The European Union welcomed new proposals from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a “good basis for progress” at talks on Monday where creditors want 11th-hour concessions to haul Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy. EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief-of-staff spoke of a “forceps delivery” as officials worked late into the night to produce a deal ahead of a summit of euro zone leaders in Brussels that they hope can keep Greece in the currency bloc.
Giving no detail of a proposal he said was also received by the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, German EU official Martin Selmayr tweeted: “Good basis for progress at … Euro Summit. In German: ‘eine Zangengeburt’.” After four months of wrangling and with anxious depositors pulling billions of euros out of Greek banks, Tsipras’s leftist government showed a new willingness at the weekend to make concessions that would unlock frozen aid to avert default.
It was not immediately clear how far the new proposal yielded to creditors’ demands for additional spending cuts and tax hikes, but the offer was a ray of hope that a last-minute deal may yet be wrangled before Athens runs out of cash. Tsipras spent much of Sunday holed up in a marathon cabinet meeting and discussed the new offer with the leaders of Germany, France and the European Commission by phone.