Greek finance minister moots ‘No’ vote in Sunday’s referendum

Athens, July 2 (IANS) Greece Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said that a “No” vote in the referendum on the Greek debt issue will be justified after the Eurogroup talks on the issue ended without a solution.

The latest emergency Eurogroup talks on Wednesday on the long-anticipated Greek debt deal ended fruitless with creditors telling Athens that discussions would resume after Sunday’s referendum on the offer made by institutions last week.

Varoufakis released shortly afterwards a statement presenting the leftist government’s arguments for a “No” vote, Xinhua news agency reported.

Greek Prime Minister Alexia Tsipras on Saturday said the country would hold a referendum on July 5 on the latest debt deal proposed by its international creditors.

Greece is in arrears status to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), without a bailout safety net as of Tuesday midnight, and banks have been shut and capital controls in place since Monday. Meanwhile, amidst mounting fears that the country is heading towards bankruptcy and a Grexit — Greece’s exit from the Eurozone — Varoufakis justified the negative stance.

The Greek minister claimed that the five-month negotiations had stalled “because Greece’s creditors refused to reduce our unpayable public debt and insisted that it should be repaid ‘parametrically’ by the weakest members of our society: their children, and their grandchildren”.

Varoufakis noted that the IMF, the US government, many other governments around the globe, and independent economists believe that the debt must be restructured.

He drew attention to the November 2012 Eurogroup statement that the debt ought to be restructured, but that the Eurogroup was now “refusing to commit to a debt restructure”. However, since the announcement of the referendum last Saturday, “official Europe has sent signals that they are ready to discuss debt restructuring”.

The Greek minister argued that these signals show that “official Europe, too, would vote ‘No’ on its own ‘final’ offer”, confident that Greece would stay in the eurozone and that deposits in Greece’s banks were safe.

“Creditors have chosen the strategy of blackmail based on bank closures. The current impasse is due to this choice by the creditors and not by the Greek government discontinuing the negotiations, or any Greek thoughts of Grexit and devaluation. Greece’s place in the eurozone and in the European Union is non-negotiable,” he stressed.

“The future demands a proud Greece within the eurozone and at the heart of Europe. This future demands that Greeks say a big ‘No’ on Sunday, that we stay in the Euro area, and that, with the power vested upon us by that ‘No’, we renegotiate Greece’s public debt as well as the distribution of burdens between the haves and the have-nots,” he concluded.

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