Spain threatens to block Greece bailout payment

Spain was reportedly angry that Athens has failed to drop a legal case against European experts who had worked on the Greek privatisation programme.

Published: 16th June 2017 06:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2017 06:45 PM   |  A+A-

An elderly man walks past wallets designed as Euro banknotes, outside a kiosk in central Athens. (Photo | AP)


LUXEMBOURG: Spain on Friday threatened to block the latest bailout disbursement to Greece, angry that Athens has failed to drop a legal case against European experts who had worked on the Greek privatisation programme.

"The payment of the latest tranche will be blocked (without a solution)," said Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos on the sidelines of EU finance minister talks in Luxembourg.

De Guindos told reporters that Spain and Italy had won the support of eurozone partners at marathon talks on Thursday, when a 8.5-billion-euro ($9.5-billion) payout to Greece was agreed in principle.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, the eurozone's most dominant figure, backed De Guindos.

"Immunity was promised beforehand and such commitments should be fulfilled," Schaeuble told reporters.

Another top eurozone official said the allegations were "unfair" and that ministers believed the case was politically motivated.

The legal case concerns three advisors from Spain, Italy and Slovakia to the Greek privatisation agency, created at the insistence of Germany in the wake of the debt crisis in 2011.

Many details of the accusations are unknown, but a Greek legal source said the experts were accused of "disloyalty to the public", a crime that carries a 20-year jail sentence.

The Greek courts initiated proceedings against the experts in 2014 after alleged irregularities in the sale of 28 real estate properties owned by the Greek state.

Since 2016, a Greek law hands immunity to foreign experts assisting Greece in its bailout programme but has no retroactive effect.

"We will find a solution in time," a Greek government source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"We are not going to go broke over this case," the source added.

Payment of the latest tranche of Greece's 86-billion euro ($97-billion) bailout still requires the official greenlight of national parliaments and a final sign off by eurozone ministers, giving Spain a de facto veto for moving forward.

Eurozone ministers struck a long-delayed bailout deal with Greece on Thursday to unlock badly needed rescue cash, but warned Athens would have to wait for debt relief.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp