Public Affairs Networking
03/07 – Greek referendum: no one seems to know what the consequences will be

It will be “extremely difficult” to keep Greece in the eurozone if the outcome of the referendum this coming Sunday is a “No,” according to Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem, speaking before the Dutch parliament yesterday. De Volkskrant notes that it is the first time Mr Dijsselbloem was this clear about the consequences of the referendum. Mr Dijsselbloem is only willing to help the Greek people if they are willing to say yes to the agreements which hold the EU together.

European Commissioner Moscovici does not agree De Volkskrant further reports. “We will need to resume negotiations the day after the referendum. This is simply because the financial problems will not be solved on Monday” Mr Moscovici said. In an interview published by Il Sole 24 Ore, El Mundo and Le Soir, Mr Moscovici said: “My concern is for the 11 million Greeks, especially the most vulnerable. It is very sad to think of the situation they are now facing. They are collateral victims of a scenario they never asked for.” EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans is in favour of trying to find a solution, also underlining that the Greek people are suffering and that the EU has to stand by their side, Greek media report.

Asked in an interview with Die Welt if it is even possible to constructively work with the current Greek government, EC Vice-President Dombrovskis noted that the European Commission works with all democratically elected governments. However, the posing of the referendum question is “factually and legally” incorrect, he stressed. When asked what the European Commission would do once it learns the result of the referendum, EC spokesperson Margaritis Schinas answered that the EC is currently performing an analysis of the possible scenarios in case the Greeks reject the international creditors’ latest proposals, reports.

In the case of a “No” vote, an emergency programme will be imposed in order to “keep Greece alive,” European Parliament President Martin Schulz has already told Handelsblatt in an interview. The IMF has conceded that without some reduction in Greece’s debt load the country has little chance of recovering its economy, reports the INYT in an article whose title reads “IMF backs need to ease Greek debt.” The IMF argued on Thursday that the five-month-old government bore the blame for making Greece’s economic situation so much worse that debt relief and €50 billion in new financing from October through to 2018 are now necessary. The IMF report suggesting that creditors will have no choice than significantly relieving Greece of its debt seems to consolidate Mr Tsipras’ stance, Les Echos notes. The Greek Prime Minister, the French newspaper adds, hopes to return to the negotiating table stronger, and it doesn’t matter to him if there are no more discussions after the vote.

According to a recent survey quoted by Vilaggazdasag, 86% of Greek voters plan to vote on Sunday – according to a survey conducted by Greek opinion poll institute GPO, 43.4% of the people would vote in favour of accepting the EU demands, while 39.9% would vote “No”, Österreich reports – and, as the INYT comments, no one seems to know what the consequences will be, whatever the result. For the WSJE, one thing seems to be sure though: if Greek voters reject austerity demands from the country’s creditors in the referendum, many investors expect stock markets in Europe to crash.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reasserted, in an interview with Ant1 TV, that the Greek people will have to answer whether Greece will accept a non-sustainable solution or if the government will exhaust every limit within the euro area framework in order to claim a sustainable solution. He stressed that nobody questions the presence of Greece in Europe, clarifying that “No” to a non-sustainable solution does not mean rupture with Europe, but strong pressure on Europe to deal with the Greek problem more seriously and more realistically.

According to a French diplomatic source quoted by Le Monde, France is actually halfway between Germany and Greece, as “Germans only want to talk about the memorandum, while the Greeks only care about debt.” In one of six major things that changed forever with the Greek crisis this week, according to L’Opinion, Germany has completely supplanted France in European negotiations. “Uncertainty in Greece put the Franco-German tandem to the test,” reads a Le Monde headline. This week, De Volkskrant confirms, was the first time Germany and France openly disagreed over Greece.


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