Thursday October 30, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
19o C
12o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Eurogroup to approve 9.2bln loan tranche for Greece and pick Juncker's successor

Greece expects eurozone finance ministers to rubber stamp on Monday its 9.2-billion-euro loan tranche, although the Eurogroup is expected to focus on who will preside over its regular meetings in the future.

The Euro Working Group has already recommended to the group of 17 finance minister that Athens receive its latest bailout instalments after meeting targets set for January, including the passing of a new tax law and the increase in electricity charges.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund agreed to release its share of funding for Greece, which amounts to 3.2 billion euros.

After eight years as firefighter in chief, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker presides over his last meeting as chair of the Eurogroup on Monday.

The first gathering of eurozone leaders of the year will be dominated by Juncker's succession -- with newly-installed Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem the only candidate after weeks of horse-trading between the currency area's German and French powerbrokers.

The meeting, starting at 1600 GMT, is meant to look at other burning eurozone issues like tardy debt negotiations with the government of Cyprus and the long shadow of Russian money-laundering hanging over Nicosia's request for a bailout since mid-2012.

Ministers from the 17 eurozone states are also due to tackle the thorny question of «legacy assets», or what old banking debt can be considered eligible in the event of future recapitalisation of lenders by the eurozone rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

The latter was a problem that first surfaced after the ESM's capacity to do this job -- keeping bailout monies off government deficits in theory -- had seemingly been agreed, and was the product of a special meeting between Triple A-rated Germany, the Netherlands and Finland.

Juncker's style is inimitable in the world of government and finance, and his longevity can only be compared to someone like Sir Alex Ferguson in football, but the eurozone's top day-to-day official, Thomas Wieser, says the passing of the baton to Dijsselbloem will not change much.

"The working methods will stay the same in Manchester when Ferguson moves on, and the working methods will stay the same in Brussels after Juncker goes,» he told journalists on Friday.

Dijsselbloem formally announced his candidacy the previous day in the Dutch parliament, and after a flying visit that evening to Madrid to secure Spain's backing, was unchallenged as a notional Friday deadline for a rival to emerge came and went.

The French were reluctant to miss out on control of the Eurogroup -- at a time when the institution's cross-border powers within a fractious wider European Union are only likely to increase.

Giving the leadership to the tough but successful «north» leaves Socialist-governed France edging closer to their more financially-challenged Latin neighbours, and Paris coveted this position itself for long and weary.

"I want to thank Juncker for his work at the Eurogroup ... (and) all the advice he has given me as a newcomer to this financial world,» said Dijsselbloem, 46, after meeting Juncker in Luxembourg on Friday.

"We'll see Monday how it goes. My French colleague has asked for a presentation of ... (my) vision for the Eurogroup,» he said.

Germany reiterated afterwards that it had campaigned for months on the Dutchman's behalf.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday that he expected Dijsselbloem to be appointed Eurogroup chief, suggesting Paris had bowed to the inevitable despite reservations about him.

Just last week, Moscovici told a German newspaper he needed to know more about the Dutchman's agenda and suggested that the appointment might not be made before February at the earliest.

He acknowledged for the first time on Sunday however that the Dutchman was set to be selected on Monday, when euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels.

"I maintain a request that he spell out his vision of what he expects for Europe. That's the least we should expect - that Mr. Dijsselbloem tell us what he expects and wants,» Moscovici said in an interview on TV5 television channel.

The fact Dijsselbloem is left-leaning politically may soften the blow when hands are raised over dinner to confirm the passing of the reins, but seasoned observers wonder if the change nonetheless symbolises an acceleration in the pressure on southern eurozone economies to change political course.

Juncker will almost certainly give his final de-briefing to EU counterparts from Britain and elsewhere on Tuesday morning, after which the job of marshalling governments of different hues into common action underpinned by a shared currency will fall to a relative novice.

Cyprus will feature heavily in Dijsselbloem's in-tray, although a senior EU official warned it would still be «months» before anyone is ready to hand over actual loans.

Ireland's bid to exit its EU-International Monetary Fund aid programme before the year is out will also figure prominently, with rumbling rows about interest rates on aspects of its heavily banking-sector slanted bailout.

Tuesday's meeting of all 27 EU finance ministers, meanwhile, will focus on a bid by an inner cabal of eurozone states to launch a tax on financial transactions.

[Kathimerini English Edition & agencies]

ekathimerini.com , Monday Jan 21, 2013 (13:05)  
Italy, Greece banks lead Europe decliners amid capital concerns
European stocks tumble as banks decline after Enria’s comments
Germany’s bonds rise as consumer prices decline in six states
Peripheral banks lead European shares lower after positive start
IMF cautions Greece on early withdrawal from program
The IMF said Thursday that Greece is not ready to rely solely on commercial markets for financing, after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said the country might exit its bailout early. With mo...
In Athens, NATO chief sees spike in Russian flights on border
NATO's new chief said on Thursday the alliance is increasing its readiness and air policing following a spike in Russian air force activity in Eastern Europe. Jens Stoltenberg said while NAT...
Inside News
SOCCER
Greece drops Samaras for Euro 2016 qualifier
Greece coach Claudio Ranieri has dropped striker Georgios Samaras from the national team after a dismal start to European Championship qualifying. Samaras, who plays for West Bromwich Albion...
BASKETBALL
Panathinaikos and PAOK retain perfect record
The third round of games in the Basket League over the weekend saw PAOK overcome the strong resistance of host KAOD at Drama, and Panathinaikos and Olympiakos inflict heavy losses on AEK and...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Time is running out in Afghanistan
Thirteen years after the attacks on the Twin Towers and NATO's entry into the war in Afghanistan, things remain pretty much unchanged: Political instability and insecurity  reign in the Cent...
COMMENTARY
Cool heads required
It’s time for Athens and Nicosia to deal with the current situation in Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which a Turkish seismic research vessel has breached against international law,...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. IMF cautions Greece on early withdrawal from program
2. In Athens, NATO chief sees spike in Russian flights on border
3. Greece drops Samaras for Euro 2016 qualifier
4. Germany denies backing proposal for Greece to exit aid program
5. Boy, 13, dies after falling from fifth floor in Thessaloniki
6. Italy, Greece banks lead Europe decliners amid capital concerns
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek euro dilemma is back as minister predicts volatility
2. Students hijack university senate meeting
3. Clientelism belongs to the past, says Mitsotakis
4. Over 1,500 buildings and vehicles damaged in flash floods
5. Peripheral banks lead European shares lower after positive start
6. European stocks tumble as banks decline after Enria’s comments
Today
This Week
1. At least 11 banks to fail European stress tests, three in Greece, report says
2. Austria’s creative bookkeeping beats Greece on secret debts
3. Cyprus to block Turkey's EU talks after EEZ violation
4. End of reason, end of humanity
5. Clean bill of health for Greek banks from stress tests
6. Samaras pledges action after flash floods in Athens
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.