EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker urged Greeks on Monday to back a cash-for-reform package rejected by their government, saying a ‘no’ vote in Sunday’s referendum would mean Greece was turning its back on the European Union. Following a breakdown of talks between Athens and its creditors, Juncker delivered a withering criticism of the Greek government which called the referendum and which advised Greeks to vote against creditor proposals.
“The whole planet would consider a Greek ‘no’ to the question posed… as meaning that Greece wants to distance itself from the euro zone and from Europe.” he told a news conference.
“I will say to the Greeks who I love deeply: you mustn’t commit suicide because you are afraid of death…. You must vote yes, independently of the question asked.”
Juncker said he still believed a Greek exit from the euro zone was not an option, but cautioned that he alone could not necessarily protect Athens from other leaders who may disagree.
At a rare emergency news conference at the Brussels headquarters of his European Commission, Juncker ran through what he said was a fair offer made to Greece, which was socially fairer than the government had sought – effectively appealing over the head of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
“Playing off one democracy against 18 others is not an attitude which is fitting for the great Greek nation,” Juncker said.
Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe must be able to find compromises but also must stick to its principles – insisting that aid can only be offered in exchange for efforts by the countries that receive it.
Merkel said at an event Monday that “we must find compromises in every challenge.’’
She added: “If this ability to find compromises is lost, then Europe is lost, and that’s the sense in which the sentence I have often said should be understood. If the euro fails, Europe fails.’’’
Global stocks plunge as Greece imposes capital curbs
London: Global stock markets took a battering Monday after Greece shuttered its banks for the week and imposed limits on cash withdrawals — developments that have reinforced fears the country is heading for a messy exit from the euro that could shake the world economy.
Stocks fell in Asia and Europe, where Germany’s main index was down 2.5 per cent and the market in Athens remained closed for the week. The CAC-40 stock index in France was down 3 per cent while Germany’s DAX fell 2.5 per cent. The FTSE 100 was 1.4 per cent lower at 6,657. In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 223.82 points, or 1.25 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 27.76 points, or 1.32 per cent, to 2,073.73 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 74.88 points, or 1.47 per cent, to 5,005.63.