Thousands rally in Athens amid summit to avert ‘uncontrollable Grexident’
Thousands have gathered in front of the Greek Parliament in support of Athens’s place in the eurozone, calling for a debt agreement to be reached as EU leaders and international creditors race against time to avert the country’s looming default.
On Monday demonstrators waving Greek and EU flags filled the square in front of the parliament building, draped at the base with a sky-blue-white. Police guarded the steps of the parliament preventing the protesters to climb the steps.
“It's been a long time that we've been in negotiations and I feel we've been sending mixed signals to the world,” said 30-year-old project manager Panagiota Kaltsa protesting at the rally, as quoted by Reuters.
“It's time for Greeks to make clear that Greece wants to stay in the euro and that a negotiated solution should be found soon.”
People came out on the streets fearing the Greek exit from the Eurozone because of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ harsh stance towards EU-imposed austerity policy.
“I strongly believe Greece should stay in the euro. The game this government is playing has done nothing but damage to the country,” said Alex Petropoulos, a 21-year-old student. “What we need is stability.”
Averting ‘chaotic and uncontrollable Grexident’
As Tsipras and his cabinet negotiate new proposals for a solution to the debt crisis the deadline for the country’s payment looms.
Tsipras has presented new proposals for a “mutually beneficial deal.” However, EU officials have not appeared thrilled about them. New reform proposals by Athens are deep and comprehensive, but they require further analysis, according to Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. At the same time EU Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Greece and its lenders still have a lot of work to do before striking a deal.
Athens and the Troika of international lenders – the IMF, the ECB and European Commission – are gridlocked in negotiations over its €240 billion ($272 billion) debt. The current total Greek debt stands at €316 billion ($358 billion).
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) June 22, 2015
Tsipras is in Brussels for the extraordinary EU summit to agree on Athens’ debt deal and its status in the bloc. The European Council President Donald Tusk, who called the Monday summit, said that the new Greek proposals to the three institutions are a positive step, according to the “initial assessment.”
“I called this summit to put an end to the dangers of uncertainty and to avoid the worst case scenario, which means chaotic and uncontrollable Grexident,” Tusk said.
The summit has managed to “inject new dynamism into the negotiations that have been stalled for too long” while the sides have more or less reached the “understanding of possibilities and limits” in the negotiations, Tusk added.
According to most officials, an agreement could be reached by the end of the week, with Tusk announcing that some results may be presented as early as Thursday morning.