The Malta Independent 13 July 2015, Monday

Meetings, mini-summits and tweets: The record night-long EU Grexit summit

Noel Grima Monday, 13 July 2015, 06:01 Last update: about 33 minutes ago

8.50am

Belgium’s prime minister Charles Michel has tweeted that a deal has been reached!

Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat  has confirmed that EU leaders have hammered out an agreement.

 

8.30am

Head of EU Parl Schulz says 'today the European project is on a knife edge and the euro zone could fly apart

 

8.25am

Finland’s finance minister has woken up after a relaxing night’s sleep, to discover that the leaders’ meeting is still going on 

 

8.15am

The Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaitė, has now followed her Slovenian counterpart and left the summit.

CNBC is reporting its journalist asked if there was a deal.

“Almost, almost,” was the answer.

 

7.30am

The Slovenian prime minister Miro Cerar has left the talks early, but will be represented in the Summit by Dutch PM Mark Rutte.

He tweets there is “one open issue left.”

If earlier reports are correct that Tsipras has failed to have IMF supervision removed from the bailout offer, the last issue is likely to be the privatisation demand.

 

At 6am the EU summit on Greece's bailout broke off for what Prime Minister Muscat called the "final consultations". 

Greek premier Alexis Tsipras is currently making a crucial call to Athens which will decide if he accepts the EU conditions or otherwise.

AFP's Rachel O'Brian quoted a Greek official who said "The rest is okay but not very okay. With a gun to your head, you would say okay too"

Until the last minutes, news sources kept reporting that the two sticking points for Greece in the negotiations are the role suggested for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the proposals for an independent fund to hold Greek assets ahead of privatisation.

4am: Renzi v Rutte

The international media is speaking of a clash between  Italians and the Dutch.

Dutch media are reporting that their PM Mark Rutte does not feel he can get a new aid package for Greece through his parliament.

De Volskrant says Mr Rutte was involved in a "a fierce altercation in the corridor" with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi, according to a diplomat who witnessed the conflict.

The two are an opposite sides of the camp tonight. Mr Renzi is pushing for a deal to avoid more Greek humiliation, having lost patience with the creditor bloc, led by Germany and including Mr Rutte's Netherlands.

 

3.25am

As the talks continue to gain attention into the night, so does the hashtag #ThisIsACoup on Twitter, (which is currently trending).

The sentiment behind the hashtag is the belief that the list of demands and proposals being placed on Greece - from pension rules, claiming assets and privatisations - amount to a coup by the Eurogroup.

Currently the phrase is at top of Twitter's trending hashtag terms.

Nobel laureate economist, Paul Krugman, has lambasted the summit developments in his column on the New York Times, and thrown his support behind #thisisacoup.

"Suppose you consider Tsipras an incompetent twerp. Suppose you dearly want to see Syriza out of power. Suppose, even, that you welcome the prospect of pushing those annoying Greeks out of the euro.

"Even if all of that is true, this Eurogroup list of demands is madness. The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right. This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief. It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for."

2am update: Tsipras making progress in the negotiations

Latest reports suggest Greek PM Alexis Tsipras is refusing to be beaten down, and is winning some concessions from creditors.

Tsipras may have sunk the idea that €50bn of Greek assets would be transferred to a Luxembourg fund (under the control of the German development bank KfW). It could be rather fewer assets, and it might not be Luxembourg either.

The Greek PM may even succeed in removing the threat of a temporary Grexit.

On the other hand IMF role remains despite Tsipras objections.

The Eurozone Greece summit now on fifth draft, Leaders have started discussing latest.

Meanwhile US financial analyst George Pearkes has an interesting take on the idea that KwF (the German investment bank chaired by Wolfgang Schauble) might take control of some Greek assets. He argues it’s not a scandal.

"It doesn't look good for Schauble to dit on the board that holds those assets but it's a multilateral one. 

"Furthermore, KwF isn't a bank. It is wholly owned by the German government. Again, it doesn't look good but it is not like a private bank holding assets.

1am: Syriza in shock over creditors' demands - called 'mental waterboarding' 

Predictably, there has been a huge negative reaction in Athens as the terms of the Eurogroup were revealed.

While Greece's fate was being debated in Brussels, in Athens the ruling radical left Syriza party was exhibiting signs of disintegration. Demands that the controversial reforms be approved by the Greek government and enacted into law by Wednesday were described as "utter blackmail" by leading party members and met with stunned disbelief.

The Guardian reported that lthough sources close to prime minister Alexis Tsipras said the leader was now determined to do whatever was needed to keep Grexit at bay, political tumult also beckoned. Insiders conceded that a cabinet reshuffle - removing those ministers who had refused to vote the austerity package through parliament early Saturday - could come as early as Monday.

By late today it had become clear Tsipras' u-turn, accepting measures he had once furiously spurned, had produced a tectonic split with potentially far-reaching consequences. In addition to suffering an unexpected loss of support with 17 MPs breaking ranks at the weekend - defections that strip his government of a working majority - 15 other lawmakers also indicated that they would not approve the agreement in its entirety when it was brought to the 300-seat House.

The MPs, who included two ministers, said they were radically opposed to endorsing an austerity programme that was not only ideologically at odds with their own beliefs but would exacerbate "the country's agonising and tragic social economic problems."

"Greece can bend up to a point," said Aristides Hatzis, a prominent political commentator. "But after that there is no bending, only breaking. The breaking point may well come when Tsipras realises he has lost most of his parliamentary group."

Parliament's speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou, a Syriza hardliner, said at the weekend: "the government is being blackmailed. The lenders are insisting on turning the "no" [of last week's referendum] into "yes." I could never vote for the contents of the agreement."

The Merkel/Hollande session with Tsipras was said to resemble 'extensive mental waterboarding' by a top official.

10pm Tsipras, Merkel, Hollande and Tusk hold meeting

Donald TuskAlexis TsiprasAngela Merkel and Francois Hollande are holding a top-level meeting to discuss the proposals.

The Greek finance minister is also there.

Meanwhile, a separate and parallel meeting is being held by the six countries that are most against Greece receiving more funds. A long night is expected.

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