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Greece

Greece signalled could change tack on vote for loan deal

Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis told the Eurogroup in a teleconference that his government would either call off the vote or recommend electors vote 'Yes' to a deal with creditors if an agreement were reached

The Greek government indicated in a call on Tuesday with euro zone finance ministers that it could change its stance on the referendum it has called for Sunday if a request for a new loan could be agreed, euro zone sources said.

The Eurogroup will reconvene by telephone on Wednesday at 0930 GMT to discuss a new proposal from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that modifies an offer made last week by creditors, some sources said. By that time, Athens’ current bailout deal will have expired and it will have missed a repayment to the IMF.

Several sources familiar with the talks said Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told the Eurogroup in a teleconference which was at times difficult for ministers to follow that his government would either call off the vote or recommend electors vote ‘Yes’ to a deal with creditors if an agreement were reached.

At present, the government, whose current bailout runs out at midnight (2200 GMT), has recommended Greeks vote ‘No’ to an offer of cash for budget cuts made by creditors last week.

Malta’s prime minister said: “They are ready to suspend their referendum or ask the people to vote ‘Yes’ instead of ‘No’ if a package is put on the table with which they could agree.”

Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem told Reuters that he was expecting a proposal from Greece on a new bailout package on Wednesday and would discuss it with the group.

However, he said, no new programme can actually be agreed until after Greeks have voted in the referendum on July 5, and until the government’s attitude changes: “The only thing we can do is wait for the outcome and then to see whether there is grounds to continue helping Greece, and in what way,” he said.

Sources said some ministers in the meeting on Tuesday questioned whether it would be possible to consider a massive new loan — possibly some 30 billion euros to cover Greece’s debt servicing needs for the next two years — in such a short time on the basis of the Tsipras letter.

Other sources said ministers were expecting to get a view of the Greek proposals on Wednesday from the European Commission, whose president Jean-Claude Juncker had appealed to Tsipras to accept last week’s offer and switch to calling for a ‘Yes’ vote.


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