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Friday 9 December 2016

EU chiefs in last-ditch meeting to prevent Greece crashing out

eurozone

European leaders were meeting today in a last-ditch effort to find a solution to the Greek crisis and prevent the country possibly crashing out of the euro.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has presented a new bailout agreement proposal ahead of the crunch meeting of leaders from the 19 Eurozone countries.

Greece has to reach a deal with its creditors before a June 30 deadline to repay a €1.6bn loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mr Tsipras's radical left-wing Syriza government was meeting the heads of the three creditors - the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank (ECB) - ahead of the summit.

The head of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's cabinet, Martin Selmayr, said Greece's latest offer represented a "good basis for progress".

But in a sign that the process could be complicated, he described it as "eine Zangengeburt" - German for a forceps delivery.

Although the UK is not in the single currency zone, Whitehall has drawn up contingency plans for a possible Greek exit - "Grexit" - from the Eurozone.

withdrawing

"We hope for the best, but we must be prepared for the worst," Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said last week.

Amid signs that Greeks were withdrawing increased sums from the country's banks, the ECB has provided emergency assistance to prevent the country's cash machines running out.

Tourists heading to the country have been told to take euros with them.

"Holidaymakers heading out to Greece this summer are advised to take some cash in euros as well as other payment methods such as credit or debit cards so that they are covered for all situations," said ABTA, the industry body that represents British travel agents and tour operators.

"We would also advise them, as we would with any destination, to take out travel insurance as soon as they book their holiday to provide protection should they need to cancel.

"We do not anticipate that there will be any need for tour operators to rebook their customers to a different destination. At present we have no indication that holidaymakers will be disrupted.

"However, as with all destination matters, we will continue to monitor the situation and work with our members on any developments.

"This is an unusual situation, but the industry has experi- ence in handling these."

DAN WHITE: PAGE 14

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