Wednesday 21 March 2018

Timeline: 48 hours of chaotic talks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives for the meeting in Brussels yesterday
Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives for the meeting in Brussels yesterday Newsdesk Newsdesk

Saturday, 1.30pm: Mixed views among eurozone finance ministers upon arrival in Brussels. Some are upbeat about delivering a bailout for Greece, others warn of a serious lack of trust in Syriza.

Saturday, 3pm: Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he is "very optimistic" about a deal being agreed.

Saturday, 5pm: News breaks that a Frankfurt-based media outlet is reporting details of a German proposal which would see Greece exit the euro for five years.

Saturday, 7pm: The meeting in Brussels is adjourned for dinner, with sources suggesting that Greece is making a "credible effort" to do a deal acceptable to the eurozone.

Saturday, 10pm: Word spreads that all is not well around the negotiation table. Serious tensions and heated exchanges between ministers and officials take place. Deal for Greece in serious doubt.

Saturday, 11pm: Crisis in Brussels as talks almost collapse. Prospect of Grexit heightens. Finnish government threatens to block Greek deal after pressure mounts from back home.

Saturday, midnight: President of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem (pictured inset right) adjourns talks until Sunday after ministers fail to reach consensus.

Sunday, 12.45am: In a briefing with journalists, officials warn that a deal is a long way off and that there are serious tensions between member states.

Sunday, 10am: European Council President Donald Tusk cancels a full EU summit involving all 28 member states scheduled for later so that finance ministers can focus solely on securing a Greek deal. It is decided that a meeting of the 19 eurozone heads of state will still go ahead.

Sunday: 10.30am: Michael Noonan attends European Peoples' Party (EPP) meeting which is dominated by the Greek crisis. At this meeting, the Finnish government says it has secured a mandate overnight which will allow it to support a Greek deal as long as its components are acceptable.

Sunday, noon: Irish officials warn that a Grexit is still a strong possibility as member states struggle to find common ground. Work on a draft text which will underpin bailout negotiations continues.

Sunday, 3.15pm: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras arrives in Brussels: "We can reach an agreement tonight if all parties want it," he says.

Sunday, 3.50pm: Signs of a dramatic breakthrough emerge at the euro finance ministers' meeting.

Sunday, 4.15pm: Eurozone finance ministers agree a statement on Greece in a major step towards preventing a Grexit. The statement, if ratified by the leaders, will be followed by the opening of full bailout talks.

Sunday 4.30pm onwards: Government leaders remain locked in talks as they discuss the text presented by finance ministers and press Greece to implement reforms from tomorrow. Niall O'Connor

Irish Independent

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