EU Leaders Divided over Greece Bailout Talks

EU | July 12, 2015, Sunday // 15:42|  views

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos at the start of a special Eurogroup finance ministers meeting on the Greek crisis, at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Growing discord has started to emerge hours before Sunday afternoon's Eurozone summit which is due to decide whether to grant Greece another bailout package or move to "Plan B".

"Italy does not want Greece to exit the euro and to Germany I say: enough is enough," Italian PM Matteo Renzi told Il Messaggero newspaper.

"Humiliating a European partner after Greece has given up on just about everything is unthinkable.”

While Italy and France are calling for a quicker decision on the new bailout package - which will be tied to a new set of reforms - countries like Germany, Finland, and the Netherlands are not keen on granting more than EUR 50 B to Greece without any guarantees it will stick to reforms.

This came as Eurozone finance ministers met to work on a deal with Greece ahead of talks of leaders from the single currency area scheduled for 16:00 Brussels time (17:00 EEST).

The meeting was announced on Sunday morning as an alternative to the full EU summit which was scheduled for the same time but which was called off by European Council President Donald Tusk.

Daily Kathimerini on Sunday reported that European finance chiefs had said they were unlikely to strike a deal by the end of the day - a situation which could put Greece at even more risks as the country is thought to have money only until the evening on July 13.

Meanwhile, a draft statement on reforms the Eurogroup requires of Greece was leaked by Reuters on Sunday, reading that Athens should register a 3.5% primary budget surplus by 2018, pursue pension system and labor market reforms and move forward with the privatization of the electricity transmission network operator (ADMIE).

Product market reforms are also needed in line with a list of OECD recommendations.

The draft also includes steps to strengthen the financial sector and to "amend or compensate for legislation adopted during 2015 which have not been agreed with the institutions and run counter to the program commitments". (The last item is about a number of legislative moves by Tsipras and his governments over the past 5 months which international lenders believe contravene the agreements made so far).

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Tags: Eurozone, Matteo Renzi, greece, bailout, reforms, Eurogroup, Donald Tusk


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