After months of negotiations, an impasse forced Greece to institute capital controls to prevent a complete collapse of the economy and pushed the country to the brink of a eurozone exit.
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. Greeks want a new bailout deal to include easier terms and the cancellation of some of their debt. Greece has already begun to leave the Eurozone, with its banks shut and dispensing little cash and last week’s default on an International Monetary Fund loan.
Meanwhile, Hollande said decisions to keep Greece in the eurozone must be taken up this week, as he arrived at the emergency summit.
“We are starting on the wrong foot because one would have expected the Greek government to come with some sort of proposal that reflects the urgency of the situation… we have to see what the Greek Prime Minister has to say later today”, Dr Muscat said. “The process will be fast, it starts in the coming hours with the aim of concluding it by the end of the week, at the latest”.
A hastily arranged meeting of eurozone finance ministers, which will be Euclid Tsakalotos’ first as Greek finance minister, is slated for the afternoon in Brussels.
Over dinner this evening, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras told his fellow leaders what he wants to achieve in the wake of his victory in the Greek referendum.
However, a solution still depends on Tsipras putting forward convincing reform proposals and rushing key measures through parliament by the weekend to make Greece’s public finances sustainable.
But Varoufakis’s replacement, Tsakalotos, surprised his peers by turning up for the emergency meeting with only a vague outline of Greece’s proposal for breaking the long standoff. Merkel is under huge pressure at home to stay firm in talks with Greece. In other words, the ball is not in the eurozone’s court but has been quickly knocked back to Mr Tsipras again.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone Monday ahead of the Tuesday summit, though no details were disclosed of what they discussed.
All sides of the negotiations share the responsibility for the current status quo. He said his withdrawal from such meetings was “an idea the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement” with Greece’s creditors.
On whether Greece’s position in the eurozone can be salvaged, he gloomily added: “Quite clearly the ball lies in the court of the Greek government”. “For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today”, Yanis Varoufakis said on his website. “Then, they’re promising for tomorrow”. Ms. Merkel has been Athens’s foil, opposing the Greek government’s bid for debt relief. The endorsement came even after banks had been closed for a week, causing widespread queues at ATM machines as Greeks waited to withdraw a daily maximum of €60 (Dh242) each.
Greece’s financial distress became more acute late Monday when the European Central Bank refused to increase assistance for Greek banks, which are not due to reopen until Thursday.