Tusk tells Greece it is heading for default if it does not reach deal on Monday

Greece was told on Friday that if it does not agree a deal with lenders on Monday it will face default and a potential exit from the eurozone.

The stark message was issued by European Council President Donald Tusk, who has convened a meeting of euro-area leaders in Brussels on Monday evening. The gathering will be preceded by an emergency Eurogroup at which Greece will be expected to present proposals to bridge its differences with the institutions.

“The situation of Greece is getting critical,” Tusk said in a video message on Friday. “We are close to the point where the Greek government will have to choose between accepting what I believe is a good offer of continued support or to head towards default.”

Tusk suggested that euro-area leaders would not be in a position to negotiate the details of a deal. “The purpose of the summit is to make sure that we all understand each other’s positions and the consequences of our decisions,” he said. “We need to get rid of any illusions that there will be a magic solution at the leaders’ level. The summit will not be the final step. There will be no detailed technical negotiations. That remains the job of the finance ministers.”

His comments came in the wake of other European officials expressing skepticism about the possibility of a deal being reached. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to announce anything sensational or new on Monday,” said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

“I don’t understand [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told German news weekly Der Spiegel. “The trust I placed in him has not always been reciprocated in kind.”

Tsipras was in St Petersburg on Friday, where he met President Vladimir Putin. Ahead of the meeting, Tsipras issued a statement insisting that a deal could be done. In his speech at a conference in St Petersburg he also appeared confident Greece would overcome its problems.

“As you all know, we are now in the middle of a great storm,” he said. “But we are a seafaring nation that knows how to navigate through storms and is not afraid of heading to new seas and reaching new harbors.”

Tsipras was due to leave Russia on Friday night to return to Athens for intensive talks with government colleagues. The Finance Ministry was reported to be working on new value-added tax and pension reform proposals to submit to Greece’s creditors by Monday.


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