The powerful explosion triggered by terrorists in the heart of Ankara on Wednesday evening forced Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to cancel his trip to Brussels. Davutoglu was supposed to participate in the EU Summit and talk about solutions in the Refugee Crisis. Consequently, the three-party meeting between Greece, Germany and Turkey was canceled. And so was the meeting of another 11 EU countries with the Refugee Crisis high on the agenda.
It is a fact that without Turkey, the EU cannot find a solution to the Migration problem. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must have felt a little ‘lonesome” in the Belgian capital, as he was putting his bet on the meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and PM Davutoglou.
Nevertheless, Tsipras is strongly trying to find allies among the EU member states leaders and avoid the shutting off of Greece’s borders in the North as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic demand curated by Austria.
The Greek PM has indeed found an ally in Chancellor Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who are against the proposal of shutting down borders.
But the Greek top politician has also other problems to deal with: the review of the Greek Fiscal Adjustment Program. Also in this field he seeks for allies in order to conclude the issue as soon as possible.
Head of Eurogroup and Dutch Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also in Brussels, told media that the country’s lenders were “concerned with the quality of reforms in Greece,” and added that while politically difficult for the Greeks, the government still needed to implement a reform of the pension system and tackle a number of fiscal issues as agreed under a first batch of reforms.
He also stressed the need for Greece to set up a privatization fund before any new money can be disbursed on the completion of the first reform package.
“The quality of the reforms to be implemented is our main concern, the authorities should now shift into high gear so that negotiations can be finalised as soon as possible.
“I very much realize that some of the reforms necessary are politically difficult for the society, but it is of prime importance to implement what has been agreed in summer of 2015,” Dijsselbloem said.
According to some Greek media, the European creditors seem to support the position of the International Monetary Fund to cut pensions instead of raising the social contributions.
No final decision is expected in Brussels today, neither on the Refugee Crisis and ,of course, nor on Greek Program Review.
However as the EU Summit meetings and negotiations will continue until tomorrow Friday, there is hope that PM Tsipras will manage to get more from his European partners other than pleasant niceness small talk and a pat on the shoulder by the EC President.