Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and newly appointed Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos entered eurozone negotiations at an emergency meeting in Brussels Tuesday with Greece's resounding “no” to austerity bailout terms behind them.
Tsipras and Tsakalotos are continuing to demand a new deal with debt relief, but Germany is pushing for Greece to accept pension reform and tax system changes in order for lenders to consider further funds so Greece can pay back its creditors.
Tsipras has said he will consider making reforms, but only if debt relief is part of the deal.
Germany has signaled that the debt reduction “haircut” Tsipras called for last week in advance of the referendum is too risky a move to seriously consider.
But while Merkel plays a hard line with Greece, other European counterparts have expressed interested in a compromise, urging Germany to reconsider a much-needed debt write-down for Greece.
"In politics, there's always room for compromise"- Lithuanian FinMin "We're a newcomer, we want the eurozone to expand not contract" #greece— AnneSylvaineChassany (@ChassNews) July 7, 2015
Finance ministers, including those from France and Luxembourg, have said considering debt relief should not be out of the question.
While Tsipras was widely expected to bring new proposals to Tuesday's emergency meeting, there are conflicting reports about whether a new plan had been put on the table. Some reports suggested proposals would be delivered during the second day of talks continuing Wednesday.
Various ministers at the negotiations have said Tuesday's meeting isn't the time to discuss debt relief.
The emergency meeting comes the day after the European Central Bank refused a hike in assistance to Greek banks, increasing pressure on Greece to negotiate a deal. In a policy paper, the European Central Bank said it could not be “overly generous” in handing out emergency loans.
European Central Bank representative Ilmars Rimsevics signaled that a new currency for Greece would likely be the most viable option from lenders' perspective, also saying that by securing a “no” vote in the referendum Greece had “voted itself out of the eurozone.” Syriza has repeatedly made clear it does not wish to leave the eurozone, a measure backed by around 70 percent of the population.
Tuesday was Tsakalotos' first time attending a eurogroup meeting as finance minister, after replacing his predecessor Yanis Varoufakis who resigned following the referendum under pressure from his European counterparts.
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