News & Comments

We welcome short entries about relevant European or national developments for this News and Comments section. You are invited to use the contact form for this or to directly contact Thomas Beukers ( or Viorica Vita (

14 January: Greece accepts role IMF in financial assistance

January 15, 2016

Before discussing the Greek reform progress at the Eurogroup meeting of 14 January, President Dijsselbloem commented that Greek Finance Minister "Tsakalotos confirmed to me that the Greek government accepts that the IMF needs to be part of the process". Prime Minister Tsipras has always strongly opposed involvement of the IMF in the third Greek financial […]

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20 September 2015: Greek elections confirm governing majority

September 21, 2015

Yesterday's elections in Greece confirmed the majority of the coalition formed by the Syriza party of Alexis Tsipras and the Greek Independents (ANEL). Together the two parties have a majority of 155 of the seats at the Greek Parliament (145 for Syriza and 10 for the Greek Independents), compared to their 162 majority in the […]

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15 July 2015: French Parliament votes on Euro Summit deal

July 16, 2015

See for more information our more recent analysis by Diane Fromage. See also the relevant section in the Report on France by Robin Gadbled and Diane Fromage for further information on parliamentary involvement in the ESM in France.

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22 June: ECB accepts Greek bonds as collateral again

June 22, 2016

The ECB Governing Council has decided to reinstate the waiver of minimum credit rating requirements for marketable instruments issued or guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic, subject to special haircuts. This means they can now again be used as collateral in Eurosystem monetary policy operations. It also means that purchases of Greek bonds by the ECB […]

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The ESM, the 3rd Greek package and National Parliaments: Germany – by Malte Kröger

December 17, 2015

Malte Kröger ( is currently legal trainee (Referendar) at the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg and a PhD-candidate at the Albrecht Mendelssohn Bartholdy Graduate School of Law at Hamburg’s Law Faculty. Malte is the author of the Report on Luxembourg and the Report on Malta on this website, and is currently also completing the Report […]

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27 August 2015: Greek Supreme Court Judge New Head of Government after Resignation Tispras

August 27, 2015

Top Supreme Court judge Vassiliki Thanou was sworn in on Thursday to head a caretaker government that will lead Greece to new elections that are expected to take place on 20 September 2015. On 20 August, only hours after the ESM Board of Directors approved the first loan tranche of the 3rd Greek financial assistance […]

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15 July 2015: Greek Parliament adopts all commitments specified in the Euro Summit statement

July 16, 2015

28 July: IMF self-critical of Greek bailout

July 28, 2016

The Internal Evaluation Office (IEO) of the IMF on Thursday night 28 July has published a highly critical report on the institution's participation in the Greek bailouts. The report on the role of the IMF in the Greek, Irish and Portuguese crises comes at an important moment, as the IMF is still formally to decide on […]

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The ESM, the 3rd Greek package and National Parliaments: Portugal – by Rita De Brito Gião Hanek

December 16, 2015

Rita De Brito Gião Hanek is a lawyer and legal consultant working with governmental and nongovernmental organizations on public law, public international law and international human rights law projects and is also co-author of the Report on Portugal on this website Parliamentary approval of financial assistance provided under the ESM is not required in Portugal. […]

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How Europe’s least controversial rescue fund became controversial – by Nik de Boer and Chris Koedooder

August 20, 2015

Nik de Boer and Chris Koedooder are both PhD Researcher at ACELG. (This comment first appeared on the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG) blog: Note: This comment was first published on 20 July 2015 at the ACELG Blog. On 11 August 2015, the third Greek rescue package, to be provided by […]

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Greek implementation Fiscal Compact part of key Euro Summit deal

July 13, 2015

20150712-eurosummit-statement-greece Part of the statement reads: "Given the need to rebuild trust with Greece, the Euro Summit welcomes the commitments of the Greek authorities to legislate without delay a first set of measures. These measures, taken in full prior agreement with the Institutions, will include: (by 15 July) (…) full implementation of the relevant provisions […]

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10 October: Eurogroup clears way for partial approval of disbursement to Greece by the ESM Board of Directors

October 10, 2016

The Eurogroup adopted the following statement on the first review of the Greek ESM Programme: "The Eurogroup welcomes the implementation by the Greek authorities of the set of 15 milestones in the context of the first review of the ESM programme. The Eurogroup commends the Greek authorities for adopting the necessary further measures to reform […]

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15 December 2015: Greek Parliament approves new milestones

December 16, 2015

In its statement of 14 August 2015 on the ESM Programme for Greece, the Eurogroup stated: "The first tranche under the ESM programme of EUR 26 bn will consist of two sub-tranches. The first sub-tranche of EUR 10 bn will be made available immediately in a segregated account at the ESM for bank recapitalisation and […]

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19 August 2015: German and Dutch Parliament support 3rd Greek assistance package

August 19, 2015

Today the German Bundestag voted in favour of the 3rd financial assistance package for Greece, with 453 votes in favour and 113 against (18 abstentions). The German Finance Minister had asked for the formal approval by the Bundestag. This approval is necessary for the German government representative to agree to adoption by the ESM Board […]

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8 July 2015: Greek government formally requests ESM assistance

July 12, 2015

See below for the text of the formal request: ESM loan request letter 8 July 2015  

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15 November: former Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou presents new book at EUI

November 15, 2016

Today George Papaconstantinou, former Finance Minister of Greece and author of ‘Game Over: The Inside Story of the Greek Crisis’, the point man in the Greek economic and financial crisis, presented his his new book at the EUI and gave the insider's view of the Greek Crisis as experienced by him. When he became Finance […]

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13 December 2015: ESM Managing Director Regling says Grexit not excluded

December 14, 2015

In an interview with Greek newspaper To Vima the Managing Director of the ESM Klaus Regling commented: "The monetary union was designed in a way that no exit of any country was anticipated. Therefore, there is no framework for that. Greece has agreed to implement reforms which are necessary so that its partners can provide […]

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Europeanizing the Eurozone – by Tomas Dumbrovsky

July 31, 2015

Tomas Dumbrovsky (J.S.D. Candidate at the Yale Law School, Assistant Professor at Charles University in Prague and author of the Reports on the Czech Republic and Slovakia) (This comment first appeared on I-CONnect: The way the Greek debt crisis was handled in the last weeks has been a public relations nightmare. The more or […]

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24 February 2015: Extension of Greek programme agreed by Euro Area Finance Ministers

February 24, 2015

On 24 February 2015 the Finance Ministers of the Euro Area agreed on a 4 month extension of the Greek EFSF Programme (Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement). National procedures will now start with a view to have a final approval of the extension. See the section of this website on Early Emergency Funding for the […]

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5 December: Eurogroup agrees on short-term debt sustainability measures for Greece

December 5, 2016

The Eurogroup of 5 December 2016 discussed the sustainability of Greek public debt with the objective to regain market access. In this context, the Eurogroup endorsed today the full set of short-term measures on the basis of proposals by the ESM and preparatory work by the EWG, which will be implemented by the ESM following […]

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Latvians do not trust Greeks or how Latvia approved the Third Greek Bailout: Parliamentary involvement – by Zane Rasnača

December 5, 2015

Zane Rasnača is PhD Researcher in Law at the European University Institute and author of the ‘Report on Latvia’ on this website. The tumultuous road towards Latvian support for the Third Greek Bailout was marked by strong scepticism from both politicians and the general public. Already in late 2013 when Latvia was in the process […]

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The ESM and National Parliaments: France – by Diane Fromage

July 28, 2015

Update on the Third Greek Aid Package: On 15 July 2015 both French assemblies were called to vote on a governmental declaration concerning the rescue of Greece. Prime Minister Manuel Valls was present in the National assembly whereas his declaration was simultaneously read in the Senate by Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius. Before I analyse here […]

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14 January: Eurogroup discusses draft Council recommendation on euro area

January 14, 2016

For the main results see here: "The Eurogroup exchanged views on the implementation of the 2015 euro area recommendation and discussed the draft Council recommendation on economic policy of the euro area for 2016, which is scheduled to be approved by the ECOFIN Council on 15 January 2016. Ministers agreed on five policy priorities for […]

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14 December: Eurogroup blocks debt relief in reaction to Greek 2017 budget

December 14, 2016

After Greece adopted its 2017 budget with a tight 152-146 majority on Saturday 10 December, including a total of 617 million to around 1.6 million low-income pensioners, the Eurogroup has circulated a statement concluding that the necessary unanimity for Greek debt relief (see this ESM explainer) is now lacking: "- The institutions have concluded that […]

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1 December 2015: ESM releases 2,72 billion euro to Greece for bank recapitalisation

December 2, 2015

The Board of Directors of the ESM has decided to release €2.72 billion to Greece to recapitalise Piraeus Bank. The decision came after approval by the European Commission of additional state aid based on the bank’s amended restructuring plan.

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The Greek Referendum: Unconstitutional and Undemocratic – by Xenophon Contiades and Alkmene Fotiadou

July 7, 2015

The Greek Referendum: Unconstitutional and Undemocratic By Prof. Xenophon Contiades and Dr. Alkmene Fotiadou (Centre for European Constitutional Law, University of Peloponnese) No democratic country should have to decide on its future through an unconstitutional, undemocratic referendum. Greece did. On Sunday, Greek citizens went to the polls to answer a question characterized by oracular ambiguity. A […]

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14 February: IMF expresses concern over Greece

February 14, 2016

While the institutions are carrying out the first review mission in the framework of the third financial assistance package to Greece, pension reform plans are among the most controversial issues. Tension is mounting between Greece and the IMF, currently not participating in the programme and only prepared to do so in the presence of credible […]

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12 December: IMF claims it is not asking for more Greek austerity

December 12, 2016

In a blogpost, IMF economist Obstfeldt and Director of the IMF's European Department Thomsen have reacted to criticism that the IMF would be demanding more fiscal austerity for Greece, in particular for making this a condition for urgently needed debt relief. According to Obstfeldt and Thomsen, these allegations are not true. For the IMF a primary […]

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23 November 2015: ESM Board of Directors authorises disbursement to Greece

November 23, 2015

Today the Board of Directors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) authorised the disbursement of €2 billion to Greece, following, following the Greek government’s completion of the first set of milestones and a positive statement by the Eurogroup: "The Eurogroup welcomes the completion by the Greek authorities of the first set of milestones and the […]

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The Greek Referendum from Comparative Perspective: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – by Fernando Mendez

July 6, 2015

The Greek Referendum from Comparative Perspective: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Fernando Mendez, Centre for Research on Direct Democracy, University of Zurich (and co-author of Referendums and the European Union: A comparative inquiry, CUP Press 2014) The aim of this short piece is to situate the July 5th Greek referendum in comparative context. […]

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7 March: Debt Relief Talks Greece to Start ‘in Near Future’

March 7, 2016

After the Eurogroup meeting of 7 March, President Jeroen Dijsselbloem remarked: "We discussed the state of play, in particular of course of the first review, what the next steps could be. The outcome of that is that the mission chiefs will return to Athens. I'm not sure when exactly, perhaps already tomorrow. There is enough […]

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7 february: IMF staff report on Greek debt sustainability published

February 7, 2017

An IMF staff report published on 7 February calls on the euro area to offer significant debt relief to Greece. It summarises: "Despite the policy constraints imposed by its membership in the currency union, Greece has made significant progress in unwinding its macroeconomic imbalances. But extensive fiscal consolidation and internal devaluation have come with substantial […]

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16 October 2015: Greece adopts reforms ahead of bailout review

October 18, 2015

The approved measures include cutting pensions, raising the retirement age, increasing punishment for tax evasion and liberalising the energy market. They were approved by a majority of 154 out of 300 Members of Parliament. For more details see the reporting by Reuters.

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The Greek Referendum: How Democratic is it? – by Alexander H. Trechsel

July 4, 2015

How Democratic is the Greek Referendum? Alexander H. Trechsel (Swiss Chair Professor in Federalism and Democracy at the EUI) (This comment first appeared in EUDO Café: It could hardly get any more dramatic in the negotiations between the EU and the Greek government. The clock is ticking and if no solution can be found […]

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11 April: Joint anti-austerity declaration Portugal and Greece

April 11, 2016

In a joint declaration left-wing Prime Ministers Costa and Tsipras of Portugal and Greece expressed their dissatisfaction with the EU anti-austerity policy.

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19 November 2015: Greek Parliament approves reform law

November 20, 2015

The Greek Parliament has approved a set of prior actions, including a home foreclosures bill, part of a deal between Greece on the one hand and the European Commission, ECB, ESM and IMF on the other hand on the measures needed for approval by the eurozone Finance Ministers of a disbursement of € 2 billion. […]

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The Greek Referendum: is it Only a Question of Legality? – by Stavros Makris

July 3, 2015

Towards the Greek Referendum: Is it only a question of legality? Stavros Makris (PhD Researcher at the EUI), 3 July 2015 On 27 June, after an impasse in the negotiations with the Institutions, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, called a referendum on a potential political deal with the Institutions concerning the country’s bailout programme. […]

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11 April: Commission discusses Greece with EP Working Group

April 11, 2016

After an invitation from Greek Prime Minister Tsipras, the European Parliament has created a Working Group within the ECON Committee, to strengthen its efforts to ensure a strong parliamentary scrutiny of financial assistance programmes. The first fact-finding mission of the ECON Working Group took place in Athens on 30 and 31 March 2016. The delegation […]

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17 November 2015: deal between Greece and creditors paves way to ESM disbursement

November 17, 2015

The Greek government is reported to have reached a deal with the European Commission, ECB, ESM and IMF on the measures needed for approval by the eurozone Finance Ministers of the disbursement of € 2 billion. Last week the Eurogroup failed to gave a green light to the disbursement. For more details see the news […]

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The Greek Referendum: is it Unconstitutional? – by Afroditi Marketou

July 3, 2015

Is the Greek referendum unconstitutional? Afroditi Marketou,[1] 3 July 2015 It would be shocking if the Greek government announced an unconstitutional referendum. They, who had so much emphasized the need for constitutional legality in their critique towards previous governments and in their electoral campaign, they would now so violently and profoundly violate the Greek Constitution […]

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