EU’s Juncker urges Greeks to vote ‘Yes’ in referendum

World Today

Greece Bailout Tourists walks through the ruins of the fifth century BC Parthenon temple in Athens, Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greeks lined up at ATMs as they gradually began dispensing cash again on the first day of capital controls imposed in a dramatic twist in Greece’s five-year financial saga. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker urged Greeks on Monday to back a cash-for-reform package rejected by their government, saying a ‘no’ vote in Sunday’s referendum would mean Greece was turning its back on the European Union.

Following a breakdown of talks between Athens and its creditors, Juncker said he was saddened by the outcome of Saturday’s inconclusive meeting of all 19 euro zone finance ministers.

“This isn’t a game of liar’s poker. There isn’t one winner and another one who loses. Either we are all winners or we are all losers,” he told reporters at a news conference. “I am deeply distressed, saddened by the spectacle that Europe gave last Saturday. In a single night, the European conscience has taken a heavy blow. Goodwill has somewhat evaporated.”

Juncker also delivered a withering criticism of the Greek government which called the referendum and which advised Greeks to vote against creditor proposals.

“Playing off one democracy against 18 others is not an attitude which is fitting for the great Greek nation,” Juncker said.

Queues began forming at ATMs in the Greek capital Athens on Monday, as they gradually began dispensing cash again following the imposition of strict controls on capital. Greece has shut its banks for a week and imposed limits on cash withdrawals and transfers amid concerns the country could fall out of the euro.

Banks will remain shut until next Monday, and a daily limit of 60 euros ($67) has been placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs.

The capital controls are meant to staunch the flow of money out of Greek banks and spur the country’s creditors to offer concessions before Greece’s international bailout program expires. Greece faces default if it does not repay 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday.

Speaking after a meeting of German party and parliamentary leaders in the Chancellery, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also criticised the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for failing to compromise with its euro zone partners after receiving what she called a “generous” offer.

“This generous offer was our contribution towards a compromise. So it must be said that the will for a compromise on the Greek side was not there,” Merkel said.

Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, standing alongside Merkel, said if Greeks voted against the bailout offer on Sunday (July 5), it would be a clear vote against staying in the euro.

Compiled from Reuters and Associated Press wire reports.