Greek Government, European Commission Spar What Triggered Referendum
Monday, 29 June 2015
Government sources and the European Commission on Sunday continued to give differing accounts of events at the Eurogroup that led to a breakdown in the negotiations and the Greek government's decision to call a referendum.
Responding to the Commission's announcement that it had presented proposals with improved VAT rates, the Greek side insisted that Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem had demanded that Athens accept the institutions' proposal by Saturday, thus presenting a clear ultimatum.
Greek sources said the document released by the Commission was never given to the Greek government and that the only change is the VAT rate for hotels, which was lowered to 13 pct from the 23 pct proposed by creditors in the "ultimatum" document on Thursday morning.
This 'improved' offer essentially reverted back to a proposal presented by the institutions on Wednesday (23 pct VAT on restaurants/catering, 13 pct for hotels from July 1) that the Greek side had already rejected, the sources pointed out.
If there had been a change of stance, Greek sources insisted, this was not announced officially to the Greek government "and is a matter that concerns the Institutions."
Earlier, the European Commission released a draft of the proposals that the institutions' presented to Greek authorities on June 26, aiming at an agreement in the Eurogroup on June 27, with an announcement saying that it wanted to brief the Greek people on the latest proposals in order to ensure transparency.
The Commission said that the last proposal took into account the proposals submitted by Greece on June 8, 14, 22 and 25, as well as discussions held in the last week on a political and technical level.