Greece gets ultimatum on reforms

Brussels, July 13 (IANS) Greece has been given an ultimatum to either agree to a drastic economic overhaul and budget cuts by Wednesday or leave the single currency eurozone, a media report said on Monday.

Eurozone leaders met in Brussels on Sunday night, aiming to finalise their last-chance offer to the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a condition for starting talks on a new bailout plan, the Independent reported.

Greece is being asked to pass legislation on a series of reforms by Wednesday before any talks on another bailout can begin.

The proposals call for measures, including new laws on the value added tax (VAT) and pension systems, the reform of bankruptcy rules, the privatisation of electricity transmission, and strengthening the independence of Greece’s statistics office.

A particularly controversial suggestion is for 50 billion euros (about $52 billion) in Greek assets to be handed in escrow to eurozone authorities, and sold off if Athens fails to meet its reform promises.

Greek officials insisted that 17 billion euros (about $19 billion) worth of assets was as far as they could go.

Social media sites throbbed with outrage. The hashtag #ThisIsACoup soared to the most trending in Europe.

The summit was paused for several hours overnight to allow talks between Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Council President Donald Tusk, a BBC report said.

Earlier on Monday, Tusk’s spokesman announced the summit was reconvening to discuss a “compromise proposal”. However, Merkel warned that Tsipras had squandered the goodwill of almost all his eurozone partners.

“The most important currency has been lost and that is trust,” she said on her way into the summit.

“There will be hard talks, and not unity at any price. We must be sure to weigh the pros and cons.”

Leave a Reply