EU chiefs kick tyres on latest Greek plan

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

GER­MANY and France have called on Greece to make de­tailed pro­pos­als to re­vive bailout talks, a day af­ter Greek vot­ers de­fi­antly re­jected cred­i­tors’ de­mands for fur­ther aus­ter­ity.

With Greece’s econ­omy gasp­ing for air, the author­i­ties on Mon­day ex­tended an eight­day bank clo­sure amid fears cash ma­chines in the coun­try were run­ning dry.

The Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank, which has been keep­ing Greek lenders afloat, mean­while an­nounced it would main­tain its liq­uid­ity life­line to Greek banks, but made it harder for them to ac­cess the funds by tight­en­ing col­lat­eral terms.

“The door is open to dis­cus­sions,” said French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande af­ter cri­sis talks in Paris with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

“It is now up to the Gov­ern­ment of Alexis Tsipras to make se­ri­ous, cred­i­ble pro­pos­als so that this will­ing­ness to stay in the eu­ro­zone can trans­late into a last­ing pro­gram.”

Mr Tsipras was to un­veil his Gov­ern­ment’s pro­pos­als last night at a hastily- ar­ranged emer­gency sum­mit of the 19 eu­ro­zone Brus­sels.

Dr Merkel, speak­ing along­side Mr Hol­lande, said the con­di­tions for a new Greek res­cue pack­age “have not yet been met”.

“And that is why we are now wait­ing for very pre­cise pro­pos­als from the Greek Prime Min­is­ter, a pro­gram that will al­low Greece to re­turn to pros­per­ity,” said Dr Merkel, adding that eu­ro­zone coun­tries had al­ready shown “a lot of sol­i­dar­ity with Greece”.

As Athens awoke af­ter a night of cel­e­bra­tion af­ter the

coun­tries

in “No” camp won a close­ly­watched ref­er­en­dum on bailout terms, Greece’s fire­brand Fi­nance Min­is­ter, Yanis Varoufakis, an­nounced he was step­ping down to try to ease fric­tion with cred­i­tors.

Mr Varoufakis had in­fu­ri­ated Euro­pean coun­ter­parts by say­ing de­mands for eco­nomic re­form and wel­fare cuts were “ter­ror­ism” and “fis­cal wa­ter­board­ing”.

He was re­placed by Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos, a more dis­creet ju­nior for­eign min­is­ter and economist who has been Greece’s point­man in the ne­go­ti­a­tions with cred­i­tors. “We want to con­tinue the dis­cus­sion ... I be­lieve some­thing can change in Europe,” said Mr Tsakalo­tos, who ad­mit­ted to hav­ing “stage fright” upon as­sum­ing the post “not at the eas­i­est mo­ment in Greek history”.

Po­si­tions among Greece’s 18 part­ners in the eu­ro­zone var­ied ahead of last night’s sum­mit. Ger­many, Fin­land, Slo­vakia and the Baltic states have taken a no­tably harder line, whereas France, Italy and Spain have adopted a more con­cil­ia­tory tone.

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