Euro crisis set to flare up as Greek default looms

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The debt crisis in the euro zone is being reignited now that it is clear that Greece is not delivering on its promised reforms. Related story on

Greece is failing to meet its restructuring targets. This means that Eurozone countries are no longer willing to send money to Athens as part of the European emergency support.

Only with very tough measures, the Athens government can prevent this from happening.

People familiar with the talks between finance ministers say that there is continued contact between Eurozone finance ministries because the situation is worse than in May last year, when the EU agreed emergency support measures for Greece at the very last minute.

Within the next weeks, the International Monetary Fund and the Eurozone countries have to decide on transferring the next batch of 12 billion euro in emergency loans to Athens. Greece needs this money to repay its debts, but, according to one source, this now might not happen.

Under the emergency support package for Greece that was agreed a year ago, Athens is entitled to 110 billion euro in emergency loans. Greece has committed itself to cutting its budget deficit to 3% of its gross domestic product by 2014.

A delegation representing the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank is on the ground in Athens to monitor the Greek progress. Inspectors have reportedly concluded that there are problems. Greek tax revenue is lagging, and the delegation is pushing Greece to adopt more reforms.

The big obstacle is the Greek government’s programme of privatisations. The government promised it would sell 50 billion euros worth of state companies, in return for a pledge of lower interest rates on the emergency loans. But those privatisations, as it turns out now, are not happening.

All this makes it more likely that Greece will have to restructure its debt again, although here in Brussels, the European commission believes other measures can be considered. One of them could be to take over the privatization process in Greece.

Whatever happens with the Greek debt in the coming weeks, these new developments are again going to test solidarity among the countries in the Eurozone.

In an interview with EURACTIV, Former European parliament president Josep Borrell said this week that persistent hesitation of EU leaders to tackle the crises is weakening the European Union and exacerbating integration fatigue.
Borrell said that the lack of political will among EU leaders has turned the Greek crisis into a Euro crisis.

And this crisis clearly is not over yet.

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