By Europe correspondent Philip Williams, wires Mon 22 June 2015
Photo: Alexis Tsipras has unveiled proposals for a "mutually beneficial" deal to prevent a default. (AFP/Louisa Gouliamaki)
Negotiations over Greece's debt have reached a crucial stage, with prime minister Alexis Tsipras offering European leaders a new proposal to end the dangerous impasse.
The plan comes on the eve of a summit which could determine whether Greece crashes out of the Eurozone.
In a telephone call with German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr Tsipras unveiled the proposals on a "mutually beneficial deal", his office said.
It said the plans were aimed at reaching a "definitive solution" to the standoff between Athens and its creditors — the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank — amid growing global concern over a potential "Grexit" from the Eurozone.
When it comes to the prospect of a bailout, it should be remembered that it is not Greece that is being bailed out - it's the institutions that recklessly doled out the Euro loans, writes Ian Verrender.
Pressure is mounting to find a way of preventing Greece finally defaulting on its debt repayments due at the end of the month, with an emergency summit of the leaders of the 19 Eurozone countries due later today in Brussels.
Greece's anti-austerity government met on Sunday to refine its proposals.
If there is no deal, Greece seems likely to default on an IMF debt payment of around 1.5 billion euros ($2.1 billion) due on June 30, and with that risk a chaotic exit from the Eurozone.
Meanwhile, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Greek parliament in Athens to demand an end to austerity that they say has crippled the country and made its debt problems much worse.
"The Greek representation will not submit, will not accept the blackmail, and will not accept to return defeated," one protester said.
"This is why today's protest and the next ones that are to come will show exactly this, that the Greek people are standing next to the Greek government even for the big 'no'."
Photo: Anti-austerity government supporters rally in front of the parliament building in Athens, Greece on June 21, 2015. (Reuters: Yannis Behrakis)
Greece seeks debt solution without IMF's help
The details of the proposals were not disclosed, but Greek minister of state Nikos Pappas, who is close to Mr Tsipras, told the Ethos newspaper that his country did not want any more help from the IMF.
"I am one of those who think that the IMF should not be in Europe. I hope we find a solution without its participation," Mr Pappas said.
He claimed that Europe "has no need" of the Washington-based institution, which has an "agenda which is not at all European" and "can continue without it and its money".
Greece's repayment schedule
- June 30: IMF repayment, 1.5 billion euros
- July 10: Greek Treasury T-bill redemption, 2 billion euros
- July 13: IMF repayment, 450 million euros
- July 17: Greek T-bill redemption, 1 billion euros
- July 20: ECB and national central banks repayments, 3.5 billion euros
- August 1: IMF coupon payment, 175 million euros
- August 7: Greek T-bill redemption, 1 billion euros
- August 20: ECB and national central banks repayments, 3.2 billion euros
- September 4: IMF repayment, 300 million euros
- September 4: Greek T-bill redemption, 1.4 billion euros
The IMF was called in to help rescue Greece at the end of 2009 when the debt-plagued country could no longer borrow on international markets.
The EU's involvement in the huge bailout, which was to provide 240 billion euros in loans in exchange for drastic austerity measures and reforms, runs out at the end of this month but IMF support was to supposed to continue to March 2016.
Talks between Greece and its lenders have been deadlocked for nine months over the payment of the next 7.2 billion euro tranche of the bailout, with talk also turning to an extension of the European help.
For the Greek government any extension of the bailout should be about kick-starting the country's devastated economy and not further austerity.
They also want the country's crippling debt burden — of nearly 180 per cent of GDP — lightened.
"The agreement should be of a type and timeframe so that it would restore confidence," Mr Pappas told the newspaper.
"It shouldn't be short-term, which would only lead to further uncertainty."
Proposals from Athens have previously been knocked back by their creditors who have insisted on their own mixture of cuts and reforms, which Mr Pappas dismissed as "unacceptable to whichever Greek political party" was in power.
Mr Hollande, speaking in Milan, said France and Italy shared a "common position" on the Greek crisis, which was "to have an agreement and the sooner the better".
Demonstrators around Europe on Saturday took to the streets to protest against spending cuts and austerity measures taken by their governments and expressing solidarity with Greece.
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