ATHENS – Despite being rebuffed every previous time, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by telephone with European Union leaders on June 21, a day before a critical Eurozone summit that could decide Greece’s fate.
With Greece facing a possible default and likely Eurozone exit unless it reaches a debt debt with international lenders, he spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Tsipras, who has refused to administer more austerity even to release a critical long-delayed 7.2-billion euro ($8.1 billion) installment from the troika of the EU-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank, gave Greece’s latest “proposal for a mutually beneficial agreement that will offer a final solution and not put off tackling the problem,” his office said.
No details were given as Tsipras’ government is keeping secret the details of what it has offered – and which has repeatedly been rejected by the troika as insufficient to meet fiscal targets.
He has several times reached out before to Merkel, Hollande and Juncker, who have turned a deaf ear to his appeals. Given their position, it wasn’t said what he hopes to accomplish.
According to state television ERT, Greece offered some concessions, including changes to previous proposals regarding Value Added Tax (VAT,) an increase of the primary surplus target to 1 percent of Gross Domestic Product for this year, along with pledges to abolish early retirement schemes, crossing one of Tsipras’ red lines.
Greece is still seeking a commitment from creditors to debt relief — either through a debt swap or extension of maturities on loans or both — as well as a “growth package,” Kathimerini said.
On June 20, State Minister Alekos Flambouraris told Mega TV the government was considering several concessions, including curbing early retirement schemes and lowering the threshold for taxing corporate profits. “Work is being done to see where we can converge, so we achieve a mutually beneficial solution,” he said.