Tags: greece | austerity | bankrupt

Slippery Slope for Greece

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Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 10:28 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Moments after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the International Monetary Fund Monday it would not make the 1.5 billion euro loan repayment due on June 30, the White House told Newsmax in no uncertain terms it expected Greece to honor its repayments of loans it has made to forestall economic collapse.

“We’ve made it long clear that we expect the Greeks to keep their commitments,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

But as to how the cash-strapped Athens government would keep its commitments of the repayment due June 30 as well as the overall 23 billion euro it owes the IMF over the next 10 years, Earnest simply said: “I’d refer you to the IMF for more information about how exactly the Greeks can do that.”

At the same time, the president’s top spokesman made clear that the Obama administration supports the controversial referendum called by Tsipras for July 5 in which Greeks will vote either “yes” to the austerity measures offered last week by its creditors or “no,” as the prime minister has urged.

Coming six days after the IMF and Greece’s two other creditors (the European Union and the European Central Bank) took their bailout-for-austerity offer off the table and five days after Greece is scheduled to default on its IMF obligations due June 30, the referendum has been widely condemned as a sham by many economists and the economic press.

“Voting on a nonexisting proposal is surreal and only serves to highlight that the referendum is really about the standing of Greece in Europe,” Aristides Hatzis, associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens and a co-founder of GreekCrisis.net, wrote in the Financial Times Monday.

The FT’s editorial page Monday was even harsher on the embattled Greek prime minister over the proposed referendum, charging that “at the critical moment in his Brussels talks, Mr. Tsipras has put his knave of hearts on the table.”

The White House, however, left no doubt it supports the referendum orchestrated by Tsipras.

“What we’ve indicated is that there’s a democratic process that is underway in Greece,” said Earnest, “and that’s a process that will be determined by the Greek people.”

He went on to point out that as the referendum relates to Greece and its continued membership in the euro currency, “I would merely note for you that the public opinion that’s expressed by everyone who’s sitting around the negotiating table right now — the Greeks, leaders of the EU, the IMF and the ECB — have all indicated that it’s their view that Greece continue to remain part of the currency union there.”

In restating the administration position that “it is in the interest of the United States for Europe to continue to be closely integrated and strong and effective,” Earnest said this view “is what gives us some confidence that the kinds of challenges that are currently being confronted by the negotiators can be expressed through a package of reforms and financing that will allow Greece to return to a path of economic growth and debt sustainability.”

Earnest’s latest comments on the Greek crisis came after a weekend in which the administration was making its hope for a resolution between Greece and its creditors known to the major players in the negotiations in Brussels.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

 









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Six days after the IMF and Greece’s two other creditors (the European Union and the European Central Bank) took their bailout-for-austerity offer off the table and five days after Greece is scheduled to default on its IMF obligations due June 30, no solution is in sight.
greece, austerity, bankrupt
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2015-28-30
Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 10:28 AM
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