Greek referendum: optimism fades as eurozone says gulf has widened

 

Hopes of a truce between Athens and its creditors after the Greek referendum’s resounding rejection of the terms of the bailout were fading fast, as European leaders said the gap between the two sides had widened.

The surprise resignation of the Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis earlier on Monday had initially boosted hopes of a breakthrough, but the optimism proved shortlived.

“The no result unfortunately widens the gulf between Greece and other eurozone countries,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, the most senior European official in charge of the euro. “There is no easy way out of this crisis. Too much time and too many opportunities have been lost.”

Dombrovskis said “Greece is and remains part of Europe”, but declined to say whether that included being in the euro.

Greece had received €184bn (£130bn) in bailout funds since 2010, he said, adding that the no result made finding a solution more complicated. “In the euro area we have 19 democracies, not only one democracy,” said Dombrovskis, a former prime minister of Latvia, one of the newest entrants to the currency union.

The German chancellery warned that conditions for new talks with Greece had not been met.

“The government takes notice of the clear no vote and respects it,” Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. “However, in light of the decision by the Greek citizens, the conditions to start negotiations on a new aid programme are not met yet.”

Merkel will head to Paris for crisis talks with her counterpart François Hollande, in an effort to forge a common Franco-German response, setting the stage for an emergency summit of all 19 eurozone leaders on Tuesday.

Time is fast running out for Greece, with its banks almost out of money. Daily withdrawals remain capped at €60, but some people can get no more than €50, ostensibly because €20 notes have run out.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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