End of Greece? Eurogroup rejects Greek bailout extension request



Brussels: Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Saturday said 18 Eurogroup financial ministers rejected Greece’s request for an extension so that it could put the creditors’ proposals to a popular vote on July 5.

“The current financial assistance arrangement with Greece would expire on June 30,” said an official statement released by the Eurogroup after an emergency financial ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“I am regretful to say that the programme will expire on Tuesday night,” Dijsselbloem confirmed at a press conference after the meeting. “That is the latest date we could reach an agreement.”

The creditors offered joint proposals to the Greek side on Thursday “given the prolonged deadlock in negotiations and the urgency of the situation”.

“Regrettably, despite efforts at all levels and full support of the Eurogroup, this proposal has been rejected by the Greek authorities who broke off the programme negotiations on the 26 June unilaterally,” the statement said.

Commenting on the Greek government’s response, Dijsselbloem said other members held the opinion that “today no further negotiations or talks were possible”.

Earlier in the day, the Greek government announced a suggestion to put creditors’ Thursday proposal to a popular vote on Sunday, July 5. The Greek parliament’s vote on the suggestion is under way in Athens.

The group decided to immediately reconvene a second meeting without Greek Financial Minister Yanis Varoufakis, to “discuss the consequence from the political conclusion that drew in the first meeting”.

Dijsselbloem also stressed that “the (negotiating) process was not finished”.

“The euro area authorities stand ready to do whatever was necessary to ensure financial stability of the euro area,” the statement said.