Greeks jubilant despite fears of Grexit

Jubilant Greeks celebrated their democracy last night as they voted overwhelmingly against the austerity of the past five years but insisted that it is a vote for Europe.

Greeks jubilant despite fears of Grexit

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who defied his fellow EU leaders to hold the referendum, said he wanted to resume negotiations for debt relief today, hinting he would no longer accept demands for increased taxes and army lay-offs .

“Today democracy conquers fear. Many people can ignore the will of a government. But no one can ignore the will of a people”, the prime minister said as massive crowds gathered in Syntagma Square outside the parliament partying late into the night.

But the reaction from many of the countries was not so jubilant as Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the Socialists in the German coalition government said the vote had “demolished the last bridges on which Greece and Europe could have moved towards a compromise”.

But there were other signs Germany was moving away from its desire to kick Greece out of the eurozone, with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble having suggested over the weekend that it may want it to adopt an alternative currency temporarily but remain in the eurozone.

The head of the German central bank, Jens Weidmann, warned that ‘Grexit’ would hit the profits of the Bundesbank, which would have a knock-on effect on the German budget.

Markets opening on the other side of the world gave an early indication of turbulence that can be expected to continue today with the euro down and bankers, JPMorgan saying this made Grexit more likely.

The ECB decides this morning to either increase or decrease the amount of cash the Greek banks can have.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Françoise Hollande are to meet in Paris this afternoon while the Eurogroup of finance minister are expected to meet this morning.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was to consult with the Eurogroup last night and today. He intends to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg tomorrow.

Former Irish ambassador in Athens, Pat Cradock, who still lives in the city was critical of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s opposition to debt reduction. “The debt needs to be reduced drastically. If it is just rolled over, Greece will be a basket case for generations. Given the attitude of the Germans and their supporters such as Enda Kenny, the only way the debt load can be reduced is for Greece to default. If this means leaving the euro, so be it. They will need to follow the Icelandic path”.

Paul Murphy, TD of the Anti-Austerity Alliance who took part in the ‘no’ rallies over the paste few days was exuberant as he watched the result come in from Syriza headquarters: “The likely victory of Oxi (No) in the referendum is historical. It is potentially the most significant political event since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It may signal a reversal of the trend of victories of neo-liberalism and austerity in the interests of the 1% and gives hope to millions across Europe and indeed around the world”, he said.

Paddy Power “paid out five figures” in winnings to gamblers who bet that Greece would back the referendum that would have preserved the nation’s future as part of the euro region.

“Despite some polls suggesting it’s neck and neck, over the last few days we’ve seen enough to be convinced,” Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest bookmaker, said in an email in Dublin on Wednesday. “In a race with two potential outcomes, we’ve seen over 85% of money go one way and that’s massive.”

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