European Council President Donald Tusk said on July 12 that he had cancelled the special meeting of the 28 EU heads of government that he had planned to convene for the day to discuss the Greek crisis.
News of the cancellation was announced a few hours before euro zone leaders made a further start on attempts to agree on what to do about the July 9 proposals offered by the Tsipras government of Greece.
This further start followed eight hours of talks among euro zone finance ministers that ended in the early hours of July 12 without achieving consensus.
From media reports, however, it emerged that several euro zone leaders did not see the Greek proposals as going far enough in terms of the reforms promised, but also expressing a lack of confidence that Greece would actually carry out the reforms if a deal with Athens was struck.
It had been envisaged that an agreement among the 19 euro zone finance ministers on the Greece situation would be presented to the European Council for them to make a decision, in the most optimistic scenario saving Greece from immiment bankruptcy.
It had been the possibility of a deal on Greece’s latest offer of reforms that had prompted Tusk earlier in the week to speak of convening a special European Council summit on July 12.
On July 12, Tusk said in a tweet that the euro zone talks resuming that afternoon would “last until we conclude talks”.
Arriving for the afternoon talks, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, answering reporters’ questions, said, “I will fight until the very last millisecond for a deal, and I hope that we will have a deal “.
German chancellor Angela Merkel said that the “most important currency”, trust, had been lost.
“The situation is extremely difficult. There will be hard talks, and not unity at any price. I know it’s tense but we must be sure to weigh the pros and cons,” Merkel said, as quoted by the BBC.
“In the evening we will check if the conditions are there to start negotiations on an ESM programme for Greece. That’s what it is about, no more no less – we have to wait and see if it succeeds,” she said.
Tsipras told reporters, “we can reach an agreement tonight if all parties want it”.
A week ago, Tsipras led his country though the exercise of a national referendum on an offer from creditors that was no longer on the table. In spite of a decisive “no” to this offer, Greece’s government came up with an offer that went further in terms of reforms than the one rejected in the referendum. Greece wants European stability fund assistance to try to meet commitments on existing bailout debt.
Without assistance from the European Stability Mechanism, it would appear technically impossible for Greece to remain in the euro zone.
(Photo of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and European Council President Donald Tusk: consilium.europa.eu)