Tempers flare as EU seals deal on Greece
THERE were apparently raised voices, reprimands and outright hostility, but at the 11th hour of a long day eurozone leaders have agreed on a plan for a third bailout for Greece.
Another € 53.5 billion ($ A80 billion) will be given to Greece in a three- year deal to pile on top of its already more than € 300 billion debt.
But Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras capitulated on his defiance and agreed to push through pension, market and privatisation starting this week.
It was a tougher deal than when it was first offered by the 18 eurozone leaders more than a month ago and was similar to one first mooted in 2012, but with the beleaguered country on the verge of collapse there was little Mr Tsipras could do.
He now has just three days to show his country has begun to enact the cuts to unlock the rescue package.
“We found ourselves before difficult decisions, tough dilemmas. We took the responsibility of the decision in order to
reforms avert the implementation of the more extreme aims ( of) the more extreme conservative circles in the European Union,” he said.
While the European markets rejoiced at the news, there was sombre reaction for his agreement back home in Greece, where more than 60 per cent of the population recently voted not to accept further austerity cuts and demands from EU leaders.
It is not clear how Mr Tsipras will be able to get the measures through his own parliament for approval, but he MEXICO mounted an all- out manhunt on Sunday for its most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who escaped from a maximum- security prison through a 1.5km tunnel from a small opening in the shower area of his cell.
The elaborate underground escape route, allegedly built without the detection of authorities, allowed Guzman to do what Mexican officials promised would never happen after his recapture last year – slip out of one of the coun- try’s most secure penitentiaries for the second time.
“This represents without a doubt an affront to the Mexican state,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said while on a previously scheduled trip to France.
“But I also have confidence in the institutions of the Mexican state ... that they have the strength and determination to recapture this criminal.”
If Guzman is not caught immediately, the drug lord will likely be back in had earlier threatened to dump rebel MPs from his own party who did not support his leadership on the issue.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the leader of the EU’s biggest lender to Greece, will recommend to her parliament to now accept the deal “with full conviction”.
She, too, had been under immense pressure from the MPs from her own party to maintain a hard line on Greece.
The German delegation had even floated the idea of allowing Greece to temporarily command of the Sinaloa Cartel within 48 hours, said Michael Vigil, a retired US Drug Enforcement Administration chief of international operations.
“We may never find him again,” he said. “All the accolades that Mexico has received in their counter- drug efforts will be erased by this one event.”
Mexico’s extraditions of drug suspects to the US have dropped under Mr Nieto’s administration, with Mexico preferring to try them at home. drop out of the eurozone while it fixed its own finances, an idea roundly rejected by other EU leaders, notably France’s Francoise Hollande who had been engaged in a war of words with Dr Merkel.
Germany’s Finance Minister also yelled at the European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi “don’t take me for a fool” as the Italian banker talked about possible debt relief options.
Under the agreement, Greece is to increase sales tax, cut pensions and sell more public assets.
Thirty employees from Altiplano prison have been taken in for questioning about the escape on Saturday.
A widespread manhunt began immediately for Guzman, whose cartel is believed to control most of the major crossing points for drugs at the US border with Mexico.
Guatemala’s Interior Ministry said a special taskforce of police and soldiers was watching its border with southern Mexico for any sign of the fugitive.