NEWS

Eurogroup says 'no grounds' for Greek talks until referendum

TAGS: Euro

Eurozone finance ministers agreed Wednesday to wait for the result of Greeces controversial bailout referendum before holding any more discussions on Athens's debt crisis, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said.

Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, said in a video statement after a conference call between the 19 members of the eurozone that there were "no grounds for further talks" until after Sunday's vote.

The call came hours after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a television address that the referendum on creditors' reform terms for a bailout would go ahead and urged people to vote 'No'.

"Given the political situation, the rejection of the previous proposals, the referendum which will take place on Sunday, and the recommendation by the Greek government to vote 'No, we see no grounds for further talks at this point," Dijsselbloem said.

"There will be no talks in the coming days, either at Eurogroup level or between the Greek authorities and the institutions on proposals or financial arrangements.

"We will simply await now the outcome of the referendum on Sunday and take into account the outcome of that referendum."

Greece on Tuesday made a last-minute proposal for a third bailout worth nearly 30 billion euros to follow the two rescue programmes worth 240 billion euros that cash-strapped Athens has received since 2010.

Dijsselbloem said the ministers agreed to simply "take note" of a letter from Tsipras agreeing to most of the terms in a bailout offer published by its EU-IMF creditors at the weekend.

They also rejected a request to extend a Greek bailout programme which expired on Tuesday night.

"I can just say that Im very sorry about the situation, given the strong determination of the Greek people to be part of Europe and to remain a part of the eurozone in which we fully support them," Dijsselbloem added.

Slovakian Finance Minister Peter Kazimir had been first to give the news of the decision, saying the Eurogroup was "united" in its decision.

"Let's not put the cart before the horse," he wrote on Twitter.

EU president Donald Tusk also wrote on Twitter earlier:

"Europe wants to help Greece. But cannot help anyone against their own will. Let's wait for the results of the Greek referendum."

Kazimir wrote that Greece would have to either scrap the referendum or campaign for a 'Yes' vote in order to get a breakthrough.

[AFP]

Online