Negotiations on Greece break down

Negotiations on the Greek plan broke down completely last night with pressure due to mount today as EU leaders gather in Brussels.

Negotiations on Greece break down

Negotiations on the Greek plan broke down completely last night with pressure due to mount today as EU leaders gather in Brussels.

The IMF in particular was furious with the Greeks, insisting that they make changes to the list of tax- raising measures they put forward, and provide details on how they would achieve cuts to their budget of around €8bn in the next 18 months.

Eurozone finance ministers, including Michael Noonan, gathered for what was to be a late-night session to discuss what they hoped would be the final draft from Greece.

But within an hour, they decided to adjourn, and agreed to gather again at 1pm today, just hours before EU leaders are to meet.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras was to continue negotiations with the creditors, including the IMF and the ECB and Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who has been his mentor and generally more sympathetic to the Greeks.

The sticking points for Tsipras is a demand that from June 30, nobody qualifies for an old-age pension until they are aged 67, irrespective of when they retire, and for changes to Vat that would see the reduced 13% rate for unprocessed food only and hotels — not restaurants.

The IMF wants to increase corporation tax to 28% rather than the proposed 29% and double the proposed spending cut on military, including personnel, to €400m.

Tsipras has insisted all along that he wanted a political solution that would unlock funds in time to pay the IMF its next instalment of €1.6bn on Tuesday.

He wants an undertaking on debt restructuring that can only come from EU leaders as part of the deal.

However, his fellow prime ministers have tried to insist that the work be done by the finance ministers — who met for this purpose for the third time in a week last night.

Trouble was also fermenting in Athens with several members of Tsipras’ government threatening to vote against the mooted deal, while Berlin was reported to believe that the only hope was for the government to fall and for new elections.

Leaving the meeting last night, the Finnish finance minister, Alexander Stubb, said that there was no basis for a deal on the table, but added that “everything is possible” in relation to having a resolution today.

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