Tsipras cancels Council of Europe address due to summit

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has cancelled a planned address to the Council of Europe, the Strasbourg-based body said Monday as eurozone leaders were set to hold an emergency summit on a deal deal for cash-strapped Athens.

Tsipras — whose office confirmed cancellation — had proposed to address the Council of Europes parliamentary assembly on Tuesday, but had to rework his schedule as Greeces showdown with its international creditors entered crisis mode.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Monday that Athens’ new proposals to reach a deal were “a welcome step and a step in a positive direction, so I think it is also an opportunity to get that deal later this week and that is what we will work for.”

He added that because the reforms had arrived from Athens overnight there was “very little time” for the ministers to fully examine them ahead of a eurozone summit later Monday.

In addition to those meetings, Tsipras is also slated to participate in a series of consultations with representatives from Greeces creditors — the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — as they seek a deal to unblock 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in bailout funds Athens desperately needs to avoid default.

Greece is due to make around 1.5 billion euros in debt repayments to the IMF on June 30, and a series of even heavier reimbursements to other creditors later this summer.

Without new bailout funds in exchange for reform and budget concessions, Greece would be unable to finance the repayments, default on the loans involved and likely crash from the eurozone. [AFP]