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What does referendum 'No' vote mean for the Greeks?

Q. Excuse my ignorance but what, exactly, did Greeks vote against?

A. In a nutshell, Greeks were asked if they would accept more austerity in order to keep rescue finance coming in. They said No. It means we - and the European establishment - now know that the Greeks are prepared to face the unknown rather than accept more cuts.

Q. So what happens next then?

A. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will return to Brussels today to reopen bailout talks with his anti-austerity mandate hugely boosted. The 60% backing for his preferred No vote means the Syriza leader won support from way beyond his own core voters. Taken with the results of last January's election it gives him effectively a double "anti-austerity" mandate to negotiate with the rest of the eurozone, though not much else. Tsipras now has more authority to push for the same concessions he was after before talks broke down last month, but his country is still broke.

Q. So the No vote means it's back to the negotiating table. What are the talks about?

A. The round of talks starting today are about the same thing they were about a week-and-a-half ago. Greece has run out of money. Its government needs as much as €50bn, mainly to keep on top of debt repayments in the coming years. Before the latest lurch in the crisis, Greece was actually taking in enough in taxes to pay for day-to-day services - excluding loan repayments - but after the banks shut for a week that may no longer be the case.

Belfast Telegraph


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