Tusk rejects Greece’s call for emergency summit on bailout deal

28 Apr 16

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has had his call for a snap European Union summit rejected as fears grow around a repeat of last summer’s crisis that almost saw Greece ejected from the eurozone.

Greek PM_shuttershock.jpg

Alexis Tsipras_Shuttershock

Alexis Tsipras_Shuttershock


Tsipras’ office said yesterday that the prime minister had called European Council president Donald Tusk to request an extraordinary summit to discuss the country’s problem-fraught bailout programme after a Eurogroup meeting scheduled to take place today was cancelled.

According to the statement, Tsipras said it was necessary to avoid a “new cycle of uncertainty” for the eurozone.

On Twitter, Tusk agreed renewed uncertainty for Greece should be avoided. However, he has not called a summit, stating instead that a date for a Eurogroup meeting should be scheduled in “days, not weeks”.

The meeting scheduled for today was cancelled by Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who oversees the bailout negotiations, after talks on Tuesday failed to end political deadlock.

He said a rescheduled meeting may not take place for weeks, leaving Greece in limbo as a deadline to pay its billions of dollars of maturing debt approaches.

Debt-stricken Greece is relying on the next tranche of its €86bn bailout to cover the repayment, which in turn depends on the successful conclusion of negotiations.

But so far talks have been plagued by disagreements. The International Monetary Fund believes Greece’s eurozone creditors should agree to ease Greece’s debt repayment terms in order to form a realistic programme, but this opinion isn’t shared with lenders like Germany.

At the same time, the IMF has demanded additional “contingency measures” worth €3.6bn to be enforced if Greece fails to meet its targets. This would go beyond what was agreed when the bailout terms were settled last summer.

Tsipras’ government insists that the terms, which entail a package of austerity reforms worth €5.4bn, have already been agreed.

His office said that he spoke to Tusk of his dissatisfaction with the IMF’s perseverance to pursue additional measures than those agreed last July in yesterday’s phone call.

Good relations between the Greek government and the IMF were further undermined earlier this month after the transcript of a phone call between two IMF staff was leaked.

In the transcript, the two discussed how to put pressure on Greece, the European Union and Germany to bring the country’s bailout negotiations to a close.

They had been due to conclude late last year but have dragged on until now. It had been hoped they would make an agreement at the now-cancelled meeting scheduled for today.

But with Tsipras facing fierce opposition at home and his party clinging to power with a miniscule minority, even if he was willing he may not be able to implement the demands of Greece’s creditors. 

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