Greece's last chance to stay in eurozone

With debt burdened country having one last chance to negotiate with its lenders, top European official warns not to expect simple solution

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

All eyes are on Tuesday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers in which Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has a final chance to persuade skeptical creditors to reopen bailout talks before Greek banks run out of money.  

After the Greek public voted “no” in Sunday’s referendum and rejected tax rises, spending cuts, pension and labour reforms, Tsipras must convince the single currency’s 18 other members to unlock financial aid to his country. 

But Greek officials said Athens’ proposals would not go far beyond a plan he sent to eurozone officials last week. According to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, Greece wants to keep VAT discounts for its islands and make less cuts to its defense budget than have been requested. 

Arriving at the Eurogroup meeting, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said "Greece has voted in a referendum to have no bailout programme. But Greece needs a programme. We are here to consider Greek proposals for how to find a solution."

Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Juncker - President of the European Commission - noted that the summit will not end with a solution to the Greek debt saga. “The solution is not going to come overnight,” Juncker told the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “If we came up with a solution today that would be a simplistic solution,” he added. 

For financial and geopolitical reasons Europe would prefer to keep Greece in the euro. According to European Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, a “Grexit” has to be avoided at all costs. Additionally, the leaders of Germany and France also said that the door is still open to a deal to save Greece from leaving the eurozone. 

"The door is open to negotiations, but there isn't much time left and the situation is urgent both for Greece and for Europe," French President Francois Hollande said in a joint media appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on Monday.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem is also expected to meet newly appointed Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos ahead of the plenary meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Moreover, according to the Italian ANSA agency, Tsipras is expected to ask eurozone lenders for a seven-billion euro stopgap loan in Tuesday's summit, to meet emergency needs and debt repayments in order to avoid a default.

TRTWorld and agencies