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 (

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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4 April: European Commission discusses Greece with EP

April 4, 2017

Read the statement by Commissioner Moscovici here (in French).

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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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24 March: European Commission reacts to Greek letter on social Europe

March 24, 2017

Commission President Juncker issued a statement reacting to a letter Greek Prime Minister Tsipras on the occassion of the Social Summit. Read the reaction here.

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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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Is the IMF necessary for the 3rd Greek Program? – by Alexandros Kyriakidis (University of Sheffield)

April 20, 2016

Alexandros Kyriakidis is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Politics of the University of Sheffield Tensions have been growing between Greece and the IMF, including a highly controversial Wikileaks leaked conversation between the IMF Mission Chief for Greece and the Head of IMF’s European Department that raised issues at the highest level, with letters […]

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9 November 2015: no green light from Eurogroup for disbursement to Greece (yet)

November 10, 2015

No deal was reached (yet) at Monday's Eurogroup on disbursement of a next tranche of € 2 billion to Greece, nor to release the linked € 10 billion reserved for bank recapitalisation, as creditors and Greece disagree on the details of foreclosure legislation (the protection offered to homeowners). See for more detailed news coverage EUObserver […]

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13 August 2015: Votes in Greek and Finnish Parliament related to MoU Greece

August 13, 2015

The Greek Parliament is set to vote today on a set of prior actions presented as a condition for endorsement by the Eurogroup on 14 August of the Memorandum of Understanding agreed between the Greek government and the 'Institutions' (IMF/EC/ECB) on 11 August. See also the relevant section in the Report on Greece by Afroditi-Ioanna […]

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22 April: first programme review Greece discussed at Eurogroup

April 22, 2016

No agreement was reached yet on either the conclusion of the first review of the Greek programme or – with the IMF in particular – on debt sustainability. Instead it was agreed that in the coming days a special contingent package of additional measures should be negotiated, that would be implemented only if necessary to […]

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6 November 2015: Greek Parliament approves measures ahead of eurogroup meeting

November 8, 2015

The Greek Parliament on Friday approved new measures ahead of the eurogroup meeting of Monday 9 November which is to decide on a disbursement of 2 billion euro's. For detailed news coverage see the Financial Times and Repubblica.

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22 July 2015: Greece adopts new reforms required before start of negotiations on ESM assistance

July 23, 2015

Reforms include a new Law on the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms, that implements Directive 2014/59/EU. See this opinion of the ECB of July 20 on the Greek draft law. The reforms also include a Code of Civil Procedure. The laws were voted by 230 out of 300 MPs, with 63 […]

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9 May: Eurogroup agrees principles on Greek debt measures

May 11, 2016

In an attempt to secure IMF participation in the 3rd Greek assistance programme, the Eurogroup of Monday 9 May agreed that: "In line with the statements of the Euro Summit and the Eurogroup in the summer of 2015, the Eurogroup stands ready to consider, if necessary, possible additional debt measures aiming at ensuring that Greece's […]

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31 October 2015: Greek Parliament approves bank recapitalisation legislation

October 31, 2015

The Greek Parliament on 31 October adopted a bill allowing for the injection of funds into the financial sector. This coincided with the publication by the ECB of stress test results indicating that the 4 biggest Greek banks (National Bank of Greece, Piraeus, Alpha Bank and Eurobank) needed recapitalisation. See for detailed news coverage Reuters […]

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17 July 2015: German Bundestag authorizes negotations on ESM assistance Greece

July 17, 2015

See the relevant section in the Report on Germany by Sabine Mair for further information on parliamentary involvement in the ESM in Germany.

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23 May: IMF suggests detailed modalities of debt relief ahead of Eurogroup

May 24, 2016

On Monday 23 May, one day before a Eurogroup meeting devoted to Greece, IMF staff has published a report with a critical preliminary debt sustainability analysis of Greece. The report was distributed to the IMF Executive Board in the morning, but – the report explicitly mentioned – was neither discussed nor approved by the same […]

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22 December 2015: ESM Board of Directors approves disbursement to Greece

December 22, 2015

In its press release the ESM announced: "The Board of Directors of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) today authorised the disbursement of €1 billion to Greece. This disbursement, which follows the Greek government’s completion of the second set of reform milestones, will be used by the government for debt service, budget financing, and co-financing projects […]

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26 October 2015: Technical cooperation plan agreed between Commission and Greece

October 27, 2015

The European Commission and the Greek authorities have presented their plan for technical cooperation in support of structural reforms. The plan defines the general context of the cooperation, the guiding principles governing the technical cooperation, the areas to be covered by the technical support, specific principles regarding working methods, principles related to the envisaged financing of technical support, and […]

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16 July 2015: Dutch Parliament debates start of negotiations on ESM assistance Greece – no vote required

July 17, 2015

See the relevant section in the Report on The Netherlands by Jotte Mulder for further information on parliamentary involvement in the ESM in The Netherlands.

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25 May: Eurogroup agrees on short-term debt relief measures for Greece

May 26, 2016

The Eurogroup of 25 May 2016 welcomed the staff-level agreement between Greece and the institutions in the first programme review and considered the sustainability of Greek public debt. Read the full Eurogroup statement here. On the important issue of debt relief, the statemen reads: "In line with the 9 May Eurogroup statement, and in view […]

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