Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced the widest rebellion yet from his leftist lawmakers as parliament approved a new bailout program on Friday, forcing him to consider a confidence vote that could pave the way for early elections. After lawmakers bickered for much of the night on procedural matters, Tsipras comfortably won the vote on the country's third financial rescue by foreign creditors in five years thanks to support from pro-euro opposition parties.
Last weekend’s marathon summit on Greece might have gone down as the moment Europe came together to resolve its greatest crisis. Instead, it will likely be remembered for a single word, borrowed from American sports: Timeout. “In case no agreement could be reached, Greece should be offered swift negotiations on a timeout from the euro area,” read the final line of the draft deal with Athens.
“Brutal. …Violent. … A crucifixion.” In Brussels, the world capital of circumlocution where “difficult” is as bad as it gets, such language is nothing short of unthinkable. Yet these words were blurted out by eurozone ministers and bureaucrats as they staggered out of Sunday night’s collective mugging of Alexis Tsipras. Notwithstanding the general, and justified, exasperation with Greek tricksmanship, there was an atmosphere almost of guilt. For something very un-European had happened. Under threat of expulsion from the club as a delinquent bankrupt, a member of the eurozone had been subjected to a Diktat whose terms effectively reduce Greece to the status of a protectorate of the European Union.
European leaders are meeting again in Brussels today to decide on Greece's future — in or out of the eurozone. They've signaled that this weekend could be Greece's last chance to remain in the common currency. Here are six things you should know.
Negotiations over whether, and how, Greece will pay its debts, cut domestic spending, or have to leave the eurozone continued on Friday with a new set of proposals from Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras—one that looks, in the words of one analyst, “more or less identical” to the austerity measures Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum just five days ago. And next comes a series of deadlines that, we’re told, really will this time determine whether or not Greece gets to keep using the euro.
Germany conceded on Thursday that Greece would need some debt restructuring as part of any new loan program to make its economy viable as the Greek cabinet raced to finalize reform proposals to avert an imminent economic meltdown. The admission by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble came hours before a midnight deadline for Athens to submit a reform plan meant to convince European partners to give it another loan to save it from a possible exit from the euro.
Greece asked European partners Wednesday for a new three-year bailout, pledging to make reforms but leaving blank how far it was willing to go to meet cost-cutting demands as the country flirts with bankruptcy. In a one-page letter , obtained by The Washington Post, Greece proposed to take steps on key issues such as taxes and pension payouts as early as next week. It also pledged to take unspecified “additional actions” to “strengthen and modernize” its economy.
The German government signaled a tough line towards Greece on Monday, saying it saw no basis for new bailout negotiations and insisting it was up to Athens to move swiftly if it wanted to preserve its place in the euro zone. With opinion towards Greece hardening in Germany's ruling coalition following the landslide rejection of European bailout terms in a Sunday referendum, the government indirectly raised the prospect of a Greek exit from the currency bloc.