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Merkel: no talks on new Greece bailout deal until after referendum

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By Alasdair Sandford
Merkel: no talks on new Greece bailout deal until after referendum

The German Chancellor has said there’ll be no negotiations on a new Greek bailout deal until after the country’s referendum on Sunday.

But Angela Merkel told the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, that the door for further talks remained open.

She has been under pressure to clarify the position of Athens’ biggest creditor, and was speaking after news broke of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ letter to creditors, apparently accepting many of their demands as Athens seeks a new deal to save its economy and stay in the eurozone.

“Europe’s future is not at stake”, Merkel said. “We can await the outcome of the referendum calmly because Europe is strong.”

“A good European is not a person who seeks a compromise at any price, a good European is someone who respects the European treaties and national laws and in this way makes sure the stability of the eurozone is not damaged,” she added.

Merkel’s stance seems to be backed by her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble who said the latest move by Athens gave “no basis” for serious talks.

But Tspiras’ letter – described as a significant climbdown – is giving Greece’s creditors serious food for thought.

Many Germans have been opposed to giving more money to the Greeks.

The opposition Social Democrats have also reacted coolly to Tsipras’ latest proposals. Party leader Sigmar Gabriel told the Bundestag that although solidarity mattered, successive Greek governments were to blame for failing to tackle corruption and vested interests.