With the Greek Parliament, and Greece’s creditors in Europe and elsewhere, discussing the latest sudden manoeuvre by the game theory academics in the Syriza-led Greek Government, via the Guardian’s live-blog, here’s a reminder of Alexis Tspiras’ criticism of ex-PM George Papandreou’s, failed, attempt to hold a similar referendum in 2011.
— Finisterre67 (@Finisterre67) June 27, 2015
With the new manoeuvre almost certainly designed to short-circuit the result of the last one [the 30 June deadline for the €1.6billion repayment to the IMF], as the BBC economics editor Robert Peston points out, the European Central Bank now faces a dilemma.
Much hinges, therefore, on any statement later today from the Eurogroup of finance ministers, after their scheduled meeting.
If they give a welcome to Alexis Tsipras’s referendum plan, and urge the Greek people to vote for the bailout, if they extend for a few days the current bailout programme for the country, then the ECB will, I am told, do what it can to reassure Greek depositors that they will have continued access to their cash.
But whether the Eurogroup can give an enthusiastic endorsement to the plebiscite is moot – because Alexis Tsipras was last night so emotionally antagonistic to the imposed bailout terms, and because Mr Tsipras has timed the poll in such a way that the country looks set to miss its IMF payment.
Because of the fragility of Greek banks, this is the most important weekend in the eurozone’s 16-year life.
Financial decisions will be taken, by eurozone finance ministers and the European Central Bank, that will have profound social and political consequences – mainly for Greece, but also for the whole European monetary project.
Assuming the ECB avoids the blame for kicking Greece to the kerb this weekend, what happens next?
Having been elected railing against measures introduced by the previous Greek Government – as a result of their negotiated financial support from the EU, the ECB and the IMF – the new Greek PM, Alexis Tspiras, may have just discovered that it was probably the best deal on offer which allowed Greece to remain in the Eurozone, and the EU.
Calling for a slightly constitutional referendum on an offer Tsipras has described as a “humiliation” and “unbearable” has been interpreted as closing the door on further negotiations – As RTÉ reports
“We have no basis for further negotiations,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. “Clearly we can never rule out surprises with Greece, so there can always be hope. But none of my colleagues with whom I’ve already spoken see any possibilities for what we can now do.”
“Greece has left the negotiating table and so we are in a situation where on Tuesday the programme ends, because there are no more negotiations,” he said.
Finland’s Alexander Stubb called it “potentially a very sad day, specifically for the Greek people. I think with the announcement of this referendum we’re basically closing the door for any further negotiations.”
“There is pretty much a consensus inside the Eurogroup that we cannot extend the programme as it stands and consequently I would argue that Plan B becomes Plan A.”
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he was disappointed with the Greek call for a referendum saying they had unilaterally discontinued negotiations.
He said he does not know what next week holds and “we’re going into totally uncharted waters”.
That referendum might just be seen as Tspiras’ attempt to solve the conundrum described by no less a figure than Jean-Claude Juncker
“We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”
If the Greek people say “Yes” to the latest ‘unbearable’ bailout will Tspiras resign? [Probably not – Ed] But his Syriza-led government might not survive…
Update The Eurogroup of finance ministers may have short-circuited the short-circuit…
[Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup] says that talks were still continuing between Greece and the creditors last night, when the Greek delegation suddenly had to leave the room.
The other 18 members of the eurogroup regret the fact that Greece has rejected these last proposals from the institutions, he continues.
The proposals on the table had already offered the “maximum” flexibility possible, he continues.
But the proposals weren’t concluded, they weren’t finished, but yet the Greek government has rejected them and put them to the Greek people.
Given that situation, however regrettable, the Greek programme will expire on Tuesday night.
Further Update The latest from Greece [28 June]
It’s official, capital controls are being imposed in Greece, as the financial crisis takes an even more alarming turn tonight.
Speaking on live TV, Alexis Tsipras is saying that the Greek central bank has been forced to recommend a bank holiday and the introduction of capital controls.
He blames the ECB, and other institutions, for trying to obstruct the democratic referendum he has called for next Sunday. This is a “insult” that shames European democracy, he says.
Tsipras also appeals for calm, and he insists that bank deposits are secure.
Of course they are…
Earlier, the European Central Bank (ECB) said it was not increasing emergency funding to Greek banks.
Greece is due to make a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday – the same day that its current bailout expires.
Without new emergency funds, Greece risks defaulting and moving closer to a possible exit from the Eurozone.
Greeks have been queuing to withdraw money from cash machines over the weekend.