Date
28 March 2017
Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande met in Paris Monday and applied pressure on Greece to come up with credible proposals for a bailout. Photo: AFP
Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande met in Paris Monday and applied pressure on Greece to come up with credible proposals for a bailout. Photo: AFP

Germany, France tell Greece to make serious proposals quickly

Germany and France told Greece to come up with serious proposals so as to restart financial aid talks, a day after Greeks voted overwhelmingly to reject more austerity, Reuters reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, the eurozone’s most powerful leaders, said Monday that Athens must move quickly if it wants to secure a cash-for-reform deal with creditors and avoid crashing out of the single currency.

Raising the pressure on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras before a eurozone summit Tuesday, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep a tight grip on funding to Greek banks.

By voting decisively against tough bailout conditions, as Tsipras had urged them to do, Greeks have strengthened his negotiating hand.

But the crisis remains acute, with the country’s banks already closed for more than a week to avoid a massive outflow of money that could lead to their collapse.

Only emergency support from the ECB is keeping the banks afloat and saving Greece from a chaotic exit from the euro that could inflict more pain on its people and gravely damage the currency.

In a warning shot to the banks, the ECB raised the amount of collateral they must post for any loans. The move does not affect the lenders right away but served as a reminder that their fate lies in its hands.

In a sign that Athens is keen to seek a new deal, Greece’s combative finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned, apparently under pressure from other eurozone finance ministers who did not want him as a negotiating partner.

Tsipras had earlier promised Merkel that Greece would bring a proposal for a deal to Tuesday’s summit, a Greek official said. It was unclear how much it would differ from other proposals rejected in the past.

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