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Greece is (very) complicated (Dombrovskis)

Valdis Dombrovskis today in front of the press (credit: EBS / B2)

(BRUSSELS2) For the European institutions, the fate of Greece after the referendum “is complicated”… Valdis Dombrovskis, the vice-president in charge of the Euro and Social Dialogue, repeated it in every tone, at each of the questions that journalists asked him during the daily press conference held at the Berlaymont. Now it’s time for negotiation, so to speak. “ Everyone must meet around a table. (…) If everyone works well, it is possible to find a solution even in this… complex context! »

It is complicated !

The former Latvian Prime Minister — who resigned the day after the Riga supermarket disaster (54 dead) (read: The Riga disaster. unnoticed) —, had been sent to the coal by Jean-Claude Juncker to clear the ground in front of the press. His cold, methodical speech, without any human warmth for the fate of Greek citizens, could in no way overshadow on a political level what the President of the Commission could have made. He did very well, saying nothing other than “it’s complicated”. A bit like these 'Facebook' profiles where the participants indicate that they are no longer quite married, but do not want to appear still single, or even multi-single people, display that, well, it's complicated. In fact, Valdis, despite his very cold exterior, must have had a lot of humor and wanted to send a subliminal message to journalists. We are on the verge of separation...

No complicates everything

“The European Commission takes note of the result of yesterday's referendum in Greece. We respect the democratic choice of the Greek people he clarified. This was the only concession to the democratic vote. Because V. Dombrovskis immediately tried to challenge the validity of the referendum “ La question asked in the referendum was not correct. Because it was based on a project which was not approved by the Eurogroup. And it wasn't the last version. The only basis for the referendum was political. » And added that the 'No' vote did not " that weaken the position of the Hellenic government ". Because « the 'no' unfortunately widens the gap between Greece and other Eurozone countries.

A lot of time wasted, Tsipras’s fault…

“Far too much time and too many opportunities have been lost” then clarified Valdis Dombrovskis, a little bitter. « Europe has always stood by the Greek people during the crisis. European taxpayers have offered unprecedented financial assistance. Since 2010, €184 million has been disbursed from the Greece Loan Facility and the European Financial Stability Facility he clarified.

More « Reforms were often delayed or only partially implemented, leading to a prolonged recession and more difficult reforms to implement later. Only eight months ago, Greece finally turned the page, thehe economy was growing, investment was starting to pick up, and jobs were being created again. The country was close to returning to markets and ending its bailout program late last year. Unfortunately, the current Greek government has not been able to use the (program) extension to produce a credible strategy to emerge from this crisis, regain financial stability and return to economic growth. »

Greece's place in Europe… but in the Eurozone

The Commission is ready to use all means within our mandate,” he added. “One thing is clear. Greece's place is in Europe. » On the other hand, he refused to answer precisely whether Greece still had a future in the Euro Zone. “The result of the referendum obviously complicated things” he said B2 asked him the question. " From there, we must choose the path to follow, to develop a clear plan, regain financial stability, return to economic growth, and also respond to social concerns. »

No new program without mandate from the Eurogroup

This is the other leitmotif ofEuropean executive. “The Commission is ready to continue working with Greece. But to be clear, the Commission cannot negotiate a new program without a mandate from the Eurogroup. » etc. And " Yesterday's result marks a rejection of reforms proposed, to a large extent, by the Greek authorities themselves, and linked to a now expired support program for Greece. »

Debt restructuring: it’s complicated!

As for debt restructuring… “ it is complicated. the Eurogroup announced in 2012 a debate on this subject once the FSEF program was completed. Unfortunately, the FSEF program has not been completed, it remains pending, not completed. Therefore this offer is no longer relevant, like the entire program. We need to resume discussions. ". In recent discussions, we had seen that the euro zone countries were ready to look into Greece's indebtedness and the cost of servicing the debt. (But) it is up to the Eurogroup to decide on the mandate of the European Commission and to decide whether or not the question of the debt should be dealt with. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)


It is complicated

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).