EU chief feels ‘betrayed’ over Greek debt talks

Jean-Claude Juncker complains of “egotism” during talks and appeals to Greeks to back July 5 referendum.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said he feels betrayed by Alexis Tsipras’, the Greek prime minister, suprise call for a referendum last weekend and said that “playing one democracy against 18 others is not an attitude worthy of the great Greek nation”.

After months of good relations with Tsipras as the bailout negotiations dragged on, Juncker turned against the Greek leader on Monday, complaining that “egotism, tactical games, populist games” took over from cool-headed economic analysis.

The Greeks will vote on reforms that the country’s creditors had proposed in exchange for loans. However, the deal is, in reality, is no longer on the table, adding to the confusion around the referendum.

Juncker said that ahead of the vote “it would be advisable to the Greek government to tell the truth to the Greek people instead of simplifying its own message to a ‘no-message,” the AP news agency reported.

Also speaking on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that if Greece wants to resume talks after its referendum, “we will of course not refuse such negotiations.”

Merkel said that Europe can only function if it is ready to compromise and “no one can get 100 percent.”

She said that the “generous offer” made by creditors “was our contribution to a compromise” and the will to reach one was not there on the Greek side.

The chancellor said there will be a debate on Greece in the German parliament on Wednesday.

Stock markets hit

Analysis: Who is to blame for Greece’s debt crisis?

In a television address on Sunday, Tsipras announced the temporary closure of banks, after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would not increase additional emergency funding to the country. 

Tsipras said that the government would also start imposing capital controls ahead of a looming deadline on Tuesday.

In addition, Greece announced on Monday that the country’s stock market will remain closed until July 7. 

The country needs to make a $1.8bn payment to the International Monetary Fund by Tuesday or risk defaulting on its obligations.

The emergency measures were agreed at a cabinet meeting after a gathering of Greece’s systemic stability council, called after eurozone finance ministers refused to extend its bailout beyond Tuesday.

Opinion: Greek referendum is a Machiavellian plot

Greek government officials have confirmed that banks will remain closed until July 6 – a day after the planned referendum on bailout deal offered by international creditors.

However, officials said that ATMs will reopen on Monday afternoon, with daily withdrawal limit set at $66.

In a statement, the leftist government also clarified that tourists staying in Greece, and anyone with a credit card issued in a foreign country, will not be affected by measures to limit bank withdrawals.

Analysis: What will a referendum mean for Greece?

Stock market around the world plunged on Monday, with investor sentiment hit by fears of a Greek default. Japan’s Nikkei was down more than 500 points at one point during early trading.

The latest development came as the Greek parliament decided to back Tsipras’ call for a referendum on the country’s bailout deal with international creditors.

The referendum, planned for July 5, was approved by at least 179 deputies out of a total of 300 politicians.

Tsipras’ Syriza party and allied politicians voted in favour of the referendum that has angered its creditors who earlier rejected the debt-ridden country’s request for a bailout extension.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies