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.”

  • July 2015 will go down in history as a continuation of hell for Greece, whose leftwing government has brought catastrophe to the nation, argues Tony Barber
  • The beginning of the end for Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister who has just stepped down, began not in Athens, or even Brussels or Berlin, but in the small Baltic capital of Riga
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  • Mexico’s government wants to tame the disruptive teachers’ union which has seized public plazas, burned government buildings and choked off a city’s gas supply (Washington Post)
  • “Germany has never repaid”: In a forceful interview, French economist Thomas Piketty calls for a major conference on debt (Medium, orginally published by Die Zeit)

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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


Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (Getty)

His hair is receding, his beard is splashed with grey, and he speaks English with the grammatical precision of an independent-minded Balkan intellectual who grew up in the communist era – which is exactly what he is. But Edi Rama, Albania’s prime minister, is also so tall and muscular that, as a young man, he played for the national basketball team. Before he gave up art for politics in the post-communist era, his paintings were exhibited in Berlin, New York and beyond.

As he explained over dinner in Tirana on Thursday night, he is also old enough – he turns 51 on Saturday – to have searing memories of the cruel, isolated madhouse that was Albanian communism under Enver Hoxha, the dictator who ruled from the end of the second world war until his death in 1985. This is why Rama passionately wants Albania’s future to be in the EU, and why he foresees danger ahead if his and other Balkan countries are denied this prospect. Read more

  • Angela Merkel is taking her revenge on Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras by insisting there can be no more talks on the country’s debt crisis until after its referendum on the bailout on Sunday
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  • Yes? No? Greek Voters Are Perplexed by a Momentous Referendum (New York Times)
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I contributed to the Weekend FT’s “Summer Books” round-up last week. But there are lots of other interesting titles that have come my way, over the past six months, and that might interest readers. Here is a selection:

Greece, the EEC and the Cold War 1974-1979 (Palgrave Macmillan) by Eirini Karamouzi -A scholarly and readable history of how Greece joined the EU provides a fascinating and valuable context to today’s events. Read more

Terror attacks hit Tunisia’s economy
Last week saw the second deadly attack on Western tourists in Tunisia in four months, dealing a severe blow to the industry that is the country’s economic mainstay. Siona Jenkins is joined by Erika Soloman and Roula Khalaf to discuss what the government can do to tackle the jihadi threat.

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.


Another chapter will be written this weekend in Greece’s proud, painful history of national suffering, defiance and martyrdom, real as well as imagined, at the hands of foreign oppressors.

Whether Greece’s radical leftist-led government capitulates to the demands of its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund, or whether it rejects them, the essentials of this narrative will not vary much.

Here is the reason: thanks to the way that Greece and its creditors have mishandled the debt crisis since it erupted in October 2009, the only available choice now, from the perspective of ordinary Greeks, is between extremely bad and worse. Read more

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Satellite image of man-made islands in the South China Sea

This week I have had the pleasure of escaping from Europe’s obsession with the Greek crisis and travelling to Sydney for the Australia-UK Asia dialogue, which is taking place at the Lowy Institute – Australia’s leading foreign-policy think-tank. The idea is to bring together British and Australian experts to discuss trends in Asia – and, it is hoped, to form common views and approaches. But, after the first day of discussion, I was left wondering whether the “tyranny of distance” may ensure that the Brits and the Australians will struggle to form a common view.

It is not so much a difference of interpretation, between the two sides, as a gap in urgency. For the Australians, the rise of China overshadows all other issues and raises fundamental questions about the role and future of their country – as an outpost of the west in the southern Pacific, with a rising China to the north. For the moment, however, the British can still treat the rise of China as a second-order issue – while policymakers in London obsess about Europe and keep a wary eye on Russia and the Middle East. Read more

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.


Nato renews its commitment to collective defence
Defence ministers from the Atlantic Alliance’s 28 members are meeting in Brussels to discuss the reinvigoration of the alliance in the face of Russian aggression. The US is to make the biggest reinforcement of its forces in eastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union. Ben Hall discusses the development with Geoff Dyer and Sam Jones.

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


By Gideon Rachman
As EU leaders head into this week’s emergency talks , they face a choice of three hazardous routes out of the Greek crisis. Route one involves making concessions to Greece. Route two involves standing firm and allowing Greece to leave the euro. Route three involves Athens largely accepting the demands of its creditors.

  • Japan’s golden era of karaoke may have passed, but the companies supplying technology for the pastime are pinning their hopes on a new market: the silver economy
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  • Can South Africa’s first female public prosecutor save the country from itself? (New York Times)
  • The Dominican Republic’s tortured relationship with its Haitian minority (Foreign Policy)

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Eurozone leaders are scheduled to hold an emergency summit on Monday evening to try to reach a last-ditch deal with Greece on a new bailout and to prevent it from defaulting on debts that are due at the end of next week. Athens submitted new reform proposals overnight but eurozone finance ministers said after a meeting there would not be a deal today. Markets, which rallied early on Monday on the cautious optimism, remain upbeat despite the politicians delaying the deadline.

By John Aglionby, Ferdinando Giugliano and Mark Odell


What happens if Greece defaults?
Is Greece about to default on its debts and if so, what happens next? Gideon Rachman and his guests Tony Barber and Martin Sandbu discuss what has gone wrong between Greece and its eurozone creditors and whether the political rifts can be repaired.