Greece, creditors stick to their positions after debt talks

Athens and global lenders maintain their positions, with Germany's EU commissioner saying it is time to prepare for a ‘state of emergency’

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Greece now has just two weeks to end the deadlock with its lenders and avoid falling into default and facing possible ejection from the euro, after talks between the country and its international creditors fell apart this weekend.

The possibility of Greece paying the $1.7 billion it owes the International Monetary Fund (IMF) later this month will drop significantly if the likelihood of successful negotiations further fades. The meeting of eurozone ministers due to take place on Thursday, in their first get-together after the collapse of talks in Brussels on Sunday, has become an important deadline.

The definitive failure of talks would potentially leave Greece out of cash, unable to borrow and leading to it being cast out of the euro. Germany's EU commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Monday it was time to prepare for a "state of emergency."

"We should work out an emergency plan because Greece would fall into a state of emergency," he said.

"Energy supplies, pay for police officials, medical supplies, and pharmaceutical products and much more" need to be ensured, he added.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras blamed creditors for the collapse of the cash-for-reform talks, saying he was happy to wait until the lenders changed their minds.

"We will await patiently until the institutions accede to realism," Tsipras said in a statement to Greek newspaper Efimerida ton Syntakton. "We do not have the right to bury European democracy at the place where it was born."

There is a 60 percent chance that Greece will not be able to meet the IMF payment, the European Central Bank (ECB) will stop its liquidity aid, and funds may start leaving the country with savers emptying out their bank accounts, according Jacob Kirkegaard - senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Tsipras is expected to meet with his negotiating team later on Monday.

Athens has so far turned down demands to raise taxes and cut pensions and wages to achieve a primary budget surplus of 1 percent this year. Tsipras says years of cuts have made the situation worse by shrinking the economy, making it harder to pay off debt.

The ECB, which will discuss the future of its emergency liquidity on Wednesday, is unlikely to cut it off completely until the bailout agreement expires on June 30.


TRTWorld and agencies