵ�Ű鴱ﰞrans Timmermans, 쥠�m���ŵ�Ű鴱ﰞaldis Dombrovskis, �ŵ߯ Űߴ ᱬ�顠ħ쯳鯭﬩ꝲ ꡩ ϩ꯭﬩ꝲ հ精, Pierre Moscovici ꡩ �б��National Coalition Party �֩롭䟡etteri Orpo. (EUROKINISSI/ÑVʼnϠԕЏՠ̈́/ć̇ԑǓ ЁЁ̇ԓϓ)

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tsip1

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras appeared optimistic that the financial benefit her promised to pensioners would not be withheld, in a press conference held after the EU Summit meeting in Brussels. The Greek PM focused on the insistence of the IMF for the adoption of more measures after the completion of the fiscal adjustment program, dubbing it “anti-democratic”. He claimed that no parliament could legislate measures to take effect 3 years later, while he urged the Fund to put more pressure on the European partners for lower surplus targets. Mr. Tsipras made detailed reference to the Summit schedule and pointed out the new action plan to deal with the refugee crisis would reinforce Greece, and by extension Europe in efforts to stem the migrant and refugee flow. He reiterated the Greece was shouldering a disproportionate share of the problem. The new plan focuses on the relocation procedures and the strengthening of infrastructures in Greece to deal with the large number of migrants and refugees. On the Cypriot matter he underlined that it was a European one, adding that the EU had to assume a more active role in its solution, especially at a crucial juncture given the escalation of Turkish provocations. The Greek PM expressed hope that the second review of the Greek program would soon be completed.

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holl

French President Francois Hollande expressed his support to the Greek positions upon his arrival at the EU Summit meeting in Brussels, Thursday. “I am in favour of a decent deal with Greece, so that the country can remain in the Eurozone and we can achieve a solution for the debt”, he noted. Mr. Hollande said that there could be no more demands of Greece to do more or to block her from making some decisions, he stressed. “A solution must be found for then future of Greece in Europe”, he argued, adding that a solution to the Greek debt problem would lead both Greece and Europe back to stability.

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It is time to rise above any obstacles concerning the Greek matter without any “blackmail”, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras told reporters upon his arrival at the EU Summit meeting in Brussels, Thursday. Mr. Tsipras called for the respect of “national sovereignty”, commenting on the EuroGroup’s decision to suspend the Greek debt relief measures in response to his recent announcements to allocate part of the GDP surplus to support low income pensioners and suspend the VAT hike in Aegean islands. The Greek PM stated that talks between Greece and its creditors must continue in order to maintain stability at “very uncertain time for Europe”, adding that courageous decisions weer needed. Commenting on the refugee crisis, Mr. Tsipras noted that the EU-Turkey deal should be supported, while pointing out the need for all member states to share the burden of the refugee crisis. Earlier the Greek PM had met with EP President Martin Schulz, who according to Greek sources, expressed his support to the Greek positions. Mr. Scuklz underlined warned that a deal on the Greek matter had to be reached as soon as possible for the “good of Europe as a whole”. On the matter of whether the IMF would continue to part of the Greek fiscal adjustment program, the Greek PM said that Greece was part of Europe and therefore any negotiations were held collectively and “no new measures”.

 

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sapin

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said France disputed the decision by the EuroGroup for the suspension of the medium-term measures of relief for the Greek debt. The EuroGroup spokesperson had announced the council’s decision to suspend the implementation of the measures concerning the Greek debt until the financial promises made by Greek PM Alexis Tsipras of freezing the VAT hikes in the Aegean islands and offering an economic benefit to 1.6 million low income pensioners were reviewed in detail.

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tsip

The meeting between Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and European Parliament President martin Schulz is underway in Brussels on the sidelines of the 2-day EU Summit that starts Thursday. The Greek will take part in the preparatory meeting of the EU socialist group as an observer, before participating in the EU Summit meeting, which is scheduled to include the working talks, a press conference and an informal working dinner. Mr. Tsipras will also meet with French President Fransois Hollande at time to be announced later. The Greek PM is holding the meetings in the wake of last night’s decision by the EuroGroup to suspend the implementation of the medium-term agreed on the Greek debt relief and the subsequent reactions the decision caused by Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and head of the EP socialist group Gianni Pittella. Mr. Tsipras is trying to muster support from EU leaders to push for a political solution on the impasse of the Greek issue, which has stalled on the second review of the bailout program.

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tsip

While talks with Greece’s creditors on the second review of the bailout program have reached a critical phase, with the IMF embroiled in disagreements with both the its European partners and Greece, PM Alexis Tsipras is scheduled to depart for Brussels on Wednesday to take part in Thursday’s EU Summit.

The Greek PM aims to push for a political solution to the standstill in negotiations over the Greek program, and hopes to exploit the rift created between the IMF, which insists for additional harsh austerity measures and lower primary surplus targets, and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European Commission (EC), which both distanced themselves and were highly critical of the positions expressed in a recent post by the head of the Fund’s European branch Poul Thompsen on the Greek issue.

Both the ESM and the EC appear to be in support of the Greek side in its dispute with the IMF, and the Greek PM wants to sway Greece’s European lenders to either put pressure on the IMF to abandon its extreme demands concerning the adoption of tougher measures on labour matters or ditch the IMF altogether from the program.

In his attempts to take advantage of the differences between Greece’s creditors, Tsipras will meet on the sidelines of the EU Summit with French President Francois Hollande and EP President Martin Schulz, before he travels to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. Therein lies his greatest challenge, as the Germans, and especially Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble are not keen on letting the IMF leave the Greek program, as they are bound through their parliament to keep it on the Greek program as a condition to continue to finance the bailout plan. The German side has made it clear that the Greek PM can put all matters on the table in his meeting with Merkel, but clarified that all decisions are made at the EuroGroup.

The Greek PM appears prepared to make concession by extending the “cutter” -a mechanism set up to make automatic spending cuts in the event the fiscal targets are not met- to include 2019-2020 in order to achieve a deal on the second review. However, to seems highly improbable that he would accept the specification of the austerity measures for the same period. The “threat” of early elections in Greece is a card that the Greek PM has been holding in his hands, with the atmosphere heating up, especially after his appearance on the island of Nysiros where he unleashed an attack against the IMF and announced finical support to the Aegean islands. It remains to be seen whether Tsipras will opt to follow a compromise or choose to declare snap elections of his plan fails to succeed.

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After the failure to receive any kind of promises regarding a debt relief by his EU partners at the Brussels 2-day EU Summit, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras returns to Greece to weigh his options and plan the government’s next move. In a press conference, Tsipras lowered the expectations by setting the main goal for Greece to be included in the ECB quantitative easing program in the upcoming December EuroGroup meeting. The common theme coming out of the Greek PM’s meetings in Brussels with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, EP President Martin Schulz, EC President Jean Claude Juncker and UK PM Theresa May was that economic reforms in Greece had to be sped up. The Greek side argued it had kept its part of the deal and now expected talks on the Greek debt restructuring to start, as promised. This is the narrative the Tsipras administration is planning to adopt over the upcoming weeks in an effort leave all options open, in the event his government is forced to compromise anew with the creditors or chooses to call early elections if Greece fails to win a debt restructuring or quantitative easing by the end of 2017. The EU Summit mainly focuses its attention on the urgent matter of the refugee and migrant crisis. The majority of EU member-states echoed the main concerns raised by the Greek PM on the issue, who pointed out that solidarity was necessary not in words but in actions, accusing some member-states of implementing this principle in a “flexible” way that showed double standards.     

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tsipras

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of the Brussels EU Summit, Friday in an effort to push the Greek case for a deb relief. According to sources close to the PM’s office, even though there was an amicable atmosphere during the two meetings, both Merkel and Hollande avoided making any concrete statements or promises, as the former stressed the need for the climate of uncertainty to cease, while the latter reiterated the need for all sides to implement the agreements. Both Merkel and Tsipras agreed on the deployment of German technocrats on the relocation and asylum procedures. Tsipras briefed the two leaders on the Cypriot negotiations, expressing the need for the Turkish military to depart from the island, something he also brought up during his meeting with British PM Theresa May.

 

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eu

The Greek delegation’s hopes of raising the issue of a possible restructuring of the Greek debt at the EU Summit discussions were quickly dispelled on the first day, as EP President Martin Schulz denied he had taken any initiatives to bring the matter to the table of talks. The overall atmosphere among the EU leaders at the meeting was one of indifference, or even annoyance, on the Greek demands regarding debt relief, proving the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’s high expectations on presenting the case at the current timing false.

Tsipras will attempt to push his case anew, Friday morning, when he is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Franocis Hollande and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.

Martin Schulz did not hide his discontent when  asked during a press conference, after a meeting with Tsipras, about whether he had undertaken any initiatives to bring the Greek debt relief to the table of talks at the Summit, by flatly denying it. “I heard that rumour and cannot respond. I was surprised to hear rumours that the European Parliament would assume any initiatives “, he said.

Earlier the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble was even tougher on the matter, stressing that any debt relief at this stage would diminish the will for reforms in Greece.

On his part, ECB President Mario Draghi underlined that as long as Greece did not implement reforms there was no chance of it being included in the quantitative easing plan.

Greece’s PM focused mainly on the refuge crisis during the first day of the Summit. He requested “effective solidarity” to Greece to deal with the refugee problem, stressing that the county was being shouldering the complete burden of the problem. Tsipras pointed out that out of the planned 66,000 relocations of refugees to other EU member states, only 5,200 had been realised so far. “We need effective solidarity and not ‘flexible’ solidarity”, he underscored. The Greek PM proposed Turkey be given a clear answer on the travel visa matter of Turkish nationals to the EU, in order eliminate any pretexts  President Erdogan could use to doubt the EU-Turkey refugee deal.

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eusummit

The EU “28” leaders have arrived at the Summit meeting in Brussels to discuss a wide range of topics, with the refugee crisis expected to be at the top of the agenda, while UK PM Theresa May will inform the rest of the leaders on the progress of the country’s exit from the EU. The 27 have underlined that they will continue to support a relation between trade links and free movement of citizens. The leaders will focus on the management migrant and refugee flows and ways to stem control their passage into the EU through deals with countries of origin and transit in Africa to achieve a better and more effective return policy.

UK PM Theresa May arriving at the summit stressed that the Britain would continue to play an active part during the country’s transition out of the union and that it would continue to be a strong and reliable partner to the EU.

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz stressed that if the UK desired full access to the EU market, it would have to accept the fundamental principles of the EU that included free movement.

Upon his arrival at the Summit, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk clarified that there would be no negotiations over the Brexit at the Summit, while he rejected the possibility that PM May would face a hostile climate at the meeting. On the matter of the stance the EU would take towards Russia over the Syrian war, Tusk underlined that the union would leave the option of imposing sanctions open.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that Brexit was a small part of the meeting, expressing hope that the leaders could bring the atrocities going on in the Syrian conflict, with the support of Russia, could be brought to light.

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