Greece has become deadlocked with its international creditors just days before a potential default as its leaders were accused of “playing with the future of the country”.
Meanwhile Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said that Greece was not to blame for the lack of a deal. In an op-ed in French paper Le Monde this weekend, he blamed “the obsession of some institutional representatives who insist on unreasonable solutions and are being indifferent to the democratic result of recent Greek elections”.
The debt-laden nation must pay back €304m (£218m) in loans due to the International Monetary Fund on Friday, but is struggling to reach a deal with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF needed to unlock €7.2bn in vital funds due under its second bailout in 2012.
Greece – led by left-wing Syriza since its January election win – is refusing to give ground on the pension cuts and labour market reform demanded by creditors in order to release the funds, scotching hopes that a deal might be reached over the weekend. Tsipras held a conference call last night with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande over the impasse.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis – recently sidelined by Tsipras – meanwhile denied speculation that he would quit, tweeting that “rumours of my impending resignation are (for the umpteenth time) grossly premature”.
But the glacial pace of the negotiations drew fire on both sides from senior European officials. Klaus Regling, managing director of the European Stability Mechanism, the eurozone’s financial rescue fund, warned: “If the Greek government refuses to engage in the reform process, it is playing with the future of the country. The risk is then great that past sacrifices will have been in vain.”
Full article: Greece counts down to default after Tsipras slams EU demands as ‘unreasonable’ (The Independent)