Thursday, March 19, 2015

Greece and creditors bicker ahead of summit

Financial Times
March 18, 2015

A Greek “humanitarian bill” to aid victims of the economic crisis has become the latest flashpoint in the country’s frayed relationship with its creditors and has set the stage for a high-level confrontation at Thursday’s EU summit.

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, introduced the bill in parliament on Wednesday, angering creditors who believed they should have first been consulted.

Mr Tsipras defended the move in an emotive speech, saying: “We’re not going to allow [foreign] technocrats to draft our legislation any longer.”

The bill, which passed on Wednesday by an overwhelming majority, is part of the governing Syriza party’s campaign pledge to fight poverty in Greece caused by a prolonged recession and comes with a price tag of an estimated €200m.

But creditors said Athens’s decision to push through the legislation violated a deal reached with eurozone finance ministers to consult them and not change economic policy unilaterally. They also complained that other measures had been inserted into the legislation that did not directly address social spending.


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