Euro zone partners offer to release billions in frozen aid in a last-minute push to win Greece’s acceptance a cash-for-reform deal. But Greece is still defiant ahead of a vital meeting on Saturday – accusing international creditors of blackmail. David Pollard reports.
EU warns Greece game nearly over
Day 2 of the euro zone summit.
Very much the eleventh hour for Greece, amid increasingly dire warnings of the damage that will result if no debt deal is struck.
From, among others, German chancellor Angela Merkel – and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble.
(SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING:
“The Eurogroup on Saturday is of decisive importance, bearing in mind time is very short.”
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, SAYING:
“If we lose the confidence in markets … we destroy the monetary union.”
But with the clock ticking down to what many fear could be a Greek default, Greece is still defiant.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING:
“The European Union foundation principles were democracy, solidarity, equality, mutual respect. These principles were not based on blackmails and ultimatums.”
June 30 is the deadline for Greece to make a 1.6 billion euros payment to the IMF.
If it doesn’t: then technical default – possibly leading to bankruptcy and, ultimately, Greece’s exit from the euro.
Latest reports suggest desperate last-minute efforts to persuade Greece to fall into line.
Merkel and French President Hollande held a private meeting with Tsipras before the final summit session.
And laid out in clear terms how Greece will receive nearly 16 billion euros in IMF and EU funding to see it through the next five months.
If it signs a deal.
If not, capital controls beckon for Athens, says IG’s Chris Beauchamp.
Markets will look for further emergency measures down the road.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING:
”The first thing would be the ECB to announce a broadened stepping up of market operations, OMTs, even possible increases to QE as and when necessary. Don’t forget this is the central bank that has declared its intention to do whatever it takes to save the euro, and its moment will arguably have arrived if you have a disorderly exit or default come the middle of next week.”
Before that though – all hopes still pinned on a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Saturday.