On Sunday, Greece overwhelmingly rejected the bailout terms proposed by its European creditors, with a projected 61% of the country voting “no” to further austerity measures via a national referendum, the Associated Press reports.
“The mandate you’ve given me does not call for a break with Europe, but rather gives me greater negotiating strength,” wrote Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Twitter. “The Greek people made a historic and brave choice.”
The result of the referendum, which European leaders urged Greeks to vote “yes” on, leaves much of the future of the country, the eurozone and the European Union as a whole uncertain. From The New York Times:
[Prime Minister Tsipras’] victory in the referendum settled little, since the creditors’ offer is no longer on the table. There remains the possibility that they could walk away, leaving Greece facing default, financial collapse and expulsion from the eurozone and, in the worst case, from the European Union.
At stake, however, may be far more than Greece’s place in Europe, as experts have offered wildly differing opinions about what the referendum could mean for the future of the euro and, indeed, the world’s financial markets.
Even before the voting was over, some European leaders began making efforts to contain the potential damage. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she would travel to Paris on Monday to meet with the French president, François Hollande, for a “joint assessment of the situation after the Greek referendum.”
According to European Parliament President Martin Schulz, eurozone leaders now plan to meet Tuesday to discuss a potential humanitarian program to address the Greek financial crisis.
“Ordinary citizens, pensioners, sick people or children in the kindergarten should not pay a price for the dramatic situation in which the country and the government brought the country now,” said Schulz in a statement Sunday evening. “I hope that the Greek government will make in the next coming hours meaningful and constructive proposals allowing that it is meaningful and possible to renegotiate. If not, we are entering a very difficult and even dramatic time.”
[Image via AP Images]