Monday’s emergency summit in Brussels ended more hopeful than it began, with Greece looking to have stepped back , if only slightly, from the brink of financial disaster.
New budget proposals which include concessions from Greece’s Prime Minister on higher taxes and welfare charges have been welcomed as a basis for a possible deal by euro zone leaders.
ECB chief Mario Draghi is also said to have reassured Greece that the central bank will continue to support Greek banks as long as Athens remained in a bailout programme.
“We want a comprehensive and viable solution that is accompanied by a strong growth package that will make the Greek economy viable,” said Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras. “So that the country can stand on it’s feet again. The ball is in the court of the European leadership.”
Now the proposals will be scrutinized , not the least by Germany, Greece’s biggest creditor, to see if the sums add up putting Athens on target to reduce its massive deficit.
“All participants in the discussion, including myself, said we would like Greece to stay in the eurozone. That what Greece put forward today is certainly progress, but within our discussion, we also noticed there is a lot of work that needs to be done and we are running out of time, and therefore we have to concentrate on this work,” said a cautious Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Reporting for euronews from Brussels, Efi Koutsokosta summed up the latest episode in Greece’s battle to stay in the eurozone:
“The next two days are considered really crucial as the negotiations will continue here in Brussels until the next Eurogroup meeting on Wednesday evening. All parties think the new Greek proposals are a good basis for further progress although according to Merkel and Juncker the issue of the debt relief which is of a high priority for the Greek side was not discussed. “
*Greece proposals”: they include several concessions international lenders had been demanding:
A tax hike for higher earners, corporate and luxury hikes. Changes in some VAT rates.
Spending cuts in defence.
While pensions are not to be cut , early retirement is to be curbed out with some exemptions including arduous professions and pension contributions are to be raised.
For details read:http://www.wsj.com/articles/greek-bailout-proposal-makes-potentially-big-concession-on-pensions-officials-say-1434970433