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Greece debt crisis: Did Greece just submit the same proposals 61% of Greeks voted against?

Decide for yourself if Tsipras made a U-turn

Hazel Sheffield
Friday 10 July 2015 17:27 BST
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras shakes hands with a lawmakers of the SYRIZA's Parliamentary group in the Greek Parliament in Athens
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras shakes hands with a lawmakers of the SYRIZA's Parliamentary group in the Greek Parliament in Athens (EPA)

The deadlock has been broken in the Greek crisis after the Greek government submitted a detailed set of proposals for reform.

But it didn’t take long for those reading the new proposals to notice that they were strikingly similar to the ones Greece's European lenders had proposed - the same ones that 61 per cent of the Greek people rejected in the referendum last Sunday.

How similar?

The Greek proposals commit to savings of €12bn over two years by:

• Scrapping discounted rates of VAT for Greek islands, designed to offset the higher cost of living there

• Increasing income tax from 11 per cent to 15 per cent

• Increasing the retirement age to 67

• Increasing corporation tax to 28 per cent

See the full Greek proposals here.

A week earlier, the lenders had asked that:

• Greece scrap discounts on the islands and apply a standard 23 per cent VAT

• Introduce reforms on income tax

• Increase the retirement age to 67 years

• Increase corporate tax to 28 per cent

See the full EU proposals here.

That’s a pretty significant u-turn on the part of Tsipras.

Along with the document, both the Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos and the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras submitted letters reiterating Greece’s commitment to staying in the Eurozone.

Alexis Tsipras's letter to the Eurogroup on Thursday

Up to this point the Greek government had repeatedly walked away from negotiations, even going so far as to call a referendum on Sunday.

A letter from Euclid Tsakalotos, the finance minister who replaced Yanis Varoufakis, to the president of the Eurogroup, reassuring him that Greece is fully committed to staying in the euro

Sony Kapoor, managing director of the economics and finance think tank Re-Define, says the Greek government is doing everything it can to try and repair its relationship with the eurozone.

"In an environment of close to zero trust, Greece has to demonstrate that it will take measures it has previously opposed. The resignation of [Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister] was a clear signal to the lenders that Greece wanted to co-operate," he said.

Even if these reforms get rubber stamped in the European Parliament this weekend, Tsipras is going to have a huge job on his hands to implement them.

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