Greece and the economic crisis 2016
NEWS ARCHIVE - Feb 1 - Feb 10
Feb 10, 2016Athens given deadline as EU looks to send more refugees back to Greece - UK Guardian
"European Union authorities have given Athens one month to improve conditions for asylum seekers in the hope of eventually sending more refugees back to Greece.
...The European commission issued Athens with a list of instructions on Wednesday to bring Greece into line with EU norms on refugee policy, including improving living conditions for asylum seekers and overhauling judicial procedures so people denied leave to remain have the right to appeal.
...Under the EU’s Dublin system of migration rules, asylum seekers can be sent back to the first country they arrived in. But other EU member states have not been able to send asylum seekers back to Greece since the European court of human rights ruled in 2011 that conditions for refugees were so bad they were tantamount to “degrading treatment”."
Will the EU really fence off one of its own members? - eKathimerini
"The European Union’s weakest link could become an open-air refugee camp if some European leaders get their way. Amid concerns that Greece is failing to protect Europe’s external frontier, calls have grown louder to quarantine it by helping Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) seal its southern border – which refugees must cross to continue their journeys north – and suspend Greece from the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone.
....This decision would effectively cut off Greece, which does not share a land border with any other Schengen countries, from the rest of the zone. The greatest impact for Greece would be economic, slowing the movement of people and goods at air and sea ports."
Feb 9, 2016
"January was a bad month for Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The election of Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Jan. 10 to the leadership of the official opposition and the rise of mass protests against the government’s plans for pension reform have decisively altered Greek politics in ways that undermine Mr. Tsipras’s plans for a more stable second term."
"Yanis Varoufakis, who as Greece's finance minister last year tried to defy German-backed austerity policies, has launched a pan-European movement in Berlin that he says aims to ''democratise'' the continent. David Pollard reports."
The Latest: Greece: Stop Migrants in Turkish Waters - NYT
"Greece's defense minister says he wants an agreement with neighboring Turkey that would allow the European Union's Frontex border agency to stop and turn back — within Turkish waters — boats carrying migrants to the Greek islands.
Panos Kammenos said Monday that he has already made the proposal to his EU colleagues, who "showed great interest," and will raise the matter with NATO officials.
He said Greek authorities are in a position to locate smugglers boats as they leave the nearby Turkish coast and alert Frontex, and the Turkish coast guard. Kammenos said this would "stop the great migratory flow to Greece" and stop deaths of migrants and refugees trying to reach Greece in rickety boats."
Feb 8, 2016Greece has to convince lenders that the numbers will add up to reach a surplus - Nasdaq
"[Greece] has to convince lenders that the numbers will add up to reach a primary surplus of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.
...In reality, most lenders will be more convinced that there are fairies at the bottom of the garden than Greece being able to hit a target."
Greece expects bailout review to resume next week - Finance Minister -Yahoo
"Greece expects the review of its bailout performance to resume next week and conclude two weeks later, its finance minister said on Monday.
"We must convince them ... how we will reach the 3.5 percent of GDP primary budget surplus year by year," Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told lawmakers. "The pension and tax reforms will contribute to this in 2018."
FYROM beefs up border with construction of second fence - eKathimerini
"Authorities in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) have begun reinforcing a barrier at its border with Greece, designed to limit the number of migrants and asylum seekers crossing into the country.
The army confirmed Monday that construction was underway to create a second layer of fencing along sections of the border."
This is what could push Greece out of the euro - CNBC
"Analysts at Eurasia Group said in a note on Monday that Greece could bear the brunt of potential plans to limit the amount of refugees reaching northern Europe.
"We continue to believe that the EU-Turkey deal is not going to deliver the reduction in refugee flows the Europeans are hoping for," analysts Mujtaba Rahman, Naz Masraff and James Sawyer from Eurasia Group said in a note Monday."
Traders Going for Exit Target Greece, Sending Stocks to 1990 Low - Bloomberg
"As the global market rout deepens, Greek assets are again the ones that are suffering the most.
The nation’s stocks are back to being the biggest decliners of the year as they head for their lowest close since 1990. Its bonds, which have already lost more than three times as much as the second-worst performer in the euro area in 2016, saw yields on securities maturing in a decade rising to more than 10 percent."
Feb 7, 2016More than 40 per cent of migrants on Balkan route 'have no chance of EU asylum' - UK Telegraph
"Forty per cent of refugees recently travelling on the Balkan route have no prospect of gaining asylum in the EU, estimates the European Commission according to reports.
The commission’s assessment comes in light of figures showing that the proportion of refugees making their way across the Balkan route from countries including Afghanistan and Iraq, whose citizens have a lower chance of receiving asylum in the EU than Syrians, has risen markedly since September last year."
Feb 6, 2016
"EU member states have hammered out details of a controversial plan to send more border guards and even troops to Macedonia's border with Greece in a bid to stem the flow of migrants entering northern Europe.
...The plan, which was first floated by Slovenia last month, is particularly contentious as it appears to involve EU member states siding with non-EU member Macedonia against its historic rival Greece, which is an EU member."
Greece and lenders want to finish review by end-Feb - Reuters
"Greece has promised to cut pension spending by 1 percent of GDP, or 1.8 billion euros, this year. To protect pensioners whose benefits have been cut 11 times already since 2010, the government plans to increase social security contributions by employees and employers.
Asked about progress in negotiations with the Greek authorities, EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said: "discussions are constructive. We are making progress on all relevant items", including pensions and public administration reform, he told a news conference in Brussels."
Feb 3, 2016
"Greece must introduce a raft of pension reforms to win a positive assessment from lenders of its level of adherence to conditions of an 86-billion-euro bailout that deeply indebted Athens signed up to in 2015.
...Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed not to cut pensions to overhaul the system, but increase social security contributions instead. The Greek government has also suggested an increase in income tax on high earners to about 50 percent, from 42 percent at present, a government source said."
"Children now make up over a third of the migrants making the perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece, the UN said on Tuesday, as two more babies drowned off Europe's shores.
...Including January, a total of 330 children have died in those waters over the past five months, many of them just metres from shore, the organisation said."
Feb 2, 2016
"Taxi-drivers on the Macedonian side have blocked the railway line between the two countries, protesting over the fact that police give priority first to trains and buses to take the migrants north to Serbia en route to western Europe.
...More than 62,000 migrants, many of them refugees from the Syrian war, arrived in Greece last month by boat and dinghy from Turkey braving winter weather and rough seas, according to the the International Organization for Migration."
Tsipras Attempts to Please All Sides During Speech at National Bank of Greece - Greek Reporter
"Greek Prime Minister’s speech on launch of the National Bank’s Act4Greece program had a bit of everything for everyone, thereby adding further weight to claims to Alexis Tsipras’ radical days are long behind him and that his main goal is to appeal now to voters from all segments of Greek society so he can maintain his grip on power.
....the Greek Prime Minister conveniently omitted this apparent truth from his speech, is that his government must be able to implement fully the terms of the third bailout plan, which includes additional austerity measures and harsh reforms."
Greece’s lenders to start first review of $93 billion bailout - Marketwatch
"Greece needs to wind up this review of the country’s third bailout, worth up to €86 billion ($93 billion), before being able to start negotiations with lenders over debt relief. The progress of the talks will play a crucial role in shaping economic sentiment in Greece and the depth of this year’s recession, as last year a standoff between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and lenders over reforms nearly sent the country out of the eurozone.
Europe Needs to Stop Blaming Greece for the Refugee Crisis - Slate
"Greeks are also concerned that the reimposition of border controls throughout Europe will leave more migrants stranded in the country where they arrive. Austria and Germany, for instance, have been turning away hundreds of migrants found to be lying about their nationalities and border controls have been going up throughout the Balkans, pushing people back toward Greece. There’s now growing pressure to seal Greece’s border with Macedonia, which as one expert put it, would effectively “turn Greece into a de facto refugee camp.”
While European countries agreed last September to distribute 160,000 refugees throughout the union’s 26 members, only about 150 have been relocated under the program so far."
NEWS ARCHIVE - February 2016