Greece debt crisis: European Commission's Valdis Dombrovskis says No vote 'widens the gap between Greece and other eurozone countries'

‘The stability of the Eurozone is not in question, we are willing and able to ensure financial stability by all available means’

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The Independent Online

As the reality of Greece’s resounding vote against austerity comes into focus, the European Commission’s vice president has criticised the Greek government for wasting time and opportunities over the course of the crisis, but remains insistent that “the Commission is ready to continue its work with Greece”.

Valdis Dombrovskis said at a daily news conference held by the Commission that “the European Commission takes note of yesterday’s referendum in Greece.

“We respect the democratic choice of the Greek people,” he said, but added: “The ‘No’ result, unfortunately, widens the gap between Greece and other eurozone countries.


“There is no easy way out of this crisis. Too much time and too many opportunities have been lost.”

He said that while the Commission is ready to continue its work with Greece, “the Commission cannot negotiate a new programme without a mandate from the eurogroup”.

Europe has, he added, “been on the side of the Greek people throughout the crisis” and that European tax payers have “offered unprecedented financial assistance”.

Since 2010, €184 billion has been dispersed from the Greek Loan Facility and the European Financial Stability Facility, Dombrovskis said.

He criticised Greece’s handling of the money by saying that “reforms were often delayed or implemented only partially, resulting in a prolonged recession, and more difficult reforms to implement later”.

Dombrovskis added: “However, only eight months ago, Greece was finally turning the page. The economy was finally growing, and investments started to pick up, and jobs were again being created. The country was looking forward to a return to the markets and ending its bailout programme by the end of last year.

“Regrettably, the current Greek government was not able to use its extension to produce a credible strategy to come out of the crisis, regain financial stability, and return to economic growth.”

Additional reporting by Reuters