Greece pleads for help but Germany warns against breakthrough
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged European leaders at a summit to help him tackle a looming cash crunch despite warnings from Germany that he should expect no breakthrough.
Brussels: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged European leaders at a summit to help him tackle a looming cash crunch despite warnings from Germany that he should expect no breakthrough.
As fears mounted of a Greek exit from the euro and tensions climbed between Athens and its creditors over its huge bailout, Tsipras told his counterparts yesterday Greece faced a "humanitarian crisis".
He addressed the full meeting of 28 leaders ahead of a special sidelines talks after the summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and top EU officials.
European alarm that Tsipras's new hard-left government will not stick to planned austerity reforms increased after the Greek parliament adopted a crisis bill aimed at helping the poor on Wednesday.
"At the summit, Alexis Tsipras said it was contradictory that Europe accepts that there is a humanitarian crisis in Greece, while at the same time accusing Greece of unilateral action when it votes for measures to deal with it," a government statement out of Athens said.
Tsipras accused Greece's creditors in the EU, IMF and ECB of "holding up red cards", saying this was "holding back progress" on completing Greece's 240-billion-euro (USD 255-billion) bailout by June as agreed last month.
Brussels has gone head to head with the new Greek government, insisting it must keep its reform promises before it gets the last seven-billion-euro tranche of the rescue package.
Time is running out for Athens as tomorrow brings a key debt deadline when Greece must pay 300 million euros to the IMF and redeem 1.6 billion euros in treasury bills.
Merkel, the powerful leader of Europe's biggest economy, said Greece should not get its hopes up for an immediate solution yesterday.
"I would like to say, do not expect any solution, do not expect a breakthrough," she told reporters as she arrived at the summit.
She is due to meet Tsipras in Berlin on Monday.
Hollande meanwhile urged the Greek government to "show they will carry out reforms."
"There is nothing wrong with the Greek government making efforts for the poor but what we are asking of Greece is that it makes the rich pay their taxes," he said.