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Migrant crisis 'may derail' EU budgets: Dijsselbloem

03 november 2015, 11:29
0
Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. ©AFP
Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. ©AFP

Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Monday the fallout from the refugee crisis should be considered when assessing some members' budgets, adding it had already had a major impact on debt-ridden Greece, AFP reports.

"In some countries there's a risk of derailing the budget, getting off track, and those individual cases the EC should... take into consideration," Dijsselbloem said, referring to the European Commission.

More than 218,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to Europe in October alone, a record number and more than in the whole of 2014, the United Nations said on Monday. All but 8,000 of them landed in Greece.

The crisis "has a major impact on Greece and certainly on the islands where they are arriving," Dijsselbloem said speaking to reporters in The Hague.

"We need to do as much as we can to help Greece deal with it," said Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister.

Turning to the Greek economy in general, Dijsselbloem said he believed its recovery will "take longer than three years."

Greece in July agreed to a three-year, 86 billion euro ($96 billion) bailout -- its third since 2010 -- that saved Athens from crashing out of the eurozone but came with strict conditions.

Greece received a first tranche of 13 billion euros from the bailout in August to help it meet urgent payments owed to the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

It is now awaiting the disbursement of two billion euros, which requires that Athens pass another series of tough reforms, including a reduction in pension payments.

"We still have a lot of work to do, the Greek government still has a lot of work to do. I still hope we can get it all done before the end of the year," Dijsselbloem said.

His sentiments echoed that of the EU's top economics affairs official Pierre Moscovici, who warned last week that Greece faced "tough" decisions before the end of the year to meet the strict conditions to receive bailout funding.


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