Angry EU Leaders Lash Out at Greece, Eyeing Endgame

Suicide, blackmail and lies -- EU leaders have accused Greece of a litany of sins since months of fruitless talks on a debt deal hit the wall, often in surprisingly undiplomatic language.

Published: 03rd July 2015 09:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2015 09:28 AM   |  A+A-

By AFP

BRUSSELS: Suicide, blackmail and lies -- EU leaders have accused Greece of a litany of sins since months of fruitless talks on a debt deal hit the wall, often in surprisingly undiplomatic language.

While this criticism reflects frustration with the negotiating tactics of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his radical leftist Syriza government, it may also be part of a strategy to manage public opinion before the endgame of the crisis, experts say. 

Outspoken European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker is the most senior figure to lay his emotions bare. In a highly personal press conference on Monday, he said he felt "betrayed" and "deeply distressed" by Athens's "gamesmanship".

The tipping point for former Luxembourg premier Juncker, Tsipras's strongest EU supporter in five months of talks, seems to have come when, according to the EU, Greece walked away on the verge of a deal late Friday. 

Tsipras then called a referendum for Sunday urging Greeks to vote 'No' on the deal's terms, a move that EU leaders have painted as a vote on Greece's future in Europe.

In previous weeks Juncker, 60, could often be seen greeting 40-year-old Tsipras with hugs and kisses during the Greek premier's visits to Brussels, but that jovial mood has disappeared.

"I will tell the Greeks, who I love deeply, that you shouldn't choose suicide just because you are afraid of death," Juncker said, urging them to vote 'Yes' in the referendum.

In a further roll of the dice, Greece Tuesday made a last-minute proposal for another bailout worth nearly 30 billion euros ($33 billion) to follow the two rescue programmes worth 240 billion euros it has received since 2010.

But eurozone countries have declined to hold any more talks until the outcome of the referendum is clear.

 

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