ATHENS: The European Central Bank extended Greece a financial lifeline ahead of a meeting of leaders on Monday that may determine its future in the euro.
The Athens Stock Exchange bounced back on Friday after the ECB raised the maximum amount of emergency funding that Greek banks can access. Minutes later, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras used a speech in Russia to paint Greece’s travails as a defining issue affecting all of Europe.
The European Union should return to its founding principles of “solidarity, democracy and social justice,” he said in St. Petersburg. “But the obsession with austerity and policies which rupture social cohesion make it impossible.” What’s at stake is “whether Europe will give space to policies of cohesion rather than the imposition of meaningless and failed programs,” he said.
While discussions, deadlines and apparent denouements have come and gone before, the wrangling over a deal to keep Greece afloat is at the sharp end: Greece’s existing bailout agreement expires on June 30, the same day it’s due to make a payment to the International Monetary Fund. After finance ministers failed to resolve the deadlock over aid on Thursday, the focus shifts to euro-area leaders due to meet in Brussels in three days. The Athens Stock Exchange index reversed earlier losses, trading 0.2 percent higher while the yield on Greece’s two-year bonds declined seven basis points to 28.59 percent.