Greece PM Braces for Eleventh-Hour Talks over BailoutSoutheast Europe | June 22, 2015, Monday // 08:16| views
Protesters take part in a rally against austerity and in support of the government in the negotiations with Greece`s international creditors, in Syntagma square in Athens, Greece, June 21, 2015. EPA/BGNES
Eurozone leaders are set to meet on Monday in last efforts to solve a debt crisis that could force Greece out of the single currency area.
Prior to that, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to have talks with leaders of the three international lenders who are awaiting a tranche of EUR 1.6 B to be paid by Athens but are unwilling to unblock additional funding the country needs under its bailout program.
The conversation will bring together European Council head Donald Tusk, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and the European Central Bank (ECB)'s Mario Draghi, English-language Kathimerini quotes "sources" as saying. This comes after negotiations ended with no results last week, displaying growing tensions between Greece and its creditors.
Reportedly, two options will be on the table for Greece's first leftist PM: to either accept reforms he previously rejected, albeit with minor concessions, or to prepare his country for default.
Greece does not have enough funding to deliver on its debt and will have to default after missing the deadline on June 30 if a last-minute deal is not reached.
The EU Commission on Sunday said it had received new proposals from Tsipras, who has systematically rejected previous reform conditions set by the lenders, especially drastic austerity measures to reduce the pension system's burden on the budget.
Tsipras' new proposals are said to include some concessions on early retirement, where Athens had previously resisted changes.
Commenting on them, Juncker's Head of Cabinet Martin Selmayr wrote on his Twitter profile (where he says he is "tweeting in a personal capacity) first called them "good basis for progress" and than "forceps delivery" in German.
Louka Katseli, who heads the National Bank of Greece, the country's biggest bank, was quoted as saying on Sunday that failing to shake hands in Brussels would be "insane".
Against this backdrop, billions of EUR have been withdrawn by Greeks over the past days, though the central regulator says no runs will follow unless ECB pulls the plug.
Demonstrations took place on Sunday in a show of support for Tsipras' anti-austerity policy he managed to stand for until now, with thousands taking part in Athens, but also in Brussels and Amsterdam.
SYRIZA's government was elected on an anti-austerity ticket, with millions of Greeks hoping to see the end of tough measures Athens has had to carry out in the past years in return for billions in loans from international creditors. Many have noted the measures crippled Greece's economy, pushing it to contract by more than a quarter in seven years, leaving thousands unemployed and letting standards of living sink.
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