The first eurogroup meeting after the summer, in Bratislava the Slovakian capital on Friday , concluded that Greece’s Syriza government was stalling on 13 of 15 “prior actions ” it had agreed to last year in order to qualify for loans to repay its creditors.
Conditions demanded by the EU include cutting public spending, deregulating the energy market, raising the price of medicines and putting key assets into a “privatisation fund” outside government control, which would be responsible for selling them.
The fund is due to contain an estimated 70,000 real estate properties, urban transport companies and the water supply, among other assets.
Without implementing the controversial reforms creditors refuse to start to start a bailout review that could ultimately lead to debt relief measures. The eurogroup howeve is reluctant to discuss debt relief before the German general election and past promises to bring the debt issue on the table have been forgotten. Eurogroup leader Dijsselbloem has also in the past dismissed the idea of renegotiating the unattainable targets of 3.5% surpluses beyond 2018.
At the meeting, Dijsselbloem warned the Greek Government: “The pressure is back on. The summer is over. Pack up the camping gear, get back to work.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was holding a simultaneous meeting of southern EU leaders in Athens, seeking French and Italian support for an “anti-austerity front” designed to challenge Germany.
Years of privatisation and cuts have reduced the size of the Greek economy by more than a quarter and seen national debt soar — with a peak of 182.8 per cent of GDP expected this year.
Mr Tsipras appeared to criticise German leader Angela Merkel’s refusal to countenance a forgiveness of Greek debt, saying: “The recovery is slow, in part because we don’t see the necessary generosity from our partners on the issue of debt relief.”