Break out The Doors This is The End theme music and queue the credits because unless a deal is reached, Greece is going to go under, world press reports say.
Tsipras Tells Greece’s Creditors To “Get Real”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said his government will wait patiently for international creditors to become “realistic”, after talks on a debt deal in Brussels failed. Mr Tsipras rejected demands for pension cuts, citing his country’s dignity.
Time is running out for Greece to unlock bailout funds from the EU and IMF and a European Commission spokesman said “significant gaps” remained.
One European Commissioner said it was time to plan for an emergency.
Guenther Oettinger, who is also a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU, said if negotiations with Greece failed and its government rejected a deal on pension cuts, then on 1 July Greece would have to be considered an “emergency area”.
Without a cash-for-reforms debt deal with the EU and IMF, Greece is expected to default on a €1.5bn (£1.1; $1.7bn) debt repayment to the IMF due by the end of the month.
The Athens government’s bailout deal with the EU also runs out on 30 June and Mr Tsipras has been trying to unlock the final €7.2bn instalment.
Speaking to Greek newspaper Ton Syntakton, Mr Tsipras warned that “further cuts to pensions after five years of looting under the bailouts can only be viewed as serving political expediency”.
“We will patiently wait until creditors turn to realism. We have no right to bury the European democracy in the land where it was born.”
Tsipras Faces Greece’s Moment of Truth
Bloomberg – Ben Sills and Flavia Krause-Jackson
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has four days to capitulate to demands to keep Greece in the euro — or prepare for a messy divorce.
The collapse of talks in Brussels on Sunday has made Thursday’s meeting of euro-area finance ministers the next deadline in the saga that opened in 2009. Bills are piling up and the aid spigot, shut for 10 months, is about to be withdrawn.
“This week is deal week,” Mujtaba Rahman, head of euro zone analysis at Eurasia Group in London.
So what happens if the gathering in Luxembourg is a bust?
Once the prospect of a successful negotiation fades so do the odds of Greece paying the $1.7 billion it owes the International Monetary Fund this month.
A default makes it difficult for the European Central Bank to keep Greece’s banking system afloat. The ECB, which will discuss the future of its emergency liquidity on Wednesday, is unlikely to cut it off completely until the bailout agreement expires on June 30.
Without the ECB’s largesse, Tsipras may need to impose capital controls to keep hard currency in the country as savers empty out their bank accounts in droves.
On Sunday, talks between the European Union and Greece broke down completely after just 45 minutes, with neither side prepared to budge.
Though the financial gap between their proposals for the Greek budget is as small as 2 billion euros a year — tiny compared with the 245 billion euro bailout program that expires June 30 — the ideological differences are huge.
The government of Alexis Tsipras, for example, insists it will never reduce pensions: “One can only read political motives in the creditors’ insistence on new cuts to pensions after five years of plundering them,” Tsipras said today.
EU countries, including Greece’s natural allies such as Italy, say they won’t finance a pension system in Greece that is more generous than their own.
Greece, Creditors Dig In After Debt Talks Founder
Greece and its creditors hardened their stances on Monday after the collapse of talks aimed at preventing a default and possible euro exit, prompting Germany’s EU commissioner to say the time had come to prepare for a “state of emergency”.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ignored pleas from European leaders to act fast. Instead he blamed creditors for Sunday’s breakdown of the cash-for-reform talks, the biggest setback in long-running negotiations to unlock aid. He said his government had a responsibility to defend Greece’s dignity and would resist demands for further pension cuts.
“It is not a matter of ideological stubbornness. It has to do with democracy,” said the 40-year-old leftist, who was elected on a pledge to end austerity.
Athens now has just two weeks to find a way out of the impasse before it faces a 1.6 billion euro (£1.16 billion) repayment due to the International Monetary Fund, potentially leaving it out of cash, unable to borrow and dangling on the edge of the currency area.
Germany and other creditor nations demanded that Athens come to its senses and offer new proposals.
“It won’t work that Greece sets the terms and says ‘everyone has to dance to our tune’. Greece needs to get back to reality,” Volker Kauder, parliamentary floor leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, told ARD television.
Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said the euro zone’s credibility would be damaged and radical forces in other countries emboldened if past accords with Greece were changed.
The European Commission said it would only resume mediation efforts if Greece put forward new proposals, while the Greek government spokesman said Athens was sticking to its rejection of wage and pension cuts and higher taxes on basic goods.
“We have largely exhausted our limits,” spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said. Tsipras’ office said Greece was ready to restart talks at any time and was waiting for a signal from lenders which could loosen the deadlock.
“If they call us with something new, we may also provide something new,” one official said.
Despite the deepening crisis, Tsipras is going ahead with a planned visit to Russia from Thursday, the day euro zone finance ministers hold a crucial meeting to review the standoff with Greece. He is due to stay till Saturday, attend an economic forum in Saint Petersburg and meet President Vladimir Putin.
EU officials said that without improved Greek proposals by Thursday, the Eurogroup session would be very tough and was likely to present Greece with an ultimatum.
“No more new proposals; take it or leave it time is upon us, I think. Or very close.” one euro zone official said.
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