Greece and eurozone leaders in last-ditch scramble to reach deal

H/t reader M.G.:

“Unless all three creditors agree that Greece can borrow more money to make a payment………nothing will work? Reading this article tells me the entire plan is insane…………..


Greece and eurozone leaders in last-ditch scramble to reach deal (Guardian, June 21, 2015):

Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, is thought to have offered concessions on VAT and pensions in return for some form of eventual debt relief

The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and European leaders were attempting to stitch together a last-minute Greek bailout deal on Sunday following a frantic round of phone calls to discuss an outline agreement.

The high-level diplomacy comes as eurozone finance ministers and their government leaders prepare for a key summit in Brussels on Monday that could determine whether or not Greece remains a member of the group.

Following a cabinet meeting in Athens, Tsipras is believed to have offered Greece’s creditors concessions on key issues such as VAT and pensions. It is not clear, however, whether the offer goes far enough to make a final agreement possible on Monday.

Eurozone leaders are offering Tsipras a form of debt relief – the key point for Athens – but not immediately. Greece needs to pay the IMF €1.6bn by 30 June. It is understood that the only way it will be able to make the payment is if the European Central Bank – one of its three creditors – raises the ceiling on the volume of short-term debt that the government can sell to the Greek central bank.

Tsipras, the German chancellor Angela Merkel, the French president François Hollande and the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker talked to one another by phone on Saturday and Sunday while technocrats from both sides resumed contact on the fiscal arithmetic required to secure up to €9bn (£6.4bn) in rescue funds to Greece to stave off bankruptcy, default and possibly the eurozone’s first departure.

“The prime minister presented the three leaders with Greece’s proposal for a mutually beneficial agreement that will give a definitive solution and not a postponement of addressing the problem,” a statement from Tsipras’s office said. The new proposals were also being discussed at a Greek cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Eurozone leaders will meet on Monday evening following the collapse of extremely bad-tempered talks last week in Luxembourg. The summit will be preceded by the second gathering of eurozone finance ministers in four days as they scramble to strike a deal before the bailout expires at the end of the month.

The Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, said his country’s fate was in Merkel’s hands and told her she faced a stark decision. He said there would be no agreement that did not include the prospect of debt relief for Greece, something not on offer from the eurozone unless Tsipras commits to and proves he can implement the kind of austerity measures he was elected to reject.

Monday evening’s leaders’ summit will have difficulty agreeing on a new deal unless the finance ministers reach a consensus on the detail. There was talk that the summit would fail to finalise an agreement, but could agree outlines that would then be worked on through the week before yet another summit next week, just as Greece’s bailout package is due to lapse.

The last-ditch talks come as Tsipras’s Syriza party plans a rally in Athens to send “a loud message of resistance” against demands for more cuts and tax hikes in a country battered by years of recession.

“Democracy cannot be blackmailed, dignity cannot be bargained,” the party said in a statement on Sunday, announcing the protest.

“Workers, the unemployed, young people, the Greek people and the rest of the peoples of Europe will send a loud message of resistance to the alleged one-way path of austerity, resistance to the blackmail and scare-mongering.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.