Greek crisis summit – LIVE REPORT

22:42 GMT – AFP IS NOW CLOSING ITS LIVE REPORT on the Greek crisis summit. European leaders ended today’s talks without a final deal but spoke of progress, giving hope for an end to the five-month standoff between Athens and its EU and IMF creditors before a June 30 deadline.

Eurozone finance ministers will meet again on Wednesday in a bid to agree on a bailout deal for Greece ahead of an EU leaders’ summit the following day, EU President Donald Tusk says.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker meanwhile said he was “convinced” a final agreement would be made this week.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while Greece’s plans were a “good starting point for further talks”, it was also clear that “absolutely intensive work is necessary now.”

Here is a brief summary of today’s summit:

* Greece and its creditors are negotiating to prevent Athens defaulting on its debt, ahead of a June 30 deadline for a 1.5 billion euro repayment to the IMF

* Athens offered economic reforms in exchange for the last payment of 7.2 billion euros from the current bailout program. Without that money, Greece may not be able to make the IMF payment

* European officials seem optimistic that a deal can be reached Wednesday, ahead of an EU leaders’ summit on Thursday

* Signs of a potential breakthrough in talks sparked a huge rally in European equity markets and a new record in the US, sending the Nasdaq to a new record close

* Failing a deal this week, Greece is likely to miss the IMF payment, setting up a possible euro exit which Greece’s central bank has said could also see it cast out of the EU

21:54 GMT – Looking to Wednesday – Eurozone finance ministers will meet again on Wednesday in a bid to reach a final bailout deal for Greece ahead of an EU leaders’ summit the following day, EU President Donald Tusk says.

French President Francois Hollande agrees the EU and creditors are making progress.

“We are moving towards an accord,” Hollande tells reporters after the summit. “There is still work to be done… every effort must be made so that when eurozone finance ministers meet Wednesday, a solution is in sight.”

21:47 GMT – Euro steady – The euro holds steady against the dollar as signs mount that Greece is making some progress with creditors over its bailout.

“If the anecdotes are correct, the odds of a deal are higher than they were late last week but still are barely better than 50-50,” says Moody’s Analytics.


21:24 GMT – ‘We have to find an agreement’: Juncker – AFP’s Danny Kemp, @dannyctkemp, tweets a quote from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker: “I’m convinced we will come to a final agreement this week for the simple reason that we have to find an agreement this week.”


21:10 GMT – Juncker Tusk presser – The summit has wrapped up. AFP reporters Danny Kemp and Alex Pigman report that a press conference is expected soon with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.

21:05 GMT – Record Nasdaq – The Nasdaq plows to a fresh record as US stock markets follow European equity markets higher on increased optimism for a deal that could avert a Greek default.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was at 5,153.97, up 36.97 points (0.72 percent), besting the prior record set June 18 by 21 points.


Leaders’ meeting over

20:50 GMT – The story so far…. – * Greece and its creditors are holding emergency talks to prevent Athens defaulting on its debt, ahead of a June 30 deadline for a 1.5 billion euro repayment to the IMF

* Athens unveiled a fresh reforms package late on Sunday in a bid to unlock further bailout funds, but the wrong documents were accidentally sent to Brussels, reducing the likelihood of a deal on Monday

* Officials say a deal is highly unlikely this evening, but Greece’s international lenders are optimistic that agreement could be reached at another round of talks in the coming days

*Failing a deal this week, Greece is likely to miss the IMF payment, setting up a possible euro exit which Greece’s central bank has said could also see it cast out of the EU

* An afternoon Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers, which was meant to prepare the ground for the leaders’ summit, ended after barely an hour with no breakthrough

* Stock markets and the euro have rallied on renewed hopes of a debt deal

20:48 GMT – Bailout extension? – Greece accepts the principle of extending its current bailout programme which expires at the end of the month, so as to keep it afloat while a long-term debt solution is worked out, Greek government sources say.

“For the first time, we accept the extension of the programme as the only way forward,” one source says.


20:02 GMT – Wrapping up – “Sources saying Eurosummit should be over within half an hour”, tweets @dannyctkemp, AFP’s Danny Kemp.

European leaders have been meeting for more than two hours in Brussels to try and reach a vital Greek bailout agreement.

19:58 GMT – Athens’ plan – After more than two hours the summit is still underway, though AFP’s Alex Pigman reports on Twitter the meeting could soon be wrapping up.

European leaders are examining the new debt plan submitted by Greece aimed at resolving the row with European and IMF creditors, addressing key sticking points that have blighted months of talks. Proposals are focused on VAT rates, early retirement measures and tax hikes, and narrowing the country’s budgetary gap.

19:10 GMT – Athens demonstration – AFP photos show a sizeable pro-European demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens today, with protesters waving Greek and EU flags.

Signs in the crowd read, “We stay in Europe” and “Yes to Europe”, and miniature fake euro notes were scattered around.

18:40 GMT – Talks underway – The emergency summit is ongoing in Brussels, with European leaders cautiously optimistic about eleventh-hour reform proposals from Greece, though it seems a deal is not likely tonight.

“We’re here to conclude a viable economic accord,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said earlier as he arrived for the meeting.

17:55 GMT – Spain and Portugal – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke earlier at a news conference in Baiona, Spain with his Portuguese counterpart, before heading to Brussels for the emergency meeting, now underway.

“We hope it will be possible to find a solution that works for Greece and the whole of the eurozone,” Rajoy said.

Along with other eurozone countries, Portugal and Spain are demanding Athens push through further reforms in order to unlock the 7.2 billion euros still remaining in Greece’s international bailout.

Portugal, like Greece, was bailed out by international lenders in 2011 and Spain got a bailout for its banks in 2012.

Summit begins

17:35 GMT – Hard line from Portugal – “It is important that there be no more extensions without clear guarantees” by Athens, says Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.

“There is an openness that could lead to a new understanding,” but Greece “will have to respect all the rules applying to governments in the EU”, he adds at a news conference in Baiona, northwestern Spain.

17:24 GMT – Hollande sees ‘improvements’ – French President Francois Hollande says that new Greek reform proposals are an “improvement” but that no debt deal is immediately possible.

“I hope that the work in the last few days between Greece and the (creditor) institutions will provide the basis for a deal which must be made as soon as possible… There have been improvements even if not everything is in order,” he tells reporters.

17:20 GMT – Lew calls Tsipras – US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said that European leaders need to try hard to make a debt deal work if Greece presents credible proposals to official creditors.

Speaking by phone with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Lew “underscored the need for Greece to present credible proposals that provide the basis for reaching an agreement as quickly as possible,” the Treasury said.

Lew warned that failure to reach an agreement would result in “immediate hardship” for Greece, as well as present “uncertainties” for the global economy.

16:43 GMT – No deal tonight: Merkel – Angela Merkel gave a very short statement that didn’t really add to what German government spokesmen said earlier today, writes AFP’s Danny Kemp in Brussels.

“The theme of the summit is Greece. After the Eurogroup there is no basis for a decision. This can only be a consultative summit,” she told reporters on her way into the summit.

A helicopter hovered overhead, as it always does when Europe’s most powerful leader comes to Brussels.

16:22 GMT – Time running out – European Council President Donald Tusk says “Time is running out” for a Greek debt deal, and that “The latest Greek proposals are first real proposals in many weeks,” AFP’s Alex Pigman reports.

16:17 GMT – Cards on table – Tusk also warns that eurozone leaders meeting for this evening’s Greek debt summit should tread carefully to avoid Greece accidently leaving the 19-member euro currency bloc.

“All cards on the table at tonight’s #EuroSummit. Leaders need to take full responsibility for the political process to avoid #Graccident,” he tweets.

16:04 GMT – Midnight looms – AFP’s Danny Kemp in Brussels tweets: “‘We’re not so much five minutes to midnight as thirty seconds to midnight,’ says Luxembourg PM @Xavier_Bettel on Greece”.


– Stocks –

15:49 GMT – Banking pressure – The chairman of one of Greece’s biggest lenders says fears that the country could tumble out of the eurozone are putting pressure on banks, their customers and staff.

“The Greek banking system cannot afford, cannot continue the current situation of every day losing hundreds of millions of euros by depositors that are fearful of a Grexit,” Eurobank’s Nikolaos Karamouzis told the BBC in an interview.

“It’s very difficult. Every day we have to try very hard to calm our staff, we have to try very hard to calm our clients, we have to address the issue that we have plenty of collateral to address the capital outflows, the deposit outflows,” he said.

15:08 GMT – Tax the rich – Speaking to the BBC, Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis outlines details of the reform plan presented to Brussels on Sunday:

“The basic idea was very simple — there will be new taxation on business and the wealthier part of society and we will save pensions and wages, this is the very basic idea. So we try to remove the tax burden from pensions and wages towards business and wealth.”

15:00 GMT – Good news? – Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis tells the BBC he expects good news on his country’s new reform proposals.

“Our expectation is that there will be a very positive communique tonight underlying also the areas where the technical details have to be fixed in the next day or so.”

14:58 GMT – Athens stocks – Greece’s main stock exchange rockets nine percent by the close on optimism that the country is near a deal with its creditors to release vital bailout funds.

The Athex Composite Index surged 9.00 percent to end the day at 749.17 points.


– Greek shares –

13:30 GMT – Doomsday scenario 1 – While not an official default, missing the June 30 debt payment to the IMF would trigger panic on the markets for everything Greek, including a run on Greece’s barely standing banks.

Once the bleeding begins, emergency measures could include the introduction of strict capital controls, closure of the banks, and the government issuing IOUs to finance the public sector, while preserving every last euro to pay off more debt.

12:02 GMT – Doomsday scenario 2 – Greece exiting the euro is the one scenario that few want to imagine. It would not only damage the single currency, but also the European Union project as a whole, just as Brussels faces threats from Russia over Ukraine and Britain gears up for a vote on divorce from the EU.

But beyond the crushing embarrassment, it would also risk contagion, with market players on the hunt for the next weakest link in the eurozone.

10:58 GMT – Farce – AFP’s Danny Kemp sums up the general mood among journalists covering today’s summit:

“Farcical really. Greek plans came too late for full assessment so another Eurogroup this wk, says @J_Dijsselbloem. What’s point of summit?” Kemp tweets.

09:41 GMT – Markets rally – The Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris stock markets have surged by more than 3.0 percent on hopes that Greece could strike a deal with European leaders over its debts.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was up 3.09 percent to 11,381.70 points, Madrid’s IBEX 35 index of leading shares 3.17 percent to 11,290.8, and the CAC 40 up 3.01 percent to 4,960.42 points in mid-afternoon trading.

09:41 GMT – Tsipras cancels address – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has cancelled a planned address to the Council of Europe, the Strasbourg-based body says as eurozone leaders are set to hold an emergency summit on a deal for cash-strapped Athens.

09:41 GMT – Contagion fears – Fears are mounting that Greece’s debt woes could spread, given rising borrowing costs among some countries in the 19-member eurozone bloc, AFP’s Patrice Novotny reports.

Bond yields have jumped in recent days for Spain, Portugal, Italy and even Ireland, albeit from relatively low levels. The 10-year bond yields of Spain, Portugal and Italy hit their highest levels this year on June 16, while Ireland’s hit a year-high on June 10.

– Tsipras –

09:41 GMT – Upbeat – Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem has a more optimistic take on the day’s developments than other eurozone officials.

Athens’ plans are a “welcome step” and “an opportunity to get that deal later this week and that is what we will work for”, Dijsselbloem tells reporters after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.

09:41 GMT – Leaders’ summit off? – Reports are swirling that a eurozone leaders’ summit scheduled for later on Monday could be cancelled after a lack of progress at this afternoon’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

The meeting was meant to pave the way for the leaders’ summit, but ended with no breakthrough and a pledge to reconvene in the coming days.

09:41 GMT – Eurogroup talks end – Eurogroup talks between eurozone finance ministers on Greece’s debt crisis have ended after barely an hour with no significant breakthrough.

Finland’s Finance Minister Alexander Stubb says Greece’s debt plan is still being studied.

“Eurogroup ends. Work continues. Institutions assess proposals,” Stubb tweets.


09:40 GMT – Damp summit – The weather reflects the mood here in Brussels, writes AFP’s Danny Kemp.

Rain has been pouring down all morning as eurozone finance ministers arrive for their Eurogroup meeting ahead of the emergency eurozone summit this evening.

Finnish finance minister Alexander Stubb held an umbrella over his head to protect himself from the downpour as he poured his own cold water over hopes of a deal. He later tweeted that he felt sorry for the journalists, who included AFP’s Aurelia End.

09:40 GMT – Greek tragedy – As officials in Brussels wrangle over debt restructuring and economic reforms, ordinary Greeks are suffering:

* Between 2009 and 2014 Greece lost a quarter of its economic output

* Salaries and pensions fell from 26 billion euros ($29.3 billion) in 2010 to 18.5 billion euros in 2014, says Panagiotis Petrakis, professor of economics at the National University of Athens

* In the public sector, around 200,000 civil servants were dismissed or took early retirement, while about 130,000 businesses shut down

* The unemployment rate has more than doubled — from 10.3 percent in 2009 to 25.6 percent this year

09:40 GMT – Another meeting? – Irish finance minister Michael Noonan has warned that a fresh Eurogroup meeting is likely on Thursday ahead of a summit of all 28 leaders of the European Union.

“I have very low expectations of an agreement today,” he says.

“There was such confusion during the night with all the alternative versions of the Greek proposals coming in that there hasn’t been any preparation, and it would be very diffcult for the Eurgroup to prepare the meeting.

“So my expectation is that we will be meeting again on Thursday before the full (EU) council meeting.”

09:40 GMT – Mission ‘impossible’ – Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijssebloem says it would be “impossible” for Greece’s EU-IMF creditors — known as The Institutions — to have a final assessment of the Greek proposals, which arrived late on Sunday night.

09:40 GMT – Mix-up – AFP’s Brussels deputy bureau chief Danny Kemp tweets that proceedings could be delayed due to a mix-up in the Greek plans.

“Ireland’s Noonan says expects another Eurogroup Thursday because of mix-up in Greek plans submitted over night. Nooooooo(nan)”

– Creditors –

09:40 GMT – Pessimism abounds – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gave a pessimistic assessment of new reform plans submitted by Greece ahead of an emergency summit in Brussels Monday, saying they contain little new.

“I do not know any new proposals… We do not have any substantial proposals until now,” he told reporters as he arrived for the talks. “I do not see how we will be able to prepare a euro-summit if we do not have substantial proposals.”

09:40 GMT – Goodbye optimism – AFP’s deputy bureau chief in Brussels, Danny Kemp, tweets that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble “says no new substantive proposals from Greece. Goodbye optimism”.

09:40 GMT – Consultations only? – The summit on Greece’s debt crisis may only take the form of “consultations” if Athens’ creditors haven’t approved Greece’s latest proposals, a German government spokesman warns.

“Without the basis for a decision”, or a previous agreement between Greece and its three international lenders with whom it has been negotiating for months, “there can only be a summit of consultations this evening”, Steffen Seibert tells reporters.

09:40 GMT – If there’s a deal… – It would be a shock if leftist-led Greece fully satisfied its EU-IMF creditors, but if it were to do so, the 7.2 billion euros remaining in its current rescue programme would be enough to pay off looming debts to the IMF and ECB, as well as pay state salaries and pensions.

But any satisfaction would be short-lived. Greece is buried under a colossal pile of debt, about 180 percent of annual output, almost double what the national economy produces every year and largely seen as unsustainable without the economy growing far faster than even the most optimistic forecasts.

09:40 GMT – Low expectations – Billed by some as a make-or-break summit to resolve Greece’s debt crisis, other delegates appear to be downplaying expectations of a significant breakthrough on Monday.

Germany says the talks may only be “consultations” while Finland’s Finance Minister Alexander Stubb says he has “very low expectations” for a deal.

– Pessimism –

09:40 GMT – Proposals unclear – Greece’s new reform proposals have been hailed by France as “quality work” and by Juncker as a “good basis for progress”, although details remain unclear.

Tsipras on Sunday said the proposals were a “mutually beneficial deal” to end his country’s debt crisis.

09:40 GMT – ‘Lasting accord’ – French President Francois Hollande calls for a “global and lasting accord” with Greece ahead of an emergency eurozone summit on the country’s debt crisis.

“I don’t want a partial or limited agreement. I am for a global and lasting accord,” Hollande said, adding France would “do all” to help reach a deal at the crunch talks in Brussels.

If an agreement is not reached by the end of the summit, Hollande said he hoped that “the foundation is such that a deal would be possible in the coming days”.

09:38 GMT – Sticking points – Broadly speaking, Greece says the reforms demanded of it by its creditors are too harsh and hinder growth. Creditors say the Greek economy needs a radical overhaul to improve efficiency, end clientelism and boost competitiveness.

Some key sticking points:

* Fiscal targets — by how much and over what time period should Greece tighten its belt?

* VAT — how much should Greece charge and on what sectors?

* Pensions — Greece is running a huge deficit, but says pensions are sacrosanct

* Work code — creditors want to make it easier to hire and fire in Greece

* Debt — forgive and forget? Unacceptable for some creditors

* Bailout extension — Greece wants one. Creditors do not

09:33 GMT – Red lines – Tsipras has drawn his red lines early in the negotiations: no pension cuts, higher power rates or excessive budget surplus.

The conditions are unlikely to be a surprise to Tsipras’ EU partners at the talks.

09:32 GMT – Greek kiss – In a promising start to negotiations, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker kissed at the beginning of the Brussels crunch meeting to decide Athens’ fate.

Less than a week ago Juncker had rebuked Tsipras, accusing him of misrepresenting EU proposals to resolve Athens’ debt crisis.

– Greetings –

09:24 GMT – ‘Not yet there’ – European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker warns that a deal with Greece to unlock vital cash and allow Athens to avert default is “not yet there”, just hours before a crunch debt crisis summit.

“Progress was made over the past days but we are not yet there,” Juncker said as he greeted Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at EU headquarters in Brussels.

“I don’t know if we will have an agreement today,” he added.

09:11 GMT – Emergency liquidity – The European Central Bank, one of Athens’ key creditors, has Monday pumped more cash into the Greek banking system to prevent its collapse as panicky savers withdraw billions of euros.

Greece’s central bank said business and private bank deposits had fallen by nearly 30 billion euros between December and April, to 128 billion euros.

09:08 GMT – Markets confident – European markets have rallied on renewed hopes of an 11th-hour deal on Greek debt after Athens unveiled fresh reform proposals on Sunday.

The Athens stock market has surged more than seven percent, other European markets also rose and the euro strenthened on the relatively well-received economic plans.

09:07 GMT – WELCOME TO AFP’S LIVE REPORT on efforts to resolve the Greek crisis. Athens and its creditors are entering knife-edge talks to avert a financial melt-down in Greece and possible contagion among other vulnerable eurozone nations ahead of a June 30 debt payment deadline.

At stake is the viability of the 19-member bloc that uses the euro single currency, Greek political stability, and the health of the overall European economy as nervous investors monitor developments.

Stay with us for live updates on the latest developments.


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