Greece firm on referendum; PM says no to fresh debt

RSTV Bureau

greece-crisisEven as the European Union leaders continue to put pressure on Greece, its Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has once again reiterated that the country will go for a bailout referendum. Greece votes on 5th July to decide if it wants to consider any fresh debt offer from the EU or go for self reforms, which means a possible exit from eurozone.

After the lapse of 1.5 billion Euro loan repayment deadline this week Tuesday, Greece has now gone into arrears and cannot receive any more IMF aid without clearing the arrears. In the process, Greece has become the first developed country in the world to default on Indian Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

The Prime Minister has now once again urged the countrymen to vote ‘No’ on Sunday to creditors’ current demands.

However, PM Tsipras who is at loggerheads with Greece’s creditors since his election in January, insisted a “No vote would not signify a rupture with Europe” despite efforts by EU leaders to cast it as a referendum on Greece’s place in the bloc.

“Come Monday, the Greek government will be at the negotiating table after the referendum, with better terms for the Greek people,” PM Alexis Tsipras spoke as the country watched him live on TV.
His comments came after Greece yesterday made a last-minute proposal for a third bailout worth nearly 30 billion euros (USD 33 billion) to follow the two rescue programmes worth 240 billion euros that cash-strapped Athens has received since 2010.

Whereas the Eurozone finance ministers have seemingly decided to wait until after the referendum before holding any more talks, saying there were “no grounds” for further discussions.

Most Greeks are still only allowed to withdraw 60 euros (USD 66) per day after capital controls.

The left-wing-led government was elected in January 2015 on a promise of bringing an end to austerity measures. The new economic measures as proposed by the European creditors will amount to a rise in taxes and cut in pension.

The economic crisis has stoked fear and a sense of unease among the citizens.

The government has imposed strict capital controls ahead of the upcoming referendum. However, nearly 1,000 banks reopened on Wednesday to let elderly people draw a limited amount from their pensions.

(With inputs from agencies)