(The Guardian, Reuters, enikos.gr) — In the coming hours, the most powerful politicians and officials in Europe will hold a series of emergency meetings that will, most likely, determine the future of both Greece and the wider eurozone.
The aim is to hammer out an agreement to finally unlock bailout funds for Greece, which have been locked away for almost a year.
That deadlock was broken late last night, when the Greek government submitted new proposals to the heads of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.
It is thought that the new proposals include: stopping all early retirements from 1 January 2016, an increase of VAT for catering to 13% and the removal of the reduced VAT rate for some of the popular Aegean islands. Some of the tax allowances for incomes over 30K a year are to be abolished. The proposed primary surplus moved nearer to 1% (from 0.75%).
Those proposals will be scrutinised this morning, when Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, meets IMF chief Christine Lagarde, ECB president Mario Draghi, EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem
That will be followed by a eurogroup meeting and then an EU leaders summit tonight.
10.30am CEST (9.30am BST/11.30am EEST): The ECB board will discuss the situation in the Greek banking sector
11am CEST: Alexis Tsipras meets Christine Lagarde, Mario Draghi, Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem to discuss Athens’ new proposals
12.30pm CEST: Eurozone finance ministers hold a Eurogroup meeting on Greece, which could yield agreement on its bailout.
7pm CEST: EU leaders hold their Greek crisis summit meeting
Greece’s creditors are prepared to sign up for a short-term deal to extend the existing bailout by another six months, injecting up to €18bn of loans into the cash-starved Greek economy. They could also make some kind of pledge about debt restructuring, as part of a third bailout.
Brussels sources also signalled moves to address Tsipras’s key demand – that the creditors need to offer debt relief to Greece.
Some form of debt restructuring would be promised to Athens in the future, but it would come with strings attached and not as part of the current bailout package, they said.
The proposal from Athens received upbeat assessment from Jean-Claude Juncker’s head of cabinet ahead of crunch summit.
EU economic commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in a radio interview
“We are moving in the right direction, we have solid ground for a deal, we just have to consolidate that today … I think that the political will of everyone to preserve the euro, this common good, to ensure that this single currency is irreversible, will win the day.”