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Crisis in Greece: after the referendum the ball is in Greece’s court Greece

07.07.2015 - Article

The crisis in Greece continues following the referendum.

Steinmeier speaking to the press on Sunday night (5 July)
Steinmeier speaking to the press on Sunday night (5 July)© Photothek/Imo

In a referendum on Sunday (5 July), the majority of the Greek voters rejected the international bailout for Greece. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded by saying that the ball was now in Athen’s court as, first and foremost, that was where the conclusions of the result had to be drawn.

On Sunday, more than 60% of Greek voters followed the recommendation of their Government and voted “No” in the referendum on the future of the international bailout for Greece. Foreign Minister Steinmeier responded on Sunday evening shortly after arriving in Vienna for negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme. He said:

First of all, we must accept the result. It is the result of a referendum which the majority of the Greek population took part in. The decision on which conclusions to draw from this result must first and foremost be taken in Greece, and thus the ball is in Athen’s court.

Currently, prerequisites for a bailout are not in place

On Monday, Government Spokesperson Steffen Seibert also stressed that the German Government acknowledged and respected the Greek people’s vote. Yet following the “No” result of the referendum “currently, the prerequisites for negotiations on a new bailout package are not in place.”

A newspaper stand in Athens
A newspaper stand in Athens© picture alliance / dpa

The result of the referendum was a rejection of the principle for European assistance, according to which solidarity went hand in hand with efforts made by the country in question. The German Government remained committed to this principle, however, it also remained willing to talk: “The door to talks will always remain open,” according to Seibert. What was important now were the proposals that the Greek Government brought to the table.

On Sunday, in an interview with the weekly newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag, the Foreign Minister had already said that a “No” vote would not make it any easier to reach a compromise. It was key to keep the door open for productive negotiations. Together with the European partners, Greece had to find a way out of its plight which didn’t place too great a burden on Europe and the eurozone countries.

Close Franco‑German coordination on Greece

Foreign Minister Steinmeier stayed in Vienna on Sunday night, meeting his French counterpart Laurent Fabius for consultations. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Paris on Monday evening to meet French President François Hollande where they assessed the Greek referendum together. On Tuesday the heads of state and government of the eurozone are meeting for a summit in Brussels.

A queue at a cash machine in Athens
A queue at a cash machine in Athens© picture alliance / dpa

Tourists advised to take enough cash with them when travelling to Greece

The situation in Greece took a dramatic turn at the end of June after the Greek Government decided to break off its negotiations with the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

As a result the Government in Athens announced that the banks and stock markets would remain closed for an interim period. Greeks are able to withdraw no more than 60 euros per day from cash machines. Exceptions are made for visitors to Greece.

Find out more:

Interview with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the “Tagesspiegel am Sonntag” of 5 July

Interview with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the “Welt am Sonntag” of 28 June

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