2 Jul 2015

Eurozone: No talks until after referendum

5:41 pm on 2 July 2015

Eurozone finance ministers have ruled out any further talks on a fresh bailout for Greece until the country holds its referendum on Sunday.

Eurozone finance ministers have ruled out any further talks on a fresh bailout for Greece until the country holds its referendum

Eurozone finance ministers have ruled out any further talks on a fresh bailout for Greece until the country holds its referendum Photo: AFP

Greeks will be asked to accept or reject proposals made by creditors last week, with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urging a "No" vote.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis accused the creditors of blackmail.

But he pledged a deal would be reached soon after the vote and that current limits on bank withdrawals would ease.

Earlier on Wednesday Mr Tsipras put new proposals to eurozone partners, accepting most of what was on the table before talks with creditors collapsed last week, but with conditions.

His latest offer is tied explicitly to agreement on a request for a third bailout from the eurozone's bailout fund lasting two years and amounting to €29.1bn.

However, later Mr Tsipras made a defiant speech on national TV confirming Sunday's vote would go ahead and urging a "No" vote to strengthen Greece's hand in negotiations.

Mr Varoufakis said later in a TV interview: "This is a very dark moment for Europe. They have closed our banks for the sole purpose of blackmailing what? Getting a 'Yes' vote on a non-sustainable solution that would be bad for Europe."

But he added: "On Monday, the creditors, the lenders will have taken the message by the Greek people... So as soon as they get this message, be sure that in a very short time there will be a response."

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem replied to Mr Tsipras's proposals by saying a new bailout could only be discussed "after and on the basis of the outcome of" the vote.

The BBC's James Reynolds in Athens says EU negotiators believe the proposals themselves have now expired and that there is little point in taking the country's phone calls until the referendum is held.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those insisting talks must follow the outcome of the vote.

However, French President Francois Hollande said he wanted a deal to be found before the referendum.

"We have to be clear. An accord is for right now, it will not be put off," he said.

Greek banks did not open this week after the European Central Bank froze their liquidity lifeline, and on Wednesday decided to keep the emergency funding at the same level.

- BBC

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