POLITICS & POLICY
The negotiations over the Greek bailout are back under the spotlight as Finance Ministers of the EU and international creditors gather in Brussels for the Eurogroup meeting on Thursday. Yesterday, the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, called for lenders and the Greek government to find a fair solution to the debt crisis. Moscovici stated that everyone should work in the direction of debt relief for Athens. Moreover, one week ago the Commissioner cautioned the involved stakeholders against playing with fire over the Greek situation. Nevertheless, EurActiv reports that the Greek government remains sceptical about the possibility of finding an agreement on the matter. Strikingly, the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble – one the staunchest critics of debt relief measure in favour of Athens – said on Wednesday that the Eurogroup will find a solution in Thursday’s meeting.
Meanwhile, many institutional representatives spoke in favour of Greece, which faces a €7 billion repayment on loans in July. On Thursday, the Chairman of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament, Roberto Gualtieri, called for the Eurogroup to do its part, in exchange of Athens’s efforts over the past few years. Likewise, the S&D leader in the European Parliament Gianni Pittella, called for Germany to lift its opposition to debt relief. On Wednesday, many European newspapers published a short op-ed signed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who called for European leaders to relaunch growth efforts in Europe.
On Tuesday, the European Commission started procedures to sanction Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, over their opposition to the EU refugee relocation scheme. All three countries failed to provide substantial contributions to the scheme agreed upon two years ago, which foresees, by September 2017, the relocation of 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to the rest of Europe.
On Wednesday, the Polish Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, caused criticism by talking about contemporary security threats to Polish citizens on the occasion of an official ceremony in Auschwitz. Szydlo was blasted, among others, by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, who interpreted the Prime Minister’s speech as an attack on the refugee policy of the EU. According to the German daily Die Welt, Warsaw looks with critical eyes at the political alliance between Paris and Berlin, rekindled after the results of the French elections, in May.
Meanwhile, the French city of Calais is making headlines again, as human rights activists accuse public authorities of turning a blind eye to the state of emergency affecting migrants in the region. Calais dropped out of public view after French authorities shut down one of the biggest refugee camps in Europe, and declared that the situations was under control.
In other news, the political conflict between the Hungarian government and Brussels. On Wednesday, the Hungarian Parliament approved a bill limiting the freedom of Non-Governmental Organisations to receive funding from abroad. The passing of the law has been criticised by most EU Member States, as well as by the Union’s representatives.
“When will be the point from moving to talking about talks, to more detailed talks, I cannot say. This doesn’t depend entirely on us”
Alexander Winterstein, spokesman of the European Commission, talking about the delay in the start of Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
Source: EurActiv, 14.06.2017
The number of employed people in Europe, according to Eurostat.
Source: La Repubblica, 14.06.2017
Photo Credits CC CAFOD Photo Library
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