Behind the smiles, tensions are mounting between Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and his European partners – just hours before Saturday’s (June 27) crucial Eurogroup meeting.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are urging Greece to accept what they say is a generous offer from its creditors.
But Tsipras is calling it blackmail.
“The European Union foundation principles were democracy, solidarity, quality, mutual respect: these principles were not based on blackmails and ultimatum,” he told reporters at the European Council. “And specially in those times, no one has the right to put on danger those principles.”
Creditors are offering Athens 15.5 billion euro until November. The deal includes 1.8 billion euro by June 30 to avoid defaulting on an IMF loan.
But that’s only if Greece can reach a deal over the weekend.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it’s a fair offer.
“There was no ultimatum, and it is un-European to [tell] the Greek people that it was an ultimatum,” he said at a press conference on Friday (June 26). “We are not running the business of announcing ultimata, but it is anti-European not to listen to the others: that’s anti-European, yes!”
If Greece turns down this latest proposal, European finance ministers will move to plan-B, namely how to limit the damage from a Greek default.
Eurozone member states and institutions are on the same page in asking Greece to accept the latest proposals, says euronews’ Efi Koustakosta, who was at the European Council on Friday. “In the meantime,” she says, “technical talks will continue here in Brussels; some eurozone ministers say the Greek thriller could drag on into Sunday (June 28).”