EU leaders to hold emergency summit on Greek debt

Talks to go on despite finance ministers’ failure to reach agreement on concrete decision on bailout for country.

European leaders are due to meet in Brussels for an emergency summit on Greece’s debt crisis, just hours after foreign ministers of their countries broke off talks without any agreement.

The lack of a result at the meeting of the ministers on Monday left the summit that is due later in the day with few prospects of making any concrete decisions on Greece’s bailout.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, German finance minister, said on Monday that the bloc “so far received no substantive proposals” from Greece.

Deal or no deal

Tsipras has been told to deliver a deal before an emergency meeting with Merkel, Hollande later tonight. Greece has enough money to pay pensions and salaries this month but not enough to repay the IMF’s 1.5bn euros, in effect the country will default on the IMF loan.

Making matters worse, Greek banks are barely able to stay open without the support of emergency loans from the European Central Bank. It has just enough money to open on Monday. More than 6bn euros were withdrawn by customers last week, taking the total since December to 30bn euros.

If there is no deal, Greek banks may not open on Tuesday or at least the country will introduce capital controls, which restricts customers’ ability to withdraw money. That could be the slippery slope to a Greek exit from the eurozone. Although Cyprus had to introduce capital controls and then won a bailout from the EU and IMF.

If there is a deal today Merkel and Hollande have opened the door to a third bailout for Greece.

Abid Ali, Business Editor 

“That is why we are unable to provide adequate preparation” for Monday night’s summit, he said.

Al Jazeera’s Phil Lavelle, reporting from Brussels, said the media had been told not to expect any deals on Monday.

“The European leaders’ meeting will still go on, but they will not be talking about the terms of the agreement, because that agreement is not expected to be reached now until at least Thursday,” he said.

The leaders were going to start another two-day summit from Thursday, following a separate meeting between their finance ministers.

The development came a day after the office of Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, said the leader offered a “mutually beneficial deal” in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president.

Martin Selmayr, Juncker’s cabinet head, said the Greek proposal offered “a good basis for progress”, though he described the negotiations as a “forceps delivery”, underscoring the exertions to prevent Greece crashing out of the eurozone.

Greece said its new proposals were aimed at reaching a “definitive solution” to end the standoff between Greece and its creditors.

Greece announced a hectic round of meetings before the summit, with Tsipras also scheduled to meet the leaders of its IMF, EU and European Central Bank creditors on Monday.

Separately, the ECB’s governing council was also to meet on Monday to discuss whether to raise the level of emergency funding to Greek banks yet again, after the country’s banking system came under intense pressure with clients withdrawing massive sums in savings.

Failing a deal, Greece is likely to default on an IMF debt payment of around 1.5bn euros ($1.7bn) due on June 30, setting up a potentially chaotic “Grexit” from the eurozone.

‘Window of opportunity’

Matteo Renzi, Italian prime minister, urged the two sides to seize a “window of opportunity”, saying all conditions were in place for them to reach a “win-win accord”.

Underlining the growing concern beyond Greece, several thousand demonstrators gathered in Brussels on Sunday and several hundred in Amsterdam to plead for solidarity with the cash-strapped country.

In Athens itself, more than 7,000 people took to the streets for the second time this week to protest against austerity with banners reading: “A different Europe with Tsipras” and “You can’t blackmail the people, the country is not for sale”.

The head of Greece’s biggest bank said she thought “sanity will prevail” and lead both sides to a deal.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


More from News
Most Read