Europe’s controversial refugee plan
The EU this week began expelling migrants from Greece and sending them back to Turkey – a controversial policy that has been criticised as a possible violation of the Geneva Convention and caused rioting in Greek refugee camps. However, there are signs that the influx into Greece is slowing. Can the system work? Peter Spiegel put the question to Alex Barker in Brussels and Stefan Wagstyl in Berlin.
By Gideon Rachman
The EU has faced two major crises over the past six months — one involving the euro, the other involving refugees. By coincidence, the same two countries are at the centre of both problems — Greece and Germany. Last summer, Germany almost forced Greece out of the euro, rather than agree to the EU lending further billions to the Greek government. Now, Germany is reeling under the impact of the arrival of more than 1m would-be refugees, most of whom have entered the EU through Greece.
Behind Turkey’s volte-face on Isis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fishing for nationalist votes by tarring as terrorists the pro-Kurdish coalition, argues David Gardner
Something is rotten with the eurozone’s hideous restrictions on sovereignty, writes former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, in response to allegations he planned to hack Greece’s tax system Read more
Once again, it was an agonisingly long piece of Greek parliamentary theatre. But once again, in the early hours of Thursday morning, Alexis Tsipras came out on top.
For the second time in a week, the prime minister survived a mini-rebellion in his radical leftist Syriza party and, with the help of opposition parties, passed a set of reforms required to secure a new, €86bn financial rescue from Greece’s international creditors. Read more
Who loses most from the Greek rescue deal?
On Monday Athens was given a long list of economic reforms it needed to implement in return for another EU bailout. Was it a humiliation for the Greeks or a capitulation by the Germans? Gideon Rachman and Wolfgang Munchau discuss who was the biggest loser.
By Gideon Rachman
Europe woke up on Monday to a lot of headlines about the humiliation of Greece, the triumph of an all-powerful Germany and the subversion of democracy in Europe.
Late on Thursday night Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras submitted a new plan for his country’s economic overhaul to bailout monitors. The clock is now ticking. Will it be accepted, or, come Sunday, will Greece topple into bankruptcy?
With the clock ticking towards Sunday and an emergency summit of all 28 EU members, Greece has only days to reach an agreement with its creditors or face bankruptcy.
All eyes on Wednesday were on Alexis Tsipras as he addressed the European Parliament and submitted a fresh bail-out application, even as European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said preparations were in place for humanitarian aid for Greece in the event of “Grexit”.
Angela Merkel, German chancellor, had insisted that Athens come up with a full range of reforms that could cover a multi-year rescue programme.
After the overwhelming No vote, the focus today is back on Greece’s negotiations with Brussels, culminating in Alexis Tsipras’s government being given a final chance by eurozone leaders to present new reform proposals this evening.
The meetings will also mark the introduction of new Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, an Oxford-educated Marxist, who replaced Yanis Varoufakis after he was asked to step down in a conciliatory move by Mr Tsipras.
Elsewhere, eyes will be focused on Greek banks, which remain closed for the next two days. The ECB may also have to ask eurozone leaders to guarantee Greek government debt for use as collateral to maintain its liquidity lifeline.
By Gideon Rachman
Greece’s No vote was greeted with euphoria in Athens’s Syntagma Square: the fountains were bathed in red light, the flags waved, the crowds sang patriotic songs. Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister, had said the vote was about national pride and his message had struck home. One young woman, a freelance journalist, confided: “I actually voted Yes. But part of me is glad Greece said No. We are a small country, but we have a big history. This is about our dignity.”
After delivering a decisive No vote in Sunday’s referendum, in which voters backed Athens’ call to reject a compromise with international creditors, Greece is facing the prospect of even greater turmoil as it tries to tries to prevent the collapse of a financial system that is rapidly running out of cash.
Prime minister Alexis Tsipiras has said he is ready to resume talks immediately, while politicians and officials in the rest of the eurozone are holding a series of meetings to decide what to do next.
Key developments so far:
● Greek PM Tsipras will present fresh bailout proposals at the EU summit on Tuesday
● Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis quits and is replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos, previously the coordinator of negotiations with Greece’s lenders
● Markets remain relatively unruffled after No vote
● ECB governing council increases the haircut on the collateral posted by Greek banks in exchange for emergency liquidity
By Gideon Rachman
The shuttered banks of Greece represent a profound failure for the EU. The current crisis is not just a reflection of the failings of the modern Greek state, it is also about the failure of a European dream of unity, peace and prosperity.
Global equities, the euro and German Bund yields are all sharply lower as markets react to the imposition of capital controls in Greece. Greek banks are closed this morning, triggering long queues at ATMs.
After another day of negotiations the Greek government has failed to reach an agreement with its bailout monitors – the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank – on Athens’ reform plans.
Eurozone finance ministers are going to meet again on Saturday to try and broker a deal before the Greeks’ June 30 deadline to repay €1.5bn to the IMF.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras flew to Brussels on Wednesday morning to try to salvage a bailout deal amid increasing signs of unease among his nation’s creditors over the compromise offer he presented on Monday. Eurozone finance ministers held a meeting on Wednesday evening but without an agreement in place after a day of tense negotiations, it was expected that talks would have to continue on Thursday, the first day of a planned EU summit of national leaders.
By John Aglionby, Ferdinando Giugliano and Mark Odell