EU leaders await Greek bailout proposals | News | DW | 07.07.2015
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EU leaders await Greek bailout proposals

Greece is expected to make proposals to revive bailout talks, with Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras set to unveil details as eurozone leaders meet. Athens is close to running out of money, with the ECB taking a tough line.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was due to reveal his government's latest proposals on Tuesday at a hastily-arranged emergency summit of eurozone leaders.

The views of various members of the EU differed ahead of the talks, with a northern bloc of nations - Germany, Finland, Slovakia and the Baltic nations - taking a hard line. France, Italy and Spain, meanwhile, have adopted a more conciliatory position.

National leaders were set to gather early evening after talks earlier in the day between finance ministers. Representing Greece at those discussions will be Euclides Tsakalotos, who was named to succeed former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis after he stepped down on Monday.

"We want to continue the discussion," said Tsakalotos, who has admitted to having "stage fright" upon assuming the post.

Post-referendum casualty

In the Sunday referendum, Greeks voted by 61.31 percent to 38.69 percent to back their government in rejecting creditors' austerity and reform terms, in exchange for creditors releasing more funds as part of an international bailout package.

Varoufakis' resignation, at the request of Tsipras, has been deemed to have been a gesture of goodwill from a Greek government that was nonetheless emboldened by the "no" vote. With his tough rhetoric, the firebrand politician had angered many of the creditors' representatives.

But Berlin said the departure of Varoufakis did not change anything. "It is not about people but rather positions," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

"It is up to Greece, if it wants to stay in the eurozone," he said. "We are waiting to see which proposals the Greek government makes to its European partners."

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Monday both urged Greece to quickly put forward serious proposals that EU leaders could work with.

ECB keeps liquidity, conditionally

Tsipras told the European Central Bank (ECB) chairman Mario Draghi in a phone call on Monday evening that there was an immediate need for capital controls in Greece to be lifted. Athens has imposed the measures itself in an effort to prevent the collapse of the banking system, but would need help from the ECB to lift restrictions on cash transfers and withdrawals.

The ECB on Monday said it would not increase emergency funding to Greece under the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) scheme, keeping the level at 89 billion euros ($98 billion). It also said key financial support could only be provided if Greece could show sufficient collateral.

Tsipras was also reported to have spoken to International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde "on the need to find a viable solution dealing with the real problems of the Greek economy."

Although Greece last week defaulted on a 1.5 billion euro repayment to the IMF, Lagarde said the organization was "ready to assist Greece if requested to do so."

rc/jr (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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