The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is to make a direct appeal to the European Parliament amid growing pessimism over chances of a deal to prevent the country’s financial meltdown.
Alexis Tsipras is to deliver a speech to MEPs in Strasbourg as his government files a fresh request for assistance from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund.
Eurozone counterparts including powerful German chancellor Angela Merkel were left frustrated yesterday after the Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos came to an emergency meeting in Brussels without any concrete proposals.
The eurogroup’s top official, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, delivered a stark warning that time is running out to agree a package of financing and reforms before the country suffers a catastrophic banking collapse, which could force its exit from the currency union.
“The first step will be that the Greek government will send the eurogroup a new request, a new request letter for ESM support and as soon as this comes in … we will have another eurogroup conference call to formally start the process of dealing with this request,” the president told reporters after the summit.
“I will first ask the institutions to look at the financial situation in Greece, their finances and debt sustainability, and then the institutions will come back to us and we will see if we can formally start the negotiations.
“All this has to be done in a matter of days. We have very little time as you are all aware.”
Mr Tsipras told journalists he expected a resolution of the situation by the end of the week. “The discussion was held in a positive atmosphere,” he said.
“The Greek side will continue the effort having the strong weapon of the Greek people’s verdict.”
Mrs Merkel has insisted the door is still open to restarting negotiations, but any new plan must be “serious and credible”.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has tightened the screw on Greece’s embattled banks – which had been due to reopen yesterday but will now remain shut until at least Thursday – by raising the amount of collateral they must provide as security against emergency lending.
EU economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Greece must make reforms to break the deadlock.
He said: “Where there is a will there’s a way. I see the will, now we need to see action.
“It’s clear the 18 other member states and also the IMF, the commission, are expecting reforms in Greece because they are just necessary for the Greek people.
“They know what they have to do and they know what we expect. They need to do that.”