Is fresh Greek bailout on the cards? At least there are hopes. France and Italy on Saturday acknowledged the latest Greek proposals for the bailout, raising hopes that a last-ditch compromise could be reached with the country’s creditors to prevent a dreaded “Grexit”. Eurozone finance ministers will be making a crucial decision on the latest proposals from Greece seeking on a fresh bailout plan.
“We have to make a major decision. Whichever way,” Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister told the press ahead of the cabinet meeting in Hague.
“But we have to see whether the proposals will genuinely help pull Greece from the doldrums,” Dijsselbloem added.
Dijsselbloem also confirmed the proposals were being studied by Greece’s creditors, saying they were expected to issue a statement later today. But he stressed on the need for a nod by the European Commission, IMF and the European Central Bank’s before arriving at any decision.
“I’ll keep my final judgement for later. I’ll first await the verdict from these institutions,” he said.
The plan proposed by Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s administration for study by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank was to be put to a vote late on Friday by the Greek lawmakers.
Greece PM Tsipras has conceded ground on major contentious points including tax and pensions in a bid to secure a new bailout, drawing encouragement from his biggest ally, French President Francois Hollande. But, in the process, he risks alienating a major share of his party’s supporters, who had rejected, in a referendum last Sunday, a very similar set of proposals put forward by Greece’s creditors.
“The Greeks have shown a determination to want to stay in the Eurozone because the programme they are presenting is serious and credible,” French President Hollande told the press.
But he also cautioned that “nothing is decided yet”. Any new Greek rescue needs to be approved unanimously by the Eurozone members.
However, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi declared himself “more optimistic” that a deal would be done.
On the other hand, Germany, leading a bloc of sceptical Eurozone nations, said the outcome of crisis talks this weekend was “completely open”.
But Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said today he believed many of his country’s demands for debt relief will be accepted by Eurozone partners whose ministers will meet on Saturday.
The possibility of a breakthrough sent stock markets soaring in Europe, Asia and the US. The euro briefly rose above USD 1.12 for the first time since the beginning of July.
(With inputs from the PTI)