Europe ponders next move after Greece rejects bailout

“Europe is facing a difficult moment, but it is not in difficulty itself,” French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Monday after Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected the terms of a financial rescue package from its European creditors. “Europe will show it is strong by protecting itself.”

French European Affairs Minister Harlem Desir said the Greek “no” vote Sunday in the snap referendum did not mean Greece wants to leave the euro, but talks with Greece must start soon “on a serious basis.”

The European Commission said it “respects” the result of the referendum.

Summit planned

European Council President Donald Tusk has called for a summit of eurozone leaders Tuesday to discuss the situation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande spoke to each other Sunday night and agreed “that the vote of the Greek people must be respected,” Merkel’s office said.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice chancellor and economic minister, told a German newspaper that the Greek government is leading its people “onto a path of bitter austerity and hopelessness.”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has “torn down the last bridges, across which Europe and Greece could move toward a compromise,” Gabriel told the daily Tagesspiegel.

But Tsipras said Sunday he is ready to return to the negotiation table and that the mandate will strengthen his hand to negotiate a better deal for his country.


(Photo of European Council President Donald Tusk: EC Audiovisual Service)