Thursday 8 December 2016

Europe is entering 'unchartered waters' with Greek referendum, Finance Minister Michael Noonan warns

Tom Molloy

Published 27/06/2015 | 16:08

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said his department gave full and complete answers to any questions about the Siteserv deal
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said his department gave full and complete answers to any questions about the Siteserv deal
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is seen on a television monitor whille addressing the nation early June REUTERS/Pool
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Maximos Mansion after a governmental council in Athens, Greece REUTERS/Marko Djurica
Members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE), chant slogans during an anti-austerity rally at Syntagma square in central Athens (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Europe is entering “unchartered waters” following the Greek government’s decision to call a referendum on further austerity next weekend, Finance Minister Michael Noonan warned in Brussels.

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He added that there had been room for a deal until the television announcement by Prime Alexis Tsipras in the early hours of Saturday morning when he told Greeks about the surprise vote.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Maximos Mansion after he announced the bailout referendum (AP)
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Maximos Mansion after he announced the bailout referendum (AP)
Greek ministers leave the Maximos Mansion after a governmental council in Athens, Greece REUTERS/Marko Djurica
People queue to use ATMs at a bank in Athens (AP)
People line up at an ATM outside a National Bank branch in Athens, Greece REUTERS/Yiannis Panagopoulos/Eurokinissi
Greek State Minister Nikos Pappas talks to journalists outside the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Read more here: Greece's Alexis Tsipras calls referendum to break bailout deadlock  

“I found out at 12 O’Clock last night that the Greeks have unilaterally discontinued negotiations. I am disappointed with that,” Mr Noonan said. “We are going into totally uncharted waters.”

Read more here: Greek parliament debates referendum  

His comments were echoed by other finance ministers. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs the committee of eurozone finance ministers, said the Greek government had ended any hopes of a negotiated deal.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Maximos Mansion after he announced the bailout referendum (AP)
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras leaves the Maximos Mansion after he announced the bailout referendum (AP)
A woman walks past a mural of praying hands in Athens as the ruling Syriza party dismissed reform demands from the country’s international creditors as 'blackmail' this week
People queue to use ATMs at a bank in Athens (AP)
Alexis Tsipras said that after the comprehensive Greek proposals, he was confident they would reach a compromise (AP)

“It has closed the door on further talks while the door was still open, in my mind.” German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the negotiations had clearly ended and there were “no grounds for further discussions.”

The decision to call a snap referendum prompted concern but no panic in Greece yesterday. There were queues at some supermarkets and ATMs.

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