Greece has submitted a new bundle of proposals to the institutions in charge of its bailout, with the hope of securing the cash it desperately needs on Monday.
The proposals come just in time for the the emergency meeting of European heads of government called at the end of last week. It’s being billed as the final chance of a deal for the cash-starved country.
We haven’t seen the full detail of the Greek proposals yet, but up until now, the major areas of difference were over the scale of fiscal austerity, labour market changes and cuts and reforms to the pension system.
Any indication that the Greek government has blinked and conceded to any of those points would be great news from the perspective of the creditors, but would cause political strife for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at home.
Here’s a snippet from the Guardian, which originally reported the proposal:
Among the measures that the Syriza-led coalition was reportedly working on on Saturday were reductions in early retirement schemes. Pension and VAT reforms, along with labour deregulation, remain sources of friction between the two sides.
Former French finance minister and current EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he’s now confident that a deal could be done this evening.
And EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff referred to the potential for a “forceps delivery” of a deal.
Those are two of the most positive comments about a Greek proposal that we’ve heard from Europe’s creditors. Last week almost everyone went into Friday’s Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers saying there wouldn’t be a deal — though it remains to be seen whether Greece’s new efforts will be enough for the more hardline European governments.
Athens is aiming to unlock its last bailout instalment of €7.2 billion ($US8.2 billion, £5.16 billion), which it desperately needs to make major debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on June 30 and the European Central Bank (ECB) on July 20.
According to Reuters, two bankers at a meeting with Bank of Greece governor (and former finance minister) Yannis Stournaras said he told them to prepare for a “difficult day” on Tuesday if no deal was reached. Pre-orders for deposit withdrawals have reportedly reached €1 billion (£720 million, $US1.14 billion) after €4 billion (£2.87 billion, $US4.56 billion) left banks last week.
There’s another call planned for the ECB to discuss Greece’s banking sector today. Though the limit for Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) was raised just at the end of last week, money has been leaving banks so quickly that it will likely need to be hiked again.
If the Greece government defaulted on one of its loans, that would put the ELA provided by the ECB in peril — it’s the only thing currently propping up the country’s shattered banking system.