‘Issues of credibility & trust’: Eurogroup adjourns without reaching Greece deal
Published time: July 11, 2015 23:29
The meeting of the eurozone finance ministers has adjourned until morning without reaching any conclusion on the Greek bailout deal, with issues of “credibility and trust” discussed as well as Athens’ financial crisis risking its Eurozone membership.
“We had an in-depth discussion of Greek proposals, the issue of credibility and trust was discussed, and also of course financial issues involved. But we have not concluded our discussions, so we will continue at 11:00am,” the president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem told journalists late Saturday.
“It is still very difficult, but work is still in progress,” the Dutch finance minister added, refusing to share any details of the negotiations.
Meanwhile the Maltese PM Joseph Muscat, who is due to attend a eurozone summit in Brussels, predicted that Sunday “will be a long day.”
The Eurogroup has been convening for more than seven hours, but the negotiations have produced no results, as the eurozone seems to lack “trust” in Athens ability and willingness to implement reforms needed to keep the economy afloat.
Creditors want “more specific and binding commitments” from the Greek government, a European official at the talks told AP, adding that Athens’ proposals are “too little, too late.”
“We are still a long way out, both on the issue of content as on the tougher issue of trust,” Dijsselbloem said just before the meeting. “On paper it is not good enough yet – and even if it is good on paper, then we still have the question: will it really happen?”
In a Friday vote, lawmakers in the Greek parliament backed the latest proposals for economic reforms and further austerity measures which Athens submitted to the Eurogroup earlier this week.
The new reform proposals include moving more items to the standard 23 percent VAT rate, as well as the privatization of regional airports and seaports. Greeks also agreed to eventually abolish solidarity installments for poor pensioners by December 2019, a year earlier than planned, and raise the retirement age to 67 by 2022. The early retirement also will be abolished.
In return for caving in to most of the creditors demands, which the Greek nation voted against during last weeks’ referendum, Tsipras is trying to bargain a better deal which includes a €53.5 billion ($59.7 billion) bailout package over the next 3 years.
Unless the deal is agreed on Sunday, the country’s banking system may end up bankrupt on Monday. Cash withdrawals from Greek banks reach €100 million ($111 million) a day, with ATMs transactions limited to €60 ($67).