Reactions to Greek Proposal Mixed Across Europe; Some Opposition Growing From Within Syriza


Greece submitted its proposals for a new bailout to European creditors yesterday— conceding much of what was voted against by a popular referendum and the Syriza party itself— in an effort to prevent the country’s economy from imploding.

Dutch finance minister and eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said a “major decision… whichever way” would be coming this weekend, while calling the document “thorough”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and Mr Dijsselbloem were scheduled to hold a conference call to discuss the Greek proposal.

Mr Dijsselbloem said the new Greek paper was “a thorough piece of text” and that support from the Greek parliament would give it “more credibility”.

“But even then we need to consider carefully whether the proposal is good and if the numbers add up. We have to make a major decision. Whichever way.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he was optimistic and hoped a deal could be struck on Saturday so that the Sunday meetings would not be needed.

French President Francois Hollande said the new proposals were “serious and credible” and that the “Greeks have just shown their determination to remain in the eurozone”.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said he is “reasonably optimistic” on the possibility of a deal with Greece. “I believe that major advances have been made in the last few days,” said Mr Macron. “The level of the reforms are in line with what was expected,” he said, adding that it made him “reasonably optimistic.”

Germany poured cold water on the upbeat statements coming from Italian and French leaders. “We cannot comment on their content yet,” said Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesperson.

“We will wait until the institutions examine them and express their opinion,” Seibert said, referring to the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Alexis Tsipras was now focusing on rallying support from inside Greece.

“We are confronted with crucial decisions,” Tspiras told his Syriza lawmakers.

“We got a mandate to bring a better deal than the ultimatum that the Eurogroup gave us, but certainly not given a mandate to take Greece out of the eurozone, he said. “We are all in this together.”

Greece’s main opposition New Democracy signaled their support of the proposal as a means to keep Greece in the eurozone.

But opposition was coming from within the Syriza party itself.

Kathimerini has reported that five Syriza deputies have already broken from their party’s position and won’t vote for the new bailout.

Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and a member of Syriza’s extreme left said “The proposals are not compatible with the Syriza program,” He declined to say how he would vote. “We will take it step by step” but the day before Tsipras submitted the proposal to his European colleagues he was taking a tough position.

“The choices we have are tough…but the worst, the most humiliating and unbearable choice is an agreement that will surrender, loot and subjugate our people and this country,” he said in Athens on Thursday.

“Greece said ‘no’ in last weekend’s referendum, he said, “and that will not be turned into a humiliating ‘yes.’”


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