00:03 GMT31 October 2020
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    The European Commission is ready to provide technical assistance to Greece if it returns to the negotiating table to discuss its debt problems.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The European Commission is ready to provide technical assistance to Greece if it returns to the negotiating table to discuss its debt problems with the lenders after the Sunday referendum on Greece’s possible exit from the Eurozone, the commission’s vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, told the German Die Welt newspaper.

    "The European Commission has always emphasized: The door to negotiations is open. But in order to reach solutions both sides need to engage constructively," Dombrovskis said, stressing that Greece needs a "credible strategy" to regain financial stability.

    The vice president of the EU commission added that the situation in Greece is evidence that the economic and monetary union needs to be strengthened, and that it is up to the Greek people to decide whether they want to stay within the Eurozone.

    Dombrovskis emphasized, however, that the European Commission "stands ready to work with the government in Greece and to offer technical assistance" if Athens is to resume bailout talks with its lenders after the Sunday Grexit referendum.

    Dombrovskis estimated that a third bailout package for Greece would take several weeks to negotiate.

    Greece's overall debt is estimated at over $350 billion, most of which is owed to the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    The lenders have issued two bailout packages for Greece since 2010 in exchange for austerity measures, such as pension cuts and tax increases, which are highly unpopular with the Greek population.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has rejected the new bailout terms offered by Eurozone finance ministers, calling a referendum for Sunday on whether Athens should accept the lenders’ new bailout proposal, which includes more austerity measures.

    Tsipras has said that a "no" vote in the Sunday referendum would not necessarily mean an imminent split with Europe or exit from the Eurozone.

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    Tags:
    bailout, debt, The European Central Bank (ECB), International Monetary Fund, Eurozone, European Commission, Greece
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