Obama talks with French president about Greek crisis

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hollande Says Greece’s Referendum Will Determine Euro Membership.

French President Francois Hollande told Greek voters that their referendum on the bailout package will determine whether their country remains in the euro zone. Hollande, speaking in Paris on Monday after an emergency meeting with his ministers on Greece, stressed that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s decision to consult the Greek people in a referendum is the country’s sovereign choice. “It’s democracy,” Hollande told reporters. “What’s at stake is serious. The creditors had once more rejected Greece’s proposal and put forward their own version including tax and pension changes that Greece had already said it would not accept. He reiterated that Paris was prepared to work with the Greek authorities to find a deal that would stave off financial disaster and noted that the two sides were not far from a deal when Athens broke off talks.

He sought to ease fears that the Greek chaos could spread as far as France, as stock markets around Europe plunge and borrowing costs of vulnerable countries rise. “Today, the French economy is robust, much more robust than it was four years ago and it has nothing to fear from what could happen,” assured Hollande. Or they take the risk of leaving.” The remarks suggest that European policy makers are framing the July 5 referendum as an in-or-out vote on euro membership rather than on the terms of rescue aid. Acknowledging “concerns” on the financial markets, he recalled that “very significant steps have been taken in recent months to shore up the eurozone”, pointing in particular to the banking union. The Greek government plans to ask voters whether they accept the latest proposal by creditors on implementing budget cuts in return for more financial aid, and advocates a “no” vote. “I regret this choice because we were very close to an agreement,” Hollande said. “Several hours remain before the negotiations are definitively over, notably on an extension of an aid program.” Hollande’s strategy echoes that deployed in November 2011 by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel when then-Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou also surprised his European partners by floating the idea of a referendum in similar circumstances.

Greece took emergency steps on Monday, shutting its banks and stock exchange as ATMs across the country run dry with panicked citizens seeking to withdraw cash. Similarly, Tsipras’s subtle attempt to link this referendum to Greece’s rejection of Benito Mussolini’s ultimatum in October 1940 may not be enough to overcome Greek fears. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. President Juncker of the European Commission issued a press release “in the interests of transparency and for the information of the Greek people”, to which was attached a 10-page document outlining a slightly altered proposal from the creditor side. It also included support for a Commission-led package for a new start for jobs and growth in Greece, boosting recovery of and investment in the real economy, which was discussed and endorsed by the College of Commissioners on Wednesday 24 June 2015.

The release of a new version of the proposal, and the suggestion that debt relief would have been up for discussion too, is thus clearly intended to invalidate the referendum. Photo credit: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images Meanwhile, the world’s media, supported by a succession of leaks from “unnamed sources”, was speculating that the imminent expiry of the existing bailout program would force the ECB to end ELA funding of Greece’s banks, resulting in closure of the banks and capital controls.

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