Greek PM Hints He Won't Pursue Further Austerity

Greek PM Hints He Won't Pursue Further Austerity

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he will respect the outcome of an upcoming referendum on his country's economic future if voters back a new round of European austerity measures that he opposes.

But Tsipras said his far-left government will not be the one to carry out those new reforms, which European creditors are demanding from Athens in exchange for billions of dollars in new bailout money.

Tsipras spoke late Monday on national television, as anti-austerity protesters marched in Athens and speculation grew that the government will formally default Tuesday on a $1.8 billion loan repayment due to the International Monetary Fund.  A default would set the stage for a possible Greek exit from the 19-nation euro currency bloc.

In Paris, European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure told the French financial daily Les Echos that a Greek exit from the eurozone "can, unfortunately, not be excluded anymore."

World markets tumbled Monday as the Greek public awakened to shuttered banks and sharp new limits on withdrawals from sidewalk cash machines.  The Athens stock exchange, like the cash-strapped banks, is closed for six days until referendum results are tallied.

Stocks in Asia, Germany and France plunged 3 percent or more, while the New York Stock Exchange was down almost 2 percent near the end of trading.

Additionally, the Standard & Poor's financial services company cut Greece's credit rating further into "junk" status.  It also said there is a 50 percent chance the country will become the first to exit the eurozone in the 16-year history of the currency.

European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister David Cameron both warned Monday that a Greek vote against austerity would mean that Greece wants to divorce itself politically from Europe.

"A 'no' [vote] would mean, regardless of the question posed, that Greece had said 'no' to Europe," Juncker said in Brussels. Cameron said he would "find it hard to see" how a negative vote "is consistent with staying in the euro."

Greece broke off negotiations with its creditors over the weekend and there was no sign of new talks. Tsipras then called on voters to reject more European austerity demands on July 5.
Greek PM Hints He Won't Pursue Further Austerity Greek PM Hints He Won't Pursue Further Austerity Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 3:05 PM Rating: 5

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