Greek Debt Crisis 2015 | Reuters.com
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Greek Debt Crisis 2015

Live updates on the debt crisis in Greece.

    Demonstrators chat as they protest against the third bailout for Greece outside Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a session of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

    A demonstrator protests against the third bailout for Greece outside Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

    Tourists walk past a shop announcing sales in a main commercial street in central Athens. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

    GERMANY'S MERKEL - GERMANY ONLY DOES WELL WHEN EVERYONE DOES WELL IN EUROPE
    GERMANY'S MERKEL - ALTERNATIVE TO THIS AGREEMENT WOULD BE CHAOS
    GERMANY'S MERKEL - WISH TO THANK SCHAEUBLE FOR WORK ON GREECE NEGOTIATIONS

    Pensioners wait to receive part of their pensions at a National Bank branch in Athens. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 


    GERMANY'S MERKEL - CANNOT HAVE A HAIRCUT IN THE EURO ZONE
    GERMANY'S MERKEL - "TIME OUT" FOR GREECE WAS NOT DOABLE

    IMF wants to see 'complete' Greek package - Lagarde

    International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde said on Friday the Fund could participate in a "complete" package to put the Greek economy back on track, make its debt sustainable and allow it to get its funding from financial markets.

    Asked on France's Europe 1 whether the IMF would participate in a third bailout for the country, Lagarde said the Fund wanted to see a "complete" programme for Greece and listed what that should involve.

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    ECB's Nowotny casts doubt on Greek banks reopening on Monday

    A reopening of Greek banks on Monday is not a done deal yet, Austrian central bank governor and ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said on Friday in a radio interview.

    "That's not fixed yet, there is still some examination to do," he said in ORF radio, when he was asked about a reopening on Monday.

    He also said it can take six to eight weeks until the new bailout programme would be ready to start.
    France's Sapin reaffirms need for Greek debt relief

    French Finance Minister Michel Sapin reaffirmed Paris' view on Friday that Greece needs debt relief to allow it to get its economy back on its feet.

    Sapin told Europe 1 radio that relief could involve measures such as an extension of maturities, lengthening of the grace period on repayment, or easing of interest rates.

    He ruled out any write-off of Greek loans, saying that as a creditor, France wanted to ensure it got its money back.

    Pensioners are given priority tickets by a National Bank branch manager as they wait to receive part of their pensions in Athens, July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou 


    Europe came close to catastrophe over Greece - EU's Tusk

    Europe came close to catastrophe as the talks between Greece and its creditors for a new bailout deal last weekend almost failed, European Council chief Donald Tusk said in an interview with a Greek newspaper published on Friday.

    After 17 hours, the two sides finally struck a deal in the early hours of Monday morning, staving off financial meltdown in Greece and a likely exit from the euro zone currency bloc.

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    Eurogroup head says wants Grexit debate to end

    The president of the Eurogroup said on Thursday he would like discussions about a possible Greek exit from the euro zone to stop and he hoped German lawmakers would support opening talks on further Greek aid in a parliamentary vote due on Friday.

    Earlier in the day German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble repeated his view that it may still be best for Greece to temporarily leave the euro zone, prompting accusations from the Social Democrats (SPD) that he was undermining the Greek deal that Chancellor Angela Merkel struck at the weekend.

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    EU officials appear to have defused a row with London over funding for Greece. As David Pollard reports, it risked fuelling demands in Britain to quit the EU altogether.

    German parliament seen clearly backing talks on Greece aid

    German lawmakers are expected to give Berlin a clear green light on Friday to start negotiations on a third bailout programme for Greece, despite Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble questioning whether it will succeed.

    On the eve of the vote, Schaeuble provoked ructions in the ruling coalition by repeating his view that the better option for Greece may still be to temporarily leave the euro zone - a scenario he had floated during weekend negotiations.

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    The European Central Bank has raised its emergency funding for Greek banks slightly in a step to help banks partially reopen after euro zone governments agreed in principle to grant Athens a new three-year loan. David Pollard reports.

    ECB gives Greece thumbs up with funding boost


    The European Central Bank increased emergency funding for Greek banks on Thursday, ending a freeze of almost three weeks and urging Europe to find a way to cut the country's debt burden.

    ECB President Mario Draghi underlined his assumption that Greece will remain part of the 19-member bloc, rebuffing suggestions by Germany's finance minister that Greece could leave, after Greek lawmakers approved a painful reform package.

    The ECB will grant a further 900 million euros in so-called Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to Greek banks over the coming week, a small but important back-up necessary to reopen banks shuttered for nearly three weeks as Greece teetered on the edge of quitting the euro.

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    From German veteran, a plea for understanding for Greece

    by cassandra.garrison edited by Reuters_LindaNoakes 7/17/2015 7:10:21 AM
    All eyes on Tsipras: photos of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras over the recent weeks and months

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras smiles before a ruling Syriza party parliamentary group session in Athens, Greece July 15, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at his office in Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, July 13, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at a euro zone leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives to attend a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece, July 10, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives in his car at a euro zone leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 12, 2015. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech at an anti-austerity rally in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech at an anti-austerity rally in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece, July 3, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is pictured before his speech at a parliamentary session to brief lawmakers over the  talks with the country's lenders, in Athens, Greece June 5, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
    Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras addresses a news conference after an European Union leaders summit in Brussels February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoi 
     
     

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    by elizabeth.culliford edited by Reuters_LindaNoakes 7/17/2015 6:49:10 AM
    German Social Democrats vote overwhelmingly in favor of starting talks on further bailout for Greece in test vote
    Greece to implement VAT changes from Monday

    Greece will implement changes to value added tax from Monday, the finance ministry said, fulfilling a key pledge in the bailout deal the cash-strapped country reached with international creditors.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised "the streamlining of the VAT system" in an agreement signed with European partners, with VAT hikes due on food served at restaurants and on public transport.

    In a sign that Greece may be trying to win back trust from its European allies, many of whom doubted that Athens would come true on its promises, the finance ministry said it would begin working in earnest on the changes.

    "We will go ahead with the necessary actions so that the implementation of the new provisions can begin from Monday July 20," the ministry said in a statement.

    Changes to VAT have already sparked concerns from businesses worried that increases will drive away customers and cut sales in a country where a quarter of the workforce is jobless and incomes have been squeezed by years of austerity.

    Plans to increase VAT on Greek islands, which currently enjoyed a reduced level, are not likely to be implemented until the autumn, having been resisted by the junior coalition party in government, the Independent Greeks. (Reporting By Costas Pitas)
    Greek deputy fin min says that people can bunch 60 euros per day withdrawal over multiple days, if they do not withdraw daily allowance.

    People line up at an ATM outside an Alpha Bank branch in Athens, Greece July 16, 2015. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

    Greek banks to remain closed through to Sunday

    Greece's banks will remain shut through to Sunday, its finance ministry said, amid signs that lenders could reopen their doors next week, three weeks after first closing.

    On Thursday, the European Central Bank said it would increase emergency funding to the banks, removing a barrier Greece's Economy Minister said earlier in the week was stopping lenders from reopening.

    Earlier, a senior banker told Reuters that Greek banks would reopen on Monday. Cash withdrawals, limited to 60 euros a day, are likely to remain rationed. (Reporting By Costas Pitas)
    Denmark says it is willing to contribute to bridging loan to Greece

    Denmark is willing to contribute to a bridging loan to Greece to stave off a potential default on ECB repayment next week as euro zone countries debate a third bailout deal, the finance ministry said on Thursday.

    "The euro area has taken a large responsibility for Greece. Denmark is ready to help by supporting a short term EU loan for Greece in the interim," Denmark's finance minister Claus Frederiksen said in emailed comments to Reuters.
    Denmark's finance ministry says it is willing to contribute to bridging loan to Greece.
    Germany's Merkel defends Grexit debate in conservative meeting

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the debate about a possible temporary Greek exit from the euro zone in the conservative parliamentary faction, a source told Reuters.

    "I think it's definitely right to think through and discuss every option in such a situation," Merkel said, according to a participant at the extraordinary meeting on Thursday.

    With that comment, Merkel rejected criticism that her junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD) have directed at Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for suggesting that Greece could take a "time-out" from the euro zone if it failed to meet conditions.

    Merkel asked the conservative lawmakers to agree to negotiations for a third Greek aid package in the German Bundestag lower house of parliament vote planned for Friday.

    "This will save Europe from going through an ordeal," she said, according to the source.

    (Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel and Angus MacSwan)
    IMF won't be part of first tranche of planned third Greek bailout-Schaeuble

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in a letter to the president of Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament that the International Monetary Fund would not be involved in the payment of a first tranche of a planned third Greek bailout.

    That tranche is due to be paid in mid-August 2015, according to the letter, seen by Reuters, in which Schaeuble requested that parliament agree to open talks on a third Greek bailout.

    The letter said the IMF would make its further involvement dependent on a successful conclusion of the first programme review in autumn 2015 and a confirmation of Greece's debt sustainability. (Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
    German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the debate about a possible temporary Greek exit from the euro zone in the conservative parliamentary faction, a source told Reuters.

    "I think it's definitely right to think through and discuss every option in such a situation," she said, according to a participant at the extraordinary meeting on Thursday.

    (Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Paul Carrel and Angus MacSwan)
    Osborne says deal establishes important principle that euro zone and non-eruo stats have very different responsibilities
    British finance minister Osborne says has secured agreement to fully protect British taxpayers' money lent to Greece.


    BREAKING: German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliamentary faction on Grexit scenario: it is definitely correct to discuss every option in such a situation
    Greek banks to get brief reprieve before overhaul

    Greek banks face deep surgery including closures or mergers after a bailout but they are seen getting a brief reprieve with a capital injection before the painful overhaul begins.

    As part of a deal to secure new funding, Athens had to surrender much autonomy over its economy and this will include handing over more power to European institutions to decide the fate of its sick banks.

    After an initial recapitalisation of lenders, which could happen when a bailout is agreed in roughly four weeks, the banks face some closures, mergers and the possible sale of healthy overseas subsidiaries, European officials have told Reuters.

    "The banks would have a difficult time to survive even if the sovereign is saved. They will have to write off a lot of their loans," one European official told Reuters in the runup to the deal last weekend. "There has to be a restructuring to put them back on a sound footing."

    Those preparations, other people familiar with the matter said this week, are now under way, following a last-minute deal to keep Greece in the currency bloc, albeit one that comes at a heavy price in terms of reforms, tax hikes and spending cuts.


    No matter how much startups have overcome in the past few years, it’s been a time of soul-searching for entrepreneurs who now question whether they have a future in Greece. The latest economic and political meltdown could very well drive out the young Greeks who are poised to be the future of the Greek economy.


    Greek government will not announce reshuffle Thursday-official

    Greece will not announce a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, a Greek government official said, amid mounting speculation one was imminent after a revolt in the ruling Syriza party over the terms of an international bailout deal.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pushed through tough reforms in parliament earlier with support of opposition parties. But dozens of deputies in his own party abstained or rejected the reforms demanded by international creditors to start discussions on a multi-billion euro bailout package. (Reporting By Renee Maltezou; editing by Matthias Williams)
    ECB gives Greece thumbs up with funding boost

    The European Central Bank increased emergency funding for Greek banks on Thursday, ending a freeze of almost three weeks and urging Europe to find a way to cut the country's debt burden.

    ECB President Mario Draghi underlined his assumption that Greece will remain part of the 19-member bloc, rebuffing suggestions by Germany's finance minister that Greece could leave, after Greek lawmakers approved a painful reform package.

    The ECB will grant a further 900 million euros in so-called Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to Greek banks over the coming week, a small but important back-up necessary to reopen banks shuttered for nearly three weeks as Greece teetered on the edge of quitting the euro.

    The decision came even before Europe had finalised the details of a 7 billion euro temporary loan to Greece, money needed for Athens to repay the ECB 3.5 billion euros of bonds plus roughly 700 million euros of interest on Monday.

    That showed Draghi's determination to act, despite the ongoing political uncertainty over Greece's future.
    From German veteran, a plea for understanding for Greece

    Amid rising anger in Germany at Greece, a former German central banker showed some understanding on Thursday for the near- bankrupt country, saying Europe's monetary union was held together by values far more important than debt.

    Ernst Welteke, president of the Bundesbank from 1999-2004, said that while the election of the Syriza party in January derailed Greece's nascent economic recovery, the current crisis was not entirely Syriza's fault.

    "It's not fair to blame everything on the current Greek government. There were a lot of problems before Syriza," Welteke told Reuters in a telephone interview.

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    Ireland says Greek bailout can be implemented successfully

    - Greece's latest bailout programme should prove sustainable, though much will hinge on how it is put into effect, Irish finance minister Michael Noonan said on Thursday.

    "I am confident the deal is sustainable in the manner in which it is designed, but it depends on implementation," Noonan told reporters.

    Europe moved to re-open funding to Greece's stricken economy on Thursday, hours after a fractious Greek parliament approved a tough bailout programme in a vote that left the government without a majority and looking to new elections within months.

    (Reporting by Padraic Halpin, writing by David Milliken; editing by Ralph Boulton)

    European shares hit a six-month high after the Greek parliament approved a stringent bailout programme amid the worst protest violence this year. But as Sonia Legg reports, there are still no guarantees a Grexit can be avoided.

    Finland's Finance Minister Alexander Stubb talks to Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson during a European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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