Wednesday

20th Feb 2019

Greek talks heading 'in right direction'

  • Greek PM will try to find and agreement with other eurozone leaders. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The Greek government sent a new proposal to its creditors on Sunday night (21 June) that was considered "a good basis for progress" by the EU commission ahead of Monday's euro summit.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras "understood he had to send a concrete and solide counter-proposal. It was received last night," finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on French radio Monday morning, adding "they go in the right direction".

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In a tweet posted at night, Martin Selmayr, the head of cabinet of the president of the EU commission, compared the situation to a "forceps delivery".

The Greek government said in a statement that it presented a "proposal for a mutually beneficial agreement that will give a definite solution to the problem".

The Greek proposal is understood to contain propositions to bridge the gap with creditors' demands on pensions and VAT.

Euro zone summit

The document from the Greek government will be discussed Monday at a series of high level meetings in Brussels including an extraordinary summit of eurozone leaders.

At 11.00am Tsipras will meet EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, the director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi and the president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

Eurozone finance ministers will meet at 12.30pm to review the Greek proposal and maybe endorse a draft agreement for the eurozone leaders.

At 7.00pm the 19 eurozone heads of state and government will start a summit to try to reach an agreement on Greek reforms that would unblock a €7.2 billion loan for Greece.

Monday's talks will be held while the situation remain tense in Greece.

Fears of a bank run and collapse of the banking system are high after an estimated €4.2 billion were withdrawn from bank deposits last week.

"Things are difficult. If there is no deal on Monday, God knows what Tuesday will look like," a banker told Greece's Kathimerini newspaper.


The ECB, which last week raised twice the level of the liquidity lifeline to Greek banks, will meet Monday morning to assess the situation. A new increase of liquidity could be discussed as well as capital controls.

With just a week to go before the end of the current bailout programme and a €1.6 payment due to the IMF on 30 June, Monday's euro summit appears to be a last-chance meeting to avoid a Greek default.

"We are close to the point where the Greek government will have to choose between accepting what I believe is a good offer of continued support or to head towards default," EU Council president Donald Tusk said in a video message on Friday.

German chancellor Angela Merkel will be the key player in the negotiation.

"The choice, I am very much afraid, is hers," Greek Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said in an op-ed published in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

But in an editorial published Monday, Bild, Germany's top-selling newspaper called for a "Grexit" and criticised Merkel's policy.

"Merkel's policy is the best possible election campaign for all Leftist redistributors and payment refusers in the EU," the tabloid wrote.

"We at Bild believe that this bailout policy is inefficient, expensive and failed from the start."

According to the Bloomberg news agency, the German government estimates that a Greek default would cost Germany €1 billion a year.

'Money time' for Greece

Fears the Greek banking system may collapse remain high as cash outflows continue ahead of emergency eurozone meetings on Monday.

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