Tusk cancels full EU summit on Greek crisis

GMT 03:45 2015 Monday ,13 July

Arab Today, arab today Tusk cancels full EU summit on Greek crisis

Greek crisis
Ankara - Anadolu

European Council President Donald Tusk has announced the cancellation of a full summit meeting of European Union leaders scheduled for Sunday.

Instead, only the leaders of the eurozone will attend the summit, Tusk revealed in a tweet.

The eurozone leaders will meet at 4 p.m. local time (1400GMT) to consider whether Greece should be able to begin a new bailout.

Greece has proposed a three-year bailout plan for $53.5 billion ($59 billion) which is being considered by the eurogroup, after a Saturday meeting proved inconclusive.

After nine hours of talks on Saturday, the eurogroup meeting on the new Greek bailout broke up without a decision.

Sunday is the last chance for Greece to remain in the euro.

Greece has proposed a €53.5 billion ($60 billion) three-year bailout, and has conceded on many key economic reforms to its creditors.

However, the eurogroup reportedly did not find that Greece had gone far enough, particularly in labor market reform.

There was also serious concerns about how the Greek government would implement the austerity measures it has agreed to.

Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the press after the meeting: “It’s still very difficult, but work is still in progress.”

Exiting the meeting, Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb said talks were "making good progress".

On the other hand, Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos commented: "It could have been better, it could have been worse."

Negotiations have been complicated by the publication in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of two plans for economic reform in Greece, neither of which is currently being considered at the negotiations.

The plans were attributed to German finance ministry sources, but there was no comment from the ministry on the article.

The article offered Greece two options: Either put together a much more stringent plan of economic reforms, or take a five-year leave of absence from the eurozone, while remaining in the EU.

The plan is believed to reflect hawkish thinking from the German ministry. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble has been a severe critic of Greek reform proposals.

Greek banks have run out of cash, according to the Greek Banking Association, and are facing the danger of collapse within days without new emergency funds from the European Central Bank.

The Greek government has ordered that banks remain closed until Thursday, with ATM withdrawals restricted to €60 billion per day.

Eurogroup ministers: Lack of trust in Greece hurts talks

Lack of confidence in Greece is emerging as the biggest issue holding up agreement at the eurogroup meeting in Brussels on Sunday.

Arriving at the conference, several ministers pointed to a lack of trust in the Greek government as a major obstacle to achieving an accord.

Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said: "While the new Greek bailout proposals are much better, the lack of trust in the Greek government is a great problem.

“That's why I hope that on Monday, the government will begin implementing some of the reforms that we have discussed here -- they are needed for the Greek economy in any case."

Padoan insisted that the Eurogroup would keep working hard, and that progress had been made.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde declined to comment to reporters as she arrived at the eurogroup meeting on Sunday.

EU Commissioner for the Euro Valdis Dombrovskis told reporters the EU probably would not be able to start talks for a new Greek bailout on Sunday.

"I think it's relatively unlikely that the European Commission will get a mandate to start formal negotiations," he said.

Slovakian Finance Minister Peter Kazimir, arriving at the meeting, absolutely excluded the possibility of a deal being reached on Sunday. He also raised the issue of a lack of confidence in Greece, and said that he too wanted to see what would happen in Athens on Monday.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, speaking on Saturday at the eurogroup meeting, said: "Lack of trust in the Greek government is a major issue. In the past, promises from the Greek government have not been kept." The Greek delegation must restore confidence, Sapin said.


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