EU leaders have warned Greek people that rejecting international creditors’ proposals in the bailout referendum called for Sunday, July 5, would mean leaving the euro.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the vote would be “Yes or No to the eurozone”.
Greece’s PM Alexis Tsipras has urged a “No” vote but insists he wants Greece to stay in the euro.
Talks between Greece and its creditors broke down last week, leading to Greek banks having to shut this week.
Global stock markets saw big falls on Monday, June 29, after the weekend’s events.
As well as Sigmar Gabriel, the leaders of the eurozone’s other two largest economies said Greek voters would effectively be deciding whether or not they wanted to stay in the eurozone on July 5.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi said the choice would be between the euro and the drachma, while French President Francois Hollande said: “What’s at stake is… knowing whether the Greeks want to stay within the eurozone.”
Speaking to Greek television on June 29, Alexis Tsipras urged as many Greeks to vote “No” as possible on July 5 to give the Greek government a stronger position to restart negotiations.
He said his government had a mandate “to be within the European framework but with more justice”.
“They will not kick us out of the eurozone because the cost is immense,” he said.
Earlier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he felt “betrayed” by the “egotism” shown by Greece in the failed talks on giving heavily indebted Greece the last payment of its international bailout.
Jean-Claude Juncker said Greek proposals were “delayed” or “deliberately altered” but added the door was still open to talks.
Despite the public war of words, a Greek official said Alexis Tsipras had spoken to Jean-Claude Juncker on June 26 and asked him to extend Greece’s bailout until the referendum.
A critical deadline looms on June 30, when Greece is due to pay back €1.6 billion to the IMF – the same day its current bailout expires. There are fears of a default and a possible exit from euro.
Jean-Claude Juncker said that he still believed a Greek exit from the euro was not an option and insisted that the creditors’ latest proposal meant more social fairness.
The question which will be put to voters on July 5 will not be as simple as whether they want to stay in the euro or not – instead it asks Greeks to approve or reject the specific terms laid out by Greece’s creditors:
“Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled <<Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond>> and the second <<Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis>>.