Creditors say outlook grim either way


With less than two days to go before a critical referendum on proposals by Greece’s creditors, top European officials made it clear that the outlook for the government is grim, particularly if the “no” vote prevails.

The president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, dismissed claims by Greek officials that an agreement could be reached quickly. “We are not talking to the government anymore. They have chosen an extremely risky route,” he said, adding that, “we are waiting for the result of the referendum.”

“There are no new proposals from our side and, whatever happens, the future for Greece will be extremely tough. To get Greece back on track and the economy out of the slump, tough decisions will have to be taken and every politician that says that won’t be the case following a ‘no’ vote is deceiving his population,” he said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Greece would be “dramatically weakened” in the case of a “no” vote. “The program has come to an end, there are no negotiations under way, if the Greeks will vote ‘no,’ they have done everything but strengthening the Greek negotiation position,” he added. “Even in the case of a ‘yes’ vote, we’ll have to face difficult negotiations.”

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was milder, saying Europe needed to build bridges with Greece and Britain, which is planning a referendum on EU membership.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble doused hopes for a swift deal after the referendum. He said Greece would first have to apply for more aid and the Eurogroup would have to decide whether to start talks. “These would be very difficult negotiations because the situation in Greece has worsened dramatically in the past few weeks.”