Alexis Tsipras lambasts ‘absurd proposals’ for Greece debt-deal failure

(From the Guardian) — In a hard-hitting article for the French daily Le Monde, the Alexis Tsipras lambasted the uncompromising approach of the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund for five months of fruitless negotiations.

“The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance,” he wrote. “It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people.”

The Greek leader held a telephone call on Sunday night with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and France’s François Hollande to discuss the situation. All three leaders reiterated the need for a quick agreement, according to one official in Athens.

The Le Monde article came as senior eurozone officials insisted that both sides were still far apart in agreeing on the fundamentals of a cash-for-reform deal. Repeated expressions of optimism by the Greek government not only ran contrary to reality, but were aimed squarely at stopping a run on the banks, they believe.

“It is a lie that there is any optimism. There is no optimism. What the so-called optimism is about is stopping panic-stricken Greeks withdrawing deposits from banks,” said one well-placed source with access to high-level policymakers.

“Time is not operating in the interests of the Greeks, but the EU. The showdown is fast approaching and nothing can be ruled out. Very soon we may see staged capital controls.”

The conclusion that can be drawn from these statements, is that the ‘repeated expressions’ of pessimism from the European lenders with regards the negotiations, is a deliberate attempt to bring about a bank run in order to force the government to accept a new bailout package with new austerity measures.

Officials from Greece have been locked in talks with creditors over the weekend in an attempt to agree a package of economic reforms. Outstanding issues include pensions, labour market reform, VAT rates and Greece’s budget targets. Europe’s main stock markets all fell late last week on fears that a deal will not be reached in time.

Indicative of the growing sense of foreboding, Australia issued an advisory at the weekend warning travellers of a potential breakdown in banking services. “Australians visiting Greece should be aware of the possibility that retail banking services … may at times become very limited at short notice,” the advisory said. “Protests and demonstrators can occur in cities across Greece with little warning.”