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07/12/2016

Commission considers development aid for Greece

Development Policy

Commission considers development aid for Greece

Neven Mimica (European Parliament)

Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, told reporters on Monday (6 July) that he is considering whether a financial aid programme could be relevant for Greece, after Parliament President Martin Schulz first raised the issue. 

A week ago, Greece became the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund. Over the past six months, Greece and its creditors – the IMF, the European Central Bank and the EU – have discussed reforms to Greece’s current second bailout programme, at the request of the Greek government.

But so far the negotiations have not been fruitful and over the weekend, a large majority of Greeks voted ‘No’ to the latest reform proposal from creditors.

Mimica said that while it is at the moment still time for reflection of the overall context of the outcome of the referendum, the discussions on development, humanitarian, regional and structural assistance for Greece will soon become relevant.

“I would say that this will be an important part of the discussions for all of us in the EU,” Mimica stated at a press briefing. 

“The EU has enough internal mechanisms and instruments that could take care of the needs of any of the member states,” the Commissioner added.

Schulz calls for ‘humanitarian’ assistance

Schulz, who went to Athens over the weekend and openly campaigned for a “Yes” vote in the Greek referendum, has already called for humanitarian assistance to Greece.

The EU Parliament chief said that the Greeks would likely find themselves in a dramatically more difficult situation this week, and that Tuesday’s eurozone summit should discuss a humanitarian aid programme for the struggling southern European country.

>>Watch the video: ‘Greece needs a humanitarian aid programme,’ Schulz says after referendum

“Ordinary citizens, pensioners, sick people or children in the kindergarten should not pay a price for the dramatic situation in which the country and the government brought the country now. Therefore a humanitarian programme is needed immediately and I hope that the Greek government will make in the coming hours meaningful and constructive proposals allowing that it is meaningful and possible to renegotiate. If not, we are entering a very difficult and even dramatic time,” Schulz said in his first interview after the result of the Greek vote was confirmed.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel reiterted Schulz’ call for the emergency summit to discuss humanitarian aid for Greece.

“We must now cover their needs very quickly. The people there need help and we should not refuse it just because we’re unhappy with the result of the referendum,” Gabriel told AFP on Monday (6 July).

>> Read: UN debt expert says Greece can’t take more austerity

Background

A majority of Greeks on Sunday (5 July) voted "No" in the referendum on the country's proposed rescue package. A eurozone summit on Tuesday (7 July) will look into the fallout of the vote.

In Athens, thousands of jubilant Greeks waving flags and lighting fireworks poured into the city's Syntagma Square, as official figures showed 61% of Greek voters had rejected a deal the two sides had been close to reaching on 26 June.

>> Read: Greek ‘No’ inflicts heavy blow on EU

Timeline

  • 7 July: Eurogroup and eurozone summit in Brussels.