July 6, 2015 / 10:40 AM / 2 years ago

HIGHLIGHTS-EU's Dombrovskis speaks after Greek referendum

BRUSSELS, July 6 (Reuters) - Greeks voted resoundingly on Sunday to reject the austerity terms of a bailout with international creditors, prompting European Council President Donald Tusk to call a euro zone summit on Tuesday.

The following are comments from European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis at a daily news conference by the Commission.

"The European Commission takes note of the result of yesterday's referendum in Greece. We respect the democratic choice of the Greek people. The 'No' result, unfortunately, widens the gap between Greece and other euro zone countries. There is no easy way out of this crisis. Too much time and too many opportunities have been lost.

The Commission is ready to continue its work with Greece, but to be clear, the Commission cannot negotiate a new programme without a mandate form the Eurogroup. Yesterday's results announce a rejection of reforms proposed to a large extent by the Greek authorities itself, and linked to a now expired support programme for Greece.

Europe has been by the side of Greek people throughout the crisis. European taxpayers have offered unprecedented financial assistance. Since 2010, 184 billion euros have been disbursed from the Greek Loan Facility, and the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility). They supported Greece to reform its economy so that it would stand proud and independent from outside help in the future. But, reforms were often delayed or implemented only partially, resulting in a prolonged recession, and more difficult reforms to implement later.

However, only eight months ago, Greece was finally turning the page. The economy was finally growing, and investments started to pick up, and jobs were again being created. The country was looking forward to a return to the markets and ending its bailout programme by the end of last year. Regrettably, the current Greek government was not able to use its extension to produce a credible strategy to come out of the crisis, regain financial stability, and return to economic growth. (Reporting by Brussels bureau, compiled by Julia Fioretti)

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