Eurogroup concerned about Greek PM’s handout plan ahead of EU elections

EPA-EFE//OLIVIER HOSLET

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (R) and Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger (3-L) stand with participants prior to a Eurogroup Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, 11 March 2019.

Eurogroup concerned about Greek PM’s handout plan ahead of EU elections


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Brussels and a number of eurozone member states are believed to be deeply concerned about Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ announcement that he plans to introduce a series of high-cost social benefits ahead of the European elections.

According to an EU senior official, Brussels is are concerned that Tsipras’ plan for a series of handouts could prompt the EU to scuttle Greece’s plans for an early repayment of loans owed to the International Monetary Fund.

“I can not exclude the possibility of linking the issue of meeting the commitments with the IMF repayment,” warned the senior EU official. “The government’s proposal to diversify the amounts from Greece’s cash buffer is there to “guarantee a primary surplus.” He added that “people are worried about what has been announced”.

The politically targeted social service measures that were announced by Tsipras las week, ahead of municipal and European Parliament elections, have raised serious concerns among EU governments about Greece’s efforts to meet its pledges to lenders.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is likely to be questioned about the handouts announced by Tsipras at the Eurogroup meeting on 16 May.

 

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